Chef/owner Melissa Palinkas is cooking some of the sexiest food in Perth. It is food brimming with nostalgia and humour and all the modern trappings of house-made ferments, pickles, charcuterie and breads. The restaurant is a charming space too – modern, yet homely.
Marron thermidor is a riff on the 1970s classic, lobster thermidor. It is a ludicrously amped-up plate of memories based on a jumbo-size split and grilled marron luxuriating in a cheesy, white wine-flavoured bechamel sauce.
Palinkas’ preferred playground is deep down in dude territory where she turns her talent to creating original dishes such as smoked pork jowl with fermented cabbage, apple, gochujang, maple and puffed grains, or a half buttermilk-roast chicken with chestnut, bacon and seed stuffing and chicken jus.
Be warned, Palinkas is a prolific inventor, so many of the dishes we write about here may have long gone, such is the constant re-jigging of the menu, to suit season, available produce and Palinkas’ next big idea. How could you say no, for instance, to “wood-baked nettle dumplings, parsley root cream, farro and pickled onion?” It could be best described as a firm baked gnocchi, chock-a-block with nettles in a blonde puddle of light, parsley scented crema, superbly and delicately cooked.
If Young George had a signature dish, it would be its organic chop chop beef, based on hand-chopped raw beef, perched on house-made nacho crisps and dressed to kill with a crunchy, punchy salsa fresca, fried jalapeños — for texture and danger — and a vibrant crema to add mouthfeel and salt.
The menu has no truck with old school demarcations like “entrée, mains and desserts.” Mix it up any way you like. Have a snack, share a feast, indulge by yourself. It’s your call.
Our go-to at Young George is the fried-chicken milk bun. The soft, pillowy buns are made in-house. The fried chicken is properly juicy and seasoned. It had more crunch than a ski boot on powder.
Palinkas’ partner Susan Wheelan runs a tight ship out front. Service is energetic. The wine list at Young George is a well-crafted document, with interesting small and large producer titles. Young George is a showcase for the kitchen’s unseemly levels of talent. It’s also inventive, fun, smart and drop-dead gorgeous.