I’ve always held divided opinions about the Leederville Hotel. Built in 1897, the structure has always been an established landmark in the town’s entertainment precinct. However, over the past five years its ‘Seedy Leedy’ reputation had largely eliminated any desire I had to walk through the building’s beautifully molded door frames.
All of this changed last week, when I attended a ‘long table dinner’ within the freshly renovated interior of the Hotel’s new pop-up establishment, Bill’s Bar and Bites. After tentatively stepping over the threshold, I was immediately impressed by the beautifully relaxed aesthetic. Warm exposed brick sat comfortably beside pared-back plaster, greenery and timber furnishings, effortlessly harnessing the charm of old-meets-new.
Venue manager Dwight Alexander is an affable gentleman who immediately makes you feel welcome in what has become his ‘second home’. He describes the menu at Bill’s in three words: ‘perfect for sharing’. Upon tucking into a plate of salumi, jamon serrano, crumbly fourme d’ambert, pickled stone fruit and green olives, I would definitely agree.
Award-Winning Executive Chef Damien Young (previously of The Butterworth Bar and Kitchen) and his tattooed right-hand man, Jeremy, have created a beautiful selection of quality shareable eats that range between $4 and $15.
We started with the above mentioned charceuterie plate and some duck and manchego cigars ($5 each with piquant green tomato chutney), all of which were perfectly accompanied by a dry glass of Fino and plentiful sweet Sangria ($27 for 750ml). These were followed by my favourite dish of the night, pink snapper ceviche. Soft slivers of sweet white snapper were perfectly complimented by creamy avocado, flecks of chilli and soft green herbs in a gentle blanket of acidity. I could’ve eaten an entire serving and left feeling satisfied. It was that good.
But no, I didn’t leave. Instead, I tucked into tender slow-roasted lamb shoulder accompanied by house-pickled vegetables, warm jalapenos, soft goats curd and fresh green herbs. This was followed by slow-roasted, Baharat-spiced chicken with fennel and yoghurt, warm Moreton Bay bugs (accompanied by my favourite green of the moment, salty samphire cooked in burnt butter) and a tumble of roasted radishes with slippery Tuscan kale.
As I ate, I sipped on a delicious Spanish red, Felix Solis ‘Castillo De Albai’ Tempranillo ($10 glass, $44 bottle). Speaking of beverages, Bill’s prides itself on its $15 house cocktails and an eclectic mix of hops that start at $4.50 for an Emu Export before progressing through to a pleasing range of delicious craft beers.
Emu Export. I haven’t drunk from the red can since my bonfire days as a thirteen year old in the sticks of suburbia. I might have to revisit those days of happy abandon (with a side of Fremantle sardines).
Our meal finished with Bill’s ‘dessert of the day’, sweet poached pears in anise syrup, fresh oozy figs and creamy mascarpone. Whilst slathering the goodness over sweet honey-toasted brioche, discussion naturally progressed towards the future of this beautiful pop-up bar.
Hotel general manager Jason Antczak presently states that the Bill’s concept is time-limited to nine months, after which the entire Leederville Hotel site is set to be further developed.
Whilst the creative team behind the present Bill’s incarnation (including Perth creative Cale Mason and interior designers Project BLAK) are sure to come up with something equally impressive, I have to say that I’ve already become slightly attached to the warm, inviting goodness that is Bill’s Bar and Bites. I’m certain that this new addition to the Leederville strip will soon become a favourite of many.
Thanks to Georgia Moore, Damien Young, Dwight Alexander and Jason Antczak for your generous hospitality during the long table dinner. *See Bill’s full menu here.
Open 7 nights, 4pm – late
742 Newcastle St, Leederville WA
(08) 9202 8222