Living the lavish life at Deco, Applecross
Deco is where the beautiful people go. Whether or not this is true, after my alcohol drenched night at Deco Restaurant (upstairs at the iconic Raffles Hotel), this is a statement that was thrown around so much that it stuck in my mind.
Like Cocos and Frasers, Deco is a throwback to a different era. A time of socialites and lavish eats and of course drinks. It too has a gorgeous view and from upstairs in a prime window position (which we were appointed), it's a place that you can spend the night savouring.
I've come here with one of our work suppliers who has taken our marketing department out for our annual Christmas dinner. He's an extremely generous man who knows his wine and appreciates a good night out. None of us drove because we all knew we were in it for the long haul.
It's my first time at Deco. I've eaten downstairs at the Raffles and enjoyed the food, but upstairs it is of a completely different calibre. Think fresh, seafood heavy and pretty plating with expensive price tags to match. Yes, I am very lucky that this was a place we were wined and dined at since we definitely went all out with our ordering.
While we're perusing the menu, I straight away spot the entree I'm going to order. There are so many things that sound amazing (and I mean a-maz-ing!), but I am completely sold by the Raffles Blue Swimmer Crab Salad ($34). It's a dish that is subject to availability so I'm in luck tonight and it comes with mustard seeded aioli, gridled garlic toast and a pea, mint & pecorino dressing.
I take a sip of my Passionfruit Mojito ($17.50) while enjoying the view and the mountain of "pre-entree" shares our host orders for the table. The drink is sweet but not overly so, made up of Mount Gay silver rum and passionfruit liqueur, muddled lime and raw sugar. It's refreshing and suits the balmy weather of this Thursday evening. By the time I finish it, I'm immediately poured a frosty flute of Billecart-Salmon Brut ($160 for the bottle - which we do drink). It goes down a treat with our shared starters.
We're been given a smorgasbord of items to enjoy. There's two servings of warm toasted breads ($8 each) that include mini white loafs, ciabatta and focaccia - and they have sea salt covered butter on hand to spread over them. They're crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre, freshly baked and perfect with that incredibly smooth and silky butter. The perfect start to our meal.
There's a pile of venison, black pig and salumi chorizo on side with a blackcurrent mustard ($12 per serving) to nibble at which all taste wonderful and full of flavour. The venison in particular is lovely; gamey but lean. It works perfectly when accompanied with the creamed feta with chives ($12 per serving). And though I personally am not a olive fan, the marinated olives that come with the feta order are declared delicious by my colleagues.
Just judging on the starters, I can tell this is going to be a great evening of food and drink. I can feel it in my bones! Or in my tastebuds rather.
Not long after, our entrees arrive. Among us we have another who has also chosen the blue swimmer crab salad. But there's also the Wagyu Tataki with Pickled Red Cabbage, Mizuna & Shoyu Dressing ($28); the Roast Beetroot, Swiss Chard, Vincotto, Toasted Hazlenuts, Feta & Hazlenut Dressing ($12); and the Warm Smoked Duck, Fennel, Blood Orange, Bitter Leaves and Blood Orange Dressing ($18).
Blue swimmer crab salad
My crab salad is impeccable. The serving is perfect for an entree and though it is on the expensive side, it is faultless. The crab is sweet and seasoned just right; the herbs on side offering some light texture and flavour offset. I like the dressing which comes off almost like a pea puree and the toast on side is crunchy and decadently buttery. It's a very smart and well constructed dish.
When we finish up our entrees, we place some new wine orders (or rather our host does since his taste is lavish but not for the sake of being so. He just knows what's good and what is not). As he chooses a white for myself and another colleague - the Pierro 'L.T.C.' Semillon Sauvignon Blanc ($70), and the Elderton 'Command Vineyard' Shiraz ($190) for the others, I get caught on the message inside the menu. I particularly like this part:
"...our controlled, basement cellar contains a trove of sleeping beauties, waking giants and anesthetised monsters."
