In the past year or so, we’ve had some awesome bars open in Perth and Northbridge – not just great places to enjoy drinks with your mates, but also serving up fantastic food. One of my favourites is The Standard on Roe Street, which I’ve been to about half a dozen times now and recommend to friends without hesitation. And it’s not just the food I’ve enjoyed; I like to sit outside in the courtyard, right at the back – in many a Perth establishment this foolhardy choice of table would practically guarantee your invisibility, but we’ve never been forgotten or ignored at The Standard.
A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to a tasting of The Standard’s new menu. It’s no secret that I’ve become a huge fan of head chef Chase Weber’s food – it’s imaginative, vibrant and delicious.
The pork croquettes and lamb belly are gone, but some of the other popular items such as the chicken wings, fava chips, chicken parfait and garlic clams (love ’em!) are still on the menu.
The carpaccio is still served with plenty of greenery, but it’s been given a new flavour twist – wasabi mayonnaise has been replaced by harissa cream, with the enticing pop of Pedro Ximenez caviar. The meat is soft, the seasoning just right – it’s a wonderfully balanced dish. Since the tasting, I’ve returned to The Standard and had the carpaccio again – it is one of my favourite Perth restaurant dishes right now. And on my second time eating the carpaccio, as we polished off the plate between us and chased down every single tiny leaf and amber pearl, I had to agree with Jac’s comment: “Next time, we get one EACH.”
I don’t like octopus and would never order an octopus dish – but in the spirit of the tasting, gave everything a go, including the new octopus salad, made with steamed Fremantle octopus that is grilled to order and chopped into meaty chunks. The sour strips of carrot, crunchy almonds and charred cauliflower make a terrific salad, and there were lots of “mmm”s around me, but not even this could turn me into an octopus lover.
A chef needs confidence to be creative and innovative – and here’s proof this one has balls! Sweet filled doughnuts are sneakily nudging their way past cupcakes at markets and cafes around Perth, but savoury doughnuts are still a rarity. I loved these chewy fried dough balls with their dark gooey centres of mushroom ragu and milk jam, rolled liberally in the creamy lemon and chive curd. My kind of finger food.
Along with the carpaccio, the yellow fish curry was my favourite dish of the tasting – tender pieces of boneless market fish cooked in a tart, mild yellow curry with pineapple chunks, with coconut, tomato and coriander sambal. But it’s the sticky rice balls that have me intrigued and addicted – made with glutinous rice and coconut milk, they look more like asteroids than balls (I can’t believe I’m still talking about balls!), but they’re soft, sweet, moreish and a perfect companion to the tangy curry. I’ve since gone back to The Standard and ordered the fish curry again – it really is a cracker of a dish, but it’s the sticky rice balls that are so unique and memorable.
Chef Weber has called his smoked beef brisket dish a deconstructed Reuben sandwich. Even with a bite of everything – brisket, chunky buttered lettuce, golden crouton, thick-cut crisp sour pickle and a good smear of the piquant Russian dressing, the intensely smoky flavour dominated. I’m no stranger to smoked beef brisket – I’ve enjoyed brisket in Texas as well as in Perth – but for me, this dish didn’t quite hit the right balance.
The pork croquettes showed mastery of pig’s tail, but now there’s Linley Valley pork cheek and jowl, slow cooked with tender loving care, served glazed in pork stock, with apple foam that melted into the stock before I’d realised, and warm Brussels sprout and broad bean salad. Crispy curls of salt and vinegar pig’s ear complete the beautiful porkapalooza – all the best textures of pork. The menu is designed for sharing, but a pork lover may understandably want to hog this all to her/himself.
Dessert to finish the tasting session: Passion Pop, passionfruit parfait with boozy blobs of soft cachaça jelly, shards of sesame brittle, freeze dried lychees that I could just keep eating, lychee gel and fizzy pop rocks. It’s snap, crackle and pop, with a super-smooth fruity parfait that is just smashing.
As mentioned, I went back to The Standard mid-week with Jac for more carpaccio and fish curry. We shared a third dish – the ‘chicken rice noodle’ with two succulent free range Liberty Chicken thighs (local birds from Bullsbrook) marinated in chilli, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime and ginger, chargrilled and served under a rubble of roasted peanuts. The nuoc cham is fiery but served in a separate little bowl so chilli wusses can easily avoid it. The fresh rice noodles were a little stuck together (no doubt from the steam trap from being under the chicken) but they were not gummy – it was easy enough to use fork and knife to carve off mouthfuls. The chicken, peanuts, noodles and herbs all went very well together. We left behind clean plates.
The Standard | Bar – Garden – Kitchen
28 Roe Street Northbridge
Monday to Thursday 4pm to 12am
Friday and Saturday 12pm to 12am
Sunday 12pm to 10pm
Apart from the chicken rice noodle, the dishes featured in this post were sampled by TFP with compliments of The Standard at a special menu tasting. Prices have been included for your information.
I usually go to The Standard unannounced, as a regular punter with Jac or friends, and we pay for all our food and drinks – we’re more than happy to!
See my previous posts featuring The Standard: