Perugino was the setting for a recent birthday dinner with a few friends. JS has dined at Perugino many times and loves it. We’d heard several intriguing comments about how the proprietor of Perugino has upset patrons with her brusque manner, but she was the perfect hostess and our experience was positive from start to finish. We loved the glass domed ceiling which gave the room a feeling of expansiveness, the single stem roses on the tables, and the tall potted leafy plants.
Frau K suggested we try the Gourmet set menu for $100, and we decided we were up for it. Several hours and courses later we weren’t as confident we could manage it, but that’s a story for later. We started with a crispy flaky pastry roll filled with mozzarella cheese and served with a creamy truffle sauce. Dieters beware – if you’re counting kilojoules you can forget coming here.
We wondered at the lack of occupied tables on a Friday night. Could be that everyone was across the road at the Brown Fox, where we’d popped in earlier for an aperitif. Noisy and bursting at the seams, this was obviously the happening place in West Perth on Fridays. On the quieter Perugino side of Outram Street we were able to chat in peace and quiet, sipping on our glasses of Aravina Estate Rose and waiting for our second course of calamari. Whilst a teensy bit chewy, the pan fried calamari was nevertheless enjoyable with its lemon and pepper flavouring, and was a welcome light course following the heavier pastry dish.
Seafood was dominant on the menu which made me very happy. Juicy garlic prawns were served next, lightly crumbed and seasoned. I think I enjoyed this dish more than my friends, who felt that the prawns could have been a bit fresher. They’re big meat eaters, so I secretly think they were hanging out for the real carnivore’s food.
But wait – woo hoo! – the next course up was seafood. Another big plus from me. The risotto with chunks of fresh red emperor was my favourite dish of the evening. Bursting with fresh fishy flavours, the rice was fragrant, starchy and perfectly cooked. The flavours in this dish were beautiful and I could have licked the darn plate clean.
Just when we thought that fish had bowed out for the evening, out came the next course of swordfish, rolled and stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella. Naturally I was happy as a crab in a tidal pool with this, whereas The Prof and JS were wondering where the heck their meaty four-legged friends were hiding. The fish was moist and tasty, but the other gals barely made inroads into their plates. This prompted another visit by the chef, concerned that we weren’t cleaning up our plates as good diners should. We assured him that all was OK, and that we were ensuring there’d be enough room for dessert. This seemed to placate him somewhat.
Are we there yet? Not quite. Whew… Two ravioli parcels filled with shredded duck meat, sprinkled with fresh parmesan and on a bed of sweet carrot puree was our sixth course, and it was a pleasant and light dish, without being outstanding.
We hadn’t been keeping count of our courses, and were surprised to learn that the biggest course was yet to come. Slow braised goat was the start attraction apparently, but three of us had to admit defeat and tell the waiter that we. simply. could. not. eat. another. course. Except for dessert; that goes without saying. So Frau K was served the goat which she tucked into with alacrity, only to throw her hands up after two mouthfuls. She was offered a doggy bag which she gladly accepted. JS and The Prof were somewhat cheesed that they were too stuffed to even consider the meat they had been hankering for all night. Frau K said the goat was superb; incredibly tender and worth waiting for. If only she had the room in her stomach to eat it. I often wonder why they save the biggest courses for last – as for me it’s often the last course that is my undoing. I have been known to stay up all night with chronic indigestion, so this is why I tend to call it quits now with degustations when I know I’ve reached saturation point.
I mentioned that we had strategically left some room for dessert, but when the dessert trolley rolled up we were inwardly groaning. Despite our protestations, our waiter Francesco piled up our plates with several types of sweet treats, obviously thinking we were protesting too much. We weren’t and sadly we made little headway into our last course. I did manage a few bites of the apple tart, and I loved the caramelised base and the slightly tart taste of the apples.
Whilst the dessert trolley was replete with tortes, cakes and tarts, it was all a bit much after ploughing our way through so many courses. I don’t normally go for sorbets, but that actually would have been the perfect finish to the meal for me, instead of
the heavy sweets on offer. But then again if we hadn’t been so greedy and opted for the degustation, that wouldn’t have been an issue. ‘Nuff said.
We were given complimentary glasses of limoncello, and I confess to polishing off three of them because the gals couldn’t fit another drop of anything in. Well I wasn’t driving so I couldn’t possibly pass that up.
Perugino is an old fashioned type of establishment where great pride is expressed in everything from the immaculate napery, the extensive wine and champagne selection, the attentive and professional service, to the quality food. Our charming waiter Francesco is the son of the owners and has worked at Perugino for 22 years. For him, the job and the family are one, and it’s obvious he loves what he does. Our experience was delightful and while this type of venue won’t win over the hipsters, it is perfect for those who enjoy a spot of fine dining with old world ambience.