Modern art

THE last time I wore a mask in public, I was dressed as a werewolf and scaring old grannies.

It wasn’t a psychotic episode – I was a young child going door-to-door on Halloween.

Thankfully when the family and I went to The Modern Eatery in Mt Lawley this week, I opted for the standard white mask and didn’t terrorise any pensioners.

The Modern Eatery in Fremantle has always been one of my favourite Japanese restaurants, so I wanted to check if the Perth outlet had the same high standards.

Situated just off Beaufort Street on Chelmsford Road, the small eatery has a demure sign and is part of an unassuming row of shops (blink and you’ll miss it).

The menu has an adventurous range of sushi, sashimi, cooked meals including don bowls and bentos, and a nice range of sides like otaku fries, pork gyoza and edamame.

With the temperature starting to drop this week, I felt like something hot and went for the Wagyu Don bowl ($18.50).

It was well presented with layers of thinly-sliced beef and seasonal vegetables perched on top of a bed of steamed rice.

No stringy, fatty beef here; it was high quality Wagyu and melted in the mouth.

The star of the dish was the moreish broth, which had great depth of flavour with a slight vinegary tang.

Just when the Don was getting a bit monotonous, the rocket salad and spring onions refreshed the palate, and the inclusion of pickled cabbage was a masterstroke, adding a piquant coda to the meal. A top don.

Across the table my wife was enjoying her indulgent Fry me to the Moon (six for $15.50) – deep-fried sushi with salmon and cream cheese, sweet chilli mayo and teriyaki.

“The salmon is bold and in your face, but the cream cheese and mayo help soften the flavours into a pleasant whole,” she said.

“I love the fried panko crumbs on the outside; it gives the sushi a crunchy texture.”

My wife rounded off her heart attack with a fried chicken bao bae ($7.50), which she said was “deliciously light and moreish.” 

The Modern Eatery was minimalism personified: white subway tiles, white tables and waiting staff in unfussy, black garb. 

It had that less is more Japanese ethos.

The only thing I didn’t like was the soporific music – imagine doctor’s surgery music on tranquillisers.

Without a doubt, the best dish of the night was the creamy croquettes (four for $8.50).

They had an exquisite light batter with potato mash and shredded crab sticks, creating a lovely sweet reprise.

After their first week back at school my young kids were famished, so they demolished their avocado and cucumber roll (six for $6.90) and cooked tuna and cucumber roll (six for $8.50) from the children’s menu.

Throughout the meal the service was polite and efficient and we got a warm hello and goodbye from the staff in the open-plan kitchen.

The Modern Eatery is a bit more expensive than your usual sushi joint, but it’s well worth a few extra bucks as the food and service is top notch. 

Plus there’s lots of lunch deals and specials to keep you coming back for more. 

The Modern Eatery
595 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
9328 3661
Tuesday-Sunday themoderneatery.com.au/perth/mount-lawley/

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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