Shop 10/93-95 William Street (Corner William + Hay Streets)
Tel: 08 9322 2424
Open: Monday 7am to 3pm, Tuesday to Friday 7am to late, Saturday 6pm to late, Sunday closed
It was a Tuesday night when my family ventured in to the Perth CBD to celebrate my brother’s 29th birthday. Choosing a restaurant was left up to me and, once perusing the Entertainment Book (my Dad is reluctant to dine out full price) I decided on The Quarter as it has been residing on my wish list since its opening not too long ago.
The restaurant is situated behind the Wesley church on the corner of William and Hay Streets, forming part of the newly revamped ‘Wesley Quarter’.
We rolled into the restaurant in festive spirits and were shown to our ‘booth’ which, whilst very comfortable and stylish, was situated at the rear of the restaurant near the kitchen and bar. Not the most ideal of placements but, if it had been a full house it would have been much worse. The addition of a funky candle centrepiece was a nice mood-enhancing touch.
For a Tuesday night the restaurant was moderately busy, warming the cockles of my heart that a Perth CBD restaurant could be doing decent trade on a week night. Times they are perhaps a-changing!
The interior of The Quarter is sleek, modern and seductively stylish, reflecting the style of the food on offer and your general dining experience. The restaurant has no view to speak of, but does have a pleasant enough alfresco area.
We all opted to order pre-dinner drinks which were taken without delay by our French waitress. My Dad’s girlfriend and I ordered a glass of Bollinger ($twenty-ish dollars a glass – forgot to make note) which was unfortunately served flat. This was not picked up at pouring (I would have thought the lack of bubbles would have given it away). However when I brought this to their attention they were very apologetic and replaced the glass with a fresh one immediately.
Our entree, main and wine orders were taken quickly and we were left to sit back and enjoy each other’s company.
The wine list is interesting and varied, however if you’re not looking to spend much on booze, this may not be the establishment for you. The cheapest bottles were hovering around the $45 mark and jumped significantly from there.
As we were waiting for our food, an amuse bouche of Black Pudding Croquettes was presented to our table. The croquettes were piping hot and rich, but the flavour was a bit too intense for my liking, however the rest of the table enjoyed them.
On the subject of croquettes, I ordered the Crab and Sweet Potato Croquettes ($19) to start. These four plump fried delights were served laying on a bed of spinach topped complimented by a moreish sauce and micro-greens. They were hot, fresh and contained a pleasing amount of sweet crab meat.
Unfortunately my hunger rendered me slightly catatonic and I forgot to photograph any of the entrees. A schoolboy error indeed!
The time between entree and main went by unnoticed. Each of our mains was placed correctly in front of the corresponding diner (a pet hate of mine is when the wrong dish is placed in front of you, or even worse the waiter asks ‘who ordered xyz?’).
I ordered the FOD which consisted of a Red Emperor fillet complimented by three prawn and lemongrass dumplings served atop asian greens, swimming in a light broth. My piece of Red Emperor was large, cooked impeccably, and was happily falling apart as my fork touched it – the way it should be. The dumplings added a pungent flavour kick with the lemongrass and prawn flesh, whilst the broth was a refreshing way to end the dish (they provided a soup spoon so you could finish every last drop of the sweet liquid).
My Dad and his girlfriend both ordered the Lamb Assiette (lamb rack, slow cooked shoulder, shepherds pie, spinach purée, roasted garlic, white wine & rosemary jus @ $39). My Dad’s GF announced that the lamb shoulder portion of the meal to be the best meat she had ever (yes, ever!) tasted. Word!
My brother’s adequately portioned sirloin (Black Angus sirloin, mushroom and thyme salardaise, onion purée,cafe de paris butter, port jus @ $42) was cooked to his liking (medium well gah!), which he was immensely pleased with.
Overall each of the mains were executed well without complaints, were well timed showing a good level of skill both in cooking technique and presentation.
The side of potatoes was probably the low-light of the mains round. Three steamed baby potatoes with some kind of herb butter for $8.50 was, to me, a bit of a piss take. Even though they were well cooked, there were still just three lonely baby potatoes on a plate with some butter. It’s rare that a potato lets me down, it was a dark day indeed.
Ahh by this point we had hit a deeply merry level of celebratory inebriation and when offered the dessert menu by our friendly waitress, decided that ordering dessert was a must, if only to give us something to do as we polished off yet another bottle of wine.
The Quarter really had me up until this point, it really did. But come dessert, and not one of us were impressed, we were more underwhelmed (and given our level of said inebriation we were pretty easy to please by this point). The desserts were all pre-prepared (as mosts desserts are) but were just plonked on a plate without any attention paid to the visual presentation (see below). The words ‘after thought’ were bandied about.
My chocolate tart (Valrhona chocolate tart, passionfruit cream @ $14)would have been a lot nicer had it not been straight out of the fridge, and both myself and my Dad who partook in the tart, declared that the passionfruit cream on the side was acerbic and detracted from the dish.
My brother’s Strawberry champagne jelly, vanilla bavarois ($13) was pleasant yet forgettable, also looking a little lost on the plate.
By this point we were the lone diners in the restaurant and, even though we weren’t hurried out, we’d run out of wine and decided to call it a night. My head the next day is particularly glad that we left when we did.
The ambience of the restaurant is upmarket, modern and stylish. The service is polished and mostly attentive without being intrusive.
The food is ‘modern Australian’ – it is fresh, flavourful and presented well, however the desserts are obviously an afterthought and unfortunately drag down an otherwise wonderful culinary experience.
I noticed that there are some lunchtime specials which would appeal to the business clientele which looked to be good value.
It’s great to see more of these calibre of restaurants opening up in the Perth CBD giving those who appreciate good food more options, particularly when wanting to dine on a week night, and I’m sure this won’t be my only visit to The Quarter.
Food: 8.5/10 (desserts were a huge let down)
Service: 9/10 (the flat Champagne went by unnoticed, and the French waitress (although lovely) had trouble understanding us and we had to point to items on the menu)
Ambience: 9/10 (beautiful interior, comfortable booths however make sure you’re not seated near the toilet/kitchen (noisy and too much traffic!)
Final Score: 9/10