Thursday, February 28, 2013

Margaret River Discoveries - Hayshed Hill Winery

Where is it?
Hay Shed Hill Deli on Urbanspoon

What's it good for?
Lunch or breakfast, wine, atmosphere, art, kids/family

Hayshed Hill lacks a lot of the pretence associated with many wineries that serve food. That's not to say that pretence is a bad thing, sometimes it's what we're looking for, but sometimes it's definitely not. There's no wank at Hayshed, the food on the menu isn't pub food, but it's certainly not priced through the roof either. It's well thought out flavours with lots of local produce and culinary know-how.


Inside, their cellar door and restaurant are always filled with artwork from a local artist (which you can buy if you're that way inclined), because Hayshed Hill has always got an exhibition on. Their wine is pretty wallet-friendly and good quality. They're not going to set the world on fire with unusual varieties, they mostly do the basics, with a few deviations (for example a Tempranillo and a Sangiovese). They do the basics safely, well and within a reasonable price. Their Pitchfork rose at $17, while nothing fancy is a really pleasurable summer quaffer and as a Chardonnay fan-girl I have to recommend their "Block 6 Chardonnay," which as the name suggests is made only from grapes grown on block 6 of the winery. The best block for Chardonnay. Priced near the top of their price range, at $40 it's a good drop for the price paid, once again.

The restaurant boasts a CHEESE FRIDGE TO DIE FOR. International cheeses of repute and general deliciousness await in that refrigerator-o-tastiness. You can have a cheese board there (which you get to select your cheeses for) or have a piece hacked off the rounds to take home with you. Decadent? Definitely, but nevertheless totally wonderful. Their Chevre D'Argental was probably my favourite, but every cheese I've had from there has been swoon-worthy.

Recently the much revered Jake Drachenburg (formerly of Clairault wines and featured on Masterchef) was appointed as restaurant head chef. Their food was lovely before, now it's great, with some unusual flavours underpinning very good quality pieces of meat/produce. You can tell a lot about a place based on the cheapest stuff on their menu. If there's still effort put into the flavours of items like hot chips then I think it suggests that the chef has a lot of respect for all his/her patrons, not just the ones who are there to spend loads of money. The barramundi dish on their current Spring Menu is a personal favourite, but their hot chips are really good too. I could happily share a bowl of them with some rose and be content.

Their menu is likely to change from season to season (as all good menus do) so bear in mind that the barramundi might not be on the menu when you go.

Lunch in spring/summer looking out over the vineyard really is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Outside, Tables and umbrellas adorn a timber decked verandah, then spill out onto the grass. Be prepared to eat you lunch looking out over a lawn haphazardly furnished with children playing various ball sports and having a whale of a time.

However, don't assume that Hayshed Hill's restaurant charms end with lunch, they are one of the very few wineries in the region that do breakfast. And it's good breakfast, accompanied by a relative rarity in the Margaret River Region, good coffee.

Hayshed Hill is lovely. It's lovely with your family, it's lovely for a Sunday lunch with the girls. I've never had something that even close to resembles a bad experience there. However, it's not exactly a place that I would describe as "Margaret River's best kept secret." It's a pretty popular place for lunch and brekky, so if you're heading there on the school holidays or a weekend, it's always a good idea to book, just in case. If the weather's going to be fine I'd recommend asking for an outside table.

2 comments:

  1. Oh I am travelling to Margaret river for the weekend starting tomorrow. Surely Definetly going to look for this winery.

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  2. I am visiting Margaret River tomorrow. Surely going to visit this winery :)

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