May 24, 2014

That Old Soul

Currently, it's pretty wet and windy around these parts. I actually had to start using my umbrella. I resisted for as long as I could (I'm obviously still in winter denial) but twice I was caught out on my way home from work and the very short run to my car was enough to have me drenched. The thing about wet and windy days and umbrellas is this; I hate to be the one that's walking down the street and the next second find my umbrella forced inside out. I work on what is probably the windiest street in Perth city and have seen my fair share of umbrellas that just gave up, tossed aside in the bins or on the side of the road. There was a time I was in New York during March and April and there were a few days of heavy rain. I was squelching around in Soho, when the wind knocked my umbrella dead. It didn't even turn inside out. The actual canopy of the umbrella just broke off. I squealed at my misfortune as a nearby doorman didn't even attempt to contain his laughter. 

Although I prefer the warmer and less wet weather, one thing I do welcome is that change that it brings to menus across the city. Let's be real. In winter weather (or as winter as Perth can get), a green smoothie ain't gonna cut it. 

Perfect then that I found myself at The Old Crow last night sitting in a cozy little nook next to a fireplace, non-functioning but still cozy nonetheless, while the rain beat down outside. I was having dinner with Sharon from Sass and Spice and Heidy from lovethymuse, and with it being the three of us it meant that we could order lots of food and that always makes me happy. The dishes are intended to be shared and I think the quote atop the menu makes this obvious, even though I'm pretty sure Snoop wasn't referring to the breaking of bread with friends. 

The staff member looking after us was super friendly. I think her name may be Penny. She recommended to us to try their special which was a curry style beef served with beans. We took her up on this recommendation and in addition ordered the buttermilk fried chicken with thousand island sauce, the corn fritters, crispy Brussels sprouts and fried shrimp. The sound of the Ginger Snaps pitcher was also too yummy to pass up. Although I had been to The Old Crow for brunch not long after it had opened this was my first time for dinner and I was keen to try more as my first time had been a good time. Innuendo alert.

Yep, it ain't no fun if the homies can't have none

Free bread!

The dishes are served as they are cooked which meant we had an almost constant stream of food coming to the table. The food at The Old Crow is of a Southern theme, inspired by Cajun and Creole soul food, and when it comes to comfort food I think the South has it locked down pretty good. I have spent some time in the Southern states of the US and many of my fondest memories involve the food. 

The buttermilk fried chicken was delivered first. The little wings and drumsticks were coated in a crunchy batter and served alongside the thousand island sauce. There is definitely enough in a portion to serve three people, beyond that I would suggest a second serve just to ensure you all get enough fried chicken goodness. The batter on the chicken was perfectly crunchy and I honestly think that their fried chicken is some of the best I've had in Perth. If anything I think the chicken could have used just a slight amount more of seasoning but that is minor when considering that it was crunchy, piping hot and not at all greasy or oily. 

We didn't expect the fried shrimp to look as it did, I think we were expecting something along the lines of popcorn shrimp but after popping the first little shrimp in my mouth I had no regrets. Although the shrimp is served fully intact with all the shell and bits and pieces, the whole thing can be eaten. This isn't a foreign concept to me as I have grown up eating prawns cooked that way but I wonder if for some it may be a bit confronting at first. If it does I implore you, don't be scared! Try them because you'll probably love them.  The aioli was good but the shrimp were tasty enough without needing even a smear of the stuff.

The corn fritters were light and full of corn. Not overly doughy or cakey which is nice. The bell pepper and chipotle chutney served with it was a very nice flavour compliment to the sweetness of the corn. 

Heidy was unsure about the Brussels sprouts. I'm a fan of them and I don't have the aversion to them that a lot of people have, possibly because I wasn't served them as a child so I have no bad memories of eating them. Cooked well I think the little tackers are great to eat and at The Old Crow being prepared in a crispy manner imparts a lot of smokey and charred flavour to them. They are definitely not the Brussels sprouts of your childhood. 

Far out Brussels sprouts!

The beef special was my least enjoyed dish. The meat was very tender and had been slow cooked, I presume based on how tender and soft it was. I just wasn't feeling the flavour of it. As a curry style beef I expected more punch, spice and pizzazz which I felt it lacked. The beans were an interesting side and I think was a nod to the dhal and lentil dishes that often accompany more traditional curries. If it were on the regular menu it's not something I would order again. 

Luckily we had room for dessert and decided to share the bourbon and cola sticky pudding. It was huge! We couldn't believe it. We kept saying that it was fortunate we didn't order one each. I think we'd still have been eating it for breakfast, however I'm sure our super lovely waitperson would have advised us better than to order one each. Even at the table next to us we saw two men sharing a pudding, and only just prior we saw one of them finishing an entire pork hock on his own. I'm usually not a dessert fan. I do like sweets but don't often find myself satisfied with the desserts at restaurants however this was sensational. I think because it's not at all pretentious or fancy. It's just like a rich, warm and saucy pudding I would make at home and sit eating in front of the TV. The pudding was delicious with the thick sauce that bubbled its way to the surface and the crunch provided by the scattering of oats made for a perfect finale. Although I didn't get much of a bourbon and cola taste, it definitely made for a delightfully sweet ending. 

The bill came to a total of $130, extremely good value for all the food we had. If we had not ordered the pitcher of Ginger Snaps the total bill would have been $98, which for three people wouldn't even buy you a main course each at some places. Good food and company, lively banter and a very inviting and cozy place of respite from the wind outside - makes for a pretty good Friday night to me.

As I headed back to my car, this rendition of Troy Buswell was getting put up on a door across the road. He's one that I'm sure knows all about a good Friday night. 

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