Yanchep National Park, Yanchep
Phone: (08) 9561 1001
Yanchep Inn is one of Perth’s best coastal day trips, so if you’re a tourist or a local looking to explore Perth, then head up the Sunset Coast for a slice of history, and some great Aussie food.
Entering Yanchep National Park, I felt cheery that I was just 45 minutes from the city yet already among tall jarrah and wattle trees. The huge Tudor-style inn, nestled on a beautiful clearing, backing onto Yanchep Lake, charmed me instantly.
The Inn was built in 1936 by the government to service the growing north, and then used as a rehabilitation hospital for the air-force during World War II. On New Year’s Eve 1999, Father Tony, son John and family took over Yanchep Inn, restoring it to its original glory when it was heritage listed.
John, our host, told us that the today, the inn attracts guests from the burgeoning north, producing 1,000 meals each week (wow), and is booked solid every Friday and Saturday night. John gave us a tour and explained the Inn’s various spaces. The Cabaret Cave’s, just down the road, is one of Yanchep’s many caves that has been decked out to host events (very cool), The Inn has hotel rooms upstairs and modern motel units next door that overlook the lake.
Walking into the Inn, you get the ‘ye olde’ feel in the front half, with its Tudor dark timbers and traditional furnishings that pervade the original bar, restaurant and breakfast room. It’s gorgeous and quaint, warm and inviting. Then out the back overlooking the lake, is the newly built ‘Atrium’ section – a bright, open, fresh area that is popular for wedding and functions.
The beer garden in front of the Atrium offers shady umbrellas and trees, visits from local native species, and views of the lake in front. On Sundays there’s a laid-back DJ (or a band), which attracts families from everywhere. I cannot stress how great the beer garden is – I will definitely bring my friends and family here.
The Yanchep Inn’s chef Steve serves up great ‘Australian’ food. Now, ‘Aussie’ food – to me – seems to take the best dishes from different cultures, and that’s what the Inn does. Menu items include: chicken parmigiana, pastas, salt and pepper squid, garlic prawns, fish and chips, and so on. However, I am loathe to call it ‘pub’ food, as the menu offers much more than that. The traditional pub dishes are fraught with care and concentration, and chef Steve really utilises the fresh WA seafood, meat and produce that surrounds him (great to see).
Steve also offers more ‘swanky’ dishes, like the basil pesto lamb backstrap, sliced and served on a creamy potato cake with roasted red capsicum, fresh spinach leaves and red onion underneath, and a thick balsamic jus. The menu works, with kids, pub punters and those with more discerning tastes, all catered for.
I highly recommend the Seafood Platter for two, one of the best I’ve had. It could feed a few, seriously great value and best enjoyed with a cold one out in the beer garden. The oysters Kilpatrick had chunky bacon and lots of juice to slurp, and the oysters were plump. The fish -thick fillets of fresh barramundi- came out beer battered and grilled – love that! You could smell the beer in the batter, which was crispy, light and not oily. Lemon pepper dusted squid was tender and well-coated. The garlic prawns were chubby and the sauce not too rich. The side salad and homemade tartare and seafood sauce just capped it off.
I’ve run out of room – so much more to say! I implore you to visit- and there’s a great koala enclosure next door. Good, old fashioned WA food, atmosphere and hospitality – I love the Yanchep Inn; a real slice of Western Australia.
By Shenade Unicomb