There’s no mistaking this is a wine store. All around us were wine bottles with local and international labels – on shelves, caged in racks, sold by the case. With bottles, boxes and wooden crates stacked high, it felt like we were sitting in a store room or had come for lunch on moving day – I won’t forget this wine cave in a hurry.
For my birthday in April, my family gave me a $100 Best Restaurants of Australia gift card. I decided to use it recently for a weekend lunch at Lamont’s Wine Store Cottesloe. We’ve dined at Lamont’s Bishop’s House in the Perth CBD and Lamont’s Smith Beach in Yallingup. Now that we’ve ticked Cottesloe off the list, there’s Lamont’s Swan Valley left to try.
The menu at Cottesloe consists mostly of tapas dishes including half a dozen items that are available in both tapas and main sizes. We liked the idea of shared plates for lunch. Add a couple of rounds of baguette and glasses of Lamont’s Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (AU$9 per glass), and we were all set for a leisurely meal.
We sucked on the tails of the sweet, bouncy grilled tiger prawns, served with fall-apart cooked saffron tomatoes (here’s where chunks of bread came in handy), and fresh herbs and leaves dripping in buttermilk, pleasantly cool and slightly sour. There were three prawns in this tapas serving, the third prawn we meticulously divided in two.
Two years later, I still remember and think about the exquisitely moist and juicy piece of chicken I enjoyed at a truffle degustation dinner at Lamont’s Bishop’s House, and I had great expectations for the sesame poached chicken with courgette ribbons. I was not disappointed – the fragrant slices of cold chicken were tender and delicate, the lightly pickled courgette the best of the vegetables on our plates.
The duck rillettes came in a generous serving, with croutons, greens and wafer-thin cross sections of fresh pear. The rillettes had a sweet, almost cake-like aftertaste, but a texture that was all meat – any carnivore would be immediately entranced. We slathered it thickly on chunks of baguette (hence the need for a second serving of bread).
Whenever I order grilled scallops, I want them with a golden brown crust just like this. Each scallop was topped with more caramelised goodness – shredded sticky sumac lamb – and strips of fresh basil. We had a pipsqueak of a specimen on the plate – at just over $4 per scallop, you’d be understandably outraged if this was the sole scallop you received for your $4. Thankfully, there were three scallops of a decent size on the plate, including a monster that I christened ‘Jabba‘ before I ate it. I could consume a scary number of these delicious bites – scary because of the subsequent damage to my wallet.
Our final dish was the venison chorizo, a dozen slices served with a wedge of grilled lemon. The open kitchen is right next to the dining room, and we enjoyed the sizzle and savoury aroma of the chorizo on the hotplate even before squeezing the lemon and tasting the chewy, peppery sausage.
For dessert, Jac ordered the honey panna cotta, served with stewed strawberries and crushed pistachios. The silken honeyed pudding was superb and in my opinion didn’t really need the nutty debris, but that didn’t stop me sneaking in tastes between mouthfuls of my own dessert.
I chose the warm ginger cake, fancified with dollops of lemon curd and thickened cream. The lemon dominated the ginger, but no complaints from me. The best way to enjoy this hot and cold dessert is to eat it quickly – too easy.
We split a glass of Lamont’s Muscat (AU$10) for a warm fuzzy finish. We’d caught the train to Cottesloe (Lamont’s is a short walk from the station) so had no worries about drink driving.
The service was outstanding. When we walked in at noon, it was just our table and one other, gradually building up to half a dozen or so tables, comprising of twos, a three, and fours. And for most of it, we had one waiter looking after us all, and one chef cooking his heart out in the open kitchen. Our waiter apologised on two occasions for not returning sooner to our table to pour the wine – but we didn’t mind. We could see how busy he was and how hard he was working to serve everyone (including hefting a couple of cases of wine for a customer) – we could see the concentration in his expression. I know I’m raving about nothing more than a waiter doing a his job well, but this is something we don’t see enough of when dining out in Perth, and we were very impressed.
The bill came to just over $160, with drinks. Not a cheap lunch, so I can’t see this becoming a regular casual outing, but even if I hadn’t paid $100 with a gift card, I’d have still gone home perfectly content with my food baby. Kate Lamont’s signature is evident: dishes presented simply, flavour the star of the show. It’s been a while since a tapas-style meal and service has impressed this much. If all dining experiences were as good as this, no restaurateur would ever fear Urbanspoon.
Lamont’s Wine Store Cottesloe
12 Station St, Cottesloe WA 6011
Telephone: (08) 9385 0666
Kitchen is open 12noon to 10pm
Bookings can be made via Dimmi on the Lamont’s website – very convenient.