John Parker and Chase Weber have turned their attention to the suburbs with Dandelion, where the food is fuelled by fire and the spirits are distilled on-site. Weber gives us the lowdown.
Dandelion is the newest project from John Parker, our most recent winner of the Hospitality Operator of the Year. Launched at the end of February as a part of the revamp of Karrinyup’s food offerings, this two-story bar and restaurant offers experiences in multiple spaces, each featuring woodfired cooking inspired by Southeast Asian flavours and matched with drinks mixed with house-distilled spirits. In the kitchen is Chase Weber, the chef who oversees the food at John Parker’s inner-city venues including The Standard (2019 winner for Best Bar Dining), The Royal and Fleur (2021 winner for New Restaurant of the Year). Relishing bringing big flavours and a little flair to the suburbs, Weber runs us through what to expect.
What is Dandelion all about?
Dandelion sees us on a new journey outside of our comfort of the inner city. We see it as an opportunity to express some of our favourite aspects of our current venues, with the addition of the primal use of fire to impart subtle accents to our distinct shared-style dining. On the drinks side, we’ve taken the big leap into distilling our own unique range of spirits onsite with Dandelion Spirit Co, with a commitment to create an amazing in-house drinks program for all to enjoy.
Tell us about the dining space.
Dandelion is a sprawling two-story venue that has a corner of comfort for everybody, whether it be a seat at the downstairs bar overlooking the distillery and chatting to the bartenders about your favorite spirits, lounging in front of the fireplace sipping a Dandelion Gin & Tonic, or enjoying the sunset while snacking on small bites in the lush surrounds of our sprawling deck. My favourite part of Dandelion, from a chef’s point of view, is the chef’s table situated directly in front of the pass. If you love to watch the action, this is the spot to grab.
How would you describe the approach you’ve taken with the food?
I thought Dandelion would be a chance to try something new, so we got to work building a custom wood oven and grill which would become the basis of the menu. Starting with a Southeast Asian base, we then worked on imparting delicious yet subtle notes of smoke and fire into the dishes.
What’s a good dish for diners to kick off with at Dandelion?
I would definitely be starting off a meal with an array of our small bites, such as the Abrolhos scallop crudo with apple, white soy and sake or the betel leaves topped with compressed watermelon, trout floss and galangal. Then you can’t go past our ode to The Standard and The Royal with a little plate of fire-dusted potato gems – those in the know will love it.
With a rotisserie grill and wood oven, you’re playing a lot with fire. What’s a dish diners can expect from your fire-powered cooking?
Being on the coast, seafood has been a big influence on our menu and it doesn’t get much more quintessentially West Australian than cooking fresh WA rock lobster straight on the barbecue while watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. Our version starts with the woodfired lobster, then adds tangerine vinegar butter, sea herbs and spring onion oil.
I’m dining with friends, what’s a dish for sharing?
Sharing is our jam here at Dandelion! I could say anything on the menu, but if I had to choose one dish as a must-have it would be the roasted eggplant with massaman curry and smoked labne.
What’s on the menu for people who don’t eat animals? There’s a large selection of vegetarian dishes throughout our menu, from the golden baby corn with salted coconut through to a Cambodian-style yellow curry of cauliflower and wood-grilled lion’s-mane mushroom.
Something sweet to finish?
I have massive a sweet tooth and love to have fun with creating desserts. We have a multi-layered pineapple, coconut and Sichuan pepper number designed to share, plus daily-baked Macau-style custard tarts with a cheeky scoop of bay-leaf gelato on the side.
OK that’s food. What about drinks? What should we order?
Being that we are all about the in-house made spirits, cocktails are a must at Dandelion, and hey, everyone may not openly admit it, but who doesn’t love a lychee martini? Ours is a Lychee-ini Dandelini using Dandelion Vodka infused with lemongrass, lychees and elderflower.
Finally, what experience do you want diners to take away from Dandelion?
That’s simple. We want people to think of Dandelion as their local — a place they can always rely on to have amazing shared plates with friends, banging drinks and quality service in a welcoming and relaxed environment.
Interview: Ai-Ling Truong