To start the New Year off on a positive note we decided to go back to a few of the places we enjoyed last year and went along again to the Principal in Midland. In renovated and historic school buildings opposite Midland Gate it is an attractive place.
Outside and to one side a beer garden, inside the front doors the restaurant dining room, and down a corridor to an open and well lit bar and informal dining area.
They offer a pretty good little wine list with Swan Valley and other WA wineries prominent – Mandoon, Upper Reach, Harewood to name a few. And they also have a nice range of beers both on tap and by the bottle.
This time we set our sights on a bottle of Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley rosé from McLaren Vale. Bright pink with rose petals and strawberry aromas, this crisp style is made from Grenache and has citrus and raspberry flavours, with a hint of watermelon sweetness on the mid-palate. An excellent food wine.
Looking over the menu you will see it contains many of what may be termed “usual” pub food but moves beyond the norm with some innovative and different choices on offer.
We started with a shared dish of seafood cakes – squash ball sized rounds of moist, minced seafood in a slightly crisped skin – lots of Thai flavours, lemon, mild chilli and served with a salad of greens, a little wakami scattered over and a small bowl of Nam Jim dipping sauce providing its contrasting flavours of sweetness, sourness and mild zing. A good start.
For mains we chose a special of the day – panfried barramundi, as well as a warm salad with squid.
The fish had a delightfully crunchy and salty skin protecting juicy tender flesh and sat on a selection of straw and oyster mushrooms and charred spring onion in what was described as a ponzu sauce. The sauce was the only quibble we had- rather than a citrus lift it was much too salty – it tasted too much of soy sauce and that detracted a little from the overall dish. Notwithstanding that the dish was well presented and, setting aside the sauce, full of flavour and texture.
My salad of a mix of Asian greens, strips of pawpaw, slivers of subtly sweet wakami and a mild chilli dressing was topped with warm calamari fried with a Szechuan spices – the salad was fresh, crunchy and well complemented by the dressing, while the squid was tender, with just a hint of heat from the spices. A very summery and successful dish, we thought.
The Principal has carved out a niche as one of the best pubs in the area, but it is really more than that – the drinks selection is very good, the food is extremely well turned out – a lot better than just pub food – the waiters are friendly, professional and helpful, while the building provides a lovely setting.
We enjoyed our return visit and it will not be our last.