Garum is the place that everybody is talking about in Perth. Celebrated Aussie Italian chef Guy Grossi, famous for his cook books, appearances on Masterchef, and fine Melbourne osterias, has opened this Roman restaurant in Perth at the Westin.
Everything is faithfully Roman, including the wine list where the wines are listed in order of colour. We chose a ‘yellow’ wine to start – a Flametree chardonnay from Denmark, WA. This was a fine chardonnay with pear and melon notes and lovely subtle oak backdrop – the sommelier here knows their chardonnay.
The menu contained entrees, pasta dishes (which could serve as entrees or light mains) and mains with lamb, veal, fish, steak and an interesting lucanian sausage dish for two.
Bread was served with moretum – a herb ricotta spread with oil. This was a nice change from the usual butter or whipped butter.
For starters I was very tempted by the crudo, but decided to go for octopus, because I don’t usually order octopus. There’s a reason for this – when poorly prepared it can be very chewy and unpleasant, but I suspected that Guy wouldn’t let me down and wow did he deliver. The octopus was served Gaeta style (Gaeta is a coastal city just south of Rome) with crispy sourdough, olives, capers and tomato. Every mouthful was a joy to eat and the octopus was tender, meaty and delicious.
My partner chose one of the pastas to start – the bucatini with pancetta, tomato and chilli. The pasta was al dente and well made with a rich spicy sauce, not too hot, served with some shreds of parmesan, and described by my partner as ‘a really good bowl of pasta’.
For the main course I decided to go with the fish of the day – swordfish, served with crab, celery, ginger, spinach and coriander. The fish was beautifully cooked, with a buttery sauce and a charred lemon, and there was plenty of crab and prawn accompanying the mild ginger/celery dressing.
My partner chose the Arkady lamb with parsley, capers, anchovy and radicchio. The lamb was delicious, nicely seasoned with a fresh herby sauce. The radicchio was quite a strong flavour and another vegetable might have been more enjoyable.
We also chose a cauliflower salad to go with our meals. This was an absolute gem. Charred and served with raisins and grains, the cauliflower was perfectly cooked complete with its leaves – not mushy, but not hard either, and finished off with blobs of a labne style dressing. I could have eaten this whole plate as my meal.
We didn’t have room for dessert, so will have to go back to review them. Garum delivered a beautiful meal, great wine, and a very full tummy. It was a bit loud and noisy as the evening went on, the location is Hibernian hall, a wonderful historic Perth venue, but also large and a place where sound carries. The wait staff were helpful and professional, and we had a great evening. Glad to see Guy Grossi bringing his talent to Perth.