The outdoor Garden Lounge at Bishops House is a delightful oasis in the midst of a bustling city. Surrounded on three sides by glass and concrete monoliths, the artificial grass, the lounge chairs, Chesterfield, stools and tables, lights strung across the space, and a huge mirror propped against the wall separating the lounge from the exquisite parterre garden of St Georges Square, all combine to create something quite special.
Lady FWO and I, on our way to an engagement elsewhere, early as usual, dropped past the Lounge to have a look, a drink and a snack before going on. We are so glad that we did.
Although it is a little difficult to get to – we could see the gracious old Bishops House but finding the entrance to it off St Georges Terrace posed a little problem – a sign pointing the way might help! But with perseverance and some muttering we got there at last. Up the stairs and around the back of the old house we went and there it was – an enticing and attractive spot. We were the first customers, but a charming young bloke was soon on the spot delivering up menus and drinks lists as we secured our place on two very comfortable lounge chairs.
Two glasses of Lamont’s Bunyip Rosé were quickly ordered and served while we looked through the tapas menu, and gazed around at the office buildings to the front and side and mused on all the unfortunate occupants looking down on us. It is almost like being on a rooftop bar without the rooftop – the view is quite spectacular and of course behind us is the historic House where if we chose we could have dined inside at the restaurant.
It was a humid and overcast evening, with a hint of a breeze; it was quite tropical and brought back memories of beachfront bars in Georgetown – without the ocean of course – it had similar ambience and mood. An IPOD was turning out some nice, soft tunes as well to add to the colour of the place.
The menu is quite small, designed for sharing and includes dishes such as oysters various ways; fried prawn gyoza; barbeque tiger prawns; chicken wings; pulled pork steam buns; chips; and chorizo. We decided to try tempura snapper and a serve of grilled asparagus.
The drinks list includes a number of wines by the glass – predominantly those from their own winery – but with a few inclusions, cabernet from the brilliant Woodlands vineyard in Margaret River, Bill Pannell’s Picardy Chardonnay, Ad Hoc Shiraz and one rosé from France. A nice range of beers – Matso’s, Gage Roads, Eagle Bay, Little Creatures – among them and some Sipsmith spirits completed the list.
Our rosé was a beautiful dark pink, lifted strawberry notes on the nose, but with raspberry and cranberry elements on the palate, which produced a dryer finish than the nose would first indicate. Made from a blend of varieties, it has good acid and is a refreshing drink, both on its own and with food. It was very good, so we had another…as you do….
The snapper came out as six or so large bite sized pieces of fish, in a thin, clean, crisp tempura batter surrounding beautifully cooked fish – moist, tender, flavoursome – it was accompanied by tartar sauce and was a quite splendid snack.
The asparagus, lightly grilled, with crème fraiche, and a piece of soft melting cheese draped over was a light, well executed dish, and also very enjoyable.
Unfortunately at this stage we had to pack up and go elsewhere – now in retrospect we wish we had stayed – where we had dinner later on had nothing on this spot. We will be back – to lounge around in this lovely pop-up bar and, I am sure, to eat in the restaurant.
The Garden Lounge at Bishops House is a must during the warmer months when it is open. Very much recommended – my only gripe, apart from the aforementioned struggle to find our way in, is the absence of Lamont’s excellent Riesling on the by-the-glass drinks list….