Restaurant News

Now open: Servo, a cuisine-crossing restaurant and bar in Perth’s newest food and drink precinct

And don’t miss the tikka masala rigatoni.

By Ai-Ling Truong
Servo, the all-day restaurant and bar in Perth's Leederville Precinct. Photo: Shot By Thom.
On the Perth dining scene, all eyes are on the ambitious Leederville Precinct in the city's inner-north-west. And while the revamp of the historic Leederville Hotel may steal much of the limelight, don't underestimate Servo. The precinct's all-day bar and restaurant, which activates the newly created Electric Lane, has a Middle Eastern-leaning menu that also ventures into Indian, Spanish, and Italian culinary territory.
"We want it to be for everyone," says consultant chef Jesse Blake. "We don't want to be one of those restaurants where it's very themed, which gives us the option to play around with a lot of different things on the menu."
Blake, who's been designing the Servo menu for over a year, brings a diverse CV to the table. He's former sous-chef at Melbourne's Cumulus Inc, has headed the kitchens of Petition and Double Rainbow in Perth, and most recently opened Lowe, a contemporary eatery showcasing seasonal produce cooked over open fire in Dubai.
Despite the name, the food at Servo is unlike what you'll find at your typical truck stop. The menu is powered by vegetables, driven by fresh salads and steered by plant-based sides. "We wanted it to be one of those places where you could come in two or three times a day," says Blake.
There's an emphasis on sharing, similar to mezze-style dining. "We want people to break bread together at the table," says Blake. "We cook our own Turkish-style sesame bread and wholemeal pita breads in the wood-fired oven". Said breads are best served with the house-made compound butter (choose between garlic butter, or the heart-stopping spiced pork butter) and the taramasalata-like whipped cod roe with finger lime. Throw in some small plates of falafels, curried clams and fried prawns for a rollicking good time.
The Servo menu is best suited for share-style dining. Photo: Shot By Thom
The Iberico ham plate with harissa and bread rolls is a choose-your-own culinary adventure, as is the mixed shish kebabs with pickled peppers and flatbread. "[It's] food that's able to be shared and passed around," says Blake.
Elsewhere on the menu, there's a sense of play and exploration. Take the tikka masala rigatoni, an Italian-Indian hybrid curry-style pasta with vegetarian butter-chicken-flavoured sauce and buffalo ricotta. Or the casarecce, complete with a puttanesca-like tomato and anchovy sauce, the warmth of turmeric and ginger, plus seaweed breadcrumbs to finish.
Meanwhile the squid-ink rice, aioli and spring onion dish sees arroz negro rice paired with ginger and spring onion sauce, in echo of Hainanese chicken rice; the barbecued fish and chips is given a kick with wasabi butter.
Rigatoni, tikka masala, buffalo ricotta. Photo: Shot By Thom
Despite playing with different flavours and cuisines, for Blake, he's not experimenting for the sake of it. Instead, it's all about creating flavours that are harmonious, sympatico and reflective of the eclectic, cross-cultural dining habits of modern Australia.
The drinks menu has been designed to match with vibrant, spiced cocktails and seasonal Spritzes, along with funky local wines and juicy craft beers. An open kitchen, terrazzo tables and warehouse-like space places Servo's interiors under the "industrial chic" category. The large windows open to the laneway, where there's more seating, plus a courtyard it shares with The Garden, a leafy open-plan pub that forms part of the precinct.
Squid ink rice, aioli, spring-onion sauce. Photo: Shot By Thom
In the courtyard, you'll also find Servo's Kebab, a takeaway-only kiosk pumping out rotisserie meats and falafels stuffed in pita. And don't miss their take on pastillas. The Moroccan brik-pastry pie is traditionally filled with chicken, but at the kiosk they come with a cheeseburger-like filling of beef mince, smoky cheese, chipotle aioli and pickles.
With Servo up and running, Blake has headed back to Dubai, leaving the kitchen in the hands of Michael Antonievich (The Quarter Acre Hotel, Andaluz). But the restaurant has been a long time coming for Blake and he's excited to have been a part of a project that will only add to Perth's dining scene. "I know people are ready for it".
9 Electric Lane, Leederville, WA
Open Wed–Sun, 11.30am–late
servoleederville.com.au
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  • undefined: Ai-Ling Truong