GAIL Williams enjoyed the tempting delights of a boutique breakfast at the grand Cape Lodge, Yallingup.
For years now I have been hanging out for the Cape Lodge dining experience – even if just for the cachet of being able to say “I’ve eaten at the best boutique hotel in Australia”. Not to mention that it was the chosen place for Sting to lay his weary head after the Leeuwin concert.
But the phone has obviously been running hot since Cape Lodge was voted Luxury Travel Magazine’s Best Boutique Hotel in Australia and listed in the Condaacé Nast Traveler’s Gold List in 2011 and 2012. Try to get a Saturday night booking on a Grand Final long weekend and you’ve got (Nathan) Buckley’s chance.
Breakfast turned out to be the only way I was going to get to sample chef Tony Howell’s much-talked-about food based on local seasonal produce. But not before the charming Mediterranean accent demanded I hand over my credit card details first.
“Jez in case you don’ turn urp,” the booking voice said. Hmm.
We did turn up on a sunny Sunday morning and took our places at the velvet-covered, high-backed seats overlooking the lake.
My family don’t really do grand settings. We’re not all that comfortable with starchy white tablecloths and where you sit a football field away – Gilmore Girls’ style – from your loved ones. But they do it so well here, and so unobtrusively, that we settled in like pigs at a trough.
“Can you hear me down there? ” I yelled to my husband.
“Yes, unfortunately,” was his acerbic response.
All I wanted to establish was if he was going for the Jarrahdene pork sausage or the open omelet with buffalo chorizo, so I could snaffle the homemade brioche with truffled scrambled eggs.
All three were part of the a la carte menu which, for $39.50, includes the full continental breakfast ($29.50 a head) and a main cooked-to-order course. The whole shebang is the best value in and out of town. Take into account unlimited coffees (plunger, cappuccino or flat whites), fruit juices, cereals, yoghurt, croissants, muffins, fresh fruit, dried fruits and nuts, and toast.
It’s a great way of avoiding the rubbery egg and cold, greasy bacon syndrome you get from baine maries, which are thankfully absent here.
And here’s the bottom line – it just makes you feel so damn special.
After you’ve waded through the sweet brioche, filled with heavily truffled but light-as-a-feather scrambled eggs topped with crispy prosciutto, you can down another three or four coffees in a wingback chair in the adjoining lounge.
The other dishes ticked all the boxes – poached, free-range eggs wobbling like a starlet’s pert breasts on toasted sourdough; perfect ratio of piquant sauce to salmon and asparagus in eggs benedict; and fabulously light chocolate and banana muffins.
One regret. I didn’t try the sous vide Manjimup trout with coddled-egg dressing. I’ll just have to head back. But next time I’ll book a dinner table.