Balthazar (Perth)

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I am back in Perth for the holidays and decided to pay a visit to a fine dining establishment which has been a fixture of the Perth restaurant scene for many years. I haven’t been there before, but I decide to make the trek on Christmas Eve for a lovely dinner.

Location

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Venue

The venue is dimly lit and very cosy with a lovely wine cellar behind our table for an added touch.

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Wine

I discuss the wine selection with my dining companions given the choice of dishes available. Given my choice from the menu, I am more suited to a full bodied red and my dining companions are quite relaxed with my choice.

Fontodi Classico (Chianti/Sangiovese), 2010, from Chianti, Italy

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The perfumed aromas of flowers, blackberries and raspberries immediately flow from the glass. The full fruit flavours of this typical Chianti provide a rush of sensational fruit flavours which is balanced by hints of leather and tobacco. The wine has a lovely velvety feel on the mouth while a lovely sparkle of acidity, elegantly introduced, appears in the finish to balance the fruit intensity.

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Bread

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The selection of bread is limited one – a wood-fired bread with a creamy butter with black garlic salt. The bread is quite basic but the garlic and black salt butter is creamy with a full burst of minerality and a lovely way to start dinner.

Entrées

For the entree I choose the….

Kangaroo, Peas, Radish and Mushroom Ketchup

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The firm gamey Kangaroo meat is a pleasure to eat, with the textured “smooth flavour” of the peas, the crunch of the radish which adds both texture and a little heaty bite to the dish. The mushroom ketchup offers and earthy flavour to the dish and a unique texture to round out the dining experience.

My other dining companions have the…

Carrots, Green Mango, Coconut Oil and Coriander

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Soft Shell Crab, Watermelon, Jalapeno, Shallot, Watercress

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Trout, Serrano Ham, Cider Broth and Kale

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Palate Cleanser

We have a lovely burst of citrus and tang from the palate cleanser…

Grapefruit and Orange Granita with Raspberry Sherbet

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Main Courses

I opt for the…

Beef fillet, Potato, Onion, Mushroom and Tarragon 

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Its medium rare with the charcoal texture and smokiness of the outside proving the perfect introduction to the beef fillet while the succulent middle which retains the full flavour of the beef.

The succulent juices of the beef fillet is ladled around the fillet while the earthy flavour of the mushrooms and moistness of the creamy potato puree provide a wonderful balance to the beef. The squishy mushrooms have a unique texture which contrasts to the beef fillet while the crispy “candied” style onions add a unique touch to the dish. Its a very lovely dish.

Spatchcock, Spinach, Cranberries, Sherry and Oats

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Cod, Asparagus, Cherry Tomato, Basil

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Desserts

I opt for the…

Layered Chocolate, Raw Cashew Nut Caramel and Rum Sugar 

Its brought out as is (picture below)… then the Rum Sugar Sauce is poured over (next picture) to reveal the hollow centre…

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Its beautiful, the crispy chocolate top, the moist chocolate base while the ring of the cashew nut caramel is mild (not overly sweet) but retains a sugary smoky taste with the wonderful mildness of the cashew being noticeable. The rum sugar is lovely with a beautiful strength and bite to compliment the intensity of the chocolate. Its such a fusion of flavours.

The natural yoghurt on the side provide some balance to the sweetness of the dish, while the sweet grainy raspberries on the side add some contrast in textures to the softness of the dish.

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Only two of my dining companions choose a dessert to share…

Goats Churd Cheese Cake, Peach, Macadamia, Bergamot

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Overall

I found some of the dishes interesting. The beef was well executed and what one would expect from a top quality restaurant. The feedback from my dining companions was good and notably the presentation of the both the Soft Shell Crab and Trout reflected the “Food Art” focus that many associate with this restaurant.

The Cod was probably not plated as well it could have been and I would probably place the Kangaroo fillet in the same category. The dessert was a standout and personally one of the more enjoyable dessert experiences I have had in a while.

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