When I think about how fast this year has gone by, it actually blows my mind. Already we're approaching the end of 2013, with the 'silly season' kicking off in fine form. I'm fortunate that my job puts me in a position where we celebrate with some delicious meals with our suppliers. The first of these Christmas meals was at the elegant 1907 Restaurant in Perth.
We arrive at 1pm and are shown to the private dining room, exchanging hugs and happy chatter before a bottle of Bollinger Cuvee ($220) is popped and poured. It's delightfully light and tickles my mouth, going down a little too well. It's gorgeous and I can see why it attracts a heavy price tag with it.
While we're all talking and enjoying the occasion, our host for the lunch takes it upon himself to order a dozen natural oysters ($40) and a dozen seared Hervey Bay half shell scallops with seaweed and buttered leeks ($40). They look incredible, and it only strikes me after they're finished that I forgot to take a cheeky photo with my iPhone (let alone my SLR) - damn!
The oysters are delicious, small and sweet with a nice creamy edge to the texture. There's a red vinaigrette dipping sauce but sadly no spoon so it's a bit of a tricky act in pouring the sauce into the oyster shell. While I do love a good oyster, the scallops are the real star of our 'prelude' dishes. They're cooked perfectly, showcasing their freshness and flavour. I love the pureed seaweed and buttered leeks sauce that's spooned on top, it's punchy and very moorish!
With these and the complimentary bread (a range of brioche, olive oil, sourdough etc), it's a great start to our lunch.
Spanner crab salad
We agree for lunch we'll go for three courses, which is $68 per person. There's seven of us at the lunch, but for entree we all split between two choices - the crab salad and beetroot medley.
I opt for the former - a Spanner Crab Salad, with Mustard & Apple Salad and Apple & Wasabi Sorbet. Doesn't it look beautiful! Cool, creamy crab that's well seasoned but respectful of this delightfully mild seafood ingredient. I can't express just how amazing the dish became when I combined the sorbet with the crab. The sorbet is freezing cold, the flavour stronger of apple but still showcasing the wasabi.
It's a big call, but this is probably one of the best entrees I've had - ever! Every element worked in harmony, and it was perfectly balanced. I love the little crisp apple batons on the side which pop in your mouth when you bite down on the little mustard seeds.
It's not my photo, but one of the girls I work with's that she put up on instagram. I had to show it because how incredible does this dish look! It's tea smoked medley of beetroot, black olive caramel, blood orange and frisee salad. Gorgeous!
Our plates are cleared quickly after we all finish our entrees, three staff members sweeping the room speedily. Unfortunately throughout the meal the service was rather inconsistent, with staff there when you needed plates cleared but not available when you wanted a top up to your drink. Since they kept the bottles outside of our dining room, it was hard to quench your thirst.
We took their presence as an opportunity to order another couple of bottles - this time the Serge Dagueneau & Filles Pouilly Fume ($95 - a Sauvignon Blanc for half of us) and a Billaud-Simon Chablis ($95 - a Chardonnay for the other half). Once they were poured and we'd had a couple of sips, our mains started filtering into the room.
My Tempura Whiting Fillets come out looking lovely and crisp, with grilled baby vegetables and spring onion aioli. I have to say, they really know how to treat their seafood here. The whiting is lightly flaky, and works well with the tempura batter. The best part of all is that aioli, which is creamy and jam-packed with flavour - I would have loved to keep dunking dish in that sauce all afternoon if my stomach could handle the food intake!
The vegetables are also really delicious. With a squeeze of burnt lime over the top you can taste a slight char from the grill but also the natural flavours of the baby vegetables. The mushrooms in particular are wonderful, though the corn comes in a close second.
The others around the table are equally impressed with their food. There's orders of grilled Cape Grim beef tenderloin, organic rack of lamb and WA Exmouth tiger prawns. Everyone eats and eats until all plates are cleared and there is a collective sign of satisfaction.
We also have some sides placed around the table, including Tomato, Caramelised Red Onion & Mozzarella Salad ($14), White & Green Asparagus with Iberico Ham ($18) and Hand Cut Potato Frites ($12). All, as with the other dishes, delivered and surpassed expectations. By this stage, I'm feeling pretty impressed with 1907.
When it comes to choosing dessert, there's three options. The assiette of house-made ice cream & sorbet is popular, but a little too pedestrian for my greedy tastes. Instead I choose the second option on the list, Strawberry Variations.
But when I see the cheese cart wheeled out for those in the group who opted for that 'dessert', I have to admit I feel a rather large wave of order envy. Labelled on the menu as the "Chariot de Fromage", those who picked this were given a selection of 3 farmhouse and artisan cheeses from the trolley. At least they were meant to - it was only afterwards that we realised they'd each only been given 2. How unfortunate! But their cheeses were delicious, and came with paper thin crackers and accompaniments such as apple chutney.
Luckily when my dessert did come out, it looked amazing! The Strawberry Variations dish is made up of a strawberry and pink peppercorn ice cream, mousse cake, lypholized. We had to google lypholizing which is basically a technique of freeze drying.
It was a gorgeous dish. Sweet, soft and decadent without overpowering. I love the use of fresh strawberries, the strawberry powder and the film over the top which is reminiscent of a fruit rollup. It all works so well together and is just the right size to finish off our lavish lunch. An all round yum!
Lemon meringue cocktail
With full bellies we left the restaurant some time after dessert, making our way down to the bar underneath. One more drink was in order to round out the evening and a Lemon Meringue Cocktail was my choice - it's sweet, punchy and has a nice charred meringue on top. Don't let the terrible photo fool you, it's so good! Though the meringue does make it a little messy to drink, it needs to come with a spoon.
All in all, I really enjoyed our lunch at 1907, so much so that I'm quite eager to go back and take my boy Jeremy to try it. While the service could have been better, the food is where it counts and it spoke volumes. It is definitely a hidden treasure in Perth.