STM Gail Williams 2007


SPREADING A WARM RED GLOW

SOME restaurants inspire you before you step a foot inside. And so it was with Red Cabbage. Red Cabbage is the latest venture on the highly visible corner of Labouchere and Mill Point roads in South Perth. But, of course, we were pushovers for a pretty name. All it took to lure us to this venue, which a string of predecessors have failed to ignite, were mental images of this luscious vegetable daubed with dijon mustard, drizzled with balsamic or dotted with toasted walnuts.

Red cabbage and rabbit, red cabbage and bacon. Red cabbage with apples and red wine – the possibilities are endless. Add chef Scott O’Sullivan, formerly of Halo, to this mouth-watering mix and you have just the ticket for a top winter’s night out – certainly one worth crossing the river for. So, when my husband and I invited good friends to make the journey across the Narrows Bridge, the experience had to live up to the name, otherwise we’d really be stretching the friendship. And it did measure up, without exception, from the amuse bouche to a tasting platter of dessert (and complimentary watermelon granita in between), so prepare yourselves for an overdose of superlatives.

It is hard to pick a star from the stunning array we tried – all with a stylish garnish of our beloved pickled red – so here’s a grab bag of delectable memories from the night. There was a melt-in-the-mouth moment with slipper lobster where delicate flesh met with flavours of chilli and coriander, and piped into squid ravioli to make pillows on a tartare of kingfish ($20).

When things couldn’t get any more sublime, they did – with a Wagyu beef cheek getting up close and personal with the inside of a suet pudding. This ($33) silky smooth signature dish rested on a piquant bed of the restaurant’s namesake and was surrounded by a circle of honey-roasted vegetables. At this price (considering that Wagyu is twice the price of other beef) it was a shining, labour-intensive example of the discrepancy between prices with some restaurants charging $10 more for main courses that involve little more effort than slapping something on the plate.

There were other little intricate touches in lobster bisque and thyme gnocchi served with atlantic salmon ($30), handmade pasta and an organic beef fillet paired with the most exquisite little rabbit and shiitake pie ($36). There were bottles of Dog Point pinot ($67), there were plates of creamed rice pudding ($13) and white chocolate brulée ($13) and banana tarte tatin ($13) and before we knew it we were the last ones in the restaurant. But we made the most of enjoying the space because at these prices and with this quality, passion and devotion to excellence, it probably won’t be that empty again for a long time.

Love: Everything
Loathe: Leaving
Verdict: Four stars

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