Dinner at The Royal Bar and Brasserie

I had dinner with a colleague and friend, V, last Thursday evening. We went to The Royal (Corner Plain and Royal Streets, East Perth). I’m actually quite surprised we found time to eat that night, as we just talked and talked and talked and talked! Although we’ve worked under the same roof within sight of each other, we’ve usually been too busy to chat much.

We shared a serve of toasted garlic ciabatta (AU$8.00) as a starter. We thought it could have been a lot more garlicky. The ciabatta pieces were large and very bready, perhaps a little too bready. I’d have cut the pieces a lot smaller. The strangest feature of the garlic bread was something right in the centre of a couple of the pieces, which appeared to be cheese – it smelled and tasted like cheese, so I presume it was cheese (V tried some and agreed it was cheese – but really, you’d be too frightened to think that it could be anything else! :- P). I know many places make cheesey garlic bread these days, but they usually tell you when it’s cheesey. Garlic bread is garlic bread, and garlic bread with cheese is… garlic bread with cheese (or cheesey garlic bread)! There wasn’t a large amount of cheese in the centre – just enough to be noticeable and just enough to mystify me!

Garlic ciabatta

Garlic ciabatta

V ordered the roast pumpkin and broccolini penne (AU$22 with chicken, or $18 without chicken), with oven dried tomatoes, tossed in herb-infused extra virgin olive oil. Unfortunately, V gave it a thumbs down – she declared the pumpkin mushy and tasteless, the broccolini overly floppy, and the penne not cooked evenly. It looked better than it tasted, which was a shame.

Roast pumpkin and broccolini penne

I ordered the grilled barramundi, which was served with shoestring fries, royal salad and royal tartare sauce (yes, they called the salad and tartare sauce “royal”. Were they? Um, only geographically!). If you prefer, you may have the fish “colonial beer battered” instead of grilled. I know what beer batter is, but colonial beer batter? I’m not sure. I didn’t write the price of the fish dish down – I think it was somewhere around the $32 mark. The fish was served sitting on top of the fries – regular readers will know this is one of my pet hates, as this prematurely soggifies the fries that are trapped underneath. I did move the fish off the fries, but it was too late. Soggy, floppy, steamed fries. The fish had been presumably tossed in some seasoned flour prior to grilling and as a result had a thin coating on it which I didn’t care for – the coating was not at all crispy and didn’t have much of a flavour. Luckily, the fish itself was moist and delicious. And there were not one, but two big fish fillets, which was a most pleasing sight to this glutton’s hungry eyes! But yes, not only did I have fish soggifying fries, I had the top fillet of fish soggifying the bottom fillet of fish. *shakes head*

Grilled barramundi with shoestring fries

V loves her sweets, and had to have dessert. She ordered a piece of cookies and cream cheese cake, which was served with cream. Apologies for the odd yellowish tinge to the photo, but the lighting in the restaurant was quite dim by this stage.

Cookies and cream cheese cake

The service wasn’t great – it was unacceptably difficult getting a waiter’s attention so V could order dessert, and once we did get a waiter’s attention, she promised she’d return to take the order but never came back. We saw a number of customers leave before their dinner dishes were cleared away – or rather, we saw a number of customers leave without ordering dessert, after they’d been sitting for a while waiting and waiting for their dinner dishes to be cleared away. Many of us have done this, I’m sure – we push the dishes off to the side, sometimes even pile them up to make it painfully obvious – “PLEASE CLEAR THESE DISHES!”* It makes you wonder though, how old the cakes in the display case are, if staff aren’t following through and taking dessert orders! In the end, V got up and ordered dessert with the person at the coffee machine. Me, I would’ve kept my money and skipped dessert (if I can’t get your attention, you don’t deserve any more of my money!), but I guess when V needs her sweets, she really needs her sweets! :-P

One more day of week, and then it’s the Easter long weekend – YAY! We’ll be cleaning house, seeing family and friends and possibly playing a little mahjong on Sunday! What have you guys got planned for Easter?

*Do I sound a little cranky? That’s because I am! :-P

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