Found opposite the behemoth Claremont Quarter, sits a cute little building, covered in lush foliage. Cosy wine bar, Billie H, has oodles of soul… and I’m not just talking about its jazzy soundtrack.
From the striking gramophone light feature, to a wall decorated in vinyl album covers, this place oozes old school cool. I bring my Dad along for lunch and, being a vinyl collector and music enthusiast, he certainly appreciates these little details.
At Billie H you can sit inside the contemporary dining room, laze in the leafy courtyard or perch on a high stool and soak up the bustling atmosphere at the bar. From there we see the all-female kitchen team, headed by Chef Alia Glorie, cooking up a storm in the open kitchen. A female Head Chef is no new thing, but many more of these talented women are getting the attention and accolades that they deserve, for simply being brilliant Chefs.
With jazz legends like Sam Cooke and the bistro’s namesake Billie Holiday crooning in the background, we look over the menu, rubbing our hands with glee. There are many delicious dishes to pick from, from small bites to larger plates and it’s really up to you how you tackle them – to share or not to share.
Service is friendly and on the ball. We order a carrot dish from the small plates, expecting they will arrive first. Our intuitive waitress asks if we’d like them to come out with our main meaty dishes, as it’s a brilliant side dish too. A grand idea!
The wine list is diverse, with a decent choice of European drops, as well as many local WA wines. Dad chooses a cracker of a wine, a Margaret River red from Deep Woods Estate. The earthy nebbiolo has red fruit notes. My French le Trois rosé, has a dry finish, which will match our food choices of seafood, pork and duck nicely.
First up, we spread a lusciously smoky eggplant, mirin and sesame dip ($14) on crisp golden crostini.
The simple carpaccio of fish ($19) is a menu staple at Billie H. Whatever their fishmonger has fresh that morning is what they’ll use. Today’s fish is silky gold band snapper, cooked in the citric acid of lemon. The juices, along with a little mustard, oil and chives are soaked up with freshly baked bread.
Seared Wagin duck breast ($34), is perfectly pink. On the side is a celery fricassee, drizzled in a meaty poultry stock. Alia calls her plating style “pretty ugly”, though her creations all look mouth-watering to me. A champion of seasonality, she cooks simple and uncomplicated, allowing produce to shine without fussy foams and soils.
For us, the dish of the day has to be the incredibly tasty braised pork cheek ($29). Slightly charred, moist jowl meat marries effortlessly with the creamy apricot reduction and sharp, fresh fennel. Intense flavours that are totally swoon-worthy.
The rainbow carrot dish ($19) is a winner, and thanks to our waitress’s suggestion, a perfect side to our meaty mains. This humble vegetable dish is bursting with flavours and colour. Roasted and pickled carrots are topped with crunchy puy lentils and finished with a sweet sherry glaze.
Buttery Dutch potatoes ($12), topped with spinach and capers, is another palate pleasing side.
On to dessert and the Deep Woods Estate nebbiolo, compliments the sharp blue stilton ($15) wonderfully. The English cheese is served with light as a feather lavosh.
Another showstopper is my panna cotta ($17) topped with plump red wine soaked figs. A sprinkling of roasted white chocolate finishes this beaut little dessert, an ideal size for something sweet on a full tummy. We definitely indulged at Billie H, and it was worth every bite.
Billie H can be whatever you want it to be. A nibble over a top notch wine, a delicious date night dinner or even a spot for a casual lunch – I hear their house made tarts are well worth trying. Much like an old jazz classic, the simple, yet dynamic food at Billie H will never go out of fashion.
At a glance
■ Billie H
34 St Quentin Ave,
Phone 9384 0808
■ Opening times
Mon & Tues noon – 10pm
Wed to Sat noon – late
value for money 4
■ style – Modern Australian Bistro
■ wine – Interesting local
wines and international
wines, beers and spirits.
■ Head Chef – Alia Glorie
■ Owner – Daniel Goodfell
■ feel – classy, with a lively atmosphere
■ wheelchair access – yes
Small plates $4 to $19
Large plates $28 to $37
Dessert $8 to $17
■ all in all – the well cooked dishes,
service and ambiance at Billie H
hits all the right notes.