Old Perth Road strip has blossomed since the revamp of the Bassendean Hotel – with some great little coffee shops set up and a small bar in the pipeline; but the hotel remains the focus we reckon – spruced up, airy, light and welcoming inside in the main bar – a top little veranda area along the roadside – the bistro and beautifully set up wine bar area upstairs.
On our most recent visit, for lunch, the upstairs was not open so we set up in the lounge area behind the main bar – a sort of mezzanine – a few tables to sit at to eat, as well as a some couches and easy chairs to relax in, watch the flat screen TV or listen to the music piped through.
The small menu covers off many of the pub classics – chicken parma, fish and chips, burgers, along with other dishes that caught our eye – harissa prawns with lime mayo, paprika whitebait, saffron chicken and braised beef cheeks – as well as a few specials of the day.
We decided on one of the aforementioned specials – Thai mussels, one of the small starters – chicken skewers, and a green salad.
The skewers – four – came as charred, grilled chicken breast cooked with a nutty marinade, served with small bowls of mild curry infused mayo and another of chopped nuts.
The chicken was moist, tender; the mild curry flavours of the mayo added a creamy edge, while the nuts a textural contrast.
A good sized bowl of mussels, cooked in a Thai red curry sauce were served with a couple of slices of grilled bread to soak up the sauce, and topped with a mixture of green Asian leaves – Vietnamese mint and the like.
The mussels were well cooked, still tender and juicy, and the sauce pleasantly spicy without being chilli hot – for me I always default to more rather than less chilli heat, but all the same the sauce was aromatic and full of That inspired flavours – a pretty good dish.
The small salad of greens, tomato, cucumber and shredded carrot topped with a mild dressing was a refreshing addition to our meals.
With the food we enjoyed a bottle of La Linea rosé from South Australia; this exhibited lifted tropical fruit aromas on the nose and a crisp, dry finish. There are a number of WA representatives on the smallish wine list – Harewood, Howard Park, Flametree, Brown Hill and Willoughby Park as examples.
As we said when we reviewed the hotel a year or so ago, under the new owners it has set sail in a new direction – it retains the friendly, neighbourhood pub style with the addition of a more upmarket bistro, and a delightful wine bar. The renovation has been successful, the staff are attentive and friendly, the ambience of the hotel very good indeed. It has moved the old place towards its rightful spot as an attractive centre for the rapidly improving Bassendean strip.