Must Wine Bar
Perth. I've been blogging about the food in Perth for the past few posts. I wonder if anyone is convinced to visit Perth just for the good food. Its not the first destination Malaysians would choose especially when the allure of bigger cities in Oz is just a Jet Star ticket away. A couple of weeks before we left for Perth, I starting preparing Mikael for the kind of lifestyle to expect in Perth. Words like "quiet", "sedate" and "dull" were repeated regularly. I always think its best to play it down than to hype it up. Its certainly a lot more lively since I left but it is by no means "exciting". Then again, we are not the type who look for excitement in a holiday. The only excitement I want to experience is strictly gastronomical.
Perth used to be so dull and boring, there simply wasn't much to do for a restless teenager. I longed for term to end so that I could fly straight back to KL and party. Well, now that I am no longer a slice of Kraft Singles but a rather fine mature cheddar, Perth wasn't so bad this time round. Something about the clear blue skies and never crowded streets is utterly relaxing. There are actually lots of things to do in Perth. There is a casino, rock climbing, surfing, swimming with the dolphins, surfcatting on the Swan River, breweries and last but no least, the fantastic wineries of Margaret River. The latter probably the number one reason most adults would choose visit Perth (sorry kids, your parents are not really coming to "visit you"). See! So many things to do once you are all grown up! If you don't have time to take a trip to Margaret River, then you must at least visit Must Wine Bar in Mount Lawley (not a real mountain, like Bukit Bintang is not a bukit).
Must Wine Bar is listed as one of the "must" places to visit in Perth. I did not know this of course since I didn't read up on tourist information nor am I a big wine buff. Turns out, Must is on top of the list of my friends' favourite restaurants. I love this place! I love that they have 40 wines you can order by the glass and over 500 wines by the bottle. Now, thats a real wine bar. If you get confused with the seemingly endless wine list, there are sommeliers on hand to guide you to a bottle. Most bottles start from AUD40. One probably would not expect great food at a place that is first and foremost a wine bar. However, you will be pleasantly surprised at this particular wine bar. With a small menu offering a mere smattering of starters (or "bistro menu" as listed) and mains, Must concentrates on making each dish spectacular. Dinner at Must was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. There were quite a few of us that night so I got to try all the dishes and I must say, they were all good.
For starters, we shared their famous chicken liver parfait with grenache jelly and twice-baked porcini mushroom souffle. The parfait arrived with a smooth glossy layer of deep purple jelly on top. Fantastically smooth with just the right amount of brandy and not the slightest hint of musky liver. CW ordered a entree-sized angel hair pasta with blue manna crab, chilli, tomato, basil and fini olive oil so it arrived the same time as out starters. It was superb! I loved the abundance of bruised tomato cubes tossed in the creamy sauce. It tasted a lot like the one from Rialto's but richer. I like the latter but Laura loves the Must version because of the cream.
She ordered the rotisserie spatchcock with rosemary potatoes and golden shallot jus for main course. Now, spatchcock, to you and me, refers to the way the bird has been spilt open and forced into the urdvha upavishta konasana position (certainly not for the stiff jointed! ). Basically you cut it in half and splay the body outwards so it lies flat. However this is not what it means in Australia apparently. Or maybe just in Perth. Or maybe just to the dodos I happened to be having dinner with. I was confused when several people kept saying it was too big to be a spatchcock. Huh? Hey if you really wanted to, you could spatchcock a turkey too! Anyway, the spatchcock chicken was drop-dead gorgeous! I'm so used to not ordering battery farmed chicken in Malaysia that I automatically ignore all chicken dishes on menus. This was tender, moist, aromatic, flavoursome and better than any darned roast chicken I've ever had. The shallot sauce was salty and sweet at the same time, perfect for dousing the roast potatoes in. The other dish worth mentioning was Hunky's Must Pure Pork Sausage with caramelised pork belly, cassoulet beans and red wine jus. It was pure pork indeed and a very fine sausage it was. It was not overwhelmed with herbs nor was it too salty. It was exactly what a homemade sausage would taste like, wholesome and healthy. Although I seriously doubt it was all that healthy. The beans were a nice accompaniment but the pork belly was a tad disappointing. It was very tasty but the texture had turned a little coarse and the skin (the best part!) chewy from the caramelisation.
To end the meal, we ordered a raspberry clafoutis and sticky treacle pudding from the special's board and from the menu, a creme brulee duo - grand marnier and pineapple. The winner was the raspberry clafoutis which was light, tangy and regrettably too small to share with so many people! The sticky treacle pudding was delicious too. Warm and oozing with tenderness, it was like receiving a big warm hug from a long lost friend. Eventhough the creme brulees were very well done, they seemed shallow and boring in comparison to the other two. If I had any room in my stomach left, I would've loved to have tried a selection of their cheese. Oh, I also had the first proper coffee of the trip. Dark roasted and perfectly brewed. Ah, what a perfect meal!
Must Wine Bar, 519 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley. T. 08 9328 8255. Or for more information, click here
Starters from AUD14-23, mains from AUD36 and desserts from AUD14.5