I cannot think of a better way to have spent my Sunday afternoon than to have made the beautiful drive out to Chittering with my partner to enjoy great food, great music, and a wonderful atmosphere.
Situated about 40 kilometres north of Perth, the Chittering Wine Region has much more to offer than I'd ever anticipated. Being a regular of the Swan Valley, I was ready to be surprised when the opportunity to explore a northern winery came about.
Driving through the country, down the windy road peppered with grapevines, my first impression of Stringbark was that it looked rustic, laid back and inviting. When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted right away, receiving excellent customer service as the close-knit staff attended us with warmth and care that money just can't buy.
We were seated by a lovely old fireplace, adjacent to the Sunday entertainment- The Love Finders Band. The live music added such a local, homegrown flavour to the already rustic venue, and we really enjoyed the easy listening blues, rock and lovely acoustics. Honestly, the classical nerd in me was purely delighted at the presence of an electric violin which added to that gorgeous country feel!
Along with the lovely menu of delicious fare, Stringybark had an extensive specials board which my eyes were drawn to right away. We ordered Salt & Pepper Squid and Mushroom and Parmesan Arancini Balls for our shared entree, and for mains, I ordered Roast Pork with Apple Sauce and Vegetables, and my partner ordered a classic Chicken Parmigiana. Oh, and I also dabbled in a glass of 2016 Stringybark Cabernet/Shiraz, because it would be rude not to!
Shortly after ordering, my glass of red wine arrived. Man oh man, I only became a red wine person in the past couple of years (a mark of maturity I like to believe?) and this wine was absolutely delicious. The menu described flavours of blackcurrant, plum and chocolate with hints of liquorice and spice, which was spot on, and it was a wholesomely moreish glass of vino. All in all, the relaxation of enjoying a gorgeous glass of red wine whilst listening to blues out in the Aussie country was just magic.
We shared our entrees of Salt & Pepper Squid and Mushroom and Parmesan Arancini Balls, and they were delicious. I am a sucker for Arancini balls, and these did not disappoint. The Salt and Pepper Squid was tender, and the gentle salt and peppered crumb was just perfect. Not oily, not chewy, not basic. It was proper home-cooked food. Once we had finished, we enjoyed a pause between our entree and main, and it gave us the opportunity to further enjoy the band and make room for our main course. The Love Finders played some classic tunes as I continued to sip my wine, soaking up the energy of the room.
Between our entrees and mains, we got to meet the owner of Stringybark and the leader of The Love Finders Band, who were both so warm and lovely! We were made to feel like locals through the kindness of everyone there.
So as I mentioned before, my partner ordered the Chicken Parmigiana (which I am guilty of stealing multiple bites of as it looked too good to pass up). I find that a chicken parma can be a risky choice when eating out; you never quite know whether you're going to get a thin, disappointing schnitzel or a big, delicious fillet. I was delighted to discover that Stringybark's Chicken Parmigiana was the latter- fresh, juicy, and immediately in my top three list of best parma's I've had. SO good!!
After I'd finished being a seagull over my partner's dish, I got to enjoy my Roast pork with apple sauce, crackle and veggies. A simple restaurant staple, it was the perfect Sunday roast I that had been missing recently, and as always, the crackle was a tasty touch. I also really appreciated the freshness of the apple sauce!
All in all, Stringybark and the Love Finders Band provided the perfect laid back Sunday atmosphere to truly lull myself into a food and wine coma before having the head back to the big smoke. As my partner and I left we mused over how lovely it would be to bring my sister and her fiance here, because it really is just a stone's throw away from the hubbub of Perth, and the lovely drive through the country to get there just added to the relaxed energy. With ample indoor and outdoor seating, it's the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends and some live music, or a bottle of wine and a catch up under the eucalyptus trees.
Thank you to Stringybark Winery and The Love Finders Band for having us, we truly had a wonderful time!
Please check out The Love Finders Band's Facebook page here, and consider booking them for your next event: www.facebook.com/lovefindersband
And check out all of the deliciousness Stringybark Winery has to offer here: www.stringybarkwinery.com.au