Duendé

Duendé is located on sort of an island at the corner of Newcastle Street and Carr Place in Leederville, and is one of the original Spanish tapas style places in Perth and retained its reputation as one of the best.

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We sat in the outdoor, but sheltered, dining area, looking out at the goings on in the nearby eating places and businesses – there is also a cosy indoors spot as well as the chance to sit up at the attractive and well stocked bar.

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Lady FWO and I had dropped by for a light lunch and a drink or two, and our experience was as good as you get. The waiter was friendly, efficient, prompt to serve us, and the food was quick and drinks were quick to be delivered.

The tapas menu includes starters such as olives, chorizo, prawn and chorizo, croquettes and white anchovies; a variety of sausages and hams; vegetable dishes include patatas bravas and eggplant fritters; with larger plates such as char grilled squid with chorizo; pork belly with quince jelly; lamb and pork meatballs; and garlic prawns. We were after something light and chose octopus terrine and a bowl of pickled chillies on the side – well that was my choice rather than Lady FWO!

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The drinks list is well structured, with a good array of interesting wines, with an emphasis on those from Spain and Portugal, but a nice mix of Australian as well – including some made from traditional Iberian varieties.

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A small bowl of oil and bread was complimentary and we dipped and ate while we waited for our order.

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The terrine came out served with a green pea purée and a light tomato consommé. The octopus was char grilled and among the most tender we have enjoyed – it was delicious, and the sweetness of peas and tomato complemented its salty, charry, flavours. Light, sensational, so moreish….

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The chillies were everything I could have wished for – salty, vinegary, spicy – very spicy – and they went down a treat. They would be particularly good with a cold beer but we stuck to wine – next time!

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Lady FWO was interested in a red, while I was getting into the Spanish theme and opted for a sherry. And what a sherry it was….Lustau East India, a blend of old Oloroso with an old Pedro Ximenez, it has a treacle like consistency, lustrous brown with lifted notes of raisins, chocolate and burnt sugar on the nose; on the palate, sweet, with toffee, caramel and nuttiness tones shining through. It was outstanding – yes probably more suited to after the meal, but it was so good I had another!

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Lady FWO’s red choice was a Spanish tempranillo, garnacha tinta and graciano blend, 2011 Lopez de Haro Crianza. The wine is light red in colour, with ripe black fruit on the nose, with notes of coffee, leather and vanilla. The tannins are smooth and silky, and the palate exhibits toasty notes underlying the blackberry flavours. This a wine well suited to the spicy foods of Spain.

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Then we noticed another wine listed, 2011 Hansen Cabernet Gernischt, from China! Well we had never tried a Chinese wine – other than the fortified cooking style – and decided to have a glass. It was a light wine, with pronounced berry aromas, a smooth palate full of ripe fruit flavours with a touch of dustiness on the mid palate. It is a nice, easy drinking style. The grapes, which may be a relation to Cabernet Franc, were grown in the Wuhai Valley in Inner Mongolia…and we drank it at a Spanish restaurant in Perth….what a cosmopolitan world.

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Duendé is a must if you are after the food of Spain – it maintains its status among the best in Perth. Great food, well cooked and an excellent wine list combine to make a visit an experience to savour.

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