A Once in a Lifetime Degustation @ Restaurant Amusé

Restaurant Amusé, East Perth
Warning: This long review is deliciously photo heavy

entrance

The entrance of Restaurant Amusé.

I have had a fair share of degustations in my life so far, including Red Cabbage in South Perth and The Press Club in Melbourne. I always enjoy degustations, although the small size of the dishes can come at a shock as I love to eat (in case you couldn’t tell). I recently celebrated my six year anniversary with my boyfriend and I had been wanting to go to Restaurant Amusé for a number of years now. It’s the perfect place to celebrate any special occasion. On the night I visited, there were many birthday celebrations.

It was somewhat problematic when we tried to make a booking, but not difficult. I had kept track of the reservation availability for a few months and decided to book a date about a month and a half prior. At the time of booking, Restaurant Amusé advised online that the next available days to reserve were months away! Yikes! Weekends are very popular, where they are booked out months in advance. Restaurant Amusé only takes reservations online (we had tried to call but they do not answer their phones during service hours, as they put their undivided attention to their patrons). I received an email promptly the next day advising that they would be closed for that week as they were attending the Gourmet Escape in Margaret River. Unfortunately, my inbox decided not to show me this email until I had to specifically find it and only saw it a few weeks before the date. So I booked again for the week later at 8pm and away we went!

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Keeping the menu of the tonight’s degustation a surprise

My boyfriend was confused as it seemed like we had arrived at a residence, despite my efforts to explain that it was the restaurant. We arrived 10 minutes before our reservation time with another couple and sat down. We were offered water by one waiter and I asked for tap water (as I had not realised they carbonate and filter their own water at no cost to the guest). His reaction was rather dismissive as he walked off, as I had nearly finished talking to him. We were pretty shocked at what had happened but I didn’t take it personally. He probably didn’t mean it but he should maybe brush up on his general courtesy.

I had advised during the booking (and confirming via email) that we had one seafood allergy. At 8pm, we were approached by the one of the staff and listened to the explanation about dining at Restaurant Amusé, re-confirming the seafood allergy. They were happily able to make non-seafood versions of their extravagant dishes.

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Warm rye and sourdough bread on hot rocks.

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Whipped butter with salt? Yes please!

Our experience started at 8pm on the dot. One of the waiters gave us a brief menu of the dishes, to which it was up to us if we wanted to keep the degustation a surprise. We didn’t look at the menu much throughout the night, but only referred to it when we were not sure what we were eating. We skipped on the wine and each ordered lemon, lime and bitters, which was divine. Each dish was perfectly memorised by the wait staff, describing what we were about to eat and the process of creating the components of the dish.

We received our delicious warm bread with whipped butter. The bread, which were rye and sour dough, was lovely and soft, served on top of hot rocks to keep the bread warm. The whipped butter was amazing and there was plenty of it. Salt was sprinkled on the butter, giving it an extra tangy taste. The night kicked off to a good start.

dish_1

The opening dish for tonight’s degustation.

The next dish that came out was intended to be the start of the degustation. I don’t think it was written on the menu, however this dish was most definitely interesting. The orange balls, resembling oversized caviars, popped in your mouth as you bit into it, giving off a fishy taste in the dish. The shaved white chocolate on top was sweet, breaking and melting softly in your mouth. It was quite odd and definitely the first time I tasted seafood and chocolate all at once.

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The opening dish of the non-seafood variety.

My boyfriend obviously could not eat my seafood dish, so he got another alternative. Not quite sure what it was, as I could not catch what our waiter said, but my boyfriend thought it was also interesting, and didn’t know what to make of it. (COMMENT ON THIS MORE)

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Dish 1: Marron, apple and balsamic

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Dish 1 (non-seafood): Beetroot, apple and sorrel

Our first dish from the menu finally came out and mine was described as “Marron, apple and balsamic” on the menu. The marron was beautifully delicious. Half of small serving of marron was blow torched and the other was cooked perfectly. The apple meringue was light and crispy, and was so interesting. It would crumble away and disappear in your mouth once you ate it.
The non-seafood version was described as “Beetroot, apple and sorrel”. The beetroot was perfectly cubed in the centre of the dish. Sorrel is a herb and a leafy vegetable that is similar to spinach. There was also apple meringue on top of the beetroot. This was another interesting dish for my boyfriend. It would have been nice to have had a meat, but this is a vegetarian version of the dish.
dish_3

Dish 2: Roselle, Geraldton Wax and tomato.

