Lalla Rookh are an Italian style restaurant featuring dishes of a more traditional, regional, home style type feel. I’ve eaten at a lot of Italian restaurants but the cuisine here is quite unique. The venue features many different spaces, stools at the bar, tables for that special occasion, or out in the beer garden with your mates. There’s also a wine store too, but the wine is also available with your meals. Sometimes choosing items from the menu is too hard. Thank goodness for the ‘il capo’ feed me menu which we chose. For $65 per head, this features 6 courses of dishes chosen by the chef to feed the table. Two different focaccia varieties were presented which were well seasoned bringing out the herb flavours and I enjoyed the crunchy and slightly chewy crust. The first dish of the night presented duck liver parfait which is normally rich, but served with an Italian wine reduction, nullified any richness but not the flavour. Enjoyed with the buttery lightly toasted brioche, it was excellent. Next up were crostoli, a crispy pastry, holding light creamy buffalo mozzarella balanced with the acidity from blood orange which made for an excellent combination. Steamed Norwest tiger prawns were perfectly cooked, but significantly enhanced by the amazing fennel and chilli sauce. A pasta dish of handmade pockets of fusilli holding a delicious rabbit and liver mixture was the next dish presented which was enjoyed thoroughly. Certainly full at this point, like an Italian nonna full of generosity and hospitality, there is more to come with a meat dish of baby goat and a bean ragu. One bite of the succulent baby goat has one’s appetite immediately revived, but the green bean ragu is simply stunning, so so flavoursome, one wouldn’t think beans could taste so good. For dessert, two were presented. The first was a vanilla semi freddo which was soft and creamy, served with a soft nougat for a chew texture, and macerated apricots provided a different texture and sweetness. The other dessert is none other than panna cotta, an Italian icon, and this didn’t disappoint. Smooth and very creamy, the slight bitterness from the caramel sauce helped to cut through the richness. The walnut and fruit mixture adds a lovely textural contrast. A simply fantastic dining experience, dishes full of flavour, generous, and certainly not leaving hungry, rather the opposite!
The limited time offering of a 6 course Manjimup truffle degustation menu had me very interested and so I made a booking to enjoy the lowly night time views of Perth in a wonderful ambient setting and excellent service to boot. The night started with an amuse bouche of a delicious, rich, and very creamy ham hock soup with an excellent ham and cheese croquette. The next course served two perfectly cooked and seasoned scallops enjoyed with a soft tortellini encasing a lovely marron filling. The black squid ink cracker was also a very enjoyable element. The third course saw a lovely crumbed jacket, covered in shaved slices of truffle, encasing juicy mushrooms and enjoyed with a very creamy celeriac puree. A wonderful earthy dish. The main course continued on with the earthy theme, drawing upon earthy winter elements to present a very hearty dish based around a sous vide Angus beef tenderloin chunk which just pulled apart. The different mushroom textures allowed mushroom to be enjoyed in a number of ways, enhancing the beef. With all the food served, thankfully a light dessert was presented, a most fabulous macaron filled with a sumptuous milk chocolate ganache and a touch of passionfruit which was amazing. The chocolate soil simulated the crunch of passionfruit seeds, a clever textual play, even though the passionfruit sorbet was seedless, smooth and flavoursome. The final course presented a cheese board enjoyed with quince paste which was a lovely finish to the meal. A very impressive experience from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience and definitely recommend the degustation or even just a meal here from the set menu or al a carte menu.
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.
I was really impressed with the 7 course degustation Red Cabbage presented and I can see why they’re highly renowned. Dining in an intimate atmosphere with quality crafted food, there were several dishes that were absolute knockouts. The first of these was the amuse bouche of pickled prawns which presented delicious sweet prawn flesh, plump tender mussels, and a delicious chilli tinged thick fermented tomato like sauce. The second course presented cured prawn which was too sour for my liking but the plump juicy scallops were enjoyable. The third course oozed a strong coal smoked odour which added plenty of flavour to the marron, with the proscuitto like pork jowl providing the seasoning. Another highly impressive dish. The blow torched ocean trout was super tender and enhanced by the sweet pickled cucumber but it was the shitaki dashi which was flavoursome, particularly impacting the clams which were superb. This was followed by a masterfully crafted and presented cheese course which was fantastic. Cashel blue cheese was paired with a biscuit like cheddar crumb, a touch of sweetness from the carrot ganache, and more sweetness from the white chocolate and refreshing pear sorbet. The pre-dessert coconut sorbet with cherry jam underneath was excellent, but those chocolate pistachio shards were even better. The smoked Jersey milk pannacotta tasted like a fluffy cloud of milk with other elements providing the flavour, though a little over-influenced by the caramel. To finish, a set of chocolates was presented which was delicious. Fantastic dining experience well worth the money (even at full price).
Last week’s blogger’s dinner gave me a taste of what Chef Darren King and his team can produce. One look at the degustation menu the following week had me quickly making a booking. The night started with a mushroom soup with flavours tempered and magnified by the truffle upon the bruschetta which was excellent. A tuna and avocado tartare was then served up which was am interesting pairing of creaminess balanced against the taste of the sea. The saffron linguine was just swimming in wonderful flavours and the bug was perfectly cooked and allowed to shine as the star of the dish. The emu chorizo in the next course is one of the best chorizo versions I have eaten. The super tender and not gamey kangaroo slices were delightful, along with the crispy potato rosti and sweet tones of bush tomato chutney. Definitely the favourite savoury dish of the night. To cleanse the palette, an in your face lemon granita did the job before tucking into a super tender, moist, and pinkish beef fillet which was enhanced by the jus, rich foie gras and duxcell. The juicy mushrooms around the side were also delicious. The first dessert course served up a summery poached peach which paired well with mint, mascarpone, a peach custard and a fine crumb which added depth. I loved the vanilla panna cotta but was disappointed at the mini portion on the side which was a tease! The next dish presented a coffee panna cotta with a kahlua syrup layer and cream foam that had me in dessert heaven. An absolute knockout dessert, it’s how you want to finish the night on a high. Fantastic experience in a lovely ambient setting with excellent service.
