Rifo’s in East Vic Park is no more – it’s been replaced by Bravo’s. We checked it out recently for an early dinner on Friday night. The dining room’s stylish but not swanky. The plastic chairs are surprisingly comfy. The restaurant was near empty when we arrived around 6pm, but a steady stream of diners soon followed.
Jac’s Virgin Mary (AU$6) was seasoned well and hit the spot nicely after a long day.
We shared an entree of mushrooms and polenta (AU$14.50) – roasted field mushrooms, crumbled goat’s cheese and rocket served on polenta cakes. The golden polenta cakes were wonderful, but I’m sorry, chefs of Perth – the combo of mushrooms, curdy cheese and rocket is swinging fast from classic to cliché.
For main course, Jac ordered the winter salad (AU$25.50) with prawns, peanuts, rocket, feta, mint, lime and coconut dressing. The salad itself was simple, consisting mostly of mixed leaves, the tails-on plump prawns arranged all around. I must emphasise there was nothing wrong with the dish – but even with freshly cooked bursty prawns, a plate of cold salad is not what I’d choose for dinner on a wintry night, and I think Jac regretted her choice as soon as she had a taste of my pasta. Dish envy and order regret crept up but I had plenty of pasta to share.
I love spaghetti and meatballs. Bravo’s version was excellent: a generous serving, al dente spaghettini, tasty meatballs, and a sauce I’d lick off the plate if no one was watching. I suspect it wasn’t just my spaghettini and meatballs that made Jac regret her choice – it was all the other delectable looking pizza and pasta dishes being delivered to adjacent tables. Usually it’s me suffering order regret – typically, when I first scan a menu, a dish will jump out at me. As I look through the rest of the menu, I make the mistake of not sticking to what initially appealed; I end up agonising between two or three choices and almost always pick the ‘wrong’ one. For me, I think the trick is to order quickly and not over-think the decision. Do you often suffer dish envy or order regret?
Not feeling satisfied from her salad, Jac was keen to fill the void with dessert. Whenever there’s panna cotta on the menu, you can guarantee that’s what she’ll choose. This was vanilla bean and yoghurt pannacotta with a glassy shard of pistachio praline, half a poached pear and rosewater syrup (AU$14.50). The panna cotta was silky and wonderfully wobbly, sweetly fragrant with vanilla yet sour from the yoghurt – I think I prefer the more traditional cream (“panna” is Italian for “cream”, after all). I like my poached fruit to be tender and easy to cut with just a fork; the pear needed a little longer in the poaching pot.
I almost skipped dessert but said a greedy yeah (probably more like YEAH!) to the brioche bread & butter pudding with butterscotch sauce, honeycomb, banana and rum (AU$14.50). At first glance it looked like a pillowy wedge of sugar-dusted jam sponge, but tasted oh, a thousand times more wicked – moist brioche with surprise pockets of melted chocolate, a chunk of crunchy honeycomb better than Violet Crumble (especially when dipped in the oozy sticky butterscotch sauce), and to my delight, soft banana buried in between the layers of brioche.
I was defeated by this sweet monster but we asked for a doggy bag, which was cheerfully provided for no extra charge. And at least two greedy doggies enjoyed the leftover pudding the next day, one grudgingly sharing her spoon, almost daring to growl in protest but holding back the fighting words: “HEY, that was MY dessert!” (Perhaps that’s the secret to 16 years of togetherness.)
Our first experience of Bravo’s was good. Service was friendly and we enjoyed our meal. A buttery bravo and top marks for the bread and butter pudding! We’ll be back for sure. Next on my hit list: The Donut (see Bravo’s photo on Facebook).
933 Albany Hwy
East Victoria Park WA 6101
Telephone: (08) 9361 6055
Tuesday to Thursday 7am to 10pm
Friday 7am to 11pm
Saturday 8am to 11pm
Sunday 8am to 10pm
Note: Rifo’s is gone from East Vic Park but Rifo’s on Guildford Road (corner of Eighth Avenue) in Maylands is still open.