Going away on holidays can be a combination of stress and relief. The stress comes when trying to organise everything and also working out what to do while away. G and I are both meticulous when it comes to researching all the details to the nth degree, sometimes ending up with too many choices. However, when we recently took a trip down south (South West WA) I decided to limit the amount of research and to allow the rest of the trip to flow along once we were in the region.
We decided to keep away from the busy times as neither of us like crowds of people so visiting during the week was perfect for us. Pemberton was our first stop and after a smooth drive that took a lot less time than expected we arrived at Lost Lake Winery  (recommended by our accommodation owner). We had a booking for lunch so decided to do a little wine tasting beforehand. The weather for our arrival was that of a typical early winter south west day, slightly wet with a chilly wind that was enough to wipe the smile off your face. Luckily the winery had an open fire that was well underway and had begun to warm the expansive room and vaulted ceiling of the restaurant. Lost Lake is a relatively new vineyard being established in 1990 and owned by the Masters family since 2006. The winery and restaurant are perched on top of a hill overlooking the rolling country side and a picturesque lake.
The staff were friendly and informative, even slightly generous with their wine tastings. We really enjoyed their 2008 Classic White, 2007 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Pemberton Red (49% Shiraz; 44% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7% Merlot). Having finished our tasting we were seated early for lunch with our attentive waitress delivering water and our choice of wine just as we were ready to order our meals. We chose the Seared marinated scallops and venison chorizo on a pea, marinated feta and mint salad with a mint vinaigrette as a shared entree. A tipple of 2009 Pemberton Classic White was recommended as an accompanying wine and who were we not to take on such advice, so we indulged. The dish was presented well although the scallops were a little darker than I would normally like, luckily their texture was perfect. The venison chorizo had a string flavour that blended well with the scallops and was lifted by the pea and mint salad. This was a lovely way to start our meal. For my main meal I chose Caramalised roast pork belly infused with a sauce of cinnamon, cardamom and orange marmalade with seasonal vegetables and garlic roast potatoes and G decided upon the Grilled local 250g beef eye fillet served on Pemberton potato, bacon and scallion colcannon, topped with capsicum and tomato relish served market vegetables. A red was recommended with both of our choices and we settled on the 2007 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon.
When our meals arrived we were equally impressed with the presentation of both dishes and this was only surpassed by the first mouthful. The intensity of the sauce on the pork dish was immense and without combining it with the rest of the meal it was almost overpowering. However, once combined with the soft pork, perfectly cooked beans and fluffy potatoes it melded into a sublime and tantalising mouthful. G requested his eye fillet be cooked medium rare and the chef nailed it. This perfectly cooked beef combined with the hearty colcannon and slightly spicy relish took the flavours of comfort food to a new level of excellence. All of this combined with perfect service (something sadly lacking in some of the best establishments in Perth) was enough to make us want to come back again. Unfortunately they weren’t open for meals during the rest of our stay in the region. So we decided to stretch our long lunch a little further and ordered dessert and coffee. The dark chocolate tart was the desired sweet treat and a long macchiato each. Like the rest of the meal neither of these elements were a disappointment. The coffee was served traditional style with a small jug of hot milk in case we wanted them topped up, a nice touch. The tart was stunning and as rich as you would expect such a devilish dessert to be. The double cream and raspberry compote were both divine additions.
We left this fine establishment feeling like we had discovered one of the hidden gems of this relatively untouched region.
food: 9/10. I’m not sure how this could be improved but I need to have a little room to move when scoring in the future.
service: 10/10. Generous and informative wine tastings along with perfect wait service during lunch made our experience so much better. We were also able to take the wine that we didn’t drink during lunch home with us.
ambiance: 8/10. The exterior of the building and the view are impressive but the inside of the building just didn’t seem to match the level of the food. The open fire and friendly staff contributed to the positive end of the score.
would I eat here again: Yes. I just wish that we lived a little closer.