I had received a voucher in the mail from Black Toms Bar in West Perth – a complimentary main course during the month of October*. Not one to miss an opportunity, I rounded up one of my few available friends without young children (my mum) and on a stunning weekday headed into West Perth for lunch.
Parking in West Perth around lunch time is not for the faint hearted, but if you're prepared to shell out for street parking and walk a few blocks, West Perth has a number of excellent culinary destinations. All I knew about Black Toms was that it was popular with the suit brigade that populate the West Perth office blocks and that it did excellent oysters. I was neither wearing a suit nor could I eat oysters, but I was prepared to try something new.
The inside of Black Toms during daylight hours is rather industrial, though I imagine it might look speccy at night with the lights on and full of pretty young things. It has a fabulously leafy outdoor deck to watch the world walk by, but today we were surrounded by mainly business types taking their time over lunch and a few drinks.
I was impressed with the staff who had a lovely casual friendliness, the kind you can't force or fake. Struggling with the pashmak on my dessert (that's fairy floss to you and me) one of the girls detoured past the table and suggested I use my fingers. I loved that. Plus no one raised an eyebrow in disapproval when we said we only wanted tap water.
The menu is not huge but should please most people. It ranges from a Caesar salad ($18, or $22 with chicken) to a 200g eye fillet ($38). Mains also include fish (crispy skin barramundi or beer battered snapper), chicken, pork belly, risotto and a steak sandwich. Vegetarians have the option of a roast carrot, fetta and sage ravioli ($25.80). There are six starters ($16-$28) and three sides ($8-$9).
I couldn't go past the pork belly, three generous strips of meat, each with a layer of perfect, crumbly crackling ($26.80) that even mum approved of. It came with a white bean puree and tiny cubes of caramelised pineapple. Mum had the crispy skin barramundi ($32) which came with crispy fried cauliflower and skordalia (potato and garlic dip). It melted in the mouth.
Since one of the mains was free, we splurged on desserts (which we also felt were justified since it was a decent walk back to the car). Although the choice is very small (three options, $12 each) we were left in a blissful state by our chocolate pudding, orange anglaise and pashmak (use your fingers to eat the pashmak and then to wipe up all the gooey chocolate smears left on the plate), and passionfruit pannacotta with rhubarb compote and pistachio praline. We left in a very good mood.
Chocolate pudding with orange anglaise. I'd go back just for this.
Opening from 9am for coffee, lunch service begins at 11.30am. From 4pm Black Toms has a Bar Bites menu ($8-$26) and a pizza menu ($16-$20). They claim to have one of the best wine lists of any bar in Perth and also offer free WiFi and daily papers for customers to read over their meal. On weekends, Black Toms is available only for private functions.
*The website often has advertised specials such as this one.