Sandalford Caversham Estate, Caversham

Front of restaurant Website:  www.sandalford.com

Entertainment Card 09/10: Complimentary main course when another is purchased  (up to $50 value)

The Sandalford Winery and Restaurant is located along the West Swan Road in the popular Swan Valley Wine Region, which is famous for as you guess it – wine!  Driving along the West Swan Road, you will be greeted with stretch and stretch of vineyards on either side of the road as well as orchards,  forrestry and all things natural, a very tranquil and picturesque experience during a nice sunny day.

 Sandalford Estate has more than 150 years of history behind it – founded in 1840 by the State’s first Surveyor Outside areaGeneral, John Septimus Roe (Ref: website).  Upon arrival, you will be greeted with a majestic entrance to the estate and after a short drive, arrive at the winery and restaurant.  The restaurant itself has both a rustic interior and an outside area where tables are shaded by 118 year old vines strewn over the top, acting almost like a roof.  Simply fantastic.  Not wanting to miss dining in such a nice setting, we opted to sit in the outer area that day.

Sandalford is famous for its wine but unfortunately on that day none of us were drinking as we all had to drive.  We had a large group, and managed to order all the Mains in the menu including the Special of the day as well!  I will not be able to give a comment for each dish, but I have taken a photo of them for the blog..they will make your mouth water..so here goes:

For starters, the other table ordered the Warm Turkish Bread ($11) and a side of Salad ($10.50):

Warm Turkish Bread Salad

The Turkish Bread came with a ‘dash’ of extra virgin oily oil, house made dukkah (an Egyptian dry mixture of chopped nuts, seeds and Middle Eastern spices and flavour – courtesy of Wikipedia) and tomato kasundi (similar to a tomator relish).  It looked very appetising as it came out and was baked into a slight crisp.  The Salad consisted of mixed leaves, vine ripened cherry tomatoes and shallots.  

For Mains, we had the following:

Crispy Pork Belly with ScallopsCrispy Fried Pork Belly with Seared Scallops ($35.50).  This was what I ordered and it was the bomb!  I was a bit hesitant initially when I first saw this on the menu as pork belly is, from my perspective a chinese dish (I only eat them at chinese restaurants!)  but boy, I did not regret ordering this dish!  The scallops sat on a bed of bok choy (chinese green leafy vegetables), topped with a pineapple and chilli salsa and was tender and melted in the mouth.  The pork belly was served with ‘char sui’ sauce (a chinese barbeque sauce) and fried till crisp, however the meat maintained their softness.  Yum!  Thumbs up from my friends who tried the dish as well.  The only complaint I had was that it wasn’t enough – it was so delicious I wish I could eat more of it (well not really a complaint..more of a compliment!).  A must-try if you visit the restaurant.  

Crispy Skin Barramundi ($35.50) which came with a pesto chatCrispy Skin Barramundi potato salad, ruby grapefruit and asparagus with A La Grecque dressing.  Sounds very fancy doesn’t it!  The fish was tender with a good complement of salad (and different – not the usual side you would get at other restaurant).

Roasted Lamb RackRosemary Roasted Lamb Shank with Braised Lamb Neck and Pine Nut Tortellini ($42.50) served with Truffled Pea Puree and Porcini Cream.  The feature of this dish was the three small yellow tortellinis that came with the lamb.  They looked like small wantons (which I thought they were at first) but the first bite revealed something else.  They made the dish looked really attractive and made me feel very curious at the same time, wanting to try them out immediately to figure out what they are.  

Veal Cutlet with RisottoNorthern River Grass Fed Veal Cutlet with Broad Bean & Pecorino Risotto ($43.50) served with charred lemon.  The veal was very nice but I didn’t like the risotto because of the strong cheese taste.  Pecorino is an Italian cheese, made from ewe’s milk.  As I’m not a big fan of cheeses, I didn’t have too much of this dish but that’s just a personal thing.            

‘Special of the Day’ which was a grilled New Zealand Fish (cSpecial Fish of the Dayan’t remember the name) with Sweet Potato Fries and Salad.  The fish had a light taste to it and was appetising but the best was the sweet potato fries!  There are not that many places that serve these (the only other place I have had these is at Wagamama) – absolutely delicious!

I didn’t get to try the rest of the following dishes but comments from the people that ordered them were yum, yum and yum!

  • Chermoula Roasted Baby Chicken, Fig & Preserved Lemon Cous Cous, Tzatziki ($36.50)
  • Sumac Seared Kangaroo Fillet, Smoked Beetrot Semolina, Pink Peppered Goats Cheese, Wild Hibiscus ($35)
  • Leek & Saffron Tart, Saint Maure Goat Cheese, Picholine Olive Salad, Lemon & Poppy Seed Dressing ($31)

Roasted Baby Chicken with Cous Cous Seared Kangaroo Fillet Leek & Saffron Tart

Also, some sides we had…Hand Cut Chips with Aioli ($9.50) and Rocket, Shaved Grana Padano with Aged Balsamic ($10.50)

Chips with Aioli Rocket Salad

By the end of this, we were too full so we didn’t manage to order any dessert.  We were also saving ourselves for a visit to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory further down the road (click here for the review).

Overall, it was an awesome lunch we had that day.  The presentation of the food was superb.  They use fresh ingredients and a variety of herbs, spices and cheeses to complement the dishes – I must admit that I didn’t even know a quarter of what the ingredients were when I first read them on the menu!  The service was also excellent – we were greeted always with smiles and even had a chat with the waiter and joked with him about the rating of this restaurant in the food blog!  (I didn’t think he believed us about the food blog..haha).  The ambience of the place is second to none, very relaxing and peaceful.  I would recommend this place any day!

