Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Clarence's Bar, Mount Lawley

Clarence's Bar Mount Lawley reviews; Clarence's Perth reviews
Perth's increasing trend of small bars, each with their own individual charm, reminds me of the bar scene in Melbourne.  Not to say that the big pubs are a thing of the past, but these bars give us a choice (and choice is always great!) for when you're seeking something different, something more intimate, or even something a little more classy.

As one of those modern local bars, Clarence's Bar has for some time made its mark on the vibrant cafe, restaurant and pub strip on Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley.  Clarence's has the basics of a bar with beers on tap, a healthy selection of wine, and groovy music; the workings of a restaurant, restaurant grade food offerings with table service across tables and booths both inside and out the back outdoor area; and a suave atmosphere that merges different elements such as classy black wallpaper, wood grain finishes, the building's original red brick, and dim warm mood lighting at night.

Cider (foreground) and beer (background) served in Clarence's mugs

The menu of Clarence’s is written on one page.  The handful of main courses (of which only one out of five was vegetarian) is complemented by a handful of entrees and side dishes mixed in with about a dozen tapas dishes.  Where the menu shines though is through the selection of drinks including wine – with about a page for each of white and red by the glass and many, many more pages of wine by the bottle sourced from Australia and around the world.  That’s not to say that Clarence’s emphasises wine over all else, with many other drinks available including a bottled and on-tap beer range as well as a back-in-fashion cider range.

Barbecued chermoula spiced squid tentacles, coriander, lime - $13

The squid was cooked till it was still lightly crunchy yet tender and not chewy in the mouth.  Though the squid was seasoned, I felt this dish had too strong a barbecued/charcoal flavour that covered much of the taste.  Squeezing the lime onto the squid helped take some of the charcoal taste away, but overall the flavour was still too overpowering for me.

Pan fried fish of the day, fennel, celeriac, chorizo, orange - $35

I couldn’t have asked for the white fish to be cooked better.  The fish had a crispy skin and was cooked tender and juicy.

The fish was served on a bed of thinly sliced fennel, celeriac, and small bits of chorizo and orange.  The flavours were subtle so as to complement the fish, the sweet and refreshing orange gave a nice sweet tang, and the light texture of the salad with hints of crunch made the fish more enjoyable.

Confit chicken leg, puy lentils, chorizo - $28

The chicken was cooked till the meat nearly effortless tore away from the bone.  This meant that the chicken was tender and not dry.  Being a confit, the chicken was prepared with a fair amount of salt that was infused into the whole piece of chicken.

The skin of the chicken had the texture of roast chicken skin, and in fact the chicken tasted somewhat like a nicely roasted chicken that had been generously seasoned with salt.

Accompanying the chicken, the puy lentils were cooked well, till they were soft and getting close to being mushy.

Sous vide & char grilled lamb leg, herbed yoghurt, harrisa - $65

At $65, this sous vide lamb initially stands out as being expensive.  However it is intended to serve two and came with two sides chosen from their normal sides normal (see below) - so not as expensive as it originally seemed when you take that into account.

The lamb pieces were cooked to varying degrees with most being medium to medium rare, the sous vide helping it retain its juiciness that helped it be very tender.  The lamb was also seasoned with a nice base Moroccan spice flavour that really brought out the lamb.  The only question mark for me was that the lamb has a fair amount of fat in it, which no doubt helped it retain moisture and flavour but leaves one to decide whether to eat it or carve it out.

The harissa added another layer of spice sauce (without being overpowering) to the lamb as well as some colour, and the side sauce of herbed yoghurt completed the taste of the dish.

Apple, walnut, fennel, basil salad - $8

This salad was very enjoyable.

The combination of sweet yet refreshing granny smith apple, candied walnuts, vinegar dressing and basil in this salad created a very nice and balanced "sweet and sour" combination.  The freshness of the salad ingredients with an almost crispness furthered this salad into something light, refreshing and delicious to eat.

Mushroom confit - $6

This mushroom confit was a bowlful of mushrooms cooked in seasoning such that the mushrooms were cooked just right - tender and not overdone, and a light yet distinct butter and herb flavour throughout.

We liked: Though a limited menu and a bar setting, we found the food to generally be excellently cooked; great range of wine with beer and ciders; trendy and classy bar atmosphere.

We didn’t like: Though up to personal preference, it can get a little too dark at night time for a meal.

Other points to note: Make a reservation during normal peak times; if you are vegetarian, your options may be restricted to one main course dish unless you are happy to mix it up with tapas style dishes; cider specials on Sunday, as well as parma Mondays and shank Tuesdays.

566 Beaufort Street
Mount Lawley WA 6050
(08) 9228 9474

Trading Hours
Monday to Thursday - 4pm to late
Friday to Saturday - 12pm to late
Sunday - 12pm to 10pm

Clarence's Bar on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Perth Indonesian Restaurant said...

You have a wonderful picture and nice description.