|Carriley Estate Winery|
As it turns out, I had no cause for concern. My niece (and her siblings) are like most other children and enjoy running around outside more than sitting primly at a restaurant table. Somewhere along the line 'winery' became equated with 'exciting food and outdoor playgrounds'. What child wouldn't want that for their birthday?
|Carriley Estate Winery|
I hadn't been to Carriley prior to this visit, but it is set in attractive surroundings, with the restaurant overlooking the gardens above and the requisite playground set off to one side. There is also a creek at the bottom of the property.
I find food at wineries to be a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to vegetarian options. Usually, wineries seem to specialise in meat and seafood dishes and the vegetarian choices can be limited and fairly average. Carriley did offer two vegetarian choices on the a la carte menu (which is only available on weekends, with a set option during the week), in the form of pumpkin risotto and vegetarian pizza. They also had bruschetta with field mushrooms as an entree, Turkish bread with vegetarian dips, and vegetable side dishes.
Mr Bite and I ordered the vegetarian pizza with a garden salad to share, a choice mirrored by his sister and her husband. As Mr Bite's brother also ordered a pizza for himself, and two of the three children present ordered the children's Hawaiin pizza, there were a lot of pizzas on the table!
|Vegetarian pizza: "Baby sun blushed tomatoes, grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, fresh rosemary, olives, pine nuts, basil pesto, mozarella".|
We didn't request the pizza to be made without cheese and I mostly ate the outer (crust) sections that were less cheesey. The restaurant does indicate that the pizza can be made gluten free, so I am sure they would have been accommodating if I had asked for cheese adjustments. The pizza base was crispy and the vegetable toppings were varied and well cooked.
I also enjoyed the salad, which was fresh and only very lightly dressed.
The other food ordered included the pumpkin risotto, barramundi and lemon grass croquettes, a children's fish and chips, and some steamed vegetable sides. All dishes were well presented and were seemingly well received.
There were plans to stay for dessert, but the restaurant filled up while we were there and the service slowed down accordingly. Instead of waiting to place and then receive a dessert order, we drove down the road to Whistler's Chocolate Factory, the base of the Western Australian company Whistler's. In addition to chocolate, the factory has a casual ice cream stand and a chocolate-focused cafe.
I hadn't tried Whistler's products before, as I'd only seen confectionery-like products sold in supermarkets (think chocolate-coated liquorice and chocolate freckles). The selection in their store was much more appealing, and included a number of dairy-free dark chocolate blocks and pieces I would like to try one day. On this occasion, I exercised restraint and reminded myself that $10 chocolate blocks are a luxury and not for everyday purchase*.
I did enjoy seeing an aquarium made completely from chocolate and liquorice, as pictured above and below. I wonder if the display is updated periodically with fresh supplies, and whether some lucky staff get to eat the old one when that happens?
In all, it was an enjoyable Sunday out and I intend to investigate Whistler's further in the future!
* Yesterday, I spent $30 on vegan carob blocks. My restraint only goes so far.
Are you fond of winery lunches? And what is the most impressive food-based display you've seen?