The first impression of Leeuwin Estate's famous restaurant is one of absolute beauty. Aesthetically it's a delight. It's contemporary, elegant and classy, without being over the top or too posh. Comfortable, practical chairs which come in a variety of colours (all different hues but matching saturation and lightness mind you) and thick, polished wooden tables decorate the main dining room with a smattering of superb glassware and floral arrangements.
Like all the best winery restaurants Leeuwin takes full advantage of its rural setting. With outdoor balcony seating under a cover of vines, and floor to ceiling windows providing ideal visual stimulation of the surrounding environment, Leeuwin does a fantastic job of reflecting where it is; one of the most beautiful locations in Australia. In front of the restaurant is a large grassed area the size of a football field, which is surrounded by a wall of very large trees. It creates a natural amphitheatre effect which is wonderfully attractive.
The food pricing isn't shy mind you. $49 for a steak makes it significantly more expensive than any other winery restaurant I've been too, except maybe Penfolds Magill Estate.
Service throughout the day was excellent. The waitresses knew their stuff and were well presented, friendly and attentive without being interfering.
Unsurprisingly the wine list was essentially Leeuwin. All Leeuwin's current vintage wines were available by the glass, even the Art Series Chardonnay for $18. There were plenty of back vintage wines available for diners in search of more mature wines, but personally, I couldn't go past a couple of glasses of the house specialty.
As a bonus, Margaret River rainwater was served free of charge. The waitress informed us it was excellent rainwater, some of the finest in Australia. Now I'm no expert on water, but it did seem nice and clear, and certainly priced accordingly.
After ordering our food the waitress asked us if we'd like some fresh bread, which she assured us had just been baked. Now we've been to a lot of similar restaurants where fresh bread comes complementary, and as it had just been baked we ordered some. Funnily enough it showed up on the bill. At least it was very tasty. The bread was fresh, exceptionally fresh, and warm. It possessed a wonderfully soft, fluffy texture which made quite a pleasant start to the meal (admittedly at that point we thought it was free!).
As sides to our food we ordered french fries with a citrus aioli, which was honestly a tad too citric, as well as a roast pumpkin dish. Like the fries, the pumpkin was nothing special. It was by no means offensive, but it was a bit simple and pretty much the type of dish anyone could put together at home.
continued next post....