Pintxos. I had seen the word before but I wasn’t really sure what it was or how in the world it was pronounced.
But if I’d made it to 30 years of age without knowing anything about pintxos why the interest now?
Well I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the launch of Bar de Halcyon, a new addition to the hidden treasure-trove that is Wolf Lane and Perth’s first pintxos bar!
So what are pintxos? Pintxos (pronounced pin-chos), a traditional Spanish snack, is recognised as the food which brings people together because of the social manner in which it is consumed.
At Bar de Halcyon there is no menu. If you are hungry you simply wander to the bar where an appetising selection of hot and cold morsels are available on a stick (or sometimes in a jar), ranging in price from $2 to $6. So there is no need to order, you simply choose whatever takes your fancy and start eating straight away. Talk about snappy service J Payment is based on an honesty system where the sticks are tallied up at the end of your meal. I am sure that for convenience alone it will prove a very popular system! And from the dishes that I was fortunate enough to try the other night there is plenty of choice and it is all very, very tasty! Bar de Halcyon’s aim is to try and use as much WA produce as possible.
“At Bar de Halcyon, there is more pintxos than you can poke a stick at.”
Definitely hard to pick a favourite from all the tasty items I was lucky enough to sample but I’d say it was a tie between the homemade sausage rolls, which was just perfection with flaky pastry, flavoursome meat filling and accompanying spicy tomato relish and the mushroom croquettes which packed a massive mushroomy punch within its crumbed exterior. I suspect I could have polished off the whole tray of both of those items. But I saved some room and turned my attention to my first official stick item, a dainty apple salad, which was an artistic strip of apple rolled around some soft cheese with a sprinkling of walnuts to up the crunch factor. There were two other salads, slightly larger in size that looked entirely precious in their glass jars. There was either a beetroot and fetta salad that looked fab with the bright splash of beetroot pink or there was a Mediterranean salad which had marinated tomato and some greenery along with some very colourful petals which really enhanced its prettiness. I’m all for edible flowers, I think they look great. Then there were wagyu sliders (one of the $6 items), which received rave reviews, oysters, some chorizo croquettes, slices of baguettes topped with some thin slices of an amazing cold meat (was like a salami but not entirely sure of the specific type) and a green olive might not have sounded particularly enticing but wowsers did they score goals in the flavour stakes! Yum! With their impressive open plan kitchen at the end of the bar of the first floor you could keep an eye on the action. Large paella pans were bubbling away and the smells were amazing! I’m told that during lunch on Monday to Friday there is a changing paella special, which is $10 a serve. Sounds like a great option for those lucky enough to work nearby.
And while the pintxos concept may originally hail from Spain, here at Bar de Halcyon there is a distinctively West Aussie flair to both the food and the fit out. It’s actually a really impressive venue and much bigger than I had expected. A two storey affair the walls are adorned with art work by local talent, Moira de la Hunty and she had done well to capture some West Australian icons, including Percy Penguin who many recalled from their childhoods as heralding that it was time for bed. So there was that and then a local furniture maker, Chris Maple had incorporated wood from the Bunbury Jetty to construct a striking wooden feature wall behind the bar and also the timber table tops. To further enhance the nod that had been given to our fair state, staff uniforms were designed by Perth designer Aurelio Costarella. The combination of all these elements came together perfectly, a touch of the familiar with all the local influences well balanced against the flashy see-through glazed refrigerated vitrine which allows patrons to view the ever-changing array of hanging meat and the slightly racy collage put together by Ben Frichot that adorns the bathroom walls J
David Heaton and business partner, Linda Fry, have created a fantastic new venue in Bar de Halcyon. With its penchant for pintxos it’s found its point of difference on the growing Perth small bar scene and I’m sure it will be a popular addition.
“Perth’s hospitality scene is evolving in an exciting way. There is a diverse mix of bars and restaurants for people to enjoy and we are seeing inspired new influences come through from the Eastern States and across the globe – it is fantastic to be amongst it,” Mr Heaton added.
Bar de Halcyon is now open six days a week, Monday to Saturday:Monday 7.00am – 3.00pm Tuesday 7.00am – 10.00pm Wednesday to Friday 7.00am – midnight Saturday 4.00pm – midnight
My thanks to PPR and Bar de Halcyon for the invitation to this event and to David Heaton, Director of Bar de Halcyon, who provided me with some of the specific details and comments for this post.