Tel: 08 9389 5517
26 Stirling Highway, Nedlands
Open: Tues – Sat from 5pm
When a culinary fad hits Perth, it hits Perth hard. Such is the case with gourmet burger bars, and in an even broader sense, the Spanish style of eating: tapas.
Many a restaurant across Perth are now offering a tapas menu in some form or another, but the veritable Spanish tapas establishments are few and far between. A small serving of food does not a tapas make (are you listening Perth restaurants?!?!).
So when I had the opportunity to dine at Pata Negra, a restaurant having asserted itself at the forefront of tapas and Spanish-inspired dining in Perth, I was keen to experience something a little more authentic.
The Engineering Man of Mystery (TEMOM) and I arrived for our 8.30pm sitting and were seated immediately. The restaurant offers two sittings of either 6.00pm/6.30pm and 8.30pm. Now, ‘sittings’ are a huge bugbear of mine, but my excitement at finally being taken to Pata Negra outweighed my annoyance and I gave in.
The scene before me, on entry to the unassuming restaurant in Nedlands was buzzing in a way I haven’t encountered in a Perth restaurant before. The room seemed filled to bursting with stylish and funky patrons enjoying a raucous Saturday night feast with copious amounts of booze fueling the already spirited vibe.
The interior is stylishly fitted out in a shabby-chic style with an assortment of padded chairs, black slick tables, and leather banquettes along the wall complete with funky cushions. The large tiled bar near the entrance engages you visually on arrival, and by the time you walk past the semi-open kitchen, and the glass meat-cabinet, you’re pulse rate begins to quicken in anticipation of what is to come.
**I apologise for the pathetic quality of the photos in this review… the people next to me were getting annoyed with my flash going off so I either didn’t take a photo, or had to do it quickly on the sly. That being said, I really need a new camera – any suggestions?**
Once seated we were offered an aperitif and TEMOM and I both ordered a glass of the Pere Ventura Tresor Brut Rose cava ($16p/glass) from, what I’m told, is a brand new winelist. I’m not a well-known cava drinker, but the rose was fruity yet dry and offered a perfect way to kick-off our night.
The wine list is lengthy and Spanish driven, which is to be expected, and I actually enjoyed being forced to leap out of my comfort zone and try a variety of Spanish wines (by the glass). The tempranillo was a particular favourite of mine.
As we waited for our drinks we perused the menu in great detail. At Pata Negra, when it comes to your dining experience, you are in charge of how you’d like your dining experience to play out. Maybe you’d like to graze through the tapas menu only, maybe you’d like to have a few nibblies and then order a main each, or maybe you’d like to share a few tapas to start and also share some mains? Either way, regardess of how you like to dine out, there’s a way to make it fit your whim.
TEMOM and I decided just to work our way through as much of the menu as we could until we were full. And so it began.
In no particular order, the following is what we gorged ourselves on that evening:
Ortiz, sourdough, piquillo pepper salsa ($6.50)
Marron, kingfish fritters ($9.00)
Rendondo Inglesias Serrano 40g ($18.00)
Rotto scallops, white bean puree, sofrito ($15.00)
Wood roasted prawn, russian salad x 2 ($8.00 each)
Wood roasted portobello mushrooms, confit garlic, thyme, manchego ($16.50)
Eggplant, pumpkin, chickpea tagine, sweet green chili yoghurt
Portugese custard tart ($6.50)
Doughnut, px and raisin ice-cream ($9.50)
Every dish was served speedily, coming out in a staggered procession as the tables can only cope with 2-3 dishes at one time. The food was visually pleasing, with the majority being skillfully executed. The standout dishes were the ortiz anchovy on sourdough (this was a simple dish but packed full of flavours, each one perfectly complimenting the other) and the tagine (for those meat-eaters out there – this dish was so robust and rich that it didn’t even register that it was a vegetarian dish) which was a substantial dish yet so seductive that we pushed our way through and polished it off).
The lowlights, of which there weren’t many, were the fritters (tasted too much of dill), and the doughnuts (these were frustratingly bland although the substantial side-serve of ice-cream almost won us back over). All in all, there weren’t many wrong turns, and even the low-lights weren’t of a grand scale.
Service-wise we were seen to by quite a few of the funkily plaid-clad waitstaff. Usually I prefer it if one waitperson is dedicated to our table or section, but seeing as service was prompt, in this case I can only assume that whatever system they are using, it is working.
Pata Negra is all about the food, the wine, and the company. It is comfortably trendy, but it can be a raucously loud experience, so if you’re on a date or wanting to have a meaningful conversation may I suggest you book a table out in the more chilled-out and pretty courtyard.
The food we had was solid, served in a timely fashion, interesting, robustly flavoured and fresh fresh fresh, although it didn’t quite hit the mind-blowing heights we were anticipating (maybe our expectations were too high?).
Service was efficient but a little cool at times (perhaps as a result of being served by multiple waitstaff ).
Price-wise Pata Negra is at the upper end of the scale, although it won’t see you blowing us much of your weekly pay-packet as David Coomer’s other restaurant, Star Anise, but because of the flexibility of the menu you are somewhat in control of how much you’d like to spend. All up our night cost just over $200 total for two people including wine and we felt that we received value for money.