Thursday, August 13, 2009

More than meets the eye

We had the pleasure of dining at Table 78 for dinner recently, having booked our group of 8 into one of the private dining rooms in this charming restaurant that has found a home in a row of heritage listed houses in West Perth.

The setting here is elegant but simple - relying on the character of the high ceilings, wooden floor boards and vintage furniture to set the tone. And so is it with the food here.

Pared back to simple, uncomplicated menu descriptions with honestly tasty dishes cooked and seasoned well, the team at table 78 have managed to successfully pull off the concept of simple fine dining.

We started off with some seriously fantastic tempura oysters topped with chilli jam perched gently on top pickled cucumber in its shell. The zingy vinegar in the cucumber cut nicely through creamy and crispy oysters... balance of flavours and texture - me like.

We also had the chickpea battered prawns, served with rocket and a harissa mayonnaise. Nothing fancy, not particularly photogenic (hence its absence from the pictures), but very tasty.

For mains we opted for the specials for the night. The fish of the day was super crispy skinned barramundi fillets on a bed of chickpea and spinach.

We also had the roasted pork striploin marinated in fennel seeds, served with roasted beetroot jam with a side quenelle of parsnip and wholeseed mustard mash. This was probably the only disappointing dish of the night. Whilst the combination of flavours was spot on, the thick cut of lean pork was quite dry and let down an otherwise impressive looking dish.

The standout for the night however was definitely the braised wagyu beefcheeks served with roasted baby carrots and leeks on top of the ultimate potato puree (so creamy it hurts). This was perfectly executed and the gelatinous cheeks a true joy to eat.

Table 78 has an equally simple but delicious dessert menu. The hazlenut creme brulee with short bread was delightful, as was the chocolate marquise sandwiched in a pistachio biscuit.

The menu at Table 78 won't surprise - what you see is what you get. Its the execution of the dishes and the clever balance of textures, flavours and ingredients that will surprise and delight. Coupled with attentive service and an unpretentious setting, this is one restaurant that I'll definitely be returning to.


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