So after a relaxing afternoon chillaxing in our home away from home, a lovely one bedroom apartment at Smith’s Beach Resort, evening fell and it was time to venture out for what was to be the official meal to celebrate GG’s birthday. Granted we were doing so on the Friday and his birthday was actually on the Monday but that was ok.
Our chosen destination of Studio Bistro was thankfully very close to where we were staying.
“The Studio Bistro is part of a new arts venue in Yallingup with a gallery presenting leading Australian artists and studio crafts and a stylish new bistro offering continental cuisine in an innovative and refreshing style.
The bistro is set in a beautiful garden adjacent to the National Park and offers a vibrant atmosphere indoors and al fresco dining outdoors in the shade of the deck or on the terrace.
The team is lead by Executive Chef Blair Allen who has recently joined us from Voyager Estate after many years experience in restaurants around the region.”
It was around 6.30pm when we arrived so still a bit of light to guide our way. It’s quite a modern looking building and set amongst some lovely landscaped gardens. We were sitting inside on this visit, which I was not disappointed about given there was a slight chill in the air. There weren’t too many people there when we first arrived but clearly the reputation of this establishment is well known and it was full to the brim by the time we left.
We opted for the degustation menu ($125 with wine, $90 without). Seems to be a bit of a birthday tradition for GG and I to enjoy a tasting menu. I like it. Gives you a good couple of hours to enjoy each other’s company over what generally tends to be some pretty special dishes.
On this evening, given that taxis are a little harder to get in the South West I decided I wouldn’t match wines and would leave that to the birthday boy. On the food front we started with a very tasty Amuse Bouche – a large tiger prawn, wrapped in prosciutto, on a bed of corn and stone fruit salsa with a dramatic sprinkling of microherbs. The plump prawn was a great introduction to the kitchen’s talents and had us eagerly anticipating the next course.
A very generous serve of bread then arrived. It was so good! Just wonderfully fresh. But I was concerned about finishing the rest of the courses if I ate too much so I tried to restrain myself as much as I could. It was tough though given how nice it was. The accompanying butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar also made not reaching for another slice tricky business!
A further salute to seafood arrived next with the Trio of Tasmanian Salmon: Smoked Gribiche, Gin cured, lime and tonic jelly and rillettes toast. I’m not sure why but I started with the rillettes. Definitely not a fan. It had quite an intensely fishy flavour that wasn’t my cup of tea. GG didn’t mind it and thought the flavours actually balanced well when you had some of the toast and the citrusy white powder. I much preferred the two other variations included on the plate. Much more delicate flavours.
They definitely had me back on side with the next course though – Slow cooked free range pork belly, cauliflower cream, pickled grapes, radish and jamon crumbs. It was incredibly delicious pork and it was so well matched with the decadent creaminess from the cauli. I also thought the pickled grapes in the dish were a tasty inclusion that also tied in well with the region, where there are abundant grapevines.
Baldivis rabbit rillette, pickled rhubarb, almond milk and sour dough. I saw rillettes in the description of the next dish and I’ll admit I was a little wary after my experience with the salmon rillette. I need not have momentarily stressed though. I really enjoyed the little jar of rabbit that arrived. It had plenty of flavour and the combination of some of the shredded rabbit, along with the crunch and zesty zap from the pickled rhubarb on top of some of the sourdough with a smear of almond milk – it was a winner!
Before our final savoury dish, a palate cleanser arrived.
A refreshing citrus infusion has us feeling suitably cleansed and ready for the Sous vide duck breast, duck leg croquette, chocroute and fig compote. This was a well presented dish and great to be able to enjoy duck two ways – the tender breast pieces and also the rich flavours from the duck leg in the crispy croquette. I thoroughly enjoyed the duck in this dish and the sweetness from the fig compote was a pleasant accompaniment. I did find the accompanying vegetables, which was a mix of cabbages was at times slightly overpowering. I think it was maybe pickled, was just a bit too strong for me.
For dessert we could choose between either cheese or something sweet and we both ended up ordering the Cinnamon poached pear, pecan brittle, maple syrup cake, zabaglione parfait. It was a very well presented plate that arrived – a generous slice of the zabaglione parfait, along with a piece of the cinnamon poached pear, which supported some carefully balanced shards of pecan brittle. And it tasted as good as it looked! I particularly enjoyed the indulgent creamy parfait. Yum!
And with the last spoonful of pear we concluded our first visit to Studio Bistro. It had been lovely. Staff had been attentive and were very friendly. The venue itself was beautiful, an enchanting balance of natural elements as you looked out the window to the gardens and also some stunning art work adorning the walls. The menu had been interesting and all the dishes thoughtfully plated. It definitely ticked the box for a special occasion venue when you are visiting the South West.
Happy Birthday GG :)