Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

The first thing that comes to my mind when visiting Perth would be Margaret River (is it because i'm an alcoholic?) On my recent trip to Perth (check out my Perth travel review here), i made it a point to check out the vino offerings in Western Australia. 
Now now, with the number of wineries in MR, you would probably go dizzy just from selecting the ones you want to visit. So here's sharing the list that i have curated, most of which i visited, and some others that i'm dying to visit, and 1 that disappointed.
Boodjidup Rd, Margaret River WA 6285 

Cellar Door: Daily 10am - 5pm
Restaurant: Thu- Mon 12 - 3pm

Of the wineries that we visited in MR, i was most impressed with Xanadu, with several of their bottles tantalizing my tastebuds. My favorites are pictured above, but I can’t remember which of the Chardonnay I preferred, just that Jr likes one and I the other. Also the 2013 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon is great too. Lunch is available on their estate (see Xanadu's menu here) and I shortlisted it as a lunch spot after reading all the reviews. We went with something else in the end due to our itinerary but I’d check this out next time!
Leeuwin Estate
Stevens Rd, Margaret River WA 6285
Tel: +61 8 9759 0000
Daily 10am - 5pm

Leeuwin Estate is one of the most well-known wine producer from Perth. Jr is full of praise for their food, which regrettably i did not try.. But yes, their fine wines and great food under sweeping verandahs and domed skylights will sweep you off your feet. They are renowned for their “paddock to plate” philosophy, which focuses on regional produce and working closely with local artisan suppliers to create seasonal menus. Their Art series is also delicious.
Voyager Estate
Stevens Road, Margaret River WA 6285
Tel: +61 8 9757 6354
Daily 10am - 5pm

Voyager Estate is another spot that deserves repeated visits according to my trusted friend T (she thinks she's boring that way but why should anyone have to settle for potential disappointment elsewhere?). The cavernous spot is ideal for gathering of large groups but i love their outdoor space even more (it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland with their rose bushes). Check out Voyager Estate's award-winning tasting menus here.
Aravina Estate
Stevens Road, Margaret River, WA 6285
Tel: +61 08 9757 6354
Daily 10am - 5pm

Aravina Estate was recommended by my Airbnb host and it's wedding perfect (some influencer who recently got married was promoting this spot too). Horrible picture from me aside (i was too starved to head to the open grounds to get a better shot), the estate is perfect for that wedding reception under the stars.
The wines are ok, nothing mindblowing. Some dishes i enjoyed more than the others, like this duck with orange. I reckon the selling point here is the terrace dining where you can enjoy the view of the rolling hills and bushland. 

242 Quininup Road, Yallingup
Daily 10am - 5pm

Look no further than Arimia for an all-in-one wine holiday. This boutique vineyard and wine producer also has an on-site 4 BR house for those who wants to have the vineyard view all to themselves. Make your own meals or enjoy a leisurely lunch under the tall trees at the restaurant. Their tasting menu is available at AU$60 for 4 courses. 
Hay Shed Hill
511 Harmans Mill Road, Wilyabrup WA 6280
Phone: +61 8 9755 6046 
Daily 11am - 5pm

One of the places i REALLY wanted to check out was the tapas bar Rusticos at Hay Shed Hill. Sadly, they weren't open when i visited. What drew me to them was the Mediterranean style communal plates and tapas which are paired with their wines. So far, i've not been won over by Aussie fine wine and dine so i'm more inclined to check out the Rusticos' casual menu. Rusticos' 6 course tapas degustation menu is priced at AU$65 and i'd definitely top up for their wine pairing at AU$89.
Cullen Wines 
4323 Caves Road Wilyabrup 
Margaret River, WA 6280
Tel: +61 8 9755 5277
Daily 10am - 4.30pm 
Restaurant 11.30 - 3.30pm

