Cuisine: Modern Australia
Location: North Beach
I thought it’s time to treat myself and decided on a visit to Clarke’s of North Beach. They offer an al a carte menu but also a 6 course degustation for $100 with 3 additional courses available for ~$20 each and also a wine pairing from $50. I rather liked the look of the degustation menu and decided to opt for that. Clarke’s of North Beach is located close by the picturesque ocean, unfortunately being winter, one can’t see this at night but in summer it’s stunning. Walking in one is greeted by the friendly staff and soft warm ambient setting to sit down and enjoy the fine dining experience.
Amuse Bouche – Mushroom croquette, popcorn, espuma with a sandalwood smoke
As the jar was brought out I could smell the smoke. Once the lid was removed it was more evident. I love croquettes and this was perfect. Lovely soft filling on the inside, crunchy crispy crumb on the outside with an extra dash of salt to accentuate the flavour. The popcorn had been crushed finely into the filling but you can detect it along with slightly sweet tones contrasting against the salt. The espuma is delicious. A stunning start to the degustation.
Swordfish, Charred Octopus, Spiced Pumpkin, Chorizo Smoked Yoghurt
This dish had quite subtle flavours which makes it difficult to detect the different elements at play. The lightly marinated swordfish is very light and delicate, married against a hint of smokiness from the romesco sauce and the char from the octopus. The yoghurt is quite strong with the fish, though a touch of acidity from the pickled radish works well. A tasty and interesting dish, a light start in flavours before the flavours build up in the next courses I suspect.
Mount Barker Chicken Breast, Roulade, Charred Corn
The chicken has been sous vide before being finished off in a pan, a roulade (chicken breast wrapped in a chicken mousse), charred corn, olive oil soil, sweet corn veloutte, deep fried skin
The deep fried skin is very crunchy but a bit too intense and detracts from the dish. It’s like the over cooked bits of skin on a roast chicken that are not burnt but too crunchy. I’ve never eaten sous vide chicken and the texture is soft and textually different, but the flesh is cooked well but ultra tender. The skin is crispy and crunchy which gives a nice textual contrast. I like the juicy pickled tiny mushrooms, the charred corn is excellent, and I love the sweet corn veloutte which is just the thing you need in winter: warm and comforting. The roulade is different to the other elements of the dish and quite tasty. I really enjoyed this dish.
Southwest Lamb Backstrap, Braised Riblet, Parsley Sponge, Heirloom Beets, Coffee Crumb
Lamb backstrap which has been sous vide resulting in a perfectly cooked piece of very tender lamb but with a spongey texture. The flavours seems slightly intensified and is delicious. I’m happy to see plenty of jus which I tipped over the lamb but it’s quite runny. However, the flavour is really delicious, particularly, if one uses the parsley sponge to sop up the jus which reveals the meaty flavour. The coffee crumb is interesting and works well to quell the meaty lamb flavour, as too, the earthy juicy beetroot. The lamb riblet is cooked well and is a little fatty which contrasts to the lean lamb backstrap. It’s very yum. Very pleased.
Pre Dessert: Steamed Tonka Bean, Lemon, Golden Syrup, Sponge, Sauce Anglaise
It may be small but it’s the perfect size as the pudding is quite rich but really delicious. I love vanilla anglaise and this is divine. Yum
Rhubarb, Custard Pannacotta, Rhubarb Consomme
The rhubarb compote has a lovely light fruity flavour with a touch of sweetness which balances against the rich panna cotta, which tastes more like a blob of cream. The rhubarb sorbet also balances against the creaminess via the touch of acidity and the refreshing taste. The meringue provides a textial contrast via the crunch. Lovely finish to the meal. Comfortably full.
I was a little hasty in settling the bill as another dish was provided at the counter: a delicious mini maccaron and popcorn coated in white chocolate which was yum.
Clarke’s Food Review Summary
Verdict: Clarke’s of North Beach presents a soft warm ambience to enjoy the fine dining experience on offer. I opted for the 6 course degustation which started with an amuse bouche of a delicious crunchy mushroom croquette finished off with a sandalwood smoke. The very lightly marinated swordfish presented delicate flavours paired with the char from the octopus. Sous vide chicken was the next dish to arrive which presents a very different texture to what one is used to, but the tender succulent breast is delicious with the crisp skin attached. The deep fried skin is too intense and leaves a burnt taste in the mouth which detracts from the dish. However, the sweetcorn veloutte is brilliant and so delicious, perfect for winter. Lamb backstrap was the hero of the next course, also sous vide, succulent, tender, and the lamb flavour is a little more intensified than usual which is excellent. There’s plenty of flavoursome jus to tip over and enjoy and the parsley sponge helps to mop up the jus that you can’t get onto the cutlery. The coffee crumb and beets help balance the meaty flavour and the fatty flavours from the lamb riblet are excellent. Pre-dessert presented a tonka bean pudding which is small in stature but very rich with the sticky golden syrup. However, the vanilla anglaise is a wonderful addition and partners perfectly to offset the richness and make this into a very satisfying dish. The last course presents rhubarb compote which has a touch of sweetness and acidity to contrast against the very creamy panna cotta. The rhubarb sorbet also cuts through the richness and is refreshing to the palette. A finely crafted and well thought out menu with elements that compliment each other and deliver a wonderful dining experience.
Clarke’s of North Beach Restaurant Details
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