We didn’t expect Meat & Wine Co’s new Perth offshoot to make the coveted Top 50 list, such is its prosaic approach to food and dining and its almost fast-food dining style. And yet it has done so, because it is utterly enjoyable, devoid of pretension, customer friendly and a welcome new addition to the Perth CBD food scene.
It’s pitched well to the city crowds, pricing is attractive, food is cooked well, and the wine list is above average. It’s solid, honest, properly run and great value.
The meat is good. So it should be – it’s their main game and it is the only restaurant we’ve come across with a “Meat Master.” His name is Louis Tswelapili Kwete, by the way. The meats are a generic product and it’s unclear where they’re from. In an era of endless reams of information on menus about a cow’s home address, genetics, breed, feed, age, ageing, shoe size and favourite colour, such a lack of information seems out of kilter with modern expectations.
Not that it matters, M&WC bangs out damn fine meats and steaks. Beef ribs (half or full rack) are cooked long and slow enough to pull away from the bone easily, although retaining a good chew. One of the best beef rib plates in town. A 400g rib eye on the bone was well cooked and rested. Diners can order from a list of nine sauces, including Portuguese, barbecue relish, hot African chilli, blue cheese and mushroom.
“Southern” chilli glazed pork belly with lettuce, onion and jalapeno was good. Its thick layers of fat were rendered expertly and were delightfully gelatinous, not at all greasy, well-seasoned and slightly punchy with chilli flavours.
It’s a big menu, with everything from burgers to a range of steaks to roasted and braised meats and enough non-meat dishes and sides to keep vegetarians happy. The iceberg wedge salad is recommended.
Meat & Wine Co is a very likeable restaurant. The food and cooking are serviceable and enjoyable. All that remains to know is why an African-themed restaurant has a giant (Chinese) as a major décor element. It had us scratching our heads. Perhaps that’s the point.