Rating:  4.25 out of 5 stars

Rating by: N.L.

Sandalford Caversham Estate 
Telephone
: 08 9374 9301
Address: 3210 West Swan Road, Caversham

 

Sandalford on Urbanspoon

South Ocean, Kardinya

Signage

South Ocean sits within the Kardinya Shopping Centre area and has been there for ages (well since before I arrived in Perth till now I would believe… that makes it about 10 years!). It is one of the few restaurants that I  have seen the ups and downs in quality, but ultimately, it still serves an averagely good chinese meal.

Serving mainly Cantonese-style food, South Ocean was offering one of Perth’s cheapest snow crabs. That was about 1-2 years ago. Am not too sure how it is now, but it will be more than interesting to find out. :)

Interior from Outside

The restaurant sits about 10-12 tables, about 4-5 of which are relatively large tables, allowing up to 12 people to sit. With a lazy-susan situated in the middle, there wouldn’t be any unnecessary fighting over the food!

They recently renovated the place as well, making it a little brighter on the inside, and a little bit more spacious, although there really isn’t that much more room than before – they have maximised the use of their space!

Prawn Crackers

One of the good (and rather rare) things about this place is their free prawn crackers (a.k.a ku-ru-pok to M’sians/S’poreans) served when you are seated at your table.

Not the best quality of prawn crackers, but a generous serving. A bit of a compromise there?

That night, we had a rather large group get-together so we had quite a feast! I can’t remember all the name of the dishes (ok, so what’s new from Miss Egg?), but here is a list of the dishes we had (some actual names, some, my usual descriptions… bear with me!):

  • 3-course Peking Duck
    This comes with the roasted skin (that comes with a bread-like cover to wrap the skin in, with some vegetable and hoisin sauce)… then the meat is diced and fried, served with some lettuce to wrap, also called “san choy bao”… finally, the bones are used to make a duck and preserved vegetable soup (very popular amongst us Teochew-descendants).
  • Hot Plate Tofu with Chicken/Pork & Salted Fish
  • Spinach with Three Eggs (namely chicken, century and salted duck egg)
    For those who are unaware of the latter two eggs, they are eggs that we chinese love to eat, the Century egg usually used in congee, and the salted duck egg usually eaten with plain porridge.
  • Golden Prawns with Salted Duck Eggs
  • Garlic Kailan (Kailan is a variety of chinese vegetables, with rather long stems, and large leaves (when they are of age)
  • Tooth Fish with Sauce
    Pan-fried with the sauce poured over the fish
  • Honey Black Pepper Steak
    The colour of this dish might put you off at first but the taste… well, I’ll keep you in suspense!
  • Special Chicken & Almond Dish
    I really don’t know the name of the dish since I didn’t make the order that night, but it is made out of chicken and some almond flakes. Quite special.

Peking Duck (skin)Peking Duck (skin) close-upPeking Duck (meat)

Unfortunately, this greedy Miss Egg did not manage to capture the lettuce-wrapped meat, and the soup because she was too busy gorging herself with this overwhelming amount of food.

The skin was not too bad at all, but not the best I have had. That said, it has been difficult to find a place with good peking duck skin served. The bread-like wrap was rather good tho’. :)

The meat was tasty, with everyone stuffing their lettuce rather well. The layers of the lettuce were well-separated too.

The soup was my favourite out of the three, other than the good fattening skin. Tasty and very comforting for a cold winter’s night!

Hot Plate TofuGolden Prawns, Garlic Kailan, 3-egg Spinach

The hot plate tofu was tasty. But the dish could have been a tad hotter (warmth), especially being served in a hot plate. The traditional way of pouring the tofu and the gravy onto the hot plate only when it is being served to the table. Average I would say, but worth ordering if you do visit this establishment.

The vegetables were rather bland, and I definitely have had better vegetable dishes around the state. The better of the two vegetable dishes would probably be spinach because of the gravy that comes along with the dish. The garlic kailan is really nothing to boast about.

Tooth FishHoney Black Pepper Steak

I actually didn’t have the chance to try the tooth fish, but from what I heard, the quality of the dish was average and from the sounds of it, there are probably better tooth fish dishes around.

The honey black pepper steak was one of my favourite dishes of the night. Don’t be mistaken by the dark gloomy look of the dish – it turned out to be rather tangy! With a generous serving of vinegar being splashed into the dish, it made this dish unique and special to the tastebuds. I definitely recommend this to be ordered (assuming you’ve got a love for vinegar like me).

Special Chicken & Almond Dish

This dish is actually a speciality dish of South Ocean… the name of which I have no idea about, but if you do wish to order, check it under the specialty dishes, and see if you can find anything with chicken and almond in it. If you do find out the name, then the Perth Food Engineers will be grateful if you could drop us an email or a comment to let us know the name of the dish! Miss Egg will definitely be grateful. :)

The dish came with a dipping sauce, but I ended up dipping it with the gravy from the Honey Black Pepper Steak. It turned out lovely. I wouldn’t say the dish itself had alot of taste to it, tho’. Definitely well presented and well cooked, but there was this lack of seasoning in the taste of the dish.

Overall, South Ocean is average in food. Service is average too… ambience… well, there really isn’t much to talk about ambience when it comes to chinese restaurants (generally speaking :))… I wouldn’t go back there again, unless it’s with people who would like to try that place, simply because it is a tad too far for me, and well, the quality of the food isn’t strong enough to pull me back into the establishment.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Rating by: S.T (a.k.a Miss Egg)

South Ocean Chinese Restaurant
Telephone: (08) 9337 2000
Address: 17 South Street, Kardinya 6163, Western Australia
South Ocean Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon