A housemade ethos meets a native larder and Asian influence in Swan Valley.
The vibe at Old Young’s, you could say, is ‘very valley.’ There’s an absence of pretension, service that’s familiar yet wholly appropriate, a focus on local wine recommendations and of course, given this is a distillery restaurant, the house gin. It’s no surprise for those with an intimate knowledge of WA’s hospitality scene that Rohan Park would, in helming Old Young’s Kitchen, draw upon the abundant native larder, having spent years as a core member of the itinerant Fervor crew, hosting pop-up restaurant experiences grounded in connection to country. A stint at city-based Fleur saw him further hone his skills in preserving and fermenting.
Even a simple plate of steamed kai lan and choy sum is arresting, elevated by pungent black bean, mushroom XO and fresh macadamias.
Park brings these skills and more to bear on an ambitious offer, but there’s no earnest fine dining schtick here, encapsulated perfectly in his menu, which comes with a glossary titled “what the f*** is that?” Instead it’s casual, punchy even, with crowdpleasing plates like pork belly served with rescued fruit, spicy ssämjang and river mint. And if kangaroo tartare and crocodile chorizo read as a challenge, they’re a delight to eat, precise and balanced. Even a simple plate of steamed kai lan and choy sum is arresting, elevated by pungent black bean, mushroom XO and fresh macadamias. Another case of depth and layers hiding in plain sight.