It was a hot summer day in the Christmas holidays, and a day of little agenda when we could do as we wish, go where we fancied. Bliss.
We drove to Bunker Bay for a walk on the beach before our thoughts turned towards food, lunch specifically, and Margaret River with its lovely wine estates and restaurants that always offer such a wonderful array of local gourmet produce.
Where should we go? Voyager, Vasse Felix, Leeuwin, Cullen, Aravina? Names of some of the top Margaret River Wineries dripped fast and furious, until we both looked up and said: “Watershed. That’s where we’ll go.”
Just south of Margaret River on the Bussel Highway you’ll find this modern contemporary winery at the end of a winding driveway that’s bordered by lavender and acres of vineyards, like an ocean as far as the eye can see.
Sitting in the open, light, airy restaurant with its floor length windows and wraparound balcony you can be forgiven for thinking that you’re on a ship sailing amongst a sea of vines.
The word ‘Watershed’ means to go to a new or higher level of understanding, an awakening of sorts.
And at Watershed you might be inspired by new gourmet awakenings, such as tasting truffles, perhaps, which are harvested in Manjimup. The Oak Valley Truffle Project has 75 hectares planted to Oak and Hazel trees, and in truffle season from June to August you can expect several truffle dishes featured on the Watershed menu.
As we ordered our meals we had a lovely but unexpected visit from Dan, the new chef. We’d previously met him and tasted his innovative cooking at Silkwood Winery in Pemberton, so it was a big surprise when he came to our table and said:
“Jo, isn’t it? I met you several months ago.”
Dan Gedge started his career as an apprentice with TV celebrity Chef Rick Stein in Cornwall, working at Rick’s seafood restaurant in Padstow in England for 8 years. As I come from Devon, and have been to Rick Stein’s restaurant in Padstow, I was really interested in Dan’s story.
Rick Stein’s Senior Sous Chef
Dan progressed over the next 7 years to the position of Senior Sous Chef. During his time with Rick Stein Dan had the opportunity to work in the cookery school and alongside Rick in his various TV productions. More recently he worked alongside Rick during the recent Margaret River Gourmet Escape.
“I like to produce classical flavour combinations with little surprises,” he told me. “And I always use the best of the best – I also don’t like to over complicate things.”
When we complimented him on the starters – he chuckled.
“Our taste plates are designed to defer any ‘plate envy’ – we offer a selection of all the starters at once which prevents diners wishing they’d tried something else!”
For mains we had: Big Red Pork Scotch Fillet, with Macadamia nut puree, grilled Nannup peach, pulled pork croquette, and crackle wheel. Local Lamb Rump and Rib, with Medjool dates, pearl couscous, prserved lemon, eggplant and yoghurt puree, and pistachio nuts. Market Fish – pink snapper.
Wines we particularly enjoyed: 2014 Shades Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, 2012 Awakening Single Vineyard Chardonnay, 2011 Senses Cabernet Merlot.
What you need to know
Facilities: Restaurant, Cafe, Cellar Door, Playground, Weddings, Kid Friendly.
Watershed Website: Here
Address: 12 Darch Road, Margaret River WA 6285
Mon – Sun, 10am to 5pm
Mon – Sun, 12pm to 3pm
Mon – Sun 10am to 4.30pm
(Coffee and Cakes)
12pm to 3pm (Lunch Service)Can’t wait to hear about your favourite Margaret River wineries.