Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Trustee

The Trustee Bar and Bistro
133 St George's Terrace, Perth 6000
(08) 6263 3000

Figure 1: Classic concept 

The Trustee only opened on St George's Terrace in May this year, but has already made a name for itself in the Perth food scene, particularly amongst the suit-and-tie crowd. There are high expectations: Ian Curley, consultant chef of the Trustee is widely considered one of Australia's best. Ian actually served six months in prison when he was a young man for being involved in a London gang fight, but got his life back on track when he picked up cooking upon his release. He currently oversees several restaurants in Melbourne including The Supper Club, Siglo and The European (one of the restaurants on my bucket-list). Now, he's brought his magic to the Trustee and created a menu which is described on the website as 'European peasant fare', which I find very odd indeed. You can't possibly be telling me that farmers and labourers in the Middle Ages ate like this. 

Figure 2: Dying to check out the bar in the very near future!

I arrived a little early for our booking, so I walked straight into the building and asked to be seated. Turns out I actually walked straight past the "BISTRO DOWNSTAIRS" sign and into the bar, which was rather embarassing (I was a little hungover). The perfectly groomed maître d' smiled all the same and led me downstairs to our table for two. I must have looked like a toddler in the doctor's waiting room, playing with the bits and pieces on our table and drooling on everything: the menus, the ornamental antique lamp and the little dishes of salt and pepper, grinning around the room with a glazed expression on my face. I couldn't take many photos of the dining room because I was within close range of intimidating businessmen, but to sum up the interior design in three words: sophisticated, rustic, and money. 

Figure 3: Black pepper and pink rock salt 

Figure 4: One of everything, please 

Shortly, Lucas strode in, dressed in his corporate best, looking dashing and handsome in a suit, while I sat there looking disheveled and probably still smelt like the Deen. But it was lovely to sit down and chat with him for the first time in a while. The thing about Lucas (which is infuriating yet endearing at the same time) is that he is always cool, calm and collected, no matter the situation. Talking to him always has a soothing effect on me, especially during exams. Like being around a scented candle.

To drink, I ordered a glass of sweet, medium-bodied white, which was a gorgeous French 2010 Jean-Luc Mader Pinot Blanc ($14). On the food menu, there were many other intriguing dishes like the nose-to-tail pie ($32), chateaubriand for two ($95), and duck confit, puy lentils ($34). However, we settled on three small plates to share. Or rather, I said I liked the look of three particular items on the menu and Lucas was too much of a gentleman to fight me on it. 

Figure 5: Corporate lunch

Figure 7: Duck liver parfait

The first: truffled duck liver and smoked eel parfait, brioche, poached pears ($22). The initial thought was that visually, the presentation was a bit amiss. The plate looked a little lifeless despite the drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and single stick of garnish, and it wouldn't have hurt to have given us a more than two little slices of brioche, especially for that price! But as soon as I had a bite of the light, crisp brioche smeared with a thick layer of that parfait, my tastebuds were flooded with beautiful, rich flavours. The little balls of pear were perfectly spherical and served as a subtle foil for the intense parfait. This one was probably my favourite. 

Figure 8: Crab linguine

Next: black and white crab linguine, tomato fondue ($32). What I really liked about this dish was its lightness. The sauce hadn't been reduced down into a thick, mushy sauce but was still fresh and chunky, and had been tossed through some linguine, half of which was coloured with squid-ink. The black linguine had a really unique taste. I've never had it before, but it had this subtle briny flavour to it that went really well with the crab meat. Really lovely dish. 

Figure 9: Pork belly parcel

Last: pork belly parcel, apple, cress, fried shallots ($19), which looked amazing. It looked like Spring, presented on a plate. The pork belly was wrapped in crisp filo pastry and had cress, shallots and julienned apple cascading off of it. Beautiful presentation and textures. Unfortunately, the pork belly itself lacked flavour and had been cooked a liiiiiitle bit too long. I like pork belly to be luscious, melt-in-your mouth tender. It could have done with a little dish of apple sauce or chutney maybe, to counter the dryness. 

Figure 10: Dessert menu with wines to match

Figure 11: Gorgeous crème brulée 

Lucas chose dessert, and he chose well. The apple and vanilla marscapone crème brulée, apple sorbet ($16) was so good, I could have eaten two for myself. The crème brulée just looked so (for want of a better word) pretty, like fire splotches on the sun. The surface was a paper-thin sheet of crisp caramel that shattered like a little glass window, giving way to custard the consistency of whipped butter. The custard was creamy, yet so light, and when taken with a little morsel of sorbet and apple cake, I was in agony. 

Figure 12: Sorbet, apple bite 

Figure 13: Shards of caramelised sugar

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