Every business trip to Perth is exciting for several reasons. Having lived in Perth most of my life there are opportunities to catch up with family and friends. It might be Monday tonight, but some of my closest friends have made the effort to get into Northbridge after work for a quick feed and a couple of beers.
The number of new restaurants and bars popping up in Perth is incredible. I like to walk for many reasons whether at home or away, and one of those reasons is you can come across great places to eat or drink that you may have not noticed driving by. Our visit to The Standard has resulted from previous walks down Roe Street which has changed remarkably since I first started going to Northbridge.
The guys are already in the restaurant when I arrive and embarrassingly, they have asked our waitperson to hold off doing the spiel until their blogging friend arrives. If nothing else, my embarrassment has led to a good rapport, which continues for the night and translates to good service.
The spiel is the usual for these types of modern sharing restaurants. There are tiny plates, small plates, and large plates, that are all designed to share. With five blokes the all important guide is how much to order. We follow the suggestion to order four of the small dishes and three of the large.
First comes the “beef carpaccio, harissa, pedro ximenez” which is pretty. Presented differently to the tradition, the beef is tender and subtle, combining well with the other ingredients and providing a promising start. Next comes the “broccolini, hazelnut, shallot, cranberry” which is a good fresh dish, but we probably should have asked for it to come towards the end with the larger dishes.
The mushroom doughnuts provide the most conjecture for the night. Some are a bit turned off by the sweetness, and inconsistency in the amount of mushrooms offered. Personally, I think it is an interesting take, the doughnuts well constructed with the mushroom filling, the paprika sugar sweet, but not overly sweet, and the lemon and chive curd enhancing the taste and texture. However, while I enjoyed one try, I wouldn’t order the dish again. I think on this one experience it was three for, two against.
Our last small dish, the free range BBQ chicken wings, again have sweetness from the marinade. They are nice, but nothing special, and I find the Granny Smith apple component is a bit lost. After a short break we are on to our three larger dishes. To begin, the chicken grill with rice noodle, peanuts, herbs, and nuoc cham, is an excellent combination. Jason particularly liked the Vietnamese flavours and for most it was one of the better dishes. I thought the rice noodle was expertly prepared for a restaurant that doesn’t specialise in any one type of cuisine.
The two meatier dishes were hit and miss. The beef brisket was tender and had a good amount of meaty richness. The toasted brioche was a bit hard and plain, but the other accompaniments such as the buttered cabbage, were perfect to break through some of the richness. On the other hand, the glazed pork cheek and crisp jowl with a salad of broad beans and brussel sprouts, could be improved. A few more brussel sprouts (whole as the leaves provided little) would be good, and the pork cheek probably needed the injection of more flavour and cooking.
The amount of food was generous and most of us didn’t even think twice about dessert. With a good beer selection there was a better alternative to finish with. Around the table most of the group would definitely come back, and the personable service helped on that score.
While it is important to carefully order at The Standard, it is a comfortable place to eat. I can imagine the outdoor area in the back is pumping in summer, and the option to have a nibble while drinking, or enjoy a more substantial meal, seems to be equally attractive.