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!


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. 

For any coffee addict, Melbourne is the mecca for the magic potion. Days blurred into nights into days in my caffeine induced stupor as a result of the insane craving to get more. This whirlwind affair was far too short in my opinion and there were a million other cafes that I was dying to try. Here are some convenient spots that you should check out if you are headed Down Under.

The Establishment- Seven Seeds
106-114 Berkeley St., Carlton 
Seven Seeds is THE iconic coffee hub of Melbourne. Ask any Melburnian about coffee and they would probably highlight Seven Seeds as the benchmark for specialty espresso. It has won The Age Food Cafe Guide's best coffee award in 2011 and 2012. The whole warehouse roastery vibe draws in the university crowd and hippies from far and wide. The brunch and lunch offerings smelled darn awesome and i was eyeing the eggs benny next table despite my exploding tummy.
The CBD Brother- Brother Baba Budan
350 Little Bourke Street
Expect the same quality coffee as Seven Seeds as this is the grab and go brother in the CBD. Light snacks like cakes and pastries are available to go with your coffee. Do not hang around. Make space, move out of the way and let these poor office people get their cup of life.

Grab'n'Go- Patricia Coffee Brewers 
Little William Lane 
If you don't have time and you want to squeeze in as many cuppa as you possibly can during your short stay in Melbourne, i'd suggest you do a quick one at Patricia's. Pick from 3 options- Black, White and filter and trust that the coffee is sourced from the most popular coffee spots e.g. Proud Mary, Seven Seeds and Market Lane. Best way to sample the best beans in Melbourne i'd say. Tip: Patricia’s in a laneway next to the 500 Bourke St precinct in case you can't find the nondescript entrance. Btw, there are no tables here.

The Almost Coffee Chain- Market Lane Coffee
Prahran Market, Queen Victoria Market, Faraday Street.

Need some good and consistent coffee when out and about in Melbourne? Then you can't, shouldn't and wouldn't miss Market Lane Coffee. With 3 locations, 2 of which are at tourist hot spots Queen Vic Market and Prahran Market, you could certainly get your fix while checking out the rest of the farmers' produce. A small selection of coffee complements like cakes, pastries, muesli and bread are available for the munching. You can also take home a large range of single estate beans and brewing equipment for your home experiments. Free public cuppings are on at Prahran every Friday and Saturday, 10am - 11am.

Farm to Table Homemade Breakfast- Silo By Joost
123 Hardware Street

Silo by Joost is a great café that serves great homemade breakfasts. I couldn't stop raving about their Coddled Eggs, which is a simple dish with perfectly soft cooked eggs with baked oyster mushrooms and micro herbs. The winner is the unbelievably good bread made from flour from the Grampians (they make their own). All ingredients come directly from the farm to your table. Best breakfast in my life i swear!

The coffee takes on its unique flavor from the organic unhomogenized milk and is as great at their breakfast. Amazing place to have brunch at. I'll pick this over Hardware Societe just opposite their shop (their baked eggs are so so and more expensive!)

The Godfather - Pellegrini’s Expresso Bar
66 Bourke St Melbourne
Pellegrini’s is a classic Italian espresso bar in Melbourne and the vibe is certainly different from the regular indie third wave cafe. Expect strong coffee, quality banter and delicious home cooking. Do not go expecting eggs and bacon. Instead, tuck into Pelliegrini's idea of a simple breakfast, a salami and cheese toasted sandwich.

Communal Coffee- The League of Honest Coffee 
8 Exploration, CBD
Touted as one of the best coffee coffee houses in Melbourne, TLHC has earned itself a strong following with their Pour Over and Cold Drip options, on top of the regular espresso based drinks. Single origins are aplenty here and the beans are roasted by these guys themselves. Chill out with some quesadillas or tarts and pastries communal style in this airy space with a white, mint and wood theme.

The Venezuelan- Sonido
69 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Sonido is a funky cafe that does a South American fare. The colorful and mismatched furniture and kitschy decor are bound to brighten up your day. Dig into their Arepas (corn bread) which come with fillings such as chorizo, eggs, beans and cheese. Single origin coffees are available here but their specialty is the Chocolate corona con queso, a traditional Colombian hot chocolate with cheese! Roll the wooden paddle to aerate the hot chocolate to give it that extra frothiness.

Best Barista- Cup of Truth
12 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Street Subway, CBD
By The Age The Good Cafe Guide 2013 has named Courtney Patterson, from Cup of Truth, Bonsoy's best barista. This cool dude has been pulling shots for the Flinders Street commuter crowd from this former ticket booth for the past four years. Grab a cuppa and go. Or hang around a bit and be in your zone before diving back into the madness.
I've barely scratched the surface of the coffee scene in Melbourne with the above list. The following are more cafes i would love to visit if they were more accessible/if i had more time.

Proud Mary
172 Oxford St, CollingwoodWith the accolade of Best Cafe in The Age Good Cafe Guide under their belt, Proud Mary sets the benchmark for roasters and coffee lovers in Melbourne.

Dead Man Espresso
35 Market Street, South Melbourne
This is one of the best looking cafes in town with very tasty coffee. A special Dead Man Espresso blend is made for them by Seven Seeds.

Auction Rooms
103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne
Best Cafe in The Age Good Cafe Guide 2013.They're said to be one of the coolest fitouts in town, with excellent coffee, a tight brunch menu and smart service.

St Ali Coffee Roasters
12-18 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne
Head on there for creative cafe food to go with the coffee.
Two thumbs up to the city that i wonder how the people ever sleep. Hope you enjoy my recommendations on Melbourne cafes.