Must Wine Bar

Saturday night in the big city of Perth. What to do, what to do…

Sharon and I had decided it was time to head out and do something for once, rather than sitting at home in the safe little bubble that is my world of supposedly gourmet cooking. The interesting thing about running a food blog, is that when you want to look for a place to go and eat, you invariablely get sent back to your own website for more information. At which point you also get a chance to go over just how funny you were the first time you wrote whatever you happened to write (or possibly cringe at how lame you sounded).

So after a little checking and a few phone calls, it was decided. Must Wine Bar. Home of one of Perth’s best wine lists, some of the trendiest waiters in town, and some very tasty food to go with it.

I’ve been to Must many times before, although mainly to drink. It was the scene of a rather boistrous birthday party a couple of years ago where I think I over stayed my welcome after shattering 3 wine glasses. Good times.

Must is a funky place. It’s in Mt Lawley, which makes it funky by default…but it doesn’t rest on its funky laurels… It steps its game up big time. The place is always full of young sexy people (and old sexy people, and a few people who are neither young nor sexy, but who dress well enough to get past the bouncer).

We rolled in at around 9pm, only to be told by the funky host waiter that the place was fully booked, and they wouldn’t be able to seat us. Having a quick look into the restaurant part, I could tell that was blatantly false, and I was also quite happy to have a wine or two at the bar while waiting for a table, so I says to him… i says (in a cockney accent) “Can you go and check if there are any tables coming free soon…”. So he wanders off down the back and has a look around, has a quiet word in the ear of a few of the other funky waiters, and then comes back and tells me… “Well, maybe we can fit you in if you can be out by 10:15pm”. Now some people would be terribly put off by such time limits… Not me… I like a challenge. Firstly it means I’m going to get fast service, and it also means I can test my speed eating skills out… in case the world of competitive eating ever comes knocking on my door.

So we are seated, get some menus, and quickly get down to choosing the wine and mains we’re going to have. Making sure that we are ready in time so as not to cause them any strife due to double booking. 15 minutes later however, with all of our decisions made… no sign of any waiters. No-one hovering over us tentatively, waiting to rush off to the kitchen post haste with our express post delivery. What’s more strange is that now the restaurant is half empty, and looks extremely unlikely to fill back up to capacity. So why the waiter felt the need to tell us there was no room in the first place is a mystery to me… but whatever… we were in.

I ordered the Beef Cheek Ravioli in a Wild Mushroom Jus, and Sharon ordered the Steak and Chips (it wasn’t called steak and chips on the menu, but I forget it’s fancy name… and it was basically steak and chips anyway). I also ordered some minted beans as a side, and a bottle of Prunotto 2003 Barbera D’Alba (which was a delicious big fruity well rounded red wine).

The meals came out soon enough and I have to say mine was delicious. The beef cheek ravioli was melt in your mouth texture, and the wild mushroom sauce over it was a great earthy compliment. The Barbera went really well with this too. Sharon’s steak dish was less exciting. It came with the option of either bernaise or poivrade sauce, she chose poivrade, which was tangy, but not particularly nice. The steak itself was well cooked, but really, it was just a steak, some frites, and a small bowl of the sauce. Not exactly worth the $30+ dollars.

Then on to dessert and I chose a sticky fig pudding with vanilla bean ice cream, while Sharon had a chocolate tart with orange ice cream (?) I think. mine was really nice, and Sharon’s not so nice. The orange infusion ice cream didn’t really work for me, and the rest of the dessert was kind of mediocre. Perhaps we’re just more easily pleased with the traditional sweet styles of dessert.

By this time we were done. The bottle of wine was fully polished off and the offer of Vittoria coffee (shudder) politely turned down.

There are a lot of things to like about Must, but it’s not for everyone. It’s reasonably expensive. Most mains are in the $25 – $35 range, and with side dishes, dessert, and wine, it adds up to quite a substantial bill, which is perhaps belied by the fact that it’s essentially attached to a bar. It’s also quite loud due to the bar section right next to the restaurant section, and if you aren’t into being surrounded by lots of trendy people dressed up for a night out, then it might not be your kind of place.

I personally love the atmosphere and the food, and the wine list makes me salivate every time I look over it. The waiters (when they aren’t turning people away from a half full dining room), are very knowledgeable about the wines and will provide you with a sommelier service if you ask for suggestions. The food in most cases is excellent, but I’d choose your meal carefully so as not to be disappointed by something that sounds fancier than it actually is.

It was great for us though… a chance to get out and do some people watching, and also add a couple of new dishes to my “I think i could make this better at home” list… which is growing just as fast as my ego is :)

All in all though a great night, and we will no doubt be back many times in the future.

Must Winebar
519 Beaufort Street
Highgate
Tel: (08) 9328 8255
Fax: (08) 9328 8355
Email: must@iinet.net.au

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5 thoughts on “Must Wine Bar”

  1. Woah who’s coming in at 10:15pm?? For dinner?? Most kitchens close around 10ish don’t they, unless they specifically advertise as being open late, and then it’s usually pad-the-potential-hangover type food and not “meals” like what Must serves… We ate there a couple of years ago now and enjoyed it but as you say it’s pretty trendy and I reckon you have to be in the mood for the atmosphere. The food was not bad, as far as I remember, and reading your post makes me want to check it out again :)

  2. Hey CW,

    The idea of eating at 10:15pm sounds pretty good to me most days of the week. I am inherently slack at getting dinner ready on time… I think the record for my latest time spent preparing and eating a meal was around 12:00am… If only more kitchens in Perth stayed opened as late I would be happy. I guess the fact that Must is a bar as well is one reason the kitchen stays open so late. Good places are always worth a second look…

  3. After around 8:30pm I tend to lose any appetite for food (even if I haven’t actually had any dinner), so I can’t relate to your late dining habits at all! Still, it’s good to know that the Must kitchen is open late :)

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