If there's one thing I'm becoming particularly fond of in Perth, it's the increasing presence of laneways and attractions/eateries. Finally we see our fast growing town stepping to become a little bit more like Melbourne in that our CBD has wonderful food offerings in every nook and cranny.
Tom's Kitchen has been around for a few years now in Shafto Lane (and opened a Leederville version last year). It's humble and small, serving what they dub as classic European food in a comfortable setting. The website has a fantastic spiel about how it applies the small bar ethos to a boutique restaurant. How they use rustic, peasant-style ingredients and cooking techniques so the food manages to stay reasonably priced while being environmentally sound and tasting great. And they're right, it ticks all of these claimed boxes.
I'm catching up with my best friend Vee tonight and she's suggested Tom's. We ate here together a couple years ago and really enjoyed it - and it's in the gold section of the Entertainment Card. All roads lead to yes. From the moment we're seated inside, I spy a main item which I know I will definitely be ordering - Carnaroli Risotto with Pea, Courgette and Feta ($24). I'll dive into this a bit later...
Pea and courgette risotto
Vee suggests we share an entree item which appeals to both of us - the Duck and Taleggio Croquettes ($14). They arrive golden brown, four little balls sitting happily in a line all glistening with the promise of crunch and creamy insides. They taste fantastic. They're cheesy in the centre and it oozes out with each bite. The texture on the outside is crispy and moorish. The only downside is that there isn't much duck inside and the croquettes themselves are pretty small in serving size for the price. But the taste really does make up for this. Vee and I both agree we could happily keep munching away at these all night.
Duck and taleggio croquettes
I wash it down with a freshly squeezed orange juice that is vibrant and zingy and oh so refreshing. To me, there's no better drink than a fresh juice - it sends me straight back to Asia where I constantly had one in my hand at all times.
Fresh squeezed orange juice
When our mains arrive, I'm really excited by the appearance of my risotto. Bright green, it reminds me of pea soup! The risotto itself is plump and juicy; the texture of the grain soft but still yielding. There's an intense taste of the peas and little cubes of courgette, but there's also this wonderful creaminess that I'm swooning over. Not to mention the lovely scattering of Danish feta that is salty and adds further creaminess. It's a pretty delicious risotto, though it does get a bit too rich and filling as I near the end of the plate.
For Vee's main, she's selected the Gnocchi with Fennel, Chicken and White Wine Vinaigrette ($24). The pasta here at Tom's is made in house from what I hear, and you can see the love involved in the production of these little pillowy potato balls. They're generous and cooked perfectly; the sauce creamy but thin so it doesn't get too much while eating. The fennel taste is a bit strong for my liking, but the dish is really delicious nonetheless.
Our dinner was one that was just as enjoyable as the last time we were here. The vibe is chilled and the staff are friendly but relaxed so you can enjoy a quality conversation without feeling intruded.
I just wish that we hadn't eaten so much for our mains because I spotted a rhubarb & raspberry eton mess with basil gel for dessert that sounded phenomenal. I guess I'll just have to go back. Gee, what a shame!
For more information about Tom's Kitchen visit them on their website.