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Tucked in a quiet residential area in the western suburbs of Perth is an unassuming little French bistro, its modest exterior belying the elegance of the food served inside.
Those who’ve been with me from the start of my journey will know that my blog began with the Illustratr theme as shown below. I later changed it to this Suburbia theme because I like the colour scheme of mostly black and white with pops of red and Tiffany blue, 2 of my favourite colours. Every now and then I wonder if I should revert to the Illustratr theme. I like its simplistic elegance, the clean lines and boldness. Anyway, that was a long winded way of saying that I like Petite Mort’s simple yet bold signboard.
Petite Mort offers a degustation menu option, a smaller sampler menu, and an a la carte 3 course menu for $59pp. As it was a weeknight and mainly because we wanted desserts that weren’t offered on the degustation or sampler menus, we opted for the 3 course option. You can check out the other menus on their website.
Shortly after taking our orders, our waiter brought us each a deliciously light and buttery mini brioche as well as a mini slice of bread packed full of tasty seeds, served with lightly salted butter. They were cute to look at and tasted fantastic. The only negative? I could have eaten more. Especially the seed bread. Wish I’d remembered to take a photo.
I find it hard to walk past pork belly, so this was really the only option for me as an entree. Served on a stylish rectangular black platter were a scallop on a bed of pork cheek, a portion of pork belly, pork scratchings and some apple slaw. The slight saltiness of the pork offerings was nicely balanced by the sweetness and freshness of the apple, and the varied textures all melded together beautifully. The pork belly surface had a lovely crisp crackling to contrast with the melt-in-your-mouth flesh and was not overly fatty. The scallop had a slight firmness as a counterpoint to the pork cheek, which was somewhere between a rillette and a meatball in texture, and packed full of flavours. I finished off with the pork scratchings, which crunched very satisfyingly, before sitting back happily in anticipation for the main course.
One of my dining buddies had the gnocchi, which was presented beautifully like a little garden. Unfortunately, as I did not taste the gnocchi, I can only relay my friend’s commendations which went like this: “It was yum!” But what did it taste like? “Salty.” Sorry. I tried.
We were then presented with a palate cleanser of ginger water and sparkling orange. My only complaint? There wasn’t enough of the stuff! The ginger flavour was very subtle, with the sweet orange, one of my favourite flavours, really shining through. To top it all off, the orange had a sherbet like quality to it, slightly effervescent and tingly. Fun!
My policy is generally to order the things on a menu that I’m unlikely to cook. So quail it was. I was expecting deboned quail, but the chef went one step further, presenting quail that had been deboned, formed into a sausage, poached and then pan fried. This was served with pieces of soft peach, celeriac, a creamy celeriac purée and a hazelnut soil which added the crunch element to the dish. Again, a good balance in flavour was achieved through the sweetness of the peach. For a $20 surcharge, you can also add some richness with foie gras.
When I first saw “steak, egg and chips” on the menu, I thought, “I’m not coming to a fancy French restaurant for that.” As it turned out, I had food envy. The egg was actually a quail egg, and the chips had been injected with house made ketchup! This time I knew not to ask too many questions about how this dish tasted, but instead resolve to return and taste it myself. How good does this look?
Next, we were presented with a pre-dessert consisting of vanilla custard, grapefruit and apple sorbet. The grapefruit added a slight bitterness which I didn’t particularly appreciate as I’m not fond of bitter flavours, but I enjoyed the other 2 elements.
For dessert, I again stuck with a perennial favourite of mine, caramel and peanut butter, brought together with banana. Dessert can make or break a meal for me, and I’m happy to say that this was a high point at Petite Mort. The plate was presented very appetisingly with perfectly caramelised banana next to thick, sticky, golden caramel and a log of peanut pudding topped with a quenelle of smooth shiny vanilla ice-cream and talcum like peanut powder. I especially loved how the banana had been cored, with both the outer shell and inner core caramelised separately – not only a treat visually but also to taste, as you end up with a greater surface area of caramelisation. Genius!
My silent friend had the Death by Chocolate, which included chocolate parfait, chocolate ice-cream, a white chocolate dome and a mini chocolate macaron. Another friend had the yuzu soufflé with custard and raspberry sorbet.
But we weren’t done yet! After dessert, 2 little plates of petit fours were brought out. The lemon macaron had a lovely light and tangy flavour but was a bit too soft in texture, I thought. The white chocolate and orange truffle again had the subtlest hint of bitterness, but was enough that I can’t rave about it.
Service was excellent. The waiters were friendly, attentive, explained each dish well as they were brought out, and happy to be asked questions about the food. The timing between courses was just right, and they were unobtrusive when they cleared crockery and cutlery away as needed throughout the night.
Considering the quality and presentation of the food, the surroundings are really quite spartan, with simple brown furnishings, unembellished candle holders and an exposed brick wall. The only splash of colour was the red vintage look coat rack by the door, which (of course) caught my eye immediately. Despite the modest surroundings, the fabric chairs are comfortable, and I actually like being able to enjoy a meal of fancy French food without the pomp and ceremony that is often attached to such proceedings.
As if $59 isn’t bargain enough, Petit Mort is in the Entertainment book. Even better, they do NOT scratch off a square, so you can return over and over again with your Entertainment card! Our meal, including a foie gras surcharge for 1, a bottle of sparkling water, 1 soft drink and coffee/tea for 3 came to a grand total of $62.50pp.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Saturday 6-10pm.
Thursday and Friday 12-2pm, 6-10pm.
Closed Monday and Sunday.
225 Onslow Rd, Shenton Park.
It’s fairly easy to get street parking in front of the restaurant.
Phone – 9388 0331.
This is my top pick in Perth for great French food in a relaxed understated environment.
Would you agree? What’s your favourite dish there? Where else do you like to go for French cuisine in Perth or Australia?
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