cantina 663 – mt lawley
Following the great breakfast we had at Cantina, I immediately jumped at the chance to make a booking after the Christmas break, thinking dinner would be equally as good. Alas, it was not meant to be. I’m going to keep this one brief, because for once I guess I don’t have much to say.
The menu at first glance is quite delightful – heavy on the starters and short on the mains, the menu cleverly caters for all tastes. Starters of cans of ortiz anchovies with bread; lamb shoulder terrine and chargrilled squid all sound equally attractive. In hindsight we should have had a meal of many starters, instead of the usual duo of a starter and a main.
Just like at breakfast – the service is excellent. Water was immediately served and the waiters were really helpful and genuinely friendly.
Lamb shoulder terrine with lentil salad and gilled bread; warm olives in oil.
The starters were tasty – the lamb shoulder terrine was gelatinous and spread like soft butter on the grilled bread. Well executed and original, the robust texture of the lamb was complemented by the earthy lentils. The olives were an assortment of colours, big and small, and arrived doused in warm fragrant oil. The marinated oil is scented with herbs and the bread was a luscious sponge for it. The olives were juicy, tender and more-ish. The olives were salty, but it’s a good excuse to have a drink. The bellinis here are presented quite beautifully. Instead of leaving peach nectar to sink to the bottom of the glass, the puree is spread around the flute and frozen, melting as the sparkling wine is consumed, allowing the fragrant peach aroma to permeate each sip.
Okay so now for the anticlimax. The mains. For the cost of each of the mains, I guess we expected better. The bf’s red bream was unexpectedly sitting on a cold seafood broth. It wasn’t unexpected as in good – but a strange juxtaposition of robust flavours, chunks of cold seafood and soup. The bream hovering on top, was barely warm. The dish did not work.
My pork belly confit was okay. The slab of pork was soft but a little stringy. The crackling was beautifully done – a snappy crispy wafer thin layer of golden crackling. The cabbage slaw on the side was far too sour and there was far too much of it. Each bite of pork and cabbage was dominated by the extreme cringe of vinegar. I quickly learned to accompany each bit of pork with only a few strands of cabbage to save my taste buds from acidic assault. The whole dish was uninspiring – the pork confit did not have a discernible marinade or spice rubbed onto it making it bland. Maybe the pork belly was meant to be a blank canvas for the cabbage. Unfortunately the cabbage was far too sour to complement it, let alone elevate the dish.
However the coffee is still up to scratch! I insisted on the bf trying the Fiori coffee and I am glad to say, it is consistently good.
I would recommend sticking with breakfast, lunch or coffee at Cantina. If a dinner is really necessary, from our experience, I’d try a meal of starters instead of the mains. They have a nice wine list with cocktails, which would combine nicely with tapas style dining. Our meal cost about $110 for one entree, olives, a soft drink, one cocktail, two mains and a coffee.
Up’s: Breakfast is pretty good – see here. The coffee is really good and so is the service. The rustic interior makes it one of the more interesting places to eat on the Beaufort strip.
Down’s: Mains at dinner are uninspiring and over priced, I’m still hoping we ordered the ‘wrong’ things!
Food: 3/5 - including the good breakfast menu and brilliant coffee
Cantina 663, 663 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley WA 6050
T: (08) 9370 4883
Breakfast 7 days 8 – 11.30am
Lunch 7 days noon – 3pm
Dinner Mon – Sat 6 – late
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