A flame-driven menu from one of Perth’s most celebrated chefs lets produce stand front and centre.
There’s an immediacy that’s clear from the moment the first plate lands at Manuka Woodfire Kitchen. Whether it’s a bowl of marinated olives warmed in the wood oven, or a blistered, puffy slab of bread covered with za’atar-like seasoning and dripping with olive oil, both come out too hot to handle.
Throughout the meal, each dish will show off the range of a kitchen fuelled entirely by flame. Abrolhos Island scallops on the half shell are gently warmed before being dressed with soy, mirin and chives; big pieces of pork belly are cooked to a fatty, crisp-skinned tenderness.
Abrolhos scallops on the half shell are gently warmed before being dressed with soy, mirin and chives; big pieces of pork belly are cooked to a fatty, crisp-skinned tenderness.
But where the nation’s big-ticket wood-fuelled restaurants – think Firedoor, Igni or Ester – may approach a higher plane in terms of ambition or technical wizardry, this is a place committed to its market, maintaining a casual air on the floor and a rusticity in the food and presentation that plays to the Freo crowd. (The drinks list, with nothing over $100 and a strong local beer showing, does the same.)
Could things be more refined? Probably, but that’d be missing the point, which is that good produce, handled well and cooked simply, will always have an audience ready and waiting to sing its praises.