It’s been said fine dining in Perth is dead but Clarke’s of North Beach sits squarely and comfortably in this category. Chef Stephen Clarke’s nose-to-tail-style cookery has changed little in his eponymous restaurants 14 years, and while some might argue his formal style food is out of step with the times, his fierce and local followers would disagree.
Ignore the I’m-sitting-in-someone’s-lounge-room-in-serious-need-of-a-makeover ambience and concentrate on the impeccable and exquisitely plated food.
Sautéed mushroom, brioche with pepper ice-cream is daring and delish if not a touch breakfast-like. Linley Valley pork belly (Clarke keeps all his produce as local as possible) in a miso glaze is 50 shades of fabulous and its apple compote is a perfect balance of sweet and sour notes to complement it. Grass-fed sirloin is a hefty slab of high-quality meat and like many of Clarke’s mains, comes cooked two ways so its accompanying wagyu brisket is equally moreish, silky and moist. Honey roasted duck breast and confit duck leg do the bird proud. Perky, bitter cocoa nib flavours and a lurid beet jus finish off the dish. Desserts are old faithfuls with contemporary twists.
The wine list could do with a few more by-the-glass numbers but overall the list is a shout out to Australia with a smattering of quality international labels. Clarke’s is an intimate fine diner with flawless cooking and impeccable service.