A few months ago, we had the praises of the Mandoon Estate and its casual dining restaurant – the Homestead Brewery – sung to us, so we decided to make a day trip of it to the Swan Valley and check this place out. We got there around a funny time (about 2 pm, hoping to avoid the crowds), and boy was the place was packed. Even at 2 pm in the afternoon, there was a massive queue already formed outside the restaurant. There was even a large sign with a clock hand pointing to the number of minutes making up the estimated wait time.
It pointed to 30 minutes.
So we decided to explore the estate instead, and try our luck in 30 minutes. 30 minutes later, we returned to find the line longer, and the sign now pointing to 45 minutes.
The place had come highly recommended to us for both the food and wine, so we were slightly disappointed, and vowed to try again. Over the recent new year break, we finally made good on that vow.
The Homestead Brewery is (as the name says) a brewery, and also one of two restaurants housed in the award-winning Mandoon Estate winery. The estate also contains the Wild Swan (their fine dining restaurant), a cellar door (where you can try and buy their wine) and luxury accommodation on the property.
We arrived at the restaurant at approximately 11:30 am on a weekday. This point is important, and it was very likely the reason we were able to be seated immediately with no wait time. It was fortuitous that we arrived when we did, for in just half an hour, the place suddenly became packed and lines into the place were starting to form again. And this was even before the tour buses started arriving! So if you haven’t made a booking at Mandoon, no problem! Just don’t go during peak hours. But as our previous experience had informed us, even that’s not a guarantee that you would be able to get a table.
After all that trouble, was the food worth it? Our verdict is a definite yes.
We decided to go with shareable dishes (because we get to try everything that way).
First off was the Octopus, chorizo, kipfler, chilli, parsley ($17).
Flavours were all well balanced and tasty, although the octopus could stand to be charred slightly to help the flavour stand out more in the dish.
Next was the Prosciutto and provolone croquettes, mustard mayo ($14). One is missing off the plate in the following picture because we just couldn’t wait.
Our eyes grew as big as the croquettes when we saw it come out to the table. We were expecting teeny-tiny bite-sized croquettes like how most places do them, but these babies were huge! We were worried that they would be large and tasteless, but our fears were unfounded. The croquettes were chock-full of flavour, and we were indeed glad that there was more instead of less of them! Of all the dishes, I would say that this was the one I enjoyed the most.
That’s where the missing one went! A peek into the croquettes.
For mains, we ordered the Gidgegannup mushrooms, ham, Portobello, provolone, truffle oil pizza ($25).
The pizza was fresh and yummy, and the mushrooms were surprisingly tasty. The pizza base was fluffy and bready, and that did not hold up toward the middle of the pizza. Eating the pizza turned out to be a knife and fork job at the start due to the weight of the ingredients causing the tip of the slice to sag when you picked it up. Once the middle was eaten and the sturdier crust could take the remaining weight of the pizza, it was easier to switch to holding the rest of the slice by hand.
For drinks, we ordered the 2015 Old Vine Grenache ($11.50 per glass) and the Golden Eagle Australian Ale ($7.50 per speciality glass, which is what I’m guessing is about the size of a middy).
This beer was crisp and fruity, but the flavour only seemed to hit the front of the mouth with not much body at the back. However, given that it’s is the lightest beer on the menu, my guess is that it was probably meant to be that way.
As for the wine, I’m no wine taster, so my description is a tad pedestrian. All I can say was that the wine was amazing, easy-to-drink but still packed full of a whole blend of delicate fruity and spicy flavours that made the mouth happy in a whole bunch of ways. I liked it so much that we ended up purchasing it at the wine cellar after our meal.
Quick tip: If you plan to dine at the Homestead Brewery and are planning to buy some wine, it’s worth it doing both together, as diners get 10% off the wine at the wine cellar, and wine buyers get 10% off their meal after purchasing wine.
Service was brisk and friendly and remained so even though the place got slammed just shortly after. With a combination of good food, great wine, and the location being in the Swan Valley region – just an hour’s drive from Perth, it’s no wonder the place is always packed. On top of that, the only place you can buy their wine is either at their cellar door, or online, so there’s plenty of reason to head back to the Mandoon Estate.
Location: 10 Harris Road, Caversham WA 6055
Sun – Thu 7:30am – 8:30pm
Fri – Sat 7:30am – 9:30pm
How to book?
Online at the Homestead Brewery Page: https://mandoonestate.com.au/eat-drink/homestead-brewery
Or call on 08 6279 0500