Lalla Rookh got itself a new chef in 2017. Sous chef Alexandra Haynes took over from Joel Valvasori, one of Perth’s best chefs and the creator of some of the finest Italian food in WA. Luckily for we fans, Ms Haynes has stepped up to the plate with aplomb. The place has barely missed a beat.
One can’t talk about Lalla Rookh without mentioning its epic wine list (a finalist in this year’s Good Food Guide Wine List Of The Year) and its informed wine service. The small liquor store attached to the restaurant is a redoubt for city oenophiles who can choose any bottle from the well-stocked, well-curated shelves and, for the price of a very reasonable corkage fee, drink it over lunch at the wine shop tables. Too cool. Curiously, diners in the restaurant proper don’t have the same opportunity and can order only from the restaurant wine list. Not sure why.
The dishes carry on the Lalla Rookh legacy. Spaghetti with blue swimmer crab might well be the State dish of WA – every chef does a version and punters love it. The Lalla Rookh version is one of the city’s finest. We loved the just-cooked, tensile chew of al dente pasta and the generous chunks of crab meat. It was garnished with nduja. Perfect. Potato gnocchi with burnt butter and sage is well-executed comfort food as is pot-roasted chicken with parsnip, fennel and olives. It was a rustic beauty, the centrepiece of which was a properly roasted chicken Maryland and a swoosh of pureed turnip. Bravo.
The dining room and bar area have been given a lick of paint and a new look in recent years. It’s one of the nicest dining spaces in the city.
Allendale Square – the city skyscraper that Lalla Rookh calls home – became something of a foodie destination in 2017 with a multi-million dollar makeover and new foodie tenants at ground level, dragging customers into the building. Lalla Rookh seems to have benefited from the landlord’s makeover. The crowds of city workers, food lovers and lads-who-lunch have never been larger.
Lalla Rookh is one of the city’s finest.