After a lovely scenic drive through lush greenery, vineyards galore and the occasional threat of rain, we were hungry and desperately needed to make a decision on where to eat lunch. I think I will forever find this decision difficult, partly because I’m indecisive but also because I live in an incredible part of the world full of so much deliciousness which I wholeheartedly intend on eating my way through, more than once.
We eventually agreed on Wills Domain, set on a picturesque backdrop of rolling hills and vineyard, this relaxed but fine dining restaurant was the perfect place to settle in for a couple of hours of indulgence. After the obligatory wine tasting was complete and tummies were rumbling we were keen to get the food started. We decided to just go with the a la carte menu but with the enticing offer of 5 and 7 course menus, I’ll just have to go back!
To start we shared the incredibly sculptural looking potato skins with squid ink and prawn mousse as well as the cured hiramasa kingfish with mushroom, cucumber and roe. The potato skins were one of those intriguing and slightly strange dishes that suddenly become super moorish the more you eat them. It was like a work of art and a great value ‘snack’ to get us started.
You know you’re in good hands when you order an entrée to share and it arrives at the table split onto two plates both beautifully presented. Lately I’ve become addicted to cured fish and this just added fuel to that addiction. Each bite was like going to heaven with those pops of salty roe bursting in my mouth.
For main I ordered the braised and roasted Wagin duck with turnip and plum. The braised duck came in crispy brick pastry which melted in your mouth and the roasted duck, hiding under thinly sliced turnip and plum sauce, was succulent and tasty. The addition of the black pudding added something different to the dish which I wasn’t initially sure about but amongst a little bit of everything added a depth of flavour. This was an absolute joy to eat, a knockout dish.
My lunch date had the steamed snapper with calamari, kelp congee and brothy goodness. This was so pretty on the plate, looking delicate and nourishing at the same time. Perfectly cooked fish and another well constructed, well thought out dish with all the flavours coming together to enhance the overall experience.
After a couple of very enjoyable glasses of Chardonnay (we tried the current release Cuvee d’Elevage Chardonnay and their 2009 Chardonnay) and not yet ready for our lunch to come to an end, we both ordered dessert. Before dessert we were presented with a lovely palate cleanser (from memory I believe it was cucumber granita and goats cheese) which I think is such a nice touch and adds that little something extra.
The first dessert came out with a touch of theatre, some dry ice adding mystery to what was hidden underneath. A light but creamy dessert of lychee, mango, aloe vera and coconut that left you wanting it to never end. This was the ultimate summer taste sensation.
The second dessert was another feast for the senses, another intriguing, sculptural, work of art. They totally nailed the ‘wow’ factor with these desserts. Fresh figs, white chocolate cremeux, honey snow and raspberry, put together in a completely unique way. I’m not sure if this dessert entirely tasted as good as it looked but it was such an interesting plate of food that I enjoyed every mouthful and the discovery that went along with it.
Wow, I was incredibly impressed by the standard of food and service at Wills Domain. The food wasn’t just tricked up and pretty to look at, it was considered, well thought out plating with flavour and texture combinations that just worked. Modern Australian food that is interesting, playful, mouthwateringly good and that starts conversations will always have me coming back for more. Put it on your list if you haven’t been, you won’t regret it.