print hall dining room

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Print Hall’s bar

It’d be hard not to be impressed by Print Hall. Its high ceilings, long bar with old world neon signs (‘Jerry’s Oysters Here’) and interior greenery has nudged the CBD into a league of sophistication. It’s a popular spot for after work drinks, even on a weeknight. Between the many bodies and the dark lighting, we almost couldn’t find the dining room!

But there it was, slotted into the back of the hall and cordoned off from the masses. The dining room is simply and tastefully furnished with marble tables and shelves of wine. At the far end, there’s an all important, vicarious glimpse of the kitchen.

 

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Blue manna crab jelly with salmon roe and seaweed. A gorgeous dish.

We don’t say this often enough in Perth, but the service from start to finish was impeccable. From the initial meet and greet, picking up dropped napkins (and giving a freshly laundered one in return) to answering questions gracefully and timely food service, the service was faultless.

(Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more!)

 

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Traditional pork pie deconstructed (kind of) with fennel seed and pickle.

 

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Pork pie.

Most of the starters are cold, so they arrive fairly quickly sating any immediate hunger (a smart move on the restaurant’s part). Though it was deconstructed, the ‘traditional’ pork pie did indeed taste traditional, complete with a swift kick of fennel and pepper and suet pastry. I really liked the bite-y, resistant texture of the pork. The chunks of pork seemed to fall apart as the gelatine slowly melted away in the mouth.

The pie and pickle where definitely made to be eaten together, as the crisp baby vegetables – carrots and turnips – were fresh and crunchy but very, very acidic. It cut through the richness of the pork giving balance to the dish. With little mushrooms adding to the illusion of a little English garden on a plate, it’s one of the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever eaten.

The blue manna crab starter was a jellied mound of picked crab flesh surrounded by micro herbs, tomatoes and little piles of salmon roe. Like the pork pie, it’s a good looking dish, if not looking somewhat like a bouquet (somehow micro herbs pretties everything up!). The blue manna crab (which can be tasteless) was extremely sweet and in large chunky pieces. From the one bite I had from this dish, it was fresh, slightly salty and slippery. One for the seafood lovers.

 

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Left: Seared king prawns with serrano ham, orange and Fremantle octopus. Didn’t taste this dish but it came back with good reports. Right: Jellied blue manna crab starter.

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Cape Naturaliste rib eye on the bone from the wood fire grill.

I daresay this rib eye is better value than Rockpool’s. At $58, it’s rather good value. You get a delectable baked bone marrow (with a creamy, fatty interior – yum!), a parsley salad and that gorgeous, rib eye steak (with an origin indicated, as is the fashion these days).

Aged well, the meat had a wholesome, umami flavour, accentuated further by the wood fire grill. The grill lightly smokes the meat, so the marbled beef fat tastes smoky, caramelised and just plain old amazing. Steak lovers, if you can tear yourself from Print Hall’s other worthy mains, you won’t be disappointed.

 

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Duck cassoulet with a croquette (or cromesqui on the menu), pork sausage and white beans.

The duck cassoulet, was (like the pie) a deconstructed version (I’m detecting a theme here). When our orders were taken, the waiter gave the option of cooking it a little extra over medium rare and to my Mum’s relief, it came out exactly so. Firm, velvety and well seasoned, the duck was gamey – just how we like it!

There’s lots of texture in this one dish – softness from the beans, two types of meat and crunchiness from the croquette, a tribute to the toasted breadcrumb topping of a traditional cassoulet. (It’s not a cassoulet without the breadcrumbs, or so I’ve heard.)

 

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Smoked ocean trout, raw oyster, shallots and pumpernickel crumb.

Cold smoked then gently cooked sous vide style, the centre of the ocean trout was soft, falling apart at its fatty seams at the mere touch of a fork. The fish was a classic pairing with the bitter, seedy pumpernickel crumble, though the salty fish skin came as a surprise. The oiliness and rawness of the fish and the oyster were made even more intense by this piece of salty fish leather.

