Spring is my favourite season of the year. Sunny days, with slightly shivery winds. New buds of flowers emerging, and baby animals a plenty in the wild. Best of all, it brings with it an exciting season for fresh produce – with some of my favourite fruit and veggies at their prime. Yes – berries and asparagus… I missed you guys!
I was recently invited to celebrate the arrival of Spring (with a bunch of asparagus mailed to me by the gorgeous girls at Detail Marketing Communications) and try Odyssea’s new season menu over dinner with a small group of other foodies. We were joined by owner Eleanor Hupfer, who was an absolute delight to have sit with us while trying out the new dishes.
We arrived in time for delicious peach bellinis and a pretty breathtaking sunset over City Beach’s shoreline. It was my first of these cocktails and I can see why they’re a popular choice – my weekend brunches here now have a new drink I’ll be ordering when I want a cheeky tipple.
Before long we made our way inside to some high long tables, adorned with fresh flowers. It all just screamed Springtime, and really set the tone for the evening.
To sample the new menu offerings, we were treated to some share starters for us all to devour. First up was the woodside goats curd with spiced balsamic pickled baby vegetables, citrus and candied hazelnuts ($19.00). I love goats curd, so this was a dish that appealed to me straight off the bat – and it didn’t disappoint.
Fresh, creamy and sharp, it was well balanced and seasoned just to my liking. It’s a great salad, and one I think someone could enjoy on their own or as a share plate.
The grilled Torbay asparagus with parmesan, lemon pangrattato and shaved cured egg was a definite treat and showcase of local, seasonal produce. The pangrattato was so crunchy and an ideal accompaniment to the asparagus. I liked the slight char from the grilling, which brought out the vegetable’s natural sweetness. Simple, elegant and well executed. A dish I definitely recommend.
The Tasmanian salmon sashimi with yuzu mayonnaise, pickled ginger, avocado, wakame and soy pearls ($22.00) was a playful interpretation of Japanese cuisine using modern techniques. The fish was extremely fresh in taste, and well enhanced by the tart ginger slivers and the creamy avocado. I liked the soy pearls which were playful and reminded me of the beef carpaccio dish at The Standard, which is one of my favourites.
The standout for the entire evening was the grilled Australian sea scallops in the half shell with truffle cauliflower puree and crisp pancetta (3 for $21.00). I can’t even begin to describe these in a way that will do them justice. Seared lightly so they retained a little translucency in the centre, and caramelisation on the outside, they were delicious! I could have happily gobbled up a whole plate of these in an instant.
When it came time for mains, we had the choice of four different dishes:
- Roasted cauliflower, sumac, fava beans, peas, baba ghanoush ($26.00)
- Torbay asparagus, green pea puree, Prosciutto di Parma, courgette, dill, radish, shaved parmesan salad ($26.00)
- Roasted Tasmanian salmon with coriander, mint, walnuts and hummus ($35.00)
- Kangaroo fillet chargrilled, roasted beets, parsnips, baby carrots, horseradish & mustard relish medium rare ($34.00)
It was a hard choice to make since there’s something I love about all of them. In the end though, I decided on the salmon and since I was sitting next to Bryony from Perth Eats, she chose the kangaroo and we agreed to swap halfway through. Win win.
The salmon was meaty and cooked just how I like it – seared on the outside and blushing pink in the centre. The skin was crispy and well seasoned, the hummus underneath a deft touch. It was fresh and definitely felt like a strong representation of Spring.
The kangaroo was the real star though. The horseradish was so prominent, working well with the gamey meat. I loved the root vegetables which had a little bite to them still, and suited the flavour of the mustard. A real star of a dish, and great to see kangaroo highlighted in such a way that I think more people would consider trying it out.
The new season desserts hadn’t been launched yet so unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try them on that occasion (though Odyssea is pretty close to me so I’ll be back to try them soon) so instead we were treated to an ending with some of the existing winter dishes. First up was the pear with thyme ice-cream followed by a doughnut with chocolate and hazelnuts.
Both were enjoyable and not overly sweet which is a big bonus in my eyes. I don’t like cloying desserts. The chocolate in the doughnut was my personal favourite element, though the thyme ice-cream was pretty impressive too!
All in all it was a great night out, spent with lovely company. I think Odyssea has really stepped up as a dining destination – and with one of the best views in Perth. I’ve been thinking about those scallops ever since my visit… and I’m still impressed! Just the thing to welcome the disappearing wintery days, shorter nights and re-emergence of sunshine.