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Several friends and I have formed a mid-week dinner club, which is fantastic as it gives me something to look forward to halfway through the working week! Recently, we decided to check out Decanter, the new American style tapas bar in Victoria Park, offering share plates and bite sized portions of food one would normally associate with an American diner.
Being a party of 5, we decided to pick 1 dish each to share, plus a serve of sliders for good measure, as well as a salad to counter all the meat, fat, carbs and sugars we were about to consume.
After an excruciatingly long wait, the orders finally came thick and fast. First to hit the table was the poutine ($17), shoestring fries topped with pulled pork, pork jus and melted cheese. Like I said, meat, fat and carbs!
Don’t let this put you off though, as this was my favourite dish of the night. The pork was succulent and tasty, and the fries proved to be an excellent accompaniment for soaking up the jus and balancing the saltiness of the meat. Like most of the other dishes at Decanter, this is an incredibly rich dish that’s designed for sharing.
The meat was slightly smoky and tasty, but we thought it was a bit too dry. I also found it a little bit too salty on its own for my liking. Both the saltiness and dryness were made bearable by pairing the meat with the mashed potato upon which it was nestled.
Another good option for soaking up salty gravy and meat juices comes in the form of mac and cheese ($12). Decanter’s version is nicely al dente with the right amount of creaminess. It was a little light on salt, which was actually a good thing considering the saltiness of some of the other dishes. There was nothing wrong with it, except for the fact that I’ve been spoiled by the addition of truffle oil to mac and cheese served at other dining establishments, leaving me wanting for more on this occasion.
Up next, half a dozen spicy buffalo wings ($13). These had a nicely balanced salty sweet flavour with just a hint of spice, which is good for those who prefer not to burn off their tastebuds. However, once again, we felt the meat was a tad overdone, and just not quite crispy or sticky enough for our liking. We decided that the Gold Class bar at Event Cinemas serves up a better version of the same.
As always, I was unable to walk past a menu offering pork belly ($19) without ordering it. The pork belly at Decanter is tender with minimal fat and a delightfully crisp crackling. Topped with a sticky sweet honey bourbon glaze, these little morsels certainly satisfied. Our only complaint? We were told that a serve consisted of 5 pieces, which would have been perfect for the 5 of us, but it turned out to be more like 4 1/3 pieces.
Decanter offers a range of sliders including snapper, pulled pork, mushroom and Philly steak. We decided to try the fried chicken sliders ($16 for 3). This time, it wasn’t just the chicken that was too dry, but also the buns in which they were served. Forgettable, at best.
All in all, we felt that the team at Decanter had given a valiant effort in terms of the food, but just fell short of the mark. They do, however, serve up a delicious cocktail which they’ve named Reece’s peanut butter pleasure ($16). Yup, you read that right. Think Reece’s peanut butter cups blended with vodka, Frangelico and macadamia ice-cream. The result is happiness and creamy comfort in a mason jar. This is one guilty pleasure that needs no further explanation and will have me coming back for more!
Just like with the food, they really tried, but perhaps could have tried a little harder. They were clearly struggling to keep up with orders after 7pm. In fact, when we called a waitress over just before 7.30pm, we were told that there would be roughly a 1/2 hour wait for food to be served and whether we still wanted to order any food, as though they were hoping we would be happy with just drinks so that they could have some respite. As it turned out, the wait was more like 40-45 minutes.
At the end of the night, there were similar delays with paying the bill, as they had some issues with working the credit card machine.
On the plus side, the staff were pleasant enough, despite looking obviously harassed.
We liked the atmosphere and decor, which featured the restaurant’s namesake heavily, with decanters of all shapes, styles and sizes piled behind the bar, used to serve water, and even cleverly hung from the ceiling as light fittings. It’s a shame I forgot to take a photo of the interior. Some, however, may find the hard high stools difficult to climb into and uncomfortable.
Dinner for 5 plus drinks (including 2 cocktails) cost us $150.50. This is a bargain for Perth, really!
279 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park, Perth, Western Australia
(08) 6114 1998
There’s street parking on Albany Hwy and the adjoining side streets. You’ll know you’ve arrived at Decanter when you get to the signboard with the ENTIRE menu printed on it in minuscule print, which gave us a good laugh.
We LOVED our cocktails, enjoyed the atmosphere, but unfortunately, the food failed to meet our expectations. I have a feeling I’ll be back for drinks, but perhaps I’ll have dinner elsewhere next time.
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