“IT’S botox central,” warned my friend.
Thankfully when the Chook visited The Rowing Pavilion in Mt Pleasant, it wasn’t full of Joan Rivers clones and nobody looked like an extra from Halloween 6.
It was a pleasant cacophony of young folk, wealthy retirees, families and some overweight middle-aged blokes (myself and Pete the Scouser).
Situated above a rowing club on The Esplanade, just down from Canning Bridge, The Rowing Pavilion is a glorious waterfront venue with fantastic vistas of the Swan River.
It’s been open for just over a month, but there’s already a buzz about the Mt Pleasant eatery as aside from Dôme there aren’t many waterfront restaurants on that side of the Canning Highway.
“The Pav” was a lot bigger than I anticipated with a substantial internal dining area and a large balcony where you could enjoy those glorious river views.
There were no outside tables available for lunch when I booked, but when we arrived I saw some free on the balcony, and the waitress said we could use unreserved ones, but they might be in the sun.
Thankfully we nabbed a two-seater table outside and got the full riverside experience.
The menu had a good range of shares, mains, salads, pizzas and desserts.
It struck a nice balance between the old favourites (fish and chips, chicken parmi, steak sandwich) and the more dainty share plates like tofu tacos, burrata cheese and king prawns. There was also an intriguing sounding “Tomahawk steak” for four people to share.
A nice inclusion was a good kids menu which aside from the usual suspects (pizza, fish and chips) had dishes like cauliflower popcorn (although if my dad had got me that back in the day, I’d have pushed him off the balcony, but times have changed). The Pav also had a ‘coffee window’ with cakes, open from 7am-11am.
First up were the soft tacos with schezwan beef ($25). Pete the Scouser thought they were outstanding.
“The schezwan beef soft tacos were the nicest food I have tasted in a long while,” he said. “The beef was delicately spiced and super tender, and filled with beautiful crispy kale, pickled vegetables and spiced aioli. What a dish.”
It was great start to the meal and I can concurr the beef was perfectly seared and super tender. Delicious.
The Thai Charred Chicken ($25) was another winner. A huge portion of butterfly chicken with tender flesh and that trademark crispy chargrilled skin.
It had a lovely balance of flavours with the asian pickles and coconut softening the Thai heat.
Some might balk at paying $24 for a few king prawns with cos lettuce and a tangy sauce.
But these were giant, fleshy, juicy prawns of the highest order and although expensive were utterly delicious. It was a dish that really complemented the waterfront setting.
We rounded things off with a cheese dish – burrata with roasted capsicum, zucchini, olives, pesto, aged balsamic and toasted bread ($22). We had never tried burrata and the little wobbly pouch of cheese was a bit intimidating. We burst it open with the toasted bread and once you got through the solid mozzarella there was a softer mix of curd and cream inside.
The dish was perfectly executed and all the ingredients went well together, but the burrata was a very mild cheese and our palate was overloaded after all those strong flavours. But it was a refreshing and very light dish.
Throughout our meal the service was prompt and top notch and we were greeted with a big smile on arrival and a “Thanks, see you later” on leaving, as well as a post-lunch email asking if anything could have been done better.
I couldn’t really fault The Rowing Pavilion and the service, food and view were all top notch.
“As usual you are always unsure with portion size when ordering shared meals, so we ordered four between two and there was too much, but all fantastic,” said Pete the Scouser.
“Better than a pan of scouse or a haggis from back home.”
The Rowing Pavilion
4 The Esplanade, Mt Pleasant
by STEPHEN POLLOCK