Food that is crafted from quality local ingredients, sourced by sustainable methods and a contemporary menu that evolves with the seasons.
So go the principals guiding The Heirloom.
You may be familiar with a chef named Pete Evans (My Kitchen Rules Celebrity Chef judge, face of Sumo Salad). You may also be familiar with what is known as the paleo diet. After having reached a sort of food enlightenment, Pete Evans transitioned to Paleolithic eating and in turn, cooking. It is therefore no surprise that his recently opened restaurant The Heirloom, based at the Fraser Suites in East Perth, reflects this outlook.
Having not had a meal at a restaurant where the focus was on Paleolithic food, Wednesday night’s dining experience made for an interesting and palette provoking one. Lyvia (half of Savour the Moment Perth) had suggested The Heirloom after having come across a photo on Instagram showcasing a dessert platter and what appeared to be a mango Magnum icecream lying on a bed of flowers and cake. Yes it looked as sexy as it sounds.
Instagram for me has certainly become a way by which I decide where to next go for food – what does it look like, what do people say about how it tastes? Although this approach is not always foolproof and can be a bit misleading (some prefer to post photos of pretty plates rather than reveal that looks aren’t everything) I still use Instagram as a tool to aid in my food adventures.
The Heirloom is fancy, the décor floating somewhere in between a typical hotel buffet restaurant and that of a contemporary eatery. Pete Evan’s face is also on every single menu place, almost as many times as his face actually appears in the Heirloom’s website gallery. The food was not decidedly modern Australian as it was awash with Asian influence and neither would I class it to be at the top end of the fine dining scale. It was an interesting experience however.
For the entrée we barely managed a choice between the salmon tartare ($23) and the duck confit ($26). Finally the need for lychee won us over. As for flavour, there were hints of an earthy but subtle smoky sweetness in the reduction that paired well with the refreshing and sweet lychee, of which offset the tangy and almost sour orange segements. Pomegranate added a further burst of freshness and a crunch of texture that would have been provided had the dish contained walnuts.
Lyvia’s severe allergies to walnuts aside, the duck confit was impressive, a generous portion size for an entrée. It was further scattered with cilantro, Vietnamese mint and regular mint. The duck was soft, the skin encrusted in just enough char and the duck retained its shape until you so much as ran a knife through the middle, leaving the bone clean
Next was the barramundi, sitting atop what looked like slices of smoked salmon bathing in a pumpkin puree. We were pleasantly surprised when dishing up that what we thought was salmon was actually moonlighting sweet potato puree. Aromatic shallots sat in the coconut and lime sauce and was as appetizing as it sounded, being a creamy and tangy mix that worked in harmony with the barramundi. The barramundi itself was in no way dry nor undercooked.
After assessing the potential of any of the desserts on the share plate coming in contact with walnuts and estimating my response time (to throw Lyvia into the back of my car and rush her off to the nearest hospital if she so much as touched a walnut), we ended up choosing the shared dessert plate which was mainly made of nuts and risked having traces of walnuts.
The shareplate ($20) itself was made up of smaller version of each of the desserts on offer. This included a coconut and pineapple panna cotta (centre) and although it was nice it was nothing to write home about. It resembled a cake more than a panna cotta and a more powerful dish could have been achieved with the use of coconut milk.
The raw raspberry cheesecake was smooth, just acidic enough from the raspberries but overall nice additions to the plate. It was missing a crunchy/textured base of which a date base would have been sufficient.
The chocolate mousse was more of a cake, rich and heavy but satisfying nonetheless. I almost had to go back to the cheesecake as a palate cleanser after each spoon of the mousse. The orange and almond cake was simplistic, moist and light. All in all, the desserts were not as adventurous as I had anticipated them to be but definitely were not as sinful for the figure.
The dishes were satisfying but I was most impressed with the savoury dishes as the desserts lacked substance. There was something different about eating here, perhaps it was the paleo take that made everything seem fresher, cleaner and the ingredients more true to their raw states. I wouldn’t mind re-visiting to give their breakfasts a try.