Balthazar, located in Perth’s best Art Deco building, the Lawson Apartments, has, since being taken on by Emma and Dan from Northbridge bar, No Mafia, and with award winning young chef, Skye Faithfull, on board, become one of Perth’s best eating places – outstanding food along with a brilliant wine list, and excellent staff.
The wine list deserves special mention – the 99 wines on the list are geared towards small producers and styles, across a range of countries, regions and varieties. Many are representative of the move by younger wine makers to a minimalist approach to wine making which has seen some quite extraordinary natural wines appearing on lists in the past few years.
My recent birthday called for a special lunch – we could look no further than Balthazar – and we also took advantage of their contribution to the EatDrinkPerth month – $50 for bread, and then three courses – each with two choices, as well as a glass of wine. This must be the best value around town at the moment.
The wines on offer were two made for Emma and Dan by Ben Gould from funky Margaret River winery, Blind Corner, under the Lights Out label – either a Pinot Noir or, our choice, an Orange wine.
This has a cloudy tangerine hue, with a fragrant aroma of bruised apples and orange sherbet. The complex palate shows an amalgam of flavours and textures that slip across the tongue- salty, oily, crunchy, savoury, sour apricot, guava and delicate herbal notes to finish. One glass was not enough – and then I bought a couple of bottles to take home!
But to the food – we began with Bread in Common sourdough and rye, with house made butter – excellent bread, chewy, full of flavour!
A choice of either ceviche or chicken liver parfait saw us both plump for the fish – a mound of thinly sliced, juicy, Kingfish, dotted with tomato seed and blitzed avocado, samphire and sea vegetables. Beautiful fresh flavours.
Next a choice of either fish or duck – and one of each seemed called for – first juicy, succulent fish fillet, pan fried and served with shaved green mango imparting a sour crisp texture which aligned perfectly with the accompanying sweetness of corn, both kernels and a corn based sauce, and then a dot of citrusy lime jelly to take the flavours off in another direction. A gorgeous dish.
The duck breast, cooked to a wonderfully pink perfection, crispy skinned, came with heirloom carrots, pickled vegetables, puréed pumpkin and figs sitting in a salty savoury jus. Again a cascade of flavours and textures – top class.
Finally the desserts – again we chose of one each – a light, fluffy doughnut floating in a nutty, chia porridge topped with roasted cashews and ice cream – what a doughnut!
And then a Valrhona chocolate swirl, along with creamed peanut butter, a drop of jellied passionfruit and rich buttery cream on one side, a praline shard separating them from of rectangle of sticky, sweet marshmallow on the other – gee it was good!
Balthazar is one of the top half dozen restaurants in Perth. The food is sublime, the setting comfortable and welcoming, the wine list interesting and adventurous, the staff among the best in town. It is an outstanding restaurant.