Diving up the bush lined driveway to The Leopard Lodge, in Perth’s northern suburbs, we could have easily been in an African game reserve. It feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere. We’re 20 minutes’ drive from Joondalup – the African themed lodge is just off Wanneroo Road near to the old Dizzy Lamb Park (from the 1980’s).
The north of Perth is full of ex-pat poms (my parents are pommie so I can say that!). There’s also a lot of South African ex pats in the outer northern suburbs – I know this is a favourite dining spot for a lot of them. Somewhere they can have a Castle Larger, Savanah Dry Cider or even a Pineapple Fanta! We have a few South African friends and it would seem the Leopard Lodge is a haunt of theirs. It’s a steakhouse in the same vein as Hippo Creek.
We step into the dining room, styled like a hunters lodge and see several of our friends at a long table; a few of them had been here before and enjoyed the steaks. The ceiling is tented and there is wildlife everywhere – stuffed of course! I have an impala or springbok (I’m not sure!) looking right down at me, from up in the rafters. The friendly waiter, who enjoys a bit of banter, takes our orders. For entrée we have;
Boerewors ($14) – an African sausage, cut and served with sauce. It was ok, but kindof tasted to me like a regular beef sausage! I wasn’t blown away.=
Escargot (Garlic Snails) – Mrs H was ever so kind to let me try a snail! I actually really enjoyed it. Though I may have been telling myself I was eating a little garlic button mushroom!
The menu was pretty typical of a steakhouse. It is made up mainly of meat of varying cuts and weights; all with a choice of sauces, veg and potatoes. You can make your own combo. There are also vegetarian options and some traditional African dishes like Bobotie, Durban Curry and Zulu Ox Tail Potjie for those that are more adventurous or wanting a taste of home.
Chef and I both had Steaks, since it’s what Leopard Lodge is all about. They were cooked just how we liked and very tasty. The meat is sourced from Harvey. I had a 250g scotchie ($37), with a Monkey Gland (BBQ) sauce. The chips were excellent too. The veg could have done with another 10 minutes in the oven – the roast veggies were a little firm and undercooked. Other than that I enjoyed it.
There is a good wine and beer list – with lots of African options. There’s also quite a range of African spirits I’ve never heard of (Klipdrift brandy, Van Der Hum Tangerine, Cape Velvet Crème etc). I fancy a cocktail and treat myself to a “Sex on the Beach” – oh-er!!! It was delicious and I feel like I had over indulged after I clocked the size of the Banoffi Pie ($10)!
All in all we liked The Leopard Lodge and the friendly and attentive service. It was our first time there, so nice for a change – to enjoy the home style food and well cooked meat.