Good wines and even better food are what you get at Cullen Restaurant. This was recommended by a fellow foodie-vino guzzler. Their restaurant has also been awarded two Chef Hat in the 2018 Good Food Guide. You know they are serious about their nosh when they serve fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables from their biodynamic garden. I've been told to grab hold of the Diana Madeline 2014 (Cab Sauv-Merlot) too. 
Caves Road (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive)
Margaret River, WA 6284
Tel: +61 8 9756 5050
Daily 10am - 5pm
Restaurant 12 - 3pm

Based on the reviews i've read online, i formed a super high expectations of Vasse Felix and it was sorely disappointing. The wines are more expensive than the others that I’ve sampled and they aren’t great. The only decent one was their most expensive bottle which is the 2013 Tom Cullity (76% Cab Sauv, 20% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot). It was good but it certainly isn’t worth the tag. We managed to get a table at the restaurant but we left after seeing the menu which wasn't very appetizing. Verdict- Can skip.

Things to buy from Margaret River (other than wine)
Other than drinking, here are other recommendations for Margaret River!
The Margaret River Saturday Farmers' Market is one of the highlights of my Margaret River trip. It isn't huge but it has a nice mix of fresh produce, bakes, jams, chocolates etc. 
My favorite store is the Margaret River Bakery!
Best berries and granola parfait i've eaten in my life! It's AU$8 of happiness in a giant cup. I simply refused to eat anything else. 
You also MUST get the chocolates from Temper Temper Fine Chocolate. That sea salt caramel dark chocolate is out of this world!

Also, if you're a cheese lover, you have got to drop by Yallingyup Cheese Company. We stuffed our faces with cheese after our wine-lunch.
Places to eat in Margaret River
I love Morries Anytime! It's one of the few places that stay open till later and their tapas are lovely! The grilled haloumi with pickled zucchini on Margaret River Woodfired Bread (AU$13) was the best! I'm still dreaming about that Blackbrook scotch on potato terrine with truffle butter (A$39)! If you are sick of wine, they have a good cocktail list here! I hope you stay nearby because the drinks are strong. Other restaurants on my list include Settlers Tavern & Margaret River Ale Co and La Scarpetta Trattoria.

Till the next wine trip!

XOXO
Travelerintransit

Seafood and bubbly for tea? We cannot disagree. The Lobby Lounge at Westin Singapore has recently refreshed their afternoon tea menu to bring you seafood and champagne for a decadent afternoon with a picturesque view of the South China Sea and Marina Bay.
The Seafood and Champagne Afternoon Tea set (for two) could be loosely called a three-course set. You get a tiered platter of savories, followed by a main course, and the event ends with an assortment of cakes and tarts. Of course, each set comes with 2 glasses of champagne. 
Well each person gets a platted platter of 5 nibbles plus 2 of my favorite Crab Salad Sandwiches. 
These are quite salty and juicy and goes well with the crusty multigrain. 
As for the other items, the lobster and mushroom torchoon was like a lobster version of a cold crab cake which sat well with me. My gf liked the mussels with salsa. The rest of the items were meh, especially the sashimi which was sitting in cold water. I can't even.. 
Each person gets one oyster, possibly of the French origin because they were so... thin. The oysters are served with a choice of three sauces – champagne dressing, lychee bourbon and lime and shallot vinaigrette. 
Then the main course. A half Lobster Thermidor each. Expect to be filled by the rich cheese and cream, not so much by the amount of the crawler.  
If you were not filled (i didn't use satisfy), maybe the sweets will do the job. Of this lot, the freshly baked soft chocolate cranberry cookie, chocolate dipped strawberries, and the blueberry lime-scented mango tart were a-ok. The rest were again meh. The truffle cupcake (scented with truffle oil) weirdly attracted me to take a second bite. 

The Seafood and Champagne Afternoon Tea is priced at $85 (for 2 pax) and is inclusive of 2 glasses of champagne. This is not inclusive of other beverages. For this price point, i may closed an eye to the quality of the food.  

