Dec 3, 2010

The Weld Club

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend a wedding reception at Perth's oldest, most reclusive and elite gentleman's establishments - The Weld Club.

Most people in Perth probably don't realise this place exists, but it's the Federation style building on the corner of Barrack and the Esplanade. Unless you are on considerably higher than a six figure salary and male, it's unlikely you will ever become a member, let alone see the inside. After daring to make a review I probably will never be invited back!

It's an incredibly restricted venue.  Movements within the club for example are limited and you have the sense that building is more of a museum these days  - It's really quite like stepping back into the 1950s.  The vast majority of the premise comprises of private reading and dining rooms and accommodations for the guests.

When at a gathering like this all guests are to wear jacket's whenever outside of the "Back Room" and to conduct themselves with decorum. No mobile phones are allowed, and while photography is allowed in the dining room, it's not allowed elsewhere. I wont post shots with recognisable faces - so this is going to be a shorter than usual entry!

The wedding was, undoubtedly the most expensive and well prepared event I've been to. The organisers didn't hold back on their selection of beverages and the dining was silver service - for around 80 guests so this wasn't a small shindig.

Food wise. What was served here was easily the best I've had at a wedding - but then you would have to expect that given the reputation for money in this place.


Entrée was a trio dish:
- Smoked Duck, Mead Glaze and Snow Pea.
- Wild Mushroom Terrine, Tomato Relish and Basil.
- Chilled Avocado Soup, Orange Infused Olive Oil.

I thought the Avocado soup was the stand out here. A cold, savoury soup served in a large shot glass, It was very tasty. The duck was anticlimactic with just two small smoked duck slices. The terrine was interesting, but more like a pleasant mushroom mousse. 

Main Course was a choice between
- Grilled Pink Snapper, Beetroot Salad and Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb, Roast Turned Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Roma Tomato.

Just... disappointing.  I really feel for the wedding party because this promised so much, but turned out quite poor. If I had paid for it at a restaurant boasting The Weld Club's standing, I would have sent it back.

It went wrong in a number of places. Firstly it looked like the Broccoli wasn't steamed at all - or it had been so cold that when they steamed it it just didn't cook. Very unpleasantly crunchy. Worst of all though, was the Snapper - the hero of the dish had been held on the pass too long. It was hot, and beginning to congeal. It had the texture of Styrofoam.  Definitely  not what I expected from the kitchen that delivered the entrée.

Dessert I think saved the night. Another trio:
- Belgian Milk Chocolate Tart, Raspberry Coulis
- Orange Semi Freddo, Saffron Pashmuk, and Mango Vinegar
- Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, Rhubarb Gel and Wafer.

The panna cotta was ordinary, but beyond what a lot of restaurants would attempt. The rhubarb gel however was very good. A perfect balance of acidity and sweet.

I could have eaten a bucket of the Orange Semi Freddo. A really fine dessert. I think everyone inhaled this.

Finally the tart. This was the highlight. A chocolate pastry that was bone dry and crisp, with a rich chocolate filling and a very large blueberry on the top. Simple but extremely well executed.

It was a good night. The food was possibly a little bit of a let down given that it wasn't anything too complex, but the staff were very professional. If you are ever invited to visit, it's worth it to see how the other half lives.

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