It sounds weird but the whole lot was actually very good, especially with the lemon yogurt. The flavours were gutsy, almost confronting but not repulsively so. (If that makes any sense.) If anything, fine dining should challenge our tastebuds (not just our wallets!) and this dish achieved just that.

We skipped dessert. Bah. (Surely a good excuse for another visit…)

There was one niggle that became very obvious by dinner’s end – the height of the table. The table, at least the one we were seated, was a tad too short. Looking around, quite a few fellow diners seemed to be hunched over and by the end of the meal, I just wanted to stretch up and go. I’m not that tall and even Mum remarked on the uncomfortable seating experience. Hopefully they’ve fixed it.

Anyway, let’s count the positives, shall we? And there’s quite a few of them. There’s the impeccable service. There’s the beautiful, well executed food from the interesting menu. It’s also pretty good value for fine dining in Perth (mains are around the $40 to $50 mark). Plus it’s inside an iconic building. What more could we ask for.

By the way, if you are in the company of someone-who-only-eats-chicken (don’t laugh, they do exist), well, there is often no chicken on the menu. Just letting you know.

Wallet allowing, I hope to be back!

 

Print Hall Dining Room
Brookfield Place, 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
T: (08) 6282 0000
W:
http://www.printhall.com.au

Mon – Fri 11.30am – 12 midnight, Sat 4pm – 12 midnight, closed Sundays

Print Hall Fine Dining on Urbanspoon

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  1. 1
    Martine @ Chompchomp

    I love it when a chef can proudly pull off combining unusual flavours. The trout dish sounded like a true treat.
    Martine @ Chompchomp´s last post ….Gluten free potato cake with smoked salmon

  2. 2
    food sponge

    Lovely detailed photos of the exquisite food!
    That ribeye with bone marrow (oh my) really caught my eye ;)
    True food envy right now!
    food sponge´s last post ….harvest espresso | Victoria Park

  3. 3
    Kristy (Queen of Bad Timing)

    Gorgeous looking food! I’ve heard mixed reviews but I think I may need to bite the bullet (and prepare my wallet) to try this place :)

  4. 4
    mei

    Martine – The trout dish was pretty amazing. Can’t wait for the next visit (whenever that is). I reckon Print Hall could pull off some really nice gluten free dishes too. ;)

    food sponge – Had total food envy when that dish arrived, especially since I usually never order steak (somehow it’s got the notion of boring attached). Bone marrow is so under rated and hopefully it stays that way! More for us bone marrow lovers!

    Kristy (Queen of Bad Timing) – Most of the reviews I’ve seen have been positive, but I would be totally devastated to have a bad experience here, so totally understand your trepidation. Especially at the price point. Perhaps a good restaurant for an occasion. :D

  5. 5
    fv

    Good review. Unfortunately the menu has changed now and the previously offered steaks are no longer on the menu which
    is quite dissapointing as I too would have liked to try the Cape Naturaliste steak you reviewed.

    Urbanspoon also suggests the portions are quite small, so I’ll be
    most intrigued as to the food and service that is dished up tonight. fv

  6. 6
    mei

    fv – Hi fv! Damn, I was hoping to return for a steak myself. Such is life I guess, but hopefully the steaks have made room for a more varied menu. The portions are quite small, so I’d suggest ordering a side salad or go the whole hog with three courses. Hope you enjoy your visit and thanks for dropping by!

  7. 7
    fv

    Hi Mei,
    You never know your luck when you return – on Friday night we were offered the ‘special of the day’ being a 300g 300 day aged sirloin I think sourced from Margaret River which sounded particularly tempting, but nothing could distract me from the duck cassoulet which was unbelievable. Probably the best bistro meal I’ve had in Perth in a long time, and won’t be easily forgotten. No issues with portion sizes on my side, but we did order the brocollini on the side anyway which was superb produce.

    Service all round on Friday evening was outstanding, as were wine recommendations, attitude and professionalism. Great to see proper smart and snappily dressed waiters/waitresses and no sleeve tats anywhere. Most impressed by the head waiters/sommeliers in suits. fv

  8. 8
    John warner

    The blog entails about Restaurants in Perth.Lovely detailed photos of the exquisite food!The trout dish is truly amazing.


 
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