The Westin Singapore
Level 32 Lobby Lounge
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2, Singapore 018961
Tel: +65 6922 6988
Weekdays: 2.30 - 5pm
Weekends: 2 - 4pm, 4.30 - 6.30pm
Our favorite Morton's the Steakhouse, has introduced new seasonal dishes this fall to their lineup of all-American favorites. 
Before i go on, get ready to make a reservation because the new fall menu is only available for a limited time!
Enjoy the flavors of autumn starting with an earthy and nutty Beet & Goat Cheese Salad ($26) with plump red and golden beetroot, crunchy candied walnuts and sharp goat cheese served atop a bed of baby greens tossed in a honey-balsamic vinaigrette. 
Fancy some sweet silky and delicate pearls of mussels? Well the Moules Marinières ($47) is a new steamy dish of mussels cooked in a fragrant white wine broth. The mussels come from either Holland or Australia. We couldn't stop soaking the crusty buttered toast and the famous Morton's Onion Bread Loaf in the broth. 
Some new cuts of steak include the crusty and robustly flavored 10oz American Wagyu New York Strip ($138) from Snake River Farm Idaho. This is of a higher grade than the regular prime beef and has an intense beefiness to it. If you like meaty, this is it.
For those who prefer a smooth butter feel to your slice, go with the 14oz Bone-in Filet Mignon ($138). It's a tough choice between the two but i'm glad i had both. As usual, the meats come with a variety of butter i.e. Foie gras, cognac, truffle, and blue cheese, and sauces.
For sides, always go for the creamed spinach but make sure to order this sin-free Cauliflower Mash that is flavored with truffle and garlic.  
My favorite side from the autumn menu is the Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Fries ($24). BEST SWEET POTATO FRIES EVER. You get an all-around crunchiness and a smoky caramel flavor to this hearty comforting snack. I could not stop myself.  
Save space for the new Morton’s Chocolate Layer Cake ($24) which i'm praying damn hard that this stays on their regular menu. The towering cake is dense and rich but each bite is so light that you can just go on and on and on until it disappears. Of course, that perfect drizzle of salted caramel that is not too sweet and gooey is icing on the cake. You can easily share this chocolate bomb with 3-4 pax or have it all for yourself. I recommend the latter. 
Of course, start and end the night with Morton's famous Lychee Martini or one of their signature martinis. Always a pleasure to be back at Morton's The Steakhouse, this is just an added excuse to make more visits this fall.

Morton’s The Steakhouse
5 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039797
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Singapore, 4th Storey
Tel: +65 6339 3740


A $129 ten-course omakase with quality ingredients that are flown fresh 3 times weekly from Japan? It's almost too good to be true but yes, the guys at Kyuu by Shunsui are serving a sashimi-robatayaki omakase that is plated like art. If the Shunsui name sounds familiar, well Kyuu is a sister restaurant of Kappo Shunsui at Cuppage Plaza and Chef Tomo Watanabe's Tokyo restaurant by the same name was also named in Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list for three consecutive years between 2015 and 2017.
The less than a month-old Kyuu by Shunsui is overseen by Head Chef Issey Araki, formerly from one Michelin-starred restaurant Akasaka Tantei in Tokyo, Japan. He was also part of the team that opened Kappo Shunsui. His specialty? Impressive knife and charcoal grilling skills! The 27-year-old chef also has a puffer fish processing license to his name. 
Best seats in the house? By the bar. That's where the action is. Tip: Try not to sit right in front of the grill unless you wanna be barbecued. 
Our meal started with three appetisers: A refreshing and lightly spiced Red Snapper and Japanese Ginger with Sumiso (a mixture of miso, rice vinegar, and sesame paste); a starchy and fragrant Homemade Sesame Tofu covered with a bekko-an sauce (a mixture of dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar) and wasabi; and a citrusy Soft Simmered Duck topped with Homemade Miso.
I've first had Wolfgang's Steakhouse USDA Prime Beef in their New York City home and there was nothing but praises for the affordably priced steaks that are delightful and HUMONGOUS.After many successful openings in dragons and phoenixes of Asia, Wolfgang Steakhouse has finally arrived in Singapore's current hottest district The Quayside at Robertson Quay. It is housed in the newly opened Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay.
  
