Cooee, the first venture from Twiggy Forrest’s hospitality group, matches a contemporary fit-out with a talented chef and a local sensibility to please all comers, all day long.
Cooee may well be one of Perth’s best-placed restaurants: riverside, between the CBD and the Western Suburbs, close to Kings Park, and with the advantage of the residents and workers of the Old Swan Brewery. Added to which the fit-out in what is the first outing from Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Z1Z hospitality group is ticking all the contemporary boxes. But location and fit-out alone won’t sustain you in Perth’s competitive dining scene.
Enter Alan Wise, an Australian chef who has built his career in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and most notably in New York, where he spent 12 years. While chefs’ resumés often boast Michelin experience with mere months or weeks in an establishment, Wise has climbed the ladder slowly, heading at least two kitchens over a number of years that held a coveted Michelin star. File him under “the real deal.”
Wise’s brief here is to explore the best of Western Australian produce, and he does so ably.
Wise’s brief here is to explore the best of Western Australian produce, and he does so ably, be it with large-format dishes using Rose Mallee wagyu (from another Forrest venture, Harvest Road) or a simple but accomplished salad leaning on Vietnamese mint, lime, chilli and revered Fremantle octopus. Akoya oysters from Leeuwin Coast (yet another Forrest brand) are fried in a lacy tempura batter – crisp, hot and delicious.
The litmus test of whether a restaurant knows what it’s doing – especially in Perth – is how the fish is handled. Rankin cod with lemon, lentils and capers gives the answer: it’s cooked beautifully and presented simply – a winner. A formidable by-the-glass (and bottle) selection underpins the drinks offer, the list a mix of classic and up-and-coming WA wineries, with a good smattering of interstate and overseas talent.
It’s early days, but it’s safe to say that Cooee is one to watch, and that as the team bed in we’ll be seeing growth at this new riverside destination.