It will be with you the next morning (for good reasons)
1907 has been on my Perth Food Bucket List (try saying that a three times quickly) for some time. So a recent dinner invitation to this consistently popular and elegant establishment was warmly received.
The night didn't start with much promise, as we missed the subtle gated entrance and were trying to enter through the business next door, but once we discovered the alleyway access, we were on our way.
The mai dining room at 1907, image courtesy website
Entry to the restaurant is up a flight of stairs, while the cocktail bar is located downstairs in the basement. The bar can also be accessed via a lift in the restaurant, as I discovered after watching a number of couples disappear silently behind the thick, black curtain and wondering why they never returned.
1907 has the feel of a Parisian boudoir with its hushed lighting, oversized velvet booths, full-sized onyx horse (with a lampshade on its head), mirrors and black and white striped wallpaper. Even the Chariot de Fromage (cheese cart) is made of mirror and glass and is wheeled around the room with its own private lighting supply. Don't you have a cheese cart in your bedroom? I do.
As we were part of a large group, I cannot comment on what the service would be like for a couple or small group, but we did spend a large part of the evening waiting.
For dinner there is the choice of two degustation menus (petit for $96pp and prestige for $145pp) and a relatively small a la carte menu. Three seafood options make up the prelude ($4-$4.50 per scallop/oyster), five entrees ($18-$30), five mains ($40-48), four sides ($12-$18), the cheese cart and four desserts ($15-$19).
As you can see, this is not a particularly cheap restaurant, although unfortunately this is not unusual for Perth prices these days.
About an hour or so after we arrived we were provided with a mixed basket of complimentary breads and rolls, with various oils, salts and butters. After a couple glasses of champagne, they were very welcome. All breads are baked in-house daily and are top quality.
The seared Hervey Bay scallops with seaweed and leek butter ($4.50 each) came in the half shell and were plump, juicy and came with that delicious 'just bbq-ed' flavour.
This was followed by the first of two complimentary amuse bouche; a curious selection of tiny heirloom vegetables, skewered on toothpicks and suspended over a wooden tray. There were some unexpected flavours and I can only imagine the work that went on behind the scenes to prepare a dish that was consumed in a second.
My entrée of marron, fennel, apple and lemon salad and pea emulsion ($32) was recommended by the ebullient waiter. It was perfection in terms of its flavours but its delicate size and main-sized price seemed rather incongruous.
My hubby enjoyed a slightly more modest entrée consisting of various vegetables in various states of being: pureed, poached and glazed ($26). It was surrounded with some 'goats cheese foam', fun to look at, but it didn't add as much to the dish as some actual goats cheese might have.
The mains were exceptional, and despite their $45 price tags, were much better value due to their more generous size. It was even whispered to us that ordering one of the decadent side dishes was probably not necessary. Honesty like that is always appreciated.
The fish of the day was a golden snapper, a meaty fish that was served with a selection of vegetables and some crisped brioche.
My lamb cutlets, cooked exactly how I ordered, were crusted in a mushroom crumb and came with sweetbreads (who ever thought pancreas would taste like roast potato?), green bean relish and some foam made out of yoghurt.
I believe there are two types of diner: those that start reading the menu at the entrees, and those who like to start by reading the dessert section. If you're a dessert-type, I recommend the 1907 Chocolate Plate ($19), and it's probably worth saving some space, as it's quite rich.
A decadent chocolate tart with luxuriant dark chocolate glaze, blonde chocolate custard, a white chocolate and cherry icecream, caramel blobs and a scattering of piquant freeze-dried cherry. It's exactly how it sounds: delicious, glamorous and very, very rich. Hardly any calories, I'm sure.
The buttermilk and pistachio sponge ($17) was less effective, as the cake was very dense and not very sponge-like. A few people were concerned over the level of green-ness, but the accompanying rose icecream was declared a winner of the night.
1907 is well and truly special occasion territory. Our table easily would have spent $100 a head and that wasn't including drinks, but the food is innovative and delicious and adheres to the farm-to-fork principals of quality and sustainability. If you visit the striking black and white mosaic bathrooms, you are greeted with a wall of awards including a coveted Gold Plate for 2013.
There were also four complimentary 'courses' throughout the night including the breads, two savoury dishes and a sweet dish and as we walked through the door we were handed a complimentary 'breakfast' bag for the following morning, with a freshly baked brioche bun, fruit muffin, house-made muesli and two chocolate truffles.
It's the first time a restaurant has asked to stay the night, and be there the following morning. Given my love of breakfast, it's a trend I'm inclined to support.