Living in the beautiful Perth Hills, we’ve been enjoying the growing food and drink scene in the Bickley Valley, found just minutes from Kalamunda. Neighbouring Pickering Brook has been home to orchards for generations and so it’s no wonder that Core Cider House popped up there about five or six years ago.
The Core Cider House is a favourite of ours. We’ll often drop by for a cheeky drink of apple or pear cider in the gorgeous “cider garden”, sometimes stopping by for lunch or simply having a bowl of wedges or a platter to share.
The Cider House is in a picturesque setting and the type of place you could easily spend a few hours on a sunny day. We were entertaining family from the UK, and found a pear-fect spot in the lush gardens, at a table on the shaded patio.
You can also sit up in the dining room, which has sweeping views of the tree covered hills, full table service and a more extensive lunch menu which includes gnocchi, burgers and steak.
The ciders are excellent at Core. You’ll find dry ciders, like “Hard Core”. The sparkling pear “Peace Core” is my favourite. There’s quite a range of ciders available, including a traditional scrumpy coming soon, as well as a sparkling lemon drink called “Pith’d”. There’s beer, coffee, tea and soft drinks for non-cider drinkers. My tip for first-time visitors is to get the tasting paddle and choose your favourite from there. There’s also a new cellar door under construction, due to open Feb 2018.
We ordered from the casual garden menu at the outside bar and were given a buzzer, which would alert us when our food was ready to collect. The adults in our group shared a platter, pizza and some loaded fries.
Farmer John’s Board ($40) is brimming with smoked chicken, salami, olives, sweet drop peppers, apple, farmhouse cheddar, sourdough bread, pear and core spicy plum sauce. It was a good size for 2 to 4 adults to graze on, with sides. The tiny sweet drop peppers were a big hit – we’d never tried those before.
The loaded fries ($14), topped with pulled pork and melted cheese was delicious.
We also ordered a roast pork belly pizza ($23), which was topped with plenty of tasty pork, pickled plum, caramelized onion, gorgonzola cheese and wild rocket.
For the grandkids there’s an under 12’s menu with four options including fish and chips, tomato pasta, pork slider and grilled chicken with creamy mash and green beans, all for $10.
We all enjoyed the food and believe me, it can be hard to please eight people! It was tasty, well-cooked and bursting with local produce. The Sunday Session is a good time to visit, as there’s live musical entertainment in the garden.
Core is a very busy venue and all the staff looked run off their feet. Usually the service is fine, but on this occasion, our pizza was forgotten and I had to follow it up twice.
Afterwards, our grandkids enjoyed running around on the lawn under the fruit trees. There’s a metal playground, as well as a new nature playground. The kiddies loved playing on the core tractor too! On the opposite side of the gardens is a sandpit.
Adults can enjoy a traditional game of bocce.
All In All
This gem, set amongst shady orchards, is well worth a weekend drive “up the hill”. Throw down a picnic rug amongst the fruit trees, or grab a table – bookings are recommended at this very busy spot. We would definitely go back, again and again.
Address: 35 Merrivale Rd, Pickering Brook, Perth.
Phone: 9293 7583
Disabled Access: Yes – parking and toilets. For ACROD and convenient drop offs use FIRST entrance off Merrivale Rd (follow signs).
Parking: The main carpark is gravelled and on a slight slope.
Grandchild friendly: Very! Kids menu, playground, sandpit, colouring in and more.
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