We hadn’t visited here before but had been in town and on the way to catch a train when we decided to detour to the Lounge. It was only 4.30 and the place had just opened its doors, so was largely empty which made it easy to grab a spot.
Beautifully fitted out, elegant furniture, amazing light display and a funky ceiling made of recycled wooden louvre doors all come together to more than impress on entry.
Through doors at the back you move into the jazz lounge area where live music acts perform later in the evening, but we were happy in one of the little grottos that make up the cocktail bar area.
The lighting is moody and the atmosphere cool and sophisticated; shown to our table we were provided with menus and drinks lists and water, of course. The drinks list in keeping with the jazz-era setup is heavy with cocktails but also has a brilliant range of gin, whisky and rum. Beers hit the mark too with such brews as Feral White, Brooklyn Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale and the interestingly titled My Wife’s Bitter from Burleigh Brewers.
Twenty or so reds and a dozen whites make up a well put together wine list. It has a good spread of varieties and labels, and a nice selection of WA wines among them. Vasse Felix Chardonnay, Ad Hoc Riesling, Voyager Chenin, Laissez Faire Syrah, Hay Shed Hill Cabernet are notable inclusions; as well as the magnificent Mount Mary Quintet from the Yarra which is widely regarded as among the best reds in Australia – of course you pay for it.
We thought that a rosé would be a good starter – so both went for 2013 Rogers and Rufus from the Barossa; with our snack a little later I chose 2011 Forest Hill Cabernet Merlot while Lady FWO opted for 2012 Jed Malbec from Argentina.
The rosé is extremely pale, much more like a French wine than Australian; it has only a slight hint of strawberries on the nose; and the palate is quite spicy, with undertones of apples and a peppery finish. This is not your mainstream Australian rose, but lovely nonetheless.
The Forest Hill red, from the first cool climate vineyard in WA, just outside Denmark, is quite a soft wine. It has blackcurrant and plum aromas, with a lot of ripe plum flavours on the mid palate, before finishing long and firm enhanced by dusty tannins.
The malbec is medium bodied, with lifted red berry and blueberry aromas, with a touch of chocolate. On the palate it is rich and fruity, with appealing tannins and acidity, and finishing with a touch of spice.
As to the food, the offerings are more snacky than fine dining – olives with roasted almonds, hummus with sumac, roast duck sliders, mini pizzas, smoked andouille, chicken croquettes among the Love Bites section, with seafood paella, scallops and bacon bits, and fried buttermilk chicken burger among the larger dishes.
We felt like a snack after our first drink and ordered a serve of cheese and truffle toasties and also prawn popcorn and mayo.
The toasties came as four fingers of bread encasing soft cheese and enhanced by the glorious aroma and taste of black truffle. They were light, but earthy and very highly flavoured – the cheese was slightly underdone – a minute more on the grill would have provided more melt – but for all that they were very tasty.
The deep fried prawn pieces were crisp but tender, the chilli mayo a big hit with me. It was creamy and extremely zingy; lovely.
This is a lovely addition to the bar scene in Perth and to the ever evolving West End. It has charming waiters, excellent drinks, brilliant fit out, moody and sophisticated atmosphere, and simple but tasty food on offer. Walk down the lane along the painted red “carpet” to the funky entrance, and inside you will be taken back to another era of elegance and cool jazz.