The red actually elicits groans from the drinkers at my table. Apparently it's silky and ethereal and utter utopia. It almost makes me cross over to the darkside to try it, but I stay the course and I'm glad I do because the white is beautiful. And too easy to drink. The bottle is finished before we know it which comes as a surprise. Though by the last glass of the Pierro I am pretty much a disgraceful drunk.
The mains chosen around the table are varied. A couple have been swayed by the WA Dhufish with it's Roasted Sweet Potato, Zucchini & Capsicum, Rocket and Bois Boudran Sauce ($49). Another has opted for a special which consists of half a 1kg Rock Lobster with Orange & Fennel Salad, Roasted Tomatoes and Grilled Asparagus ($70). The final choice (besides mine) is the 250gram Margaret River Wagyu Beef ($56) which is garnished with buttered greens, cafe de Paris butter and fresh lemon. All are thoroughly enjoyed and I can see that the dhufish especially is cooked to perfection.
For my main, I have a hard time choosing between the Cone Bay Barramundi with a Pear & Parsley Sauce, Parsnip, Brioche & Prosciutto Crumb ($38) and the Manjimup Marron, Clams, Cauliflower Risotto, Vanilla Butter & Serrano Ham ($44). In the end I decide on the latter, loving the idea of the marron which isn't on that many menus these days.
I am not disappointed. It looks gorgeous; and the flavours are remarkable. The marron is tender and pulls apart with my fork; the risotto creamy but from the addition of cauliflower. The vanilla butter is a little confusing at first given its sweetness, but when paired with the salty serrano ham, it is perfect offset. The whole dish is exciting and completely different to anything I've had before. And for those who look for it in a menu, it's gluten free (as are many of the menu items here).
We take a break after our mains and indulge in further drinking. I order a cocktail which I cannot remember the name of, but I do remember loving. It was a cranberry juice creation of some kind that is frosty and sweet. It looked amazing too!
At some point a cheese board arrives on our table which has wedges of Devon Oke, Fourme D'Ambert and Picolin. It's accompanied by lavosh, candied pistachios, hazlenut butter and celery & apple gelee squares. Yummy! The Devon Oke is my favourite by far and tastes excellent when paired with the gelee on a lavosh cracker.
Some time later our poor waiters finally manage to get our dessert orders from our addled minds, and they come out an appropriate amount of time later. Around the table there is the Warm Belgian Chocolate Fondant with White Chocolate Sauce & Macadamia Ice-Cream ($16), which is declared to be utter heaven with a swoon. The Glenfiddich Creme Brulee ($16) is pushed towards me to bear witness to the oh so satisfying crack (and it was a big one) that echoed when my colleague's spoon penetrated the surface.
Macaroon & pistachio ice-cream sandwich
But for myself and another, our hearts were pulled in the direction of the Macaroon & Pistachio Ice-Cream Sandwich with Fairy Floss ($12). For the size of it, it is a very reasonably priced dessert. I know I love a good dessert, but this is honestly one of the best I've ever had. I am so surprised just by how good it is.
The macaron is crisp on the outside and soft in the centre; bright green inside to pay homage to its pistachio flavour base. The ice-cream inside is extremely creamy but has a slight saltiness to it that works oh so well. I really love the wisps of fairy floss that are scattered around the plate and stick to my tongue before dissolving. I eat up every single crumb on my plate and though its a big dessert, I'm a little devastated when it's finished.
I'll spare you the details of the rest of our decadent night at Deco. From there the bottles of wine seemed to be free-flowing and endless. But before we were the last people residing down at the Raffles on our second or third nightcap, the meal we shared was really something else. Our host told us he'd been before and it wasn't as good as it was on this night, so it looks like they've really stepped their game up to suit their pricing and location standards. While it does come with a hefty bill at the end, I have to say I couldn't fault anything about the night.
It was definitely a meal to remember.