To win Gourmet Traveller’s coveted title of ‘Best Restaurant WA’ takes a degree of artistry and polish that many hope to achieve, but few accomplish.
Jarrahdale’s esteemed Millbrook Winery has just taken out the honour for a second time.
Executive Chef Guy Jeffreys is no stranger to success; since coming on board at Millbrook 13 years ago, he’s won Chef of the Year in the 2017 WA Good Food Guide, while the restaurant has received two chef hats from the Australian Good Food Guide, and been featured in the New York Times and on Gardening Australia.
When the team won the Gourmet Traveller award in 2022 it came as a shock – they were nominated for Best Destination Restaurant and ended up with the top gong for the state.
This time around they had an inkling when they were asked to attend the awards ceremony in Sydney. But it didn’t make the experience any less satisfying.
“Everyone was stoked,” Guy said.
“Last time we won was with a completely different team. The pandemic hit us hard too. And it’s been a big couple of years of grafting and rebuilding. Our head chef Justin Wong has worked hard over the past year. So, I was really proud to win with the new team – it really solidified what we do.”
The restaurant grows 100 percent of its own produce – they haven’t bought a single vegetable in over six years.
There’s a synergy between head chef Justin Wong and head gardener Mitchell Seward, with an ever-changing menu being carefully curated based on what is available and at peak flavour in the garden at any given time. Everything is grown organically, and according to the moon cycles.
And for the past seven years the restaurant has championed the zero-waste movement with their more-affordable ‘No Waste Mondays’ which are often booked out for months in advance.
“We’re very conscious about our waste,” Guy said.
“We used to be closed on a Monday. And on Sundays I’d see so much produce left over – a lot of it would go home with staff, but some would go to waste.”
So, the decision was made to open on a Monday with a fixed price and a customised share-plate menu for each table, which used up anything left over from the weekend.
After the success of that initiative, the team has taken the zero-waste philosophy and run with it even further.
“We keep all our by-products now and try to use them where we can,” Guy said.
So, diners might experience vegies poached in the whey from the restaurant’s cheese-making efforts, or sorbet made from leftover buttermilk.
Anything remaining after these practises is either fed to the chooks, or composted.
Guy explains that all of their meat, poultry and fish is sourced from local small-scale and ethical producers.
“We champion Cambray cheese, and we source purebred Berkshire pigs from Linton Batt in Beverley. We buy the whole animal, butcher it in-house and use every bit,” he said.
With Karridale paddock-to-plate success story Glenarty Road taking out the WA category of Best Destination Dining, it’s clear there was a theme playing amongst this year’s winners.
“It’s definitely a trend at the moment. Customers want to know where their food comes from – you can’t do that in the city,” Guy said.