Melissa Kokoti is perhaps one of the Margaret River’s lesser-known culinary names, but accomplished nonetheless. At Xanadu, one of the regions long-established names, she’s turning out a menu that’s leaning on the region’s produce while mining influences from further afield.
Xanadu is very much a family-friendly venue and it attracts huge boisterous weekend crowds. None of the food could be considered “cheffy” or challenging, but execution and technique are spot on.
A dish of Geographe Bay octopus is served with soft confit potatoes and dressed with a perky flavour bomb of white anchovy and capers. It’s a comforting classic.
Cauliflower is the chef’s vegie of choice these days; charred, cooked like a steak or smothered in cream or cheese or both. Xanadu’s version is refreshingly off-piste with bravura Indian spices an crisp frying. An accompanying brinjal (eggplant) pickle and yoghurt add welcome tartness.
Smoked beef cheek, served with a folded slice of tongue, has a distinctly European feel, the inclusion of offal a pleasing note for those who dig nose-to-tail dining.
There’s no deconstructed Snickers bars for dessert here. The hero is a well-constructed tarte tatin.
Xanadu’s brilliant range of wines give oenophiles something to give thanks for too. So, bring the kids, let them play on the lawn and eat straightforward stylish food with the occasional twist.