The Old Crow, Northbridge
A and I made a booking for the exceptionally popular Old Crow for a Thursday night at 6 pm. The Old Crow is the new kid on the block, a few doors down from the fabulous Tuck Shop Café on Newcastle Street. The Old Crow is recognisable from its glass exterior, housing the “café style section” of the restaurant and the timber al fresco area, which unfortunately was drenched the night we went due to monsoonal weather. I was greeted by a bright and affable young waitress who was quick to sit me at a high table for four (I booked for two, but the spots next to us appeared to be reserved as well). I was given a wine bottle style of cold water and menus instantaneously, to consult while I waited for A, who battled wind and rain to meet me. It’s darkly lit inside, romantic, cosy and rather homey with candles entrapped in jars decorating each table.
One great thing about The Old Crow is their extensive “liquids” menu – not only is there a nice selection of your typical wines, spirits, cocktails, soft drinks and hot drinks but there are also some pitchers on offer (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). I started off with a Poire (pear) Cyder from Small Acres. The cider comes with a tall glass a third filled with ice and is fabulous – chilled, not overtly sweet or excessively carbonated.
A and I also shared a Ginger Schnapps Pitcher ($32). It was so good; crammed with lemon slices, mint and ginger beer and perfectly icy. There is a nice strong hit of bourbon, apple schnapps, Absolut lemon and King’s Ginger liqueur. I tasted crushed particles of ginger at the bottom of the jug, which counteracted the sweetness of the lemonade. It lasted us pretty much the whole night.
Complimentary bread came out soon after our drinks arrived. The bread, as reported by our professional and pleasant waiter (in really cool suspenders!) is baked in house. The bread is fluffy with a chewy crust, standing in five thick slabs on a wooden board. The whipped butter on the side is also made on site and is absolutely delicious – the lightest creamiest butter I’ve ever had. So good.
From the mains, we had the Slow Roasted Pork Ribs, Buckwheat Polenta and Soused Peppers. The mains were huge. A mammoth sized pork rib sat in a pool of pureed buckwheat polenta. The soused peppers were integrated into the salad, sitting on top of the ribs. The soused peppers were identical to the topping we were served for the marinated octopus later on. The pork ribs were charred on the outside and the meat was cooked well. A generous winter dish with mammoth sized ribs!
The Fried Jerk Chicken was my favourite for the night. The chicken was cooked to perfection – succulent, moist and mouth-watering. The massive chicken leg was enclosed in a crispy crust of breadcrumbs. It was not excessively oily, it was light instead, and added a textural element to the dish. The rice and beans were delicious. The brown rice was just a tad crunchy, the beans not overloaded in terms of quantity and the whole dish was very nicely seasoned. The creaminess of the yoghurt cut through the starchy components of the dish. We almost forgot about the lime and the parsley which came on top – it was that good. Amazing.
To share, we had the Marinated Octopus, Brisket and Ink. It was a beautifully presented dish; a strip of ink down the centre of the plate with a slender slab of beef brisket topped with a slice of octopus. Like floss on top of the octopus/brisket contraption is the salad – stewed red peppers, greens (parsley and sprouts) and minuscule cubes of just cooked potato. The octopus was prepared well, though A and I were a bit disappointed there wasn’t more of it, as it was supposed to be the star of the dish. The brisket was also delicious, tender and well seasoned. Overall it was a nice, simple and delicate dish. A good starter to our meal (A loves her octopus!).
We were so full at this point, but could not go past the sweets menu. The girls next to us, who came in just for dessert and tea, had the Chocolate & Peanut Pudding (it looked delicious)– but we needed to try the Fried Apple Pies. The fried pies came in a spring roll style format; thin pastry dusted in sugar with tiny portions of perfectly stewed apple. The buttermilk caramel was a long strip across our plate, decorated with fleshy sultanas. There were little stacks of julienned green apple, adding a fresh bite to the plate. The nutmeg ice cream was delicious; smooth with a subtle earthy taste from the spice. Apart from being another attractive dish, it was so easy to share, with everything splitting into two portions – two scoops of ice cream, two pies, bits and pieces that were easy to divide up. Delicious.
There was a bit of a mix up with our desserts, but ours came out soon after the mistake was identified by the staff. Our lovely waiter was quick to say “sorry about the wait” upon arrival of our pies but I think the 10 minute mark had barely passed at that point.
A massive highlight for me at The Crow was the service. Seriously good service. We were served by three different waiters throughout the night, but everything moves in The Old Crow like a well-oiled machine. It’s service that is rivalled by fine dining restaurants – genuine, personal and polished. The lovely waitress who served me at the start was highly apologetic for the group of rowdy customers behind our table and pleasantly informed me they would be gone soon. The waiter staff were exceptionally patient (it took us forever to finish the meals and to order) but were also remarkably efficient at clearing our plates and checking up on us. I cannot praise the service enough.
The total cost for the night was $131 for two people, including drinks to share and a three course meal. We were so stuffed by the end of the night, well fed and merry from the alcohol. I love everything about The Old Crow – the outstanding service, the hearty and rustic food, generous portion sizes, a great drinks menu and the warm wonderful ambience. I will definitely be back for dinner, drinks and breakfast soon.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Address: 172 Newcastle St, Perth WA 6000
- The Old Crow is open for lunch and dinner on Mondays, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and till late on Friday and Saturday).
- Open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Not open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Bookings essential, especially for dinner.
- A and I visited the Old Crow a while back, so the menu has undergone a few changes. It would be good to have a peek at their current one if you’re planning to dine there anytime soon!