Meanwhile, back in Perth, life still goes on. It’s more than a couple of weeks before the now larger than life sized trip to Melbourne, and there’s plenty of serious eating to be done til then. As well as concerts, my Dad’s 60th birthday, and possibly some actual work.
So the latest place to get noticed on my food radar, came by an interesting set of circumstances. I was at home busily preparing dinner for guests when Sharon called. “Have you heard of 1907 ?” she asked while I busily shelled beans and tried to work out if my dates were sticky enough. “The year ?” I respond… “Only vaguely and in black and white”… (Aren’t you glad you’re not her :) ).
“No… (exasperated pause) I just got some spam email about a new restaurant called 1907… look it up.”
“Sounds dodgy” I reply, before getting ensconced in making sure my lamb shoulder and haricot stew wasn’t too tomatoey.
Surely enough though, that ever present need to know what is happening first crept back in, and I took a moment while the stew was simmering away (on a medium low heat for 90 minutes) to peruse this curious new venture who had decided that mass email marketing was the way to do a soft launch.
Turns out the restaurant is:
…a world class restaurant and bar housed in a 100 year old rag trade factory, situated in the hub of Perth’s former fashion district. 1907 is the result of an idea to evolve Perth’s inner city, maintaining its old charms and incorporating cutting edge design to match a world class dining experience provided by our enthusiastic team of hospitality professionals.
Well fair enough then. The photos on the website look nice, and the menu sounds interesting, and despite the fact that head chef Graeme Shapiro once appeared on an Ainsley Harriot show, I figure it’s worth checking the place out.
So on a casual Wednesday night after a gym session and realising that there was no food left in the house, the decision was made. Sharon decided to dress classy, and I went for something that could be described as post work chic (which in reality is all I can do to match up). Of course she ended up looking glamorous, and I looked like an over sized school boy.
It’s just as well we made an effort though, because this place is swish. A barely concealed frontage, with steps leading up to a set of large foreboding wooden doors immediately open into opulent surrounds. The designers have clearly spared no expense on the interior, and aside from some unfortunate choices in music (for mine), it did feel like we’d been transported somewhere very unPerth.
The wait staff were friendly without being being intrusive and come across as knowledgeable but not cocky. I thought I’d caught one of them out for a moment when I asked if the (complimentary) bread was made here, which he replied it was… small rye loaves and a slices of focaccia.
So we ordered a bottle of Bellarmine Chardonnay that I thought would go passably well with all of our dishes. There is a very limited list of by the glass selections, which the Maître d’ recited for us. Clearly quick meals and glasses of wine are not the desired way to dine here.
To start with we shared the manjimup marron and port lincoln mussels steamed in broth of
tamarind, lime leaves and coconut cream. Quite a mouthful on the menu, and equally so on a plate. Our waitress brought side plates so we could easily share the dish, which was thoughtful. The marron was personally a little chewy, perhaps it was undercooked. The broth was delicious though, the lime and tamarind create a lovely sour counterpoint to the sweetness of the marron.
For mains I ordered a seared duck breast and duck tortellini, while Sharon had the masala spiced gnocchi, braised fennel bulb and baby spinach. My duck came medium rare, as I like it, and in an oddly sweet sauce, which for the life of me I can’t remember (and it doesn’t seem to be on the menu on the website). Sharon’s gnocchi was actually good… As opposed to almost every gnocchi I’ve ever eaten. It was light and airy, and the masala worked really well with the fennel. Overall the food was good, though perhaps not heightened experience I was looking for. Though there is a “menu prestige” degustation which we could have opted for which may offer some added finesse.
The total bill came to $150 for two people. Which to be honest is not expensive if you compare it to what the vast majority of mediocre restaurants in Perth are charging at the moment. Add that to the effort that’s gone into the design and service, the private dining rooms, and the funky cocktail bar downstairs which is the latest place to be scene for inner city hipsters, and you’ve got quite a compelling package.
Now please email this post to all of your friends and let them know…
26 Queen Street
Telephone: 08 9436 0233