While some of the best food and drinks spots in the Margaret River region have been around for years, a whole lot of new places have cropped up recently to change things up.
Here are six of the best new kids on the block – and why you should pay them a visit.
Yallingup Cheese Company
4 Quininup Rd, Yallingup
Specialising in hand-crafted, French-style soft cheeses, the Yallingup Cheese Company gets its milk from a dairy just 25km away, with all of the milk used to make cheese the day its delivered. This means super fresh, super tasty cheesy goodness – think decadent and gooey camembert and brie; feta marinated in local olive oil, garlic, herbs and peppercorns; a white-mould ripened cheese called St Julian that is delicate and creamy with hints of truffle, cashew and citrus; and Vache Curd, a light, soft, spreadable cheese with a delicate and creamy citrus flavour. These are some seriously good cheeses but if you need another reason to visit, their shop is within the Windows Estate winery so you can sit outside with a glass of wine while you get stuck into your purchases. Brilliant!
The Beer Farm
177 Gale Rd, Metricup
The Beer Farm has quickly become one of my favourite spots down thanks to its wonderfully laidback atmosphere. What was once a dairy farm has been converted into a rustic brewery, featuring a huge hay shed that now serves as the bar. With concrete floors, comfy couches and old-school arcade games, it has an inviting and casual vibe and the staff have always been helpful and friendly when I’ve visited. My beer-loving friends enjoys what’s on tap, I highly recommend the Les Sauvages rosé and the cider is nice and refreshing. As expected there’s lots of outdoor space for sunny days, a slip n slide for the kids and even a couple of hammocks. While there’s no kitchen there is a foodtruck on duty – the regular guys serve up delicious handcut chips and a portobello burger for the veggos – and for special events they get extra trucks in. Dogs are more than welcome and they’re open until 7pm on weekends (hallelujah)!
122 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River
Main Street’s Riversmith is quite possibly one of the coolest spots in town. A combination of a café and gift shop, it aims to be a community hub and gathering space providing a place to eat, drink, shop and learn. It focus is on the connection between good farming, good cooking and good eating. What I like most is that the products instore could easily be found in the coolest little shops around Perth – they’re not touristy items or the same few things seen in every other store in the South West region. The range is huge, with everything from cookbooks and fermenting jars to wine glasses, baby clothes and produce such as chocolate, nougat and olives. The cabinet of treats and baked goods includes sweet and savoury, and ranges from health-conscious options to decadent treats (hello giant freckle). Whether you’re having coffee with friends or looking for a thoughtful gift, this place has got you covered.
Brewhouse Margaret River
35 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River
If you’ve ever stayed in Margaret River and wished there was a brewery within walking distance, Brewhouse Margaret River is the place for you. Owned and run by three local families, it’s in a great spot that is close to town but still surrounded by trees, making it the perfect place to sit outside with a drink and watch the world go by. The Brewhouse is nice and spacious with a funky interior, friendly and helpful staff, and a food menu that, while I haven’t tried, looks pretty damn good. They’ve got several vegetarian options and a good range of local wines, and are open until 7pm most days, so make sure you swing by for a “cold and clear and true” brew and bite to eat.
Sampson & Bowen (Black Brewing Co.)
3517 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup
The old Duckstein Brewery has been revamped and reopened late last year as Sampson & Bowen. Like its predecessor, it’s made up of a few parts – immediately inside are Vintner & Black wines, which are described as young, vibrant, ready to drink wines that best showcase the variety within the context of the region and the vineyard; there’s indoor and outdoor dining overlooking a beautiful lake; and session-able, handcrafted beer is brewed, bottled or kegged onsite under the name Black Brewering Co. When I visited they hadn’t quite finished setting up the brewery so I’m looking forward to going back and taking a look around now that everything is finished. The staff were great last time we were here, and the food (mostly share plate style) was darn tasty too.
Swings Taphouse & Kitchen
85 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River
High on my list of places to visit is Swings Taphouse &Kitchen, the newest member of the Swings family – which began with the Swings and Roundabouts Vineyard and Cellar. The Taphouse is right in the heart of Margaret River, and serves up lunch and dinner alongside award-winning wines on tap (as well as beer and cocktails, of course). The food here claims to be simple, rustic and ideal for sharing – the dessert of dark chocolate mousse, marshmallow and coconut sorbet sounds divine – and the interiors look fresh, modern and funky. I’ll let you know more once I’ve had a chance to check it out!