Our main wholesaler we use at work wanted to do something interesting as a thank you to their valued clients and so they organised a night out to see Cirque de Soleil’s latest touring production Ovo. Our practice was lucky enough, or should I say valued enough, to receive four tickets. Having never been to see this internationally famous Show I was the first one to put up my hand to go. It seems that everyone who wanted to go already had their own tickets and those who didn’t have a ticket weren’t that keen. Although we are now creeping into June, on the afternoon of the show the sun was shining defiantly outside like a Spring Day and so the Boy suggested we walk into the city and stop somewhere earlier for dinner. I jumped at the opportunity to work on reducing my restaurant wish list which is currently longer than my arm. Near the top of my list was The Stables Bar in the CBD a convenient ten minute walk from the circus’s marquee.
I am known by my close friends as a planning freak and I love to be prepared. Although it was a warm day, I anticipated a chilly night knowing that Cirque de Soleil’s marquee is on the Esplanade; a potentially windy spot. In addition to needed some warmth, we were looking at a 14 km round trip on foot and strutting that distance in my high heels would not be realistic. Proud of my organisational skills in addition to my handbag I packed an extra bag filled with a scarf, high heels, my extra camera lens and a wool jacket. Sliding into my sneakers the Boy looked at me with an astonished look on his face and said: “You’re seriously not going to carry all that around all night?” I retorted “Of course!” and we headed out the front door and into the sunshine.
By the time we arrived at the Stables Bar one hour later, I had definitely lost some of the bounce in my stride. I felt a bit lopsided from carrying the heavy bags but strangely satisfied that I had a good workout! Now I could eat a decent meal without the guilt of overindulgence. Bring it!
In order to make it to our 8 o’clock show we had an early dinner booking and when we arrived there was only one other couple dining. Parched and hungry, we quickly ordered our drinks and scanned the menu. The wait staff were all super friendly and enthusiastic such that we were approached by each of the five of them asking for our drinks and food orders. It’s certainly better to be too attentive then to leave a customer waiting but some communication between the team wouldn’t hurt either.
The crispy school prawns were far too moreish and I could have easily crunched my way through a second bowl. The Boy explained to me that they tasted very similar to the fried insects he ate in Thailand. If that is the case, maybe I could be enticed on our next visit to try them? Hmmm, maybe. The chipotle mayonnaise balanced the saltiness of the prawns but I would have preferred a touch more spiciness.
The zucchini croquettes were gluten free and having a one track mind on anything remotely Spanish with my impending trip next month I simply had to order them. A thin shell of crispiness enveloped their soft interior to expose very subtle and gentle flavours. I almost felt they could do which a dash more seasoning. The cardamom flavouring in the yoghurt was also very subtle. Nevertheless they were still a tasty treat as they were.
The Boy has recently been contemplating giving up eating meat based on ethical, environmental and health reasons. As easy as this may be for some, it is a big step for someone whose previous diet, like many men in our country, was very meat focused. His half way step has been to become a pescatarian. When the waitress came to the table with our meals a steak and a Niçoise salad, she presumed the salad was for me and gave us a bit of a high brow look as we advised her that the orders were in fact the opposite way round. His Niçoise salad was made with flaked Rankin cod, steamed green beans, hard-boiled eggs and white anchovies. All the ingredients were brightly colours and fresh and although being a small serve for a main it was decently priced at $26.
Being someone that commonly suffered from iron deficiency anaemia, in part due to my gluten issues and worsened by my infrequent ingestion of red meat I decided to have the first steak I have had in a long while. The steak was sourced from Blackwood Valley who are well known in WA for their high quality organic beef. Although the minute steak isn’t the softest cut of beef it is certainly very flavoursome and was cooked rare exactly as requested. The super sweet roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh horseradish added some bite and after a long walk this sat very well in my stomach.
The char-grilled baby cos lettuce was a little bland by comparison to my steak and although the dollops of tangy goat cheese and white anchovies helped improve it significantly I still felt like it also needed a little more seasoning. And that is coming from someone who rarely adds salt to her meals.
We still had another hour before we had to depart and start walking down to the Esplanade for the show. As is often the case when we are out for dinner, it was an arm twisting event getting the Boy to agree on dessert and my requests for dessert and cheese were met with a decisive “No!” He knows from years of experience that I always have eyes bigger than my stomach and once I have a few drinks in me I tend to just keep ordering food until we nearly explode.
The poached peach Melba and vanilla pannacotta came highly recommended by one of our wait staff. She was right on the money with this one and once again for someone who didn’t want dessert the Boy helped me finish it matching me spoon for spoon. It was served in a cute jam jar reminiscent of our recent Watermelon Foam dessert at the Greenhouse. A definite winner. Our dessert was obviously too good because we scoffed it down in record time leaving us with another 45 minutes to spare. As we ordered a final round of drinks I was surprised that I successfully persuaded the Boy to share a cheese platter. Up until this point everything we had order was requested gluten free but I forgot to mention it to our server again when I ordered the cheese platter.
It came out with a scrumptious looking assortment of crackers and breads which were obviously not gluten free. I called the waiter over who confirmed this to me and within minutes the platter returned without any crackers at all. Such a shame as each cheese was just the right temperature for serving making them fragrant and soft. The well thought out selection included Fourme d’Ambert; a mild blue cheese made from cow’s milk from France, Deuce De Bourgogne; a rich and creamy soft French cheese also made from cow’s milk and Capricorn; a hard goat cheese from the UK. We were advised that the kitchen changes their cheese selections frequently which I quite like the idea of.
The Stables Bar is a stunning location in the heart of the city with a range a decently priced pub meals. It is another great addition to the increasing number of prime venues dotted around the city and definitely worth a visit for a few rounds of drinks or a meal.The Stables Bar 888 Hay Street, Perth WA 6000 | (08) 6314 1300 | www.thestablesbar.com.au Price: $$ Food: 3.5/5 (small menu with some interesting dishes) Service: 2.5/5 (some teething problems with communication which should be easy to iron out) Ambience: 3.5/5 (awesome fit out of some old stables originally built in the late 1800s) Drinks: 3.5/5 (lots of creative cocktails, will have to come back and try a few more) Total: 13/20