Nine Fine Food, Highgate
Nine Fine Food has been one of my most-wanted-to-visits for years. Regarded as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Perth, its humble exterior on the corner of Lake and Bulwer Streets in Highgate wouldn’t make you think it’s anything special. However, when you enter the big glass doors and into the dark and moody room, it’s fancy, intimate, and classy. They have been around for many years, and winning numerous awards year after year, specialising in Japanese food with a Modern Australian twist.
My girl friends and I decided to go to Nine Fine Food for a catch up dinner, and had a booking made prior. It was already quite busy when I arrived at 7pm, proving that the restaurant is still quite popular. And going through the menu, I could understand why. Everything on the menu sounded so good, with the most delicious flavours marrying together on one plate – Lamb and scallop, and pork and pork (for the pork lovers) for entrees, and barramundi and prawn, and salmon and scallop for mains – all just what I needed that night! All fresh, well-known Australian produce with the Japanese flavours sounded like almost perfection. We promptly gave them our large list of dishes (for four girls).
I had the Lamb & Scallop ($18) for my entree, which had braised miso lamb shoulder, lightly grilled scallops, zucchini, fresh greens, and balsamic soy dressing. It was exactly what you get from fine dining restaurants – tiny, small sizes. There were two shredded piles of braised lamb, and two perfectly cooked scallops that had been lightly grilled, but it tasted as if one scallop was more grilled than the other. There was so much flavour in all the elements of the dish – the chewy sweetness in the scallops and the braised lamb, the soft but crunchy zucchini, and lots of sauce to fuse the flavours together. It was a very delicious entree, and enough to tease me as I awaited our mains.
My main was so delicious. I had the Beef Tenderloin Steak ($36) that had Grilled Black Angus beef tenderloin steak, sautéed mushrooms, mash potato, fresh greens, dukkah, creamy rice wine and olive oil reduction. I asked for the meat to be cooked medium, which ended up being cooked more on the pink side, however this was exactly what I wanted (I like more of a medium rare, but I ask for medium just to be safe). I just wanted more and more of the meat. The meat was so tender, making it so easy to cut through. The mash had the right balance of nutmeg spices in it. It was soft and creamy with the nutmeg giving texture. There were two lotus crisps on the mash, which made it look like a mouse, which I thought was funny. There was also a lot of the creamy rice wine and olive oil reduction that had a distinctive alcoholic taste to it. All in all, it was a really delicious and memorable dish.
It was dessert time, and we decided to go all out and order all their desserts to share. I introduce to you my favourite dessert of the night, the Banana Azuki & Chocolate Roll ($10). It had Azuki red bean, fresh banana and chocolate in hot spring roll with vanilla ice-cream. I would highly recommend this dish. If Japanese desserts aren’t your kind of desserts, then this one is a must. The Japanese love their red bean (literally everywhere in Japan and Korea) and it featured in this dessert. The spring roll was crunchy and hot, and had that delicious chocolate and banana inside. Fruits were scattered everywhere on the plate, and all the tanginess of the fruit were brought together with the simple sweetness of the vanilla ice cream. This dish was very delicate and just so delicious.
We had the Tiramisu ($6) which had creamy tiramisu, crushed peanuts and cookies. The Japanese love creating their own take of the Italian coffee-flavoured dessert – I always see it on their dessert menus. Honestly, this one was quite average and I probably wouldn’t recommend bothering with this dessert. It was still nice but the other desserts totally outshine this one. The tiramisu was more of a cream than having the usual delicious sponge.
I was really excited to have the Kuro Goma Gelato ($5), which is basically black sesame gelato, that came with crushed nuts and cookies. Black sesame gelato might not be for every one but this one was so good – it is one of the best black sesame ice creams that I have ever had. The gelato tasted really fresh, and you could taste the freshness of the black sesame in it. Highly recommended!
My friends and I love green tea, so we had to have the Matcha Brûlée ($6) that was basically lightly torched green tea custard brûlée. I was glad the top wasn’t burnt (I hate it when it’s burnt). The dessert was good, and the green tea flavour stayed throughout the custard brûlée, with that famous crunchy top layer. The brûlée was hot, smooth and delicious.
We used our Entertainment Cards which made us so happy (we could use two), because it took a huge chunk out of the total bill. Using two cards gave us a maximum of $60 off when applying 25% off the bill, which took roughly $53 off, totalling to approximately $160 (also including Japanese tea). Not bad between four people for the amount that we ate! The service was friendly and attentive. Nine Fine Food would be perfect for those intimate dinners for special occasions.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Address: 227/229 Bulwer St, Highgate WA 6003
- Open Tuesdays to Saturday from 6pm until late, and closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays.
- View their menus on their website here.
- Bookings are recommended on (08) 9227 9999 with a maximum of 8 people.
- Entertainment Book Gold Card – 25% off total bill (up to $60).
- Free street parking is available on Lake and Bulwer Street.
- BYO alcohol only at $3.50 per person.