We hadn’t been to Blackbird for some time, but were in East Perth one evening and with the rain staying away looked for somewhere for an early dinner by the water – and so there we were –alongside Claisebrook where it flows into a small lake surrounded on one side by lawn and the other apartments, walking paths, and a couple of restaurants.
There are a number of tables and chairs on the terrace outside the restaurant and was the perfect spot to sit – drinking and dining while watching the passers-by, and the ducks and grebes swimming and diving in the lake – oh and up above on the road the commuters stuck in traffic along Lord Street, vainly trying to get home. We were able to sit back, relax and observe when the traffic cleared and we could get away!
One of the things we like about Blackbird is their complimentary tapas served with each drink – a small serving of some of the larger dishes on the menu – just right if all you want is a snack and a drink or two – so surprising in a cut throat hospitality world!
The food is slanted toward the cuisine of the Mediterranean, with both smaller share plates – garlic butter clams, twice cooked cheese soufflé – as well as larger dishes – Ricotta gnocchi, seafood risotto, roasted chicken – and the small wine list complementing the food on offer. We were pleased to see one of the new wave producers from Margaret River featured and so a glass or two of Blind Corner Cabernet Sauvignon was the go for us.
Blind Corner foot crush the grapes, hand plunge during wild fermentation and basket press the juice, before re-fermenting some juice on air dried skins – this concentrates the flavour of the grapes. The wine has a fragrant bouquet of dark ripe plums, with some spicy mint, and tobacco notes; the palate is rich and concentrated – plums, blackcurrants, brambly notes – it was so good the next day I ordered another of their wines, a Cabernet Merlot blend, on line – and when it quickly arrived it too impressed with its concentration of flavour.
With our drink, as mentioned, we were also provided with a small share dish of fried croutes, topped with salty thinly sliced prosciutto, sliced pear, goat cheese, a sprinkle of lemon oil and a clipping of basil – beautifully presented simple dish, full of competing and complementing flavours – set the wine up so well it went quickly and so another was on the way, again with a tapas dish!
This time two small, crisply fried croquettes filled with a mix of mushrooms and leeks, sitting in a pool of porcini cream and scattered with grated pecorino. Again well presented, full of rich flavours – and free!
After two free dishes, we thought we should order something else to help with this, our last drink, and the calamari caught our eye. A plate of fried calamari – juicy and tender – served with an earthy remoulade of celeriac, lemon and tomato – another well turned out dish.
Blackbird is certainly somewhere you should visit soon – especially as the weather begins to improve and sitting outside appeals – of course you can also sit inside in a low lit and comfortable space- but it is the outside that really impresses as a Perth waterside expression of a French or Italian sidewalk café – location, location, location – helpful and friendly waiters, good food, well put together drinks list and of course those free tapas dishes. Hard to beat.