7 July 2012

A feast of tasty tapas at Amphoras, West Perth

Hidden away in the middle of Hay Street somewhere between the city and subiaco is West Perth's Amphoras Bar. A little throwback place that looks like a typical restaurant from the outside and a nice little niche bar on the inside.

It exudes an old world charm, with intimate tables for two scattered throughout and a bar that boasts a generous range of alcohol to choose from.

Jeremy and I arrived a few minutes before our booking time; our teeth chattering softly from the bitingly cold air. Walking inside was like breathing a sigh of relief. The heaters were on full blast, the room full of happy chatter and couples toasting one another over large glasses of red. It was the night for dates by the look of it.

We were quite hungry, so happily accepted our menus, perusing them with gusto before settling on four tapas dishes to share. We were going to go for five but since it was our first time here we weren't sure about the serving sizes. I knew I was going to want dessert after spotting one with popping candy so I needed to make sure I kept enough room.

Crispy pink pepper baby calamari with aioli ($16) was a definite for us. Beautifully crunchy batter that was light and spicy; holding its texture even as the night waned on. This was probably the stand out dish for me. It was delicious and definitely moorish - perfectly accompanied by a creamy aioli. A squeeze of lemon sent my palate in overdrive. I felt like a kid trying ice-cream for the first time.


Baby calamari

The next dish that caught our eye was the roast pumpkin and buffalo mozzarella arancini with house pesto ($16). I am a HUGE fan of arancini. Really what's there not to like. It's rice (tick), cheese (tick), sauce (tick) and it's fried (triple tick). And this flavour combination is also my favourite when it comes to these little Italian balls of happiness. One bite, and I knew that I was a happy customer.

The texture was perfect. The rice pillowy soft and extremely flavoursome. The outside wasn't heavy at all, but retained that great crunch you'd expect when breaking them open. Centred right in the middle was a gooey ball of mozzarella that worked oh so well when smeared with the basil rich pesto that sat underneath.

Arancini

Like most tapas meals, we couldn't not order the chorizo dish. Or as the menu called it: Pedro Xiemenez glazed Rosa's chorizo with corn bread ($16). Vibrantly bright and tangy this dish was caliente in its look and taste. And it was quite a generous serving since most places give you four pieces of charred meat and try to write it off as 'chorizo tapas'. The corn bread wasn't what I was expecting though. In my mind I was thinking of the dense, dark yellow concoction that Mrs S is famous for. But this was a loaf of normal bread with corn baked into it. Delicious even though it wasn't what I had thought we would be getting.

Chorizo

Our last savoury dish was for the duck liver pate with crusty baguette and cranberry compote. This was Jeremy's favourite for the night.

The bread was so fresh and crusty it felt like we were in France. The nice drizzle of olive oil across the top softening it ever so slightly. The pate was rich and incredibly creamy; working best on the dish with a smear of the sweet cranberry compote and a garnish of the lettuce. It tasted really amazing and again was much bigger than expected. My white wine and Jeremy's cider seemed to complement this dish the most out of them all.

Duck liver pate

Though we were quite full, we naturally found room for dessert - as all good diners do (its a different stomach I often try to justify).

I opted for the chocolate tart with popping candy, berry compote and peanut butter icecream ($15). It looked magnificent! The popping candy had me reminiscing over my youth while childishly opening my mouth for Jeremy to hear the "crackles". The peanut butter icecream was probably one of the best I've ever had. It was nutty and almost chewy but still extremely creamy. And the fresh strawberry was a nice burst of juice that was needed since the chocolate tart itself was incredibly rich. Great texture and taste. But since I prefer milk over dark chocolate, it ended up being a bit much for me.


Chocolate tart

Jeremy's dessert was the creme catalan with almond and cranberry biscotti, and yoghurt icecream ($15). We had expected a brulee topping over the creamy dessert which it didn't have (this is correct but when you picture something as exciting as that crack of toffee it can be a little disappointing). However the yoghurt icecream went down a treat, as did the nice little strawberry salad and perfectly cooked biscotti.


Creme catalan

All in all the food at Amphoras was great. The flavours are unique but familiar, and the spanish twist on the dishes gives the meal a level of excitement. The only downfall of this place is not what comes out of the kitchen, but rather the service.

We asked for water three times on arrival before getting it (with no apology), and when we asked for our bill it was given to the wrong table. Then when we did get it, it was wrong with additional items added in. Not a massive issue, but a bit of a shame when everything else was so right.

However, the service wasn't so bad that we won't be back. The food was too nice to think that way.




Amphoras Bar on Urbanspoon

2 comments

  1. YUM! Love this place ;) - Erin

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    Replies
    1. It's a gem :) I haven't been back since but I keep meaning to!

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