A Secret Playground
HOPSSCOTCH on Brookton Highway near Roleystone, caught us by surprise. We were expecting a little café, not a hideaway in the hills nestled in a large sprawling garden, including a playground for kids.
We were blown away by the creatively designed, beautifully planted shady gardens with nooks and crannies to explore, and amazing metal sculptures made by local artists. With both indoor and outdoor seating areas, families and other groups were dotted around, many in their own secluded spot. It was delightful.
Chris was the perfect host, friendly and informative. He and his brother John took over this established tearooms and nursery in 2013, converting the house to a restaurant and alfresco area.
The name is derived from Hops (beer) and Scotch. Plus hopscotch is a fun thing for kids. One day they hope to have a craft brewery, but meanwhile are offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. I must mention that their huge scones with homemade jam are to die for, so definitely come for tea. The cakes are all house made too.
Local is the word for the wines, beers, ciders, produce, even the staff. Chris and John focus on promoting the Armadale Hills area. Their motto is “Gather, Relax, Explore”.
The potato and leek rosti topped with Tasmanian smoked salmon and chive sour cream was large and nicely browned with a generous serve of salmon and a good dollop of sour cream. The combination of flavours was perfect: crunchy pancake, salty salmon and smooth cream.
Avocado bruschetta with diced avocado and tomato, red onion, feta and pesto served on buttery slices of ciabatta: I enjoyed the crunch of the toast, the tangy onion and velvety avocado; a version I have not tried, but will again.
Crispy skin pork belly cubes were a winner with the men at the table. Crispy was the word, and the meat was as tender as cutting butter. They were served on pea puree, sweet and so green, with a cloudy cider braised apple mousse, and matched very well with the 2013 Myatt’s Field Verdelho (Carmel,WA), which brought out the tartness of the apple mousse and was a good contrast to the sweetness of the pork. We also tried this dish with the Naked Apple cider which blended in with all the flavours very well.
Peri peri marinated rib eye steak with Serrano ham wrapped grilled asparagus, onion jam and cheesy potato stacks: this huge steak, cooked on the bone, would melt any man’s heart. Very meaty, the caramelised outer surface gave a rich, mild spice and the 2014 Myatt’s Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier (Carmel, WA) brought out the chilli nicely. The asparagus was crunchy and the potato stacks delightful with their sharp cheesy topping. A fulfilling dish, found on the dinner menu.
Chef Sebastian was a charming man with an obvious passion for cooking. His German mother taught him to love slow cooked meats with rich sauces. After working in some well known restaurants in Perth he brings his experience to HopsScotch. His menu changes monthly and he welcomes people of all ages, including winter crowds.
If you want to explore the Armadale Hills there are many attractions nearby, including bushwalking trails, golf, wineries, pubs, galleries, breweries, day spa retreats and cideries. If you want to have a more formal dinner and stay the night, there are places nearby to stay.
HopsScotch is available for teas, meals, functions and boutique weddings, and is open Wed/Thur 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 8am-9pm, and Sunday 8am-7pm with live music.
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