Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gorgeous George: The George at Perth

Booking a restaurant seems like a simple task. Do some research, pick somewhere appropriate, book, inform people of the choice. Sometimes this process runs smoothly- other times each step is fraught with frustrations that make the booking of the restaurant, when it finally happens and you have agreeance on the issue it feels like you have finally suceeded! Except- that is only the first molehill out of the way. The next challenge, albeit out of your hands, is getting people to like the place. aye aye aye.

Last week in Perth, Luckily I was in charge of booking the restaurant for our work dinner. This was music to overbearing, very particular, food loving ears. My boss usually lets me pick now as I'm pretty sure she can't stand to hear my whining if we end up going somewhere I'm not too fond of. I say luckily because I am a bit crazy/obsessive when it comes to eating out. Maybe it is, to be more truthful, unluckily because it causes me much distress. The above summary of booking a restaurant was particularly true in this instance. Coupled with the fact that I simply cannot settle for what I think is second best and I get a little mad if people don't like my suggestions. Even though I usually say 'whatever you think' i really mean 'whatever you think so long as it is somewhere I agree.' I don't mind if people surprise me with a good choice, but am internally annoyed if they surprise me with what I consider to be a less than reasonable option.

Another dilemma that plagued this particular dinner was the differences people were willing to pay for the dinner. As it was a work dinner, they should be claiming the funds back, however, it all depends on what limit their company gives for eating away when travelling.

As I had never been to Perth before, I started checking our some Western Australian food bloggers sites to see If I could find somewhere appropriate. We were heading to dinner with our counterparts from similar companies and these colleagues were mainly coming from Brisbane/Melbourne. An additional criteria was that the restaurant had to be located in the CBD

After about 2 hours of trawling through reviews, I came up with what I thought was a really great list. 1) Halo 2) Fraser's 3) CRestaurant.

I looked up the menu at Halo and it looked fab, so I sent out an email to my colleagues informing them. Turns out this list wasn't so fab. Too expensive for some and they couldn't fit us in.

Back to the blogging board? Or is it the twitter board? Twitter.... After trawling through more blogs, and asking around on Twitter- I finally found The George.

For Brisbanites- The George is a similar styled place to (maybe?) Mirasoul on Caxton Street. It has the mood lighting thing going on- but is set out nicely with a mixture of fab chandeliers, comfy box seating, high bench marble top cocktail seating and normal seating. The interior was very chic and gave off the cool but not too cool vibe.

The reason I arrived at The George as our destination of choice was basically the menu. The wine list was good and had several WA wines but also featured SA, Marlborough and some South American wines. The cocktails were really interesting and according to an accompanying beer lover, the beer choices were great too. Most importantly the food looked to be contemporary without being alienating, feature modest pricing and have a wide range of dishes- perfect for trying to please 16 people!

From the moment we arrived, the service was impeccable. We were seated and ordered drinks straight away and the wait staff suggested we get a mixed plate of (from the menu) 'gorgeous little nibbly things' for each table. I happily agreed, however was made aware later that some people didn't like this decision. Most did- and my motto is, if they don't want it- don't eat it.

The a la carte menu is divided into two sections- 'The gorgeous little nibbly things' section with prices ranging from $7-$19 and the 'For those with a Larger appetite section which is reasonably priced from $13-$38. They also have tapas available on Friday nights and an interesting breakfast menu. To start, I ordered a Mandolin cocktail to go with which was fresh and delicious although I can't quite remember (give me a break- it was at the beginning of the night!) every ingredient..... I know it was minty!

The share plate arrived in hasty time and had some good options. Sorry about the terrible quality of the photos- I am taking a photography course soon so shall hopefully improve but this time i'm going to blame the lighting. The lamb cutlets were perfectly cooked- very pink in the middle and really tender. The spanish paprika rubbed on the outside had flavour- could have done with a bit more kick but these were a crowd pleaser. The oysters were wonderfully fresh and I was lucky enough to score one natural and one kilpatrick with pancetta- which was really good. The pancetta had good bite and the tomatoey sauce wasfresh and the flavour had a lot of character. Some of best kilpatrick sauce I have ever had in fact. The salt and pepper squid was really tender and the coating was more exciting than usual salt and pepper. The prawns were again, really fresh. I was well impressed with the quality of seafood on this little plate.

Predictably, I ordered the pork belly with scallops and apple confit. I also liked the look of the amelia park lamb rack on caponata but the scallops and pork won me over. The pork arrived and was absolutely perfect. The top was crispy and the fatty content was not overpowering. The pork fell apart easily. The scallops were a little overdone and the dressing lacked oomph but the salad made a nice addition. My main complaint was that I wanted more than was on the plate because it was so good- but for $19- I can't complain.

I love when dining with a large group as I feel less conspicious taking photos and I get to try heaps more of the options on offer. The Sashimi looked fresh and apparently tasted really silky- although I did not get to taste this dish.

The risotto had a good mushroomy flavour although I felt that the rice was a little underdone for my liking. The mascapone also added another dimension to the dish.

One of my colleagues ordered the angel hair pasta with scallops and prawns but ditched the option of mussels. The pasta was well done and whilst I didn't really taste enough of the dish to really comment, the sauce was not overwhelming and matched the dish well. With beautiful fresh scallops and prawns it would be a crime to mask the flavours.

The black angus tenderloin was possibly the dish that caused the most jealousy at the table. One of my pies happily feasted on this option that lay atop a caramelised balsamic shallot mash folded with persian feta. The mash was great and the persian feta was a seriously good addition. The steak was the most expensive meal at $38 but a number of PIE's suggested that they would be ordering the angus next time around.

The pan fried snapper with scallops and prawns was also a hit. The snapper was well cooked and the lime naga added some nice citrusy flavours to the seafood.

I was really quite impressed with the food at The George. There was a wide range to choose from and it was really reasonably priced. The service was faultless and most people enjoyed themselves. There were certainly no complaints about the quality of the food- only the atmosphere being too dark etc.

I used to be so upset if ANYONE gave bad feedback. After being in events/comms for a while now I know that I simply cannot please everyone. I can try my best to accomodate their every wish but despite my best efforts not everyone will be happy. I know that I expect a High standard of food and I believe The George delivered. I also believe that most people really enjoyed the food and so that was good enough for me.

If I am in Perth again- I will go back to The George, maybe even for breakfast.

So tell me? How do you go about booking a restaurant and do you manage to please everyone?

The George
London House
216 St Georges Tce
Perth 6000
08 6161 6662

The George on Urbanspoon

4 fabulous comments:

beeso said...

well you'd eat there for breaky instead of the hotel for $25

Gastronomy Gal said...

sure will! If only I had known- next time!

Andy Longnecker said...


I for one did enjoy The George - a very good choice!

Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed your experience at my venue, and yes breakfast is good!

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