Falling in love at The Old Crow, Northbridge
Do you ever fall in love with a restaurant? I definitely do. And when I fall, I fall hard - with new experiences at unknown restaurants not as exciting as returning to my beloved. There's a few places in Perth that have lured me in as a loyal patron - Duende, Tuck Shop, Bonsai, Cantina 663 and Beaufort St Merchant. And now I am so pleased to say that The Old Crow definitely is one to add to that list.
The Old Crow
Since opening mid-year last year I've been there many times, especially since it's right around the corner from my work. While I usually frequent this fine establishment for lunch, dinner was my first experience that had me hooked (that creamy, wonderful parfait with delightful fruit accompaniments).
From the aesthetic of a restored home to the hipster-magnet decor to the impressive menu this place has ticked all the boxes for me. So naturally when my partner Jeremy suggested we go there to finally try out their breakfast menu this weekend, I was extremely excited. This is the kind of place that is doing exciting and affordable things with food. Pairing ingredients and flavours in an unexpected but extremely palate-pleasing manner. I love the deeply Southern roots that are embedded in the dishes because it's just unlike anything else you find here in Perth.
Am I having a bit of a raving moment? Definitely! But I guess when you find a good restaurant, you should tell others (even at the risk of creating a crowd that makes it harder for you to dine there) because they deserve the fanfare.
We arrive at 9am and already the outdoor dining area is packed and full of relaxed looking groups feasting away on some pretty amazing looking dishes. First thing I note as Jeremy chats to a waitress about getting a table is the serving sizes - they look pretty good!
We're lucky enough to get the last remaining table outside, which is what we'd hoped for. While the inside is beautiful and homely, on a sunny day it's so satisfying basking in the luscious rays.
The menu offers 14 items exactly, all of which sound intriguing and diverse. I, as usual when ordering food, have so much difficulty in choosing. There's the pavlova (yes I know right - pavlova for breakfast?!) which comes with molasses and coconut custard. Or there's the mushrooms with provolone croquette and slow egg. Or how about the black pudding with egg and caper butter. Cue mouth watering moment.
Jeremy's quick to choose, instantly locking on to the Maple Glazed Pulled Pork with Hot Cakes, Fried Egg and Apple ($20). As he places his order I finally make my mind up, selecting the Baked Ricotta with Avocado, Green Sauce and Slow Egg ($17).
When the food is delivered to our table I instantly have a moment of plate envy as I spy the generous mound of pulled pork stacked high on Jeremy's dish.
Lucky for me he's not opposed to me spearing a nice big mouthful to sample so I'm quick to do this after I see that he's attacking it with a fierce dedication and utter silence which can only mean one thing - it's damn good.
The pork has a great depth of flavour with some sweetness to the sauce but also a nice balance of spices and richness. The hotcakes underneath look dense but they're actually quite light and work well with the gooey yolk of the fried egg and the crisp batons of sweet yet sour apple.
When we cook at home we use maybe a bit too much of fried shallots, so there was no complaining from either of us in the amount The Old Crow scatter on their dishes. They're definitely house-made and go down a treat, offering a nice crunch to each bite.
In the past whenever I've had baked ricotta, it tends to come out as a solid disc, with any accompaniments piled either next to or on top. The Old Crow's version is not at all like I was expecting but in a good way!
Sitting at the bottom of my bowl is a layer of 'green sauce' which is like a punchy cross between a pesto and a mojo sauce. On top sits at least an entire avocado's worth of slices, with parsley leaves, crumbled chunks of the baked ricotta, slivers of red onion and topped with fried shallots and chives. Hidden amongst the other ingredients is the slow cooked egg which is a milky translucent colour on the outside, hiding a sunny yellow yolk.
This dish was wonderful. From the creaminess and saltiness of that ricotta, to the fatty smoothness of that avocado, I enjoyed every bite. When my fork pierces the egg, I get that food pornesque moment of thick vivid yolk spilling out onto the bowl.
I find this all so delicious and satisfying. It's a refreshing dish, something I can now see myself trying to recreate at home on a summer's day. I love that it looks like chaos in a bowl but it's actually a clever combination of well balanced ingredients, textures and flavours.
After we've both finished our dishes, I have to say we are a little speechless. I know at the start of this blog post I was raving about how much I love The Old Crow, but it's been a long while since a breakfast has really taken our breath away. But these dishes did. They're smart, seemingly uncomplicated and yet so different to anything anywhere else in Perth that they really cut through to us.
It seems Newcastle St has a breakfast competitor for the beloved Tuck Shop now - which means if you're ever headed for one and there's a line - there's now an alternative that's in walking distance. What a great way to start my weekend!