Quite high on the list of “my favourite things” along with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens is to lunch in the Swan Valley when the skies are blue and the sun is shining. An opportunity such as this presented on Sunday. Quite delightful summer weather and as GG had given his car a thorough clean the day before and it was looking particularly flash, he was more than happy to oblige and drive us down Great Northern Hwy to our chosen destination. Now I’ll admit, my first choice had been Sandalford. What can I say, I’m more than a little smitten with the place, but unsurprisingly to me they were fully booked. So I continued to flick through the entertainment book and happened on a place I had been many moons ago but had fond memories of…. Stewarts at Brookleigh. I called, they had a spare table, we booked – easy as pie!
Quite a picturesque spot is Stewarts, they have some accommodation available on their beautifully gardened property and the restaurant itself has had some work since my last visit. When we went on that previous occasion we sat outside on a veranda that seemed to wrap around the edge of the building. Well this outdoor area was gone, but we were seated sort of in its equivalent but in a now enclosed area. I can’t say I was disappointed at this, because the sun had cranked it up a notch and it was very pleasant to have the air conditioner to keep us cool.
It wasn’t overly busy when we arrived a touch before 12, but during our meal the place got more and more hungry visitors. We perused the wine list, looking for something crisp and white to enjoy with our meal. I sampled one of the chardonnays (always nice when they let you try before you buy) and it was slightly sweeter than I was chasing so we went with the Ferngrove SBS.
We were both happy to just order mains and share a salad but one of the entrees specials of the day sounded too good not to try. So after we had actually placed our initial order, when I saw the waitress wandering past again I asked if we were too late to order the special. Of course not was the reply and she headed to the kitchen to amend our order. It seemed like only minutes later and the enticing dish arrived – Nam-jim spiced squid. It was a very generous serve and the spicy flavour was entirely delicious, especially with a spritz of the fresh lemon that was on the side.
Loved it, loved it, loved it –putting it out there, some of the best squid I’ve ever eaten! GG and I happily wolfed down the tender squid pieces, really couldn’t get enough…. Suspect I could have happily ordered another to indulge in, but I was conscious of my mains being not too far away and thought I should at least leave a little room for it :)
GG had ordered a chicken dish, breast and confit leg with cabbage, peas and speck, and initially I had wanted to order this too. It was really a last minute decision to change, sparked largely by GG’s comment (which I found adorable) that if we ordered the same dish then how would we know who won? Won what you may ask? The battle of the mains. I couldn’t argue with his logic and ordered the pasta. We then ordered a caprese salad to share… both being big fans of buffalo mozzarella.
The size of the entrée should have been hint that my pasta was going to tend towards large. And it was. They definitely didn’t scrimp on the prawns either! I didn’t count them but there would have been probably around 8 to 10, which I think is generous, given that at some places you’d be lucky to get 3 or 4! It was well seasoned and I really enjoyed the flavour. The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes was a nice contrast too. I worked toward making sure I”d eaten all the prawns and all the cherry tomatoes before I tackled the tougher challenge of putting a respectable dent in the pasta. I think I did ok. Didn’t managed to finish, but definitely gave it my all.
I got try a bite of GG’s chicken and it was nice. Moist and tender chicken, have to be happy with that. But I agreed with a comment he made that there was nothing particularly wow about his selection. Just needed a little more zap on the flavour front was all. So looks like I had won this round :)
Similarly with the caprese salad…. It was fairly lacklustre. The tomatoes didn’t share the sweetness that the ones in my pasta had and we both concurred that it had either needed a splash of olive oil or possibly a little balsamic vinegar to enhance its flavour – maybe even just a little salt and pepper? For me this was the only real lowlight….. and in retrospect many I should have just asked them if they could have bought us a little balsamic to splash on the salad ourselves…. Hindsight, geeze it’s a wonderful thing.
In all though, I had really enjoyed Stewarts. Lovely spot for a cruisy weekend lunch (or weekdays if you are lucky enough to have a spare one of those off work). The service had been lovely and it’s a really inviting space. I would head back.