The first dish to come from the kitchen was a revamped version of an original menu item. Absolutely stunning in it’s colour, the beef carpaccio ($14.00) was melt in your mouth and bursting with freshness. Comprised of Ranger Valley beef rubbed in coriander seed, paprika and peppercorns, then seared and shaved, served with dollops of harissa cream, pea shoots and Pedro Ximenez caviar.
The colours just sparkle on the plate, and the flavours compliment one another perfectly. I love the inventiveness of the caviar which pops in your mouth, and the way that the dish could not have been seasoned better even if they’d tried… something that was a consistent trend for all courses that day. It’s rare you find every single dish is spot on with salt and pepper, but here they have it down to a fine art – and we were all pretty wowed as a result.
The next course to come out is the grilled octopus salad ($17.00). Complicated and layered, it’s chocked full of Fremantle octopus that’s been steamed, then grilled to order, accompanied by charred cauliflower slices, sour fermented carrot strips, toasted almonds, pea tendrils and fermented carrot dressing.
There’s something about a warm salad that really hits the spot when the weather starts to cool off, and this one did the job perfectly. I always worry with octopus and squid that the meat might become chewy, but in this instance it was well cooked and tender, with lovely contrasts in the brightness of flavour and the range in texture.
The third course had all of us up in arms from the moment we spied them on the menu. I’d already tried them from a previous visit, but I was still excited about devouring more of the savoury doughnuts ($16.00). Each board contained five pieces, golden brown and filled with mushroom ragu, dusted in a cumin and paprika sugar, and accompanied by a lemon and chive curd.
Definitely some pretty sexy stuff happening in this dish. The doughnuts were soft and fluffy on the inside, the ragu earthy and meaty despite being vegetarian. I really enjoyed the slightly sweet curd which danced on my tastebuds and left me wanting more and more.
My favourite dish was easily the yellow fish curry ($23.00)… I’m still day-dreaming about those beautiful, robust yet delicate flavours of mulloway cooked in a mild Thai curry base with pineapple and topped with coconut, tomato and coriander sambal. It was layered in taste, with the entire mouthful transforming as I process the different ingredients used to create such a yummy curry.
And don’t even get me started on those gooey glutinous rice flour balls made with coconut milk that sat on the side, begging to be dipped in the sauce. Those themselves were enough to impress, with their starchy quality reminding me of Filipino rice balls, and with a crunchy outside to contrast the bite. I was really bowled away by how impressive this dish was.
The glazed pork jowl ($25.00) is one for the meat lovers and can only be described as porky. Made up of slow cooked Linley Valley pork cheek and jowl glazed in pork stock, the protein is accompanied by a brussel sprout and broad bean salad, topped with apple foam and crackling.
It feels really strange to describe pork as porky, but it’s the perfect word because of the stock used to cook the meat. I enjoyed the tender cheek particularly, and was all too happy to chomp away on that impressively crispy crackling.
By that stage I was feeling pretty full indeed! But with one final savoury course to go I managed to keep up the momentum, and I’m so glad I did. The beef brisket ($24.00) has been marinated for 14 days before being smoked. Served with buttered cabbage, pickles, Korean spiced Russian dressing and sourdough croutons, it’s a playful rendition of a reuben sandwich – only deconstructed.
I may have been chock-a-block at that stage, but there is always room for dessert… especially one as breathtakingly delicious as this. If you’ve read about my previous visit to The Standard, you’ll know that I celebrated the joy of their pannacotta (which is still available, don’t worry!) – but the highs of that dessert have been surpassed by this.
Soft, creamy passionfruit parfait ($14.00) is surrounded by cachaca jelly, lychee gel, pop rocks, freeze dried lychee and sesame brittle. Cachaca is a Brazilian spirit made from sugar cane juice, and in this dessert it definitely adds a nice boozy quality. I could have happily eaten a whole bag of those freeze dried lychees which are sweet and crumbly – likewise with the crunchy glass like sesame brittle.
Yes, I would have easily (and rather ecstatically) finished a whole plate of this dessert all to myself. As it was I had to share, which meant the stress on my full stomach wasn’t as onerous… but it does mean a return visit is in need stat.
And if you visit, of course keep some room for their inventive and seasonal cocktails – they’re just the zingy thing to enjoy with a meal, or by themselves in the relaxing beer garden.
While this meal was complimentary, as always my opinions are truthful and unbiased. I’m a huge fan of The Standard, and love the simplicity of their design, with the impressive flavours on their plates. A big thank you to the team there for hosting such a fun and filling afternoon.