Friday night, 8.30pm; FH Alphie and I decide to go in search of food, thinking that the late hour will mean we are more likely to get a table. Boy, were we wrong. We turned up at Andaluz Bar and Tapas in Howard Street to find a queue and two bouncers at the door. We quietly waited in line, only to find (once reaching the front) that the queue was for entry to the bar only and we would have to fight for a table once we were allowed in. The bouncer kindly let us in to see if we could find a seat, but one lap around the venue told us that it was unlikely, and to be honest, it was not the chilled wine bar we had hoped it would be.
After walking laps around the Perth CBD, we settled on a restaurant one block shy of our hotel (my poor feet....) in Shafto Lane, just across from Burger Bistro. Tom's Kitchen is a small-ish cafe-restaurant, serving 'classic European food in a comfortable setting' (their words, not mine). We were still chasing the tapas vibe, so we started with chilli mussels and garlic prawns to share, and planned to see how we felt before ordering something 'more substantial'. Hence, we held on to our menus, which seemed to cause no end of confusion to the lovely, but young, waitresses looking after the floor - we were asked on three separate occasions if we were ready to order, after placing our prawn & mussels order.
Once the confusion had settled down, our faux-tapas (fapas?) arrived. I started with the prawns, which were a startling green colour (see above), but the result was super tasty, if a little over salted. The mountain of mussels arrived on our table with a bowl of water with a lemon slice, and a empty bowl for the shells - lucky we were at a table for 4! The mussels were tender and plentiful, with just the slightest hint of chilli, in a soupy tomato broth. Our biggest concern was that there wasn't enough bread to soak up all the juices that were left (on both dishes!).
Once the plates had been cleared, we started talking about the next 'course'. FH Alphie has his eye on the house made gnocchi, but was having trouble deciding between the baked four cheese and the chorizo and rosemary. He finally decided on the chorizo and rosemary, which was served with a tomato based sauce. The sauce was tasty, if a little low on rosemary, and the gnocchi was a bit too firm, but I like gnocchi to be quite light and fluffy.
Already feeling quite full, I had ordered one of the smaller meals, a mixed mushroom ragout. And was pleasantly surprised to see a true mixture of mushrooms! So often 'mixed mushroom' simply means button and dried porcini mushrooms. I was treated to enoki, oyster and (what I think were) swiss brown mushrooms. And, it was surprisingly rich, tasty and filling for mushrooms.
And, just to make sure we were totally full, FH Alphie ordered a side of roasted root vegetables.