Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grand Central Park

When I told my boss I was going to have dinner with the girls at a place called "Grand Central Park" I did a double take - I almost thought I'd had one of my typical word salad moments!  Luckily my potential embarrassment was averted.  It exists! It's a lovely bar/restaurant at the bottom of the Central Park building in Perth. 

Classy décor, good ambience and atmosphere, and there was nothing especially noteworthy about the service generally (the wait staff were neither friendly nor unfriendly), except that the wine that I asked for (and I pointed to it in the menu) wasn't the wine I received but that wasn't really the waitress' fault.  I had selected a wine from the verdelho range but instead I received an SSB wine from the same maker - to be fair they have an incredibly extensive drinks menu and really I should've picked it up, as she brought the bottle to me to check it.  I only read the top of the label and said it was fine (I have bad vision with contact lenses and I wasn't about to snatch the bottle out of her hands and squint haha).  The upside was that it was a dollar cheaper than the verdelho.  The downside was that it was so awful I didn't drink it haha

Anyway, onto the more interesting bits - the food!

Dip share plate - $12.90
The dips and bread were really yummy.  The caramelised onion in particular was a table favourite.  So much so that I can't even remember what the other dips tasted like.  How bad is it that it was only 2 nights ago that I was there?

Veal Saltimbocca - $42.90
My friend who recommended coming here has eaten here several times and she says the veal is hands down her favourite.  I didn't try it, but the fact that her plate was practically licked clean by the end of the meal probably speaks for itself.

Sirloin Steak - $32.90
It doesn't look big but I was told that the steak was deceptively filling!  She asked for it to be cooked medium and it came back just pink in the middle, which she was happy with.

Scampi Linguine - $31.90
I chose the linguine.  I seem to be in the midst of a prawn/seafood pasta obsession at the moment.  Anyway, the scampi was fresh, the sauce (chilli jam and pesto) was delicious and I felt from the texture that the linguine was home-made, which would've been wonderful except that it was on the mushy side.  Either it was overcooked or the pasta wasn't prepared properly I don't know, but it pretty much kept breaking up to the point where I was having to just scoop up cracked squares of it with my fork (I wasn't given a spoon) as it was impossible to try and twirl or stab any of it. If the pasta had been cooked properly I would've been really delighted with this dish.

Risotto - $24.90
My girlfriend's husband is a butcher, so she was taking this dinner as an opportunity to step away from red meat for a change! She said it was delicious, except that some of the porcini mushrooms weren't quite soaked long enough so they were hard/tough and she couldn't eat them and had to pick them out, which was a shame.

On to desserts!

Apple crumble - $9.90
Apple crumble with custard is one of my favourite desserts so I was really looking forward to this.  Unfortunately, the crumble was really powdery and a bit tasteless (the almonds were a nice touch though).  The lack of texture was one thing, but it was not really sweet or spiced either, so really for me it felt like I was having toasted almonds in slightly sweetened flour.  Then I got down to the apple and while it was cooked to a good texture  (not too mushy, not too firm) it was heavy on the cinnamon (which is fine for me as I love cinnamon and after the tasteless crumble it definitely needed something) but incredibly tart.  Too tart for me.  The custard was nice, but it wasn't really sweet enough to off-set the apples, so I had to put ice cream into my apple crumble to make it palatable!  And even then it just wasn't anything to write home about.  It might be fine for others though - I have a bit of a sweet tooth (I actually caramalise my apples - think tarte tatin - when I make apple crumble haha) so maybe what I expect isn't what a true apple crumble should taste like.

Banoffee pie - $9.90
I tried some of the banoffee pie and it was nice, though to be honest it wasn't anything you couldn't do at home with a can of Nestle Top n Fill (or even just condensed milk if you want to DIY it), cream and a banana!  Don't expect anything special there, but at least it's a passable banoffee pie (the pastry at the bottom was a little too powdery for me - actually it reminded me of my apple crumble haha but that's probably me just being nit picky).  I would've been much happier with the pie (it took me a really long time to decide between the two) than I was with my crumble, but maybe it's just a case of grass envy!

Chocolate torte - $9.90
I didn't try this one, but the girls said that the orange custard was amazing and I blinked and suddenly all the chocolate was gone and there was just a pastry crust left.  It must've been good haha

I think overall it wasn't terribly pricey for the generous serving sizes given where it's situated and the décor/ ambience etc.  The wine/drinks list is exhaustive so I can see it being a great place for after-work drinks.  Some of the dishes were a little touch and go, so I think a little bit of fine tuning and attention to detail would make a huge difference to its overall quality.  In the meantime, it's still worth checking out.  Just read the wine bottle carefully when they bring it out haha

Central Park cafe on Urbanspoon

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