Cullen Winery has a reputation as producing some of Margaret River’s best wines. It claims to be the first winery in the region in 1971. However, if you speak to their neighbours Vasse Felix Winery, they might tell you a similar story.
What I love about Cullen, besides the award winning wines, gorgeous setting with a cellar door made of stone and the adjoining restaurant that over looks the vines, is Vanya Cullen’s philosophy of biodynamics and the use of organic produce.
Cullen Winery has the kind of vegetable garden that my Italian grandparents would have approved of. Crops are planted in rotation, some are left to go to seed so there are crops for next season, and it fertilised with nurtured with natural compost. Head Chef Matt Egan can venture out to the garden and pick what will be featured on the menu that day. Edible flowers from chives that are going to seed, or the flowers from sugar snap peas and other such pretty edible flowers are often used to decorate dishes.
Zorba and I shared the sustainable seafood tasting plate for entree ($23); seared whiting with raw vegetable salad, smoked barramundi with apple, saffron and celery remoulade, and seared scallop with pickled ginger and wakami salad. Every element was divine. The scallop was my favourite, caramelised on the outside and perfectly cooked. The wakami salad has a delicious asian seaweed flavour and added a wonderful texture to the soft scallop.
For main, it was hard to look past the seared Cone Bay barramundi with herbed macadamia crust, potato puree and fennel cream ($39). Crunchy nuts crusted skin on the fish, perfectly smooth potato paste, crunchy fennel shavings and the delicate fennel flavour. I could have that dish once per week and not ever get sick of it. Really beautiful. And healthy.
Zorba had organic beef sirlion, rosemary potato gratin, vine roasted tomatoes and baked mushrooms with balsamic glaze ($38). He finished every last mouthful in almost record time. He was absolutely satisfied with his lunch.
We washed our lunch down with a glass each of Cullen Chardonnay ($13.50)
I’ve had the pleasure of eating at Cullen several times and every mouthful is not only delicious, it actually feels like I’m eating nutritious food that is energising my body. It feels good.
After lunch, we drove a short distance to Gabriel Chocolate for coffee – delicious mocha.
Cullen is a fantastic place to go for lunch. It is not cheap, but it is good and there’s the added bonus of knowing that you are going to have a lovely drop to go with your lunch – their wines are renowned around the world for good reason.
4323 Caves Road, Wilyabrup (Margaret River Region) Western Australia 6280
(08) 9755 5277