Down the terrace strip there’s definitely some powerhouse restaurants. It’s one of those destinations that I often whinge about, claiming there’s so many to visit but so little time. I’d really loved places like The Trustee, Print Hall and Lalla Rookh, but there’s still lots that I need to visit. So when I received a lovely and generous invitation to dine at Grand Bar and Bistro, I made my way in one weeknight with a plus one and a rumbly tummy.
This restaurant has been revamped recently, with the bar downstairs quite busy on that Wednesday night and the restaurant upstairs a little quieter. I can imagine they’d be pumping during the day with all of the people working on St George’s Terrace only walking distance away. It looks like they’ve spent a decent amount on the fit out – though the blue lights upstairs were not so friendly on my camera! The menu has something for everyone, with the pricing relatively accessible compared to some of the other terrace options.
It was a hot evening so I decided to start things off with a cocktail (prices range from $14.00 to $17.00). I asked our waiter for a recommendation and he brought out a blueberry, lychee vodka concoction which was really tasty – refreshing, tart and just a little sweet. So good!
I really thought the service from start to finish was impeccable, and appreciated the attention our waiter gave us consistently.
Our entrees for the evening were the prosciutto wrapped scallops with herb hollandaise ($13.50) and the blue swimmer crab croquettes with micro herbs and lime mayo ($15.50). The scallops were plump and juicy, though I did find the prosciutto a little tough on the outside which can happen when it’s cooked sometimes. The herb hollandaise was more of an aioli, but it brought creaminess to the dish.
The crab croquettes were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with a decent amount of crab inside which was great to see. I liked the lime mayo and thought it was great both with the croquettes as well as the leafy green salad underneath. I would have liked a touch more seasoning on this dish, just to contrast the sweetness of the seafood.
Since my dining partner had been out with friends at Bivouac that day she wasn’t in the mood for anything too big for main course. Per my suggestion she decided to opt for a second entree instead, choosing the pork belly with salted crackling, seared scallops, sweet balsamic glaze and micro herbs ($15.50).
The squares of pork belly were sadly a little dry, with the crackling over-delivering on the salt front. I love my salt, but I found this really overpowering. Once again the scallops were cooked on the money, with the plump caramelised outside casing a slightly translucent centre.
I’m actually not a big fan of balsamic glazes but my guest told me she enjoyed this, with the reduction the right consistency and not overly sweet. It complimented the scallops well, though I think some extra micro herbs to cut through would have been nice.
My main dish of choice was the cone bay grilled barramundi with chive mashed potato, wilted rocket and lemon butter ($31.00). Barramundi is definitely one of those fishes that can be quite polarising to people – most of my friends actually don’t enjoy it that much whereas I think that muddy flavour is quite tasty when cooked well. It’s such a beautiful Western Australian produce that we should really celebrate, and I’d love to see more on menus in Perth.
The fish was soft and flaky, with the lemon butter a smooth and rich accompaniment. The mash was more of your traditional kind than the silky Paris mash versions you see at restaurants these days. It’s quite in line with the style of this restaurant which definitely has that classic pub/bistro style more than a modern approach. I usually gravitate personally towards the modern style of cooking, but there’s definitely still a place for the classics I think.
We were both feeling reasonably full after the savoury courses, but to round out a full meal we decided to share a dessert. After a quick browse of the menu, we selected the chocolate fondant with mars ice-cream and crème anglaise ($14.50).
I love the excitement of a chocolate fondant dessert, when you cut into it with your fork to reveal a torrent of liquid chocolate. Grand Bar and Bistro’s version unfortunately was a little undercooked meaning the sauce had completely leaked out of the centre by the time it reached us – and it had a slightly caky feel to it with a baking powder aftertaste. The chocolate itself was quite rich and lush though, and the mars ice-cream really lifted the whole dish and left our final bite as a memorable one.
A big thanks to the team at Grand for inviting us in for dinner, and for such fantastic service throughout the night.