The owners modelled Studio Bistro after the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe – Modernism’s most important building. Transplanted to Margaret River, the restaurant and art gallery building is a true garden restaurant, with an intimate walled garden bringing the green outdoors inside. Its sleek bistro-style dining room and broad, shaded deck overlooks a sward of manicured lawn flanked by Aussie bush.
Brazilian-born, French-trained Thales Franca cooks contemporary dishes drawing from French roots with hints of South America and Asia. WA prawns and scallops sit on pepita puree, radishes and passionfruit. Young chicken, sweet tomato, tarragon sour sauce is next level. The bird is moist and sweet and its sauce thickened slightly to a glaze. Gold Band snapper is a go-to fish in WA and Franca’s well-honed cookery made for plump, flaky and moist fish. A chickpea puree and miso garnish rocked a curious peanut butter flavour. Gnocchi with roasted almonds, porcini mushrooms and stinging nettle was a vegetarian delight. Execution was just OK.
Dessert appears to be the Chef’s strength. Black sesame semifreddo was served with quenelles of matcha gel, sprinklings of Sichuan powder and white chocolate – powerful, bold cooking with well-balanced sweet savoury notes.
Not being tied to a winery gives its wine list licence to shine, with Margaret River titles dominating its huge selection plus a few Italian and French numbers. Wines by carafe are a welcome touch.
Service is country casual from a pleasant front-of-house brigade.