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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bites: Fine Dining @ 1907, Perth.

You know you are onto something special when you are greeted by a charming smile.  The movement from door to table was uninterrupted, courteous and classy.  Paired with a clever interior formed between a mix of classic and modern touches made it remarkable.  Especially the quirky re-interpretation of a unicorn by the entrance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter quickly deciding on the prestige degustation, the ladies settled for the lemon meringue cocktail, a concoction of liquor topped with a generous amount of meringue.  Simply phenomenal.  The meringue was to die for.  The same though, cannot be said about the liquor which I abstain from as always:P!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen came the assortment of bread.  It had a good mix of fruit bread, herbed ones as well as some with cheese.  Over all, the choices were interesting but I cannot help but feel that the bread were not treated with enough love.  It was as if the assortment of breads were left out for a little too long.  I would have loved them to be warm instead.  

Next came the Amuse Bouche, three selection of vegetables from 1907’s very own farm in Toodyay along with a spiced popcorn.  I did not quite buy the concept.  Bloody Mary Jelly with Celery came tops but it was barely impressive, Ginger Glazed Carrots where rather ordinary and the Turnip had a bitter aftertaste, all of which did not live up to my expectations.  Alas, it was the trusty popcorn that packed the most kick.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then came the first course of thinly sliced venison Carpaccio.  After weeks away from Perth, I finally got my first slice of heaven.  It was just perfection on a plate.  The preparation of the veal was simply exquisite and the combination was sensational.  The layers of flavors from the biscuit, wine fermented cheese and condiments made every bit of this course enjoyable.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVenison; Margaret River venison Carpaccio, tonka bean mayo, pickled walnuts, fromajo cioc al vino rosso.

The next course was a small meal of marron.  WA’s signature protein when cooked right has an unparalleled sweetness.  In the hands of 1907, it was another dish done well.  The combination from start to end was spot on.  I approached a small piece of marron with the pea emulsion topped with caviar. After polishing the marron, I progressed to the fennel apple salad topped with a battered bone marrow.  Simply wow! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarron; Manjimup marron, fennel apple & lemon salad, pea emulsion.

A meal of spatchcock arrived next.  Prepared three ways when most cannot even prepare it right in one way, 1907 was definitely out to impress.  The flavours of the sous vide was only average at best but I loved the balanced tones of the drumettes glazed with a mild mixture of soy as well as the sausage that was very well seasoned.  A steamed bun stuffed with what seemed like a parfait sealed the deal.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpatchcock; Sous vide breast, glazed drumettes, sausage, steamed bun 

The Entremet, or a course in between courses prepared us for the mains.   As the smoked poured out of the glass it reveal a juicy scallop, minute seared on a bed of what I perceive as curried lentils.  I loved the scallop but the textures of lentils did not pair well for me.  I wanted something more subtle in texture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAScallops; Minute seared scallops, curried lentils.

The 4th course was another product from the sea.  As impressed as I was with the preparation of the seared scallops and marron earlier, I was not blown away by the fish.  It was overcooked, dry on the edges with it's flesh feeling a little too firm for my liking. Brioche crisp was ok and I did not like the anchovy one single bit. This for me, was not a winner.  The flavor as a whole was very clean and did not really appeal to me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFish; Fish of the day, baby vegetables, black olive, white anchovy, brioche crisp, marron bisque.

There have been several beef dishes that have wow-ed me beyond words during my eating career.  Some were fine dining, and one was at random county inn from the South West region. The preparation of the beef at 1907 was good but fell short of spectacular.  The tenderloin despite being cooked to perfection, was missing something.  I wanted more.  Maybe a good sauce like a red wine reduction paired with a seared slice of foie gras.  I needed to be elevated once more.  Bring on the French, bring on the modern.  While the cooking was hard to fault with a perfectly medium-rare tenderloin and a fall-off-the-bone braised rib, it needed more.  I wanted the peppers to blistered to bring out the sweetness more.  Perhaps too demanding haha.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Beef; Cape Grim beef tenderloin, braised ribs, Brussels sprouts, coriander and pepper salad.

After a palate cleanser of champagne butter and strawberries, our dessert came.  It was any chocolate lovers heaven.  On the plate, 4 different chocolates came to marry.  Decadent, creamy, and rich. Sadly,its downfall here was an over-pressed tart base which hindered an otherwise perfect tart.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1907 Chocolate plate; Cherry & milk chocolate tart, dark chocolate glaze, blond chocolate custard, white chocolate, cherry ripple ice-cream.

Then came a large cheese platter to share.  Amazingly, fish man and xl stood up to the challenge of having 6 different cheeses to end the night.  There were so many I cannot even name them all.  But the cheese coming from France, Spain, Australia and the UK made this course a memorable one.  From the full-bodied blue cheese to the stinky half ripen goat milk’s cheese till the mellow red wine matured one, every bite was a journey to remember.  A happy one.  Délicieux.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



The night ended with petit fours and drinks.  A pleasant meringue and a chocolate slice topped with crystallized violet. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just as we left, we were handed a little surprise from the restaurant.  A bag of goodies for tomorrow.  2 bread, chocolate truffles, a muffin and a breakfast muesli.  How courteous!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1907 that night stood as a restaurant worthy of the title "one of Perth’s best" in the fine dining scene.  The food, a combination of modern Australian and French was fulfilling with a bit of hit and miss but mainly perfection.  Its Pledge was poor but the Turn was every bit spectacular.  The marron, and the venison were clear winners that night.  It had technique, balance and complexity. Such is the requirements for dining at this level.  If your expectation is molecular gastronomy, I would clearly steer clear of 1907 as the food today fell in the region of being more traditional rather than pushing the boundaries of the conventional.  Service was every bit courteous and to have a wait crew as knowledgeable as the chef made the evening complexities a smooth journey. 



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