My memories of the Leederville Hotel back in the day (uni days for me) are that it was quite the seedy affair – the ‘seedy Leedy’. A vast venue that was fairly dark, a little dingy, but nonetheless not a bad spot for a dance on their signature sticky floors after a few drinks. I can’t remember my last visit there, I’d always just walked on past, with fond memories but knowing it wasn’t my ideal venue choice these days. They had done up a section to the side in recent years, The Garden. A lovely summery venue, plenty of outdoor seating and quite a tasty menu.
But in the past four weeks there has been a flurry of activity in the front bar at the Leederville Hotel. In a mere month magic has happened. The Leedy is all grown up and Bill’s Bar and Bites has arrived. It’s fresh and slick with a welcoming combination of the old school exposed brick and shiny wooden floors and polished cement, along with some greenery and a lot more natural light. Bravo to the team behind this transformation. I was so thoroughly impressed with how wonderful it all looked.
I was invited along last week to a long table dinner to sample the new menu at Bill’s from the creative kitchen team driven by Chef Damian Young. I’d enjoyed his cooking prowess previously at the Butterworth and he really seemed to be in his element in this revamped venue.
I was in the company of others from the lovely Perth food blogger scene. It was to be great company for what proved to be a great night.
We were spoilt with an incredible banquet menu and speaking to venue manager Jason, it is something that large groups can book in for. A big shared affair. I love a shared meal!
On the menu for our lucky bunch of diners was this impressive array:
To StartSalumi, jamon Serrano, fourme d’ambert, green olives Duck and manchego cigars, green tomato chutney Pink snapper ceviche, avocado, chilli From Bill’s Hellfire Lamb Shoulder, house pickled vegetables, goats curd, herbs Baharat spiced free range chicken, fennel, yoghurt Moreton bay bugs, samphire, burnt butter Salad of French radishes, Tuscan cabbages, lemon
Anise spiced poached pear, figs, mascarpone, honey toasted brioche
Now as I sipped on the particularly easy drinking sangria I’d been given, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to bring along GG’s camera that perhaps was slightly better suited to the mood lighting inside Bill’s. And don’t get me wrong it was ideal lighting for dining, just slightly challenging for food photos.
So without decent happy snaps you’ll just have to take my word for it that the menu was simply divine. Hard to pick a favourite from the starters. The duck cigars were jam packed with so much delicious, flavoursome confit duck. I’ve always wanted to confit some duck, but it is a lot of work so I appreciate when others do all those hard yards for me. Encased in a light, crispy filo pastry, they were cylindrical wonders! And it’s hard to go past the combination of slightly spicy salami, crunchy vibrant green Sicilian olives, along with the contrasting salty kick from good blue cheese. And this was good blue cheese. And then there was the ceviche and while it was hard to pick a favourite, most folks were well impressed with this dish. A good punchy kick from the citrus zest and nice plump prawns. The inclusion of avocado was also really lovely. Added quite a nice creamy finish to the dish and while I might not often overthrow duck as a favourite from a bunch, it was a solid ceviche.
And after we sat and merrily gorged on all these epic starters, we then turned our attention to the line-up of mains, which we suspected would be similarly impressive. And they were. And again, did I love the wood roasted lamb shoulder or the chunky free range chicken pieces more? I’d say it was pretty much a tie as both were full of flavour and with the quality time they had spent in the oven were just so succulent! And I’m not entirely sure I’d ever eaten a Moreton Bay Bug before but I quite liked them. Sort of like a marron with a more clunky shell. I thought it was interesting to pair it with samphire, “a name given to a number of distinct edible plants that grow in some coastal areas“. The accompanying salads were also pleasant and very refreshing. Plus I’m a big fan of radishes and fennel.
What a feast it had been! While dessert sounded very enticing I had to make a hasty exit, which I figured meant I had my first excuse to head back because I just love dessert.
I think they have done an amazing job in completely revamping the Leedy. I mean talk about a facelift! It’s trendy and sophisticated and it’s somewhere grown-ups would fancy heading for a drink and a tasty bite. So you might have fond memories of a misspent night of boozy youth dancing up a storm at the Leedy, but I doubt you’d be disappointed if you walked into Bill’s Bar and Bites and didn’t quite recognize it. It was time for a change and hat’s off to Bill’s, I think they’ve definitely changed for the better!