Recently, I was interviewed by Friendseat.com, which is a foodie website based in the United States. Their final question posed to me was, “Any food recommendations for the people visiting Perth?” I responded by stating three establishments – Dusit Thai in Northbridge, Source Foods in Northbridge and Gypsy Tapas House in Fremantle. Unfortunately, I am going to have to extract Gypsy Tapas House (GTH) from my list of recommendations after my last venture there.
The atmosphere is still lovely. It’s very Fremantle-chic and it has a lovely relaxed vibe to it. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, as work related issues led A and I to head down to Fremantle late on a Friday evening. On our way down, A called GTH to see if we could have dinner at the 6.30 sitting (there is a later sitting at 8.30). At 5.45 on a Friday evening, we were told that they had space for us. I was a little shocked but decided that it must have been due to luck. Looking back on it now, I think it was a sign of the new times…
Last time I went there, the place was packed at both settings (in winter) and the food was amazing. The menu was inspired and the quality of the ingredients was outstanding. I remember thinking that it was awesome to have somewhere in Perth with quality tapas at a reasonable price. The tapas plates are $8 each, which is substantively less than other Perth establishments serving tapas.
The waiter suggested we try one of the banquets. GTH offers two banquets; one at $30 a head, which includes 14 dishes picked by the chef, and another at $40 which is an unlimited option. I decided that we’d pick our own due to the new menu leaving a bit to be desired.
Our first dish was the babaganoush with Turkish bread. As the majority of my readers know by now, I am Middle Eastern and have been brought up with Middle Eastern cuisine. GTH’s rendition of babaganoush wasn’t very similar however it was nice in its own right. I didn’t taste the chargrilled eggplant in the dip, however this plate was the best of the night.
Next, we ordered the chilli crab, provencal rabbit and the sticky rice with port, sage and porcini. The chilli crab was nice, however it came out on a plate as half a crab. It was difficult on the tiny tables to get the crabmeat out, without the crab/nut cracker or a finger bowl afterwards.
The provencal rabbit consisted of two tiny bits of “rabbit”, which was actually moreso “rabbit bones” and tiny olives with the pits included on a basic tomato based sauce. The rabbit was tough and it was really disappointing, due to the lack of meat.
|Sticky Rice with Port, Sage and Porcini|
Seeing as though by this stage we were still quite hungry, as the majority of our dishes were a shamble, we ordered more Turkish bread ($3) to finish off our babaganoush dip. Thankfully we did this, as I would’ve stopped at the maccas on the way home otherwise. The Turkish bread was our staple for the night, as our next dishes were even worse.
|Duck Ravioli with Pear Puree|
My worst dish of the night was the duck ravioli with pear puree. Firstly, the dish was cold when it arrived at the table. The ravioli was tough on the outside, as if the pasta wasn’t fresh and the puree was dumped in the middle of the plate and tasted like baby food. After one bite, I returned it.
|Calamari & Prawn Cocktail|
The next disaster was the calamari and prawn cocktail. The prawn (singular) was a bit plastic-like and it did not taste very nice. The squid wasn’t any better – really tough and was caked with some sort of liquid. At first I thought the liquid was Thousand Island dressing but to be honest, I can’t be a 100% sure. After two bites, this was returned to the kitchen.
|Broccoli with Red Pesto|
We also ordered the broccoli and red pesto. The broccoli was stone-cold and not quite cooked. The pesto on top wasn’t very appetising and by this stage in the night, A and I were so disappointed that we gave up and returned it to the kitchen.
|Radicchio & Parmesan Salad|
At the end of the night we paid $94.00 and left very, very unsatisfied. We asked one of the waitresses if the chef had changed recently but she couldn’t give us an answer. I think it’s a possibility as GTH was amazing in the past. After leaving, A turned to me and said, “Was our last venture an apparition?” I think she may be right – did we dream it and did we somehow make it out to something that we would recommend to people (which we both had)? After this disappointment I will never, ever recommend an establishment without numerous and recent experiences there. I still stick by Source Foods and Dusit Thai as for years both have been living up to my expectations, however Gypsy Tapas House has been scrapped.
I do not recommend going here until they pull their (metaphoric) socks up and serve patrons appetising food. Sorry GTH – you were a disappointment.