Must Winebar in Highgate has gone family style and it is good, very good. This classic, conservative, French-style bistro has bravely undone its carefully built brand and undergone the most comprehensive transformation in its 17-year history.
Must chef and co-owner Russell Blaikie has no doubts about his new path. Nor do we. The cooking is a polished as ever, but the restaurant is more likeable, more accessible and is more about food you actually want to eat when you go out.
Must is celebrated for its charcuterie. Nowhere does it better. It strides the porky culinary landscape of WA like a titan. Charcuterie remains on the new menu and, preposterously, it is better than ever.
Must’s celebrated chicken-liver parfait is impossibly silky and glossy, perfectly pink and surrounded by a picture frame of piquant, sweet and acidic wine jelly. The best liver parfait in town.
Then the sharing begins, with plates such as a massive T-bone for three or more; a whole rotisserie chicken with condiments and garnishes; and a similarly humungous grilled pork chop.
The wine list is not what it was, but that too is part of the plan. The hundreds and hundreds of high-end wines on the much-awarded Must wine list are still available until sold out. The new wine list is leaner, more modern, more approachable and still one of the finest in town.
It is rare to see the successful rebirth of a high-profile, long-serving restaurant. It is even more rare to see it done with such aplomb, confidence and brilliance. Must Winebar is a sparkling new restaurant, with all the best bits of its former self – intelligent service, superb cooking, kitchen discipline and a floor crew with knowledge and experience.