Monday, September 26, 2011

Hippo Creek, Hillarys

I have recently jumped on the coupon (groupon/scoupon/star deals/living social etc etc) bandwagon. I know I'm a little late with this, but it all seemed so hard, 'great' deals for some restaurant you've never heard of, located somewhere in the outer suburbs... and it didn't help that I'm still new to the Perth food scene, so I recognised the name of the restaurants less frequently than most.

Then I stumbled upon a coupon for Hippo Creek Hillarys. Now that was a restaurant I'd heard of. The famed South African steakhouse was somewhere I'd heard about, on more than one occasion, but had never made an effort to get to, partly because it's so darn far away, and partly because the whole concept seemed a bit blah. That said, when I spied the coupon, I jumped on it. You can't really say you're a foodie in Perth if you've never been, and I knew Mr Alphie would love it. And, and $59 for three courses for two (midweek), we couldn't really go wrong.

We booked well in advance, as I'd heard these things can get quite busy, so although I bought the coupon in July, we didn't make it to Hippo Creek until September. Mr Alphie had just come of FIFO (and I mean just, we went straight from the airport..) so was very keen for a good meal!

Not being locals yet, and it being our first trip north of Karrinyup, we arrived at Hillarys Boat Harbour, and wandered around for a good 15 minutes before we actually found Hippo Creek (lucky we had been early!). Once in, we handed over the coupon and booking email, and were shown to our seats. I was a bit nervous as we were seated, as I've heard some horror stories about terrible service to those on coupons, but I had nothing to worry about. The staff at Hippo Creek were fabulous, and explained the coupon to us, and offered to bring out the (set) entrée while we decided on the mains (from a shortened menu), an offer we gratefully accepted, as we were both pretty hungry by that point (one of the conditions of the coupon was a 6pm or 8.30pm seating - due to Mr Alphie's flight, we had chosen 8.30).

The entree included in the coupon was the Mud Huts - Button mushrooms filled with cream cheese, spinach and semi dried tomato, crumbed and fried finished with garlic aioli dipping sauce. We were given one serve each, and while I ate them all, I didn't love these. There just seemed to be something missing.

Mud Huts

Mr Alphie chose the Hunters Assaghai – marinated cubes of rump on a skewer hanging over a bowl of fries with peri peri butter dripping down served with a side salad, as his main. Which he somehow polished off before I had finished my main - I take that as a sign it was delicious!

Hunters Assaghai

While I went with a slightly more reserved option, the Botswana Beef – Beef fillet marinated in beer, soy, chilli, ginger and coriander char grilled to medium served with mash, broccolini and courgettes finished with shiraz butter jus. This was really just a steak, but gosh darn it was a good steak. Meltingly tender, cooked perfectly to medium, with plenty of jus, and a good amount of mash....mmmmm....
Botswana Beef

We finished with a sticky date pudding each, as per the coupon. Sticky date pudding is not one of their standard desert offerings, and I was a bit disappointed we didn't get something from the regular desert menu as some of the offerings look quite interesting. Regardless, the sticky date pudding was good, served with a butterscotch sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Although by this stage Mr Alphie was unable to finish his (I blame the inhalation of the Hunters Assaghai...). I'm not sure I would bother with dessert again, the feature of Hippo Creek being the meat, and they do it so well.

Sticky date pudding

While I enjoyed the meal, and the service was great, I don't think Mr Alphie and I will be going back in a hurry. It's a restaurant better suited to groups than a 'romantic dinner for two', so unless an occasion for a group meal out comes up, I'm not planning to return soon. That said, I would like to try the Subiaco venue - Hippo Creek Meat and Wine Subiaco, as it seems to have a different vibe (and menu) to the Hillarys restaurant.


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