Coastal dining options have stepped up in recent years and Odyssea is one of the key players in this oceanside boom. Here, good coffee and next-level breakfast plates are the order of the day. Thick-cut wedges of sourdough toast, charred on the grill, are laden with avocado, an oozy poached egg and fresh coriander. A thick savoury hummus and seeds add texture. But there’s more, with the warmth of chilli coming through and sweet jewels of pomegranate. A winner.
Known as one of the CBD’s best restaurants, Balthazar is also undoubtedly one of its best wine bars as well. The informal bar area is the perfect place for a few smaller plates and a look at the extensive wine list. Sliced duck thigh, meat succulent and skin crisp, is the hero, served in buttermilk, with a scattering of shoots and fennel pollen. While there are less formal plates, this is a chance to dip in and out of one of the CBD’s best menus.
While Joel Valvasori-Pereza is known as Perth’s top pastaio, turning his hand to daily specials, there are a few must-have sweet staples on the menu of his Subiaco pasta bar. Zia’s Crostoli is his version of the Venetian pastry that some will know as Angel’s Wings. Ribbons of fried pastry, dusted in sugar, they’re crisp and surprisingly light. While icing sugar is the norm, Valvasori sticks true to his family recipe, with granulated sugar.
With chef Matt Carulei in the kitchen and one of the CBD’s best by-the-glass selections, Heritage Wine Bar has been turning heads of late. Using late-season tomatoes that sing variety and colour, Carulei hits the mark on salt, sugar and acid. Elderflower from his own garden adds a taste of his own English heritage, used in a cordial and to dress the dish.
Five Bar in Mount Lawley has the feel of a Beaufort Street original these days. Alongside a solid drinks offering, Five is pushing a pub-style menu with a wealth of well priced options. The steak tartare is at the rustic end of the scale: diced rump steak with Worcestershire sauce, capers, shallots, gherkins and parsley in the mix. A generous heap of crisp crostini hits the bread-to-tartare ratio perfectly.
Crown Towers has its fair share of fine dining options in Rockpool, Bistro Guillaume and Nobu, but sometimes you need the sheer comfort of a pub menu. The Merrywell offers this in spades. Mac ’n’ cheese bites are straight from the fryer, hot, a crisp outer shell giving way to oozy cheese. Basic smoky barbecue sauce and a cold beer complete the comfort.
Twice cooked, marinated in sweet tamarind and served with chilli, radish and fresh coriander, this dish is the definition of kickass. It all hangs upon its lengthy method of chargrilling, braising, resting and marinating before the ribs are fried on service. It’s a process that takes up to 2 days and is gone in seconds. An outer pungent crust of tamarind gives way to to sticky lamb with a pleasing elasticity.
Not to underestimate Sue Hutchins’ full menu at Shadow, there’s a certain joy in the small plates of the bar menu: simple, well balanced dishes that are perfect fare for a quick glass and a bite to eat. Calamari lightly fried, with a crisp pangrattato (bread crumb) running alongside offers texture. With a squeeze of lemon and paired with wines from home and away, one plate can easily turn into three or four.
The various faces of Ku De Ta are carving out a stellar reputation riverside. While there may have been a few opening bumps the menu at casual diner West is kicking serious goals. Firm smoked kingfish sashimi is a standout, served with a mandarin gel, and sprinkled with Japanese dry seasoning furikake. Mild white kimchi, made in house, shows a high level of care with this dish.
From the first floor dining room at the Reveley you can see Elizabeth Quay taking shape. Wagoda Gardens – proudly billed by the server as vegan and delicious – is a construction of heirloom carrots, samphire, radish, zucchini, apple, and a linseed crisp that mirrors the cranes on the Quay. A lupin purée adds texture among savoury and sweet notes.