I must admit I had some doubts as to whether I would like Darlings Supper Club when we were invited late last year as I had heard some mixed reviews when they initially opened. I was however pleased that Darlings Supper Club had refined their menu under the direction of their new head chef Joel Robert and culinary team comprising of Ben (aka Uncle), Chopper and Nick.
Hailing from Sydney, Joel brings with him twenty two years of culinary skills and the experience of working in a wide range of restaurants across Australia. Uncle was a chef at Uncle Billys and I hear he makes the best kway teow! Chopper came fresh from Thailand where he ventured to try his hand at being an apprentice on TV with the most famous Thai Masterchef winner, Chef Chumpon. Nick (Youngwoo) is from Sydney, plays in a band and is referred to as the Sashimi King.
I’ve been told the latest menu is all Joel’s dishes. The only influence from the Executive Chef David Allison (who has worked with Rockpool’s Neil Perry) has initially been with the beef cheek and the pancakes, but Joel has adapted them, improved them and made them his own.
Like all of Andy Freeman’s venues, Darlings Supper Club is unique in its offering. There’s not many Perth restaurant specialising in dumplings and there’s very little serving food until 3am, that is unless you feel like Chinese, Mcdonalds, Fast Eddys or kebabs.
My two burgers and I went along to check out Darlings Supper Club’s new menu on a Sunday late last year. A young bartender by the name of Brett Arendse who really knew his food and drinks looked after us. It was a breath of fresh air to come across someone so passionate who took pride in his work.
The venue was really hip and drinks list was extensive. I had a glass of riesling and a few cups of sake – bevies that Brett suggested would best cut through the acidity of the Asian food (check out this post for more food and wine matching tips).
We started with these tasty fresh Vietnamese rolls which were filled with pork belly & prawn and topped with a satay peanut sauce.
I could have had a few more serves of dumplings – they were all amazing! I loved the crispy skin on this panfried Sticky Pork and Tamarind dumpling and the chilli jam dipping sauce.
The chicken dumplings were smooth and silky and tom yum soup was spot on. It was not overly intense or chilli…
The braised black bean beef cheek on coriander pesto and cabbage marmalade was out of this world. Brett said this dish is jokingly served with a knife as it is so soft you can cut it with the back of your chopstick. I didn’t attempt to cut the beef cheeks with the back of my chopsticks but it was so tender, no chewing was required 🙂
We also tried the Asian spiced sticky pork ribs served with baba ganoush and bok choy, BBQ pork pancakes, roast duck mega spring rolls served with piccalilli and fried ice cream.
When I visit Darlings Supper Club again, I’ll be ordering a serve of each of their dumplings, the beef cheeks again, Uncle’s famous kway teow and a cocktail or two hopefully made by Brett who was mentored by cocktail extraordinaire Simon Hough.
On a side note – I don’t normally go to restaurants that specialises in food that my mum or mother-in-law specialises in. Darlings Supper Club was an exception and I am impressed! My mum’s dumplings are the best I’ve ever tried and Darlings Supper Club’s is a close second, I’ll be taking her to try Darlings Supper Club’s dumplings to see what she thinks.