When I think about how close us Perthians are to the array of produce and bountiful land in Swan Valley, it’s almost staggering just how infrequently I head inland there. Yes it is about a 30 minute or so drive from where I live, but there’s some truly gorgeous wineries there that just beg you to head down and enjoy a tipple while the sun sets.
So when I received an invitation to RiverBank Estate for a blogger’s dinner recently, I was excited to accept and attend. While most of the bloggers bought their partners, Jeremy was at work that night so Martin from Morsels and his lovely wife were kind enough to let me sit with them and share the food between us. It was a nice way to unwind after a long working week, and enjoy the cooling start of Autumn weather.
As we’re shown to our seats, we’re welcomed by a plank hosting spicy marinated Kalamata olives ($9.00) and house made chicken liver pate with crackers ($12.00).
I’m not the biggest olive fan but if you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I’m all about pate so I went straight to that. Smooth, rich and ever so buttery, it was a welcome starter bite. I think I would have preferred some toasted bread instead of the crackers, but nonetheless it still worked.
My favourite part of the evening was up next, with two seafood dishes placed down before us. The seared scallops with crispy prosciutto and pea and mint puree ($22.00) was a beautiful sight to see – and smelled incredible. I think there might have been some truffle oil drizzled over the top as it had that decadent aroma.
The four scallops were cooked perfectly, the edges golden and caramelised. It was a plate of tried and true flavour combinations, with the puree sweet and a lovely contrast to the salty snap of the meat.
The soft shell crab ($20.00) is a new addition to the menu as they migrate over to a share plate focussed style of eating. Served with a watermelon salad and mustard aioli, this was another tasty plate of food. The crab was teeth shatteringly crunchy, with a generous sprinkling of salt over the top.
The salad was fresh and vibrant, the ideal counter to the soft shell crab. Again, it was another classic flavour pairing and well executed. Head Chef Darren King has done well with these two dishes which tick the box from a satisfaction perspective.
Our next plate was the grilled Wagyu beef, served with kimchi, wasabi and a soy and sake dipping sauce ($22.00). The price for this dish, considering it is wagyu (though I’m unsure of the grade), was extremely reasonable.
The wagyu was cooked medium rare, with a nice glowing red centre and the meat melt in your mouth. This type of beef has such a buttery goodness to it, and it stands on it’s own without the Korean and Japanese influenced accompaniments.
Our final savoury dish for the evening at RiverBank Estate was the honey and soy glazed pork belly with ginger and carrot puree ($38.00). I’m not sure if what we were served is the standard size, but if so it is definitely on the smaller size when it comes to main dishes. However that being said, the five pieces of pork were delicious, the fat literally dissolving as we bit down into the meat.
The puree underneath was silky smooth, and extremely flavourful. I liked that instead of cooked vegetables there was a salad, which cut through the richness and injected some fresh vibrancy.
The best of meals always finish in dessert (or cheese!), and this one kept the course to my happiness. The fig and frangipane tart ($16.00) was served with mascarpone and anglaise, as well as a pretty branded chocolate with the venue’s logo.
The tart was lightly sweet and the pastry ever so crumbly. I would have liked to see it a touch more buttery, but thought that the figs grown on the estate which are in season now were effectively put under the spotlight. They had a lovely jammy quality and each bite was a delight.
Our final dish for the evening was the banana ice-cream with chocolate and caramel ($16.00). Of the two desserts, this was my favourite due to it’s simple but punchy flavours.
The ice-cream was so obviously real banana, and the chocolate gravel underneath was the right textural contrast. I loved the little piped hills of chocolate and caramel which were soft and morish.
I thought RiverBank Estate was a nice venue, and not one I’d ever heard of before. The food was simple but well executed, showcasing in-season produce. Thank you to the team for hosting us and putting on a relaxing (and very filling!) night.