It was my birthday yesterday, and as it was a particularly significant "19th" birthday (I decided to stop at 19 some years ago) I had decided that this was the time to try something I've always wanted to try - so it was off to the Coolgardie Safe.
The Coolgardie Safe is at 101 Edward Street East Perth. Our party was seated outdoors, it being a mild sort of evening. The setting is very outback Australian, Coolgardie safes and other implementia from the Outback around, and the restaurant itself is a converted large, possibly Federation house, large and with an easy mixture of colonial and indigenous decor.
The menu selection was not huge, but there was something for everyone. In fact, they seemed to have opened for us specially, which was nice of them! They were getting ready for a big day the next day.
For starters most of the table had the Australian tasting plate. This has damper, crocodile, kangaroo, baby marron, emu prosciutto, karri-smoked chicken and Australian olives. With the Wild lime compote, bush tomato chutney, tomatoes and quandong relish it was visually spectacular and by all accounts very delicious and satisfying. The Australian blood lime relish was particularly delicious, and it can sometimes be arranged that one can purchase quantities of it.
I really regret not having taken a camera, but there's a photo of the dish here at the restaurant's website.
However, I was there for one thing - the true Australian delicacy from over East - the Witjudy Grub. Husband, G and I braved it. Out it came, an enormous grub, uncompromisingly an enormous grub on a plate. I was pretty hungry, and it actually looked pretty good. I only asked one question - having never had the experience of eating one before; "Do you eat the head?" The waitress responded very definitely in the affirmative so I started there. There's a lot of debate about how they taste. Some say like scrambled eggs, others like chicken or popcorn. It's not really true. There's no real baseline - they taste like Witjuty Grubs - a bit quail eggy/nutty I suppose. They're quite nice and I'd be interested in eating them again. Glad I tried them, I've always wanted to!
We ordered a couple of sides of the green been and macadamia for the table, which were very nice, I think they had wattle seeds as well, and they certainly didn't stint on the macca's.
For mains a couple of us, including myself had the Emu Wellington which was beautifully presented in individual golden parcels with cubed roast potatoes and salad garnish. I've not tried emu outside some fragments of sausage. I found the texture, which is quite coarse, like mutton, very appealing and the taste most like duck. It was very tasty and I enjoyed it very much.
Husband had the king river kangaroo fillet - encrusted in native pepperberry set on coconut pumpkin polenta with Warrigal greens & vegetable crisps dressed with a bush flower jus. I had a taste of it and it was delicious.
Mum had the vegetarian option - she's not vegetarian, she just liked the sound of it - rich carrot & kumara braise - set on a lemon myrtle infused cous cous drizzled with native mint yoghurt. The smell of the star anise and cinnamon certainly was fragrant and it looked very nice.
M, the other birthday girl had a crocodile & seafood patty - which was also visually spectacular and the sides for which the the restaurant cheerfully modified to be more diabetic friendly, replacing damper and chips with a lovely salad stack. The service at all times was friendly, cheerful and prompt, and they did everything to assist.
R had a big steak which I can't remember what it was, but it looked very nice indeed, with scallops, prawns and it looked thick and juicy, and a salad with wattleseed dressing.
For dessert, unfortunately they didn't have the macadamia chocolate puddings that night (we'll just have to go back...) but the honeycomb icecream in Anzac tuille baskets and pavlovas soon satisfied, and they were quite happy to make a plate of strawberries up for M.
All in all, a very nice experience. Recommended for those wishing to explore our native fare, or if you'd just like a nice steak or barramundi. The restaurant is BYO only but they have the Caves Road soft drinks available. The lemon myrtle tea also looked very refreshing.
It's in the Entertainment book - on average mains are around $25.00 which is very reasonable for gourmet native fare.
They also run a catering service where you can have them come and cook you a bbq, amongst other things.
A most enjoyable experience, a memorable birthday, and leaving with a big tub of blood lime compote a real bonus. I'll be going back.