One of the appealing aspects about lunching at Studio Bistro, aside from being surrounded by colourful WA artwork (it’s attached to a gallery), is that it’s not associated with a winery. This is a rarity in Margaret River where all the region’s flagship restaurants are attached to celebrated wineries, which limits choices to the company portfolio.
At The West Australian Good Food Guide we’ve been railing against this practice for years, but it is what it is. It’s a delight then, to find a quality restaurant in the famous wine region with a varied and cleverly constructed wine list. Its extensive and predominantly WA wine menu leans toward Margaret River titles and there are many east coast and international labels to choose from.
The food has undone its top button in recent times and the menu is now relaxed and bistro style, with share dishes and family-style eating part of this restaurant’s beguiling offer. Duck-liver parfait is super-creamy and comes with pickled shallots and Sittella pearls doused in Pedro Ximenez glaze.
Shark Bay whiting fillets are deep fried, light as air and sit on a moreish smear of honey, lime and carrot cream with a house-made sauce tartare on the side. Hapuka is the south west’s fish de jour with a dhufish texture and flavour. Studio’s version is minimalist, the fish swimming in a subtly flavoured orange and saffron broth. Moqueca (Brazilian seafood stew) is chock-full of WA seafood and has a perfect sweet-sour balance. Peruvian peppers, which soak up all the stew’s complex juices, pleasantly pop in the mouth.
Staff are attentive and informed. Our recommendation? On a hot day, sit outside under the trees and feel the serenity.