We went along to Heno and Rey not long after it opened and were very impressed – as we were with the Loft Bar – so were anticipating our lunch-time visit to the Intercontinental Perth’s other restaurant – their flagship Spanish grill themed Ascua, around the corner in King Street.
An inviting dining space –although decorated in earthy hues it is open, airy and light – with its most striking feature the open kitchen with fiery grills catching the eye as the chefs go about their work. The seating is comfortable and the service friendly and professional. A complimentary platter of olives, oil drizzled bread and pickled vegetables added to positive first impressions.
A well curated wine list is the sign of a good restaurant and Ascua have hit the right notes here – not a large list by any means but a nice mix of Australian and Spanish wines, with a good representation of those from WA – any list that includes La Violetta, Abbey Creek, Alkoomi and Moss Wood indicates good knowledge and taste.
We chose a bottle from another of our favourite producers, Ryan O’Meara’s Express Wine Makers rosé. Made of Grenache and Mourvèdre from Margaret River – strawberry and cherry aromas, a hint of cinnamon, dry and savoury palate, fresh and juicy fruit; lovely crisp finish. You can’t go wrong with Express Winemakers.
Starters include seared scallops, grilled octopus and heritage tomato salad (which we have had at their sister restaurant and loved), while the mains are off the grill – Beef Rump Cap, Lamb Rump, Tiger Prawns – and a few larger share plates – Beef Tomahawk and slow roasted Pork Belly among them.
From this we ordered half a Lilydale chicken, seared Spanish Mackerel and a side of wood fired broccoli.
The broccoli was a beautifully presented dish, the crunchy, lightly charred vegetable topped with colourful strips of zesty chilli and thinly sliced and fried garlic – loved this.
On to our mains – the chicken, boned, juicy, tender, was flavoured with lemon, thyme and chill – succulent flesh, well-seasoned, nice browning to the skin – another top dish.
And my fish, maybe a touch more than seared, was, all the same, tender and moist – sitting on a bed of squid ink paella, crisp green beans and a couple of mussels to give a little more seafood flavour – a leaf or two of green leaves provided crunch and a lovely mildly bitter accompaniment. Yep.
Ascua lived up to our expectations, good food, good drink and excellent service. The Intercontinental has added a good deal of flair to the King Street precinct. Recommended.