Restaurant in Perth
Perth’s best new seafood restaurant is located in a shopping mall.
I knew that this was the case when we arrived at the shiny new Claremont Quarter shopping centre – but it certainly felt unlikely. We parked in the almost empty underground garage and emerged from the escalator among closed high street stores and fashion boutiques. There was nobody around and all was silence. A vibrant Friday night out did not look likely.
But then we rounded the corner and found Beluga – a modern dining room alive with animated chatter and the sound of clinking cutlery. Every space was occupied, from the corner tables filled with raucous groups to the tall tables for two where we took our seats. Here was the end-of-the-week atmosphere we had been looking for.
The menu at Beluga is organized into small plates and larger dishes. Everything on both sides sounded delicious and we began the agonizing process of narrowing down our options, trying to decide between oysters and scallops, pork and lamb. But then our friendly waitress offered us an enticing suggestion – she could simply bring out a selection of small plates designed to complement each other. I love a surprise and so I immediately handed over the menu. My only stipulation? Include the oysters.
This turned out to be a good decision. I have never had such tasty oysters – one breaded and served with salsa, the other natural and topped with a fabulously tasty watermelon granita. I could have eaten a dozen, but there was plenty more to come.
Next up was a plate of scallops with chorizo (a fairly standard combination but with the addition of cauliflower to brighten it up and freshen the flavours) and a trio of succulent Rottnest prawns with a coconut sauce and pickled fennel that we agreed through gritted teeth would have been better served in an even number. We washed these down with a lovely Margaret River Semillon sauvignon blanc selected from a list that featured only just enough WA varieties to cover the major bases – more local wines would be a good addition.
We moved onto the meat dishes next, digging in to lamb cutlets served with Italian slaw (mostly red cabbage) and pork belly served with peas and pear, then finished up with a chocolate tart with cardamom and saffron ice cream and a rum pannacotta. Both were just sweet enough to satisfy the post-dinner sugar craving and light enough not to send us back to our car with a wobble.
We spent the journey home discussing the meal – and barely mentioned the meat. Although tasty enough, Beluga’s meat dishes are no match for their seafood and left little impression on either of us. Perhaps we should have asked for an all-fish selection – this is a seafood restaurant after all, and a very good one too. Just don’t let that shopping centre put you off.
Helen Ochyra is a freelance travel writer and editor based in London
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Need to book||Evenings only|
|Clientele||Young, fashion-conscious locals|
|Restaurant good for||Couples, Meeting up with friends|
|Cost per head||Medium|
Tasting plates range from $8 to $28; larger plates from $25; Desserts from $17. Wine by the glass from $10, bottles from $39, Glass of Prosecco from $17; Beer from $7; Cocktails from $18.
Last updated on 05-08-2013