The second dish we got was described as “Roselle, Geraldton Wax and tomato”. Roselle, a type of plant, was scattered around the plate. Geraldton Wax is a type of flower hailing from W.A. To be honest, the only thing I can remember from this dish was that it was a little hard to digest. It was tangy and a little odd. I can’t remember too much from this dish, but it wasn’t one of my favourites. I was hoping the night was going to get better. By this stage, I was wondering why this restaurant was all the rage.
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Before the unravelling of dish 3…

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Smoke spilling out of dish 3.

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Dish 3 without the egg (to my boyfriend’s request).

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Dish 3: Egg, peas and parmesan.

And then the next dish came out: “Egg, peas, and parmesan”. When we walked into the restaurant, there was this strong, smokey smell that spilled out of the restaurant. And this was the reason why. I captured the moment when my boyfriend opened up the warm jar. The smoke flew out of the jar and you could see what was at the bottom. It was quite a sight to watch. This is the reason why you go to degustations: the creativeness in chefs is quite amazing as they try to tantalise all your senses with one bite. The egg was runny and inside sat the crispy duck skin, which was absolutely delicious. My boyfriend didn’t have the runny egg as he does not like it, so he had it omitted. The peas were at the bottom and all around the jar. Yum! It was quite a runny dish but it was also memorable.
dish_5

Dish 4: Asparagus, squid and oyster.

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Dish 4 (non-seafood): Asparagus, herb, and rye.

My fourth dish was called “Asparagus, squid and oyster”. This one was also one of my favourites. The asparagus was crunchy, soft, and cooked perfectly. The squid was tender, with that familiar chew, and crunchy with the black balls scattered around the dish (I’m not sure what these were). The sauce was sweet and blended all the components of the dish together.

My boyfriend’s version was called “Asparagus, herb, and rye”. He found it okay, but at this point, my carnivore boyfriend was wondering when the meat was going to arrive.

dish_6

Dish 5: Sweet corn, bacon and kimchi.

My second favourite dish of the night was the fifth dish and called “Sweet corn, bacon and kimchi”. Half way through the dish, we had realised that my boyfriend had pork in his, not bacon. Not sure why, though. We both loved this dish. The sweet corn was indeed sweet, warm, and juicy. It was really delicious. The kimchi was spicy which gave a kick. The spiciness wore off in a matter of seconds. The bacon cubes didn’t have the familiar salty taste that we know. It was chewy and had more of a pork taste to it.  It might not look like a lot in quantity in the dish, but I was chewing with a full mouth at the end. The bacon jus was salty, but was well balanced with the delicious caramelised sour cream and the rest of the dish. I could have this dish all over again.
Dish 6: Lamb, eggplant

Dish 6: Lamb, onion and eggplant.

And this was my favourite dish of the night. The sixth dish was the “Lamb, onion and eggplant”. The lamb was absolutely divine. It was pink, sweet and ever-so-perfectly cooked. It’s a shame it was about only the size of my finger! I definitely could have ate the size of a plate’s worth. My boyfriend loved it as well; finally, some proper meat! The eggplant component came as a purée, which was overpowering the dish at times, so I couldn’t have all of it. It didn’t disappoint the rest of the dish, though. The onion ring (blurred in the background of the photo) was perfectly coloured with a gradient from beige at the bottom to dark brown at the top. It did not have that overpowering onion taste, but it was a nice complement to the dish. I’m not too sure what the garnish on top was; it was almost like a bread, but had a meaty texture to it.
Dish 7: Blueberries and pink geranium.

Dish 7: Blueberries and pink geranium.

Dessert already? Noooo! How is it that time already? The seventh dish was called, “Blueberries and pink geranium”. The blueberries were infused in apple vinegar, giving off that odd, fizzy and acidic taste as soon as you ate it. The pink geranium was of the sherbet kind, which quite literally “kicked you in the throat” but not in a bad way. It was uber tangy and sweet at the same time. The whole dish came basically in the size of a tea light candle. It was tiny, but it was enough to cleanse my palate, preparing us for the final dessert dishes.

Dish 8: Grapes, coconut and spice.

Dish 8: Grapes, coconut and spice.

