The Standard, Northbridge
Jac and I checked out The Standard last week. It opened in October last year on Roe Street, a short walk from Perth train station, next to Northbridge Chinese Restaurant where I get my favourite salt and pepper soft shell crab.
The power of a genuinely warm welcome can’t be understated; the staff at the bar did it beautifully. I sat down with a smile on my face and liked the place even before my first bite.
As is the trend these days, the menu is designed for sharing – it features mostly small plates plus four main-sized dishes. We ordered three small plates to begin.
The clams were delicious, served with buttery soft roasted cloves of garlic. We sucked all the cream sauce from the shells and mopped up the plate with the grilled sourdough bread.
The BBQ chicken wings are more Asian than North American in flavour, with a decent hit of chilli. Wings can be messy to eat, but these were easy – succulent chicken lollipops. The sour pickled apple was cooling and balanced the sweet, spicy marinade. Forget your cutlery, just pick ’em up with fingers.
The courtyard we were sitting in is referred to as the garden, but the real garden was on our peppery carpaccio plate, which featured as much greenery as meat. The tender beef, leaves and tendrils combined perfectly with dabs of wasabi mayonnaise and the bursty pop of soy pearls (they looked like peppercorns for just a second, until we remembered the ‘soy’ in the menu description). This is why we go out to eat.
Still hungry for savoury, we ordered another dish, which didn’t take long to arrive. The crumbed pork croquettes were fried nice and brown, innards marvelously meaty and gelatinous, made from braised pig tails with no potato or mystery filler whatsoever – all pig and incredibly juicy, rendering the accompaniments (beetroot, horseradish and hazelnut dust) unnecessary.
Others have raved online about the vanilla panna cotta, strawberry and lemonade dessert – it’s imaginative and original but we didn’t love it. The panna cotta itself was gorgeous, but the lemonade was overwhelmingly, intensely tart. It’s served in a stemless wine glass so you can appreciate the pretty layers but it’s not the best eating experience; the glass is really not designed for constant spoon action. It comes with straws but doesn’t work well as a drink due to the chunky bits (even before we added the shortbread crumble, the berries were straw cloggers – a bubble tea fat straw might work here. Boring as it may be, I think I prefer a less unique panna cotta.
Just about everyone I’ve shown the picture of chocolate ganache dessert has immediately desired it. The spiced rum is sprayed as a fine aromatic mist over the dish upon its delivery to the table. The dark chocolate ganache was rich and wonderfully bittersweet, with a rubbery finish – just a touch too much setting agent, perhaps – not enough to ruin the dish, but enough that we noticed. The toasted coconut fudge and chocolate crisps were fantastic.
We enjoyed The Standard. I’m not much of a boozer, so I really appreciate a bar that serves tasty food – I can hang out with my drinker mates and still be well fed. The staff were friendly and efficient – never intrusive but attentive enough so we never got hangry or thirsty. They even helped lost punters who were looking for Sneaky Tony’s (Northbridge’s ‘secret’ rum bar that only lets you in when you whisper the day’s password at the door).
At The Standard, you’ve got the choice of sitting inside or outside in the courtyard or the upstairs deck. Outside’s my pick for these balmy summer evenings, although in my case, the local mozzies evidently also got together for drinks at The Standard and enjoyed the rare 1975 Chinese red.
I had a great time and will be back.
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