A trip to the Swan Valley is always delightful and all the more so as Spring weather really kicks in. The drive down West Swan Road or Great Northern Highway on a Spring day with seemingly endless blue skies and the sun shining down on row after row of grape vines makes it a very special and beautiful part of our fair state. It’s easy to take for granted how fortunate we are to have such a great wine region a relative stone’s throw from the city. Makes for the perfect location for an exciting weekend of touring about.
It had been a while since we’d visited Oakover Grounds, but it’s a very popular Swan Valley destination. This was further highlighted to us when we were shown to our table along the verandah and could see numerous bus loads of happy revellers arriving to celebrate birthdays and hens and work outings. Oakover was part of wine tasting tours and a popular destination for a meal. Our seats provided a birds eye view of all that action along with the perfect view of the lake and the grounds, which now features several outdoor table and chair sets on the grass.
There were some changes to the menu since our last visit and we decided to share a few things to start – Cheese and Chive Croquettes w pesto aioli, tomato relish ($15.0) and Organic crispy Chicken Wings w smoky paprika salt, blue cheese dipping sauce ($16.0), before like a moth to a carb loving flame I was drawn to the Slow roasted Dorset Lamb Ragout 29.5 w winter mushrooms, roasted shallots, pappardelle, crisp parmesan ($29.50) for my main and GG to the Barramundi, herb crumb, potato puree, olive tapenade & broccolini ($33.0). Orders were in!
While waiting for the food to arrive we happily enjoyed a glass of wine. I’d gone the 2015 Clockwork Chardonnay, which was a nice drop, easy drinking. We chatted while we watched happy ducklings follow their mother duck quack quack quack as she cruised around the lake, largely unphased by the kids frolicking on the shore and the bigger kids paddling around on the paddle boats. Let’s just saw folk or fowl, fun was being had on the water.
First to arrive were the croquettes and they looked the goods with their golden brown crumbed outer coating, plated with a dramatic schmear of sauce and delicate smattering of microherbs. They were piping hot and delicious with their creamy cheesy filling. They had just the right amount of herbed up kick from the oniony chives and welcome crunch from the lovely crisped up crumb.
A solid start to our lunch and the good times kept coming with dem chicken wings. A generous bucket appeared with a good amount of punchy blue cheese dipping sauce. And that’s how I like mine, I mean I want to know there’s blue cheese in it. The wings were tasty, well cooked too, nice and juicy inside, although I’d perhaps have welcomed a touch more spice in the seasoning. They were enjoyed and swiftly devoured and it was time for mains.
Now I’ll admit that my ravenous appetite had been considerably dented after delving into the croquettes and wings with considerable gusto and when my main arrived I suspected it would be a mission to get through it all because they had been so generous! Plenty of lovely, slow cooked lamb, wonderful roasted shallots and an abundance of glorious ribbons of fresh pappardelle (which I’m told is sourced locally). It was a delicious dish! Plus to add a bit of crunch into the mix they were also liberal with the Parmesan crisps. It was rich and hearty and very, very filling. I suspect I’d have been best to tackle this without the preceding starters, give my stomach a bit of room to work with, but I had a red hot go at polishing off as much as I could and thoroughly enjoyed what I did eat.
Across the table GG’s Barra disappeared a sight faster. He did comment that potentially given that it already had its lovely herbed crumb that it may not have also needed the olive tapenade, but I’m told the olivey blend did go very nicely on the accompanying greens.
It had been another tasty visit to Oakover. Since their rebrand to Oakover Grounds they are really nailing a polished casual dining experience. Staff are friendly and attentive, the vibe is lively and full of happy chatter and the serving sizes are generous and well priced. As the sunshine becomes more and more abundant I’d definitely recommend booking a table if you are keen on a weekend visit.
Please note: we were the guests of Oakover for our lunch. All opinions are my own.