I’m a big fan of Brookfield Place. I think it’s an entirely brilliant addition to St George’s Terrace and has seen the opening of some very impressive restaurants. One of the more impressive eateries is the four storied Print Hall.
Print Hall, Perth’s first multi level dining and bar precinct, opened in the spring of 2012. The venue pays homage to its heritage-listed history, the old Newspaper House on St Georges Terrace. The venue boasts four levels of culinary and refined drinking options for every moment spearheaded by established chef and Print Hall’s Director of Food, David Coomer along with Head Sommelier, Daniel Wegener.
Designed by Projects of Imagination, key aspects of the historical building have been utilised including the internal atrium. Almost unfolding like a book, each level becomes a chapter, representative of the building’s printing origins creating a unique experience for everyone.
So in the basement there is Small Print (brilliant coffee), on the ground floor is the main bar and dining room. First floor is Apple Daily and finally up on the roof is Bob’s Bar. It is a very big venue. I’ve been lucky enough to head along to Apple Daily a few times now, but had never eaten in the main dining room. That was until last week. I was very excited when a work lunch invitation came through with Print Hall as the chosen venue. Woohoo!
The day finally rolled around, blue skies and sunshine as if mother nature knew I had a special lunch on. The fit out of Print Hall is very impressive. They’ve managed to combine a fairly modern décor with more than a cursory nod to the heritage of the complex. This is particularly evident when you walk up the stairs at Print Hall and you can see the old newspapers they have adorning the walls. The contrasting look ties together nicely though and it is evident that no expense has been spared in ensuring that there is a wow factor when people first enter. Boss B and I were shown into the dining room where our lunching companions Mrs M and Mr G were waiting for us.
Headed up by Director of Food David Coomer and partnered with Executive Chef Shane Watson, Print Hall has created a modern and produce driven European inspired menu focusing on the very best of Australian & West Australian produce.
Renowned Sydney Sommelier and former Young Australian Sommelier of the Year, Daniel Wegener spearheads the beverage program as Director of Beverage. With a 22,000-bottle strong cellar at his disposal, Wegener recently won the 2013 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards for Print Hall, as well as breaking the national record as the most awarded wine list in the history of the awards. He has also won the Judy Hirst award as the Sommelier Responsible for the 2013 Australian Wine List of the Year.
The friendly and efficient staff had soon filled our water glasses and distributed menus, which we all turned our attention to. The menus are broken up into four sections – cold entrees, hot entrees, mains and desserts and the prices for courses is – two courses $70, three courses $90, four courses $110.
While we carefully considered our options, we were presented with a very creative take on cheese and crackers, which was as tasty as it was pretty and also offered some freshly baked sourdough bread, with a choice of white, rye or soy and linseed available. I stuck with the white and along with a generous spread of butter thoroughly enjoyed it. I am sure that given the opportunity I could happily indulge in a whole loaf. Fresh bread is such a joy. Now along with our bread and while menu deliberations continued Mr G had chosen a Xabregas Figtree Riesling, which was a very pleasant drop.
Finally though we had made our selection. I was going to start with the Roasted Pigeon Breast, Juniper, Pickled Beetroot, Radicchio and for mains went with the Albany Free Range Pork, Seared Fillet, Braised Belly, Boudin Noir, Celeriac. Around the table, Boss B and Mr G were both going to start with the Smoked Ocean Trout, Pumpernickel, Lemon Yoghurt, Oyster and Mrs M with the Seared King Prawns, Fremantle Octopus, Jamon Serrano, Orange.
The entrees didn’t take too long to arrive and it was with quite the flourish that two waiters, both with two plates in hand, simultaneously presented our table with the first four dishes. They are clearly focused on a very high level of service at Print Hall and embrace their fine dining banner that has recently earned them a place on the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Restaurants List and also The Australian’s Hot 50 Restaurants List. It had been a big week for Print Hall.
