140 Reimagined, with food by The Classroom

140 is a 4,800sqm retail and dining precinct bounded by the Murray Street Mall, Wellington and William Streets and the GPO, the retail wing of one40william in the Perth CBD.

Last week, I attended an event called 140 Reimagined and got a sneak peek of the project that will see further redevelopment at 140 over the next year or so. It will create a exciting urban village in the heart of the Perth CBD with the city’s original laneways connecting the different parts of the precinct, with more new restaurants (including cheaper/casual dining options), bars and shops. Since opening for business, 140 has established itself as a cultural and creative hub, supporting and playing host to artists, designers and independent retailers, and as part of an arts program, a number of local, national and international artists will work on key areas of the 140 redevelopment.

The 140 team talked us through the plans for 140’s redevelopment as we scrolled through a presentation on iPads complete with artist impressions of changes to Murray Street Mall, Postal Place, Globe Court and laneways including Globe Lane and Mitchell Lane. We sipped on a cheeky little drink made with Hendricks Gin and housemade rose syrup – the 140 Spritz created by The Classroom, which we poured into glasses of ice garnished with fresh cucumber slices and a tiny, delicate rosebud. On the table were our name cards on pink acrylic rectangles. We were invited to take them home as souvenirs. I might just pop mine on my desk at work.

Our drink selection for the event included Little Creatures Rogers Beer, Doss Blockos pale lager which is packaged in a brown bag, wine by Some Young Punks (warning, Flash site) – 2010 Monsters, Monsters Attack! (Riesling) and 2010 The Squid’s Fist (Sangiovese Shiraz). The space in which the 140 Reimagined event was held will be taken up by a new bar, subject to licence approvals.

Andrew Bennett from The Classroom Bar shakes up cocktails.

The menu was by The Classroom from North Perth. We took our places around the table and chef Daniel Sterpini introduced the dishes that were about to be served.

To start: fig carpaccio, goats curd, crisp diced apple and pomegranate, sprinkled with micro herbs. Apart from a touch of salt in the creamy goats curd, this dainty dish was quite sweet, more like dessert than a first course. I had no complaints though – once I picked up the fork and started eating, I didn’t stop until I’d scraped my plate clean.

Next, zucchini fritters with cucumber and feta whip. The fritters were amazingly light and not at all greasy, the feta whip good enough to eat on its own. With no spoons on the table I’d have dipped my finger into the whip and licked it up once the fritters were all eaten, but I was in the company of friendly strangers and on my best behaviour.

Fig carpaccio, goats curd, pomegranate and microherbs; Zucchini fritters with cucumber and feta whip

The third course was Atlantic salmon, lightly cured, served in a smoking jar with scattered potato salad. We opened the lids to release the wisps of fragrant smoke trapped inside. Food theatre aside, it’s a super dish. The fish was very soft and mild, topped with a blob of creme fraiche, speared with skewer so you could easily pick it up for eating. Also in the jar: cooked sliced potato, crunchy sweet pickles, red onion, wholegrain mustard and micro herbs. If you ever try this dish, before you start digging in, make sure you stick your nose into the open jar and breathe in that wonderfully aromatic smoke.

Atlantic salmon, lightly cured, served in a smoking jar with scattered potato salad

Atlantic salmon, lightly cured, served in a smoking jar with scattered potato salad

The fourth and final course was The Classroom’s take on the KFC Bucket and an 80s classic, shaker fries. The Classroom’s fried chicken is cooked with 12 secret herbs and spices rather than the Colonel’s 11. The hand-cut shaker chunky chips and dynamite dust were served in a brown paper bag ready for shaking (the fastest to grab the bag did the shaking, but I reckon everyone wanted a go). We dipped the chips into chipotle aioli. I threw out wishful thoughts that involved sneaking a second jar of salmon and potatoes… and replaced them with fantasies of nicking off with a bucket of chicken.

The Classroom's bucket of fried chicken with hand-cut shaker chips, dynamite dust and chipotle aioli

Thanks to my dining companions for putting up with my photography and being such good sports in assisting with hand modeling and smoky jar shots. The food was great – fun to eat, and even with two fried courses, surprisingly light. I was thrilled to get the chance to taste The Classroom’s food as I am yet to go there (it’s on my never-ending To Eat List). Last year, they made a special cocktail for Easter, the Bunny Alexander, served in a Lindt chocolate bunny, and they tell me it will be back again this Easter. I plan to get there this year and share one with Jac.

The dishes we were served at 140 Reimagined are all available on The Classroom’s menu.
The Classroom
356 Charles Street
North Perth
Telephone: (08) 9444 7729
Tuesday to Friday 4pm to late
Saturday and Sunday 12pm to late
Closed on Mondays

The most interesting of the cafes and restaurants at 140 currently are Iku Sushi, the home of cheeseburger sushi (have you tried it?), and Tartine Cafe, right on the corner of William and Wellington Streets, selling Five Senses coffee, French pastries baked onsite daily and traditional French handmade sourdough ‘string baguettes’.

But of course, the food tenant many of us are eagerly anticipating is Jamie’s Italian, the latest in super celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s global chain of neighbourhood restaurants, set to become 140’s cornerstone dining establishment when it opens in late March. The rumour is there’ll be no announcement of a specific opening date – they’ll open the doors when ready later this month and let people discover for themselves. Judging by the excitement among Perth fans, it’ll be huge – and that’s not just because it’ll seat over 200 people.

And will Jamie himself be coming to “Perf” for the opening? Updated: Latest news suggests no – and 25 March is the unconfirmed but rumoured opening date. Let’s see…

Corner of William St and Murray Street Mall, Perth WA 6000

Jamie’s Italian Perth is set to open in late March.
140 William Street (the Mitchell building) – where Herdsman Fresh used to be.

Perth keeps evolving and there are more exciting times and great dining ahead. I’ll share news about the redevelopment of 140 as it progresses. Watch this space.

1-year-old Truffle says: “Jamie who? I’d rather munch on these pencils.” Pictured are some of the items in my (very Jamie-themed) 140 Reimagined goodie bag. And yes, Truffle is sitting on the dining table – her personal rendition of “The ‘no cats on the table’ house rule… Reimagined.”

TFP attended the 140 Reimagined event as an invited guest.

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