Everything was going very well for the Bloggers last Wednesday. The Brains and the Deliberator successfully settled on their purchase of a new home, or rather, new mortgage, Booto was able to hand over a grumbling Stinky to Mother of Sponge for the evening, and The Sponge spent the day with a powerful thirst that needed to be quenched. So, what better time to finally circle back and make Thursday night ‘Da Bruno Night’.
While the Brains and the Deliberator drank champagne in their empty new house, the Sponge was charged with the task of buying suitable drinks for the evening. By suitable, we mean wine with labels, something that the Sponge has never been too keen on. He did a sterling job though, and showed some incredible insight when he suggested that 4 bottles might not be enough. The Brains scoffed at this suggestion, but relented and she and Booto packed a couple more bottles of wine from home in their handbags in case of emergency. The Sponge was on the money. The 5th and 6th bottles of wine were removed from the handbags within what seemed like minutes of arriving.
We arrived late, as usual, but this was absolutely no problem to the accommodating wait staff at Da Brunos. We were shown to a cosy table next set right next to a bronze, naked torso of a fit-looking fellow. The Sponge and The Deliberator were unimpressed, and disappointed that our table was not closer to the complementary female torso with the pleasing breasts.
Da Brunos has a blackboard menu only, which changes every day. Soon after arrival, our very knowledgeable waitress came to the table and explained the menu which left the Deliberator in a state of flummox and bamboozlement for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Decisions were eventually made.
We started by sharing an antipasto platter. Thrillingly, there was not a spot of chorizo on the platter (we love chorizo, but boy do we eat a lot of it). Instead, the beautifully presented plate was filled with gourmet bits of complex deliciousness like scallop salad and thinly sliced veal with a cream and caper sauce. The entrees were also a delight, al-dente home made ravioli stuffed with prawn and scallop with a saffran sauce, beautiful pieces of gnocchi in a heart-busting cheese sauce and Booto’s Carpaccio with a rocket and parmesan salad was divine.
The mains were a bit more difficult. The Deliberator’s view was that the selection was not quite as tempting as it had been on previous visits, and he has a point. On other occasions it has been almost impossible choosing one of the 5 things on offer. This time, we did struggle a little to choose something that really appealed. The Deliberator and The Sponge chose capretto, the Brains had steak, which was perfectly cooked and came with an excellent chicken parfait and Booto’s duck in marsala sauce was excellent. Each of the dishes came with mashed potato, slightly overcooked snow peas and tomato. The mains were really very good, but for the price (the duck was the cheapest dish at $44) we were not blown away. We thought the sides could have been a bit more considered, and while a lot more effort and detail was put into the mash than the mash your mother used to make, it was still mash.
For dessert, The Brains and The Deliberator both had a crème brulee which perfectly crispy on the outside and super creamy on the inside. The Deliberator, treating dessert like breakfast, asked for a side of semifreddo and his wish was granted without a problem. The Sponge’s cheese plate had a great combination of blue, brie and reggiano cheeses. Booto was less excited about her semifreddo.
After 4 courses, nearly 6 bottles of wine and a few coffees, we were suitably stuffed.
There was one niggling issue we had throughout the evening, and that was with the bathrooms. The toilets are horrifically outdated, and while clean, for a swanky restaurant with swanky prices, getting rid of the 70s tiling in the dunnies would be really appreciated (and in case you were wondering, the tiles aren’t cool in a retro way, they’re just plain ugly). But that’s not the problem, the problem was that by Booto and The Brains’ second (and final) trip to the loo, there was no loo paper left. To continually check on the status of bog roll is a very easy and a terribly important job that someone should be responsible for. If our local Thai takeaway joint can get it right, Da Bruno’s sure can too.
Service: Excellent. Both the people looking after us were very knowledgeable, very attentive and pretty damn groovy to boot.
Food: There’s no doubt that Bruno is a bloody fine chef, but we thought the mains menu was not particularly imaginative when compared with previous visits. However, everything else was exceptional, particularly the pastas – easily the best pasta in Perth.
Ambience: We love a restaurant that exists in a house, it makes for a cosy, fun and personal atmosphere. The décor is tasteful and not at all bland - there’s plenty to look at without it being over the top. The front alfresco area is fabulous also, sitting in the Mediterranean styled courtyard on a balmy summer’s night would be unbeatable.
Highlight: The ravioli and the porn statues.
Lowlight: $110 per person. Without drinks, or even sparkling water. That’s pretty pricey in anyone’s book. And the lack of loo paper.
Rating: 3.8 milk fed baby goats out of 5.
Will we be back: Yes, for sure. It’s a great place for a special occasion. And while it was not perfect this visit, it has been much closer to perfect in previous visits.
Details: Da Brunos is easy to miss – if you’re heading north on Beaufort and you get to Charco’s, you’ve gone too far. It's at 965a Beaufort. The restaurant is unlicensed which we love. As mentioned earlier, the bill came to about $110 per head.
Coming up: We are so close to finishing off the section north of Walcott – we just need to get through Chicken Treat, Globe and Diva Café before adventuring south of Walcott. Who would have thought there were so many restaurants on Beaufort Street? We’ve been at this for 9 months and still haven’t made it to the heart of the strip.