I was recently invited, along with a partner, to experience Lazy Sundays at The Bird Cage restaurant at The Aviary in Perth. Lazy Sundays take place 1-4pm and feature “dim sum with a twist” – 8 small dishes for AU$30 per person, drinks not included. Also available: a tea menu (AU$5 per pot for two) and a dessert option (AU$5 per person).
Jac and I arrived at noon and were shown to comfy bench seats by the window. The restaurant is bright, airy and inviting, with bird cages and bird motifs scattered throughout – silver hummingbirds embossed on the menus, bird print wallpaper and the occasional ornamental duck creating a strong theme without veering into op shop clutter.
Our waiter took our drinks order (sparkling wine for Jac, a mocktail for me) and explained that our dishes would arrive in batches – the first three dishes together, followed by three more, then the final two.
The red curry tartare with young coconut and peanut crumble was a great dish to start with. Every mouthful was a cracker, with rich red curry, fragrant shredded coconut, crunchy peanuts and little amber nuggets of toffee. There was candied chilli on the plate too, for extra heat.
The wild mushroom, truffle and wonton chips was an MYO affair – grab a wonton crisp, spoon wild mushrooms on top and add a touch of oil with sliced red chilli if you like it more fiery. The dish is moreish and fun to assemble/eat, but on the oily side.
The crab, sweet corn, kaffir lime dumplings were beautiful little parcels with a delicate garnish of caviar and micro herbs. In a word: crabby! I couldn’t taste the corn. The skins were on the chewy side though not unpleasantly so. We had a choice of dipping sauces before us: soy sauce, chilli oil, ponzu dressing, and garlic and lime infused oil. To be honest, all the dishes were well seasoned and nicely flavoured and I didn’t really need the sauces.
Next, confit champignon and white truffle egg wontons. This was one of Jac’s favourite dishes. Don’t drown your wonton in sauce if you want to taste the truffle. We could easily eat many more of these – though greedy me reckons they could be just a touch plumper.
Jac’s other favourite was the pink pepper squid, garlic, lime and shallots. The tender curls of lightly battered squid were sprinkled with pink peppercorns, fried shallots and chopped spring onion, served with a splat of zingy lime mayonnaise.
The last dish of the second batch of three was the red braised BBQ pork buns, served in a steamer basket. One bun was noticeably bigger than the other, but they were both sweet and fluffy, filled with plenty of braised pork.
My favourite Lazy Sunday dish was the messiest – bourbon & Coke spare ribs, black salt, pepper. Two chunks of beef sat glistening in a shiny syrupy sauce, garnished with chilli and fried slices of garlic.
We didn’t hesitate to pick the sticky ribs up with our hands and dove in face first. The meat was cooked well and came off the bones easily. I couldn’t get enough of that fried garlic.
The last dish was yellow curry whiting, served with pickled cucumber. The fish was skewered and covered in a light, curried batter. While I hunted down every remaining garlic crisp on the plate of ribs, Jac attacked the tangy pickled cucumber.
We decided to share dessert – doughnuts with berry coconut ice cream and passionfruit sauce. The doughnuts (technically, large doughnut holes, yes?) were quite plain and only just cooked in the middle but I enjoyed the ice cream and rolling my doughnut ball in the passionfruit curd.
Jac enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine – the NV Cloudy Bay Pelorus (AU$13) and I had a highball mocktail (with citrus, rhubarb and orange blossom). The cocktail version of my drink includes Belvedere Orange vodka and costs AU$18; I was charged $16 for an alcohol-less version. I find mocktails in general very pricey; one could argue the labour to create the drink is the same, alcohol or not, but many would choke at $16 for what is essentially a tall glass of ice and fancied up fruit juice. I’d love your thoughts on the price of mocktails. We also shared a pot of sencha vanilla tea (AU$5).
This refined, westernised version of dim sum probably won’t quite satisfy hardcore dim sum cravings, but for us, Lazy Sundays was a pleasant and delicious way spend Sunday afternoon. Sadly, we couldn’t be as lazy as we’d have liked and had to leave soon after dessert – it would be delightful to relax for hours and watch the world go by.
140 William St (above Perth Underground train station, on the corner of Murray St Mall and William St)
Perth, WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9226 0259
Open Monday to Saturday 11am to midnight
Sundays 11am to 10pm (Lazy Sundays 12pm to 4pm)
The Bird Cage restaurant and lounge bar is on level one
The Nest is The Aviary’s outdoor rooftop bar
TFP and Jac sampled the Lazy Sundays menu with compliments of The Aviary (usually AU$30 per person). We paid for our drinks and dessert.