I thought my entrée presented beautifully. The beetroot and the radicchio both provided a bright splash of colour on the plate and the pigeon pieces were plump and had been cooked to pink perfection. It all looked lovely. Pleasingly the waiters explained each entrée to us, outlining all the different components. I find that incredibly helpful. If you go to a nice place it only seems appropriate that they take the time to outline a dish to you, especially when you can see that considerable care has been taken in creating it. I was slightly surprised to hear that my pigeon dish included liver, but as it turned out it had a fairly mild flavour and along with some of the bird, the sweet beetroot and the crunchy and slightly bitter radicchio it was a winning combination. I really enjoyed my entrée and as an introduction to Print Hall’s cuisine, I was impressed. Others around the table seemed to have been similarly pleased with their first course.
Soon enough our entrée plates had disappeared and we were all eagerly anticipating the arrival of our mains. I did find the gap between entrees and mains slightly longer than I had expected, not too over the top, but just slightly noticeable. And that’s not to say I wasn’t enjoying the company!
Our mains were presented with the same dramatic flair as the first course and given that two of our group had ordered the Pan Roasted Barramundi, Cambinata Yabbies, Beluga Lentils, Smoked Lardo and myself and Mr G had ordered the pork, it cut down the explanation time for the waiters J I thought the pork presented well. Done four ways there were the generous pieces of pork fillet, the slice of pork belly and a dainty pig tail croquette. Yummo. I like the artistic swirl of celeriac puree and the contrasting crumble of the boudin noir – the fourth pork element (A dark-hued blood sausage, containing pork, pig blood, and other ingredients.) I also liked the addition of the wilted spring onion, as the green added some colour to the dish. It was another well prepared dish and I actually thought it was quite a generous size. I’d say the pigs tail was actually my favourite. A little crumbed wonder, the slow cooked tail just melted in your mouth. All very nice and I’m sure would get two thumbs up from pork fans. Of the two dishes I had tried, I had probably liked my entrée slightly more, I’d found the flavour combinations they had incorporated had a bit more wow, but still the mains were very enjoyable.
From all accounts the barramundi was well received and I was fortunate that Boss B is quite handy with the camera and took this happy snap of his mains for the blog. My thanks.
Now there was some debate at this point as to whether or not to get dessert. A few seemed content just to have a coffee and if no one else was going to get dessert then I would have also declined, but it did seem as though Mr G was interested in giving the cognac chiboust in the poached quince dessert a whirl. We continued to umm and ahh before our friendly waitress made the inspired suggestion that perhaps we get two desserts to share between the four of us. But of course! What an excellent idea J So with that we ordered the Mandarin Vacherin, Mandarin Curd, Rhubarb, Coriander Seed Ice Cream and also the Aromatic Poached Quince, Cognac Chiboust, Gingerbread, Glühwein Sorbet. I’ll admit that I had no clue what chiboust was but a quick google revealed all – Crème Chiboust is a cr ème pâtissière (pastry cream) lightened with stiffly beaten egg whites. Sounded good.
The desserts both looked beautiful, though presented very differently. The mandarin dessert was like a citrus explosion. Bold smears of mandarin curd, scatterings of meringue shards, delicate fresh mandarin slices, and a perfect quenelle of the coriander seed ice-cream. The flavours were seriously divine. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dessert where mandarin was the main attraction and clearly it has been very much overlooked. It is a total winner. Similarly I had been curious as to what coriander seed ice-cream would be like and was more than pleasantly surprised with it. Two thumbs up for this dish…… my only issue was having to share it J
The second dessert was a vision in it’s stemless glass. The creamy chiboust had a generous infusion of cognac. The quince had been pleasingly poached so that it still held its shape and the mulled wine sorbet was both flavourful and added an interesting temperature contrast. It was quite an indulgently, boozy dish I enjoyed this dessert and the different components were all interesting, but I’d say that the mandarin vacherin was my favourite of the two.
So there you go. I’d worked my way through three entirely pleasant courses at Print Hall and my inaugural visit to its Dining Room was complete. The food had been delicious, service was polished, friendly and knowledgeable and you can’t help but be taken with the stellar job they’ve done with transforming this venue into one of Perth’s premiere new restaurants. My thanks to Mrs M and Mr G for lunch and Boss B for letting lunch take 3 hours that day. Delightful. Same again next week? J