Saturday, December 12, 2009

Red Cabbage - So close yet so far

Red Cabbage has built up a very strong reputation over the past 2 years for serving inventive modern British food right here in Perth. And having driven and walked past it almost everyday (its literally a stone's throw away from my apartment), it had up to this point always been one of those places that was so close to home it didn't seem like a priority to visit.

But a gathering of friends from overseas recently gave us the perfect opportunity to sample what has been raved about by reviewers as one of the top 5 restaurants in Perth. Naturally, we proceeded to Red Cabbage with fairly high expectations.

The menu on first glance was impressive - inventive, playful combinations by a chef who obviously is aware of how things read on paper can really make a difference. We were of course excited and ordered a few entrees which read beautifully - the roasted pork belly on watermelon relish , the roasted quail with green papaya salad and tempura oysters topped with a crispy potato chip and aioli.

The result? Beautifully presented food that didn't quite hit the mark in execution. The pork belly was a stunning looking dish - but seriously lacked flavour and to be completely honestly - needed a bit more cooking time to either render a bit of the fat from this prized cut or at least achieve a melt in your mouth texture in the protein.

The oysters - whilst tasty - were nothing out of the ordinary - the potato chip on top was completely unnecessary and in my mind, cheapened the dish (as did the bright blue salt the oysters were garnished on).
The quail was without a doubt, overcooked - which meant it was dry and chewy. Accompanied by a salad that was much too acidic - this dish simply did not work for me.

I could go on to describe the range of main courses we sampled but they were, to put it bluntly, forgettable and not something that I will be coming back anytime soon for. The crumbed braised beef brisket in my beef dish however, was something I will remember for a while to come - purely because it was so dry and unpleasant that I was a little shocked that how different my dining experience was compared to the rave reviews that this restaurant has been receiving.

Perhaps they had a bad night - perhaps sometimes hype gets in the way of honest opinion - but for me, Red Cabbage is one of those places that is so close - yet still very far from what it could be.

Red Cabbage on Urbanspoon
Red Cabbage
49/15 Labouchere Road
South Perth


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