Escaping the rain at Voyage Kitchen, Hillarys
Coming back from holiday is always an assault to the senses, especially when it comes to returning home from Asia where you've been solidly eating non-stop. For my boy and I, we've come back to our normal lives but things seemed to have ramped up more than ever - we're so busy!
Getting a night out together is a bit of a rarity so taking a Friday night out of our schedules for some quality date time was a welcome activity. After musing on where we could go, we finally decided to stay close to home and visit Voyage Kitchen in Hillarys. We've been for breakfast before, but were yet to try dinner so definitely found ourselves curious on what the night would hold.
Starting the night on a glass of wine each, I happily settled into my comfy chair while looking around. The restaurant is gorgeous and suited to it's seaside location. Warm light woods, grey walls and white accents. There's a really fresh vibe to the decor and pretty little vases of flowers throughout.
Even with the wind howling outside and rain coming down in buckets, it's a cosy place to be indoors. With the candle on our table flickering away, we both dive into the menu to decide on what we'll order.
We decide on a couple of small things - with me choosing the pork belly with spiced caramel dressing ($18) and Jeremy selecting the lamb, mint and chilli meatballs ($12). Pork belly is quite a large dish for me so we both know he'll happily contribute to eating it!
Beautifully plated, this dish consisted of crisp pork belly pieces, miso caramel, spring onion, chilli and mint.
The pork is crisp and juicy, with only a couple pieces slightly under causing the crackling layer to be sticky in my teeth. It's extremely well seasoned, with strong flavours coming from the spring onion and chilli. I couldn't really taste the miso caramel which is disappointing but overall it's a nice dish and a really generous size for an entree.
The lamb, mint and chilli meatballs come out with a generous serving of capsicum relish and sour cream, topped with a pomegranate, mint and chilli salad.
Unfortunately due to my capsicum intolerance I had to steer clear of this entree, but Jeremy tells me that the flavours are nice though the meatballs are on the dry side. He does notice that his salad flavours are similar to mine, which means he doesn't get a large range in flavours to try.
Since the weather is so dreary, both my boy and I find ourselves enticed by the idea of pasta to warm our bellies. He orders the cavatielli ($26) which is 'olive leaf' shaped pasta with free range Italian pork sausage, kale, roast chilli and tomato, creme fraiche and parmesan sauce.
The pasta is al dente and has a great texture from this less traditional shape. The flavours are tasty though if it was my dish I'd have wanted them to be more punchy. I do really like the addition of creme fraiche though which makes the sauce a balance between tomato and cream - the best of both worlds.
In my typical ordering fashion I select the gnocchi dish ($26). It comes out as pan fried potato and lemon gnocchi, roast pumpkin, crispy sage, toasted hazelnuts with crumbled feta and brown butter.
It's an extremely generous and hearty serving, though texturally a bit of same same with the gnocchi and pumpkin having the same consistency. I really like the pumpkin puree lying underneath the other ingredients which is silky and sweet, working well with the salty feta. There are a few bits of burnt garlic mixed in with the other ingredients which I discover about halfway through - they're so bitter that my mouth is instantly overtaken. But when I discard them and concentrate on the dish I enjoy what I'm eating though it could have used just a bit more salt and crunch to offset the overall sweetness.
We're both quite sated at that point so decide to call it a night without dessert. We do get a takeaway single serving of lemon meringue pie which we polish off later in the night. The pastry for this is crisp and crumbly; the meringue sugary but not overpowering in sweetness. The curd is too tart for my liking though, and I love sour things! But when you combine all three together they work well. A nice way to finish off the meal when our stomachs were more prepared for it.
All up our dinner at Voyage Kitchen can be described as nice. The service and food was good and decently priced but we both left feeling like the dishes needed just that little bit more finesse to elevate it to truly memorable. Would I go back? Yes, like I said it was nice - just a few little tweaks and it could have been a great night out.