Go to Raah.” “Have you been to Raah yet?” “You should try Raah.”
One of our office chooks had made the journey north of the river to check out this contemporary Middle-Easterny restaurant, and she’s been raving about it so much I decided I had to give it a go.
Beaufort Street is sort of the South Terrace of Perth, but it definitely gives Freo a run for its money when it comes to cuisine.
After stopping by on our way to see the new James Bond movie, our modest bill at Raah turned out to be the best money we spent that night.
There’s a nice, romantic atmosphere in the gentle lighting and the waitstaff were genuinely lovely, happily interpreting the menu and making suggestions.
I started with their unique take on the negroni ($18). Known as the bartender’s favourite drink, Raah’s own version sees Plymouth gin, campari and punt e mas (a dark brown bitter Italian vermouth, in a departure from the standard white mixture). Traditionally served with a sphere of ice (the thinking being that it’ll melt more slowly than blocks, thus keeping the drink pure), but Raah serves it with an orange/mulberry popsicle that nicely complements this bitter drink with a sweet tinge.
Foodwise we opened with the preserved lemon, chilli and coriander prawns ($16). At four prawns, this is a small dish, but the taste is unearthly. It’s an interesting bitey mix of spices and the distinctive salty sour flavour of preserved lemon wrapped around the fresh prawn flesh.
Our other entree was the warm monk vegetables with haloumi cheese puffs ($15). As a rule, I hate vegetables. I think people who claim they like vegetables are awful liars. But I have to admit these were tender, well-cooked, sweet vegie chunks, and the crisp skin of the two haloumi puffs gives way to the salty, gooey inner goodness.
For mains we were informed the goat was still cooking, but as their chicken’s free range we opted for the pomegranate and garlic chicken hot pot with mograbieh and za’atar crusted yoghurt bread ($32).
Okay, half of that needs a translation: mograbieh is a particularly puffy sort of cous cous, and, dunked in the intense piercing sauce, the balls soak up the flavour and are delicious.
The chicken comes cooked in crispy skin giving way to soft flesh, all imbued with a strong lemony flavour, and eaten along with a heady pita with yoghurt in the middle. The mains are designed for two, so along with our couple of entrees we were all filled up and couldn’t even think about buying extortionately priced movie popcorn.
The total bill for the food was a surprisingly modest $63. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a meal for two that’s come in at less than a hundred, and this was all really cleverly done.
by DAVID BELL
Tuesday to Thursday 5–10pm
Friday, Saturday noon to 11pm
484 Beaufort St, Highgate