Shadow Wine Bar & Dining Room, Perth

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Shadow Wine Bar & Dining Room, Perth.

William Street has never wanted for drama, but Shadow, the restaurant at Northbridge's new Alex Hotel, is dramatic in an entirely different way. The brightly lit, crisply dressed tables. The soaring ceiling. Those striking black metal beams that frame the room. Melbourne architect Robert Simeoni has conjured a bold, confident look that owes as much to modern-day restaurant design as it does to long-lost Northbridge dining rooms such as La Tosca and Ristorante Italiano and Hay Street's Corzino's. The menu demonstrates a similar blend of classic and contemporary. Tender octopus, for instance, is successfully teamed with wild succulents and a refined potato skordalia. Baby leeks and raisins in a sharp apple cider sauce help counter the extreme richness of crisp pork jowl. Similar liberties have also been taken with the cicchetti selection: pickled sardine toasts and crab on potato chips might vary in their Venetian-ness, but they hit the spot as rewarding bar snacks.

Shadow Wine Bar & Dining Room, 214 William St, Northbridge, WA, (08) 6430 4010.

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