The national 2017 Good Food Guide Regional Restaurant Of The Year is still at the top of its game. One suspects sitting on one’s laurels is not an option in chef Seth James’ accomplished Wills Domain kitchen.
The valley views, the pleasingly lo-fi service, imaginative plating, innovative cookery – it’s all there. Wills Domain nails the ability to take its guests on a culinary trip with surprises around almost every corner.
It begins with a simple spread with bread: cod roe, whipped into a fine, mousse-like emulsion with bread, shallots, garlic, lemon juice and grapeseed oil, topped with Manjimup trout roe pearls and a lurid green nasturtium oil. Out of this world.
Entrees included “chewy” carrots, chargrilled quail and grilled intercostals (the long strips of meat from between a cow’s ribs). Chewy carrots were just that – disconcertingly chewy, almost pastille-like. A corker. The large dice of carrots sat in a pool of Comte` sauce, pimped with roasted nuts and seeds. Quail was impeccably roasted and rested and soft as a person’s handshake. The intercostals with their sour pickle garnish and Korean ssamjang dressing were a umami bomb.
For mains, a Wagin duck breast was not as uncluttered as perhaps it should have been. Roasted cod was a superb, dense cut of fish, nicely teamed with shiitake mushrooms. Desserts are fun, especially a Snickers pudding which was rich and truly beautiful. Wines by the glass are only current vintages (other winery restaurants in the region have a roster of back vintages and museum titles by the glass) but with Wills’ wines constantly improving you won’t be wanting much more.
Wills Domain is one of WA’s finest dining experiences.