Things lately have been crazy! Work is ramping up (as it always is), and Jeremy and I have found ourselves with a lot of plans and not much time to go on a date night. We usually try to have one at least each week, so with some shuffling of dates and a cancelled booking at Dux in South Perth (was meant to go to take advantage of the 50% offer on Urbanspoon), we decided on Five Bar as a destination for dinner.
I've eaten here before but ages ago, and after reading fellow bloggers Dine Whit Me and Chomp Chomp's recent trip here, I was very much craving some delicious fare of the Five variety.
On this evening it's Last Drop Brewery, which offered five beers all matched with German menu items in honour of Oktoberfest. I love the idea of this and the versatility of the kitchen in being able to add extra menu foods on these monthly occasions.
Once our drinks are on the way we set up a scrabble board (Five Bar provide some great classics including Connect 4!) to entertain us while we chat about the food options.
The menu offers some really great sounding dish, with small share type dishes (tapas) and bigger plates such as duck salad, or crumbed barramundi. I love that there's also a 'Sandwich Bar' section which is all things bread related. Mmm-mmm!
While my heart will always lie with the parfait at Cantina 663, this one is pretty damn good! It's punchy and velvety, the consistency so soft and moorish. I really enjoy the leaves that come with the dish, it's a nice different texture and flavour since usually I find parfaits coming with caramelised onion or other sweet accompaniments.
Next to come out is the Beef Tartare ($17), which comes with horseradish, shallots and toasted brioche slices. Doesn't it look amazing with that happy yolk just sitting prettily amid the diced meat!
This is definitely my favourite dish for the night - beef slices that melt in the mouth, zingy and fresh. The yolk binds it all together, creating a thickness and body that is rich and oh so enjoyable. I love the fresh horseradish on the side which is intense and a perfect pairing with the sweet diced shallots.
The brioche slices that come out with the beef might look like just your average toast, but they are far from it.
I have a consistent opinion that brioche is the best bread ever, which I am almost stubborn in my refusal to accept any other option. After all, it contains a high egg and butter content which always spells gold in my opinion. This one is exactly as it should be; crumbly, decadent and definitely memorable.
While I'm munching away on the Smalls & Bites menu items, Jeremy spies in the Sandwich Bar section that is too irresistible not to order.
The Beaufort Bourbon Burger ($20) is a mammoth menu choice, comprised of bourbon infused beef, bacon, cheese, tomato and lettuce on a brioche bun, with coleslaw and onion rings on the side.
Beaufort bourbon burger
Beaufort bourbon burger
Onion rings and coleslaw
I have to admit, even I'm salivating when it touches our table. The burger sits so high and glossy, the meat succulent and letting off the most incredible aroma. I love the juiciness of beef, and the definite flavour of the bourbon that comes through when we take a bite.
The brioche bun is lightly toasted; buttery and hungrily soaking up any overflow from the other ingredients.
I like the side dishes that come with it - dark, sweet deep fried onion rings and a gorgeous textural coleslaw that has mustard grain seeds popping throughout each bite. A lovely different approach to your standard burger meal.
Our final savoury bite is a toss up between the Jalapeno Poppers with Sour Cream and the Ham & Cheddar Croquettes ($12), which we end up picking the latter. It comes out as three perfectly golden and crisp balls, accompanied by a spiced apple chutney.
The croquettes taste like a mix between mashed potato and a ham & cheese jaffle. They're yummy and almost childlike in their flavouring! The outside is crisp and satisfying in each crunch; the apple chutney on the side sweet and reminiscent of the filling of an apple pie.
They're a nice way to finish off our dinner at Five Bar, a soft filling and just the right level of cheese. Yum!
Though we're both quite sated, what's a date night without dessert! At this point I've happily won our scrabble game (go me!), so we celebrate with something sweet before calling it a night.
From the special German menu, Jeremy chooses the Sachertorte ($9), which is a traditional chocolate cake - one of the most famous Viennese culinary treats. It's a dense chocolate cake that is covered in dark chocolate icing and has a layer of apricot jam in the centre, served with a scoop of icecream.
Jeremy goes completely to town on this dish, devouring it quickly and with a smile. He studied abroad in Germany some years ago, so the cuisine definitely holds a special place in his heart. And this dessert is just the right size to put his stomach into a completely satisfied and happy place.
For my dessert, I choose one of the standard menu selections - the Panna Cotta with Spiced Strawberry Syrup ($12).
There's something so wonderful about panna cotta as a dessert. Since I was a child I've been spoilt by my mother making one of the most incredible creme caramels around, so it often strikes me as odd that I am so drawn to panna cotta on menus.
But I do so love these creamy wobbly concoctions when they're done right - and this one at Five Bar definitely is. The texture is so completely smooth; the colour of ivory with little flecks of vanilla bean throughout.
The strawberries are tart but sweet at the same time, tickling my tastebuds in a teasing manner. The syrup that surrounds the panna cotta has just the right level of spice to elevate the flavours used. There's a variety of strawberry slices and diced cubes - the perfect amount to include in each bite of that creamy dessert.
What an amazing and sugary finish to a meal that I completely loved from start to finish.
All up our night at Five Bar was a great time for us both to spend as a couple, but also as diners. It's such a funky venue, which is on the Beaufort Street strip but lacks that pretension that many places here come with.
The staff are all so friendly and lovely; quick to assist with our every need and with a smile. I loved our waiter, who was so helpful and patient, talking us through the menu and confirming our choices with each appreciative nod.
It's awesome enough that the food was so delicious, but the atmosphere and staff have really cemented just how great a place this is. Hopefully it won't take me so long to return next time!