Sophisticated venues like the heritage listed Print Hall, with its multi-level bars and mixture of casual and fine dining restaurants, never existed when I worked on St George’s Terrace many years ago. If it had, I would have frequented it along with the multitude of other cafes and intimate watering holes that have transformed Perth’s CBD from tragic to trendy.
Since opening in 2012, the Print Hall Dining Room has amassed an armful of awards, including The Western Australian Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year in both 2014 and 2015, and appeared in Australian Gourmet Travellers Top 100 restaurants of 2014. The luxurious fine dining restaurant is located on the ground floor and I am lucky enough to be invited to a European inspired degustation, celebrating the restaurant’s success over the years and the opening of a new chapter. It is labelled the ‘Last Lunch’ as the Print Hall Dining Room has closed to be re-modelled into a larger, more casual eating area, scheduled to relaunch around September 2016. (The rest of Print Hall will operate as normal). The intimate atmosphere will disappear along with the walls separating the restaurant from the main bar. We are told that as leaders in industry vision, the reason for closing is to stay ahead of the market food trend and to continue to evolve whilst still at the top of their game.
Before the menu is revamped we are treated to some of Executive Chef, Daniel Fisher’s, favourite dishes both old and new. The first course is Jamon Iberico (a type of cured ham) with rosemary on corn crackers. They are very light and so many flavours explode from just one tiny bite-sized morsel.
This is followed by Scarlet Prawn Crudo; smoked mussels and scampi with a fresh herb emulsion. The vibrant green sauce is a feast for the eyes while the herbs freshen the palate.
‘Chicken of the Sea’ with oscietra caviar and foie gras is next and doesn’t disappoint. It’s tender and tasty. The cucumber is crisp, the caviar and foie gras perfectly decadent.
Wood grilled Scampi with hemp and saltbush follows and looks amazing. The mixture of textures from the crumbed scampi to the crunchy noodles and thickened sauce makes for a unique blend of flavours.
Bread for the entire Print Hall venue is baked on the premises and the brioche is slightly sweet and warm enough that my butter melts as it spreads. Delicious and fresh.
My favourite dish is the roasted duck from Wagin with pineapple sage, glazed with honey and mushroom powder. So tender and juicy and full of flavour, I could easily have had more if I hadn’t filled up on bread! The servings are small but by the end of the 5th course I am pleasantly full.
The Print Hall Dining Room is also famous for its massive selection of wines. The wine list is as thick as a novel and won the restaurant the 2015 Wine Spectators Grand Award. I washed my meal down with a fresh white wine and waddled back down St George’s Terrace, glad to be going home and not back to work!