Restaurant Review: Char Char Bull

It is a universal truth that a couple in possession of an Entertainment Book must be in want of a restaurant.  We have only recently acquired our book, but have been using it to check out some restaurants that we might not otherwise go to – or even know about. We visited Char Char Bull on Australia Day Eve, a Sunday  when the Fremantle waterfront was buzzing. Most restaurants looked busy and Char Char Bull was probably 70% full (and it had a fairly large floor space). Being on the Entertainment Book Gold Card, I had assumed the restaurant was fancier than it actually was.  It was more a bistro and, based on other’s attire,  I could have probably got away with thongs or jeans (perhaps not both together),  rather than the dress and heels I wore.

Our main criterion for choosing Char Char Bull was STEAK.  None of the entrees really appealed, but we were hungry so we started with the fetta, garlic, rosemary & a hint of mozzarella pizza. For $10 we got a full sized pizza (much bigger than expected) made of very good dough (it bode well for the selection of gourmet pizzas they also offer) with a buttery garlicky herby topping. It was very good, and came out very quickly (which was welcomed by my blood sugar levels). My dining partner (MDP)  and I both chose steaks for mains: the Char Char Rib Eye and the Scotch Fillet, with a side of steamed lemony beans. Both steaks were very good – very good –  and cooked extremely well. The beans were fresh (not frozen) and, indeed, lemony. MDP complained that we could have done with more mashed potato,  but I was satisfied with my lot. Dessert was a disappointment.  We shared the jaffa profiteroles, but these were lite on both the profiterole and chocolate sauce,  and heavy on the cointreau icecream (I did not order icecream).  MDP thought that the iceream tasted like vanilla,  which I felt was a little unfair as I could definitely taste the orange, even if it was subtle.

Our dining experience lasted about 2- 2.5 hours. Service could have been a little faster, particularly towards the end when we were contemplating whether or not to have dessert. We had to go up  to the counter to pay our bill,  which was perfectly fine, just unexpected.

Details: Char Char Bull,  44b Mews Rd Fremantle 6160 WA.  Phone: (08) 9335 7666

Service: MDP complained that we were left alone too much, but he’s more attuned to American service.  I felt ok with it (though they did take a long time to ask about dessert).

Food: There are only a few steaks to choose from,  but they’re well worth coming back for. Next time I’d probably skip dessert.

Mark-up: Our $45 bottle of Stella Bella Cabernet Merlot retails for $25-$30 online. (~ 65% markup)

The discount: The Entertainment Book Deal was a 25% discount of the bill, up to to $35. Our starter, two STEAKS, a vege side, a shared dessert and the wine came to $155 – or about $118 with the discount.   Better still,  the staff member who processed our bill did not scratch the number off our card and welcomed us to come back and use the discount again.  We may well do so.

Rating: 7.5/10

Char Char Bull on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: C Restaurant Lounge

As we walked back to the car, my dining partner (MDP) remarked that the reason why C Restaurant Lounge was named so was that because both A Restaurant and B Restaurant were already taken. Oh how I laughed!

C Restaurant Lounge, Perth’s only revolving restaurant, was our Valentine’s Day meal. Now, you can’t use the Entertainment Book on V-day (a Saturday this year) so we decided to cheat a little, avoid the crowds (and the set menus), and go out to dinner on the Friday instead. The fact that that Friday was also Friday the 13th gave the night a certain extra zing. Better still, as C Restaurant Lounge charges a 15% surcharge on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays, we though we’d be sneaky and miss that as well.  Unfortunately when I booked I was informed that the Friday was also being considered a ‘holiday’ because of Valentine’s Day so we didn’t miss it after all.

Despite only been give the option of either 6 pm or 8.45pm, the restaurant seemed fairly empty when we arrived (6.30 pm) and remained so through the service.  Our table was at the ‘back’ of the restaurant – away from the tiered section and booths, but it was quiet and we had an excellent view so this didn’t bother us (in fact we didn’t even realise that most of the restaurant was tiered until we were walking out and finally saw the rest of the diners).

The views are fantastic and this is what you are really paying for.  The floor takes about 1.5 hours to revolve completely, and we got about 1 and 1/3 revolutions while we were there. Unfortunately the food didn’t really live up to the location. The restaurant serves a menu which is $79 each for two courses (entree and main, or main and dessert), or $94 for all three, with about 5-6 choices for each course. We decided to share one entree and one dessert (plus two mains), and therefore try a bit of everything.

For entree, my gut instict was to go for the duck pate, but instead I chose the Taste Plate of Australian Delicacies (Kangaroo tartare, asparagus veloute and beetroot jelly, crocodile goujon),  partly because I had not had croc before. The croc was good (though most things are when battered and deep fried),  but the tartare was a big disappointment – I don’t think kangaroo works very well as a tartare and some of the meat seemed a bit grey. We were underwhelmed by this start to the meal. Mains were better. My char grilled pork striploin, caramelized pineapple and kiwi achar, fried coconut rice, star anise jus was very good and the highlight of the meal – particularly the coconut rice and char.  MDP’s fish of the day (king snapper, with ratatouille, chorizo and cous cous) was very moist, though he was disappointed with the bland chorizo (the ratatouille was very flavoursome).  Dessert was kind of bizarre.  The options were underwhelming but we eschewed the standard chocolate dessert in favour of the more intriguing green apple sorbet, green apple jelly, seasonal fresh fruit, lemon tuile. The green apple jelly looked straight out of a packet. It was virulently green and was dotted with white and dark chocolate. The sorbet was good, though not very exciting. The fruit was plentiful and included half a mango that required hacking with our spoons. However, the dish lacked the presentation of the preceding dishes and did not look like anything we couldn’t have knocked up ourselves.

To be honest, I was kind of expecting the food to be a bit underwhelming because main draw card is the view. From that respect I was not so disappointed. The 15% surcharge does, however, make what seemed to be an overpriced meal to start with just that much harder to swallow. I am still kind of interested in coming here for afternoon tea, however I won’t do it on the weekend or a holiday, and I probably won’t be back for dinner.

Details: C Restaurant Lounge, Level 33, 44 St Georges Terrace Perth (located in between Barrack St & London Court). Phone: 9220 8333

Service: There were lots of wait staff and service was good. We were asked how we felt about our meal quite often and I was impressed when the waitress responded quickly to MDP’s comments about his chorizo (suggesting staff had a good knowledge of the menu).

Food: Highlight of my meal was my pork.  MDP felt so-so about his fish. The entree and dessert were both disappointing.

Mark-up: I chose a T’Gallant 2008 Juliet Pinot Noir (cos I went there once 🙂 and was rewarded with a highly appropriate label for the occasion. We paid $53 for a bottle that may retail as low as $14, a 278% mark up. (Incidentally, the Stella Bella Cabernet Merlot 2006 we paid $45 at Char Char Bull was $60 here – about 120% mark up)

The discount: The Entertainment Book Deal was a flat $35 off the bill. Our meals and wine came to $212, or $177 with the discount  However, the surcharge of $26.40 meant we really only got about $9 off the meal itself. The surcharge is definitely the most annoying thing about the whole experience, particularly as it didn’t seem at all warranted given the number of diners on the night.  Our Entertainment Book Gold Card came back with the appropriate number scratched off, though I’d doubt we’d be back again even if they hadn’t.

Rating: 5/10

C Restaurant Lounge on Urbanspoon