RiverBank Estate, Caversham
It was a summery Thursday in Spring when I decided to take my sister out to celebrate the impending end of her honours thesis (music education, represent!) along with my sister’s boyfriend. As we live pretty close to the Margaret River-esque surrounds of Swan Valley, I decided to take full advantage of the good weather to try out RiverBank Estate which coincidentally also happens to be in the 2013/14 Entertainment Book. RiverBank is tucked away off West Swan Road, a shed-like building rising from the red dust of Perth, boarded by a flurry of greenery.
The three of us were greeted by one of RiverBank’s affable waitresses, who quickly guides us to the al fresco area overlooking the above vineyards. There was a nice breeze that day and we were thankful for it – suffocating in the heat which seems to prelude the impending summer heatwave wasn’t on our agenda. The restaurant boasts the usual fancy winery get-up: heavy white table cloths, matching linen napkins, polished silver cutlery and a wine glass a piece. We were starving so we made a beeline for the mains in the menu. The menu itself was pretty extensive with a nice number of items to choose from.
My sister’s boyfriend’s chargrilled beef fillet ($42) looked great. The beef was ordered medium rare, but edged towards the medium side lacking the broad rosy pinkness associated with a perfectly executed medium rare. Despite that, the meat was reported to be tender and was accompanied by a blob of sticky sweet onion jam. I had a bit of the croquette which was also nice, though I made a mess of splashing breadcrumbs everywhere around me. I’m such an elegant eater….
My sister had a main of gnocchi ($36) and proceeded to dive into it before I had the chance to stop her. Lightning photography skills on my part resulted in a half decent picture, though I couldn’t blame her for wanting to get in a mouthful pronto. The gnocchi was so soft, pillows of velvety potato pasta. Usually, I like my pasta more on the firmer side, but the blend of the smooth pasta with the melt-in-your-mouth portions of braised beef cheek was phenomenal. As a whole, it worked really well as an aromatic, moorish dish, though my poor sister could barely finish it. It was a heavy task to tackle those pasta dishes, especially on a hot day!
I couldn’t have been any happier with my Grilled Atlantic Salmon ($42). The fish was fleshy and pink on the inside; flakes of salmon just falling apart at every fork swipe. The trademark crispy skin? Check! Juicy seared scallops? Check! My recommended daily intake of greens? Check! The highlight for me was the soy and mirin glaze. Mirin is a Japanese wine used to glaze and works to eliminate the fishy taste from seafoods, working w0nderfully in this dish. There was a nice balance of salt from the soy but a good hit of sugary sweetness from the mirin, combining to make a complex sauce that hit all different parts of the palate. A recommended dish!
The ultimate reason for going to RiverBank, though, was for the dessert, the amazing Chocolate Hazelnut Tart ($15). Extensive time spent browsing Urbanspoon found me gazing longingly at this piece of artwork and wishing that I could devour it immediately via computer window screen. Our small party of three ordered two (yes, let the judging start). The tart itself was delicious – a buttery, crumbly pastry encasing a thick layer of rich caramel sauce and an equal section of fudge-like chocolate. Strangely, the caramel sauce wasn’t too sweet (reminiscent of the salted caramel craze that is taking over the nation) further counterbalanced by the fruity acidity of the raspberry sorbet and smear of berry coulis. The swirl of chocolate mousse was also suitably decadent.
To top off a lovely lunch with great weather, fantastic food and quality service, this notice was placed at the glass doors. Let this serve as a warning to all rampant children (or highly strung adults): misbehave and you will be sold into a Cirque du Soleil madhouse and forced to become demonic clowns. Why don’t all places think of this?
RiverBank Estate has gorgeous lush surrounds, suitable for any special occasion celebration. The ladies who served us were extraordinarily friendly, making us feel comfortable straight away. Upon ordering a glass of wine, our main waitress requested my ID and was quickly apologetic – usually situations like that can be awkward, but she handled it with astute professionalism and immediately recommended me a good glass of white (after checking that I was indeed, over 21). The Entertainment Gold Card was taken without complaint, and our gnocchi was knocked off our bill (as per complimentary meal the card offered) and we went home completely content. I will be back in the future for sure!
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Address: 126 Hamersley Rd, Caversham WA 6055
- RiverBank is only open for lunchtime (Monday-Sunday) so make sure you get in quick! Bookings recommended, though there is plenty of seating inside, outside and beneath the vines adjacent to the parking lot if your looking for a more casual atmosphere.
- Entertainment Card Discount – One complimentary main meal when another main course is purchased (up to $50 in value). The total bill came up to $123 for the three of us for a decent two course meal.
- Bookings for 8+ people will require a set menu. Email RiverBank for more details.
- Winner of several Gold Plate & Australian Good Food & Travel Awards!