Blake Street Merchant opened in September last year in a familiar location at number four Blake Street in North Perth. It’s a talented team at the helm, Angie Taylor and her partner Nathan, along with Chef Navarre getting creative in the kitchen. In a previous life they’d also run Beaufort Street Merchant together, hence the similarities with the name.
I really like what they’ve done with the space. It’s warm and welcoming and similar to their Beaufort Street rendition, along with room to dine, there are enticing arrangements of things to take home with you, from tempting baked treats to a range of different condiments and sauces (made in house), even a few cute home wares.
Their sourdough bread is made in house and is something to be celebrated. They offer it with a range of different spreads or it would also be well-paired with some of the charcuterie or cheeses. You could have a very bread focused meal and would not go away disappointed. Beautiful flavour, right amount of chew and a slight welcome tang. Heaven. Good bread is good for the soul. They bake it daily, around 600 loaves a week I’m told, and it is very, very popular.
The menu is focused on local ingredients, the best of the season, and while there are some more classic mains designed for one, there are larger meat dishes which are meant to be shared; enjoyed in a hungry pair or larger group, along with a few sides. My kind of meal. I always like to be able to try as much of the menu as I can, such a great way to find your favourite things at a new place.
On our debut visit we were shown to a booth, with comfortable high backed seats, which was an ideal spot to be with my favourite dining companion, as it meant we had our privacy and it was easy to chat.
Our friendly waiter talked us through the menu, explaining the different sections and outlining the sizing and telling about the specials. They actually had an excellent special on their Steak & frites – black angus sirloin, fries, bearnaise, leafy house salad and a glass of house wine or beer for $30, which is a great price!
It actually sounded too good to pass up so my GG ordered that (along with a glass of red) and I went with the Panfried goldband snapper, summer vegetable, veloute ($31). So mains was sorted and as a prelude we ordered some of the sourdough (of course!), with a serve of hummus and the carrots.
The bread was first to arrive and it was love at first slice. I enjoyed the first bite sans hummus and could really savour the beautiful flavour. Plus it was just so fresh! That said, the hummus, which is made in house, was superb with some gentle spice from the paprika and a refreshing spritz of lemon. Delicious. If this was all I’d we’d had, I would have been happy.
Then the carrots came and will you look at how beautifully they presented! Baby carrots, chicory, buffalo mozzarella, hazelnuts, honey ($15). Served with frisée, hazelnuts, buffalo mozzarella and drizzled with honey, from their very own hives! North Perth honey in a North Perth restaurant – local on local! It was such a lovely dish, balanced flavours, texturally interesting and making the humble carrot a hero, bravo.
We were also spoilt with a special off menu dish of Jerusalem Artichokes, verde and strachiatella. Prepared two ways – cooked slow roasted and also crisped into chips before being arranged with that indulgently creamy cheese and the herbaceous verde. Just lovely.
After a brief interlude it was time for mains. Ummm can we take a moment to appreciate the medium rare perfection of those slices of steak and that absolute mountain of frites?? And not to overlook the generous serve of béarnaise sauce and the accompanying leafy salad because it all looked so darn appetising!
Did I have some slight ordering envy… yeah, yeah I did, but the fish I chose did look lovely too with its wonderfully crispy skin. And those veggies! Like a vibrant rainbow and with a nice amount of crunch to them and pleasingly infused with dill. Such fresh fish and not overly seasoned, just there to let the snapper shine. And shine it did. I really enjoyed it and very reasonably priced for such high quality seafood.
Plus I did get to try a bit of the steak… he could spare a bite for me and it was tremendous. I very liberally dunked it into the béarnaise and just so good. I will definitely be back for my very own steak frites. The fresh salad was also outstanding, a pleasing blend of cos, radicchio and endive, which had been elegantly dressed and was very easy eating and a refreshing way to end proceedings.
I had thoroughly enjoyed our visit and the beautiful venue and experience that the Blake Street Merchant team have created. I cannot wait to head back.