The Duxton in the Terrace has one of the most stylish and elegant lobbies of any of the 5 star hotels around town, and its premier restaurant, Firewater Grille, lives up to the expectations set as you walk in. (Of course being of a vintage I remember when the building housed the Tax Office and the time I and my fellow red raggers were picketing the place over APS pay claims – but that is another story).
On this visit Lady FWO and I were on our way to the Concert Hall, next door, and stopped in for a meal before going on to the show. It was reasonably early – about 5.30 – and there was still a table of young things finishing up from High Tea, but that was fine – we were quickly shown to our table and menus and wine lists handed around.
As I said the hotel is pretty stylish, as is the restaurant- a lot of metal and stone and timber and an impressive water feature as a centrepiece. The kitchen is open so you can watch the chefs at work if that is your thing.
There are somewhat disconcerting moose heads (very disconcerting if you are a moose) hanging from the walls, but I guess that adds something to the atmosphere.
The tables have leather inserts, and there are some pretty neat circular booths with curtains that can be drawn around to add a little mystique to your dining experience.
The waiters were all very friendly, welcoming, helpful and knowledgeable as you would expect from a restaurant of class. Good quality cutlery and stemware added to the lustre of the occasion.
The menu is relatively short but has some very interesting and innovative dishes on it. We were only looking for a light meal, so went for a couple of entrees, plus some bread, and then, later decided dessert and cheese would not go astray.
To start, while we waited for the other dishes, we snacked on a board of panini bread, Persian feta, olives and chorizo. It was a fine selection, the feta being particularly good – creamy, salty, herby – went very well with the chewy bread.
Linguini with crab, chilli, tomato, coriander and garlic was next on our list – nicely cooked pasta, al dente, with sweet crab meat scattered through, a touch of chilli (I asked for and received a small bowl of chopped chilli to add to my desire for more zing), and the dish was drizzled with a lemon infused oil to add additional zest and flavour lift.
It was very good dish indeed.
Tandoori grilled tiger prawns were served with a roulade – cucumber wrapped rice – and mango compote.
The large prawns were charred and crisp, with sweet delicate flesh; the roulade provided a good contrast in texture and flavour, and the compote brought it all together very well.
Our chosen dessert was, however for me, the highlight – served in a wide flat bowl rather than the normal smaller deeper dish, our honey crème brǔlée was outstanding.
A brilliant crackly hard caramel cover over a rich, creamy honey infused custard – was one of the best we have had; crisp almond tuiles to scoop it up; but licking the bowl seemed almost called for…..
A cheese board – gorgonzola with fig paste and rye crackers completed our meal – the rye crackers being the only odd note – it was described as with lavosh which would have been our preference – but the cheese was grand as was the paste.
It would be remiss not to mention the wine list – very well put together – a great range of varieties and regions, with an emphasis on WA wines. We started with a glass each of the excellent Swan Valley Bella Ridge rosé – made from tempranillo, this has a spicy aroma, with raspberry and cherry notes on the palate, finishing dry.
We followed with a cabernet from Margaret River – Clairault – this had intense blackcurrant notes on the nose, with some hints of tobacco and spice. The palate is smooth, a lot of mid palate dark fruit, with tones of spice and cherry, enhanced by good use of oak and smooth tannins.
We enjoyed this so much we retired to the small cocktail bar down the end of the restaurant for another before we went on the Concert Hall.
Firewater Grille is deserving of its place inside the 5 star Duxton – the food is well cooked, very well presented, the menu and wine list thoughtfully put together; it hits all the requisite notes. We enjoyed it greatly – and also loved the concert later – Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell – what a night!