The interior is reminiscent of the original New York institution with the warm and cozy walnut and mahogany colors. Absolutely inviting, especially over a bottle of wine. The selection at Wolfgang's is mostly from California but they do have some really expensive French wines like the Romanée-Conti which is S$25 grand a pop.
Start your night with some appetizers. I highly recommend the juicy and sweet Crab Cakes ($38) alongside the extra thick and smoky Sizzling Bacon ($12/slice).
Then, the main event. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is known for its tender sub-primal cuts of prime USDA Black Angus meat, which are dry aged in a proprietary designed aging room for 28 days. The high-grade meat sourced for the restaurant possesses the large, evenly distributed intramuscular fat that is most suitable for the dry-aging process. Each piece of meat is rotated to receive regulated and constant airflow and, as the meat ages, its muscle tissue naturally breaks down to tenderize and produce a deep, concentrated flavor profile. As a result, each in-house butchered piece of meat has a distinctly deep and nutty flavor and the utmost tenderness. 
The meat is carved to size before fired at 1600-degrees Fahrenheit on a grill broiler to seal the meat’s juicy succulence and flavour.
May I say that Perth has become a go-to destination in recent years? I'm hoping it's not an age thing because i used to think that Perth is damn boring! Anyway while researching on where to go on a long weekend, i discovered that Perth has quite a lot to offer!
If you're the active/nature sort, you could go hiking, explore caves, surfing, diving, swim with dolphins, cycling, hunt down quokkas (which are the happiest animals on our planet) etc. If you're a foodie, there's lots of fresh produce and great food, and coffee, and WINE (hello Margaret River and Swan Valley).
After doing some serious research, we realized that a 5 days 4 nights trip isn't sufficient to explore Perth quite thoroughly. :( Nevertheless, the following itinerary would give you a flavor of Perth. 
Day 1- Fremantle, Cottlesloe
I'm glad we chose to base ourselves in Fremantle because FOOOOODDD! Well there's the Fremantle Market where you can get fresh produce and also plenty of ready to eat bites. The market is only open on Friday to Sunday so make sure you visit at the right time!
We caught the full glory of the market when we came back from Margaret River and we weren't disappointed by the selection of food. Just look at this monstrous burger! It was too filling even for 2 of us.
There are also a couple of noteworthy cafes like Ootong and Lincoln (we kept going back because it's one of the rare places open over Easter weekend and coffee was good too), Roasting Warehouse/ Port City Roasters, Moore & Moore Cafe. There are more cafes to check out in the Perth CBD but the city was dead over the holidays. You would have better luck than me if you are there some other time.
Make sure you check out Ootong and Lincoln's Potato Cake ($21.50) with semi wilted spinach, hollandaise, 2 poached eggs. We went for the mushroom option which was very hearty. Their quiches and cakes are great too (don't miss their carrot cake)!
For dinner, head to the Fremantle Harbor for (not Cicerello's fish & chips) but Little Creatures Brewing for some really awesome craft beers and food, like this incredibly juice streak sandwich with jammy onions. Their freshly baked wood-fired pizzas were also flying off the oven and by the looks of it, they must be really delicious. Don't miss the grilled octopus too!
Enough of food for a bit, we also had a fun time at the Fremantle Prison Tour, which brought us around the compounds. Depending on your comfort level, you could check out the solitary cell (where prisoners spend their days in pitch-darkness), as well as the gallows. 
Depressing hur. There’s some beautiful art in the cells and the church/chapel is really serene.
We also found time to drive up to Cottesloe beach. There isn't much to do there except to sunbathe/surf, neither of which are activities we'd wanna do in winter though we did see some hardcore kite-surfers. 
Day 2- Rottnest Island AM, Margaret River (PM)
One of the must-do on our itinerary was to visit the quokkas on Rottnest Island. Purchase your ferry tickets online as they sell out for the popular timings. We took the earliest ferry out on Rottnest Express because we were planning to continue our trip to Margaret River after. The ferry departs from B Shed Victoria Quay, Fremantle. For all day parking, head there early and look for the long term parking near C and D sheds. They cost AUS$10/day. The parking at E shed is limited to 3h only and that is definitely insufficient for a trip to Rottnest.  
First thing to do is to rent a bike to explore the island. The bike rental includes helmet and bicycle lock. You could also rent snorkels from them! Fret not if you are looking for a more relaxing way to check out Rottnest. There are also buses and segways, as well as guided walking tours if you do not want to head out too far. 
If you are going for the bike option, be prepared for a workout and dress for it. I obviously thought that it was gonna be an easy cycle but no. There are many hills and no shelters/food along the way, just toilet sheds and open benches at the lookout points. Make sure you have sufficient water and sunscreen. Pardon the ridiculous outfit, the jacket was to protect me from the sun. 
We made our own wraps and carried other snacks in our bags! These are essential! Unless you are fine with having a late lunch back at the main bus station. I certainly don't recommend that. Plus i don't think the food options are great. 
Also, don't expect to see quokkas everywhere! It took us forever before we spotted any and then we had to crawl on all fours in order to get a proper wefie with them. But yea, definitely quite a fun experience but tiring experience! We had to cycle non-stop (there were short breaks), and only managed a short stop at one of the beaches. There are some shower facilities at the main bus stop but don't expect anything fantastic. We just about made it in time for the 2.10pm ferry back to Fremantle. If you are staying in the city still, you could take the 4+pm ferry instead. I wouldn't recommend staying on the island as there is really nothing much to do.  
Then it was a long drive to Margaret River and we made it in time for a relaxing dinner before exploring the wineries the next day. 

