Nov 18, 2010

Perth's Best Restaurant


Restaurant Amusé
64 Bronte Street
East Perth WA 6004



Finally! I've managed to get to Amusé.

After the meh experience at Jacksons, and previous poor experiences at other Perth restaurants on birthdays, this year for Ondine's I decided to up the ante.

Was it worth it? Hell yes!  I wont say Hadleigh Troy is a genius, but he and his brigade are definitely the local master technicians of molecular cooking. The food was every bit as good as what I had at the celebrated Vue de monde in Melbourne. In some ways, it was possibly a bit better.

To look at the place isn't much.  Outside, there is nothing to indicate whats going on internally - and that's not a bad thing.  Inside it's  sleek and minimalist with nothing to distract you from the real reason you should go - the food. Well that is apart from one thing.  Noise.




I think this is Amusés only real problem - The large open space does not afford any sense of privacy from other diners, and by virtue of being open plan it can get quite noisy. Last night the mood was broken a number of times by an unfortunate gathering  of 20+ drunk 50 year olds behaving like children at the table next to us.

Hint to those people arriving pre-pickled to the towns top restaurant - that curtain you are  sitting behind doesn't stop the rest of the building from hearing about what you did last week at your local and all the other sordid details. 

The staff though in the face of such adversity were immaculately professional. Their wine knowledge was very good and the entire operation was seamless. For this alone I'd happily recommend Amusé to anyone as the best service in Perth and it's not hard to see why they are winning so many awards.

The food? Well, it was definitely entertaining. Not the best meal I've had in Perth, but there were some standout courses, and a lot of clever food. It's a Degustation only restaurant of course, but it comes out to 12 courses when you include the optional cheese platter. So its quite good value for money - $125 for food only, or an additional $70 for good matched wines with generous pours.


The Menu:

This was a summer themed menu, and intensely driven by produce availability. Quite literally any or all of the courses could change each week.

Snacks
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Tomato, watermelon and goats cheese
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Beetroot, coffee and cocoa
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Yabby, lemon aspen and red currants
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Snapper, peas and asparagus
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Pork, scallop and pineapple
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Lamb, shallots and eggplant
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Lychee
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Optional Cheese Course
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Strawberries, mascarpone and blood orange
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Blueberries, white chocolate and fennel
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Petit four
Served with your selection of coffee/tea



Snacks

Snacks
Snacks were more than one expects as an amuse - Jamon Iberico wrapped around compressed rockmelon,  more  Jamon wrapped around grissini, a dukkah flavoured labne, potato crisps with a "salt and vinegar" mousse and Kingfish ceviche on brik. All of the crisps, chips and sticks are made in house.  I think I especially liked to salt and vinegar chips. For me the flavour balance was perfect.

Tomato, watermelon and goats cheese
This was very clever. Black cherry tomatoes, basil sprouts, tiny spheres of pickled cucumber, compressed and dehydrated watermelon, a cube of tomato sorbet, crumbled goats cheese feta - in a tomato water consomme. Finished with a olive tapenade cracker. 

For an entree this dish had a surprising number of technical components, but taste wise everything, even the watermelon, worked really well and said - "Summer is here and it's tomato season."   



Tomato, watermelon and goats cheese Beetroot, Coffee and Cocoa

Beetroot, coffee and cocoa
Balls of beetroot on a soil of coffee and cocoa. Garnish of beetroot sprouts, peeled broad beans, and two different styles of meringue.  A lot of soil actually. Beetroot and chocolate is a classic flavour combination, but I was surprised how a small addition of coffee lifted it from sweet/earthy flavours to something a little lighter.

This entree could easily have been a preliminary to a dessert.

Yabby, lemon aspen and red currants
Raw yabby, layered with fine fillets of kingfish. Garnished with elderflower jellies, lumpfish roe, lavosh crumbles, shiso, lemon aspen mayonnaise, and a tart red currant sauce.

The highlight of the dish in my opinion were the red currants, they were fantastic. I didn't like the texture of the yabby though, and in some ways the kingfish was wasted with all the other fantastic summer fruit flavours standing out.



Yabby, Lemon Aspen and Red Currents Snapper, Peas and Asparagus

Snapper, peas and asparagus
The standout dish of the evening for me. Sous-vide Goldband snapper, peeled peas, white asparagus in a daishi emulsion. The snapper had a seaweed crust, and the sauce contained diced asparagus for texture.

This was seriously as good a fish as I've eaten in two star Michelin restaurants. The fish's texture was perfect. Likewise, the flavour balance and seasoning. I'd go back for this course alone.

Pork, scallop and pineapple 
A surprisingly complicated dish. Caramelised pork belly, seared scallop, and a sauce made from pineapple juice. Small cubes of pineapple adorned the plate and it all rested on a light cauliflower puree.  I really enjoyed the sticky texture of the pork, and the pleasant addition of pineapple but the scallop was a little bit of a let down. Perfectly cooked, but not seared enough to bring out the flavour.



Pork, Scallop and Pineapple Lamb, Shallots and Eggplant

Lamb, shallots and eggplant
Main course.  Onion ash encrusted lamb fillet, pickled shallots and an eggplant remoulade. Finished with homemade ricotta, broccolini, and one solitary fried chive. The only problem with this dish was that there was no where near enough. Yum.

Lychee
The palate refresher. Three textures of the tropical fruit. Lychee sorbet, covered with lychee espuma, and freeze dried lychee. This course was a big hit with the lychee fans at the table.

Optional Cheese Course
We took the restaurant up on this option, because they really do carry some exceptional examples of international cheese. The Papillion Roquefort and Comte Gruyere was ordered along with dessert wines to share. I'm afraid I  didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the cheese on account of being blown away by my glass of Pertaringa Vineyards The Full Fronti



Strawberries, Mascarpone and Blood Orange Blueberries, White Chocolate and Fennel

Strawberries, mascarpone and blood orange
First dessert course. A wonderful bit of food theatre. Macerated strawberries, whipped mascarpone cheese, a lemon oil sorbet, and a solitary raspberry beneath a mound of fairy floss. When the waiter applies the blood orange consomme to the dish, the floss melts to reveal the dessert beneath it and most importantly the sour sauce picks up the sugar it needs to balance.

Blueberries, white chocolate and fennel
Oh so sweet. Blueberry sorbet on a milk biscuit and dehydrated blueberry soil with baked chocolate honeycomb wafers. A white chocolate cream, frozen in liquid nitrogen was then sprinkled over the top on serving. I think for me this was my least favourite dish of the night. It seemed too sweet, and the flavours all seemed to blend together so that everything tasted the same. An anti-climax after the joy of the strawberries.

Petit four
Hand made lime infused marshmallows, almond friands and chocolate truffles. Served with a selection of teas and coffees. I wasn't a fan of the marshmallows - too sweet and the lime flavour wasn't quite right. We postulated the chef may have used lime oil or even lime verbena. The chocolates were intense, almost over powering.

Petit Fours

Phew!

All in all, a fine, very technical and entertaining meal. The produce was exceptional, as was the  matching of flavours and the staff. We all left feeling we had eaten more than enough and if I had chosen the matched wines, I think it may have bordered on being a little too much for me. Good value for money. 

Highly recommended for an entertaining dinner, but probably not for a romantic occasion. Amusé most definitely justifies it's rating in the guides.
80/100


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