A confit made of heaven
The POST (Time Out) November 2005
Chapter One smells like a good brasserie should: all buttery juices and loads of garlic.
This is just as well.
Fresh from the launch of the 2006 Perth International Arts Festival and fired up by the prospect of young men doing artistic thing with very few clothes on, Letitia Sprout and I could eat un cheval.
I’ve booked a quiet table and we’re duly led past black and white shots of the Prague and The Thames to a dark little nook at the front of the dining room.
A tea light twinkles merrily at our table. Nice.
The two – page wine list ain’t cheap but it’s as classy as all get-out. And is Perth ready for a by – the – glass list that includes Hugel Gentil ($7) and a non – vintage Billecart champagne ($21) ? I sincerely hope so.
Bubbly co – owner Hayley Walker lists the specials for us with a smile but I’m less impressed by her offer of still of sparkling.
Is the still water free and the sparkling not? Or are we both on the house? It’s an ambiguous up – sell trick that belongs in Sydney, not here.
Letitia orders tap just to see what happens. Edwards bats ne’er an eyelid and keeps our glasses full all night. Touche’.
Ex – Altos head chef Jason Walker cooked under Marco Pierre White and Gary Rhodes.
It shows. The menu is small, quietly confident and blessedly free of adjectival wank.
My prawn, mushroom and radicchio risotto ($19) is well – cooked and Venetian sloppy (a good thing). The smallish prawns lots of ‘em are crunchily perfect and taste of the ocean. All in all, it’s a skilful rendition.
Letitia’s seared North – West scallops ($19) are jellied at the centre (another good thing) and sit atop a neat disk of avocado and tomato salsa.
Along side is a little mound of salad and crispy pancetta.
The fish is impressive, too.
Today it’s pink snapper ($29), served on a bed of shelled broad beans, baby peas and courgettes.
Crouton – sized cubes of spud served along side are slightly undercooked.
But the highlight is my moist, tender duck confit ($29), cured in – house and served with a lightly toasted walnuts, densely ripe caramelised pear and a sweet braise of red cabbage.
It’s a match made in heaven, cooked with care and attention to detail.
Service is friendly and focused but drops off a bit after the mains. And I don’t like the bread, which costs $3 per person and is bog ordinary. I hear this is being addressed.