I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published September 26th 2011
The iconic Old Swan Brewery building on Mounts Bay Road has long been a dominant landmark for the City of Perth. Other than its panoramic location by the Swan River, it is also historically important as the site of the Swan Brewery from the 1870s to 1970s. After a major renovation, it now hosts a restaurant/function centre with the easy to remember name of the Old Brewery.
Old Swan Brewery building
I went there one Sunday afternoon with some family friends. As far as first impression goes, this place did not disappoint. Approach was very easy and picturesque from the direction of the CBD, with leafy Kings Park on our right and the sparkling river on our left. Parking was a breeze with the underground tunnel and covered foot bridge connecting the main building with the carpark. We were quite impressed to find out that the carpark was in the same location as the stable of old days, so we could imagine ourselves arriving in a four-in-hand instead of four-wheel drive.
The Old Brewery offers their Sunday Lunch Set at $50.00 per person for a two course lunch and $60.00 per person for a three course lunch. Considering the size of the serves, everybody in our group agreed that a two course lunch would be the wiser option.
The lunch set menu, at one page short, had enough variety to tempt different tastes. All major meat options such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and fish were represented. The wine menu was extensive enough that we had quite a difficulty trying to decide which bottle of red to order. The kids' menu was also better than expected, as many major restaurants only gave three or four options for the little ones. This one had enough content to actually be grouped into different categories like entrees and mains.
Their specialty, the Wagyu Tomahawk, was offered for an additional $40.00 per person (minimum 2 persons per table). As our host said no expense was to be spared, we did order it and had the satisfaction of gawking at the giant steak which resembled the shape of a battle axe due to the rib-bone left on the cut.
The Tomahawk compared in size to a leg of lamb
The steak was hand-carved at our table and the bone offered to the host. The carved meat was placed in the middle of the table to be shared, accompanied by roasted vegetables and sauces. Unfortunately we could not do justice to the dish. Although there were five adults at our table, quite a few chunks of meat were left long after everyone claimed they were full.
The Tomahawk carved at our table
To be fair though, we did have plenty of other dishes to finish. The oysters for the entrees were fresh, but the sauce we thought could have been improved with a tiny bit of ginger added. The pork belly was delicious, as well as the calamari from the kids' menu. I decided not to think of the fat content for the moment. By the time the mains were cleared, the snapper was without a trace as well as all the accompanying vegetables. Only parts of the lamb leg remained (it was on the dry side) together with the odd pieces of Tomahawk (it was moist enough but just plain too big a portion).
Learning from this experience, I don't think I'd order the Tomahawk again if I come back here. Simply because it made me eat too much, which made me struggle to get up at the end of the meal, which made me feel that I had to compensate by eating less and exercising more in the following days, which at the end of it all, made me feel like I shouldn't have eaten it in the first place. But everyone to their own, I heard there are blokes out there who could finish a whole Tomahawk by themselves. For me, I'd order some delightful entrees, and would be content just to gawk at the Tomahawk ordered by other patrons.