Disclosure: Part of the bill was complimentary
When the Grand Bar & Bistro first opened up I visited the bar area for a team lunch a few years ago and enjoyed my lunch of Patagonian tooth fish. I completely forgot that there was an upstairs restaurant which a lot of people might not necessarily realise. I received an invite to visit and was more than happy to accept after viewing the menu which offers a nice range of delicious looking dishes. If you’ve walked past this restaurant in the foyer of Central Park, you will have noticed the bar area which is quite flash. Upstairs continues in the same vein presenting a classy finish with an intimate atmosphere. At the same time, the menu offers a range of dishes that are very reasonably priced so please don’t be put off by first appearances, this restaurant is accessible to everyone.
Blue Swimmer Crab Croquettes, Micro Herbs, Lime Mayo $15.50
Three golden brown large ball shaped crab croquettes were presented on a bed of micro herbs and lime mayo. I had a little taste of this dish which presented a slightly crunchy exterior encasing plenty of tender crab. The crab wasn’t too strong but presented a nice flavour allowing it to be the star of the dish. There’s a wedge of lime too to add some acidity and additional citrus flavour.
Panko Tiger Prawns, Chilli, Mandarin Honey and Ginger Dipping Sauce $15.90
I also had a taste of the tiger prawns which were plump and juicy and had a lovely crunchy crumb but it wasn’t over crumbed. Sometimes I’ve eaten panko crumbed food and the crumbs are quite large but they were finer here which has a better mouth feel.
Pork Belly, Salted Crackling, Seared Scallops, Sweet Balsamic Glaze, Micro Herbs $15.50
I had the pork belly which was very tender. The skin wasn’t crunchy though in this version of the dish. Pork belly can be cooked in the oven which gives the crunchy skin which I was expecting, or, it can be braised which is the method I suspect was employed here. Instesd of the crunchy skin, braising makes it soft and a tad chewy which gives a different texture. For crunch, they instead provided salted crackling which was super crunchy. The balsamic vinegar created a caramelised effect and was a bit like a sweet and sour sauce. My last few bites toward the end created a delicious sensation with the glaze. If only I could have got that throughout the meal it would have made it so much more enjoyable. As for the scallops they were plump and juicy, perfectly cooked and really yum. A lovely way to start the meal off. The entrees present a decent serving and I was already feeling a tad full. I was glad when we asked if we wanted our mains straight away or at a later time. Later was unanimously chosen.
Cajun Swordfish, Cos, Buffalo Chorizo, Green Beans, Almonds, Saffron Aioli $29.90
Swordfish is a chunky dense fish like salmon so you can’t have a chunk of it. I didn’t detect much cajun flavour but maybe they’re decided to err on the side of caution rather than make it too spicy. I would have liked more cajun intensity for my liking. The fish is cooked well and is very meaty. When you cut into it, apart from the outside, it kind of looks a bit like a well done steak. The accompanying salad is really delicious. It’s a bit on the rich side with the slightly creamyish sauce but what I love is the strips of buffalo chorizo. I’ve never eaten this before and it has an interesting flavour. Slightly chewy but a tad salty, a lovely compliment to the salad.
300g Sirloin, Herbed Chat Potatoes, Almond Broccolini, Mushroom Or Pepper Sauce $31.50
The sirloin is huge so I had a taste of that too. Really tender, done medium rare, tasty with the pepper sauce which isn’t too peppery to leave you coughing. The sauce has a nice flavour and isn’t thick and glugy. The sirloin also comes with 3 roasted potatoes which are soft in the middle. Quite a heart winter meal.
Beef Cheek Ravioli, Leek, Parmesan Cream Sauce $24.90
My beef cheek ravioili was delicious. Quite silky pieces of largish ravioli encasing rich but extremely tender melt in your mouth beef cheek. The small bit of rich beef cheek is the perfect quantity so not as to overpower. The strong Parmesan flavour can be felt in the sauce which isn’t at all too cheesy and goes nicely with the ravioli. It is a little on the rich side but not sickening. A small sharp salad would help but you are welcome to order additional sides. Really full, the quantities have been generous and great value for money.
Chocolate Fondant, Mars Ice Cream, Creme Anglaise $14.50
Whilst really full, there’s always room for some dessert. I had a taste of the fondant which has a dense flavour of the dark chocolate but is really moist in the middle. The creme anglaise helps lighten the dish and counteract the dark dense chocolate flavour. So too, the mars ice cream which really adds pop to the dessert and is really enjoyable.
Coffee Mousse, Strawberry and Chocolate Piccolo Cones $14
I shared the coffee mousse which was light and carries a subtle coffee flavour. There’s a fair quantity and after a heavy meal, it is quite a bit to consume. The whipped cream helps to lighten the dish. As for the piccolo cones, these are an interesting touch and add a contrast to the mousse. The strawberry ice cream in the first cone is really refreshing and I preferred this over the chocolate cone.
I’m not sure if these were for the table or accompanied the coffee, but these butter cookies were really delicious and the perfect way to end the meal. During the course of the night we were comfortably looked after by our host, Matthew, who took excellent care of us and provided excellent friendly service. A big thank you to Matthew and Grand Bar & Bistro for inviting me to enjoy the experience of their restaurant.
Grand Bistro and Bar Food Review Summary
Verdict: Grand in name and grand in looks, the flashy bar and sleek classy interior downstairs in the bar and upstairs in the restaurant area, does not carry the grand price you might expect. Instead there are a range of dishes that are reasonably priced and each of the dishes we had were quite generous in serving and excellent value for money. Along with a relaxing ambience and excellent friendly service to boot, a visit here for any occasion is recommended. To start I ordered the pork belly which was very tender and tasty with a lovely balsamic vinegar glaze. Plump juicy scallops were also enjoyed and pair effectively with the pork belly. I also had a taste of the Panko crumbed tiger prawns and crab croquettes which were delicious. I also sampledthe mains, first trying some delicious cajun coated swordfish with a delicious salad. I particularly liked the strips of buffalo chorizo but felt the cajun intensity could be ramped up a few notches. The sirloin steak was tender and juicy and enjoyed with a not too peppery, pepper sauce. For my mains, I rather enjoyed the rich melt in your mouth beef cheek surrounded by soft ravioli in a Parmesan sauce that lent it’s flavour but was not too cheesy. For dessert I liked the subtle flavour of the light but dense coffee mousse which was offset by the refreshing strawberry and chocolate cones. I also had a taste of the moist but dense dark chocolate fondant, counteracted with the light creme anglais and tasty mars ice cream. Really full but satisfied.
Grand Bistro and Bar Restaurant Details
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Grand Bar and Bistro - 2 Sep 2015,