- Occuper agréablement le temps de quelqu’un, le divertir ; égayer, distraire : Le cirque amuse les enfants.
(To pleasantly occupy somebodies time, entertain them; amuse, distract: The circus amuses the children)
The word amusé (pronounced with an emphasis on the accented é, sort of like am-yoo-zeh) comes from the French verb amuser and literally means “amused”. Did the restaurant live up to its name? Absolutely!
This was the third time that I’ve been to Restaurant Amusé–perhaps the most highly regarded restaurant in Western Australia–and once again it was near flawless. Food impeccable, and service so refined that it really does make the night an experience. As usual, once we were seated, a waitstaff gave us a very warm welcome, an overview of the evening, and a check to make sure there were no ingredients that anybody just couldn’t bear to stomach. We were also given the usual cryptic menu in an envelope, which just listed key ingredients without giving too much away. All part of the “amusé” theme. “Persimmon, coconut and artichoke”–huh?! I guess we’d have to wait and see.
First came the series of starters, followed by the bread, butter and olive oil. I could practically live off good bread and butter, so I am always excited about this course. A generous serving of white and wholemeal bread came out in a bowl of hot rocks, accompanied by solidified olive oil and whipped smoked butter. The butter is so simple, yet one of the most amazing things I have tasted. The smokey flavour really makes it something special, and is certainly something I am going to try making at home. I found a hint on the Restaurant Amusé Twitter page:
For table butter we make our own using Bannister Downs Cream… We make the butter, then smoke it and whip it before serving.
I guess I can work with that. Can’t be too difficult, right? I’ll post the results when I figure it out.
Following the starters were a series of seven dishes (including the optional truffle risotto that we opted to have). An absolute winner for me was the marron, lemon and sorrel. Essentially just cured marron served with a lemon curd and some fresh sorrel that they cultivated (or probably foraged from some nearby bush, as they seem to like doing). Another favourite for me was the lamb, celeriac and cavolo nero dish. Perfectly tender Amelia Park lamb served on a bed of celeriac purée, crispy cavolo nero (direct Italian translation of black cabbage) and a sweet black garlic purée, which combined perfectly with the lamb.
Adding to the amusement of the night is the way in which dishes are brought to the table. Almost every dish is presented by a different chef, who gives us a bit of background on the dish and perhaps a small story about where the herbs were foraged from (fresh and uncommon herbs foraged locally seem to be a recurring theme across the menu, adding to the depth of flavour of each dish).
One dish in particular that didn’t fare so well across the table was the sweet potato, salmon and dashi. We all found the dashi broth to be a little too strong, and I don’t think there was one of us who finished it. Certainly the low light of the night, but it didn’t detract too much from an amusing evening.
Next up were the palate cleansers and desserts. The first dessert was the artichoke ice-cream with carbonated persimmons; it was certainly an interesting dish and nothing like I had eaten before. With the coconut, it was a combination of flavours that I hadn’t ever seen before, and it makes me wonder how they came up with the idea in the first place (it is also the reason I keep going back to Amusé, there is always something new). Following this was the chocolate, almond and crème fraiche plate, which was very rich and decadent, and presented a great range of different textures. For me, a lover of everything chocolate, this was a winner. The degustation was concluded with “tisane and treats”, a nicely flavoured mint tea with a plate of fruit jellies.
Overall, another great evening. I absolutely would go back again to see what new creations Hadleigh and the team have thought up. It is certainly at the pricier end of the Perth spectrum, coming in at $130 per person (plus wine, plus $25 for the additional truffle course), but it truly is more than just a meal–it is an experience. I can confidently say that I walked away feeling trés amusé.
I didn’t take any photos on the night, so I have to thank my friend at Self Similarities for the pictures.