I go on a pretty regular basis to Lot 20, in my mind one of the very best small bars around town – situated near the corner of James and William streets in Northbridge with two levels, a bar and eating area downstairs, together with a great little courtyard, water feature and interesting furniture, looking through a rusted iron grill onto the James Street cultural precinct.
Upstairs is another dining area and the kitchen. A few murals and posters on the walls provide additional decoration.
The food is designed around small plates making it a mix and match type of place; and of note on Wednesday evenings and Fridays from midday can be found, plying his wares, Jerry Fraser, Perth’s most noted purveyor of oysters.
On our most recent visit, setting up in the sunny courtyard, it was obligatory to order a few oysters to start our day – the dozen from Franklin Harbour in South Australia were fresh, creamy, briny, just right, with a splash of lemon juice, and piqued our appetite for a dozen more.
After these arrived and were likewise despatched, we turned our attention to a serve of Tokyo Fries and a plate of Clarence River prawns.
The prawns came with a mild wasabi based mayo and the tiny fellows were cooked whole – crispy and beautifully sweet fleshed.
The fries served in a cone were cooked with shichimi seasoning and nori and served with a delicate creamy pickled ginger mayonnaise and went down a treat, as always – crisp, but tender, floury and moist inside.
Our final choice at this stage was a warm salad of root vegetables – parsnip, beets, and the like topped with a leaf of fried kale – great taste and textures – sweetness from the beets, nutty piquancy from the parsnip, with a zesty dressing tying it all together. A good dish.
Oysters seem a perfect fit with Riesling and a bottle of 2013 Rockcliffe Third Reef confirmed this – lifted citrus aromas, flinty, lemon and lime flavours with good supporting acid, this washed down our molluscs with flair.
Later in the afternoon, after another dozen of Jerry’s best, we moved to the other great accompaniment to oysters (setting aside for the time being, champagne) and sipped on a Larry Cherubino Ad Hoc rosé – strawberry aromas, crisp, dry, raspberry flavours, with a touch of citrus on the mid palate.
Lot 20 is an extremely enjoyable place to hang out, sitting in the courtyard watching the world go by, or indoors either up or downstairs – there is great food, a small but excellent wine list, friendly, professional waiters, Jerry’s oysters and just a wonderful ambience and is one of my favourites, for sure.
To my mind sitting in the front courtyard, under an umbrella, gentle breeze cooling things down, and the murmur of the water feature, has to rank among the better things to be doing early on a Friday afternoon at this time of the year.