Its not a surprise that we went out for dinner last night – but it was a surprise that Jay picked a restaurant, booked it and made a good choice all without telling/asking me anything! What’s the special occasion? He obviously did his research on urbanspoon when he said ‘ 300 odd people voted – 80+% liked it! Must be good… ‘
Beluga sits at the outskirts of Claremont Quarter which apparently all girls love. It was full of people and popularity is always a good sign. We are seated in the deep end of the restaurant.
The style of the place reminds me of our hotel in Spagna – all outrageously sparkly and shiny. Looking at the menu, I thought it was glammed up pub food.
The first thing served to us was the South Australian mussels, chorizo, fennel and white wine ($30) in a covered pot – opened right in front of us to showcase its freshly steamed shelled delight.
Jay looked in it and asked ‘ Where’s the sauce? ‘. It was deeper in the pot but there really was no need for sauce. Each fat juicy mussel was permeated with a meaty flavour from the chorizo as well as an aniseed flavour from the fennel. Seriously good.
With this, we had a well complementing 2010 Petit Rimauresq Rose which had a gentle aroma and floral flavours.
Next, the beautifully presented Char grilled Freo Octopus with cous cous, feta, chargrilled spanish onion and blistered chilli salad ($28). This is something I would make at home if I dared to cook octopus. The octopus was deliciously tender to bite. The cous cous was slightly tangy with chopped up cucumber, chilli and spring onion. Every now and then, the grainy cous cous will be well interrupted with a smooth creamy feta. The kind I like – the goat feta that floats in oil like clouds. This dish is simple on the taste buds but high quality.
The Beer battered North West baby squid with smoked paprika ($18) turned out to be a treat for the dude. Squeeze the limes over it and you’re ready. The batter had a coarse texture to it and the baby squid it coated was juicily tender.
Lastly (for mains at least), we had the Beer battered cone bay barramundi with tomato, rocket and citrus ($24). Each bite was met with coarse batter and juicy flavourful barramundi (these guys got their frying techniques perfect!). The rocket was coated with creamy dressing that started with a nasal opening horseradish flavour and ended somewhat caesar like. The oranges and cherry tomatoes complemented the dish perfectly by adding a fresh healthy flavour.
We made the switch to a barossa Shiraz (sorry guys, at this point and Jay sat next to me…goofing about like the newly weds that we are… and waited for dessert. (The best is yet to be)
We had the highly recommended Apple Tarte Tartin with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream ($14). I nearly regretted sharing. It is simply delightful and I cannot stress this enough. The apples were just baked and coated in an amazingly deep honeylike caramel sauce with a toffee quality. The flaky pastry under it was perfect – the right amount of lightness. The ice cream speckled with dots of beans – so amazing when you pair it with the tart. You need to have this.
Before we ordered, the lady next to me complained about the time it took to serve although the food was very good. I think that set my expectation and Jay looked anxious that I was about to be disappointed. Its okay – we had nothing to rush to and we had each other to talk to. In the end, our dishes came out rather quickly and service turned out to be really attentive. The food is exactly as I thought – glammed up pub food. However, it was made of high quality produce. It wasn’t cheap – the bill turned out to be $172. However, I never expected a classy joint in Claremont to price their meals any less.