It’s no secret that Cape Lodge
in the Margaret River region, Western Australia, is one of my favourite places to stay,
anywhere in the world. The service at the luxury boutique hotel is superb – I always feel like a superstar. Having said that, it’s not a ‘showy’ place – rather it’s a place of refined understated elegance. The rooms spacious, luxurious, with thoughtful inclusions (such as a bottle of fresh rain water), and the restaurant is to die for. I’ve eaten there half a dozen times and after every meal I’m on a food-high for two days
In January, Executive Chef Michael Elfwing stepped into the kitchen when long-serving head chef Tony Howell moved to Aravina Estate t
o work day shifts and better hours for his young family. Michael had big shoes to fill given Tony’s consistent exceptional cooking put Cape Lodge on the culinary map winning Conde Nast Traveller’s Best Boutique Hotel restaurant several times during his tenure.
Despite being new to the Margaret River region, I was delighted when Michael told me that his focus was on quality regional produce – in his first month at Cape Lodge Michael spent as much out of the kitchen visiting producers as he did in the kitchen cooking.
Of course, the true test is in the taste. Tasting Michael’s food transported me to my happy foodie place, and I have to admit, I was very relieved. The head honchos at Cape Lodge recruited well – Michael’s cooking was nothing short of world class – he also let the excellent produce of the region shine on the plate.
- Pemberton Marron with butternut pumpkin, vanilla, marron extract and fennel seeds
Edible seaside: Canal Rocks dhufish, edible sand, sea vegetables, blue swimmer crab, beurre blanc
Margaret River venison, smoked marrow, beetroot, thyme, sauce achilles
Dessert platter special: Figs and Lime: port, curd, toasted swedish sponge, strawberry sorbet. Bahen & Vanilla: Bahen chocolate creme, cocoa rocks, salted toffee adn vanilla bean ice cream Donnybrook apples: baked with cinnamon sticks, sablé crumbs, vanilla foam
You might notice some Heston Blumenthal influence in the dishes above – Michael worked with him at Fat Duck. He has also worked with the legendary Cheong Liew at the Grange in Adelaide and opened Liew’s Kuala Lumpur restaurant, and has experience in other European Michelin Star restaurants.
Michael’s culinary training is French and he enjoys the current trends of molecular gastronomy, foraging and culinary interpretations of his Nordic heritage. Food and wine pairing is also a great passion for Michael who has completed his Professional Sommelier training certificate to strengthen this passion and knowledge.
And now he’s opening his kitchen to share his kitchen secrets. One Saturday each month from September to June 2015, Michael will create a meal using seasonal produce, sharing kitchen tips, recipes and how to choose the best ingredients, before guests sit down to a three-course long table lunch. Each class will hav a different theme – from Cooking with Marron to the Art of Soufflé.
The cooking class with the Long Table Lunch is $145 per person. For a schedule of classes and special accommodation rates visit www.capelodge.com.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (08) 97556311.
Hot tip: Breakfast is as much of a treat as dinner. If you love eating a great breakfast, Cape Lodge’s is one not to miss.
Disclosure: I’ve stayed and eaten at Cape Lodge at my own expense several times. This dinner pictured was subsidised and part of a hosted trip to the region by Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association.