I have become so accustomed to sitting on trendy milk crates and drinking from mason jars, that it’s been a while since I ate breakfast from a table laid with silverware and glistening water glasses on crisp white linen. The last place I expected this to happen was at the Roleystone Country Club. A place where I had spent plenty of nights drinking middies of “super”, smoking and playing pool as an 18 year old. Yep, I am a hills girl.
I grew up in “Roley”, in fact my mum still lives there in the same house. Not much has changed since I moved out of home but I never thought I would step foot back in the country club, especially to review breakfast at their restaurant – Windows on Wygonda.
Mum keeps me up to date with the local gossip – who’s married who, who’s mum she saw at the shop recently… important things like that. So I was surprised to find out she hadn’t heard that someone new had started up the restaurant at the country club again. There has been a revolving door of people who have tried to make a success of it but for some reason it soon fizzles out.
I hope this is all about to change with ex Rockpool Head Pastry Chef, Gavin Chater at the helm. Surely someone of his calibre has the talent and the know how to make food that will impress and attract customers to the picturesque hills.
We arrived for our 10am booking and there isn’t a soul around. We go up to the door and it’s locked. What now? We see someone walk past and we knock on the glass. This started to feel like a scene from a horror film.. the bit where you’re yelling at the screen “DON’T GO IN THERE!!!”. A man comes to the door and lets us in to a deathly silent restaurant. Chef Chater emerges from the kitchen with a big smile, welcomes us and shows us to our immaculately laid table. The horror film feeling soon leaves, even though we were the only people in the restaurant.
Exactly nothing has changed in the place since I was last there over 15 years ago, except the restaurant has moved to the best part of the club – where the floor to ceiling windows over look the bowling green down to the beautiful tree filled hills and valleys of Roleystone. It is quite a view!
Our coffee orders are taken straight away, which something even the best cafe’s don’t always do. In an age where ordering at the counter seems to be the norm, it’s nice to be waited on for a change. Served in double wall glasses, the coffee was subtle in flavour but needed to be a touch hotter to bring it up from being luke warm.
The breakfast menu is short but it is anything but boring. You’ll see elements like smoked butter, morcilla, local honey and Shropshire blue listed on the menu. Prices range from $6.50 for fruit toast up to $20 for the big breakfast – eggs, medium rare beef patty, bacon, rosti, roasted cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. There’s also a kids menu where for $6.50 there is a choice of fruit and yogurt, egg on toast or pancakes with jam and butter.
The Spanish omelette ($14.50) was right up Mum’s alley. Fully loaded with chorizo, roasted peppers, paprika, cherry tomatoes and red onion, this eggy breakfast had no boring bits. The edges were crispy with the soft fluffy centre you’d expect from a top notch omelette. The seasoning was a testament to chef Chater’s skills – Perfect. Served on top of rye drizzled in olive oil, this was a breakfast that would leave even the most hungriest diner satisfied until lunch time.
When you see bacon and egg doughnuts ($10.50) on the menu, you can’t NOT order them. We had expected this dish to be bacon and egg sandwiched between a doughnut ball. We were almost right. What came out were four huge choux buns, fried with pieces of bacon in the dough. Dusted with icing sugar and ready for dipping in maple syrup, these buns were perfectly light and fluffy – exactly what you’d expect from a chef with a resume like Chater’s. A bit more crispy bacon in the buns would have made this one of Andy’s favourite breakfasts this year. The only mistake was that he ordered a side of mushrooms ($4). For the record… mushrooms do not taste good with maple syrup.
Sarah went with a more of a “make your own” style breakfast. She started with a base of eggs on gluten free toast ($10.50) and added a side of avocado ($4) and side of bacon ($4). What a pleasant surprise to see this come out with three eggs.. yep THREE! Each one of those beauties was perfectly poached and the bacon was how us Sheehan’s like it – crispy on the edges. The side of avocado was as fresh as the morning air, seasoned well with a hint of lemon juice.
I have a penchant for mouldy cheese. Not the kind you find at the back of the fridge but the pungent, creamy blues that come from the UK and France. Now that I am no longer pregnant, I have been making up for 9 months of soft cheese abstinence at every opportunity and a mushroom dish ($14.50) with Shropshire blue was just the ticket. Meaty swiss brown mushies were piled high on top of toast with tasty squares of morcilla thrown in the mix. For those not familiar with morcilla, it is a Spanish blood sausage. If you like black pudding you will love morcilla. It’s all about the spices! Lovely flecks of Shropshire blue decorated the mountain of mushrooms. Being a strong flavoured cheese, the chef had got the balance just right. Of course, I also added a side of bacon ($4). It wasn’t really needed, but I had a bacon craving!
Even though the country club is a members run venue, the restaurant can be visited by anyone. I really hope that locals and visitors alike get behind this restaurant. How often do you find a chef of Gavin Chater’s calibre running a small local noshery in what is pretty much a bowls club!? We need to treasure this place!
With breakfast only being served on Sundays, it’s a perfect excuse to take a drive up to the hills and enjoy a five star breakfast overlooking Roleystone’s beautiful hills and valleys. It’s well worth the trip!
Note: They also serve a top notch dinner here using seasonal and local produce – Wednesday – Sundays. Check out the details on their Facebook page!6 Wygonda Road, Roleystone
Breakfast served Sundays only 9am – 11am – Bookings recommended.
Originally published on WA Today Friday 4th September