Cafes, Restaurants and Dining in Perth, Western Australia.

Darlington Estate Winery

1495 Nelson Rd, Darlington
Ph: (08) 9299 6268
www.darlingtonestate.com.au

Gem in the Hills

Only a short drive from Perth, nestled amongst trees with views over the estate vines lies this hidden gem. Described as ‘Perth’s worst kept secret’,  Darlington Estate’s restaurant has great charm and character with plenty of outdoor seating – perfect for long lazy afternoons. It’s owned and run by  Andy and Michelle Osborne along with their 3 young sons, who live on the estate and treat diners as guests to their home. Andy  and his highly efficient and friendly team offer informal dining with top class food and service.

Not only is the venue picturesque but the food we ate was divine! We started on our eating journey with ‘Warm garlic marinated olives, grilled chorizo, Danish feta and poppy seed lavosh’ paired with the estates own 2009 Late Harvest Chenin. Sitting in the afternoon sun amongst the trees nibbling and sipping we felt at great ease, the tasting plate and wine were a perfect combination.

Our waitress Ashley then bought over a palate cleanser of ‘Kiwi and rhubarb sorbet with a shot of sparkling Pinot Chardonnay’, I poured some of the bubbles over the sorbet and took a mouthful, it was like having popping candy in my mouth! The sorbet flavours were well balanced and not too sweet whilst the bubbles made it something extra special.

‘Barramundi on a potato and sage gratin with oven roasted grape tomatoes, asparagus and a spinach puree’ was served with their award winning 2009 Unwooded Chardonnay.

Now to one of the restaurants best sellers ‘Beef eye fillet with butternut pumpkin mash, garlic mushrooms, sautéed spinach and thyme jus’. This dish was a winner, the steak was melt in the mouth and was truly classic with the mash and mushrooms both perfectly cooked and seasoned. The jus was thick and seriously tasty and accompanied by the Estate’s 2008 Shiraz made for a perfect combination.

Time for dessert and before I begin I have to tell you these were two of the best desserts I have had in a very long time. ‘Raspberry and custard tart with crème Chantilly and strawberry syrup’. The crunchy, sweet pastry holds a vat of home made raspberry jam, topped with thick, thick custard and cream.  Sweet, tart, crunchy, creamy, I have to stop, it was just marvelous!

As if one dessert wasn’t enough!  The second was ‘Black cherry and dark chocolate parfait with raspberries and praline’. Beautiful in the plate and heaven in the mouth, the parfait sat on a piece of chocolate brownie with macerated cherries and dips of the caramel scattered on the plate. It was rich and delicious and made even more perfect with a glass of their 2009 Rosé; made with Merlot grapes it is more robust than most rosés but complimented the dessert.

There really is something for everyone, in fact I wanted to try every single dish on the menu so I think I will be returning a few times to work my way through! Andy and Michelle have managed to create a lovely venue featuring brilliant food. I would suggest booking your table in advance and gathering together your friends, being sure to give yourself lots of time so you can really soak up the atmosphere and eat your way through the menu. Dine outside in summer overlooking the bush and the vines, or inside in winter in the glass dining room. The best time to truly appreciate what Darlington has to offer is during the week, as you don’t have to deal with the crowds that often flock there over the weekend. It’s a more intimate experience, and the perfect way to enjoy a little mid-week downtime.

Expect to pay from $15 for entrees, about $35 for mains and $14 for dessert. Try the estates wines or enjoy other drinks from the fully licensed bar. Cellar door is in the spacious bar area. Darlington Estate was a real pleasure to visit and I shall be returning very soon!

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By Chef Sophie Budd

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