I know I say it all the time, but I love tapas. I am completely enamoured with the concept of share foods - enjoying sitting with loved ones and enjoying the same things as we all chew in unison. So naturally when I was browsing places to eat for a date night with Jeremy, I couldn't help but stop in interest when The Cabin in Mount Hawthorn popped up as a suggestion.
I've eaten here a few years ago when it had a different owner (apparently?) and the menu was the likes of things such as slow cooked rabbit pasta. I enjoyed it well enough but never returned as there have been so many other places to try too.
After a quick consultation over the online menu, we quickly decide this will be the place for us. A short phone call later to reserve a table for 7pm, and we're on our way. As the night goes on it seems we somehow managed to secure the last table there. It was all meant to be!
Jumbo tiger prawns
The decor inside is beautiful - very suited to the name. Tables are made from misshapen polished wood with a very natural look to the legs - basically they look like little tree trunks - garbled and flowing down into root like streams. They're gorgeous! There's also some cabin-like decorations such as antlers, organic artwork and more wood. It's cozy, but really beautiful at the same time. There's also a great wrap around balcony that looks out from a second story onto Scarborough Beach Rd with flickering heaters to keep the frequenters warm.
The menu is broken up into four sections - smallest, smaller, small and dessert. It does make it a little confusing to navigate in determining the ideal quantity for the two o us, but we find our way like we always do.
From the same menu section we choose the Duck, Bourbon & Green Peppercorn Parfait with Port & Balsamic Jelly, Sweet Onions and Toasts ($14). It comes out to our table on a rustic looking board, the toasts scattered across with a nice little pile of onions and a generous bowl of parfait.
Excuse the dodgy photo - the lighting was a bit lacking in our lovely little corner. But the taste for the parfait, that is definitely there. The consistency is creamy, rich and smooth. It's jam packed full of taste and the jelly on top is sweet but sticky. The combination of this and the crunchy toasts is a match made in heaven in my mind - but then again I do absolutely love parfait so I'm obviously a happy camper. Especially when combining those sweet and crunchy lengths of onion. Yum!
I wash down the meal with a fresh Watermelon Martini ($16) - vodka, vanilla and watermelon. It's icy cold and bursting with watermelon juice, however is a bit on the strong side for me. That said it's frothy and light and tingles in my mouth.
Jeremy chooses a Napoleone cider, which is zingy and full of appley goodness. It's a nice beverage to enjoy on this night in our warm little corner of the restaurant.
The rest of the dishes we choose are from the Small section of the menu. And this, I have to really emphasise, is where the magic happens.
I choose the Margaret River Venison Spare Ribs with Oriental Glaze, Ponzu Mayonnaise and Sesame ($19). If there's one thing you DEFINITELY need to order at The Cabin, it's this. They are ridiculous. A beautifully scattered pile of different sized ribs that have a sweet, caramelised glaze on the outside. The meat is falling off the bone cleanly - literally you can pull the bone straight out from the centre. And then when combined with the ponzu mayonnaise, it's a symphony in my mouth.
One bite each we both look at each other in wonder! Yes, these are just so phenomenally good. And I hate to sound like I am exaggerating but the truth is, this dish is probably one of the best I've ever had. And the same goes for the next one.
The Jumbo Tiger Prawns with Pumpkin Creme, Pork Crackle and Cumin Salt ($22.50) - pictured at the start of the blog. The two prawns on the plate are gigantic - the shell removed from the body thoughtfully but the head in tact for those who like to suck it out (both of us).
The prawns are cooked perfectly - the meat soft and succulent. The pumpkin creme is a wonderful addition. Sweet and silky smooth. There's actual mini cubes of pumpkin throughout the creme and there's a generous scattering of salty pork crackle throughout. It's the perfect blend of flavours and textures. And yes, it is easily one of my favourite dishes of all time! A bit on the expensive side for the size of it, but that seems to be the theme here at The Cabin but when you have food that tastes this good, you can't really mind.
Like Jeremy said as we ate, it was like the perfect symphony of elements.
We finish off our savoury part of the night with a long wait for the Kalbi Braised Beef Shin Tacos with Pickled Vegetables, Jalapeno and Horseradish Cream ($14). It takes quite a bit longer to come out to us, but the really friendly waiter explains to us that it's due to the fact that a lot have been ordered by the other tables too so they're making it in one big batch. We don't mind though because they taste really good.
The beef is full of juicy goodness; falling apart with the slightest touch. The horseradish cream is a nice addition, sharp and creamy. It all works in perfect unison.
Strawberries and cream
We finish off our night with a dessert each. While so far in the night we've shared everything, we somehow end up with our own portions for this part. I select the "Strawberries and Cream" - White Chocolate Panna Cotta Creme, Peppered Strawberries and Meringue ($16).
The white chocolate panna cotta is wonderfully light. It's thick in texture but dissolves on my tongue with a rich luxurious lushness that only a good dessert has. The strawberry jam on top is decadently sweet, the peppered strawberries resonating on my tongue. The little meringues on the side are a welcome addition of crunch and added sugar.
Fig tarte tatin
Jeremy chooses the Black Fig Tarte Tatin with Katafi Pastry, Sweet Goat Cheese, Vanilla Ice-Cream and Honey ($16) for his dessert. It looks incredible. The katafi pastry is something I'm not really accustomed to - it has the consistency of shredded coconut, but it works so well with the caramelised and sticky figs. The addition of honey adds some much needed sugar and the goats cheese is both sweet and savoury - cutting through the richness. It's a smart, well constructed and truly addictive dessert.
The end of our meal at The Cabin was one that left us with smiles and elation. The food here is really good! The price is a bit on the higher side for the portions, but that said we left extremely impressed with the quality of the dishes. I can see why this place is so popular - and yes, I am still thinking about those ribs!