Saturday, June 13, 2009

day 12 eats

Yesterday it was time for work: restaurant reviewing.

We can't hope to approach the excellence of the Beaufort Street Bloggers, but we'll appropriate a few of their devices in our assessment of...Aristos Waterfront Rottnest.

To eat well on Rotto, you usually bring your own ingredients, utensils and recipes. Rotto Bloggo has scoffed some marvellous food on the holiday island playground over the years: eggplant moussaka, tuna mornay, spicy lentil soup, olive and garlic pizza, upsaide-down pear gingerbread...all made in various spots in Thomson, Longreach and Geordie Bays in sometimes-unreliable ovens.

Or you can go to Subway or Red Rooster

Admittedly there's Dome, which is reliable. There used to be the Tearooms (where Aristos is now). The Geordie Bay cafe is only open in summer, but we've heard good reports about it.

Our Aristos expectations weren't high: we've previously blogged about the high prices. But then again everything on Rotto costs a bit more.

We ambled in on Thursday lunchtime. The dreaded muzak was warbling away. Very few people were lunching - it all seemed a bit cavernous. Everywhere on Rottnest has muzak. Is it really a good thing, or do we sound a bit old?

We studied the menu. Your bog standard fish and chips start at $16.50, and the top end red emperor and chips goes for $29.50.

One bbq prawn is five bucks. The costliest item is the hot seafood platter for two: $89.50 nets you lobster morney, calamari, bbq prawns, scallops, oysters Kilpatrick, and grilled and fried fish.

A Rottnest lobster is $46, seafood chowder is $12.50 and Aristos is practically giving away the dim sims and crab sticks: four bucks for three.

Don't bring any booze: signage says until they get a liquor licence, corkage per bottle is $7.50. Instead, you can get Madfish plonks, Leeuwin Estate Prelude for $49 a bottle, a Crownie or a Corona for eight bucks, or a bottle of Louis Roederer Brut for $115.

Mrs Rotto Bloggo opted for the grilled whiting and chips (a $22.50 special). We had the beer batter f&c. Our associates - the Troublemaker and the Print Princess, who were recognised 'cos they were also in there the day before - also went for the whiting.

First good sign was when our waiter, Kepper, came to the table and said the chef advised the whiting would be better crumbed or fried. It was a texture thing. Mrs RB nodded in agreement.

You normally go up and collect your food at AWR, but we were getting on so well with Kepper he brought it to us. Excellent service - and the food was just as good.

The whiting was firm and light, the crumb wasn't too thick and not dry: "lovely" was Mrs RB's assessment. Four generous fillets.

Our bog standard f&c was just as good. Light batter, perfectly fried. Top chips that weren't too salty. Fresh lemon to squeeze. The only blemish: cheap and nasty squeeze sachets of Masterfoods tartare sauce. Is it so hard to whip up a bowl of tartare and dob a bit on the side. It's so much classier.

Afterwards it was long blacks all round. AWR uses Fiori Coffee, and the drinks made by Kepper were pretty good. Far superior to that stuff they serve at the bakery.

The food was served in bento-style boxes. We didn't mind - the official reason is they're saving on labout costs during the slow winter - butdozen others wondered if it wasn't a bit cheap.

There were half-a-owls on the counter: they deploy these in the warmer months to deter the seagulls. Better than that fishing line that used to be starpped to the roof and rail at the Tearooms.

In summary...

Service: The service was so good we wondered if Rotto had been towed from WA to off Cape Town.

Food: High quality: fish and chips are pretty basic, but hard to find flaws here.

Ambience: In the depths of winter, it has a hint of the echoing draughty food hall, and the muzak doesn't help.

Highlight: Crumbed whiting, service.

Lowlight: The monstrous corkage and the Masterfoods sachets.

Rating: 4.1 joey quokkas out of 5.

Will we be back: Sure!


  1. RIB are tweeting about a film and comedy festival 'coming soon'... any info on the island about said festival?

  2. Anonymous1:11 PM

    Liz, the RIA said it was going to be "drip drip" on this, and that they'll send a release in a bit.