Happy Anniversary to us! Four wonderful years of marriage and we celebrated by going to a restaurant that has been on my list for some time, Co-Op Dining in East Perth. It has an excellent reputation serving only degustation using locally sourced organic and biodynamic produce; 5 courses for $99 or 10 courses for $125. Matching wines available for $55 and $75 per person respectively.
It is rated One Star and in Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide 2014 and 2015 in Australia’s Top 100 restaurants.
Restauranteurs Kiren and Kelli Mainwaring make a formidable team. Kiren is head chef and his lovely wife Kelli is front of house.
Firstly, when I booked the 5-course degustation online, I was prompted to include dietary requirements. The website clearly states that the chef is happy to adjust the menu to accommodate. Okay, then, I requested paleo, specifically no grains and no / very little sugar. I was telephoned the morning of our booking to confirm. Then telephoned again to check if we ate fruit and dairy. I said that fruit and dairy were ok (while I’m limiting dairy, I haven’t cut it from my diet completely). Nice of them to check.
Walking in, the restaurant fit out was understated, elegant yet not ‘showy’, with muted shades of chocolate brown and dark wood tables and bar. What I really liked was how the tables were positioned. We weren’t in the direct line of sight any other diners, which made our experience feel more intimate. There was none of this looking up and awkwardly having to avoid eye contact with someone directly in front of you. Top marks.
We were offered water and an aperitif immediately upon being seated. Again, top marks. The waiter explained that the menu is designed daily with what organic and sustainable produce the kitchen can source that day. Our menu would be grain free with very limited sugar and that chef likes to surprise diners by not printing a menu. Instead of bread, we were brought olives – lovely with my West Winds Gin and tonic.
Rather than opting for matching wines, we chose a bottle instead from the well appointed wine list. With many Western Australian wines, Australian wines and some international wines featured, we opted for a 2012 Picardy Pinot Noir from Pemberton ($85). It was light as Pinot Noirs are, but slightly spicy, a little peppery with sweet notes of fruit. The finish was smooth. It was delicious and a wine I shall look out from here on.
Of the five courses, well, actually, we had seven courses – we were added a cheese course for $14 and given a little bonus at the end – each and every course was a pleasure to eat.
1. Mixed olives (instead of bread – doesn’t count as a course)
- House Charcuterie board: freshly grilled pork chorizo; pork coppa; beef bresaola (split course with From the Sea below)
From the Sea: sardine rollmops; crisp Barramundi fish skin, sauce gribiche and Barramundi cheek, pea powder; lightly fried sardine bones, fish floss and bottarga emulsion (split course with charcuterie above)
Fresh Buttermilk curd, kimchi puree, grapes and blueberries, crisp chicken skin
Slow cooked egg yolk, smoked mash potato with, garlic chips, hazelnut
Slowly braised shoulder of Macabee Dorper Hogget, fried Gosht spice shallots, probiotic coconut yoghurt
Kefir-fermented double Jersey cream, roasted apricots & peach, pistachio
Aerated dark chocolate, smoked butter popcorn with honey (a special treat from the chef – doesn’t count as a course)
The charcuterie board of chorizo, pork coppa and beef bresaola, all made in house, were morsels of deliciousness. I only wish there was more as one slice each was almost a tease.
The fish course that was next included sardine rollmops, crisp fish skin topped with fillet of fish and on the side, crisp fried sardine skeleton with aioli and bottarga. YUM.
Fried chicken skin was tasty and the fresh curd was like a mild soft cheese. The smoked mash with slow cooked egg – now I’m drooling again – was divine. Toasty hazelnuts and garlic chips added texture and depth. The oozy silky egg was wonderful.
I’m not a huge curry fan, never have been. But this curry was delicate with soft flavours that didn’t’ smack me in the face – and I liked that. It was hearty and meat beautifully tender.
We had the extra cheese course – I’m sorry, by then the wine was taking effect and I was too busy enjoying myself. We gobbled it up before I could take a photo of it.
Dessert was fresh yoghurt with carmelised nectarines and pistachio crumbs. Delicious and fresh and not too sweet.
Our bill came to $345. It’s not a cheap night out. But it is a good night out with great quality food. If I was go to back, I’d probably opt for the 10 course menu – seems better value for an extra $25 each. Zorba said he was still hungry afterwards and I could have eaten a few more courses too.
9/10 – wonderful dishes made with exceptional quality ingredients. The service was attentive and friendly without being obtrusive. Chef catered to our dietary requirements and every course was a pleasure to eat. Only with there was more of everything.
2/11 Regal Place, East Perth
Tel: 08 9221 0404