A stylish green oasis has sprung up in Aberdeen Street located in the grounds and buildings which at various times have housed The Shed, Skye Bar and Secret Bar – and what a transformation it is. Snappy décor, plants galore bringing a cool tranquillity, and a menu that impresses with its accent on light and fresh dishes.
As well, a small wine list that nevertheless shows thought and effort – among the noteworthy inclusions are wines from La Violetta, Marchand and Burch, Swinney, Frankland Estate, Charles Melton and Woodlands – they even have rosé on tap, and a good one at that – a blend of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Grenache from the dab hand of Deep Woods winemaker, young gun Julian Langworthy.
Henry Summer is open from midday each day – we dropped by for lunch this week, found a pleasant sheltered table with cool breeze flowing through the open shutters and got down to business.
As I said the menu has an emphasis on light dishes – but they have some more substantial offerings as well – a half a rotisserie chook, a couple of burgers – while the seafood platter with prawns, oysters, mussels, crabs, bugs and bread and butter certainly sounds the go – big enough for three it seems. But we settled this time on some of the smaller dishes.
Beginning with ceviche – succulent and juicy thinly sliced snapper draped across the plate, ringed by sweet mango dressing and dotted with coriander, green chilli and a dash of lime – wonderful amalgam of flavours and texture.
Onto a plate of crisply fried chicken and mushroom dumplings, the filling moist, chunky and well-seasoned, sat on a bed of mild satay sauce, with its characteristic peanut and chilli flavours adding to the delight of the dish.
Next DIY rice paper rolls – a bowl of water to dip the rice paper in to soften and then fill with a selection of the accompaniments – fried prawn meat on skewers of sugarcane, matchsticks of carrot and white radish, mint and assorted green leaves, and a zesty chilli based sauce. Ab Fab.
Finally, sweet potato fries came with an avocado and yoghurt dip – the only downer was this dish – the sweet spud could have been a lot more crisped – they were a tad limp, but tasted fine for all that.
For drinks, we tried the on tap rosé – dry and crisp – and then moved onto a bottle of Marchand and Burch Villages Pinot Noir rosé – a beauty with a bouquet of cherries and spice, the palate full of ripe strawberry notes, fine acid and a little earthiness as you would expect from Pinot – lovely.
Then after sitting back digesting the meal we finished the day with a glass of the wonderful Patio Pet Nat from La Violetta. Apricot, musk and citrus blossom aromas lead to crunchy, stalky, tart green apple flavours – cloudy and cidery this is a splendidly refreshing lightly sparkling wine.
Henry Summer is destined I think to be a major drawcard in Northbridge – with the Fringe coming up it should be pumping all through the season. From the same stable as La Cholita, Alabama Song, Pleased to Meet You, Joe’s Juice Joint and Sneaky Tony’s, you know you will be in good hands. Get along quick!