Two Print Hall alumni. Three dining rooms. Many influences.
You can almost picture the speech bubbles above people's heads when they first visit Ku De Ta Perth. "This doesn't look like Ku De Ta in Bali." And they're right - not that Ku De Ta's first spin-off venue was designed as a carbon copy of the mothership.
Whereas the Seminyak original is a picture of beach-club cool - I'm yet to clock anyone drinking and dining there in boardies or bikinis - the Perth off-shoot puts a more urban spin on the Ku De Ta experience. An address at Point Fraser on the Swan River ticks the box for a waterside setting while London architect Përparim Rama's design brings together plenty of timber (salvaged and new), clean lines and wrap-around vistas of the water.
Driving the food side of things is Daniel Fisher, a former executive chef at Perth Print Hall, and journeyman cook Liam Atkinson, who counts head chef of Print Hall Dining Room and sous at legendary Perth two-star Star Anise among his previous postings. Following the lead of Bali, Ku De Ta Perth houses three different dining rooms, meaning the pair have plenty of opportunity to flex their creative muscle.
Deck, Ku De Ta's biggest space, was the first of the rooms to open and welcomed plenty of guests over opening weekend. It's a high-volume space in both senses of the term with an all-day menu designed with mass appeal in mind. Thus, breakfast diners can expect uncomplicated winners such as waffles freighting fried eggs and corned beef, and cheese, and baked bean panzerotti (think of it as a glorious, deep-fried Italian toastie). From noon till close, the kitchen goes full Italian and slings dense, chewy wholemeal pizze baked in a gas-fired Pivesi oven (the oven of choice of Brooklyn's famed Roberta's) and gently imaginative pasta. As far as a go-to dish, that Japanese-y crab spaghetti lifted with nori and furikake is essential for anyone that enjoys twirling noodles around a fork.
The next cab off the rank was West, a breezy seafood and charcuterie bar. Luxe-casual is the name of the game and going hard on the brilliant two-bite open crab sandwiches, bowls of Goolwa cockles stir-fried with an addictive house XO sauce (a side of freshly baked flatbread is a must) and lush chocolate cookie and milk ice cream dessert are sure-fire ways to prosper.
Last week diners got their first chance to road-test Ku Dining, Ku De Ta's most ambitious offering and a room that's as notable for the theatre of the open kitchen as it is the drama of its fit-out (cylinders of burnt wood protrude from the ceiling like binchotan stalactites; tabletops are adorned with gold etchings). A shimmering chawanmushi of Wagin duck eggs, bone marrow and cockles is an early win for Fisher and Atkinson's think-global, cook-local credo; ditto a main plate celebrating the meaty, deeply-flavoured joys of the much-maligned mutton. Waterside dining options out west, it would seem, have just gotten a much-needed boost.
Ku De Ta Perth, 306 Riverside Dr, East Perth, WA, (08) 6324 1100, kudeta.com.au