Our main rule for our recommendations is NOT to recommend anywhere we wouldn’t tell a friend to go. The Firewater Grill is a little border-line. So I thought I’d write down our thoughts and let you decide…
We dined with 3 friends. I had a great meal. Chef thought his was okay. Chef Ping Pong thought it was enjoyable and Chef Brownie also thought it was a mixed bag. It really came down to our menu choices. The Duxton had been an old stomping ground for Chef, “Chef Ping Pong” and “Chef Brownie”, around 2005. Back then it was a busy restaurant, bustling with people going to the Perth Concert Hall and also the Cirque Du Soleil when it was in town. They easily sat 190 covers on a busy Friday night. The then Executive Chef, Denis Boulet, ran a very tight ship. The food was great and it had a French Bistro feel about it.
A couple of years after the 3 chefs had left (probably about 2008-ish); West Australian Newspaper Food Editor Rob Broadfield made a memorable and scathing review on The Grill. It got a very poor score indeed. With a new Exec Chef brought change and it had not seemed to be one for the better. Fast forward to 2013 and the old “Grill” had been completely gutted, renovated and re-named. We were all curious to see what it was like – particularly the food.
My, how the restaurant had changed! It had once been a drab, soulless hotel dining room – now it had been completely transformed. Clearly A LOT of money had been spent on the fit–out. They did a brilliant job, it was stunning and the restaurant had only been closed for 6 weeks. We were sat by the friendly waiter at a round-tabled booth. Nice – I love booths. It felt very intimate. So far so good.
- Mango cannelloni, Bug Tails, Avocado, Pickled Onion I really loved this dish. The delicately flavoured bug tails were locally sourced from Broome. Chef tried a bit too and thought it was very tasty.
- Oysters Kilpatrick ($22 half dozen) Chef Brownie said these Australian oysters were very tasty.
– Scallops with “Yuzu Koshu” butter, Ginger Cress Salad ($23) The dish was nice, but chef was a bit underwhelmed – mostly as there was far too much butter sauce.
- Confit of ocean trout, matcha ice cream, salmon caviar ($21) Chef Ping Pong said this was enjoyable, though it was a tad under seasoned. The flavour of the Matcha (green tea) ice cream worked really well and it was a good looking dish.
- Mt Barker baby chicken with braised olive, tomato & capers, sea salted potatoes ($35) This dish was simple and had great flavour. Chef Ping Pong thought the asparagus was undercooked.
-300g Scotch Fillet served with gratin potato, asparagus, herb roasted cherry tomatoes and your choice of sauce with condiment service ($45) The steak was well cooked. The broccolini and asparagus were undercooked. Was good overall.
- Amelia Park lamb cutlets, mint jam, lyonnaise potato ($46) Chef Brownie found the meat to be a let-down, which was a shame, given the cost of this dish. She said the eye was lovely and tender but the rest was fatty grisly and chewy which was very disappointing. She did enjoy the potatoes though.
- Kangaroo loin, fenugreek-pumpkin puree, courgette, rosemary olive jus ($38) I enjoyed this. The kangaroo was tender and cooked medium rare. I really liked the rosemary jus, with the olive aftertaste too. A very tasty dish.
-Traditional crepe suzette ($16) The crepes had good flavours – they didn’t stay on Chef Ping Pong’s plate long! He thought they were really yummy.
-Passionfruit tart with orange Grand Marnier sorbet ($16) The tart was undercooked (still gooey in the middle). The flavour was nice.
-Dessert Tasting Plate ($22) Chef thought this was a very generous size. The components included; Dark chocolate & beetroot tart, Honey creme brulée with honeycomb (not set enough), Raspberry hibiscus ice cream, Rhubarb vanilla cake sauce anglaise –tart.
For the price of the dishes you’d expect something great. If you pay upwards of $40-$45 for a main and don’t get something you enjoy – rightly you would be a bit cheesed-off. We don’t want to be paying for their expensive renovation and the fact they’re on “The Terrace”. We will note that we did use two entertainment cards for our group of five. That gave us $135 discount on the total of the bill. That brought the food and drinks down to about $150 per couple. We were happy to pay that. All in all, we enjoyed our trip down memory lane.
The Positives – Very professional service, beautiful dining room, flashes of something special with the food.
Negatives – consistency of the food vs the high price. We’re happy to pay top dollar and we often do. But if a restaurant charges us $46 for a main then it must be well cooked and be a little special.
The general consensus was that the food was inconsistent, but mostly good. There are so many other places in the city we’d like to dine at. The bar has been raised by many of the new additions to the city dining scene. The Grille’s food was just too hit-and-miss. That’s why we are hesitant on recommending The Firewater Grille.
**The Firewater Grille is in the 2013/4 entertainment book**