“Taking the hint, we decamped on foot in a westerly direction, as the rozzers say, taking our baby boomer wallets stuffed with disposable income to the utterly delightful Beluga restaurant, where we spent out money with gay abandon on wines older than the [insert establishment] waitstaff” (Rob Broadfield, June 9 2012, The West Australian West Weekend).
For me, blogging isn’t just about writing a review and taking photos, it’s also about research and learning new opinions. Typically, every Saturday I find a copy of the The West Australian West Weekend magazine and flick directly to Rob Broadfield’s review. A few months ago, I stopped in at Louis Baxters for a quick coffee before heading to Subi Farmers Market for my weekly fruit and veg shop. While waiting for my takeaway coffee, I read the review that the excerpt above was extracted from and upon reading the paragraph quoted above, I had a quiet chuckle to myself. Not only did it make me laugh, but it also made me remember that I have been meaning to try Beluga for a while now but it’s remained unchecked for nearly a year.
Our friends T and Ness have also been meaning to try it and during our last dinner at Ha Lu, we decided that Beluga would be our next restaurant to head to as a group. T and Ness had only returned from their extended overseas trip when we headed to Beluga for dinner and we all had high expectations.
Two West Coast Eagles players, Andrew Embley and Dean Cox, co-own Beluga and the restaurant’s executive chef is Peter Manifis, who is also the chef of Il Contro in South Perth. Beluga is a relatively new restaurant that has only been open since August 2011.
When we arrived, we were escorted to a high table in front of the kitchen pass. We were asked if we wanted drinks to start with, and without looking at the drink menu, we all decided to order a G&T each (made with Hendricks gin).
For our entrees, we ordered the Caramelised Linley Valley Pork Belly, Hummus, Aged Sherry and pomegranate Dressing ($24) and the Char-grilled Freo Octopus, Cous Cous, Feta, Charred Spanish Onion and Flame Blistered Chili Salad ($28) to share between four.
The Caramelised Linley Valley Pork Belly, Hummus, Aged Sherry and Pomegrante Dressing came out first and it was an excellent start to the evening. The pork belly was tender and sweet, thanks to the aged sherry glazing. The pomegranate pips added a burst of flavour and an interesting texture in comparison to the deliciously smooth hummus. This dish was the standout for all four of us and a must order if you head to Beluga.
The Char-grilled Freo Octopus, Cous Cous, Feta, Charred Spanish Onion and Flame Blistered Chili Salad arrived next. The octopus was chewy and regardless of the individually flavourful elements, the dish overall was underwhelming in flavour.
For our mains, Ness and I decided to order the 1/2 Greek Roasted Banjo Dorper Lamb Shoulder (serves 2) ($26pp), as well as Green salad with mixed leaves, lemon, sea salt and olive oil ($9). Ness asked if there was a possibility of getting some sort of potato side dish to share between two (as there was no options on their menu) and they were kind enough to provide us with a side of Mashed potato for $18. The lamb was an excellent main that was full of flavour and extremely tender.
Both A and T ordered the South Australian Mussels with Chorizo, White Wine, Fennel and Parsley ($30) with a serving of the New Norcia Flat Bread, Olive Oil, Garlic, Rosemary, Sea Salt ($9) to share. Both T and A were underwhelmed with the main, as there were beards on the mussels and the sauce was really salty. Both T and A didn’t finish their mains.
We weren’t quite ready to end the evening so we ordered dessert. A and I ordered a piece of the Cannoli with Hazelnut and Pistachio Cream ($9 each) to share, whereas Ness ordered the Beluga Pavlova ($16).
The Cannoli with Hazelnut and Pistachio Cream was rock hard, to the point I was unable to cut it with cutlery at all. The pistachio cream tasted horrible and nothing like pistachio. We didn’t end up eating this dessert.
On the flipside, Ness’s Beluga Pavlova was really good. The flavour of the raspberry coulis and meringue was heaven – I was happy to finish the plate off when T and Ness stated that they were too full to eat any more.
Overall, the four of us were underwhelmed with Beluga. The food was hit-and-miss and sitting at a high table and chair was really uncomfortable. The tables were also really close together – nearing the end of the night I put my jacket on and accidentally elbowed the gentlemen next to me on the table to the right even though I was making a concerted effort to keep my elbows in. On the table to the left, the group were able to have a good look at our food when it arrived without moving from their seats.
We were all a bit surprised at the end of the night when the bill arrived – $75 for four G&Ts ($18 each), so $150 on drinks alone (as we also purchased a bottle of red (the cheapest on the drink menu) to share). Our bill came to $431 for the evening, and after leaving we also noticed that we had been overcharged.
Overall, I think it is safe to say that the four of us wouldn’t return to Beluga in a hurry. I understand the food prices due to the sourcing of high quality food, however it is hard to see the value in what we paid to be put into our glasses, both in regards to the wine and the gin. For me, this is an important element, as I enjoy a few glasses of wine or a G&T when I eat out and like to see the value in the price tag.
Sorry Rob Broadfield but we disagree on the amazingness of Beluga!