Everyone welcome', says the sign as you enter. It may as well say 'Relax – we've got you covered.'
Whether you want a sit-down meal for two or shared plates for a big group, an artisan coffee and breakfast while the kids play nearby or a casual beer and pizza sitting on the grass – Oakover Grounds has it all.
Barrel Bar - for casual food and drinks you will find unique options such as sangria and espresso martini on tap
Located in the Swan Valley, Oakover Grounds keeps evolving and growing. Originally settled in the 1830s, third-generation farmers the Yukich family took over the vineyard in the late 1980s, opening the cellar door in 2000 and the restaurant two years later.
Twenty years on, and Oakover has a relaxed and warm feel that can only come with years of experience and dedicated staff.
The restaurant has indoor air conditioned tables or on the breezy verandah with views over the lake
I've visited a number of times over the past two decades and the experience keeps getting better and better. In addition to the restaurant and cellar door set amongst the shady grounds there are now also more casual dining options with the Smokehouse and Barrel Bar. This means if you find yourself in the Swan Valley and haven't wanted to book ahead, you can just turn up and know you will be able to find a delicious feed and somewhere to sit, while the kids can burn off some energy with the free family activities.
There are a range of free, family-friendly activities on site
Restaurant and cellar door Located in an enormous industrial-style barn, the restaurant is open daily for lunch and on weekends for breakfast. The covered verandah overlooks the lake and grassy grounds and you can visit the cellar door to taste the wines before making a purchase which can be brought to your table. Or you can do what we did and order tasting paddles of either beers ($18) (from neighbouring and local breweries) or wines ($22) from the Oakover range.
Wine and beer tasting paddles are available in the restaurant
The lunch menu includes a range of grazing plates as well as larger meals if you're not very good at sharing. With a focus on local ingredients and suppliers, you can expect to find all your favourites here from Bec's BLT (very generous with the B!), a hugely popular chicken parmigiana or the more worldly grilled barramundi or roasted pork belly. Vegans and vegetarians are catered for and almost every item is gluten-free or has gluten-free options. Not the parmi though, sorry.
Main meals range between $24.50 for the Oakover chicken salad and $34.50 for the confit duck leg Thai red curry. Kids have the choice of five favourites ($10-$12) including fish and chips, spaghetti bolognaise and a ham and cheese toastie.
We preferred to explore the grazing plates which range between $5.50 for European olives to $21.50 for a locally baked brie; also on the menu are a charcuterie plate, arancini, chorizo, cheese plate (you get to choose your cheeses), jalapeno poppers and chargrilled Fremantle octopus.
I need to stop for a moment and talk about the brie. You have to try it. A local creamy brie (available in the shop) baked until it is perfectly gooey inside, topped with Swan Valley honeycomb and spiced walnuts. The honey is the winner. Dip the chef's bread into it. Dip the chorizo into it! Delicious.
Baked brie, jalapeno poppers and delicious chorizo
Desserts are available from the cake fridge and include a range of decadent cakes and biscuits. If you aren't hungry for lunch, you can simply enjoy cake and a tea or coffee.
Smokehouse and Barrel Bar
If you prefer a more casual snack, the Smokehouse offers a small range of options that you can eat in the Barrel Bar or at any of the picnic tables dotted around the grounds. Featuring house-smoked meats made into pizzas and gourmet rolls as well as chips or loaded fries, you can enjoy your meal along with a drink from the Barrel Bar.
The Smokehouse specalises in smoked meats and casual snacks
Ringed by vineyards, the expansive Oakover grounds are open for visitors. This includes the lake with koi, trout and long-necked turtles, grassy areas with ducks and a new nature playground with swings and climbing frames. Please keep your dogs at home.
The new nature playground (shade sails are coming soon)
Swan Valley Marketplace
The Marketplace opened in 2020 out of a desire to offer local businesses a place to showcase their produce. But what started as a response to the pandemic has grown into a great opportunity for visitors to browse a range of gourmet products all located in the same space. From fresh cheeses and smoked meats to pasta and sauces, local free-range eggs and artisan coffees, the range also includes spice blends, local honey, nougat and more.
You will find well-known names such as Maggie Beer and Moorish nuts, imported European delicacies as well as curated gifts. It's a one-stop-shop should you want to put together a gourmet hamper showcasing local produce.