Chophouse - Perth
Chophouse Perth is situated between the newly transformed area of Cloister's Arcarde and that of St. George's Terrace. For our first dinner date, Lyvia suggested Chophouse or Apple Daily as Friday night dinner options but I was intrigued more so by Chophouse - namely for its interesting name. A quick google soon revealed an interested menu too.
It offers a laid back setting outside on the terrace but maintains a balanced mix of casual and fine dining inside and upstairs. The bright and earthy venue provides a perfect option for afterwork dinner in the CBD. The bar and open kitchen are located downstairs, both of which take up a large portion of the floor. However more than enough space is factored in and provides generous seating space for its patrons to have a drink, chat and a good meal.
Make your pick out of the two hundred and ten seats situated across two levels and admire the thought and interior design that has gone into making the dining experience at Chophouse Perth fun and sophisticated. The warm setting is enhanced by the gold flecked walls and wooden floorboards swapped with teal moroccan-esque tiles for good measure. American influence can be felt throughout the restaurant but it's not one that tries overly hard and remains on trend.
There is also a private room for functions which sits up to fourteen people - completely sound proof behind the gorgeous hexagon paneling on the glass doors. The restaurant is full of character. Let's be real here, I almost couldn't contain myself when I was given free reign to take photographs before the restaurant filled up. And boy, did it fill up. Excited conversations from Friday night celebrators filled the second floor and echoed to the first.
Behind large and grand wooden doors you are met with friendly and welcoming service. Scott, Ross, Manna and the team at Chophouse are dedicated to showcasing the freshest produce from throughout Western Australia. Seasonal produce is sourced from ethical farmers and producers, wine bought from the local wine regions and truffles sourced from Manjimup.
Alcohol is given special attention, with the range consisting of spirits, unique wines and old favourites from Australian producers. Margaret River, Yarra Valley and the Barossa Valley are a few keystone Australian wine regions, with other wines boasting origins from Alsace in France, Kamptal in Austria and Sardegna in Italy.
Scott and Ross were so kind as to give us a peak behind the serving benches of the open commercial kitchen. Scott showed off their amazing char broilers shipped over from the U.S (glistening and fiery meat masters) and later popped open a bag of truffles - some sexy business. Scott is super passionate about food and I think Lyvia would agree with me in saying that it was an experience in itself just watching and listening to him talk about cooking. Formally a speech pathologist, Scott decided to follow his passion for cooking and has been doing so for twenty odd years, cooking professionally for eleven and working at Andaluz prior to Chophouse.
Inspired by the American BBQ venues, head chef Scott Alfonso has created a menu focusing on the meats - of which are complimented well with seafood dishes and salads. The desserts are on another level entirely and perhaps for this reason are on a different menu. Well cooked meat is anything but an afterthought. You could do what Lyvia and I did and share half of our main courses, purchase a salad or stuff yourself with truffle béarnaise dipped shoestring fries. And then do the same with dessert.
The food menu is focused and simple. You can order meats and chops with portion sizes ranging from 180g straight through to 450g of meat. If you don't quite feel like red meat, you can opt for fresh fish or if there are two of you, purchase a plank of lamb shoulder with salsa verde, mint jelly and a pot of jus - appropriate condiments.
Going off Scott's advice, we ordered the Delmonico and then got stuck on what to order next. We worked our way through the menu and settled on the ceviche, which offered a light and fresh option in comparison to the meat we were about to consume. The roe were fresh little bubbles and added textural element to an otherwise smooth dish. Simple flavours done well. Our waitress Emily served us soft bread and butter while we were waiting and was a delight to chat to - the Zoolander 2 movie was also mentioned!
I am more a rosemary and lamb kind of gal and often don't put anything in the sense of condiments with my lamb. This mint jelly however was not one I have had before, nor tasted the likes of. It was fresh and had a good balance between sweet and tart but was quite strong and so only a bit went with the lamb. When paired with the lamb it helped to break up what would otherwise could have been quite heavy and overwhelming for the palate. The lamb itself, Lyvia and I ordered medium rare. I don't quite know how the chefs managed to have such a crispy thin layer of fat on the outside that gave the lamb an indulgent crunch while maintaining its tenderness.
The delmonico was also just as tender as the lamb, if not more. It was accompanied well with the chutney and don't even get me started on the truffle béarnaise. Ridiculously addictive. The salad was good too and usually I find it a bit difficult to eat cold noodles however this salad incorporated the soba well with the scallops and coriander. The pork belly of course provided much needed crunch to an otherwise soft dish. Overall though, I did find it a little bland. Then again you don't go to a steakhouse for salads.
Then it came time for dessert. According to Lyvia's theory we have a separate second stomach that sits on top of our main stomach and begins operating once dessert is consumed - neigh, thought about, thus why we should always have room for dessert.
We ordered the mandarin cheesecake without really knowing what to expect but it turned out to be an instant favourite. With the heaviness of the meat before, the cheesecake provided light and summer flavours. It was creamy and just the right size. An assortment of mandarins were sprinkled on the top - dehydrated, sherbet and soft mandarin added to the taste and tangy textures which balanced well with the creaminess of the cheesecake. Once in the middle, a little pocket of the cheesecake exploded out onto the plate.
The semifreddo was visually appealing, some would argue more than the cheesecake. If you're a love of sweet, sugary and creamy desserts with a bang of salt this is for you. Salty popcorn sits atop salted caramel and honeycomb brittle is stacked on the side of the semifreddo.
The semifreddo itself is sweet and the meringue counters the saltiness of the popcorn while somehow resembling (as I have been told on Instagram), a marshmellow. I much preferred the cheesecake but that's because I am a sucker for desserts that incorporate fruit. It is still definitely something to try - though keep in mind that you can't quite eat the popcorn by itself. All of the elements on the plate need to be eaten in unison to get the best of the flavours.
There certainly is a focus on well cooked and well presented honest food. There's ambition in the interior, presentation and service. Chophouse Perth is a space with character, satisfying food and drinks and is an Aussie take on the inspirational New York Steakhouse. Staff are welcoming and friendly yet uphold professionalism with ease. Special thanks go to Emily, Ross and Scott for such an awesome dining experience and great conversation. There is a lot of ambition in this restaurant which is prevalent in the team's vision, food and good service.
200 St. George's Terrace, Perth CBD
Monday - Saturday: 12pm - 12am