When my friend Linda offered to take me out for a belated birthday dinner, I happily accepted because we both have pretty similar taste in food and love to eat! But when she suggested Chilli Orange in North Perth, I have to admit I found myself saying… where??
Situated in the quiet of North Perth, outside of the hectic Northbridge world and next door to Rosemount Hotel, sits a relatively new restaurant which is a cross between modern Australian and Asian cuisines.
We meet up for our 7.30pm booking and are greeted warmly by the incredibly friendly staff while seated at our table. The restaurant is a little quiet, with only a few other tables filled, but Linda’s been here before and she says it’s a lot quieter than previous times.
The inside is gorgeous. Funky chairs wooden chairs with dark curtains. Candlelight and wooden beams across the ceiling and down one wall. It is simple but elegantly beautiful; warm and welcoming.
We start off the night with a cocktail each. Linda chooses the Strawberry Daiquiri, which has actual pieces of fresh strawberry inside it. It’s alcoholic but delicious. A nice cocktail which goes down a treat. I opt for the Watermelon Chiller, which is refreshing and light. I love the frothiness of the liquid, and the nice wedge of watermelon which is hidden in the centre. It’s so yummy!
As our drinks arrive, Linda and I browse through the menu. There’s so much to choose from – 14 entrees and 6 mains. We toss around the idea of sharing a selection of entrees tapas style, but after spotting a main which I couldn’t bring myself not to order, we decide to go the more standard route of sharing two entrees, and then having a main each.
Linda’s choice for our shared entrees is the Tempura King Prawns with Soy Dipping Sauce ($15.90). It comes out adorably presented in a mini fry basket, with five golden prawns steaming hot. They’re crunchy on the outside and soft inside, cooked just right. I like the thin soy dipping sauce which is light and flavoursome.
There are so many incredible sounding dishes on the entree menu that I find myself unable to choose! There’s soft shell crab and pork belly in kimchi, even duck pancakes. Yum, yum, yum!! But I end up going for the first on the list, the Seared Rare Beef Tenderloin with Tatsoi and Chilli Orange & Black Bean Sauce Dressing ($16.90).
It is gorgeous. Beef so tender it basically melts in your mouth; the centre soft and moorish. Tatsoi is a spoon-shaped leaf that is also known as spinach mustard, or rosette bok choy. It’s a lovely salad leaf, that is crunchy and fresh, and works well with the sweet onion and peppery radish slices.
The dressing is mild and not overpowering as I had worried initially. There’s just the right amount of seasoning, and the flavour is spot on with that beautifully cooked beef.
After we finish our entrees, our lovely waitress comes over to ask us if we’d like the kitchen to start on our mains. We say yes, and are happy to have a nice 15 minute break between courses to rest our bellies. The entrees have left us very sated and looking forward to what comes next.
Since she’s been here before a few times, Linda has tried a decent variety of the main dishes. She decides to try something new, and settles on the Seared Local Scallop and Five Spiced Crispy Duck with Gourmet Salad and Grilled Eggplant ($38).
The dish is gorgeous and playful – a number of different colours and textures and ingredients. It’s a generous dish which I’m happy to see since the price tag is close to $40, there’s enough for me to try a scallop and some duck – hooray!
The dish is vibrant, the scallops cooked per-fect-ly. Lightly grilled, and the duck is pink and juicy. It’s delicious and refreshing, and Linda says she’s really enjoyed it.
For my main, I cannot bring myself to even consider anything but the Grilled Teriyaki Salmon with Char-Grilled Corn and Avocado in Coriander Salsa, served with Bread Crumbed Prawn and Wasabi Mayo ($34).
It is just… wow. Salmon that is so, so soft that as I prod it with my fork it just flakes apart with a nicely pink midsection revealed. The teriyaki sauce is like a silky glaze; thin but flavoursome. I absolutely adore the salsa of avocado, corn and coriander. It’s punchy and electrifying to the palate. There’s just nothing I could even consider changing about these elements.
The bread crumbed prawns (3) are crisp and golden. These days I find myself completely enamoured in wasabi mayonnaise, and it works so well with the prawns and more of that delicious radish – a vegetable I love, but is highly undervalued in my opinion.
I highly recommend this dish – it ticked all the boxes and more!
When our main dishes are cleared away, we’re both so, so full but like we always say – dessert is a separate stomach!
Once our choices have been made, our waiter hedges a guess that at least one of us will be ordering the Chocolate Lava Cake with Macadamia Ice-Cream and Raspberry Coulis ($16). He’s right! It’s Linda’s dish and it’s the most popular one that this place serves.
The lava cake takes about 20 minutes to cook, which is just the right amount of time to settle ourselves after our entrees and mains. When it does arrive, it looks fantastic, even though Linda has opted to omit the raspberry coulis.
As her fork dives into the cake, I watch as the most tantalising volcano of chocolate sauce comes bubbling up, oozing and tempting. The cake is light but bitter, with just the right amount of sweetness. The macadamia ice-cream on side is nutty and flavoursome, the cookie crumble underneath a nice textural component of the dish. I love the sugar work which Linda kindly offers me half of – yummy!
Once again I’m torn for choice in this course. Do I opt for the green tea creme caramel? I so badly want to say yes, but I’ve only had creme caramel a few days before that my mother has made, and she makes a mean dessert! So I choose the Meringue with Fresh Fruits, Vanilla Cream and Lemon Curd ($16).
The driving force behind my decision is Linda tells me it’s deconstructed and very funky. Sold!
It comes out as a long plate with nicely thick lemon curd that is vividly yellow and velvety smooth. The diced strawberries, kiwis and banana are fresh and sweet; a playful tease on the tongue. I like the vanilla cream mounds which are sugary and thicker than your standard cream, and work well with those crunchy meringue sticks. It’s a modern day take on a pavlova, and very fun to spoon all together or enjoy individual elements.
When that final spoonful is swallowed, plates are cleared and my new skinny jeans are feeling a little too damn tight!
Our dinner at Chilli Orange was a night of fantastic flavours and beautiful food. I love the style of cooking which is very modern Australian, but with Asian influenced flavours. There’s a great respect for ingredients which is showcased with delicious dish after delicious dish.
While the pricing isn’t at all on the cheap side, I didn’t feel like we were paying for dishes unworthy of the associated tag. I’m definitely looking forward to going back with Jeremy as I know he’d really enjoy this place.