It’s been quite a while between wine nights for some of us and the wine blog has been a little quiet, so I thought I might take this opportunity to do my first ever restaurant review. Don’t worry though, we already have our first 2 wine nights for 2017 locked in and themes set…they are very exciting!
Every year we go out for a Christmas dinner. This is our treat to ourselves, so we like to splurge a bit and indulge in some good food and great wine. In the past we have been to Restaurant Amuse, Petite Morte, Clarks of North Beach to name a few. Some have been out of this world, others a little disappointing. This year’s pick was Opus Restaurant, located at the Richmond Hotel in West Perth.
I will be honest, I really didn’t have very high hopes for this dinner. The booking was disorganised and full of errors. The promised confirmation email never arrived and when Lynsey called to check, the reservation had been made for 2 people instead of the 7 she had requested. Apparently a deposit was required however they didn’t process it. Until Lynsey received a phone call a few days out to confirm, we really weren’t sure if we had a table booked or not.
On the night, dressed in our best, we all met in the foyer for a glass of bubbly. There wasn’t a huge selection of bubbles by the glass however I did enjoy my glass of House of Arras, Brut Elite Cuvee which didn’t break the bank at $19 a glass. Paula also enjoyed her glass of Deviation Road Altair Sparkling Rosé for $$19.
When the glasses were empty we made our way to our table in the restaurant where we waited. And waited. And waited. For what seemed like an eternity, we sat hungry and thirsty. We had had menus delivered and then it seemed we were forgotten about for quite some time. Drink orders weren’t taken for at least 25 minutes, food probably 10 minutes after that. Staff scurried about around us, but cleverly avoided eye contact so we couldn’t call them over.
Trying to pick a bottle of wine was difficult. We are not cheapskates by any means, however being the festive season and with some of us on maternity leave, we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a bottle of wine. A majority of the bottles exceeded the $100 mark by quite a bit and quite a few were in the thousands! We ended up choosing the Xanadu “Premium” Chardonnay ($95) for our white and the Torbreck “The Steading” Grenach Shiraz Mataro ($88) as the red.
Just a tip…if you are going to make guests wait that long to order, be sure to bring the bread out as quick as possible, not just as the starters are arriving! The starters though, they looked amazing. Smoked Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Wakame Seaweed, Pickled Cucumber & Shitake ($26), Seared Scallops with Red Cabbage Romesco & Baby Cucumbers ($28) and Roast Butternut Pumpkin Soup with Goat’s Cheese & Pumpkin ($28). Everything just melted in the mouth and was full of flavour. Just delicious! However, $28 for pumpkin soup? We are still struggling to figure out why it cost so much.
The wait for mains wasn’t as painful as the starters, about 15 minutes. There was a great variety of meals around the table – Creamed Pearl Barley with Seasonal Vegetables & Young Herbs ($38), Stockyard Striploin Fillet with Polenta & Braised Beef Cheek ($46), Pan-Fried Snapper with Sweet Potato Puree, Silverbeet & Prosciutto ($48) and Braised Dorper Lamb with Spinach and Mint & Bean Puree ($48). While the servings weren’t tiny, we definitely needed some greens on the side – Green Beans and Garlic Butter ($12) and Steamed Broccolini, Almonds & Olive Oil ($12). These meals were just delicious. Proteins were cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth. Really the only comment was that the snapper was on the small side and slightly over seasoned. Overall though, we were really, really impressed with these dishes.
Dessert..who can resist dessert on a ladies night out? Not us! Especially when there is a Chocolate Trilogy ($18) on the menu (White Chocolate Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, Dark Chocolate Pudding…Yum!!). I was the odd one out and went for the Hazelnut Parfait with Coffee Gel and Port Wine Caviar ($18). Everyone loved the Chocolate Trilogy however I did find the Hazelnut Parfait too sweet. I know, I know, desserts are supposed to be sweet and it may have been my taste buds, but this one didn’t really blow me away. The menu recommends a wine pairing with desserts and we all decided to try them. The Royal Tokaji Late Harvest ($14) that was paired with the Hazelnut Parfait was divine. While the ladies with the Chocolate Trilogy enjoyed the Talijancich Reserve Muscat Solero 61 at $26 a glass.
After we finished dessert and our drinks we tried to get the bill, but it seemed the staff were still evading us. Eventually we gave up and got it ourselves as we left the restaurant. Considering the prices and the reputation, we expected to be really impressed with Opus but we just left disappointed. Yes, the food was exceptional but the service really let it down. There’s no point having fantastic food if the service doesn’t match. Attentive service is so important and was missing this evening. Unfortunately that is what each of us has left with at the front of our minds and because of that, not one of us has said we would go back. It’s a shame really because with food that good, it really could have been one of our most memorable dinners.