The shiny and new Perth City Link development has given the city a whole host of new dining options, from pubs and breweries to a bustling food court. One stand out is Ficus. On the Yagan Square rooftop, this up-market Modern Australian restaurant is a little off the beaten track.
Ficus is owned by Bunbury Farmers Market’s Kevin Ofperkuch and Cantina 663’s Paul Vanderplancke, so it is no surprise that fresh West Australian produce is championed here.
We’re greeted by a chirpy waiter who leads us to “the best seat in the house”. I’m inclined to agree with him – our table sits on a wall of glass overlooking the city skyline. Our nearest neighbour is the Horseshoe Bridge and from here we watch the city workers dash around on their lunch breaks.
Lush foliage in pots hang from the ceiling, and dark timber furniture gives the bright dining room a natural, earthy feel.
The wine list reflects Ficus’s food offering of local WA produce, with a splash of eastern Australian labels. My pick, a Margaret River Domaine Naturalist Discovery Chardonnay, is spot on – fruity, and without too much oak. Local craft beers and a range of gin and tonics made with Australian gin also feature on the drinks menu.
We’re told the charcuterie plate ($28) is one of the kitchen’s specialities. Packed onto the plate is a meaty pork hock terrine with a creamy herbed mayo of fresh capers, tarragon and lime juice. A pastry encased pâté en croute is topped with a sweet citrus jam.
Then there’s more pickled vegetables than you can shake a stick at (where have pickled mushrooms been all my life!) and sliced fresh bread. For me, the lusciously creamy pork rillettes are the standout component on this very tasty share dish.
The slow cooked Linley Valley pork belly ($28) is a classic match of pork, seared scallops and apple. Perfectly cooked belly meat is topped with textural pork floss (intensely flavoured dried pulled pork) and pork crackle which matches the crunch of the crisp, julienned apple. A trio of plump scallops on a smooth apple puree round out this generously sized entrée.
On to mains and while we’re tempted to share the enormous cuts of Wagyu tomahawk, chateaubriand or lamb shoulder. The fresh market fish ($38) catches my eye. Our waiter spins me a lovely tale of the humble Monkfish, selling it beautifully. He returns from the kitchen minutes later to let me know the fish of the day has been changed to Pink Snapper. A shame, though I still enjoy the dish which is served with a garden-fresh salad of fennel, avocado and cherry tomato, along with a generous serve of crushed peas and creamy saffron dressing.
The nicely charred Queensland Carrara wagyu rump steak ($34) is full of deep, meaty flavours and served with chips. Though lip smackingly delicious, it lacks the plating finesse of other dishes, making it feel like “pub grub” in comparison. In saying that, the leaf salad is well dressed and the béarnaise sauce is house made. Rustic, handmade chips would elevate this dish to another level.
We have a break between courses and watch the bustling city scene through the window. Ficus’s take on a traditional French chocolate delice ($16), is a showstopper. The rich cream mousse-like delice is coated in chocolate, in a rectangular chocolate bar style. Served along with walnut biscuit, candied nuts and swoon-worthy salted caramel ice cream – this dessert is a must try.
A pretty summer berries meringue ($16), bursts with sweetness and colour from strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that taste as though they could have been picked that very morning. A mascarpone cream, strawberry coulis and vanilla ice cream make this light and simple dessert all the more scrumptious.
We are impressed. Incredibly fresh fruit and vegetables are used in classic, well cooked dishes. With striking city views, passionate staff and a “farm to plate” ethos, this Yagan Square restaurant is well worth seeking out.
At a Glance
Yagan Square (Upper level)
420 Wellington St, Perth
Phone – 6381 9140
■ Opening times
Tues to Sun
Noon until late
value for money 3
■ style – Modern Australian
■ wine – Many WA drops,
with some interesting Interstate and
International wines included.
■ Chef – Andre Mahe
■ Owners – Kevin Ofperkuch
and Paul Vanderplancke
■ feel – fresh and vibrant
■ wheelchair access – yes
Entrée/share – $3.50 – $28
Mains – $26 – $125
Dessert – $16 – $30
■ all in all – Farm to Plate restaurant
Ficus offers top notch service,
food brimming with fresh flavours,
and a view of the city best enjoyed with
a WA wine or G&T.