Cuisine: Tapas, Wine Bar
Location: Perth CBD, Murray St
I’m not usually into the arts but since I came across a brochure promoting the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival, I took a look and decided to see a show. But first, I needed some dinner after work so I decided to try out The Laneway Lounge which is just past Shafto Lane on the opposite side of Murray Street. I was feeling really hungry so I left work earlier than normal to grab dinner. It’s very bright but as soon as you step in, it initially appears very dark. As you acclimatise to the venue, you will notice a really intriguing venue taking you to a place somewhere in the US back in a bygone era. According to The Laneway Lounge, they’ve recreated a piece of New Orleans in the 1940’s. A tasteful wine bar with seats at the bar or the high tables, private booths, and a live music room for local and international performances, specifically jazz and the blues. Yep, and they have whiskey as well as an assortment of beverages. This is a rather cool venue.
As I walked in I was immediately greeted by the friendly waitstaff and taken to a table. I had a good look at the menu which offers tapas style items but is more than just your average bar food. This venue doesn’t require you to place orders at the bar, rather full table service is offered and in keeping with that style, the menu reflects items which are a bit more upmarket. After consulting the waitstaff about how many dishes would be suitable for one and eyeing the dessert menu, I ordered the following:
Prawn ‘Popcorn’ with Chilli Mayo $14
A reasonably large dish packed with these dark golden brown largish popcorn size pieces of deep fried prawn arrived. Suitably crumbed and carrying a soft crunch, it went very well with the mayo which certainly carries a subtle punch from the chilli. Prawn does get a bit intense due to it’s richness so the chilli mayo helps to take the edge off. I really enjoyed this.
Pork Belly Donuts with Maple & Bourbon Glaze $12
Side by side eating the prawn popcorn I also ventured to this dish, the pork belly donuts, which sounded interesting. There was a good sized quantity of reasonably large parcels of golf ball sized donuts. The outside had a light crunchy coating drizzled with a touch of maple syrup and bourbon glaze. Biting in revealed a chunk of tender pork belly. The pork belly carried a lovely flavour and with the very subtle touch of sweetness from the maple syrup, made each golden ball a delight. I thought the donut did lack something. Maybe on the inside, they could add a slightly sweet paste to add a little moisture and just that touch more sweetness. The maple syrup is just a tease! I really liked these donuts. Something very different and creative.
Amaretti & Caramel Custard Tart with Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Sweet Popcorn Crumble & Banana Gelato $18
I was split between whether or not I should go for dessert. Those two dishes were pretty filling but I still had a little bit of room. The dessert menu is annoying. Each dish looks appetising and you can only take one! The waitstaff recommended the last of the lot which I went for. Fortunately, the serve wasn’t too large but for $18, they’ve priced their desserts very high. Generally fine dining restaurants may get to this price range. I think it’s a bit over the top. Anyway, after the first spoonful of the amaretti and caramel custard tart, I was in foodie heaven! Wow, what a delicious sensation! Ultra smooth and full of flavour, I savoured every spoonful. It’s quite rich so it’s good there are other elements too. The menu does describe it as a tart but I didn’t get any pastry on the bottom so not sure what’s with that. The banana gelato is really delicious too. Very smooth and carrying a muted banana flavour which cleanses the palette. They’ve put a blob of salted caramel on the end which seems a little out of place but tastes delicious. The bits of scattered popcorn don’t really fit with the dessert to my mind. Maybe if they’d put blobs of the salted caramel on top or coated the popcorn in something sweet it would have worked better. As for the chocolate, it’s difficult to pick up. The board on which the dessert is presented is a dark black and they’ve smeared chocolate using a brush and then placed all the other elements of the dessert on top. As a result, the chocolate doesn’t really play any part in the dessert. There is also a bit of a crumble of some sort scattered here and there for some crunch. I really enjoyed the dessert, especially the tart, but not all the elements really work to my mind.
The Laneway Lounge Food Review Summary
Verdict: This classy 1940’s New Orleans venue offers patrons a seat at the bar, the high tables, private booths, and also has a live music room for local and international performances, particularly of a jazz or blues variety. Whiskey is on the drinks menu along with all kinds of beverages, and in keeping with the full table service available, the tapas menu offers something more than just the average bar food. I particularly enjoyed the golden brown popcorn prawn which was rich but had the edge taken off by the spicy chilli mayo. I also really enjoyed the chunks of pork belly surrounded by a light deep fried dough and coated ever so slightly with a maple syrup and bourbon glaze. These donuts were really something. While the desserts are quite pricey, I did have the amaretti & caramel custard tart which has the most delicious sensation! The palette cleansing banana gelato is very tasty but the rest of the dessert has elements which don’t quite gel well. I was pretty full and really liked the feel of the venue and the delicious food. A great place to stop by for any occasion, especially pre-theatre.
The Laneway Lounge Restaurant Details
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