A couple of weekends ago, Jac and I celebrated our 18th anniversary with lunch at Fraser’s Restaurant in Kings Park. As we cannot legally marry in Australia, we don’t have a wedding anniversary date; we celebrate every year in May, the month in which we became a couple.
We caught the train to the city, then the No.37 bus from St Georges Terrace to Kings Park – an 8-minute ride in the free transit zone. It’s the middle of autumn but here in Perth we’ve enjoyed many gorgeous days with sunshine and blue skies. It was glorious day to be out; we didn’t even need jackets. (Looks like we timed it right – the next weekend was very cold, wet and blustery.)
One thing I’ve learned from Jac during our 18 years together is an appreciation of raw fish and raw meat dishes – sashimi, carpaccio, tartare, ceviche, tataki and so on. I was a young 22 when we first met and was not a raw fan, but Jac absolutely loves raw dishes and can’t get enough of them. Over the years, through constant exposure (and having little tastes of dishes Jac would order), I’ve grown to actively share and enjoy them, and even order them for myself. In Hawaii last year, we both ate lots of ahi poke, made with cubes of raw local tuna, and one of my favourite dishes of the entire trip was from Mama’s Fish House on Maui Island, raw ahi marinated in Tahitian lime and coconut milk, served in a coconut. Blogging has also led to new discoveries, including the first time I truly appreciated kingfish (now my favourite sashimi), at an epic degustation event at Tetsuya’s in Sydney; but the bulk of the credit must go to Jac.
The hiramasa kingfish was a beauty and our pick of the bunch – the sour-sweet pink grapefruit, fig and peppercorn vinaigrette enhanced the fish without overwhelming its delicate flavour. Both raw fish dishes tasted incredibly fresh, the tuna tartare simply magnificent eaten on a crisp cos lettuce leaf. The carpaccio melted in the mouth – the slices of well marbled beef so soft and paper-thin they seemed smeared rather than laid on the plate, with bitey baby capers, peppery rocket, shiny heirloom tomatoes that dripped with juice, and slightly crumbly parmesan crisps. The carpaccio comes in one size only, but we ordered the small sizes for the raw fish dishes, which turned out to be the perfect amount for our shared starters.
We both chose red meat for main course. Jac had the Kilcoy eye fillet (125 grams, AU$32), served with roast kipfler potatoes, caramelised red onion and Bearnaise sauce. The sauce was delivered via silver service, two generous dollops at sauce fiend Jac’s request, almost as big as the steak! Jac declared the medium rare steak so juicy it almost didn’t need a sauce… almost. I ordered the Avon Valley braised lamb shoulder (AU$44) – two lamby tree stumps on my plate, cooked well done but surprisingly, not dry – served with eggplant caponata and river mint jelly. I also ordered potato puree (AU$10), which was unctuous, buttery and perfect with the lamb. I had moved onto another Lychee Ecstasy (why not?) while Jac enjoyed two glasses of red – first, Plantagenet Juxtapose Syrah 2012 (AU$15 glass), then Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Shiraz 2008 (AU$19 glass).
Jac enjoyed her terrarium dessert – rhubarb and buttermilk panna cotta (AU$18) with shortbread, white chocolate ganache and frozen yoghurt, served in a glass bubble and garnished with edible flowers. We had a good chuckle at the sight of my dessert – Valrhona blond chocolate mousse (AU$18) with salted peanut brittle, chocolate crumble and burnt banana. We saw the pale mousse through crazy cat lady eyes – distinctly cat poo-like swirls sitting on chocolate soil. That didn’t put me off at all; the mousse was rich and would’ve been overwhelmingly sweet on its own, but bites of salted peanut brittle balanced it beautifully. I cracked my way through the caramel brûlée tops on the banana slices. Not just good, but good fun.
Service was efficient and friendly but refreshingly un-chatty. The food was excellent; the raw fish exquisite. It was a wonderful lunch to celebrate our anniversary – here’s to many more. And maybe one day, a wedding.
Fraser Ave, Kings Park
West Perth WA 6005
Monday to Saturday: Lunch and Dinner 12pm to late
Sunday: Lunch and Dinner 11.30am to late