Core Cidery in Pickering Brook is set in rolling green lawns, tables strategically placed under shady trees, another area covered with umbrellas and shade cloth, and a playground for the myriad kids of the family groups who made up a large part of the customers on the day we went along.
Last Wednesday was a beautiful day in the Perth Hills, and judging by the many young families enjoying the shady grassed areas we were not alone in thinking this. This is a very attractive setting.
The restaurant itself is up a walkway and stairs, through the tasting area where cider sampling takes place and out onto a covered deck, with fans flitting around circulating the air.
The weekday lunch special – a two course menu comes with a complimentary Apple Mimosa cocktail was appealing and I decided to order this while my partner ordered off the a la carte menu. I write wine and book reviews on instagram @winesandbooks – look at my lovely cocktail!
The first entrée, flash seared scallops were plump, juicy and tender, accompanied by buffalo chorizo adding a characteristic salty, spicy, meaty note, while a dash of orchard pear puree, provided a complementary sweetness to the dish.
Buffalo mozzarella came with chopped, pickled nectarines – the creamy buttery flavours of the oozy cheese perfectly complemented by the acidity of the stone fruit; micro herbs added a fresh note to the dish.
For the mains, a dish of pickled prawns from the a la carte entrée section impressed. These were firm, sweet-fleshed prawns with tails attached, sat on a bed of nutty quinoa, crunchy hazelnuts, shaved fennel adding an aniseed note, and chopped nectarine providing juicy, sweet flavours; a drizzle of plum syrup, provided a sharp, acidic sweetness contrast. Pretty as a picture, too.
Next risotto of roast orchard pears, macadamia nuts and blue cheese, garnished with Core apple crisps, rocket and grilled courgettes. The rice with just the right firmness to the bite, had an amalgam of flavour – saltiness from the cheese, crunchy buttery nuttiness from the macadamias, and sweet, richness of the fruit. Rocket and zucchini added peppery notes and fresh vegetable crispness.
The dessert selection was tempting and with our never say no attitude, we opted for wild lime and ginger tart – brilliant – a custard infused with ginger and limey notes, buttery pastry, a scatter of tiny wild limes – intensely flavoured – with candied lime peel, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, and a drizzle of dark, rich honey provided all you could want in a stunning dessert. A must if you go along.
With our meal, the house Vermentino was just the ticket – the limey palate perfect for the seafood dishes especially; and of course my complimentary apple mimosa was very refreshing. A glass of Cabernet Merlot helped us to a happy conclusion – nice berry bouquet, plums and chocolate on the palate.
Core Cider is an extremely popular spot – especially on weekends, but also from our experience mid-week during the holiday season; and also attracts many wedding parties in the beautiful grounds.
Very good food, great ambience and outlook, excellent cider and a nice selection of wine makes for a wonderful excuse to have a trip to the Perth Hills.
Disclaimer: we were guests of Core Cider – food complimentary and we paid for our wine.