When it comes to new dining options, it seems that Perth is rather spoilt for choice at the moment. I'm not sure when it happened, but it seems our once small city has exploded into a hub of flavour, technique and great use of local produce.
Last month was my boy's birthday so in the weeks leading up I was brainstorming different venues to take him to. I wanted somewhere new, delicious and exciting. Though I chose Print Hall, The Butterworth Bar & Kitchen near Exchange Plaza was a close second choice. Neither of us had been before, but I'd been watching this restaurant with keen curiosity because in all honesty, the menu sounded damn good!
It seems my choice ended up being the right one in terms of timing because not long after we visited Print Hall, an Urbanspoon 50% discount offer was released for mid-week dining at The Butterworth. I was extremely quick to snatch that one up! It felt very much like a stars aligning moment.
Finally our booking rolled around and Jeremy and I headed in to the restaurant. It's situated in the CBD, opposite Lalla Rookh. The fitout is quite beautiful, with soft lighting and a nice use of wooden textures.
I did find myself feeling a bit sorry for them as it was a Wednesday night and there was only ourselves and one other table the whole time we were there. There was a group of business men having an after work drink but outside of that it was quiet. What a shame because it is a nice location and the vibe could potentially be amazing with more patrons inside.
Butter and salt
After we sit down at our table we're presented with the drinks and food menus for us to peruse. Within minutes we're served a complimentary bread roll each and directed to the butter and salt on the side.
The bread is steaming hot (hooray!) and as we slice it open I'm delighted to discover it's almost a brioche like consistency inside despite the more normal crusty outer. It's a real treat to slather on the butter and sprinkle a nice liberal layer of salt. For me bread is a restaurant item only so I feel so happy indulging in the soft pillowy inside and the thick decadent layer of butter (my best friend slash worst enemy) which is creamy and rich.
While we were munching away on our bread, we place our orders for entree and main. As sometimes happens with Jeremy and I, we have a bit of a silent power play over an entree. We never like ordering the same thing and though normally he's a gentleman and lets me have my way, I decide this time to let him win.
And that was probably the worst choice I'd made for awhile because when his entree of Beef Cheek, Buckwheat Noodle, Horseradish and Goats Curd ($19 before discount) came out and I had a bite, I also had a momentary desire to push him over and scoff it all down.
Thankfully my love for my boy overtook my greed and lust for his entree!
But honestly, what a great dish. The beef cheek was tender and flavoursome, the outside covered in a nice charred crust that was sticky and moorish. I loved the use of the buckwheat noodles since they soaked up some of the deeply flavoured sauce.
The horseradish and goats curd ingredients were cleverly combined and piped into a crispy cigar that offered not only bursts of creaminess, but also a nice satisfying crunch. Each element on this dish not only complimented the others, but enhanced it overall. A real winner in our eyes, and for me it was the dish of the night.
Blue swimmer crab
For my entree, I ended up choosing the Blue Swimmer Crab with Jamon, Paw Paw and Fresh Turmeric ($22).
It came out so vivacious and pretty, I found myself hypnotised by the bright orange turmeric blobs that decorated the plate. While I had worried that their taste would overpower the sweet delicateness of the crab, they worked quite well.
Blue swimmer crab
The crab was quite plentiful on this dish and was the hero - but only just. The paw paw was fresh and sweet, though I was surprised to see it diced on the plate in such small bites. I didn't mind, it was just a surprising presentation.
The jamon on top was melt in your mouth as I'd expected, solidifying it as one of my preferred cured meats. Yum!
I really enjoyed my entree, but it was hard to look past how much I loved Jeremy's - if I hadn't tried his I would have been completely sated in my own. Ahhh next time I should be more selfish like I usually am with food!
After a well timed break post entree, our mains are delivered, bringing with them an incredible array of aromas. My eyes immediately bulge as I take in the sheer size of them - you might not be able to tell from the photos, but the serves are huge.
And to think our waitress asked both Jeremy and I separately if we wanted any sides to go with our mains! I'm glad she did from a service perspective, but whenever staff do that it always immediately makes me think that the main will be small. Luckily we didn't respond accordingly and order more food because it was more than enough!
