It’s been almost three years since my husband and I last stayed at Rendezvous, during which time the hotel was in the process of being refurbished. Weaving through scaffolding and listening to the constant drone of power tools is not something I would like to relive, but eating at Straits Cafe, which we regularly dined in when it was called the Pines, is. With upgrades now complete we meet in the Lobby Bar for pre-dinner drinks.
The piano has disappeared along with the intimate atmosphere, as walls have been knocked down to present a more open area with fluid access from all areas, to the bar. We sip our drinks and snack on piping hot mince beef pies and vegetarian curry samosas while waiting for our dining companions.
Once everyone has arrived a lift takes us to the 24th floor where we wander around the Observation Deck which is mainly used for wedding ceremonies. With panoramic views of the ocean we can glimpse Hillary’s Boat Harbour to the north and Fremantle to the south and with the help of the permanent telescope, the lighthouse on Rottnest can be clearly seen.
After the obligatory sunset photo,
we head indoors and down one level to enjoy some bubbly and nibbles in a Deluxe Suite which has a living area, separate bedroom, ensuite and balcony.
We tour the room, admiring artwork from a local lady that appears throughout the floor, then tuck into fresh oysters,
and tender smoked duck with Japanese mushrooms and shredded vegetables. Both dishes are courtesy of Straits Cafe. I’m not a huge oyster fan but everyone said they were delicious. I can vouch for the duck – it was superb.
Before dinner we stop off for a quick look at the pool area which runs on solar power and includes a spa and waterfall.
As the night air brings a chill we head back inside, and down toward the Straits Café on the ground floor, around the corner from the Lobby Bar. All Rendezvous hotels around the world have a Straits Café.
The restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine and we are here to test the new Autumn menu which begins with entrees to share between 10 of us. The cured Hiramasa Kingfish with Togarashi dust, ginger and turmeric kimchi, edamame bean and wakame salad is $19 and though pricey, my husband assures me it is worth it.
The Timber Hall honey infused pork belly with Kipfler potato hash, spinach puree with white balsamic dressing is $17 and both the meat and vegetables are flavoursome.
Charcuterie tasting plate consists of various cold cuts like chorizo and ham with mixed olives, hummus and artisan bread for $29. The chef insists he sources as many locally produced ingredients as possible. All the olives and vegetables are locally grown but some of the cold meats are imported from Melbourne.
The Indian Ocean tasting plate is $32 and includes marinated prawns, white anchovies, grilled octopus, fried snapper, lemon aioli and Taramasalata – a pink caviar dip which is divine with the artisan bread.
Lastly, we share a vegetarian tasting plate with stuffed peppers, sweet potato tempura and black olive tapenade for $26.
Between us there is only crumbs left but we all find room for the generous servings of our mains. My husband chooses the $28 Nasi Goreng – a Singaporean style fried rice with chicken, white cabbage and garlic served with chicken satay, prawn crackers and a fried egg. He admits it is probably the best he has ever eaten.
My 300g Dardanup pitch black Angus sirloin, with béarnaise sauce and mash cost $39. The steak is at least an inch thick and cooked to perfection but far too big for me, especially after the entrees. The creamy mash is to die for and I make sure I finish that.
Another dish included the Crispy Tasmanian Salmon fillet at $32 which looked so healthily delicious.
The chef’s special of WA caught Goldband Snapper, costs $27.
I attempt to eat dessert and manage a few mouthfuls of the decadently sweet, very rich, deconstructed Black Forest gateau with a Morello cherry paddle pop, chocolate sponge, cherries, jelly and cream.
Sean devours the Mandarin cheesecake with candied clementines and nutty crumble.
The Passion Fruit textures with crisp short bread and dark chocolate mousse also looks tempting. All desserts are $15 apart from the $10 gelato.
With only a smattering of people sitting when we first arrived, by the time we have been served the restaurant is full and it is only a Wednesday night. I think the mains are reasonably priced and well portioned but the entrees maybe a little pricey. The café employs a morning crew who perform breakfast and lunch, and an evening crew who serve dinner. Usually there is 3-4 staff on each session with a maximum of 12 on a busy day. Pleasantly full we admire our goodie bag of honey collected from their own hive on top of the building, and a jar of home made jam.
Being able to see the coast through the window sells me every time so the venue is perfect, the layout of the restaurant is no different, only the decor has changed. I do miss the old Pines smorgasboard but I am told a hot buffet breakfast is already available every morning and winter may see the resurgence of the weekend buffets. Let’s hope so.
Disclaimer: foodie cravings was invited as a guest, see disclosure policy for more details.