James Street Bar and Kitchen is the signature bar and restaurant of the newly opened Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Northbridge – the bar opens to the footpath of James Street, with a dividing wall behind the bar concealing the dining room proper – however you can also eat at the tables in the bar area.
I was invited along initially just prior to the hotel opening before Christmas and had a chance to look around the hotel, rooms, function areas and the like, as well as sampling food from the kitchen –since it has opened we have been back a couple of times – once for a drink and then for a drink and snack.
The bar area is well set up, comfortable chairs and an outlook to the streets of Northbridge and the passers-by – with friendly and welcoming staff and a light, airy atmosphere. The food from Executive Chef Kevin Garcia is impressive and ranges from tapas dishes through small bites, small plates to share, big plates, from the grill, desserts and sides.
Over the course of my visits a couple of dishes really stood out – tuna tataki with watermelon, noodles and vodka is absolutely spot on – the fish ever so lightly seared, juicy and meltingly tender, and beautifully presented.
Smoked curds of cauliflower is a brilliant vegetarian dish – the smokiness imparting a wonderful bouquet and flavour, supported by the nuttiness of al dente freekah and the creamy deliciousness of Persian goats cheese. This is a ripper of a dish.
House cured salmon also hits all the right notes – florets of salmon come with pickled sweet beets, citrus slices and a dob or two of creamy remoulade.
Finally, another beautifully presented dish of braised beef cheeks on a bed of celeriac remoulade and a splash of blueberry sauce adding both colour and slightly tart sweetness to complement the tender, gelatinous beef.
The wine list is pretty well put together, although I would like to see a few more of the innovative wines coming out of WA, and Australia more broadly – especially to compete with some of the excellent wine lists nearby.
Having said that we have enjoyed an excellent rosé from the Barossa – La Maschera 2017 – made from Grenache with a splash of Sangiovese – it is gorgeous pale onion skin in colour, with aromas of white strawberries, raspberries and a dash of spice; the palate is crisp and zingy, with cranberry and pomegranate flavours predominating, leading to a silky smooth lingering finish. Great summer drinking and certainly complements the seafood dishes of the kitchen.
So, James Street Bar and Kitchen is a welcome addition to the streets of Northbridge and the food shines. With the Fringe about to get into full swing this is the right time to get along and give it a go.