by Mei Leong
Down a rather lonely road in the Swan Valley, past spindly vineyards and unkempt lawns is, I think, the best spot for lunch in the Swan Valley. It’s sophisticated, looks steeply over a picturesque vineyard (which will be beautiful in summer) and has fantastic food with live music… it’s Riverbank Estate.
Surprised by the full carpark and already bustling dining area, we were extremely lucky to find a table for Saturday lunch. Booking ahead reaps a great reward – an outdoor table with a glorious view of the vineyard. Inside the atmosphere buzzes with live Jazz music, and the starched table cloths plus attentive service more than makes up for the cellar door sharing the restaurant space.
Anyway, the food is pretty darn good. I guess I didn’t expect it, being in touristy Swan Valley, you just don’t expect really great, generous food. The dish of slow cooked pork belly was soft, almost melt in the mouth. It’s gelatinous layers and plump scallops were two soft textures which were titillating in the mouth. Plus, there was a welcome addition of super crunchy crackling on the side. Every bit of this dish was greedily mopped up.
Fish of the day dishes at Mod Oz restaurants are usually lame efforts of grilled protein on equally unimaginative vegetables. For this reason alone I usually don’t order fish but I couldn’t escape the waitress’ description – it sounded too good to pass up. Riverbank’s fish was a thick fillet of snapper, with smoked salmon tortellini in a creamy sauce. Presented with painterly patches of spinach and capers, it was as lovely to the eyes as to the taste buds. Stacked on mash, the fish was perfectly cooked, its flaky flesh parting into the capery buerre blanc. And there go my plans for a light lunch.
The mains are around the $40 mark which is heading into the fine dining zone, but considering the atmosphere, view AND great food, this restaurant has almost got it all. Plus the dishes were generously sized, not fine dining hoity-toity portions. And, it’s on the Entertainment Card, so if you have one, book a lunch asap and get that card scratched.
126 Hamersley Rd, Caversham WA 6055
T: (08) 9377 1805
Open 7 days 11.30am – 2.30pm
Cellar door 10am – 5pm
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