Copywriter and Copy Mentor living in the wilds of the Perth Hills with 2 invigorating young-adult children, 1 firecracker ballroom dancing baby boy, and a gaggle of geese
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Published December 21st 2016
A writer, a foodie, and a cooking teacher walk into a bar
... sounds like a joke. And although there was laughter combined with a fair bit of good white wine consumed, the special flavour of A'Caverna Tapas Restaurant on Hay Street is no laughing matter.
From the moment we clip-clopped (Thursday night, so had on our "going out" shoes) down the staircase, we were spoiled.
A'Caverna is one of those places that people walking past could well stroll on by, and that's almost the magic of it. You descend into a space that's anything but basement-like - with its bright white walls and clean, structured surfaces, it's modern and shiny. In opposition, the walls are covered in hand drawn, Aztec style, funky art. There's one particular piece the owner, Dani, says people come down the staircase just to photograph.
It has a language warning, so no photographs here. You'll have to go in to check it out!)
As the two food aficionados noted, everything from the perfect punts in the wine glasses to the beautiful cutlery is spot on.
But what was really outstanding was the service. We were greeted by Bennet, who was so warm and professional we basically trusted him to bring us what we'd love. And he delivered.
The dishes of squid and chorizo, and then chicken coxinha got a phrase borrowed from Nigella herself from the foodies - "satisfyingly toothsome!" but I fell a bit in love with Bennet's suggestion of the Picanha - traditional Brazilian rump cap, which was thinly sliced and served with chutneys and cassava chips.
In fact, I kept the girls talking so I could ensure most of it ended up on my fork.
We could have easily trundled off after our three tapas serves, as unlike some other places we've tried, these are no bite size servings. The plates, like the service, are generous.
But Bennet talked us into trying the Haloumi - crusty, salty, paired with fresh saucy tomatoes and fresh basil and the pièce de résistance - a set of delicate prawn Croquettes that I cannot imagine having missed out on.
Their texture was perfect - not bland but still soft. Not over cooked and just about to fall off the fork.
It might seem like we ate a tremendous amount of food, but still, we were convinced to try the desert. I'm just going to put a photo here because by this point of the evening I had stopped taking notes and was simply eating and talking.
It's a perfect mix - people you could chat to all night combined with food you can graze upon for hours.
And the owners have thought of everything. We sat in the trendy booths, which are actually sunk into the ground and divided up by clear screens which means you don't feel boxed in but your conversations are still private. I'd like to tell you I stepped up and out gracefully at the end of the evening, but, well, I've already explained how much generous food we made our way through.
There is also a function room that seats 25 (in the regular way) and a bar to nosh and sip at.
After our meal, the owner also mentions that they serve a carvery for city workers for lunch, and after the Picanha I could just imagine how good it was.