When a new place opens around town and the hype is super positive it means there are fairly high expectations when you go for a visit. But as I found out when I recently dined at Shadow Wine Bar they are embracing the influx of praise and ensuring that new visitors are similarly as impressed.
GG and I were booked in for dinner on a Tuesday evening. Not a usual night for us to be out hitting the town but August 4th is our anniversary, our third this year, so marking the occasion with a nice meal seemed like something we should do. Located at the bottom of the new Alex Hotel, just down from the corner of William and James Street, it has a fairly understated entrance. I loved the fit out though. It’s a fairly large space with a modern, industrial feel to it with added warmth from some strategic lighting. Arriving early on a Tuesday meant we could snag a booth seat, which was lovely. Have to comment further on the lighting and say that as someone who likes to take snaps of what I eat it is ideal to basically have a spotlight above your table, loved it!
We kicked things off with a glass of fancy fizz, because being GG’s wife is a constant cause for celebration. We then turned our focus to food. I had done some preliminary perusal before we arrived and knew I wanted to order the Shark bay crab spaghettini, caper, lemon, tomato, chilli ($32) for my mains so we needed to decide what GG wanted and then fine tune our starter selections. Somewhat unsurprisingly my meat lover ordered the Boyanup brook flat iron steak, charred onions, celeriac, pepper sauce ($38) and we decided to share the Pan fried haloumi, pink grapefruit, watercress, balsamic ($19) and the Veal carpaccio, rocket, parmesan, truffle mustard dressing ($22) for starters.
There was a lovely chilled vibe to the place, with enjoyable background music and friendly staff stopping by regularly to ensure that everyone had everything they needed.
Our entrees arrived fairly swiftly and they both presented beautifully. We decided to kick things off with the warm dish, the haloumi. Haloumi is a brilliant cheese. It’s creamy and salty and squeaky and fabulous. This haloumi had been grilled to perfection, so that there was still plenty of its signature squeak. I loved the zesty wedges of grapefruit that were in this dish and the peppery water cress, which if I’m honest growing up I thought was called water crest (random fact about me for you). It was an interesting medley of flavours that married up well for a very pleasant opening dish.
Next it was time for the carpaccio. I’m a big fan of carpaccio. So delicate and yet can prove to be powerfully punchy in the flavour stakes. This was the case for Shadow’s version. Pow pow pow! A flavour sensation! When it arrived I had thought wow that’s a lot of seeded mustard, but it turns out that truffled mustard had a much more mellow flavour than I had anticipated. It was perfectly balanced against the wafer thin slices of veal and we thoroughly enjoyed every last bite. Both starters had been so delicious, but the carpaccio had been the winner for us.
For our mains we ordered a bottle of red, a sexy Italian drop from Montalcino, and it was divine. I’ve really embraced this whole red wine caper with two hands. It just makes such perfect sense in winter. I was so late to the party!
It was then time for food. An elegant spiraled stack of pasta appeared, colourful with an abundance of crab, chilli and capers. Flavour wise it kicked goals, like a whole lot of goals, potentially even a swag. There was heat from the chilli, zest from a generous spritz of lemon, salty goodness from the capers and sweet from the generous addition of the crab. It was a massive hit and I eagerly swirled more and more onto my fork. I did pause to offer GG a taste and he agreed that it was a solid dish.
He was pleased with his steak though and I had a bite and it was good. Well cooked and paired with some interesting flavours it was another tick for the Shadows menu, though I do believe that it was one of those rare instances when pasta trumped steak in the ‘I won mains’ competition and that’s always a bit of fun….. If you are playing that game.
Thankfully there was just room to share dessert and with the weather on the cooler side the pear tarte tartin and vanilla ice cream was calling my name so we ordered that. Fairly simple in presentation the test was in the tasting and the taste was delicious. Warm, buttery pastry and slices of sweet caramelised pear was a winter winner along with the perfectly creamy vanilla ice cream (which I later found out was made by lovely Leederville local Gusto Gelato – no wonder it was so good!). We polished dessert off in short order and paid the bill and wandered out.
It had been such a wonderful debut visit. Staff are eager to please and they do, the ambiance suited our special occasion to a tea and the food had been fabulous. Would highly recommend a visit to this Northbridge newbie, I’m actually thinking hard about a reason, excuse, occasion to head back soon…. am sure I’ll think of something 🙂