It was a fine winter’s morning when we entered Gordon St Garage’s beautifully fitted space. It’s a concept that has been well explored in other Australian cities and I’m so glad that the Garage (as it will be called for the remainder of this review) has adopted this minimalistic up-scaling concept, which I have been in love with for quite some time. I have been to the Garage for dinner before and I remember not being able to keep my eyes from wandering from the table and the conversation to my surroundings. The space looked much more impressive during the day. So as the last of my group of friends arrived to the table, we were excited to get ordering and get munching.
The vast double-storey space is a renovated (as one could easily guess) garage with fit-outs that would make any industrial design aficionado go mad from aesthetic overload. The spectacular floor to ceiling window on back “wall” looks into the Garage’s small courtyard that features a variety of hanging pot plants and, over the fence, the angular and modernistic architecture of the Perth Arena. To solve the lighting situation of having such a massive space, there is a skylight that floods the room with natural light in the day and lamps that reach out from the tapestry counter seats for those at night. The coldness of the industrial theme was offset by the dark wooden beams that support the second floor lounge area and the picture frames that adorn one side of the space.
‘Mano a Mano’ is the new specialty coffee roasting company that the Garage houses and it boasts small batch coffee beans that are sourced from the company’s handpicked growers. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to try any of this supposedly mind-blowing coffee as we weren’t given much information on it when our waitress came over to take our drink orders. I don’t condone pushing products on customers but a simple “we also house the new ‘Mano a Mano’ specialty coffee blend if you’re interested” would have been nice. Definitely next time! I ordered my regular earl grey tea, two of my four friends ordered mochas and one ordered her usual flat white. The coffee that was given to them was the Garage’s own house blend and there were no complaints from that side of the table.
From the breakfast menu, I ordered the field mushrooms and brie on ciabatta toast, one of my other friends ordered the same. This was probably hands down one of the best dishes on the table that morning. The mushroom was cooked perfectly, it was not too slimy, but instead firm and packed with buttery goodness. The brie and mushroom flavours merged beautifully to form a beautifully presented and delicious plate of food.
One of my friends ordered the bircher and poached pear. I thought it looked amazing but she made a comment that she didn’t expect the bircher to look and feel so much like porridge. I tried some of her pear and I thought it was cooked very well and it had quite a strong flavour, which I think is sometimes missing when dealing with poached fruits. As with the bircher component, she might have found it a little too bland.
Of my remaining two friends there that morning, one ordered the salmon poached egg with spinach on toast and the other ordered the corn salsa and fritters. Their portions looked a bit small considering what the cost of each was but there weren’t any complaints from the other side of the table and the poached egg was cooked perfectly and the fritters looked crunchy. What else could you ask for?
Having spent so much time talking after our meals, and having agreed to eat breakfast so late in the day, when the clock ticked past 11.30am and the lunch menu was being put into place. Three of us couldn’t help but meander over to the Garage’s notoriously tempting dessert fridge. And as expected, we all caved in, with me being the guiltiest of the three of us. The other two decided to share the coffee panna cotta while I stood fast in my greediness and got myself the crème catalana. The coffee panna cotta was good (so I heard) as to be expected, with a robust coffee flavour. My catalana was unexpectedly (to me anyway, for I didn’t know what a catalana was) was more of a crème brulee. The flower placed on top of the crème, which is what caused me to order the delectable little cup, was removed when it was taken away to be blow torched. The top was hard when I received it and some of the citrus peels had become glazed in the sugar. And how heavenly it was when I cracked through that top and dug into that crème! It was quite sweet with a very defined citrus taste to it, and I loved it. Oh Gordon St Garage, how you win me over with your desserts!
For me, Gordon St Garage is definitely a winner! The food could be accused of being a little overpriced but if people are willing to pay an arm and a leg at Dome for average food, then one can definitely spare an extra dime or two for a very decent meal at the Garage. And with interiors that invite you to sit there for hours and bask in its beauty, who could resist? Perhaps someone who’s currently working full-time behind some sort of desk, but not I (hey, I’m on holidays from uni, I’m allowed to be a little lazy).