When long-term chef Aaron Carr departed Vasse Felix this year he left big shoes to fill. Vasse wanted to get it right and took their time finding Carr’s replacement. The newbie is Brendan Pratt and while Carr’s baton has been passed without even a hint of a wobble, Pratt hasn’t been backward in putting his stamp on the place.
The dishes are less cutting-edge and not as experimental as before, but Vasse is plating up some very tidy dishes. Charcuterie plates are all the rage these days and Vasse’s is a likeable version. The meats are fresh cut; the board was laid out like a market stall – all colour and composition. A quenelle of silky liver parfait was the consistency of thick cream. Pickled this and that added crunch and acid to the plate.
For mains, four dishes speak volumes about Vasse Felix’s modernist leanings, bold technique and cracking produce: gnocchi with artichoke, mushroom, comté and truffle; kangaroo with blood orange, eucalyptus and beetroot; cod with cauliflower, clams and XO sauce; and beef with cabbage, maple and onion. What to choose?
A visit to the iconic Vasse enterprise is also an opportunity to take in some seriously good art from the Holmes a Court collection and to stroll the park-like lawns pondering the outdoor sculpture.
The wines are, of course, superb, and the list includes some great back vintages and museum wines.
Times have changed at Vasse, but the serious food and wine venture still reigns as one of the top restaurants in the Margaret River region.