A visit to Chez Pierre trying their Taste of France range never disappoints. We were treated to food from the town of Nice. It started with a gnocchi lacking in flavour but partnering perfectly with a delicious rich lamb ragout with a ratatouille like mixture of vegetables that were pleasing to the taste buds. That was followed by a delicious palette cleanser of passionfruit, citrus, and strawberry sorbet which was more like a dessert. For mains I ate bouillabaisse for the first time and liked the lovely tomato and fish soup surrounding an array of delicious seafood. Special call out to the mussels which tasted like the sea and were super tender, just like the squid which was also melt in your mouth. For dessert the nougat parfait surprised on the upside as I didn’t think it would be that great but I was proved wrong with an interesting creation married with strawberries and orange peel for a contrast against the rich flavours. I’ve eaten here many a times and really love experiencing the cuisine from different areas of France.
I thought the Wild Duck degustation was excellent, starting off strong but falling away towards the end. The Amuse bouche tomato marshmallow and Parmesan custard was an interesting starter. The seafood chowder was exceptional delivering lots of flavour and comfort, not to mention that perfectly cooked melt in your mouth scallop. The salmon trio was the standout dish of the night, the chef’s showcasing their skill in superbly presenting salmon three ways each as delicious as the other. The salmon mousse comfortably shaded the confit salmon and salmon Gravalax. The rich salt and pepper squid was effectively paired with a refreshing Asian salad and a delicious chilli jam with some kick. The slow cooked pork belly just cut like butter and was really enjoyable, as too the crunchy crackling. After the raspberry sorbet which cleansed my palette, the next two dishes fell short of the standard set. The crispy skin duck breast didn’t have too much crispy skin to enjoy and while the duck breast was tender, it lacked flavour and juiciness. Instead, a delicious duck jus and salty speck added much needed punch. Knowing what duck can deliver, I thought the dish restricted the duck from being the hero on the plate. Dessert is what people look forward to and the eggs on toast didn’t deliver the bang or grand finale to the meal. While clever and deceiving, it didn’t really deliver enough flavour to leave me satisfied. A very enjoyable meal in comforting surroundings, excellent service, and quality food.
No 4 Blake Street is Tom Randolph’s vehicle to showcase his creativity in the kitchen. This is clearly on display through the 7 course degustation. On Sunday’s, a long table is held instead where new dishes are displayed and tweaked, influenced by feedback, some of which make their way to the main menu. For something less relaxed, a wine bar with tapas is available at Next Door at No 4, which is literally next door to the dining room. For tonight’s 7 course degustation, I particularly enjoyed the potato risotto which substituted rice for small rectangles of under seasoned potato, allowing the salty flavours of the sea and tender crab to shine through. While I normally avoid eggs, the 35° smoked hen’s egg with pearl barley for some meatiness to the dish and tuna Benito for seasoning was a dish that surprised on the upside. The pork costals was another highlight of the night, presenting tender succulent rib meat with a pork intensity off the scale. It needs an acidic element to balance out the meatiness and flavoursome lardo, but I loved it. It’s hard to pick a winner, especially when the night finishes strong with a fantastic dessert! The pistachio ice cream was a standout element amongst the Vahlrona chocolate soil, chocolate mousse, chocolate shards, and pistachio sponge. I also loved the sour dough bread and particularly, the duck fat spread. The creativity did deliver a few misses with some dishes that need a little balancing in my opinion, but I’d rather take creativity over safe and there were enough hits to leave me a thoroughly satisfied diner. Don’t let the rain keep you away when you can enjoy quality, creativity, and deliciousness in a comfortable soft ambient setting.
A visit to Chez Pierre trying their Taste of France range never disappoints. We were treated to food from the town of Beaume. It started with a delicious risotto with the flavour of the crab permeating throughout the creamy risotto. The crab and prawn bisque provided plenty of flavour and richness, but this was offset by the tomato and meatiness from the squid stuffed pork balls. The squid was a tad chewy but the subtle herb flavoured super soft pork meatballs were delicious. A highlight of the night. That was followed by a beef cheek which cut as tender as the soft creamy mash that lay underneath. This was melt in your mouth stuff, the beef combining superbly with a red wine full bodied sauce, slight saltiness from the bacon-like lardo, sweet shallots, and soft mushrooms. To finish the heavy meal, a light dessert was required and millefeuille fitted the bill. Easy on the stomach, but delicious on the tongue, the crispy layers of puff pastry encased Chantilly cream and a delicious creme patisserie, enjoyed with fresh strawberries. I particularly liked the tart raspberry coulis. Amazing!
A degustation at Restaurant Amuse will place you in an environment perfect for any special occasion accompanied by professional service, quality food, perfect execution, and delicious taste. I felt the balance of some dishes were out of whack, an example being the beef dish which was far too creamy, and this coming from a person who likes creamy and rich food. The very creamy element seemed to be a common thread through several dishes which needs to be tempered and differentiated. Aside from that I liked the Spanish stuffed pepper with goats cheese, the nashi pear with grated turnip and cheddar cheese was an excellent pairing, the marron dish was excellent but the star of the night was the duck. What a fantastic dish paired with creamy cauliflower purée and bitter kohlrabi. Excellent experience. So full!