Black Swan Winery, Swan Valley
There are more than your fair share of wineries in Swan Valley, and the best ones all have three basic features. Number one, polished, professional service, that eagerly caters for the customer. Two, the food uses fresh produce and sounds fancy (and almost always looks fancy, with clean plating and all), but naturally tastes delicious. Three, it is a restaurant surrounded by spectacular views (usually greenery, encompassing rows and rows of vineyards). Black Swan luckily has all of these dot points checked off, which I was pretty relieved about, as I had chosen this place to take my mum out for the day. I was just about to head off to New Zealand for a work trip for over a month (and Mum was going back to her hometown of Malaysia for a high school reunion), so I was looking forward to some quality mother-daughter bonding time.
The Surf and Turf ($40) was appealing to my steak and seafood cravings for the day. I like to think that I am getting to the stage of my life when I know when prawns are cooked well, and these ones were king sized, fresh and translucent. They had a beautiful natural sweetness to them, with a slight smokiness from the garlic, the marks of something lovingly cooked. The grilled rib eye (250gm) was a little overdone, more medium to well done than my mum’s requested medium rare, but it was such a succulent cut of meat, it almost didn’t matter. The dauphinoise potato was a buttery layer after layer of my favourite vegetable. Everything was roped together by an opulent Shiraz jus. The green beans were also cooked to perfection. An almost 10 out of 10 dish!
My baked chicken kiev with a brie and apricot farce ($37), was more of a miss than a hit. I had been enticed to try it because it was stuffed with brie, and was expectantly waiting for an ooze of creamy, soft cheese to spill out – instead what trickled out appeared to be a failed version of my béchamel sauce at home. It had a chunky consistency, which looked like the milk solids had separated from the oil content of the cheese. I didn’t really taste much of the apricot either, which would have been a wonderful flavour addition. The chicken however was delectably moist, a portion of the leg and the breast. The polenta cake was nice, but a little too grainy for me – I love my polenta with a silken, smooth texture. Portion size wise however, it was very filling. The orange rum glaze was also a lovely accompaniment to the dish.
The peach cobbler ($14) was my favourite dish of the day, with a crusty crunch at the top. It wasn’t too sweet, and was hot and moist, like a pudding. A beautiful tartness came from the peaches.The crème anglaise had an oily like film to it at the very top, but it was packed with potent vanilla flavours, and was a nice pairing with the cobbler. The toffee shards were a tad on the thick side and gummed our teeth together, but it added a nice touch.
There was a bit of a wait for the mains (about 30 minutes) despite the fact it was pretty quiet in the restaurant that day. I believe there were only four other tables inside at the time with us, the biggest being a crowd of 6 people. The staff however, were very professional, pleasant and exceptionally polite. I think what made the wait all that more excruciating were the heady, wafting aromas emitting from the kitchen – you could tell there was some cooking magic going on in the background!
The views were wonderful and the service was great, but unfortunately the food was a bit of a mixed bag. The dessert and my mother’s surf and turf had some great moments, but I was a bit let down by my chicken dish. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the wait – the last time I had been there, I had also experienced the same issue, which perhaps could be down to the need to have one more person in the kitchen? Black Swan Winery is a nice place to go in Swan Valley, but there are a few places you could probably venture to that would have the whole package.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Address: 8600 West Swan Rd, Henley Brook 6055
- Open 7 days per week for lunch from 11:30am. Open for dinner Wednesday through to Friday starting from 5:30pm and Saturday evening starting from 6pm.
- The Cellar Door is also open for the wine enthusiasts, with wine tasting bookings available through the website.
- Entertainment Book Gold Card Discount: 25% off up to $40 in value.
- Bookings available through phone phone (08) 9296 6090 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: Wednesday and Thursday evenings are subject to sufficient bookings.