This week The Boy and I celebrated a whole year of being married! Seeing as we’re heading off on our big Europe trip in just over two weeks doing something really extravagant seemed a bit over the top, so we settled for a boozy lunch at The Trustee (first world problems eh?).
So many new restaurants, bars and bistros seem to be opening up around Perth these days, and we simply don’t dine out enough to keep up. The Trustee opened up in the beautiful Perth Trustee Building in May this year, and I’m glad we finally had a good excuse to try it. The place is decked out in a sort of ‘rustic but hip’ sort of way with a bit of art deco European flair, and although opening out onto the side of a shopping mall affected the ambience a little it did let in the beautiful spring day and lovely lighting for taking photos of food!
For a place that has a ‘nose-to-tail’ menu, I was a bit disappointed to not see any nose, tail or other offal on offer, but I’m not completely sure I would have been game to try it if there was. The website describes the food as ‘rustic European peasant fare’ – if this is how European peasants eat, then I want to be a European peasant!
We began with a celebratory glass of champagne (NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne, France, $19 per glass), and perused the short-but-sweet menu and extensive wine list. The complete wine list is a bit confronting if you don’t really know your wines well (50 chardonnays?!), so we kept things simple by choosing one of the featured ‘Super Love Wines’, which are collaborations between Pascal Marchand from Burgundy and Jeff Burch from WA (2009 Marchand and Burch Bourgogne Rouge Burgundy, France, $70 per bottle). It was smooth and savoury, a good match (in my limited wine opinion) for our chosen dishes.
We opted to skip the bread and share an entreé, the pork belly parcel, apple salad, fried shallots ($19). Who can go past pork belly? The presentation, on a heavy rectangular silver platter, was well suited to the pastry-wrapped parcels of pork. The pastry was beautifully crisp, and the apple and sweet sauce complemented the pork in a way that made it feel light and fresh for such a fatty (and I mean that in a good way) dish.
Our waitress beamed when I asked her what the chateaubriand ($95, serves 2) was, – she said it involved a special cut of meat, and the rest was a surprise. She also suggested that we not order an entreé each or sides unless we were “really very hungry” going with this dish, and we were glad we followed her advice when it all arrived at our table.
If you don’t want to leave it as a surprise, The Trustee’s chateaubriand includes: 600g of medium-rare tenderloin, some lightly crumbed bone marrow, celeriac salad, fat chips, bourguignon mushrooms, bernaise and a pear, walnut and rocket salad. Yeah. After consuming it all, we decided it could probably comfortably serve two very hungry people with large appetites, or (in this case) slightly uncomfortably fill one person with a large and one person with a small appetite.
My piece of bone had disappointingly little marrow in it, whilst The Boy had plenty – not a big problem, as whilst delicious I found it too rich to eat in a larger quantity. The fat chips were crispy and just enough to not divert your stomach from the main part: the meat. The tenderloin was pink, tender and well-rested, coming apart beautifully under their strange curved steak knives. The béarnaise perhaps wasn’t necessary with the juicy steak, but had an amazing richness that I’d never be able to reproduce in the kitchen. The pear salad and celeriac salad were crisp and fresh, balancing out the meal. The bourguignon mushrooms where a nice surprise – they had a beautiful smokey scent and flavour, with some small chunks of similarly smoked pork buried amongst them like hidden treasure.
Full as we were there is always room for dessert, especially when dessert is ice-cream. We shared the Trustee ice cream pops ($15), in the flavours of the day – pistachio and cherry ripe. Pistachio is one of my favourite ice-cream flavours, but only when it’s done right – many places cheap out by adding lots of almond essence, which oddly enough makes it taste a bit like cherry. I’m happy to say that the Trustee did the pistachio justice. Having the ice-creams on the stick made it more fun and tactile than eating it out of a bowl!
All up – I really like bistros and The Trustee does it well, with its generous portions, excellent service and quality ingredients. At this price range it’s not the kind of place I would go to without a special occasion in mind, but considering a good portion of our bill was (excellent) wine and we didn’t need dinner afterwards, it isn’t too bad. If you’re a vegetarian I’d suggest this isn’t the place for you – meat, especially beef, is what you come here to eat. If you’re pretty hungry and don’t have anywhere in particular to be (ie. not on a lunch break), the chateaubriand is excellent value. I’m keen to try the upstairs bar and sample a bit more of their extensive wine list!