Day 3 Margaret River
Margaret River is definitely worth the 4h drive out of Perth city if it's your first trip. The wines are great, and so is the food. Make sure you do a wine lunch/dinner at one of the vineyards. I'll do another post on the Margaret River wineries next. If you are hard-pressed for time, Swan Valley is a good replacement. 
If you are in Margaret River on a Saturday, definitely head to the Farmers' Market for the local produce, fresh bakes and confectioneries. Don't miss the granola parfait! 
Take a break from drinking with a visit to one of the caves in the area- Ngilgi, Lake Cave, or Jewel Cave. We also took a drive around Boranup Forest. Visit Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse if you have time for the drive down south. There are also accommodation options in this area. 

Day 4- Margaret River AM, Busselton Jetty stop, Fremantle Market PM
We left MR but not before grabbing some delicious breakfast. Aussie breakfasts FTW!
We also stopped by Busselton Jetty on the way back. There's nothing much here actually unless you managed to get a ticket to the aquarium at the end of the jetty (we didn't).
Still, it's a nice stop just to stretch your legs from the drive. Another stop would be Bunbury or Mandurah where you could grab a mid day bite.  
We headed back to Fremantle for the evening and it was bustling with performances. Definitely hang out here!

Fremantle Day 5- Rockingham Island, Perth CBD
We decided to head out to Rockingham Island on the last day as there was no life in the city at all. I really wanted to check out the cafes but oh wells, I settled for little penguins instead. 
We were hoping to see the penguins on the island but we did not spot any (they were all out fishing for food). If you have more time, i think Mandurah would be a better option as you can go watch/swim with the dolphins.
Hope this itinerary provides you with some ideas on what to do in Perth! I certainly wouldn't mind heading back again. :)
Till the next one. 

XOXO
Travelerintransit