It was pretty much a love at first sight situation when GG and I lunched at The Shorehouse recently. Granted Mother Nature really turned it on with sunshine galore and blue skies as far as the eye could see, but it was when we were shown to our table and I had a glass of prosecco in hand that I began to fully realise what a wonderfully special spot this was.
BEAUTIFUL SETTING // SUPERB DINING // CASUAL SERVICE
Overlooking Swanbourne beach, The Shorehouse is a beautiful destination to sit and watch the world go by. With a commitment to sourcing the very best our State can offer, Head Chef Oliver Gould’s Modern Australian menu is a mouth-watering combination of Mediterranean influenced food and seasonal produce; perfect for a fresh and healthy breakfast, a long lunch on the deck or dinner with friends. An extensive selection of wines, beers and cocktails complements the menu with casual, attentive service.
Team Taylor which is behind venues such as The Trustee, Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting and Beaufort Local (previously Beaufort St Merchant) really does have a new jewel in the crown with this stunning restaurant. The fit out is light and bright and so open. Yellow, striped umbrellas line the alfresco section and provide a real pop of colour. Inside there is a welcome spacing between tables, so even when the place is at capacity (which is basically always, it’s very popular) you can still speak to your dining companion at a normal volume. The novelty of screaming a conversation across a table has definitely passed and is not something you need to worry about at the Shorehouse. Visually, it’s exceptionally well put together.
And then there is the menu. It’s a real looker. Split into several helpful sections with four to five choices in each, there are enough choices to keep everyone happy and for me the real challenge was deciding what to have because there were so many things I wanted to try!
Our menu has been especially designed to suit our long summer days and balmy nights. Always local, always seasonal and always delicious.
Thankfully I know someone from The Shorehouse team and they were able to provide helpful guidance as to how we should order. Also with GG it’s a sharing is caring approach when we dine, which means we do get to try a few more dishes between us. So we ordered:
Bread & Butter 3.5
Served natural with house dressings 4.5 each / 48 doz
Yellow fin tuna, foie gras mousse, hazelnut vinaigrette 17.5
Heirloom tomatoes, sugar cured kingfish, watermelon, basil 24.5
Beef carpaccio, pickled mushrooms, capers, horseradish cream, croutons 23.5
Green asparagus, zucchini and pea risotto, lemon mascarpone, reggiano 25.5/35.5
Blue swimmer crab and prawn linguine, garlic, chilli, tomato, pangrattato 27.5/37.5
Slow cooked pork belly, sweet and sour shallots, peach, mustard seeds
Rosemary pannacotta, passionfruit sorbet, coconut crumble 16
Now oysters used to really freak me out. Couldn’t bring myself to even try one. Then one day I must have decided it was time to grow up and gave one of the salty little goobers a go and it actually wasn’t bad. As long as they are super fresh and super cold then I’m super on board. Plus the added bonus with these ones was the selection of three sauces they were served with, so you could decide how many drops of which sauce took your fancy. Just look at the cute little droppers! I went with the apple cider vinaigrette for mine, which had a real zesty kick so was just the right choice for this relative oyster rookie.
Next up was a serve of the bread and butter. The bread was freshly baked, still slightly warm and ooooo that butter! So creamy and they gave you such an indulgent dollop! And it was sprinkled with salt, which is GG’s favourite way to butter, mine too actually. It disappeared in a blur of sliced bread and slathered butter, so we could turn our attention to both the tuna and carpaccio courses. We really had embraced all things raw with our starters and it seemed like the perfect choice for Summer and kept things light and refreshing.
I’m a long time carpaccio fan and having slightly forgotten the menu description beyond beef, I initially thought the presentation was slightly on the simpler side. But it was when you dug a little deeper and revealed the magic of many mushrooms, salty capers, a strategic smear of horseradish and a few crunchy croutons you could more fully appreciate what a well-rounded dish this was. Textural contrasts, interesting flavour profile and beef that melted in your mouth. It’s a huge winner and if you haven’t tried carpaccio before then pop it on the list for 2016.
Now I’d heard someone I know sing the praises for this next plate and visually it did look very appetising. Elegant slices of fresh tuna, liberally sprinkled with toasted hazelnut pieces, vibrant green spring onion and drizzled with oil, along with dainty swirls of fois gras mousse. With a little of all those ingredients carefully balanced on a fork it made for an entirely magical mouthful, the flavours were so vibrant. I really enjoyed the addition of the hazelnut. In my youth I would never have thought I would be a fan of fish, let alone raw fish dishes, but now I can’t get enough!
Another raw fish dish we had opted for was the sugar cured king fish. I’m probably more familiar with eating kingfish raw in delicate thin slices, but in this dish they were cubed. It was actually a really interesting combination of ingredients, it had a real freshness, with the subtle sweetness from the watermelon and all those colourful tomatoes and the herbaceous kick from the basil. I enjoyed it, but of the two fish dishes, I preferred the tuna, I think those crunchy hazelnuts got it across the line.
The next arrival was the pork belly and I’ll admit that we were a spoilt pair on this front and this dish (actually along with the oysters and the bread) were gifted to us my somebody I know in the kitchen – my thanks to them. I do enjoy pork belly, but sometimes the meat to fat ratio is slanted more towards the latter and that is generally fine when it has been lovingly rendered, but this was more on the meaty side and with all the quality time spent in the Josper oven it was just ten hundred shades of tender. And I loved the crunch from the pint sized mustard seeds and the crunchy pieces of crackling and then there was a pleasant sweetness from the nectarine. Loved that some seasonal stone fruits were in the mix! It was a a beautiful pork belly dish.
After a brief interlude it was tick tock pasta o’clock!
Post Tuscany, GG is definitely more on board with a good pasta dish and a linguine with crab (and prawns on this outing) was too hard to resist. The pasta had been well cooked to a pleasing al dente finish and they were very generous on the seafood front. Plenty of sucluent crab pieces and plump prawns throughout. There was some mild heat from the chilli and an interesting texture from the addition of the pangrattato, which is a type of bread crumb. This style and flavouring of pasta dish is proving to be one of my favourites.
Can’t say we as a couple too often opt for a vegetarian main, but the risotto sounded lovely and because we were keen to share two dishes from the Bighouse offering we mixed things up and went with this. For a risotto it actually managed to be on the lighter side, potentially from all the lovely green vegetables interspersed throughout. In season asparagus is a wonderful thing. So crisp and delicious. It was a nice dish, with an abundance of shaved reggiano on top and I’m always going to be the more the merrier on that front.
Ahh dessert, was there room? Probably not. Did I really need you? It’s debatable. Did I want you? Every day of the week. So after narrowing it down to two I ordered the pannacotta. It was just Summer in a glass! The lush tropical flavours of the passionfruit sorbet were a chilled and refreshing contrast to the creamy pannacotta with its intense fusion of rosemary. I haven’t had too many rosemary inspired desserts and it is clearly a herb with a lot of potential and versatility. The coconut crumble added some great crunch and size wise there was just enough for the two of us to collectively polish it off.
As far as debut visits to a highly anticipated newbie, this outing had far exceeded the lofty expectations I had imagined in my head! I felt like applauding everyone from the talented kitchen team to the charming floor staff to the Team Taylor for the brilliant venue they’ve created. I know I’ll be back soon. I may not be one for swimming at the beach, but as it turns out I love to lunch nearby.