The Flour Factory recently re-opened after a short hiatus while it was being rejigged –expanded to incorporate what was a gallery along the entrance walk and is now an attractive bar area – heavy wooden tables (apparently a couple of jarrah trees from Nannup were purchased to provide the beautiful wood for these, and the offcuts used as a fascia for the long bar), comfortable chairs, long benches, striking hanging copper domed light fittings, it really has improved the look and feel of the place with a large window adorned with the name looking out over Queen Street. The rooftop Sherry Bar is still upstairs, but closed for winter at the moment.
Lady FWO and I dropped by for lunch this week, sat in the new bar area at one of the jarrah tables, and chose from the $50 special lunch menu which turned out an inspired choice and excellent value– entrée, main and dessert, a choice from three of each course – smoked pork terrine, prawn consommé, and scallops made up the first, while mains were a choice of duck breast, lamb rump and a vegetarian dish of Jerusalem artichokes; desserts on offer were Earl Grey infused panna cotta, spiced pineapple and lemon myrtle mousse.
If not in the mood for the special, the menu also offers a variety of dogs – for example, the Sheepdog made with a lamb sausage, and the British Bulldog with a pork, apple and sage snag as well as a range of charcuterie offerings including Spanish and Italian hams, salami and sausage, and, from their own butchery, offerings such as pork tenderloin and venison rump.
Pizza, cheese and dessert fill out the menu.
Prawn consommé was brought to the table in a large bowl – well some of the ingredients were – the broth itself was brought separately and poured with a flourish into the bowl over crispy chicken skin, a variety of mushrooms, a dollop of black fish roe and a creamy roux. The aromatic consommé, brimming with prawn flavours and well-seasoned was a brilliant contrast of texture and taste.
The chicken skin was particularly notable, as was the contrast of the straw and other mushrooms, with the salty explosion of flavour from the roe – Lady FWO was ecstatic.
Tender, just cooked scallops perched on charred baby cucumbers were served on an attractive plate with thinly sliced kohlrabi and dotted with pickled muntries berries. The muntries, one of the more widely cultivated native berries, have a flavour somewhere between a spicy apple and citrus, and provided a delicate, zesty lift to the dish. The scallops were tender, firm and sweetly flavoured, while the kohlrabi provided mild earthy taste and along with the cucumbers, fresh, crisp texture.
Chargrilled lamb rump, cooked medium rare with perfect pinkness, was served with carrot and puffed buckwheat. The meat was juicy, tender and succulent, with crisp skin encasing a lovely layer of moist and luscious fat.
The accompanying carrot provided its characteristic sweet earthy tones while the small puffs of buckwheat, imparted a mild mushroomy note to the dish. It was splendid both in presentation and taste.
The final main, baked Jerusalem artichokes served with chestnuts, macadamia purée and a slow cooked egg, was again beautifully presented. The nutty, earthy almost parsnip flavour of the artichoke was complemented by the delicate, crumbly sweetness of the chestnuts, supported by the fatty, rich creaminess of the purée, and all wonderfully combined by the amazing oozy slow cooked egg. It was a great vegetarian offering, showing there can be so much more to this cuisine that the interminable risotto, pasta and tarts that abound on other menus.
Our desserts maintained the high standard set so far – slices of pineapple had been dusted with allspice, roasted and served with a crumble of pine nuts and cream infused with the herby aroma and flavour of thyme.
The pineapple’s sweetness was offset by the spice mix and the dish had an almost savoury element to it. The flavours were clean, fresh and lively.
Lemon myrtle mousse came with lemon ice, muntrie berries and shards of meringue; sharp icy citrus flavours, with a backdrop of spicy apple notes from the berries, were bracing and refreshing. The meringue offered a sweet, crunchy element. Not overly sweet, it was a top notch palate cleansing dessert.
The wine list at Flour Factory is small but thoughtfully put together with a good range of prices, varieties and regions represented. We began with a glass of Singlefile Riesling to freshen our palates – wonderful aromas of apple and citrus, clean and fresh with some subtle mineral notes and a crisp, firm finish – and followed with a bottle of a Piedmontese wine, 2013 Prunotto Barbera D’Alba– this exhibited aromas of dark cherry and plums, with hints of violets, and spicy notes of anise and nutmeg; the palate was soft, a medium bodied easy drinking style with strawberry and sour cherry flavours, little overt oak and was a fine companion to our food choices.
The Flour Factory was a hit when it opened a year or so ago and its reincarnation will make it even more so, we think. Our table waiter was delightful, friendly, welcoming as was the barman with his lilting accent. We were taken by the quirky Chocolate Wheel behind the bar – if you are unsure of which of the many gins on offer to sample, for $10 the wheel will be spun and the wheel of fortune will determine that which you have. Spin for your gin, indeed.
Great food, excellent drinks choices, wonderful set up and atmosphere, the Flour Factory is highly recommended.