Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Cabbage, South Perth

It has been a little while since the inaugural 2011 The West Australian Good Food Guide was released and I’m sure many of us have read it or even have our own views on the published ratings.  Personally, I bought the book on release and had a bit of a perusal and largely a lot of the ratings seemed consistent with my thoughts.

Going through the list of restaurants awarded one or two stars, a restaurant I had been putting off due to mixed comments from friends is Red Cabbage.  For those of you who don’t know, Red Cabbage was awarded two stars in the Good Food Guide.  I figured it was about time to bite the bullet and see for myself which side of my fence it sat on.

Heading into Red Cabbage, the restaurant décor was modern and classy.  The restaurant is dimly lit to create a mood, and the service is attentive and friendly.  The only minor issue is that whilst the restaurant has a view with balcony, the view is mainly overlooking an intersection – not really worth complaining about but just a little unfortunate for a fine dining restaurant.

View from Red Cabbage

Moving onto the food, Red Cabbage describes their cuisine as British with Australian influences.  Looking through the menu, the British food wasn’t just roast beef, fish and chips, or bangers and mash.  This was modern British, with Australian and other international influences meshed into modern cuisine.

On the drinks side of things, Red Cabbage serves everything from local and imported beer, wine, spirits and cocktail.  The emphasis of the wines is on Australian wineries with many boutique and less common brands featuring in the modest list.  However, for those of you looking for something less close to home, a small selection of international wines from Europe is also available by the bottle or glass.

Homemade bread with apple balsamic and olive oil - $5 (on the right: Amuse Bouche of Gazpacho)

The homemade bread was a round, smooth, bun shaped single serving of bread that was served warm.  The bread's texture was smooth and light but dense, and the taste was slightly sweet.  The apple balsamic and olive oil tasted great with it, with the apple balsamic having a slight sweetness that added to the bread's own sweet taste.

Margaret River venison, puy lentils, potato gnocchi, venison pastrami, shallot - $38

The tender pieces of venison were medium rare and delicious with the jus.  The potato gnocchi were well made, nicely formed, consistent and smooth without being floury, and pan fried finished – my only gripe was there wasn’t enough of them but then again this was not a gnocchi dish.

The remaining ingredients including the puy lentils and venison pastrami contributed to the overall taste of the dish rather than standing out and drawing too much away from the dish.

King snapper and spicy pork lasagne, king prawns, chilli caramel - $37

Lasagne these days is often not really just lasagne.  There seems to be a growing number of varieties as the Italian lasagne recipes meet modern day trends, techniques and fusion ingredients.  Take squid ink for example – squid ink has been used in pasta and noodles to colour pasta a more striking black colour.  I'm all for innovation and challenging traditional ways of doing things.

The lasagne was a black lasagne of king snapper and spicy pork – the king snapper being cooked right and the spicy pork along with the chilli caramel adding a bit of a bite to the dish but not excessively so to make this a “hot”dish.

The king prawns were deshelled with heads and tails intact and also cooked with a spicy flavour.  The chilli caramel, as expected, had both tastes of spicy chilli and sweet caramel infused giving this dish quite a distinct taste.

Chocolate decadance, white chocolate tortellini, mulled wine - $16

I was warned that the reason why mulled wine is served with this dessert is to mull the heavy and sweet chocolate flavours.  However, I think I'm pretty resilient to chocolate.

The chocolate dessert consisted of a chocolate shortcrust-like base, topped with the main component of the dessert – a type of chocolate mousse, and topped with chocolate ganache.  The chocolate dessert was then garnished with a white chocolate tortellini and on a separate dish was the port glass sized mulled wine.

The chocolate dessert was indeed decadent.  Even though, apart from the tortellini, the dessert didn’t seem to be anything surprising or out of the ordinary it was good for what it was.  The base was solid, didn’t crumble and yet easy to cut through, the mousse a good consistency and texture, and the ganache topping the dessert making it a rich chocolate dessert without going overboard.

The tortellini added a nice touch to the overall look of the otherwise simple looking dessert.  The tortellini itself was a biscuit-like tortellini with what seemed like a white chocolate cream.

To finish this dessert off, the mulled wine was warm and slightly sweet.  Sipping this between and at the end of the chocolate dessert did its intended purpose in a welcome way, washing away the strong chocolate tastes and reducing the sweetness that stayed on my tastebuds.

Chocolate profiteroles with coffee parfait - $15

This dessert was presented with a unique layout.  The centrepiece was a tall cone of coffee parfait, and was surrounded by three chocolate filled profiteroles and three more small dollops of chocolate garnished with mint.

The profiteroles, though made well, tasted a bit ordinary to me and the addition of a mild chocolate creamy centre added to it but didn’t blow me away.  I guess as described, they really were chocolate profiteroles so we got what we ordered.  The coffee parfait was a nice smooth parfait that was mildly coffee flavoured and also mild on the sugar which was quite satisfying.

In summary, Red Cabbage does deserve to sit in the fine dining category of Perth’s restaurants.  Even though it isn’t the most innovative around town, the food was of high quality, modern and had well matched flavours.

Points to note:  Red Cabbage is an excellent fine dining restaurant serving “top notch British food at its best, with obvious Australian influences”.  It’s recommended to book this restaurant in advance, especially for peak nights such as Saturday.

Go for: One of Perth’s better non-degustation fine dining restaurants serving British food which is modern.

Red Cabbage
49/15 Labouchere Rd
South Perth WA 6151
(08) 9367 5744

Trading Hours
Lunch - Wednesday to Friday
Dinner - Tuesday to Saturday

Red Cabbage on Urbanspoon


Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

I can't say any of these dishes seem at all British to me? Having said that, I would love to try that lasagne - if spicy pork and seafood were on the menu I'd find it difficult to choose between them so I'm very drawn to a dish that combines the two!

Adrian (The Editor) said...

Yeah, it's "modern British" they say which could be a British chef cooking what he wants (Gordon Ramsay? Jamie Oliver?).

I actually want to try and make a lasagne like that but will probably go for a seafood lasagne separate to a pork one. I need to work out how to incorporate pork crackling into lasagne...

bellelelephant. said...

fantastic photos!

Adrian (The Editor) said...

Thanks bellelephant!