Situated in the heart of Claremont, opposite the Quarter on St Quentin Ave, you can't miss Brooklyn Lounge. Previously Madrid Tapas Bar, this venue has undergone a change in ownership and I, for one, couldn't be happier. While previous experiences at Madrid were pleasant, it did nothing to knock me off my feet and with a plethora of tapas style dining options available throughout Perth, I would have opted for somewhere else (Bivouac Canteen, Duende, or Andaluz, just to name a few).
While the layout hasn't much changed – there is still the alfresco dining and central bar – the interior design included new additions of the dark wood and leather kind, peppered with a few snaps of Biggie Smalls and other hip hop royalty, paying homage to that Brooklyn vibe.
Biggie also graces the cocktail menu as the notorious B.I.G in the form of Markers Mark, Hennessy VS, raspberries, blueberries and mint. While tempting, I ended up opting for the mos def – an old fashioned with Wild Turkey whiskey, maple syrup and, wait for it, garnished with candied bacon. Whiskey and bacon, the choice was a no brainer. The cocktail was strong and the candied bacon utterly delicious. We were off to a good start.
While the cocktail names alone are enough to make you want to check this place out (you can also knock back a busta rhymes, al capon and mike tyson), the food menu also has something to suit everyone, with an Italian-American feel and vegetarian and gluten free options thrown into the mix. Just as a menu should be, it was long enough to include variety but short enough not to overwhelm with too much choice.
Options include Brooklyn popcorn, New York street style corn, wild mushroom risotto arancini, spaghetti frittata as well as an assortment of burgers. Upon reading the menu, I wished I had come prepared with a bigger appetite.
My friend and I settled on the wild mushroom risotto arancini with blue cheese and walnuts ($18), chilli mussels with bacon crumbs and chipotle butter ($19) and the Brooklyn burger ($22).
For those who truly can't decide on just a few dishes, Sunday's menu includes just what the doctor ordered - the hangover plate. Good value for money at $18 and a great way to sample the menu however don't expect more than one or two pieces of each item listed on this tasting plate.
Our waiter was very friendly and attentive, not fussed that he had to come back 3 times before taking our order (due partly to indecision and partly to gossiping). In fact, all the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful.
It wasn't long before our food was in front of us. The arancini was much larger than I'd come to expect from restaurants – another plus. You can't really go wrong with arancini, blue cheese and walnuts however the size may have actually worked against this dish as, with only a blue cheese sauce, it was slightly dry. Not so much so that it wasn't enjoyable, though.
We ended on the Brooklyn burger, filled with a wagyu patti, aioli, tomato and cos lettuce, with a side of chips and pickles. While the pickles on the side was a nice touch (and the authentic way it's done in NYC, so I'm told), they went untouched as neither of us ate pickles. The burger itself was delicious. Normally, I'm of the opinion a burger shouldn't cost you more than $20 but, for this, I made an exception. It may have been that I had been dying to eat a burger all day or it may have been the tender, juicy wagyu meat. Either way, I was in love.