MUST Winebar is a name that constantly pops up in peoples’ conversations whenever one asks for recommendations for a good restaurant in Perth. After this meal, I can definitely see the reasons behind it. Yes, service can be patchy at times but the food more than makes up for it. By the way, MUST is not a new entrant to the culinary scene in Perth – this is their 10th year in business.
There are two Must Winebars in Western Australia, the other being located down South in the Margaret River vicinity. So with a 83% approval rating based on 800 votes on Urbanspoon, read on to find out how our meal went…
Prices may say otherwise, but the decor and ambience speaks more of a wine bistro concept rather than a fine-dining establishment. I must say that MUST is located in a really good location along Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley, just north of the Perth CBD and a few doors from another well-established Modern Australian restaurant, Jackson’s.
During lunch, the restaurant is relatively quiet and it is quite possible to be able to walk in and get a table without making reservations, caveat emptor. Dinners, however, tell a different tale; So, do make reservations if you’re planning a visit.
By the way, in terms of the seating plan, the tables to the right of the photo above are placed space fairly close to one another.
Freshly Shucked Oysters (1/2 Dozen – A$20, 1 Dozen – A$40)
Natural: Shallot Vinegar
The oysters that we had at MUST Winebar have been our yardstick for oysters since this meal. Every single one of these molluscs was perfect; each one proudly stands in the absence of any nasty sand grit and each tasting reminiscent of the fresh ocean. Accompanying the oysters are the options of a simple vinaigrette and lemon wedges.
I am no connoisseur and make no claims to be one, (i.e. I don’t really care about the specific factors such as salinity etc.), what matters is that if it pleases the tastebuds, it is good.
If memory serves, these came from waters around South Australia.
Tasmanian Salmon Tartare (A$26)
Avocado & Blue Manna Crab Salad, Dill & Seeded Mustard Dressing, Caviar
The Salmon Tartar is a simple and light appetizer to start the meal. There’s nothing really unique about this – how many times have we seen this combination on the menus? But you know what, most importantly, it works.
Just a few years back, I would have abhorred at the thought of the combination of raw seafood, cold avocado and cooked crab as a dish but I suppose, life is about experiencing what is new and having an open mind.
Grilled Fresh Rottnest 1/2 Shell Scallops (A$26)
Caramelized Pork Belly, Mash, Apple Salad, Pedro Ximenzez Glaze
The scallops were good – lightly seared on the outside and just cooked through in the center.
The caramelized pork belly added that little bit of indulgence to the dish and since, apple is such a classic pairing to pork, it worked well too. To complete the dish, the Pedro Ximenzez glaze gave it a touch of sweetness.
Anyway, I was reading a blog post just the other day and the author described the fats in pork belly as being ‘collagen-y’ – That’s a nice way to describe it, no? I digress.
Herb & Macadamia Crusted Lamb Loin – A$42
Paris Mash, Braised Red cabbage, Madeira Jus
Two of MUST’s specialities are the herb & macadamia crusted lamb loin and the roasted duck breast.
Unfortunately, the first slice of the lamb loin was a little over-cooked, resulting in a somewhat dry-ish dish. There is one positive though, the over-cooked portions seemed to only be at the sides of the lamb – the middle portion remained juicy.
Had it been in the oven for a slightly shorter time and a sufficient resting period, I’m pretty confident that this would have been a dish to die for.
Roasted Duck Breast – A$44
Warm Potato & Mizuna Salad with Grapes & Red Wine Jus
The duck breast, I thought, faired much better than the lamb.
Roasted duck breast seems rather common here in Perth, with most restaurants being able to churn out fairly decent versions of the dish. In my opinion, however, the best western-style duck breast that I’ve had came from another Perth stalwart, Balthazar.
MUST’s rendition of the dish was executed very well, with the duck being moist and tender. The potato slices/wedges provided the carbohydrates while the salad gave the dish a much needed lift. The grapes lent the sweetness to help cut through the richness of the duck. The dish is then finished with a simple red wine reduction which complemented the duck breast and helped meld the different elements together.
Complimentary Bread provided much comfort while waiting for the dishes to arrive.
519 Beaufort St
Highgate, WA 6003