Published on 20 May 2022
If it has been a while since you last visited the Valley, it may be time to plan a return trip because some new and exciting businesses have opened over the past year. Here are some of the highlights worth visiting, as featured in the 2022 edition of the Swan Valley Magazine.
By Monique Ceccato & Sue Yeap
Old Young’s has been part of the fabric of the Swan Valley since 2016, but late 2021 saw the much-loved gin distillery grow its presence. Founder, James Young, expanded the distillery’s operations into the former Rustique property next door, giving the humble Old Young’s tasting space a new neighbour, a welcoming community kitchen and bar.
Taking cues from the landscapes of the Valley, the resulting Old Young’s Kitchen space invites you in with open arms and a touch of rustic charm. In the kitchen is alumni of both Fervor and Fleur at the Royal Hotel, Rohan Park, whose acute knowledge and appreciation for native flavours are woven into the menu. There are more obviously Australian dishes like the crocodile chorizo and emu tartare, and more subtle ones too, like a scallop crudo with native lemongrass.
Though long-time owners David and Bev Atkinson have ended their journey with Jane Brook Wines, their much-loved Valley vineyard isn’t going anywhere. Purchased in 2021 by Darren Walker – the owner of neighbouring Chapel Farm – the Jane Brook Wines legacy lives on, just in a way you may not have seen before.
“Our single aim is creating WA’s very best cellar door experience; we’re no longer merely a home for Jane Brook Wines, but now a true fermentorium, We want to provide a range of diverse, carefully crafted experiences that allow our customers to choose their own engagement.” says Adrian Kenny, Chapel Farm Estate’s commercial manager.
Not content with crafting just wines, the team keep busy with the production of beers, seasonal speciality spirits, cider, kombuchas and fruit water kefirs, and fermented foods; all made on site. The new, multi-faceted cellar door is a true collaborative effort, with many of Adrian and Darren’s friends chipping in to share the skills necessary to bring these offerings to the table.
New chef, new menu, and new vibe; it’s a whole new era for the Upper Reach Restaurant. Owners Laura and Derek Pearse, with chef Ryan Fels, have completely revamped the beloved dining room overlooking the vines to evoke a more relaxed bistro atmosphere and showcase the delicious Mediterranean flavours.
Dishes like porcini mushroom and mascarpone risotto and twice-cooked duck leg with radicchio, endive, orange, and smoked almonds, dominate the ‘big dish’ menu, while beetroot and vodkacured ocean trout and halloumi with radicchio and honey, set the scene for the small, shareable dishes.
The Swan Valley is bursting at the seams with world-class wineries, but wine bars are few and far between. Formerly known as Little Albion, The Naked Fox is the region’s very first, and only, wine bar and café. “Our wine list comprises of over 250 bottles, uniquely curated by us, from independently-owned Western Australian vineyards,” says owner, Rachel Jones.
Known for its Shakespeare-themed gourmet toasties, the wine lounge has broadened its menu to include a range of sharing plates, charcuterie, cheeses, and local seafood. The Naked Fox also services the breakfast and brunch crowds from an integrated café (it even has drive-through coffee), seven days a week. You’ll find barista-made coffee, savoury bites, cakes, and other goodies; all made from ingredients sourced from its own garden or local farms where
When one door closes, another one opens. Oggie’s Ice Cream Café may be gone but another exciting new venture - SubZero Gelato - has opened in its place on West Swan Road in Henley Brook. Every mouth-watering flavour is made with passion right in SubZero Gelato’s own gelato kitchen in the Valley, using only the best and as many local ingredients as they can. Coowner and artisan gelato maker, Janneke Gerritsen, strives to create Western Australia’s finest gelato, not only the traditional vanilla, salted caramel but also new and funky flavours, like Gorgonzola, honeycomb and pear, or rosewater and pistachio.
Initially trading with a limited menu of gelato, milkshakes, coffee and light snacks, SubZero is planning a major refurbishment in mid-2022 and to expand its menu. The family-friendly venue features shaded areas on the lawns, with garden games for all to enjoy with plans to unveil a big and exciting playground for the kids to play off their sugar rush in the coming months.
Swan Valley Station is a venue of many attractions. This plant nursery, gift shop, garden art gallery, and café introduced its latest feature…an impressive marron lake and sculpture trail. Launched in May 2022 after two years of development, approximately $500,000 worth of sculptures are on display to view free of charge, at Swan Valley Station.
The trail weaves its way through the property and around the lake, with a stunning giant blue marron centre piece the crème de la crème of the collection and located in the middle of the lake. While observing the sculptures, go for a scenic jetty walk and spot marrons (real and sculptural) along the way. Then round off the experience with a visit to the café, offering fresh fare, locally roasted coffee, and ice-creams made with fresh fruit blended in.
Read more on what's new in the Swan Valley and Guildford in the 2022 edition of the Swan Valley Magazine - now available to pick up at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre or businesses around the region.