Homegrown adventurous WA wine is pouring in the Perth CBD at Wine's of While, Tiny's and Garum. Down south, Aaron Carr is still behind the pans, with a more relaxed vibe at his new restaurant Yarri.
If Aaron Carr leaving the kitchen at Vasse Felix after 20-plus years was cause for concern for Margaret River, the news that he was starting afresh at Snake + Herring winery was a cause for joy. It's like Aaron Carr unplugged: the same inspiration that won him fame, but stripped back, with more improvisation. The sourdough bread is wood-fired; the duck and pistachio-nut terrine comes with carrot marmalade.
What to order: is there any arguing with prawns with saltbush and XO?
Unit 7, 16 Cyrillean Wy, Dunsborough, WA, (08) 9786 5030, yarri.com.au
Wines of While
Wines of While is one of the leaders of Perth's wine-bar charge. Alongside spicy juice from imports such as Le Coste and Vincent Caillé you'll find WA young guns Sam Vinciullo and Blind Corner. Food leans Mediterranean, and while the menu descriptors are clipped ("paprika almonds", "sliced meats") there's nothing less than generous about the flavours on the plate.
What to order: white beans with chilli and lemon are satisfaction in a bowl.
458 William St, Perth, (08) 9328 3332, winesofwhile.com
His flagship is the Florentino, he celebrates Venice at Merchant, but Guy Grossi's first restaurant outside Victoria is all about Rome. That could translate to a porchetta panino at the bar, while at the table bucatini all'Amatriciana and fettuccine carbonara make nice with top-drawer local produce such as Arkady lamb and Fremantle octopus.
What to order: a section of the menu called Quinto Quarto highlights the Roman love of offal in the likes of pickled ox tongue with pear and walnut.
480 Hay St, Perth, (08) 6559 1870, garum.com.au
Is there any more magical menu note than "add whipped cheese, $4"? Technically it's just an upgrade for the flatbread and shichimi togarashi at this savvy wine bar, but there's no small temptation to add it to one of the grills (beef intercostal and rhubarb, maybe) or a vegetable (like the broccoli with roasted yeast).
What to order: roast chicken with a gang, pork sambos if you're lunching solo. (With or without the addition of whipped cheese.)
QV1 Plaza, Milligan St, Perth, (08) 6166 9188, tinysbar.com.au