Stuck in their home town and with money to churn, Perth diners are ravenous for a next-level epicurean experience.
Savvy restaurant operators are coming to the party with top-shelf offerings, and why wouldn’t they, given the volume of cash being splashed in sectors across the state amid border closures.
In the initial throes of dining out post COVID restrictions, foodies were happy to throw a little more on that bottle of wine, or spoil themselves with that dessert or cheese platter at the end of the evening.
Now they are hungry for even more, and happy to splash their cash for new or extreme dining experiences. And our local restaurateurs are only too eager to dish ’em up.
Whether it’s an $80 cocktail full of only the finest spirits, or a seven-course degustation paired with some of the state’s finest wines, well-heeled wannabe tourists are, reluctantly or not, spending their hard-earned at home. They’re keeping the boom-time feels rolling for WA pubs and restaurants.
The scenario is in stark contrast to 12 months ago, when WA’s hospitality players were on their knees, forced to think outside the box just to survive.
Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said it was great to see entrepreneurship and innovation thrive in the current environment.
“With Western Australians unable to travel overseas for the foreseeable future, venues are using the opportunity to offer unique and luxurious food and beverage options that are simply world-class,” he said.
Catering Institute Australia WA president Vicki Mayell said the industry had lifted its standards since COVID, offering wonderful food and also further training of staff.
“Customers are looking for the full dining experience,” she said.
A SAMPLE OF PERTH’S TOP-SHELF OFFERINGS:
$95 Nobu Lobster, Crown Perth
Lobster have been in abundance on our shores since COVID, so it’s great Crown Perth has taken the initiative to get their hands on some and challenge the resort’s suite of acclaimed chefs with a ‘hey, let’s see what you can do’ dish. Nobu, Bistro Guillaume, Silks and Modo Mio have each created a signature lobster dish on sale until March 21, with our pick the Lobster with Yuzu Truffle Butter from the wood oven at Nobu. Chef de Cuisine Pingping Poh said her dish was “a real fusion of flavour as it features elements from all around the world”. She butter poaches then smokes the lobster, infusing the flesh and enhancing its natural flavour. Miso is added to bring a salty umami flavour, and pineapple, to play on its sweet side. She then pairs this with a herb-crusted Lobster, wood-baked.
$149 Surf n Turf, Le Rebelle
The S ‘n’ T is our term for another scrumptious mouthwatering offering from Mt Lawley’s latest dining standout Le Rebelle. The French-inspired haunt has sourced a 750g T-bone from a farm in the South West belonging to one of Perth’s oldest and best butchers, Torre, they they serve with horseradish cream and port jus for $95. You can catch half a lobster with it too for just $54.
$140-$220, 7-course degustation, Voyager Estate
Food-and-wine-paired degustations might seem a little 1990s but they often surprise and always show that eating and drinking together is always better. And nobody does it better (or braver) than Voyager Estate down south. Head chef Santiago Fernandez wanted the Margaret River estate’s wines to be the impetus for every course he designed for his degustation menus since he joined the culinary team down south a few years back. He hasn’t failed, each course a story and journey of the wonders of food and wine pairing. Rare and limited wines feature but the highlight is the delicate sometimes undefinable masterpieces Fernandez conjures on the plate and palate.
“Our latest degustation mirrors the vibrant colours of the vineyard, using fresh fruits and summer berries, as well as pristine local produce from the ocean and paddock,” Fernandez says of the current Bacca degustation menu inspired by the estate’s vineyards as they approach harvest.
Your entire floor at QT Hotel
For larger groups wanting something with a novelty factor, we reckon taking over an entire floor of a prime CBD hotel that’ll let you do, well, pretty much, anything up there sounds like fun.
QT Hotel in Perth has a Floor’d experience, which they call “a wild night in but not as you know it”. It allows the host and 15-40 of their closest friends one whole floor of the hotel to themselves, with individualised service by a team of hosts. Guests can pick one of three different packages and shape their evening how they like, from a three course sit-down dinner, private pop-up bars and DJs, wedding celebrants, tattooing, or surprise treats, all on their own floor, on their own terms. BRING IT ON.
$100 Caviar tin @ fleur, The Royal
If you often get the urge to splurge, then CBD watering hole The Royal is right up your alley, offering a full Caviar menu for walk-ins. There’s two dainty offerings: the polanco oscietra grand reserve sturgeon, and Yarra Valley atlantic salmon, with tins served with crème fraiche, chive & sourdough crumpet. Stop it.
$80 martini, Clarences
Clarence’s hasn’t wasted any time distinguishing itself (once again). Once noted for setting a new bar for, err, bar food, the reopened Mt Lawley venue turned some attention to the tipple side of things, with some real fancy concoctions that you won’t forget anytime soon (we hope). This time it’s on the tipple side. The Gunpowder Vesper mirrors a fictional martini James Bond author Ian Fleming invented and is made up of Russian caviar, Beluga vodka and Four Pillars navy gin, ensuring every sip shakes and stirs the senses. It’s one of two $80 cocktails on the menu, the other an old-fashioned American bourbon driven affair featuring bitters and burnt orange.
$55, Make and take home your own gin, Pogo, Mt Hawthorn
If gin is your thing, here’s a masterclass not to miss. Settle in as expert Brendan Grey guides you from production to infusion, with plenty of tasting par for the course. The selection of spirits is worth the entry price and includes Roku, Sipsmith, London Dry and Larios. The real fun begins when you start creating your own masterpiece, selecting botanicals for your own bottle to take home at the end of the night (good luck with that hangover).