When Geoff Barrett first opened Watershed Winery Margaret River’s culinary landscape was very different to what it is now. According to Geoff, Watershed means “to take to a new level of understanding, to have an awakening revelation” and that it did, when it opened in Margaret River in September 2003.
Geoff (a lawyer by trade) was determined to ensure that the restaurant had a family friendly, welcoming vibe to it. As such, it was one of the first restaurants in the area with a children’s playground and, surprisingly, was also one of the first with air conditioning. The restaurant space is largely occupied by the restaurant itself, but also contains a small café at the front with its own menu – perfect for diners looking for a more low-key option.
The building itself stays true to authentic Margaret River design, showcasing beautiful stone and timber while still being modern and functional. Floor to ceiling windows provide breath-taking views across the vineyard, the perfect resting place for your eyes while you dine on Watershed’s culinary fare.
Which brings me to the most important point – the food!
In an effort to conquer food envy, the menu includes a tasting plate option for both the entrée and dessert menus. This is their signature and, as someone who can sometimes fall victim to food regret, I absolutely love it.
The menu changes regularly, but you can always expect to find fresh, local fish on the menu and high quality vegetarian dishes (Geoff made a point of emphasising Watershed’s commitment to ensuring that vego dishes are appealing to EVERYONE and not just vegetarians). During the summer months, lamb and beef feature heavily and you’ll always find lots of local ingredients being showcased. Plus, they give you complimentary bread (baked in house) to start you off. Happy days.
Their Head Chef, Dan Gedge, is originally from the UK and worked under renowned chef Rick Stein for a number of years. The rest of the kitchen staff are eclectic in their origins, coming from Brazil, Germany and South Korea – to name a few.
Dining at Watershed is a delightful experience. The friendly, knowledgeable staff, plus the impeccably presented modern Australian cuisine and beautiful, family-friendly location make it a must-visit.
What we had:
Taste plate of:
Vine-ripened tomato, shallot cream, parmesan croutons, egg yolk, olive
Nori seaweed, cucumber, miso aioli, radish, puffed wild rice
Chicken satay, green papaya, Thai basil, roasted peanuts, lime
Fried polenta, homemade ricotta, pickled blueberries, charred corn
Local Lamb Rump and Rib
Medjool dates, pearl couscous, preserved lemon, eggplant and yoghurt puree, pistachio nuts
(1/2 serve between us)
Taste plate of:
Grue de cacao, cardamom ice cream, saffron syrup
Apple and Rosemary Sorbet
Olive oil biscotti, peppered strawberries, caramel
Poached peaches, rose meringue, yoghurt and mint ice cream, poppy seed tuile
Coconut rice, mango, lychee, spiced plum, smoked hazelnuts, green tea wasabi
2014 Shades Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (awarded the Top Gold medal for Sauvignon Blanc Semillons at the 2014 Margaret River Wine Show)
2012 Senses Shiraz (awarded a Gold Medal at the 2014 Mundus Vini International Wine Show and the 2014 Cowra Wine Show, has also collected 4 silver medals in Australian wine shows)
Watershed Winery is a popular wedding location, generally hosting weddings every week between October – April. The space can be adjusted dependent on the number of guests.
Watershed Winery also contains a seminar facility, and helicopters are able to land at the venue (by appointment).
Where to find them:
Cnr Bussell Highway & Darch Road