Arc of Iris, Margaret River, Western Australia

Everyone I met in Margaret River recommended Arc of Iris. It is a local restaurant with a great wine selection and is noted for its attention to Australian cuisine. This was the advice and who am I to argue?

On my final evening in town, I headed off to discover the place for myself. It has a bar on one side and a ‘fine dining’ option on the other.  I had made a reservation for the fine dining side through their website. This will sound strange but there were a LOT of flies. That’s not unusual in Australia (as I discovered at Uluru!), but other restaurants seemed to manage it with zapper machines.

The paper menu was pretty worn out looking and my server was super friendly, but dashing around frantically getting everyone seated.  I’d pre-assessed the menu online and fancied a bigger meal, having enjoyed a lighter lunch at the excellent Morries earlier that day.

I was going for that beef tenderloin with dauphinoise. Yum.

After enjoying a ‘taster’ wine flight at Morries, I wanted to have a proper glass of a local red and the server very kindly let me try two of the options in taster format so that I could select one.

The restaurant is clearly very popular and right after I took the picture below, it filled up rapidly – there was even live music!

In one of my signature selfies, I look happy to be out (some would argue that I’m rarely in!)

I selected a cabernet sauvignon from Margaret River – a lighter twist on the genre and one glass was just the perfect amount.

When dinner showed up it LOOKED amazing, but those potatoes were utterly undercooked – soapy and it wasn’t possible to slice through them easily.  I had to send the dish back.  As I was early in the service, I reckoned that all of the dauphinoise would be the same so asked for any starch that was ready or easy to prepare.  They returned (replated) with wedges, which was fine.  That pepper sauce had ONE pepper in it and was washy – not good enough for the considerable price of the dish.

If the usual fare at this restaurant looks like the picture above but is fully cooked and the sauce is given some punch, there would be every reason to celebrate it. The steak was cooked perfectly. However, whether it was simply too busy, or I was too early, there was a sufficient lack of attention to detail to make me question its excellent reputation. On another night, who knows…

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