Sometimes the food knocks your socks off, sometimes it doesn’t, but Must Winebar never, ever disappoints. I’m always drawn back, tempted to book a table for any reason or special occasion. It’s the menu – I like how it stays true to its French bistro roots, plus above all, the food is extraordinarily consistent. It’s been a good while since our last visit and you know what, the menu is still pretty much the same, albeit with a few minor tweaks. It’s full of signature dishes, which is a good sign and a testament to returning customers.
The restaurant is half full (it’s a weeknight) but come the weekend, it will be too loud to talk in the restaurant. However, tonight it’s thankfully quiet, pretty dim (hence the photos are pretty bad) and well, kind of romantic. We booked our dinner to coincide with Rock Lobster and Chardonnay week, so the regular bistro menu is accompanied by lobster specials.
I look forward to the bread basket so much, I order as quickly as humanly possible so the bread and butter get into my mouth pronto (is that normal behaviour?!). Our bread basket arrives and I dive into it. The baguette is airy, crusty and wholesome. However the butter is a different story. The butter here is just crazy amazing, creamy, salty and soft. In short, it’s worth spoiling your appetite on. Out goes the diet and in goes the butter knife.
Deceptively rich on the outside, the double cooked lobster soufflé has a fluffy, light interior.
With a base of béchamel sauce, chunks of lobster flesh and gooey cheese sauce ladled on top, the double cooked lobster soufflé is both decadent and surprisingly light. It’s quite substantial and if I was trying to be good, I would have it as a main with a salad. But today, no way, José, this is my entree. The fluffy soufflé is so soft it almost melts in the mouth. The chive laden cheese sauce being smooth and velvety, was just begging to be mopped up with bread. So I obeyed and did just that.
(The double cooked soufflé is usually on the menu in some shape or form. It’s especially wonderful during Must’s yearly cheese week when they make it even cheesier than usual.)
Lobster ravioli in lobster bisque sauce.
K’s entree of lobster ravioli in bisque sauce was excellent but expensive at $34 for three ravioli. The sauce was a stunning sunset orange and had the pungent intensity of lobster shells and tomalley, the mustardy innards of lobster heads. Cooked al dente the pasta provided a toothy contrast to the firm sweet chunks of lobster within, with the buttery bisque acting as a lubricant. This dish was well executed and showcased what the kitchen can do with the entire lobster.
Freshly steamed rock lobster tail on tomato risotto and zucchini flowers stuffed with goats cheese. Apologies for the bad pic, must’ve been shaking with plate envy.
If the lobster entree was lacking in value, the lobster main made up for it. The lobster was a decent size (let’s face it $88 is not cheap for a main and you’d want a decent lobster for that!) and with two zucchini flowers and a bed of risotto it was a hefty main. The lobster was sweet and the flesh had some resistance to it, so the lobster was probably killed just before steaming. Removed from the shell and curled up ready to eat it was some of the best crayfish we’ve ever eaten.
The risotto was slightly acidic, which countered the lobster’s sweetness somewhat. The zucchini flowers, deep fried to a tempura finish, barely held the soft goats cheese filling that just oozed out with a press of a fork. The sweet baby zucchinis attached were juicy and more-ish. In my opinion this dish was fair value, considering there was a whole lobster, zucchini flowers (which are damned hard to find if you don’t grow them) and risotto to boot. The price is not so bad when compared to what you’d pay for a lobster in Freo.
Can’t go wrong with steak and fries.
I’ve tried pretty much every main on the menu except for the steak frites, one of Must’s signature dishes which almost every single table orders. The steak was perfectly cooked to rare and at an inch thick, it was a big steak. The beef itself was tender, juicy and not too fatty. The only lowlight was a seam of sinew that ran through the meat.
However, the highlight of the dish was the fantastic, almost syrupy poivrade sauce. Applied almost like an ointment, it was peppery hot and sweet with a bold, distinct punch of umami. Add a pile of pale golden fries and a zippy watercress salad, it’s a complete meal that even a crap steak can’t ruin. A wholesome and satisfying classic.
Dessert: saffron pannacotta, saffron pashmak and pistachio ice cream.
Despite now carrying food twins, I could not pass up dessert. More like, I couldn’t resist the saffron pannacotta, served with pashmak and pistachio ice cream. As soon as it came into the dining area, people were staring – it was wobbling – shaking with every twitch of the plate, like a perfectly set pannacotta should. The pannacotta was almost medicinal with the strong flavour of saffron and practically melted in the mouth with a creamy, not too sweet finish. The saffron pashmak (a Persian, hairier, more fibrous version of fairy floss), instantly disintegrated into the nutty, pistachio ice cream. It was just fabulous.
Must Wine bar is not cheap, but for a top notch bistro dinner it can’t be beat. I love how the menu is seasonal with most ingredients sourced locally from the state’s south west. If you’re like me and need a reason to visit, I’d highly recommend booking a table during a themed week. (Cheese week is my favourite.) If I had to nit pick, I can only see two faults with the restaurant. It’s unbearably noisy on weekend evenings and the Vittoria coffee is not great. So go on a weeknight and don’t order the coffee! But definitely, at some point, you must go.
519 Beaufort St, Highgate WA 6003
T: (08) 9328 8255
7 days, 12 noon – midnight
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