It had been a place that I’d wanted to visit for ages so when a catch up with Perth Food Journal and Perth Food Engineers was proposed and it was my turn to pick where we would head it was high on the list. And as it turned out no one else had been before either so a booking was made and were headed to The Precinct.
But onwards and upwards. The next dish was easily the favourite of the night and we were glad we ordered two serves for the four folks in attendance – sliders duo 12. They were incredibly tasty little burgers – delicious patties, paired well with a sweet relish and crunchy greens. I felt like we were back on track.
The dishes arrived thick and fast from this point, so we gradually worked our way through them. The baba ganoush dip, tortilla crisps (gf/v) $9 was ok. The chips were lovely and crunchy, but the dip itself perhaps needed a bit more of the smokiness which is so synonymous with baba ganoush. It was fine though.
I had been unsure about this dish when we ordered it and was even less sure when it arrived. basil & balsamic octopus, baguette 14 I can’t say big chunky pieces of octopus served jammed in a little jar was all that visually appealing, but I wanted to give the dish the benefit of the doubt and leave it up to taste. As it turned out I should have just left it full stop. I sliced off a small piece and started chewing. It had such a strange texture for octopus and ended with a really strong seafood flavour. It did nothing for me and that opinion of the dish was shared around the table.
I have high praise for the hand cut chips, ketchup 9.5 and I was grateful for their appearance on the table as a suitable chaser to the octopus dish. They really were very nice chips – perfect amount of salt.
There were mixed views on the cauliflower risotto, marscapone (gf/v) 14. I didn’t really mind it, but there could have been slightly more zap to the overall flavour but having said that cauliflower and marscapone are a little lighter in the flavour stakes so perhaps this was how the risotto was intended?
I can find terrines to be a little hit and miss but their version ham hock terrine, piccalilli 16 was on the list of dishes that got thumbs up. I think for me the home made piccalilli really made the dish, adding some mustardy goodness to the hammy terrine.
I didn’t mind the turkey wings, nam jim 15 but they were by no means anywhere close to the best wings I’ve ever had. I think I like my wings a bit more saucy. And they should be a messy affair. It wasn’t the case with these, quite neat to eat really and more of a sweet asian inspired marinade. They were ok.
Another dish that didn’t do well in the popularity stakes was the raw brushcetta, almond mayo (gf/vegan) 15. To me this dish really just tasted like tomato on a very soggy rivetta biscuit. The topping itself was tasty, but the base left a lot to be desired.
As must be apparent there were some real highs and lows to what we chose and another of the high points was the dainty dish of truffle mac & cheese 9. So delicious and for such a simple dish it definitely had an element of indulgence with the truffle you could both taste and smell throughout it. Entirely yum – wish we had gotten another serve.
Our final dish chosen off the savouries menu was mixed vegetables, salsa verde 7. As a dish of vegies it was fine, but it was brussel sprout heavy, so if you aren’t a fan a heads up on this would probably help you.
Now at this point the lovely Miss A joined us and given we were all now full bottle on which dishes we’d liked we steered her towards the sliders and chips for dinner. And since we were waiting for her food to arrive we decided we would brave a dessert – the one that had caught Miss N’s eye as soon as she had spied it on the menu – banoffee pie 12
It definitely presented differently to what I had expected for a pie, but Miss N and Miss S started to dig in. There seemed to be mixed thoughts on it and wanting to be objective, despite not being a massive banana fan, I took a small spoonful. It was a fairly intense dessert with the banana flavour only temporary over the rich chocolate sauce. I didn’t really rate it too highly at all.
So we sat and must have all been looking slightly dejected after being largely disappointed with what we had tried, from a place we’d all been looking forward to going to. Our displeasure must have been apparent because a girl, who we assume was perhaps the floor manager, came over to ask us how our night had been. While it would have been easy to just give the standard – fine, thanks – response, we decided to give her some honest feedback on the dishes. So we ran through the items we’d chosen and gave our thoughts on what we thought of them. She was very friendly and polite about it and outlined that with some of the dishes at the Precinct they did their own spin on them, deconstructing a more traditional recipe, and she noted that it would have probably been helpful if our waiter had explained this to us when we first sat down. With the raw bruschetta we were told how they grew the buckwheat in house and then dried it, so there was no baking involved and the dish was classed as raw. I applaud this kind of innovation, but the taste of the biscuity base just wasn’t that nice, which was the disappointment for me.
We were then given the bill, noting we weren’t charged for the octopus and popcorn which was nice, and we nibbled on some of the in house truffles we’d been given while we sorted out our payment.
I thought that staff member’s efforts to listen to our thoughts had been commendable as other places would perhaps have been more dismissive of any negative feedback. This staff member really seemed to take a genuine interest in our thoughts on the food – she’s good value. However despite this, I just can’t say I enjoyed the food enough to head back again any time soon – bit too far for me to drive just for a good slider. I still had a nice night though, good company can always save the day :)