I recently attended a launch party for The Butterworth Bar and Kitchen. Located where XO Lounge used to be at Exchange Plaza just off St Georges Terrace, it’s one of the latest in a line of restaurants and bars that have opened up in the Perth CBD.
The team led by The Butterworth’s Executive Chef and part-owner Damien Young, formerly of Bistro Felix and Harvest Restaurant, kept the crowd delighted and well fed with a steady flow of gorgeous canapés that included pickled mushrooms, confit beetroot and goats cheese in pastry shells, rabbit boudin blanc topped with sparkling sweet roasted carrot, steak tartare quenelles and impossibly fine-layered salmon terrine on crispbread.
We sipped on duck and chestnut soup served in espresso cups and munched on pork shoulder cigars (ahem, I may have had two or three of those).
And for sweets, silky soft creme caramel, with a delicate vanilla custard and a rich, caramel syrup that oozed with every indulgent spoonful.
Waiters kept us well lubricated with glasses of bubbly, red and white wine and The Butterworth’s special sangria.
Let 2013 be known as the year I discovered, to my great surprise, that I have a taste for sangria. The Butterworth’s version includes lots of fresh fruit (orange, apple, strawberries) and a stick of cinnamon. Usually I struggle to get through a whole alcoholic drink, but this fruity concoction went down dangerously easily. I don’t think I’m becoming a fully fledged booze drinker any time soon though.
We paused briefly for speeches; first, Director of The Butterworth Keith Ashley reflecting on the hard work it took to get to this point, then the City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, who with a vivacious grin declared The Butterworth Bar & Kitchen open.
The Butterworth is well positioned and swish enough to become a destination for executive breakfast meetings, power lunches and Friday night drinks for the CBD’s corporate crowd, who work in high-rise headquarters just a stroll away.
The Butterworth Bar & Kitchen serves breakfast and coffee from 6am, and lunch and dinner, closing at midnight. I’m intrigued by the breakfast special named The Butterworth, which includes boiled egg with brioche soldiers. I’m also keen to come back and try the a la carte menu which features a Baldivis rabbit entree, a piggy main course with pork tenderloin and pork shoulder cigar with pearl onions, fennel, apple and sage, and a side dish called “sexy little salad”. There’s pineapple upside down cake on the dessert menu.
With all the bars and restaurants that have opened in the Perth CBD in recent months, it will be interesting to see how the punters settle down after the initial hoo-hah of checking out the latest and coolest. Where they choose to return and become regulars will be an essential factor in the longevity and viability of all these new places around town. Can Perth sustain all of this vibrance? The desire is certainly evident, and I’m sure I’m not looking through sangria-coloured glasses. A year or so from now, I hope the answer’s still a resounding YES.
The Butterworth Bar & Kitchen
Ground Floor, Exchange Plaza
Telephone: (08) 6181 9900
TFP attended the The Butterworth Bar & Kitchen launch party as an invited guest.