Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published January 20th 2017
Breakkie with friends, long lazy lunchs or romantic dinners
The Valley View Restaurant has had something of a chequered history before ending up in its present incarnation of restaurant, function centre, corporate and wedding venue as well as offering accommodation in the form of the Valley View Villas behind the main building.
The building itself is wide, Federation Modern and inside can be divided into smaller rooms with partitions or all swept away making a vast reception area.
Appetisers (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
There's also a charming al fresco area protected from the elements by heavy clear cafe curtains.
The new owners took over at the beginning of 2016 and have gradually improved all aspects. One of the previous owners' innovations, Psychic Dinners, are no more, for example. One, at least, was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, which has to be the height of irony.
Home-made pie (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
A number of people told me I had to try the new menu, so one bright and sunny Tuesday a good friend and I took lunch there.
The service is informal and friendly and the prices reasonable. The food was excellent, although the presentation was homely rather than silver novelle cuisine.
Portion sizes were generous and well-seasoned, perfectly cooked and tasty.
The famous ribs - a two person serve (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
As one of the few Swan Valley restaurants open for lunch on a Tuesday, the dining hall was busy and humming with happy conversation. Except for a very large family group of Asians who ate their meal in serious, dedicated silence. But autres des pays, autres mœurs I guess.
The menu is mostly familiar favourites with some fancy sidesteps. Entrée was from a selection of five. Well four really, as the Arancini wasn't ready. However one of the remaining was Salt and Pepper Squid ($15) so I was a happy diner.
Salt and Pepper Squid (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Squid is tricky to get right - a minute or two either way and you have either slime or rubber, but this was perfection. Perfectly seasoned and tender all the way through, even though the pieces were quite large. The best I've eaten in some years. The home-made aioli was delicious.
Tony chose the 'Creamy Mushroom with freshly baked focaccia' ($12). Not a soup, despite the description, but beautifully cooked and the sauce was superb.
Creamy Mushrooms (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
My main was a nice Scotch fillet, crushed potatoes, al denté broccolini and a very superior red wine jus. ($30), while Tony had an excellent red wine and beef pot pie and vegetables ($20).
Scotch Fillet (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The wine list, like the menu, is simple but serviceable, mostly local Swan Valley or WA wines at little over bottle shop prices.
We indulged ourselves with dessert - my absolute favourite Sticky Date Pudding with ice cream and Butterscotch sauce ($10)- absolutely delicious, and like every course, a generous portion.
Skipping lightly over the Shiraz poached pear with ice cream; Vanilla pannacotta with a mixed berry compote or a Chocolate Brownie with ice cream and a chocolate ganache (all $10) Tony settled on the Lemon Tart with double cream ($10) - not too stridently citrus with a smooth lemony filling and a crumbly case.
Sticky Date Pudding (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Less tarte au citron and more South African Melk tert, but a perfect end to a good, solid, value for money, meal served with considerable friendliness and charm.
I would say that as a restaurant Valley View is reliable, family style, comfortable and comforting eatery for a moderate cost. If you haven't been to Valley View for a while, give it a shot, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Lemon Tart (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
I am reliably informed the ribs are something a bit special, but you need to order them well in advance as they marinade for days and slow cook, so obviously each order is a special case.
The bill for the two of us with cider and 'on-tap' Feral beer and three courses each was $130.