STM Gail Williams 2010

THERE are so many things that Red Cabbage is doing right that it’s hard to know where to begin. But, here goes. The point of difference between this charming restaurant and others in this city that serve up outstanding food is all in the detail.

The sourcing of unusual and exotic ingredients in an effective fusion of European and Asian styles and presenting them as masterpieces is the very least of what makes Red Cabbage a standout. It’s all the work of Scott O’Sullivan, the owner chef, and his partner, Hazel Feather. We are shown to a table for three.¬†“Would you like sparkling mineral water or tap water?” the waiter offered. A simple enough question, but one which I have never heard before in a restaurant. Not ever.

There were also two complimentary amuse bouche that came between courses – a tiny cup of celeriac broth and a watermelon granita. There was the row of half dozen oysters ($20) forming a work of realist art on a rectangular plate. The plump and briny boys each wore a unique dressing except for a naked one with grilled lime. My favourite was the tempura with pea puree, topped with a cute little french fry.

The others enjoyed a roasted jumbo quail ($19) with prickly ash. It’s a leaf which, when crushed, gives off a lemon-like fragrance. The quail was good, but so was the mixed leaf salad ($9) that came humming with harmony, as fennel, hazelnut and parmesan combined a treat.¬†More detail came in the seared duck breast ($39), tender enough to break your heart. It had a nice acidic finish with some lime in the nam jim and some peppery rocket. There was more. Some coriander-crusted venison with glazed beetroot ($39) and kingfish paired with crispy pork hock and seared scallops ($38). They found so much favour with my fellow diners that they begged me to award this restaurant a score of 17.

And the rhubarb frangipane tart with tonka bean custard and poached rhubarb ($15) downed with the best short black I have tasted in Perth (“Make sure you mention the cup was warmed,” said the husband) just pushed it over the edge.

Food: 4.5/5
Ambience: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Drinks: 4
LOVE: Warmed coffee cups
LOATHE: The location
Rating: 17/20

Content and images Copyright © 2013 Red Cabbage Food & Wine