Nestling at the top of the “old New Esplanade” hotel which has been thoroughly upgraded, renovated, re-jigged and transformed into Perth’s latest boutique hotel, Quay Perth, is their rooftop bar and dining room, HQ Bar and Kitchen. This probably has the best outlook of any of the rooftops around town, looking down and over as it does to Elizabeth Quay, the river and the South Perth skyline across the water.
The bar at one end of the space is counterpoised by the dining area at the other, with lounges and coffee tables separating the two – all enjoying those views. Out front, through glass doors is a balcony with more table and chairs for those warmer nights.
The food has an Asian twist, and the wine list a small but interesting range of wines from around Australia and overseas. We began with a glass of Snake and Herring Dirty Boots Cabernet Sauvignon, sitting on the couch before adjourning to a table next to the window with a bottle of Frankland River Malbec from Ferngrove and ordered a few dishes – beginning with whitebait, crisply fried in a batter juiced up with Chinese Five Spice – a lemon slice to squeeze over and a bowl of sour cream to dip.
Asparagus fritters caught our eye and these turned out to be asparagus spears, battered and deep fried with a splash of vinegary dressing scattered with shavings of lemon grass; the batter crisp, the asparagus snappy and crunchy.
Our final choice – large prawns, fried in their shell, along with a sauce of salted egg yolk, sitting on a nest of crisp potato straws, bright red goji berries scattered through the dish. The prawns were on song as far as flavour and texture went, and were my dish of the night.
Each of the dishes was well turned out, looked good on the plate and hit all of the right notes and were all of substantial size – my only slight gripe was they all came at once which crowded the table somewhat – we would have preferred the snack – the whitebait – to come out before the two mains but perhaps I had not made that clear when ordering.
We had been thinking of one of the bao buns on offer – two in particular appealed – one with battered oyster mushrooms, pickled vegetables, hoisin mayo and sliced chilli; the other barramundi, with pickled vegetables, candied yuzu and sriracha mayo – they will have to wait for a return visit. As will any of the desserts – of which Redgum honeycake with pistachio ice cream and chocolate lava with egg yolk custard are among those.
HQ Bar and Kitchen only opened last week, but with its absolutely knockout views, and the quality of the food and wine I can see this as becoming a very popular haunt. Get along and check it out!