These days it feels like there’s an abundance of new, hip eating spots in our fair city. The sensible side of me is trying to play it slow, trying a new one out every week or two – but there’s a greedy part of me that wants to overload my senses and eat at a new place every night. All in the name of blogging naturally!
Recently I caught up with a girlfriend, Sherilyn, to cross one off from my places to try wish list. Lot Twenty might have a small bar licence but it’s actually two stories sitting on the edge of Perth’s Cultural Centre. With a great beer garden and some delicious sounding food and drinks, this venue caught my eye as soon as it opened. I decided to give it a few weeks before going, just to let them find their footing and get into a groove.
Opened by the same team behind Bar 399 and Five Bar (sensing a naming theme or a thing for numbers?), this place has big shoes to fill and stiff competition nearby. I’m a regular at Mechanics Bar which sits only metres away and have walked past Lot Twenty a few times watching as it started to get busier and busier.
The food on offer here is ideally shared, with the menu having a strong focus on WA produce and a good breakdown of items from the farm, from the earth, share boards and sandwiches. Knowing I was going for dinner one weeknight I went on their website to book a table – getting a confirmation email the next day. Soon enough the day came round and I met up with Sherilyn, taking in the aesthetically pleasing layout before making our way upstairs to our reserved table which had a seriously good view on the drinking area below.
We decide to start things off with a cocktail each. Sherilyn chooses the cherry kicker ($16) which is made up of Angostura five year old rum, homemade cherry and chilli syrup, lemon juice and angostura bitters. It’s garnished with a cute little stack of juicy orange and a maraschino cherry.
My bramble swizzle ($16) is made up of Margaret River gin, lemon and Crème de Mure swizzled with crushed ice. It’s icy and refreshing, the sourness hitting the spot perfectly. A great recommendation from our lovely waitress.
Looking at the menu we both feel an overwhelming sensation. There’s so many dishes that sound really interesting so we ask our waitress for a suggestion on how many to order. We’re told a couple from the farm and a couple from the earth should be ample, so we run with that and create our shortlist.
After placing our orders we’re given a complimentary serving of pork crackling dusted with paprika and chilli. A little bit of heat and a whole lot of crunch! How anyone could choose not to have pork in their diet I can’t even begin to imagine. What a nice touch – after all, everyone loves a good freebie.
Our food doesn’t take long to come out to the table, the first dish to arrive being one of my choices – the son in law eggs with chilli caramel dressing and fresh herbs ($10). Son in law eggs are a traditional Thai dish, usually featuring a boiled egg that has been shelled and deep-fried. Lot Twenty’s version is a really modern breath of fresh air with soft, liquidy eggs and the most moorish chilli caramel dressing.
The yolk is unctuous and almost seductive as it oozes out onto the crusty croutons. It’s vividly orange, silky and wildly addictive when combined with the punch of coriander. In my opinion, this is a must order if you visit here. I loved every last bite.
From the earth section of the menu comes out asparagus spears on potato foam with yuzu and kaffir lime dust ($14.00). The asparagus is cooked perfectly, with the fresh produce retaining a little crunch in each bite.
These days I feel like foams are a bit dated but Lot Twenty’s version is very different to your standard foams – it’s not watery or bubbly but rather has a texture reminiscent of shaving cream. That might sound strange but it’s actually fantastic and is really flavoursome. It’s a nice diverse manner to enjoy the humble potato.
The yuzu and kaffir lime dust is sour and fragrant. It’s split feelings between my dining companion and I. Sherilyn finds it a little overpowering when she gets too much in a mouthful, but I love the flavour and think it works so well with the dish.
Also from the earth section of the menu comes Sherilyn’s choice of roast pumpkin, maple syrup, goats cheese and curious seeds ($15.00). The pumpkin is supple and sweet, a great counter balance for the mild and creamy cheese (sourced from Albany!).
The maple syrup is a light drizzle, but also in the form of a dehydrated powder on the side. It’s meant to reconstitute in your mouth and turn back into a syrup. It doesn’t quite work as promised but the flavour does and that’s what counts for me. Visually it looks a treat and I really enjoy it – especially the crunch of the mixed seeds scattered over the pumpkin. It’s simple, but tasty though I do find the dish a little sweet if I don’t get the goats cheese in each bite.
Our final savoury dish for the evening is my favourite of them all. Slow cooked lamb ribs in a tamarind glaze ($20.00) blow my mind. They’re completely moorish; the meat tender and juicy. When we talk about finger licking good, these will definitely remain in the forefront of my mind.
I know some people think of lamb as a treat but it’s actually a relatively common meat in my household so I have to admit it’s hard for me to be truly impressed by lamb. But Lot Twenty definitely achieved this.
Tamarind is a fruit commonly found in Indian cuisine, with a sweet and sour taste. The glaze on the lamb is sticky and just runny enough that you can scoop more onto your plate for prime dipping. Another must order for sure.
We did a pretty good job with our dishes, with just a little bit of pumpkin left by the time we wave the white flag in defeat. It’s getting dark fast outside and the food has been a great way to unwind after nearly a full week of work. We’re both sitting quite comfortable but nonetheless take a menu to look at whether we’ll consider ordering dessert.
The staff are really efficient and friendly here, oozing just the right amount of casual charm I would expect from a Gary Beadle and Andrew McIntyre venue. After all, Five Bar is one of my go to spots so I was happily taking in every aspect of Lot Twenty.
To our surprise we don’t get the opportunity to order dessert because the chef has kindly sent out some complimentary desserts for us to try! While I’ve always blogged just for my own love of food, I have to admit it was a really lovely treat to have a sweet ending like this.
Brought out to our table was an array of sugary goodness. Two lemon tarts (normally $3 each), two salted caramel macarons (normally $3 each), a scoop of house made vanilla bean ice-cream and coconut sorbet (normally $3.50 per scoop). It all looked utterly amazing!
Starting with the house made scoops, our first bites are of the vanilla bean ice-cream. Sweet, custardy and well perfumed with the promised vanilla. I love the accompanying biscuity crumb underneath which offers some balance and contrast. Gosh, this really makes me want to get an ice-cream churner for my own home.
The coconut sorbet is the business. It tasted so creamy and light that I felt like I was eating ice-cream! The coconut flavour is fantastic, reminding me of the coconut pandan scoop Jeremy had at Gelato Messina when we were recently holidaying in Sydney.
The lemon tart is tiny but perfectly pleasing. A crunchy tart houses a sweet and sour lemon curd filling. I love that Lot Twenty have gone down a path of mini desserts at really reasonable prices – very clever way of differentiating themselves and offering a unique end to a meal.
The salted caramel macaron is a steal for the price. These days you usually find macarons (the normal size) are around $2.50-4.00 so to have one three times the standard sizing is very surprising! The shell of the macaron is crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. The salted caramel lives up to it’s name and is so very moorish – it definitely hits the spot. Though when I finish that bite I have to admit I’m going to roll myself out of there, I’m so full!
What a great night. I have to say, I was unsure of how dinner at Lot Twenty would go after hearing mixed reviews from fellow foodies or bloggers. But I was really pleased with the food and drinks we had, and definitely think I’ll be back. Most likely this summer when the weather is hot and I can make use of the beer garden. Thanks to the team for the very generous desserts too – so unexpected! Next time I’m there I’ll be getting my hands on the dutch fries which come with satay, mayo and red onion – yes, yes, yes.