As I open a bleary eye at the New Year, my thoughts have turned to the best of food and drink and such in the year gone by, and so a few thoughts and impressions.
Well here I am at one with Rob Broadfield, the best meal we have had this year was very early on in the year and in Wildflower Perth has a restaurant that is among the country’s best. Simply superb food and a drink on the deck out front afterwards a wonderful conclusion. A restaurant for those very special occasions.
Honourable mentions to Halo on the waterfront at Elizabeth Quay, great food, great wine list, outlook hard to beat. The newly invigorated Balthazar is turning out brilliant food under the dab hand of Skye Faithfull, and the wine list is one of the best around. And a late comer Lulu La Delizia in Subiaco makes a strong play for the best Italian along with Lalla Rookh.
Reveley restaurant on the first floor at Elizabeth Quay is also producing top class food. Arthouse Dine at the Art Gallery has some of the best presented food around the traps, and the dining room of the Shadow is top notch.
Well we have a surfeit of top places to choose from – Lot 20 continues to impress, as does Shadow which has some surprising wines on its list, and Strange Company in Fremantle has a lot going for it, as do Northbridge new comers Young Love Mess Hall and Henry’s Rooftop at Elizabeth Quay. I still love Petition Wine Bar and Merchant and Alfred’s Pizzeria and Orla’s Wee Snug are always worth a visit.
But for me the best for the year – for consistently great food, excellent and changing wine choices, a couple of brilliant wine events, and of course outstanding staff – is No Mafia the Italian themed bar in William Street – very hard to beat a few drinks and a snack there.
We couldn’t go past the meal we had at Knee Deep in the Margaret River wine region,
while closer to home Riverbank, Sittella and Black Swan all turn out impressive and satisfying food. As an aside, the new wine bar at Sittella, the Nest is also worth more than one visit.
Well Long Chim continues to rule the roost as the best Thai in the State, and we have had a number of great meals there over the course of the year – we particularly enjoy sitting in their courtyard on a sunny day. Sauma sets the bar for Indian food, but we have a soft spot, too, for Zaika in Midland.
Chilli Panda, a new place displaying the cuisine of Hunan impressed, as did the makeover of Ping Pang Pong to Hongkies and its salute to Hong Kong, while Mouthful Duck in Ellenbrook hit all the markers on our visit there. And not a tumbleweed to be seen, Rob. Finally, Bangkok Brothers looks to be here to stay with good food and ambience.
2016 saw the long anticipated re-opening of the Guildford – and what a resurrection it is from the depths of fire-fraught despair – fabulous looking place, good casual pub food and a fine selection of wines and beers. And despite the professional whinging and short-armed deep-pockets brigade it has brought welcome flair to the James Street strip.
The Federal in Fremantle also reopened after some years as Rosie O’Grady’s and also impressed as a fine renovation; great spot for a drink and another reason to visit the Port.
Our local, the Rose and Crown still boasts the best beer garden in WA, while we had a couple of good pub meals at the Boab and at the Woody. Both worth a visit or two.
As already mentioned Knee Deep winery restaurant is top class, and in Morries Margaret River has one of the best small bars in the State – quality food, excellent wine selection, friendly and welcoming.
And 2016 saw the opening of Brewhouse Margaret River – a fabulous spot, rolling lawns, umbrella sheltered tables, fantastic covered deck – great value food, good wine and a range of house brewed beers.
Out of State
I didn’t get the opportunity to get away much this year, but a trip to Canberra saw my return to one of the best bars in the country, Temporada – beautiful food, grand drink selection – and a newly opened spot which deserves to be very successful – Bar Rochford – loved the food, the wine list and the staff.
Other spots of note
I couldn’t pass up a recommendation for Baby Mammoth – South African style food with one of the largest beer selections going around; Duende for very good Spanish cuisine and the newly opened Mayfair Lane– a stylish bar in the West End.
There have been a number of new coffee shops/cafés opened over the year and we need to get out to a few more in 2017, but Tiisch and tbsp. both impressed a lot on our visits.
Wines and things
Raising Riesling at the Royal Perth Yacht Club again allowed the opportunity to taste the best Rieslings from the best Riesling region, the Great Southern. Among the most impressive were the wines of Trevelen Farm – the aged Rieslings from here are out of this world – 3Drops, and Abbey Creek.
Another highlight was the Young Gun of Wine event at Il Lido in Cottesloe where some of the best of the new wave of winemakers and wineries were on display – Unico Zela, one of these aforementioned young guns from South Australia also presented at a fabulous lunch the next day at No Mafia. Among others at the Cottesloe event we were very much taken with the wines of Brave New Wines, Goon Tycoons, Tripe Iscariot, Byron and Harold, Marq, Jerusalem Hollow and Express Winemakers – all from WA – as well as Howard Wines from the Adelaide Hills and RedHead Wines, also from SA.
A tasting of Great Southern Pinot Noir at Petition Wine Bar and Merchant demonstrated the growing importance of the region for this variety – 3Drops, Castle Rock and Abbey Creek particularly shone.
The inaugural Touché Rosé event at the Perth Town Hall, organized by the Unfiltered Wine Club, saw an amazing array of Australian and international rosé for tasting – a fantastic celebration of all things pink. Roll on again, we hope.
Another top tasting was also held at the Town Hall which is a great venue for such events – Festival Italia showcased the wines of Italy as well as Italian varieties produced in Australia – not to be missed in 2017.
A tasting of Charles Heidsieck champagne at Lamonts Wine Store was a once in a very occasional chance to try some of the world’s best champagnes – as with all wine tasting events at the Wine Store it was accompanied by brilliant canapés. These regular events are not to be missed.
A tasting organized by the Perth Royal Wine Show showing winning wines from previous years of the Show, with the tasting led by UK Master of Wine, Sarah-Jane Evans was a highlight, as was another event – a snapshot of reds of the 2013 vintage in the Great Southern, this one led by another Master of Wine, Singapore’s Tan Ying Hsien.
So many more wonderful wines tasted over the year – Pinelli’s aged Chenin which picked up the Chairman’s Trophy at the Swan Valley Wine Show, Moss Wood’s new Cabernet Sauvignon release, the Clayface releases from Dormilona and a wonderful Pinot from Manjimup’s Lonely Shore. And just as the year drew to a close a chance tasting at Morries revealed one of the best Petit Verdot we had this year – Double Barrel Boys The Pug. Was so good I had to track them down and grab a dozen.
I could go on but I won’t – just the hope that you too managed to find some great food and drink during the year, and that 2017 promises even more delights. And with the Fringe only a couple of weeks away it is the perfect time to get out and about, see some fabulous shows and have a relaxing meal and drink before or after. Perth, and WA, is a great place to live. Happy New Year!