A sandwich made evil by immersing it into the depths of a deep fryer...
|Lamont's, Swan Valley|
A few weekends ago, a group of us piled into a car and sang our way on a road trip to Swan Valley for the day. The weather was extremely kind to us that weekend and we were blessed with a warm, cloudless sunny day right in the middle of the winter season. This picturesque, vineyard saturated region with rolling hills and green fields is as popular a tourist destination and a weekend getaway visit for locals, even though it is only a 10 minute road trip for a few of my friends who live down the road from this beautiful untouched region.
|Outdoor seating, right off the beaten track|
We arrived at Lamont's location, with no Lamont's in sight. We got over the initial confusion and drove straight into the barren field and followed the dirt track around the bend and met with the restaurant, spread out over an impressively large outdoor area. The seating area with large wooden benches is inviting, spacious and littered with sunlight, shaded by a large patio.
|Alternative outdoor seating|
Next to the patio are several wooden barrel tables shaded with large umbrellas and stools that provide alternative seating options.
In addition to outdoor seating, there is ample indoor seating amongst the cosy and surprisingly homely ambiance of Lamont's. The artwork on the walls, pops of colour from flowers in vases dotted around on tables and various items for sale (even hats and bags) add charming touches to this indoor area with a busy, neatly cluttered feel.
Indoor seating options
We are greeted by a friendly lady from behind the counter who we tell that we are ready to eat everything from their kitchen. Armed with a handful of paper menus (which change frequently) and an army of rumbling stomachs, all of us have undeniably voracious appetites. With a recommendation to order 8 dishes from the 9 items on the menu to share between the 6 of us, we argue over what not to get. Everything, and I mean everything, looks mouthwatering at this stage, even though they are nothing more than words on a page.
What ordering everything on the menu looks like
We make our way back inside the restaurant to place our orders at the counter. The dishes on the 'Small Tastes' menu are designed to be plates to share, which makes it a great opportunity to try absolutely everything on the menu. And I am quite sure this is the first time I have ever walked into a restaurant and was able to say, "I'll have everything on the menu, thanks".
|Hot chocolate; Straight cut chips and rosemary salt - $9.50|
A few drink orders arrive around the table once we start digging into some dishes. The chips are unbelievably crunchy, as suggested by their golden brown colour and straight, crispy edges.
|Duck and cognac parfait, crushed toasted hazelnuts, mandarin oil and crostini - $17.50|
The first item to arrive in record time is the one thing I had the highest anticipation for. Nothing makes me weaker in the knees than a rich, decadent parfait, and sure enough this plate was stationed in front of me and became my own main meal.
One of my pet hates is the lack of bread with parfait in some restaurants, that it almost feels like it is a sneaky tactic to encourage diners to order more servings of bread to have with the parfait. My eyes boggled at the sight of generosity on the plate in front of me; a hefty slab of creamy parfait loaded with a layer of crunchy toasted crushed hazelnuts and an unbelievably large mountain of crostini on the side. The parfait and crostini is served with a light drizzle of mandarin oil which I am grateful for - it is certainly easier to have the already-rich parfait with fresh, crisp bread that is not saturated with oil or butter. Explains how I demolish half of the block of parfait. Alone.
|Pork and peppercorn rillettes, roast pears, Malbec syrup and crostini - $16.50|
The next dish is a similar looking dish to the parfait, in terms of the same pile of crostini served with the main component of the dish. The pork and peppercorn rillettes are a favourite amongst a few of us - it has the look of shredded tuna with a creamy, soft consistency.
Adding more to the flavour of the melt-in-the-mouth tenderness of the pork is the malbec syrup and the three delicate roasted portions of pear balanced on top of the rillettes, providing a complementary light sweetness to counteract the otherwise fatty, heavy feeling from eating the dish after a while.
|Potato croquettes, smoked salmon and horseradish creme fraiche - $20.50|
The potato croquettes and smoked salmon is a more guilty version of your usual Tom, Dick and Harry breakfast dish of hash browns with an extra side of smoked salmon. The potato croquettes have a golden crispy exterior and a thick, fluffy filling. The element that made the dish pop for me was that horseradish creme fraiche; its lightly savoury flavour tying all the other components of the dish together.
