Published on 16 June 2022
By Danielle Costley
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect venue for a date night, special celebration or simply want to check out somewhere new, look no further than the Swan Valley and Guildford. Whether it’s fine dining in a vineyard, lazing fireside with a craft ale or cider, or sharing a tapas plate of the freshest local produce, this historic region has it all.
Open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, casual cidery Funk 2.0 prides itself on being a little bit ‘funky’ and out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a tipple of Sex Machine cider, or its alcoholic hybrid tiramisu that’s made from a coffee and honey-infused black IPA, all drinks are made by the Funk Cider team and Michael Brothers. The drinks are unpasteurised, and free from preservatives, added sugars and sulphites. And the core range ciders are all gluten-free.
On the menu, there’s pulled pork croquettes; lamb chorizo and grilled octopus; cider battered and fried cauliflower with vegan aioli; braised duck waffles; charcuterie and cheese boards for those wanting to share their meals. If you are after something more substantial, try the tropical salmon with pineapple, melon and mint, paired with a glass of pineapple cider. Finish with a s’mores inspired tart, or indulge in either a cider or beer tasting paddle. As you would expect from an establishment that is owned by farmers, all produce on the menu is sourced locally and is as fresh as possible. Everything is made on-site, including the bread, on this modern Australian menu that is packed with flavour.
Sandalford Wines has undergone a recent transformation in the restaurant and tasting room that is sleek and stylish. Dine outside on the terrace among the 100-year-old grapevines that have their roots firmly entrenched in this historic wine region. The signature hand-rolled egg pasta (rotolo) is served with globe artichoke, buffalo mozzarella and soft egg yolk to whet the appetite. Celeriac is woodfired with seed crumb and served with cherries, apple, walnuts and grapes, or there is the golden beetroot with stracciatella. Good vegetarian and vegan options are also on the menu, alongside woodfired pizzas, succulent seafood and generous servings of ‘Pitch Black’ premium Angus beef and Futari wagyu. Try the Experience Sandalford mini degustation menu, which consists of five courses created from its seasonal menu, thoughtfully paired with wines.
Kappy's Italian is an institution in Guildford. This family-owned Italian trattoria is warm and welcoming. The meals are large and flavoursome, and the atmosphere is fun and casual. The wine list is vast and the cocktail list, although small, is spot on. A ceiling of twinkling chianti bottles greet you as you walk through this establishment, that has been serving traditional Italian fare since the 1980s. The menu is classic, with a combination of traditional recipes and fresh Australian produce.
Begin your Italian love affair with a selection of bruschetta, arancini, olives and crusty Italian bread, followed by grilled calamari with chilli and garlic, fried cacciatore sausage with olives, and breaded Fremantle sardines. And that’s just for starters. Work your way through some classic pasta dishes such as gnocchi with blue cheese, walnuts and spinach, or chilli crab linguine. If room permits, there is chilli mussels, fillet steak with fiery pepper sauce, and a mushroom risotto. Sate your sweet tooth with a tiramisu or slice of cassata ice cream. Kappys is open for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.
The Henley Brook is the family-friendly establishment you’ll go to when you’re looking for a hearty pub meal in casual surrounds. Find a bar stool on the verandah, a table in the beer garden where you can watch the kids unwind in a nature playground, or settle down on a couch by the fire.
There’s beer battered stuffed jalapenos, cauliflower tacos, chicken parmigiana, fish and chips, steaks, grazing plates, barbecue ribs and burgers.
From Tuesday to Saturday, you can enjoy a casual meal with a great selection of local brews and wines in this barn-like complex that is affectionately dubbed “The Hen” by the locals. On weekends, there is also live music.
For a cosy date night option look no further than the The Naked Fox. Nestle up by a retro-fitted wood oven and indulge in tapas-style local seafood, seasonal salads, free-range charcuterie and local cheeses. As for the wine - from tasting paddles to a rotating wine by the glass list, take yourself across Western Australia’s nine wine regions before even turning the first page of the wine list. Here you’ll find more than 300 wines on offer from the Swan Valley to the Southwest - simply choose your tasting adventure.
And if wine’s not your drink of choice, there is also a wide range of independent WA beer and cider, distilled vodkas, gins, rums, whiskeys, cocktails and mocktails made from local ingredients to discover.
The wine bar is open for dinner Saturday evenings until 9.30pm.
One of Australia’s oldest operating hotels, the Rose and Crown’s origins date back to 1841. Located at the entrance to the Swan Valley wine region, the historic Guildford hotel has three restaurants, open seven nights a week that cater for everyone – think bar snacks, share plates, hearty meals, or à la carte dining.
Posh Convict bar and lounge exudes style and intimacy and is perfect for a quiet dining experience. Its elegant fireplace, spacious lounge chairs and low tables combine to create a subtly exclusive experience. The menu is refined and is complemented by an impressive list that features many locally crafted Swan Valley wines.
The 1841 Restaurant is classically inspired with old wooden floors and open fireplaces, making it an ideal spot for the cooler months.
The Garden is a beautiful spot for casual dining outdoors in this picturesque beer garden, whether it’s a large meal or some bar snacks. Immersed among the roses and a rare dragon tree, you can unwind on the decking areas by the bar to local music.
Located behind the historic Guildford Hotel, you’ll find modern Italian restaurant Locale Mio, which focuses on bringing food fresh from the farm to your plate. There is an extensive food selection, with ample tapas options, cold, hot or fried. Some of the fried tapas include zucchini patties with tomato chutney, deep fried mozzarella balls with basil pesto, or savoury donuts served with a Napoletana dipping sauce. Or among the cold options, there’s beef carpaccio, cured kingfish with cucumber, crumbed taralli and tomato gazpacho, La Delizia burrata and prosciutto with garlic focaccia.
Try to resist the traditional pasta dishes such as gnocchi tossed with pomodoro sauce, wild mushroom pappardelle with white wine sauce, spaghetti meatballs served in Napoletana sauce, or pasta with broccolini, capers, anchovies, crumbed breadcrumbs and chilli – they are comforting and satisfying. Its diverse woodfired pizza selection is also a firm favourite with locals and little ones.
For more of the latest recommendations on all things to eat, drink, see and do in the Swan Valley, make sure to pick up a copy of the latest edition of the Swan Valley Magazine from the Visitor Centre or businesses in the region.