It was apparently stormy out – as we settled into our seats I received a video text from my son in a more northerly suburb showing the hail and rain pelting down at his place. But in Maylands there had been a few intermittent heavy drops as we walked from the station to the bar and now we were comfortably ensconced inside. And when we left a couple of hours later, the storm was nowhere to be seen.
We arrived just as Swallow was opening at 4PM on Saturday; the bar itself could be termed a micro rather than simply a small bar. It is quite tiny. Along one wall are a series of booths salvaged it seems from a train – with netting luggage racks and all. The pressed tin bar has a few stools at which you can perch, have a drink and watch the small kitchen at work, and at the rear is a small courtyard. It is all very cosy and inviting.
The wine list has a good range of Australian and international choices, and a selection by the glass. There are a number of bottled beers and a changing draft selection. Cocktails and spirits as well, of course. We started with a German Riesling, 2013 50 Degrees Trocken, a lovely floral nose with lime notes on the palate, crisp and dry.
Turning to the reds we were somewhat disappointed that there was no Cabernet available by the glass but troupers that we are we solved that by ordering a bottle of 2005 Pin Pin Cabernet from Margaret River. The wine was from Glenmore vineyard, which has supplied grapes to Moss Wood for their Amy’s blend, and is made by Ian Bell, long time assistant winemaker at Moss Wood until he left to further develop his own winery. Anyway, the wine itself was deep red, had abundant berry fruits and chocolate aromatics and rich fruit, coffee beans and firm tannins on the palate. The wine was decanted at the table – a nice touch, we thought.
To accompany our wine choices we chose a couple of small dishes off the interesting menu – truffled leek and gruyère croquettes, and artichoke and cheese gratin. The croquettes were a golden crisp and crunchy exterior concealing an oozy, rich, cheesy interior with hints of earthy truffle – delightful.
The gratin came with toasted ciabatta slices for dipping. Another nice little dish and although there wasn’t a noticeable artichoke component, it was very tasty and the ciabatta a good accompaniment. Both complemented our red and we went away happy indeed, back to the train and home. Swallow is a really interesting and welcome addition to the Perth small bar scene and especially for those living in the Eastern suburbs. They have live music on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and have happily positioned themselves as a great neighbourhood hangout. Very much recommended.