Jeremy's main was the Pork Cutlet, Cavalo Nero, Pork Floss & Cider Sauce ($38). It was a beautiful dish, and really nice to see that they haven't relied on the standard pork belly with crispy skin (even though I'm a huge fan) and have gone for a more mainstream cutlet - which was done so well that I hate myself for typing mainstream just then.
The pork was so tender, the cider sauce sticky, sweet and salty all at the same time. I love the use of kale (cavalo nero) in this dish, and even more so the pork floss scattered on top. As a child of a Taiwanese mother, pork floss has and still is a bit of a staple in my diet - especially with rice porridge. Mmmmm...
By the time Jeremy finishes the epic serving he looks at me with the most serious expression, then utters these words - "That was the best main I've had in a really long time". Big words considering we eat out often enough!
For my main, I chose the Lamb Rump, Gnocchi, Garden Peas & Cured Lamb Belly ($42).
As one of the most expensive mains on the dish, I was expecting this to blow me out of the water - and I'm pleased to say it did. It was great array of textures and flavours, and I love how vibrant it looked on the plate thanks to the peas and sprouts!
The lamb rump was pink in the middle and my knife cut through the flesh like it was butter. I was worried it might be a bit chewy, but I shouldn't have because it was perfect. The sauce that sat around it was a bit cloying to start off with, but the more I ate, the more I really found myself loving it.
The gnocchi were tiny in size, but I loved the crispness of their outside and the softness inside. Size doesn't matter when it comes to gnocchi, it's all about taste which these ones delivered.
The peas and sprouts were wonderfully fresh and punchy in flavour, but where things got particularly interesting was the cured lamb belly strips tossed throughout the greens. They looked like little anchovies almost - so thin and small you almost missed them but the intensity of their taste was incredible. Salty, fatty and gone the minute your saliva started breaking them down - the very definition of melt in your mouth.
This was sadly too big a dish for me so I stopped about three quarters in and let Jeremy happily pick up the slack. I wanted dessert so I knew if I kept going I'd probably burst just from the main! Though I was pretty close already - damn I can be so greedy!
Textures in chocolate
When it comes to choosing dessert, Jeremy and I order on the hope that we might digest our earlier courses by the time they arrive. We obviously were oblivious to how much food we'd already eaten because eating more was a bit of an ask, but at least the beautiful plating was enough to entice us to push through.
Jeremy's order of the 'Textures in Chocolate' with Marshmallow and Caramelised White Chocolate ($16) was a chocoholics dream. A rich chocolate ganache encased in paper thin chocolate sat with chocolate crumbs around, and marshmallows that were slightly charred with melted white chocolate on top.
It's a rich, rich dessert. Too rich for me sadly, but since Jeremy's more of a chocolate fan than I am, he enjoys it as a nice sweet ending to his night at The Butterworth.
My dessert was the Saffron Macaron, Honey Mousse, Chocolate Truffle, Honeycomb & Pollen ($16). For honey lovers, this is sweet and full of different textures and displays of honey.
The saffron macaron is big, the shells crunchy meringue that have honey mousse sandwiched between them. It looks amazing but it is hard to cut through the macaron without the mousse oozing out the sides. That said, the taste is where it counts and this has a nice saffron edge, with the honey notes rounding it out.
I like the honeycomb on the side which is so crisp and works well with the rich chocolate truffle shavings stacked in the middle of the plate. I find these are necessary as the dish did start to get a little too sweet by the end for me, but all up was quite enjoyable.
When it came to finishing our night at The Butterworth, we left completely full with more food than necessary in our bellies. Sadly, like our night at Three Five Three the 50% discount wasn't applied so once again we had that whole awkward moment of reminding them that it should be significantly cheaper. Awkward. Thankfully our lovely waitress handled it with aplomb and came back immediately with an apology and updated bill - great management of a moment that could have potentially put a bad taste in our mouth.
I really enjoyed The Butterworth, and both Jeremy and I left dreaming about returning for a particular dish - for me, that beef cheek entree, and for him, that pork cutlet.