The Japanese food scene is burgeoning in Perth, with the likes of Marumo, Ha-Lu and Bonsai setting the bar high without charging inflated prices. Nine Fine Food adds its name to the list, serving up beautiful food in an intimate atmosphere without a hefty price tag.
I dined recently with a group of five friends; a first time experience for me but not for a few of my friends who had selected their courses before we even got there. Nine Fine Food offers different set menus depending on the number of courses you want. We chose the Osusume menu with four courses, which gave us a feast of exquisite food for the not-so princely sum of $69.
We opted for sashimi for the first course. This platter of fresh seafood was beautifully plated, and featured salmon and tuna as well as melt-in-your-mouth soft octopus pieces in a creamy sauce. You can elect to have all salmon and tuna sashimi for an extra $2, though I doubt you’d want to forego the octopus once you’ve tried it.
The next course featured Nine Fine Food’s signature dish of caviar pasta. This Japanese-meets-Italian dish of angel hair pasta in a creamy rice wine sauce with mushrooms and Tobico caviar, was exquisite and unlike anything else I’ve eaten. The taste sensations of creaminess and saltiness combined with the soft texture of the pasta and the juicy crunchy pop of the caviar, was a revelation.
The main course featured non-typical Japanese dishes, but cooked and presented in the inimitable Japanese style. My duck leg confit had been slow cooked to succulent perfection, and finished with wickedly crispy skin. Duck jus and silky mashed potato complemented the meltingly tender duck meat, while two lightly seared scallops dotted with caviar added to the sense of east-meets-west. A drift of pumpkin puree topped with a smatter of delicate little vegetables and fruit pieces, completed this superb dish.
As much as I was tempted by the matcha brûlée, my stomach told me I should finish on a lighter note. And so I ordered the blood orange sorbet and coconut gelato; the superb fruitiness of the sorbet was the ideal foil for the creaminess of the coconut gelato. A dusting of crushed nuts and popcorn provided a textural contrast. A pleasingly light end to a meal that was deceptively substantial.
Small wonder that we had a four week wait to book into Nine Fine Food on a Saturday night. I’m always amazed when restaurants of this ilk offer the BYO option, which means you can enjoy a fine dining experience without the premium wine prices. We loved that the meal was spread out and we weren’t rushed, or kept waiting too long between courses. The service was pleasant, efficient and unobtrusive. Surprisingly the noise level was high; given the soft furnishings this is unusual, but it is a small space and this tends to be the norm these days. The food was exquisite though really we could all have done with one less course. Which course would you leave out though? In the words of Steve Tyler, “I don’t want to miss a thing”. Certainly not at Nine Fine Food.