We all know about the Swan Valley and Perth Hills wine regions – but did you know there’s a fantastic winery and restaurant in the heart of suburbia, near Wanneroo? The Conti family have owned and operated the boutique Conti’s Winery for many years. Little by little, suburbia has caught up with this spot that was once surrounded by vineyards and market gardens.
In the last year the onsite restaurant has enjoyed a change of management and “House of Conti” is now run by acclaimed UK Chef John Mountain. As well as owning his own establishments, he’s worked with the who’s who of British culinary royalty (like Heston and Marco) and even had a stint on TV show the Great British Menu.
Paul Conti’s range of wines have an excellent reputation and on recommendation, we tried the Cab Sauv, which is divine. We didn’t have time on this day, but I’ll be sure to drop by to the neighboring cellar door for a pre-meal tasting in future.
The cosy restaurant is found in the original family home of Paul Conti. The House of Contis’s seasonal menu is made up of classic European dishes. Pork belly, confit duck, beef fillet, fish and chips, as well as salmon linguine, mushroom risotto and a tiramisu for dessert, are just some of the choices.
After chatting with Head Chef John Mountain, we could feel his enthusiasm for cooking, and discovering the best way to execute dishes. He has a big dedication to detail. The yeast battered fish and chips is the best example of this. Chef Johnnie has perfected a batter which includes yeast to make it ridiculously crispy. The thick flesh of the snapper is encased in a crispy golden, yet light, batter. Served with a generous serve of chips, house made tartare sauce and a grilled lemon (nice touch), my Mum declared it was among the best Fish n’ Chips she’d ever eaten – and she’s had her fair share.
The slow roasted pork belly was equally full of flavor and topped with a crisp crackle. Served with mustard mash, and pickled veg – it’s a top dish.
I loved the wonderfully cheesy risotto, with gooey bocconcini, as well as rocket, caper berries and a big meaty punch from wild mushrooms.
Thanks to an impromptu visit, my camera-phone photos don’t quite do these dishes justice. I can tell you that the three of us not only left with very satisfied tummies and taste buds, we were made to feel very welcome to come back for another visit – and we definitely will.
Get more details on the House of Conti website.