bill’s bar and bites, leederville

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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.

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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.

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sangriaAward-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.

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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.

lamb

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).

menu

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.

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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.

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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.

Bill’s Bar and Bites

Open 7 nights, 4pm – late

742 Newcastle St, Leederville WA

(08) 9202 8222

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summer

freosheds

Its almost half past ten on Saturday morning. I’m sitting, bleary eyed, in a pool of white light flooding through our kitchen window. The warmth feels good against my tired eyelids; a nourishing, incandescent balm. I can smell the earthy fragrance of my herb seedlings toasting in the morning sun. Not ideal, but comfortingly ambrosial.

We went to the most beautiful of Christmas gatherings last night. It was hosted by my friend Alex, with a Spanish Feliz Navidad theme. We sat under a canopy of weathered tree branches and fairy lights, drinking sangria and spicy Tempranillo from patterned glasses. I neglected to bring a camera, so I’ll attempt to build a picture with words: imagine a balmy night, soft air drifting through tree branches as fairy lights gently dot the sky. Flamenco plays in the background as candles flicker against metal and glass.

We sit at a long timber table, plates generously heaving with orange scented chicken, spicy chorizo, beef meatballs and patatas bravas. Blistered broad beans rub shoulders with lemon zest, chilli and fried jamon as fragrant orange segments marry with blackened olives and red onion. Sweet juices are eagerly mopped up with woodfired bread. It’s a merry dance of food, music and conversation.

Towards the end of the evening, as the candles burned down to their wicks, we sat quietly drinking strong tea and the last remnants of sangria. Spoons scraped against earthenware bowls in a gentle rhythm, retrieving cold bites of vanilla bean ice cream, Pedro Ximenez soaked raisins and Alfajores Payes: chocolate dipped Spanish cinnamon cookies sandwiched with homemade salted caramel.

It was my plan to give you the recipe for Alfajores Payes today as part of the pre-Christmas weekend celebration; however, as I failed to bring a camera to last night’s event I have no photographs of the finished product. Here’s a mid-stage image of the cookie sandwiches to whet your appetite (post is now up via this link):

sandwiches

For the rest of this post, I’m going to share an eclectic range of images from the past few weeks as we’ve bid farewell to sweet springtime. Mornings now breathe a rhythm of heat and humidity, dappled sun and steaming bitumen. Dry grass crackles underfoot.

Summer has begun.

shade

Towards the end of November, we attended the Beaufort Street Festival in Mount Lawley. Public art, live music, scorching heat, dog shows, food vendors and sweating Australians in wife beaters and thongs.

Highlights for the foodie in me were spiced, Mexican cream slathered elotes and ice-cold Espolon Tequila slushies from El Publico. Incredible salted caramel ice cream sandwiches from Cantina 663 sold like hot (cold) cakes. frozenmargarita dinos biketable

We also played beer stack’ems at The Flying Scotsman beer garden. Plastic cups, many hands, torn coasters and a camera. We’re creative like that.

stackemscoasters

For some reason there were stormtroopers, who must have been baking in their costumes. Seeking shade was a wise choice.

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Last weekend, we attended the very similar Leederville Carnival on Oxford Street, Leederville. The day was slightly cooler, softened by a cool breeze.

We drank strawberry lemonade at Duende whilst feasting on mushrooms and haloumi. We hunted for four-legged friends amongst chutney vendors, buskers and crowds of hipsters. I played I-Spy through pieces of fresh ciabatta.

leedystreet mushys breadglasses dogbin2Aaron and I also travelled to Fremantle for a day trip, in celebration of our second anniversary. We spied lovers on railway boomgates whilst feasting on ice pops from La Paleta at the Urban Locavore market, MYRE Perth. I chose cucumber and chilli, Aaron chose the rich, creamy coconut. So delicious.

photopole cucumberpop coconutpop

fence1We drank coffee at Ootong and Lincoln, home of the famous lentil burger that I mentioned in this post. You can spy the menu on the right hand side of the second picture.

ootongwall ootongcounterThe season of pavlova with thick Greek yoghurt (this one was made by my friend Erin), fresh-picked mint, plump berries and cider has begun…

HAPPY SUMMER to my Southern Hemisphere friends. Until next time (there shall be a recipe, I promise).

berries erinspav

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