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Dainty Dowager

Restaurants, Asian Highgate

Time Out says

Hip diners are having the time of their lives with cocktails, barbecued meats and duck bao – and they owe it all to you, Dainty Dowager

Dainty Dowager bill themselves as Perth's first Asian roasting house, bar and all-round snack joint and they've been drawing fans from all over town with their take on Asian fusion. Tucked in between Clarence's Bar and Five Bar on Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley, they're the little sister to Low Key Chow House – but they don't rely on the family connection for cred.

Step through the ornate wooden doorway and you'll walk straight into a beautiful Asian-influenced space with intricate lights and hanging baskets, and if you take a peek towards the kitchen, you'll spot roast ducks dangling in the window. A very 1980s Dirty Dancing-esque green neon logo is the focal point of the bar and walk-in seating area. 
Flavours Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese and more are up for tasting. A handy key sits at the bottom of the menu if you need to brush up on the likes of gula melaka (Malaysian palm sugar), karaage (Japanese deep-fried meats) and nahm jihm (Thai dipping sauce).

Along with an extensive wine list, Dainty's has a curated selection of cocktails, which the knowledgable waitstaff are happy to talk you through. The Sino-Portuguese Treaty combines Hayman’s gin, lemon and lime-infused soju (Korean vodka), chilli plum sauce, egg white, and soda. It comes topped with chilli flakes for a kick. 

This roasting house does its signature dishes with style. The standout from our selection is the char siu barbecue pork ($18 for a small serve), which is tender and sweet. Close behind are the duck bao ($16.50). Pillowy bao cradle roast duck, spring onion and fresh herbs with a dash of hoisin sauce. You get three on a plate, so prepare for tears unless you’re dining as a threesome.
Vietnamese-style pork belly lettuce cups ($15) with fresh herbs and fish sauce are refreshing, offering a touch of crunchy texture. Conversely, the karaage chicken pops ($12), with their powdery batter and oodles of hot sambal sauce, are a little underwhelming. While the sauce has a kick, the meat lacks intensity of flavour. 

That said, the majority of offerings we sample at Dainty Dowager are spot on, and nothing is on the plate for show or just a simple garnish to be discarded. Everything's a vital, carefully thought-out element to your enjoyment of the dish, from the last scrap of coriander to the final drop of sauce with the char siu pork (seriously, try that pork).

By: Time Out contributors



Address: 564 Beaufort St
Mount Lawley
Opening hours: Tue-Thu 5.30-10pm; Fri 5-10.30pm; Sat noon-3pm & 5-10.30pm; Sun noon-3pm; 5-10pm

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