Well, its been a while since my last Townaround blog. I haven’t stopped eating out but have simply been casting the net a bit further so to speak. What with COVID and not being able to travel abroad, Lisa and I have been traveling up to Perth a fair bit, as well as a fantastic week away in Queensland. Anyway, I am very keen to tell you about my latest dining experience. Secreted away in the corner of Guppy Park, there has been a few name changes over the years from Danny’s to Ocharettis, (I have probably spelt that wrong). Now it is under the new guise of The Side Door. Our friends suggested it for dinner….I am glad they did!
We arrived for a seven o’clock booking on a Friday night. The place was busy but not completely packed which was good. We were shown to our table and allowed to peruse the drinks menu. There was a good choice including some Beer Farm options. There certainly was some thought gone into the beers on offer. Everything from Guinness, Kilkenny’s as well some Australian favorites and some exotic brews. My friend and I both opted for the Beer Farm IPA to get us started, Lisa went for some Lemon lime bitters and my friend’s wife chose a cheeky SBS.
Drinks were served straight away. As well as the menu there was also some specials which were explained to us by a member of the staff. After much deliberation, we were ready to order. We were all keen for an entrée. I ordered Seared Scallops. These were o
ut of this world, instantly it became clear that the chef new what he was doing! (I knew he was a guy as he came and introduced himself, just in case you thought I was assuming he was a guy), The Scallops were served in the shells. A delicious smooth cauliflower puree provided a heavenly futon for the scallops to relax on. A deep golden char allowed these cheeky rascals to be sweet and well behaved! Prosciutto was a masterstroke of salty goodness. Timing is everything and they were spot on! Five seconds either way would have sunk the dream. Great to see them served without the coral too…relegate that stuff to a fish stock where it belongs!
My friends went for the Field Mushroom. Again, they know what they are doing. The Polenta was flavorsome and kept its shape for the mushroom and blue cheese sauce to get acquainted. A piquant dish.
My wife and her friend shared the House Bread Plate. Creamy hummus, some good slabs of bread both dark and light, Dukkah, olives, and balsamic. Well executed soul food…not much more to say about it.
Entrees finished and some wine ordered for the main event, we were all excited for the next courses.
On special was a Venison dish. I absolutely love this meat. Obviously, there was the usual banter from my mate. “I won’t order it…It’s too deer!” was his comic exchange which caught me off guard! Once I gathered myself, my reply was “nah…it’s only a buck!” Oh, the hilarity. Needless to say, I ordered the dish. It was served with a sweet potato puree and a raison slaw. The meat was cooked medium rare. It is a brave chef that serves a puree with meat that is cooked rare, but it was that well rested there was not a drop of blood to be seen. There is nothing worse than blood leeching into the other elements on your plate. Top points for this! The puree added the sweetness the game needed; the slaw was maybe a bit of a sweetness overload but did not take away the venison’s hero status.
Our dining partners opted for the Beef Cheeks. So delicate that they fell apart like an unstable Jenga tower as soon as you looked at them. They didn’t just melt in the mouth, they disintegrated they were that well-cooked. Served with potato gratin and vegetables, this was a real winter warmer.
Lisa chose Snapper. Once again, the chef showed his skills off in all their glory. The fish was so fresh I swear I saw it blowing bubbles in the silky risotto it was served with. Seasonal steamed veg was the perfect accompaniment.
OK, in the spirit of openness and honesty, I do have to mention the one slight oversight of the night. We had all ordered desserts and for some reason, only one was brought to the table. Not sure how the mix up happened, but needless to say, apologies were offered, and the staff were genuinely upset at the faux pas. The good news for me is that the one desert that did turn up was the one I ordered! How’s your luck. I ordered Affogato with Liqueur. I had this dessert for the first time in Queensland a few weeks ago and am now a fan. A generous scoop of vanilla ice cream served with a shot of both strong coffee and Frangelico. Pour the liquids over the ice-cream and you a have made yourself something close to heaven! The ice-cream slowly melts and what starts out as a dessert turns into a divine cocktail. I thoroughly recommend this dish.
With three courses – for some of us anyway - consumed, it was clear that The Side Door was an above average establishment. Service was prompt, and all the staff were attentive and genuinely cared about our dining experience. The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere with an unhurried pace. The kitchen is in clear view which I am a big fan of. All dishes were explained well, and the front of house staff all had a good knowledge of what they were serving. COVID rules were in place with SAFEWA available, plenty of hand sanitizer and social distancing in place.
We were all offered a shot of liquor from St Aiden winery to make up for the lost desserts, a great way to finish the night.
In summary, the menu is well thought out with something for everyone. The drinks list is comprehensive. The wine list is impressive to say the least with most of the choice firmly rooted in WA, which is great to see, not just Margaret River either. I love seeing the lesser-known wine regions of Western Australian being showcased by our restaurants.
The Side Door…More out front than to the side in my opinion!