When I heard that Chophouse was going to be opening in Perth I was excited. I’d been to the one in Sydney once before and had memories of it being a lovely night out, so it was welcome news that a west coast addition to this steak house eatery was on the way.
GG loves his steak so it wasn’t a hard sell to say let’s head into the big city to visit Chophouse for dinner. We booked in for their second Saturday of operation and it’s fair to say I had given the menu substantial consideration before arriving. As well as that, there may have been just a few social media searches for the #chophouseperth hashtag. I was very much looking forward to it, but conscious that I was putting a fair bit of pressure on such a new establishment to impress.
The restaurant has a great layout, with an alfresco section nearly spilling out onto the terrace and sure to be highly popular with a Summer time crowd. Inside it’s a two level affair and actually seats 240 people. It’s an impressive space and it looked very well done as we followed our friendly waiter up the stairs to our table. We arrived at 7pm and the place wasn’t too busy at this time. I was feeling a little lavish, perhaps some lingering remnants of holiday mode but when we were asked if we would like a pre dinner drink I eagerly asked if they did Aperol Sours. They sure did I was told and I was super pleased because I’d given them a go at home so I was keen to see how it was supposed to taste when the pros made it. Much more zappy and lemony is how they taste and generally just a whole lot better than my rookie effort. So we sipped on those and turned our attention to the menu.
We decided we’d share two starters, locking in the SEARED YELLOWFIN TUNA peppered soy, kohlrabi, avocado and wasabi puree 24.5 and the MAC & CHEESE BOMBS three cheeses, macaroni, Napolitana sauce 18.9 because it is terribly hard to go past anything with mac and cheese. They looked delicious with their golden, crispy coating and were eagerly sliced in half and liberally smothered in the accompanying harissa. The harissa had a good amount of spicy kick, as the chilli rich Northern African condiment should have, and worked a treat with the creamy and cheesy indulgence of the mac and cheese. They disappeared in a flash and had me wishing they came in serves of four so I didn’t have to split the third one with GG….
The tuna was delicate and pleasingly fresh. I thought the green apple batons added a nice crunch and the subtle heat from the wasabi spiked avocado really lifted the dish. Again, it would have been nice if the serving size was slightly larger but I can appreciate that yellowfin tuna isn’t a cheap fish and what we had, we enjoyed.
We switched from Aperol to red wine for mains, trading one of my new holiday loves for another. We kept things local with a bottle of the Cape Mentelle Trinders Cabernet Merlot. It was a lovely wine, luscious, rich and fruity. Western Australia produces some beautiful wines. Am I biased and a total cheer squad for all this WA? Perhaps I am.
For my mains I chose THE GLAZED BEEF SHORT RIB 350g house made barbecue sauce 36.0 while GG ordered the FILLET ON THE BONE 320g Riverine Premium Beef, NSW chutney, jus 54.9. The majority of mains are just your selection of meat on a plate usually with one accompanying sauce. You can then opt to order other sauces, which are either $2 or $3 and then a range of sides is available. We decided to order some SEASONAL GREENS garlic and herb butter 9.2 just to balance out the meat fest. Timing wise it wasn’t a long wait for the food and we chatted and enjoyed our wine as the tables around us began to fill. It soon became noticeable to me as the second floor reached near capacity that the volume was on the rise. Perhaps less of an issue for groups but for a pair I felt like we were near shouting across the table just to be heard.
We were eager to tuck into the mains when they arrived. I’d never seen a fillet served on the bone, gave it a bit of a rustic look as though you could use the bone as a handle for some sort of meat lollipop. Thankfully that thought didn’t enter GG’s mind and he politely tackled his steak with a knife and fork. I did try a bite or two of his fillet and along with some of the spiced chutney that came with it, it was a nice piece of meat. However GG didn’t seem convinced that the $54 price tag was warranted. Granted that is a pricey steak.
I got stuck into my short rib and the meat literally fell away from the chunky bone, so tender and ever lovingly slow cooked. The BBQ sauce was sweet and spicy and very generously pooled on the plate. I did enjoy my dish but potentially towards the end the flavours got a little bit samey with all that sauce.
Now I had spied on Insta, a pic of one of the Chophouse desserts. Its praises were being sung so I had it in my head, I suspect before I even arrived, that I would be partaking in one of the POPCORN BRITTLE SEMIFREDDO Salted caramel and butter popcorn 12.5. We decided we would exercise restraint and share one between us. It was a vision. I took pause that I was going to eat to eat such a beautiful dessert. The tower of creamy semifreddo was topped with a silky layer of meringue, surrounded by a generous swirl of luxurious salted caramel and then pieces of honeycomb with popcorn had been artistically broken on the side. Yes all those flavours together tasted as supremely epic as you would imagine. It was rich and sweet and naughty and wonderful. Oh so wonderful. I still smile when I think about it. I’m torn as to whether I’m glad I shared, sensibly yes it was the right decision, but I would have happily battled away to make sure that not a morsel remained on the plate.
For a place so new they have clearly trained their staff very well and the food was all enjoyable, with some dishes shining slightly brighter than others (my goodness that semifreddo). For me the overall experience was somewhat tarnished by the noisiness of the venue. In a group larger than two I can see it working as you’d just add to the din, but for a couple just trying to have more of a quiet chat it was a bit of a struggle. I suppose part of that angst is because of the food’s price tag. It isn’t a cheap place to dine and granted its location is primo, right on the Terrace, but for an expensive night out I would want the overall experience to be on point.
So would I head back? I’d say yes…. in a while. But it will be in a group and I think I’ll give a lunchtime visit a whirl.