As soon as I heard of its impending opening, I got it in my head that I wanted to visit Darlings Supper Club. Maybe it was the catchy name, maybe it was that Andy Freeman has previously opened some stellar venues (such as Luxe and Varnish on King) but I think it’s was the whole ‘variety is the spice of life’ mantra that had me drawn to the newest of Perth newbies like some sort of moth to a flame. Yep I’m like a moth….. for flamin’ new restaurants 🙂
“Born from necessity, Darlings Supper Club serves up a steaming late night rock and roll Asian fusion for everyone to enjoy.
Dumplings and noodles until 3am everyday“
Located in Northbridge on Lake Street, Darlings Supper Club serves up dumplings and wok style dishes from 3pm til 3am every day of the week. So for that reason alone it is going to be very popular. I mean for all those crazy kids that stay out til all hours, wouldn’t you rather partake in a few dumplings and perhaps some Schezwan squid instead of the typical late night fare of pizza, burger or kebabs? And let me just say, ain’t nothing wrong with those latter three items, but Darlings gives you another tasty option. And it’s a more upmarket option. I just love the fit out. It’s quite open, plenty of greenery and from where we sat you could spy all the kitchen action. I thought the display of sake and spirit bottles behind the bar was a little reminiscent of Varnish, so it was in keeping with the Freeman line up of venues. And it will be just perfect in Summer too! Those big windows will open and all those seats out the front overlooking the road will become prime real estate. A huge plus is that you can book!
We were brought glasses of water and turned our attention to the menus. We were both more than a little peckish, so lined up three of the dumpling options and two of the smaller shared dishes:
DUMPLINGSChicken, lemongrass, ginger and citrus with chicken consommé (steamed) $8 Prawn coriander root, kaffir lime leaf, chilli, ginger and garlic (fried) $10 Sticky Pork and tamarind w/ house rice wine vinaigrette (pan fried) $8
TID BITSSchezwan and salt squid w/ house rice wine vinaigrette $11 Honey sesame chicken wings $11
Everything arrives as it’s prepared so it’s totally fresh and red hot! First up were the sticky pork dumplings. Pan fried and with an accompanying vinaigrette they were a very tasty morsel and thankfully I was able to pluck them from their steam basket securely into my chopsticks. Just putting it out there, I am fairly sub-par with chopsticks, which is often a big struggle when I am hungry and I so desperately just want to get the food from the plate to my mouth, without too much of a scene.
Up next were the ‘money bags’, the fully fried dumpling option we’d ordered. They had a lovely crispy outer coating and had an interesting herbed prawn flavour, with the kick of coriander and zesty lime.
Our final dumpling was the chicken, which was steamed and came served in a chicken consommé. It was nice to enjoy something a bit soupy in the chilly weather. These had a fairly delicate flavour, but they were just lovely and it was pleasant to have the contrasting crunch from the bean sprouts and snow pea shoots on top. Gotta be happy with some added colour and crunch.
The first of the tid bits to arrive was the squid and I’d have to say that it was my favourite of everything we ordered. It was lightly battered, had a kicky peppery flavour with its Schezwan dusting and the accompanying sauce was pleasant and had an interesting sweetness to it. Perfectly cooked squid is a wonderful thing and this was just delicious. The accompanying radish salad also prettied up the plate and was very refreshing.
The chicken wings arrived next and they looked fairly dramatic all stretched out on the plate. I’ll admit that I much prefer a trimmed wing where it’s just the middle section to tackle, especially when the wings are burny hot and you have to try and tear them into manageable pieces before dunking them into the accompanying honey soy sauce. The sauce was seriously delicious but I was fairly distracted by my burning finger tips and I probably didn’t enjoy this dish nearly as much as I could have. I noticed when looking through some pics from others visits, that on other nights these wings did appear to be served as just middle pieces and pre sauced. That way would definitely get my vote. Call me lazy, but that’s the best way to eat a wing.
So we’d worked our way through the dumplings and tid bits but there was still some room left so we order two dishes from the wok section:
WOKHong Kong XO Pork noodle w/ spaetzle $25 Asian slaw’ w/ fresh crispy seasonal vegetables (v) $8
As with the other dishes they arrived in short order and oh the delicious aroma of that pork noodle dish was entirely enticing and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I really like how they had the crunchy spaetzle. According to Wiki “Spätzle are a type of egg noodle or dumpling of soft texture found in the cuisines of southern Germany and of Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Alsace and South Tyrol.” So it’s definitely a creative inclusion to a very Asian style menu. But it totally worked. You’d chopstick your way through a chunky pork piece, the fresh veg and ribbon after ribbon of the tasty noodles, then crunch crunch crunch from the spaetzle. I enjoyed it.
I was grateful though to end with the Asian slaw. It was really refreshing after all those noodles and it often surprises me how easy it is to power your way through a big bowl of salad. Always seems to magically disappear in a flash.
After all these dishes I was feeling pretty content. We’d tried a fair few different menu items and managed to get a taste for what the Darlings kitchen team was dishing up. I hadn’t minded our visit. I did find the tables pretty close together and by the time we left the volume was fairly raucous but I think that’s all part of the atmosphere. The staff had been really friendly and I didn’t really have any issue with the pricing versus servings size, but I think what occurred to me was that as excited as I was about this new place and their interesting new take on a Perth dining option was that I don’t often go out for dumplings. And they are nice, but they aren’t quite high enough up on my ‘I just love them’ list to have me racing back.
But hey I know that some folk rate dumplings much higher than I would and I think Darlings provides a great option for those late night folk chasing something tasty in the wee hours of the morning. Not going to lie. I’m no night owl these days. I’m much more of an old chook than night owl, but I am all for choice and I am sure Darlings will prove a popular addition to the Northbridge neighbourhood.