As an alumnus of Melbourne’s Cumulus Inc, Seth James is one of our best chef imports in recent years. Experience in one of Andrew McConnell’s restaurants is a fine education and it shows in the discipline and inventiveness across James’ menus at the celebrated Wills Domain.
Having said that, this is not an out-of-place Melbourne menu. It is very much about the style, sentiment and produce of Margaret River.
There’s a tasting menu which, frankly, is the way to eat here, and an approachable a la carte list, for those who aren’t up for the degustation extravaganza.
Kick off with a tangy, briny yabbie whip on jet-black dehydrated potato skin before swinging into starters. Abalone is a fine dining staple these days, ocean grown and harvested down in Augusta. Pitched perfectly with pork and textural strands of dried mushroom it’s the softly spoken polar opposite of the loud cumin-encrusted lamb ribs. Sticky and boldly flavourful, the accompanying pickled shiitake and radish salad are a foil to the lamb fat.
Harvey Beef short rib with smoked and pickled onions, charred cucumbers, would pass on many a fine dining menu, but is equally a crowd pleaser for those who value substance.
From go to whoa, Wills Domain is the full package: a tasting menu to luxuriate in, an a la carte menu that makes it an everyday option, well-priced wines of quality and a vineyard setting that’s hard to beat.
Wills Domain is one of the State’s finest restaurants and a worthy member of The Good Food Guide’s elite Top 10 club.