I love food and I love it when people who love food run a cafe or restaurant inspired by that love and passion for food. So when I’m visiting my family in Dardanup (just out of Bunbury) and wanting to go out for lunch, The Berry Delightful in Donnybrook is always top of my list. We have gotten to know Marc and Sarah over the years and can never go past their amazing food, warm hospitality and stunning gardens.
The gardens are beautiful all year round, I love sitting out on the balcony in summer soaking up the rays, but Autumn is particularly spectacular with those warm orange and red tones, crispness in the air and blue sunny skies. It was a little chilly when we were there for lunch so with the fire cranking we decided to sit inside where it was nice and warm. As soon as I arrive at The Berry Delightful I instantly feel at home with the rustic, quirky restaurant, full of personal touches, and the warm, friendly service. We decide to order a couple of pizzas and a gnocchi to share and we know we need to leave room for cake, this is a place where you cannot miss the cake.
The first pizza to come out is the smoked chicken. Now this isn’t any old smoked chicken pizza, the chicken is smoked with the wood from their pecan trees and the pizza is made the old fashioned way on a provolone blanco base (sour cream) with sweet red onions, bocconcini and a strawberry dressing. If you’re wondering about the strawberry dressing, so were we, but this is a savoury, home made sauce that is beautifully balanced, tasty and complimented the other flavours perfectly. The chicken was so good, almost a bit like bacon, thinly sliced and with a lovely smokey flavour. When this hit the table it looked and smelled so yummy we tucked in right away forgetting to take a photo, my fellow diners weren’t overly happy when I wanted them to put the pieces back but I think they forgave me.
Our next pizza was the smoked salmon, strips of Tasmanian smoked salmon on a provolone blanco base with dill, red onions, capers and bocconcini. This was also really tasty and well balanced, with flavours that just work. The pizzas are wood fired with bases that are thin, crispy and delicious making the pizzas incredibly moorish and some of the best I’ve ever had.
Last but certainly not least was the spinach and ricotta gnocchi with slow roasted cherry tomatoes and salad. Now I had eaten this before and was looking forward to it and it did not disappoint the second time round. This is not your normal, heavy, sauce rich gnocchi that you often find in restaurants, this is light, fluffy, larger style gnocchi. Instead of being covered in sauce it comes with sweet, juicy roasted tomatoes, pesto and a drizzle of olive oil, which is all this heavenly gnocchi needs. Paired with a vibrant, fresh, from the garden salad and Israeli couscous, this is a dish you don’t want to end. Homestyle cooking with flavour and taste top of mind.
We were getting pretty full by this stage but cake had to be done, we decided to order and share, The Berry Delightful Gateau with layers of roasted pecan meringue, berries and a fromage and the Torte Caprese with ground roasted pecans and dark Belgian chocolate served with raspberry coulis and cream. I’m not always someone who goes for cake but having had the cake here a few times I knew it was good. They have not only perfected the cakes they make but they are always thinking of ways to make them even better.
The Berry Delightful Gateau is a real delight, a fresh, light cake with berries being the star and some added decadence from the roasted pecan meringue. I love this cake although the one I keep going back for is the Torte Caprese. This cake has loads of flavour and different textures, from the roasted pecans, the rich dark chocolate that’s a bit sticky and chewy around the edges and topped off with cream and bit of syrup. This is a real stand out for me and right up there with one of my favourite cakes. Absolutely divine.
Plates pretty much licked clean, full belly’s and happily satisfied it’s time to say our goodbyes and head home. I really take my hat off to Marc and Sarah for this little piece of paradise they have nurtured and developed. I know it must be tough sometimes running a small establishment pretty much on your own but they do such an amazing job. Their food is all about fresh, seasonal produce, a lot of it coming from their own garden, and is some of the best cooking going around. There’s plenty of well run, great food places out there these days (and I love going to them) but I believe the real difference in the food at Berry Delightful is the love, it shines through in every way.
If you love good, honest food, do yourself a favour and make the trip, go and soak up the country air and fill up your belly (and heart). As they are a small, family run establishment make sure you check their Facebook page for opening times to avoid disappointment and go and give them your support. It’s not far out of Bunbury or Busselton and it’s a pretty country drive that will certainly be worth the effort.