Perth’s first pintxos bar, Bar de Halcyon opened this week in Wolf Lane, opposite Cheeky Sparrow. Jac and I attended the launch event on Tuesday night.
“Pintxo”, pronounced “pin-cho”, means “spike” in Spanish, and pintxos are bite-sized snacks typically served on skewers, traditionally eaten in bars in northern Spain.
Bar de Halcyon is a two-storey venue with an open kitchen downstairs, with drinks and pintxo bars on both levels.
The stylish fit-out has a distinctly Western Australian flavour, with recycled timber from the Bunbury Jetty used in the tabletops and the feature wall behind the upstairs and downstairs bars, and artwork by local street artist Hurben featuring the once ubiquitous WAY 79 logo and Percy Penguin, an old favourite character from the 1970s/80s children’s television program The Early Bird Show. Hurben is the artist behind the sprawling, 15-metre-high wolf mural on the brick wall opposite Bar de Halcyon.
While the Bar de Halcyon’s food isn’t always authentic Spanish nor always served on a spike, what we sampled was tasty and moreish: veal meatballs smothered in tomato sauce, party-sized sausage rolls topped with relish, manchego and chorizo croquettes, oysters with yuzu and salmon roe, fuet (traditional Catalan pork sausage) with green olive, scallop ceviche and salads served in jars (beetroot with feta, and Mediterranean-style marinated tomato garnished with violet petals). The wagyu sliders and porcini mushroom croquettes are beauties. There’s no need to order your meal – just help yourself from the pintxo bar, buffet-style. Your bill is calculated via an honesty system that involves counting up your skewers, though I’m not sure what they do for items that aren’t easily skewered.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the appearance of Percy Penguin himself, who arrived in time for the speeches by Bar de Halcyon co-owner David Heaton and Perth City Councillor Rob Butler. Percy stuck around long enough to pose for a few photographs before disappearing into the night like a superhero.
As much as I enjoy tapas, it often feels like a very pricey exercise; pintxos are cheaper per item, but also smaller. Will these snacks burn a hole in my wallet if I eat enough to call it dinner? I’ll have to return with my mates for a test-run.
Lined with patchy brick walls, rubbish bins and the odd grubby corner, Wolf Lane is still a somewhat grungy alleyway, but it’s the heartbeat of Perth’s small bar scene and well worth exploring – and this new bar of bite-sized snacks is a welcome and unique addition.
Bar de Halcyon
Wolf Lane, Perth (just off King Street)
Telephone: (08) 86336 9243
Open six days, closed on Sundays
TFP and Jac attended the Bar de Halcyon launch event as invited guests. The pintxos at the launch event were complimentary, but prices have been included for your information.