Cantina 663, Mount Lawley

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It was my birthday weekend and I decided to treat myself with a three-day eating and drinking fiesta with the Boy and a few of our close friends.  Our first night was a very casual affair at our local Victoria Park favourite Little Ying Thai.  My bestie and her man came along with us but as it was a weeknight we all managed to contain ourselves from getting too carried away.

On our second night we seized the rare opportunity for an outing with the Boy’s Best Man along with my two Perth-based bridesmaids.  His Best Man works FIFO on a number of mining sites so we don’t get to hang out with him nearly as much as we would like to.  Last year during one of Mum’s visits to Perth we took her to Cantina 663 and were all really impressed with our memorable meal.  Since then I have been really keen to go back and so I suggested going there to one of my bridesmaids Amber.  It turns out Cantina  has been on her wish list for some time.  Perfect!

Decked out in my brand new outfit from Abercrombie and Fitch (courtesy of my Dad and Stepmum) and feeling like a million bucks, we headed out on the town for a night of fun.  We were supposed to start off with meeting everyone at the Flying Scotsman for some pre-dinner drinks but we both took way too long getting ready and subsequently had to head straight to Cantina.

Cantina 663 serves European style food with predominately Spanish, Portuguese and Italian influences.  They pride themselves on having a fortnightly changing menu that reflects what’s seasonally available locally and they strive to source organic and ecologically sustainable produce when they can.

The wait staff exude edgy style and are energetic and friendly.  Our table’s waitress for the evening was very proficient and her passion for food was obvious as she discussed the suitability of each dish with me even prior to chatting with the chef.  She was even familiar with the condition fructose malabsorption which I was impressed with.  She happily communicated back and forth with the kitchen to assist in creating an adapted family style menu that was ample food for all of us to enjoy despite my allergies.

"Pork Rillettes" "Mustard butter" "Gluten free bread" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Pork rillettes, mustard butter, pickled beans, brioche (note someone had already started...oops!)

The pork rillettes were decadently rich and oh so moreish and this dish was the first thing to disappear.  I had brought along some Schar brand Italian gluten-free bread with me in preparation as I recall from our last experience that a lot of Cantina’s dishes would be much more delicious smeared on bread and they currently do not carry gluten-free bread.  I delighted in lashing thick layers of the pork on my charred grilled bread.  The pickled beans were surprisingly sweet and were the ideal match with the pork.

Fig walnut beetroot "goats curd salad' "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Fig, walnut, beetroot and goats curd salad (not currently on the menu)

Because a lot of the dishes on the menu contained onion, the chef offered to especially make for me a fig and goats curd salad.  Apparently this dish used to be on their menu and was very popular.  Fructose malabsorbers do have to be a little careful with eating figs, but to be honest this salad would have been scrumptious even without them…I have to confess I did eat just a few as I figured can tolerate a very small amount without too much problems.  Gluten is my real enemy.

The salumi platter was entirely gluten-free however she informed me that two of the meats may contain onion as they are not made on the premises.  I cannot remember all that was on there but I do remember some luscious dark bresaola, spicy chorizo and soft delicate jamon amongst others.  It was served with house pickles which were quite tasty and not too acetic or briny.

"Crisp stuffed zucchini flowers" ricotta "capsicum jam" labne "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Crisp stuffed zucchini flowers, ricotta, capsicum jam, labne

Unfortunately for me the zucchini flowers were off the menu as they were battered in flour before frying so I missed out on this wondrous looking dish.  I was quite jealous as they looked incredible and were demolished very quickly.  I was told the batter was fluffy and light and there was so much flavouring in the stuffing. Instead I ordered the tin of pollastrini sardines piccanti served with fresh lemon and my charred gluten-free bread.  I used to love sardines on toast as a child and these little fishies brought back great memories. I was nearly the only one who ate these – I guess you really have to be a hard-core fish fan to eat sardines. They also had a bit of a kick to them with the added chilli.

seafood "pan fried barramundi" "spiced black eyed ragout" "preserved lemon yoghurt" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Pan fried barramundi, spiced black eyed ragout, preserved lemon yoghurt

After stuffing our faces with all our entrees, we ordered a couple of mains to share between us.  I originally wanted to order the risotto but the rice is parboiled with stock during prep and the stock contained onion.  Instead I opted for the pan fried barramundi.  The fish was so heavenly and was cooked to a perfect buttery smooth consistency and had crispy crunchy skin.  I can honestly say pan fired barramundi is right up there in my top five favourite fish so perhaps I’m a little biased with my praise for this dish.  Putting my approval of the fish aside though, even its accompaniments were so appetising in their own right and pushed me and the girls well into the realms of being seriously full!

"pan fried gnocchi" cauliflower hazelnut sage fontina "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Pan fried gnocchi, cauliflower, hazelnut, sage, fontina

The boys ordered the gnocchi which although it was a small serve it left them quite satisfied.  We also ordered a couple of sides to go with our mains, the spinach and avocado with walnut dressing and the roasted zucchini with tahini yoghurt.  Considering these dishes were just meant to be sides – they were so good I could have easily had a whole serve of either to myself!  Especially the zucchinis; they were slightly caramelised during roasting and literally burst in your mouth with every bite.

Once again, I can see its obvious why Cantina 663 consistently receives great ratings on Urbanspoon and other restaurant review sites as they have everything going for them:  great food, dynamic staff, flexibility with catering for allergies and they are situated in an awesome location. This remains a definite fav for Chompchomp!

Cantina 663
Astor Arcade, 663 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley, 6050 | (08) 9370 4883 |
Price:                     $$$$ ($7-16 share plates/entrees, $25-35 mains)
Food:                    4.5/5 (as many dishes are served with bread it would be great if they stocked GF)
Service:                4.5/5 (efficient, quick and knowledgeable)
Ambience:           4/5 (bustling energy but air con struggled in the heat)
Drinks:                 4/5 (extensive wine list with a lot of interesting options)
Total:                    17/20

Cantina 663 on Urbanspoon

6 Thoughts on “Cantina 663, Mount Lawley

    • Thanks Lorraine! Totally agreed! Especially when the venue then goes on to completely live up to their hype!

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