There’s nothing cosier than tucking in to some delicious tucker around a roaring fire. Dianne Bortoletto and Gabi Mills have rounded up the best places to warm up – and fill up too.
Images by Elements Margaret River.
Caves House in Yallingup is famous for its Sunday Sessions and lashings of historic beauty and heritage-listed gardens. Originally built in 1903 and then rebuilt in 1937 after a fire destroyed the first building, this scenic hotel with stone and timber accents has four fireplaces where you can warm your cockles this winter.
In the large Yallingup Room, the gas fireplace is along the back wall and this room forms part of the main dining area. It has a stately ballroom come-Raffles feel about it, with sky-high ceilings and thick drapes across the French doors and copious Kentia palms dotted throughout.
The Injidup Room is another beautiful dining area off from the main foyer with another gas fireplace, creating a warming ambience. In the Lounge Room, enjoy a drink with bar snacks on a sofa in front of the gas fire. Finally, there’s a real wood fireplace in the main bar that’s popular with locals and visitors alike. With several wall-mounted television screens, you won’t miss a second of sporting action, rain or shine.
Caves House, 18 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup. Call 08 9750 1888. Open daily 8am – 10pm.
THE WHITE ELEPHANT
Who says you have to avoid a beachside breakfast, brunch or lunch when it’s blowing a gale outside? The White Elephant Beach Café in Gnarabup remains open all winter, moving the action indoors to its view-embracing room.
No need to freeze either while you choose what to tuck into – you can order inside. The real wood fire creates a welcoming, toasty wintery sanctuary that’ll have you wishing it were your own lounge room. Tan leather sofas, coffee tables, rugs, polished concrete and long wooden tables feel so inviting. The glass bi-fold doors keep the weather out while you take in the views of Gnarabup Beach. Great coffee, casual café food, healthy as well as hearty choices and winter specials, soups, braises and gnocchi, are all on offer. A bonus is free Wi-Fi. It’s available for intimate weddings and special functions – imagine a beachside wedding with the fire warming the room and Margaret River red wine and locally sourced cheese platters warming your insides. Winter bliss in a nutshell.
White Elephant Beach Café, Gnarabup Rd, Gnarabup. Call 08 9757 1990. Open daily from 7.30am to 3pm.
BLACK BREWING CO
The impressive entry into Black Brewing Co includes a jarrah boardwalk over water with floating water lilies, leading to Camelot-style big double doors that King Arthur would’ve loved.
Once inside you’ll spot the big imposing stone fireplace that goes right through the sky-high ceiling. Actually, it’s two fireplaces, one that faces the cellar door and one that faces the main bar. Plush leather armchairs, coffee tables and plenty of dining seating fill the floor space, but the room is so big, it doesn’t feel cluttered. Tall glass windows and bi-fold doors open out onto a terrace with more water views, this time of a pretty lake complete with sprouting fountain.
Add water views, easy drinking craft beer and a South East Asian-inspired menu and it’s easy to see myself settling in and spending an afternoon at Black Brewing Co in front of that roaring fire.
Black Brewing Co., 3517 Caves Road, Wilyabrup. Call 08 9755 6500. Open daily from 11am to 9pm.
There are fewer things more warming than a good Indian feast, and the region’s newest Indian restaurant has been hailed as a godsend for winter by the locals. Located in the heart of Dunsborough, Oh! Delhi opened in the spring to outstanding reviews and presents the modern face of traditional Indian cuisine, aiming to enlighten the taste buds to the fullest.
The chef and owner Arun has created a varied menu with dishes ranging from the mildest to the hottest, all bursting with flavour. Highlights include the ‘Chicken Sixty Five’ cooked with sixty-five spices, and the kathi roll lunchtime special. There’s a comfortable family dining environment, with child-friendly dishes and banquets on offer for larger gatherings.
Oh! Delhi , Shop 9, 34 Dunn Bay Road, Dunsborough. Call 08 9750 5580. Open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday 11.30am to 2.30pm and for dinner Monday to Sunday 5pm-Late.
It’s been around for yonks and is named in honour of the previous owner Rhys Passmore – his nickname at school was Goose. The menu at The Goose reflects an eclectic palate, and diners are treated not only to a sumptuous collection of menu options but also to a proper waterfront location in Busso. Add to the mix a fireplace, and you’ve got a pretty fine spot to enjoy a feed. Well known for properly grown up dishes like pork belly, bathed in a stunning master stock broth and served with on-trend Korean condiment – kimichi – bean sprouts and jasmine rice, it’s also the perfect place to grab a coffee and a slice of something delicious, watching the sun go down on another amazing sunset.
The Goose, 1 Geographe Bay, Busselton. Open 7am to 10pm or call 08 9754 7700.
Curl up by the fireplace at Aravina Estate and watch the world pass by with one of the region’s most spectacular estate’s views from the comfort of a cosy couch. The roaring fireplace is alight every day in the colder months, whether you drop by for a pre-lunch wine tasting or a coffee after a degustation, it is one of the most stylish spots in the region to relax. Linger a while to soak up the warmth of an open log fire, and while you’re there, make the most of the new winter only special as well. Enjoy two glasses of their ‘A Collection’ wine and a shared grazing board by the fireplace for just $35.
Aravina Estate, 61 Thornton Rd, Yallingup, call 08 9750 1111.
SWINGS TAPHOUSE AND KITCHEN
One of the friendliest, family-friendly places in Margaret River, we love Swings Taphouse and Kitchen. You’ll come for the vibe and stay for the delicious, crispy-as pizzas. In winter, it’s the perfect spot to hunker down for an afternoon of chewing the fat and enjoying on-tap wines from the Swings and Roundabouts list. They serve stonking breakfasts too – in fact, it’s almost the perfect epitome of the Margaret River region lifestyle, all in one place.
Swings Taphouse and Kitchen, 85 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River. Call (08) 9758 7155.
KNEE DEEP WINES
The menu from the Knee Deep Wines restaurant makes a big point of using quality artisanal produce, that’s chemical-free, ethically harvested and abides by an organic approach. The food (which is contemporary Australian with Asian influences) is delicious, and complemented by the winery’s current release wines are available for tasting at cellar door which some of their back vintage wines are available by the bottle from the Doctor’s Cellar when dining in the restaurant. Try the Trust the Chef concept if you can’t make up your mind – it allows diners the opportunity to experience everything this Knee Deep Restaurant menu represents.
Knee Deep Wines, Johnson Road, Wilyabrup, call 08 9755 6776. The cellar door is open seven days from 10am to 5pm, restaurant open six days, lunch from noon to 3pm.
EAGLE BAY BREWING
Head chef Rupert Brown has built an impressive reputation for fantastic local dishes at Eagle Bay Brewing over the past seven years, and continues to work with some of the region’s finest producers.
“We love serving up delicious modern Australian-style food to compliment our handcrafted beers and wines,” says Rupert.
“We love a good gathering for any occasion, whether it’s a long lunch with friends or a cheeky afternoon drink.” Throw in a cosy fireside setting, and you won’t want to leave.
Eagle Bay Brewing Co., Eagle Bay Road, Eagle Bay. Call 08 9755 3554.