The eighth dish was called, “Grapes, coconut and spice”. The grapes had been carbonated, so it almost felt like you were drinking a fizzy drink. It was peculiar but pretty cool. The spices ice-cream was absolutely freezing. It looked like popcorn, but was ridiculously cold. It was hard to bite through, as it was frozen solid, and tasted of cinnamon. It was delish!

The last dessert of the night.

The last dessert of the night.

Dish 9: Rustleberries, hay and brown butter.

Dish 9: Rustleberries, hay and brown butter.

The second-last and ninth dish, was called, “Rustleberries, hay and brown butter”. The dish looked amazing as the plate decoration looked like it was a part of the dessert. It reminded me of cherry blossoms. I wasn’t a huge fan of this dish, thus I couldn’t remember too much about how it tasted. Not sure what it was, but the top layer of the dessert tasted like fish to me. I don’t know how; it was savoury, however when you eat it with the sorbet, it was sweet and delicious, so you could barely notice that fishy taste. The base was sweet and crunchy. The dish looked beautiful but I didn’t fancy it that much.

Dish 10: Desert Limes and Burnt Marshmallows

Dish 10: Desert limes and burnt lemon.

Dish 10: Mint and pepper berry tea

Dish 10: Mint and pepper berry tea.

I thought we had received our final dish for the night, so I made a quick stop to the ladies, and had arrived back to the table with our finale dish. My boyfriend was surprised that they had served it whilst I was gone. We have been to countless fine dining restaurants before, both within Australia and internationally, and some restaurants had waited for the patrons to arrive back at the table before serving. If Amusé was all about giving excellent service (and food), maybe they could take note of this next time. Anyway, enough of that. The final dish, “Mint and pepper berry” tea, with “Desert limes and burnt lemon”, was a nice touch. By this stage, we were three hours into our degustation, which was their recommended dining time. The tea was just what I needed to end the night, before hopping into bed. I love mint tea, so it was really nice, and the waiter even offered if we wanted more tea (I didn’t realise he had meant more tea until my boyfriend told me that that was what he meant, whoops!). The marshmallows were soft and moist, and the desert limes were chewy, sweet, and flavoursome, that went exceptionally well with the tea.

Most of the diners had left at this point, and we decided it was time we went, too. I handed my Entertainment Gold Card (25% off total bill) and a massive deduction was taken from the bill (woohoo!). I was really excited to use the card for Restaurant Amusé, and I’m so happy that they accept the card. The degustation comes to $130 per person, without wine pairings. With the discount, excluding our two drinks, the final cost came to $110 per person.

I was definitely full at the end but my boyfriend wasn’t. He wasn’t very impressed with the restaurant, considering how much the degustation was and how it was been getting excellent reviews consistently. We both had agreed that the Red Cabbage degustation, which we had went to for our five year anniversary in 2012, was much better across the board regarding food, service and price. I don’t know if it was because of the hype surrounding Restaurant Amusé, that I was expecting it to be mind-blowing. I’m not the greatest degustation diner but Restaurant Amusé isn’t regarded high on my favourite fine-dining restaurant list. It was rather disappointing to experience because I had always wanted to try Restaurant Amusé, and after hearing it takes months to get a booking, I was expecting more from them. It is definitely for special occasions, unless you have a lot of money to burn. I probably wouldn’t go back; once is enough for me. The food was still amazing, and the creativity of the chef deserves a standing ovation. All I am saying is that I expected more. Regardless, it was memorable, and I’m glad to say that I have tried one of the regarded best restaurants in Perth.

Rating: 7 out of 10
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Address: 64 Bronte Street, East Perth WA 6004
Website: http://www.restaurantamuse.com.au/

Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Only open from Tuesday to Saturday for dinner from 6:30pm.
  • Bookings only. Make sure you check the reservations page on their website, as they frequently update their booking availabilities.
  • If a date is not available, you can be put on the wait list.
  • 2013/14 Entertainment Book Gold Card – 25% off total bill.

- A.

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2 thoughts on “A Once in a Lifetime Degustation @ Restaurant Amusé

    • Glad someone else thinks the same! I’ve seen so many reviews and comments about Restaurant Amuse being the best but I don’t know if it was just the night, or it wasn’t to our taste (no pun intended). Nothing bad went wrong, but each to their own.

      - A.

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