|Beetroot, rocket, crisp pancetta, marinated feta and raspberry vinegar - $16.50|
The beetroot and rocket salad was initially the underdog dish which was wildly unpopular amongst everyone on our table except one. She ultimately gained the bragging rights to making the great decision to push through with her choice which we were all grateful for, after being defeated by the rich, creamy and many deep fried components on every single other dish. The rocket and raspberry vinegar dressing was a refreshing saviour with its acidity to cut through the satiated feeling. The long, paper-thin strips of pancetta were crisp and so brittle they cracked apart easily, providing a different texture to the softness of the beetroot and marinated feta. The earthy taste of beetroot is not something I usually fancy, but in this instance was a good pairing with the rest of the dish with its raw and fresh flavour.
|Deep fried sandwich, shaved ham, mozzarella and anchovy butter - $14.50|
There was quite the hype for the next dish, which created a lot of commotion when someone first spotted it when scanning the menu. The equally as heart-stopping as it is heart-racing deep fried sandwich is a combination of the classic ham and cheese sandwich made evil by immersing it into the depths of a deep fryer. We really can (and do) deep fry anything these days!
|You dangerously beautiful thing, you.|
The crunchy golden crust on the sandwich encased two slices of bread, already cut into sections with anchovy butter and melted mozzarella oozing out from its centre. The crunchiness, the creaminess, the 'meltiness' of the cheese; it's a sinful treat that tugs at your heartstrings with its guilty pleasure.
|Duck and orange arancini and orange syrup - $18.50|
Carrying on with the deep fried theme of the day comes the duck and orange arancini and orange syrup. Similar to the sandwich, the outer crumb is a thin, crisp layer that conceals a hot, molten heart of creamy, cheesy rice and thin shreds of duck.
Grilled "Butterfield's" scotch fillet, hot onion jam tartlet and aioli - $22.50
We all reach eagerly for the next dish - a grilled and sliced scotch fillet on aioli alongside a hot onion jam tartlet. Whilst the beef is soft, tender and cooked to perfection as we had all expected of it, the onion jam tart is a small pie with pastry that was a little dry. In terms of flavour however, this dish was a winning combination for me.
|Coq au Vin pie and pumpkin cream - $18.50|
The last dish to arrive after a long while was the coq au vin pie, a colourful, vibrant plate that is reminiscent of fresh, warm wintery flavours edging onto spring.
Dill, red onion and parsley adorn the crown of the small pie, housing a filling of wine-braised chicken with a strong, nearly musky flavour. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the moat of pumpkin cream that surrounds the pie is what keeps the dish close to me - spoon after spoon is light, buttery and moreish.
|A beautiful picture on the wall that could easily double as a window to the similar views in the Swan Valley region|
|We made a new loyal friend that sun-baked at our feet during our entire meal, who followed us around from when we first stepped out of the car|
Lamont's, Swan Valley
Thursday - Sunday: 10am - 5pm
Tel: (08) 9296 4485
85 Bisdee Road, Millendon WA 6056
The Feral Brewing Company
Considering the myriad of wineries and breweries in the Swan Valley area, a full day of destination-hopping and sightseeing is essential to experience all that this region has to offer. After brunch, we wander aimlessly up and down the different roads without a plan and pull over to whatever catches our eye. After a few inevitable touristy photos, we pull into the Feral Brewing Company for some beer guzzling.
|Feral Brewing Company|
This family-owned handcrafted microbrewery and restaurant in one incorporates a large restaurant with shaded outdoor seating and a large beer garden setting, making it a perfect backdrop to enjoy a few beers.
|Seating areas with picture perfect views|
|The backyard of The Feral Brewing Company|
|Beer Tasting Tray - $16.50|
There are six miniature glasses holding the variety of Feral Brewery beers, which regularly change between their different brews. The glasses are lined on a wooden tray and are numbered for easy distinguishing between the beers. On this particular day, the sample of beers (L-R) is the Feral White, Sly Fox, Hop Hog, Kelisaison, Smoked Porter and the Land of Plenty.
The range of beers range from light, citrusy, spicy flavours to strong, smoky tastes with a bitter after taste. We taste and sip, passing the six different beer parcels around the table and share them around like tapas dishes. Whilst I really don't know how to appreciate the strength and flavour of the after taste of some of the beers, what I do appreciate is having such a wide choice of renowned food and drink right in our own backyard.
|The Feral Brewing Company, Swan Valley|
Sunday - Thursday: 11am to 5pm
Friday - Saturday: 11am to late
Tel: (08)9296 4657
152 Haddrill Road, Baskerville WA 6056