When Leeuwin’s long-time chef, Dany Angove, hung up the apron early in 2018 after a decade at the helm of WA’s most iconic winery restaurant, he left a big pair of shoes to fill. We’re pleased to report that his successor, Dan Gedge, has taken the helm at Leeuwin’s stylish posh-casual restaurant with confidence, seamlessly meshing his own personal style with the modern, impeccably cooked, conservative cuisine Leeuwin is renowned for. Leeuwin has never been better.
The completion of more than a year of renovations has given the restaurant’s dining room and veranda even greater appeal. It would be hard to find a restaurant as attractive this side of Napa Valley (the French and Italians don’t do winery restaurants anything like those in wine’s new world). It is one of the most relaxed and polished restaurants anywhere in WA. You can feel the serenity.
If decision-making is not for you, you can wade straight in with the six-course, $109 degustation menu. Pair it with current-release wines to match each course for just $46 or push the boat out and pair with matching museum wines for $82. The menu is small: four entrees, four mains and a daily special or two.
For entrée, strips of Torbay asparagus with just-blanched peas and baby broad beans were plated with soft cheese curds, a green vegetable emulsion and the astringent scent of lemon myrtle. It was a cold entrée and remarkable in its simplicity and just-off-the-farm flavours. For mains, dishes such as line-caught gold band snapper with cauliflower, mussels and XO sauce somehow were simultaneously restrained, clever and subtle, yet delivering weapons-grade flavour. Ditto, a sublimely pink and well-roasted slab of local Arkady lamb with barley, peas and charred lettuce. Bravo.
The wines, as you would expect from one of Australia’s best producers, are banging. For the first time this year, Leeuwin Estate has secured an extension to its producers’ licence, allowing it to sell wines other than its own, meaning customers will be able to purchase dessert wines, cognacs, ports and digestives in time. It will take a toe-in-the-water approach initially, but this move is good for customers and is to be applauded. Leeuwin Estate has improved significantly in the past 12 months and is worthy of its top-10 position in The West Australian Good Food Guide Top 50.