WHEN are you too old to wear a hoodie and when is it uncouth to wear one?
Those were the philosophical questions I pondered when my wife gave me the ‘look’ as we drove to the swanky Petition for lunch.
Apparently a hoodie is too casual for this upmarket CBD restaurant, but I didn’t see the problem and sauntered inside the State Buildings like a middle-aged, slightly overweight Liam Gallagher.
Petition always seems to get good reviews, so I was keen to give it a whirl.
The interior was quite small and narrow and our two-seater table was a bit cramped, with my wife on a comfy bench seat and me on a hard wooden chair, close to the people beside us.
Good for an express business lunch, which I imagine is a lot of Petition’s trade, but not ideal for a long, lingering meal.
The State Buildings – once home to the WA Treasury – make for a prestigious backdrop and you can’t help but admire the towering ceilings, huge windows and period architecture.
The menu was a petite affair including smalls (confit chicken terrine, scallop ceviche, spiced eggplant) comestibles (grilled shark bay prawns, burrata) and substantials (market fish, duck leg confit).
There was no set lunch menu which was disappointing, especially in this economic climate, but it’s not uncommon with upmarket eateries and I imagine they need to make a certain amount of cash to justify opening before 5pm. I was quite hungry, so I ordered the slow cooked lamb shoulder ($39) from the “substantial” section.
It wasn’t long before the waitress, who was super polite and helpful, returned with my main.
The slow cooked lamb had been moulded into a towering edifice, like the clay model in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with a herb crust on its meaty summit.
It was surrounded by chickpeas and green beans, semi-submerged in a creamy looking sauce.
It was fun picking off the gorgeous, tender meat from the lamb tower and combining it with the beans and chickpeas, which had a nice firm texture.
The sauce had a sweet coconut refrain, almost like a korma, that gave the dish a slightly exotic twist and maintained your interest.
It was deceptively filling and a superior dish, but for $39 I was expecting some culinary magic that never quite popped out of the chef’s top hat.
Across the table my wife was enjoying her baked ricotta gnocchi ($37).
“The gnocchi is light and fluffy and goes well with the sweet artichoke and creamy sauce,” she said. “There’s plenty of
wild mushrooms and indulgent pecorino, with the crispy sage adding a nice flavour twist.
“I just wanted more of it!”
The portion sizes seems to catch a few people out with the table beside us ordering potatoes ($12) after their fish had arrived.
My wife rounded her meal off with a delicious brioche bread and butter pudding with creme anglaise and brown butter ice cream ($17) and I had a creamy cappuccino that wasn’t too strong and hit the spot ($4).
Petition’s food was definitely high quality, but at those prices I wanted flavours that really knocked my socks off, or in this case my Liam Gallagher hoodie off, but it never quite reached those Supersonic heights.
Corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street (State Buildings)
by STEPHEN POLLOCK