Andaluz is one of our favourite small bars, and is in the top echelon of those around town; we stopped in for lunch this week after a meeting in town.
Set up in the basement of an old law chambers building in Howard Street, with a host of small rooms and niches where you can sit, and a combination of leather couches, high benches, stools, and tables and chairs depending on the area you choose.
Moody lighting from some amazing table lamps adds to its comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.
The menu is small and tapas style – and from that we chose three dishes – roasted cauliflower; beetroot gnocchi; and white bean feijoda.
The latter, a cast iron pot full of a stew of white beans, squid, coriander and tomatoes, and served with crusty bread topped by melted cheese. A hearty dish of big flavours, rich and spicy, it is of Portuguese origin and often regarded as the national dish of Brazil.
The lightly charred florets of cauliflower came mixed with toasted hazelnuts, halved red grapes and sprinkled with chopped parsley. The earthy flavours of the cauliflower were very well complemented by the mix of sweetness from the grapes, the nutty texture and buttery flavours of the nuts and fresh, aromatic tones of the parsley.
Small, slightly crisped beetroot gnocchi were served in a celeriac purée, with cubes of roasted parsnip and topped with fried sage. Again this was a good combination of flavours and textures, earthiness, sweetness, nuttiness and vibrant celery flavours abounded.
The wine list is small but containing some interesting and different wine choices – a number of Spanish wines and an excellent champagne list; there are a reasonable number of “by the glass” choices and a reserve list for those looking for something very special (and with deep pockets).
Our choice as is so often the case was rosé, this time from Rioja, Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado 2014. A blend of tempranillo and grenache, pale salmon in colour, a lifted nose of raspberry, strawberry and citrus and on the palate strawberry flavours, delicate, fresh, light and dry.
Andaluz continues near the top of the small bar scene in Perth. It is well worth a visit – but be warned on Friday evenings, especially, it can be pretty crowded and noisy – if you want to experience it in relative comfort lunch is certainly the good way to go.