Sandalford – first visit for 2013

Consistency is a wonderful thing. And I suspect this is why Sandalford winery has long been one of my favourites in the Swan Valley. Granted that it perhaps cemented itself as a favourite all the more last year when GG and I had our reception there and they did such a stellar job, but whenever we’ve been along for lunch or dinner it’s also been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. My work actually had their Christmas function there last year too, so there was plenty of excuses to visit.

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It’s not as though I really needed an excuse to head back but my sister kindly gave me a voucher to use at Sandalford for my birthday so I knew a visit was on the horizon 🙂 We had a Sunday earlier in January when such an opportunity presented, they had a table spare for us, and off we headed. Perhaps it wasn’t quite the blue sky day I had envisaged, but even a little overcast it is a beautiful venue, particularly given that the vines were all so lush with greenery.

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We were shown to our table and were one of the first to arrive that day, but as we sat there the place gradually filled to the brim.

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Feeling a little bit celebratory, perhaps given that New Years had not long passed, we started with a glass of Sandalford Sparkling, a lovely drop. From there it was the tough decision of what to have??

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I think as soon as I saw the Salt and Pepper Pork, Swimmer Crab Salad, Cashew, Pineapple Nam Jim ($22) I knew that it is what I wanted. Apparently it had also taken GG’s fancy and while I insisted it really wouldn’t be the end of the world if we ordered the same dish, he decided instead to go with the prawn option – Barbequed Tiger Prawns, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Parsley Coleslaw.

It was apparent that I had “won” the entrée round as I could see GG oogling the carefully arranged pile of pork and crab, along with lychees, tomatoes and coriander. It was visually beautiful and a wonderful array of delicate flavours. It was perfection on a plate.

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Across the table, GG’s entree did also look delicious, the big charred prawns and the dainty carrots strips in the salad, but it didn’t quite have the wow factor that mine did. We split them both though, so he did get to enjoy the magic of mine.

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I decided to continue with an Asian flavour to my selections and for mains went with the Thai Red Duck Curry, Wild Rice, Lime Cheek, Crispy Poached Egg ($40). It presented beautifully, they know how to plate up at Sandalford! And again, the flavour – so yum! The lovely creamy curry sauce matched so well with the melt in your mouth duck (and a very generous serving of duck too!). The added indulgence of the runny poached egg – oo la la, very creative! I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and thought the wild rice added both a dramatic splash of black to the plate and also added a nice textural element.

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Across the table I have to say that GG’s mains looked delicious too! My steaking loving man had ordered the Black Angus Beef Fillet, Beef Cheek and Potato Pithivier, Watercress, Gremolata Butter ($45). The meat was perfectly pink and just looked divine!

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From all accounts GG thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The fillet was said to be delicious, while the beef cheek hidden within the pithivier was slow cooked and incredibly soft and tasty. I did score a bite of GG’s selection and I can vouch for the tastiness.

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After two courses we were both feeling pretty comfortable and debated whether to share a dessert or partake in some fromage. Cheese won out and given we were keen to extend our lunchin adventure we threw caution to the wind and order All four cheese served with Fruit Bread, Lavosh, Quince Paste, Muscatels ($54 all four). The cheese included on the plate were Papillion Roquefort (France), Healy’s Pyengana Cheddar (Tasmania), L’Artisian Mountain Man (Victoria) and La Buche D’Affinois (France).

It was an impressive platter! Plenty of crackers too! No need to stress about your cheese to cracker ratio 🙂 It was four great pieces of cheese but as for my favourite….. I’d say it was a tie between the indulgently creamy goodness of the La Buche D’Affinois and the creamy salty deliciousness of the Roquefort. It was a pleasant way to round out such a lovely visit, chatting over cheese.

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Service had been friendly and polished and I think that is part of what I like most about lunching at Sandalford. It is polished. Beautiful location, great service, fine wines and seriously delicious food!

Thanks Sandalford – can’t wait to visit again some time soon 🙂

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