The front bar of the Palace Hotel, at the corner of St Georges Terrace and William Street, was a popular hang out in my younger days and it was a great disappointment when the old place was sold off to become a haven for dodgy dealers and rip off merchants – well a bank anyway – thankfully wheels turn, the bank is gone and the old place has been restored to a place of enjoyment and relaxation – the Meat and Wine Company opening there as the chain’s first venture into WA.
And what a venture this is – the décor is stunning with all of the Gold Rush period architecture and design tastefully restored to its former glory – brass fittings, herringbone floor and all – and the service, wine and food are a perfect match as is the opulent furniture. Loved the aged leather chairs. A truly sophisticated and elegant space.
While obviously, as you will gather from the name, the restaurant has as its emphasis meat, they also turn out a great range of seafood and vegetarian dishes to go with a very well put together wine list. In fact the wine list is excellent with an impressive range of styles, varieties, regions and price points.
We were invited along during the week to have a look at the place and test drive a selection of the dishes on offer – and everything was on point, well produced, brilliantly presented and so very impressive.
A choice of three entrées set the scene – firstly, wagyu tartare – a mound of finely chopped beef, succulent and luscious, topped with smoked egg yolk, green dressing and lavosh shavings – this received high praise from those who ordered it.
For me, I went for Szechaun calamari – tender calamari, lightly fried, served with a delightfully spicy nam jim sauce for dipping, cucumber and onion. Excellent.
The third of the choices catering for vegetarians was an exceptionally pretty dish of sous-vide beetroot, served with a smoked labne and quinoa crisps – the beet deliciously firm and earthily sweet, the cheese adding a smoky undertone and the nutty crisp additional texture and crunch.
To the mains – and a choice of two of their custom steaks from their own Monte Paddock – a 350g Ribeye or 350g New York strip – grilled to order and with a choice of 8 house sauces – Portuguese, BBQ relish, Hot African Chilli, Garlic Cream, Peppercorn, Blue Cheese, Mushroom, or Black Garlic butter.
Lady FWO opted for a medium rare New Yorker and what a lovely piece of meat it was – perfectly cooked as you will see from the photo – tender, juicy, seasoned as it should be, and very, very god indeed. The mushroom sauce a great companion.
From my observation the Rib Eye was similarly impressive and I heard good reports as to the spiciness of the African Chilli Sauce.
My choice of main – Salmon – was magically presented dish indeed – succulent and juicy, lightly cooked chunks of salmon, served on a large hanging skewer – the fish having been marinated in fermented chilli, miso, sesame, soy, ginger and garlic – it was a brilliant dish and served with crunchy, crisp ice berg lettuce salad.
Others were Chicken breast spiced with Moroccan herbs, served with silver beet, black barley and toum, the Middle Eastern garlic sauce; orecchiette with red pepper sauce, pea puree, asparagus and parmesan; and a gloriously tender shoulder of slow cooked lamb with butter beans, smoked eggplant and pomegranate.
There were desserts on offer, too, but the generosity of the starters and mains defeated us, and it was left to others to sample these.
The Meat and Wine Company ticks all of the boxes – excellent food at the right price, impressive wine list, top class and friendly service, and in such magnificent surrounds – you just have to go along and experience it for yourself.
Disclaimer: We were the guests of the restaurant.