28/11/2006 - 21:00

Local fare to make its mark as Harvest Moon goes public

28/11/2006 - 21:00

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Once the preserve of a select few, Harvest Moon has opened its doors to the public.

Local fare to make its mark as Harvest Moon goes public

Once the preserve of a select few, Harvest Moon has opened its doors to the public.

The restaurant at Moondance Lodge, situated on 13 hectares adjoining Caves Road near Yallingup, offers an ‘orchard-to-table’ experience, where fruits and vegetables from the lodge’s orchard are used to supplement locally and organically grown produce on the menu.

The five-star Moondance Lodge caters for tourists and corporate groups from the city and overseas looking for an alternative environment for boardroom meetings and team activities.

Moondance Lodge owners Geraldine Reilly and Richard Doggart have taken inspiration from the slow food and local food movements, which are developing a growing following in the US and Europe. 

“There are now restaurants where food is grown and eaten by people who live in the local area,” Ms Reilly says.

The produce used at Harvest Moon is sourced in close to the lodge, either on site or around the Yallingup area. 

“It’s hard to have that experience in the city, but we do that here,” Ms Reilly says.

International travel has provided an influence beyond the kitchen at Moondance Lodge, with Ms Reilly and Mr Doggart having spent several years living and travelling in Asia. 

An eclectic collection of art from throughout Asia is displayed throughout the lodge, with the architecture described as contemporary Australian with an Asian influence.

Lodge guests are invited to explore the winding red dirt paths of the lush orchard, which features daisy bushes and herbs interspersed at ground level amongst large citrus and stone fruit trees, nourished by water from a natural spring on the property.

Executive chef Saul Atkinson, who oversees the international menu at Harvest Moon, has worked the kitchens of some of the South West’s more prominent wineries, including Leeuwin Estate and Voyager, in addition to founding a restaurant in Singapore.

The talented chef has also put his artistic ability to use in other areas, having created several she-oak sculptures, which are on display in the lodge’s expansive foyer.

Doors from the restaurant open onto a wide limestone patio, where guests can sit at tables overlooking a small lake and enjoy the ambience.

The restaurant seats 25 to 30 people inside, with additional tables in the outside patio area.

South West regional manager for Tourism WA, Robin Inkpen, says Moondance Lodge has been an asset to the area.

With visitor numbers to the region down this year, Ms Inkpen says the tourism industry generally has been affected by a variety of factors, although it is too early to pick a long-term trend.

“Tourism is a volatile industry and currently there are a number of factors impacting on visitors taking a holiday within their own state,” she says.

Many factors determine the national trend away from intra-state holidays, Ms Inkpen says, including higher petrol prices and a busy workforce that appears reluctant to take extended holidays.

Rising house prices also means many home owners chose to renovate rather than travel, while new technologies such as plasma televisions is taking some of the leisure dollar away from tourism.

Harvest Moon will be open to the public from Friday December 1 and will be open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday brunch.

• WA Business News flew to  Yallingup for the public opening of Harvest Moon courtesy of Moondance Lodge.

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