Nine Fine Food has been plating up painterly Japan-Oz delicacies since long before Nobu swept into town amid much miso cod fanfare. Former chopper pilot Song has been plugging away at his Northbridge restaurant for almost 15 years.
You’ll see him on the floor, gently guiding customers through their choices if they ask for help. Nine Fine Food has outlasted its former neighbour, the once wonderful Nahm Thai, and has continued to thrive in the city’s highly competitive hospitality scene. It’s also a delicious rarity: a fine diner that is BYO only, with fair corkage of $3.50 per person.
It’s almost impossible to fault its sublime dining experience – efficient but not officious service from chirpy young things – an edgy yet traditional space and elegant, exciting modern Japanese food. Nine Fine Food offers two to seven-course set menus, with or without dessert. A special manpuku six-course menu provides a highlights reel of the kitchen’s best.
Sashimi, always a showcase of spanking-fresh fish, is artfully arranged with tobiko caviar cream and a tart yuzu mascarpone. Agedashi tofu, in light potato-flour batter and an earthy, rich mushroom and edamame-studded kombu broth, topped with a piece of spring onion pancake and deep-fried lotus root, is enough to make the most ardent carnivore swoon.
A rich mound of angel- hair pasta with caviar and a light, creamy sake and rice wine reduction is texturally perfect. Teriyaki chicken thigh, with smears of beetroot relish and saffron and truffle aioli shows a combination of deft cooking and restraint. Four courses of entrée-size dishes in and you may want a break. But press on and regard a tiny duo of lamb ribs, their plum miso-braised flesh falling from the bone, joined on the plate by a crab croquette and an arresting kimchi salad.
It’s too good — and none of it is let down by dessert: a tangy and surely life-extending green tea mousse. Nine Fine Food is one of the great stayers on the Perth dining scene — the kind of exceptional cooking and attention to detail that leaves you feeling very fine indeed.