Jul 17 2009 by Lady Who Lunches
Mediterranean flavour at Santé
I SEE Perth’s most cherished building is in line for a dramatic makeover – and I’m not talking about the City Halls.
St John’s Kirk may be bulging at the seams rarely nowadays but for centuries it has been woven into the fabric of the Fair City’s landscape. It’s in line for subtle changes to secure a role for 21st Century life.
And across the way, I give you the sad and decrepit Perth City Hall, which still awaits the verdict on its own future.
Never mind sprucing up the city for the 800th anniversary thrash next year, at the rate the wheels are turning we should be in line for a decision before Perth 900 celebrations. But perhaps even that’s a tad optimistic.
I’m sure dinosaurs were stalking the earth when this debate began.
Now line me up against the wall and have done with me, but I’m a fully signed up member of the bulldozer brigade.
Call it a square, call it a piazza, call it open space. Call it anything you want but I’ve been wooed and won over by the lovely man from McEwens and his inspiring vision of lively markets, concerts and an expanded cafe culture.
It came up in conversation, yet again, during a recce to sound out the new kid on the block.
Santé – French for healthy unless that O grade qualification fails me – is the latest addition to the Perth culinary scene. And it brings an authentic burst of Mediterranean sunshine to the heart of the city, serving up a fusion of French fair and Spanish tapas.
It oozes effortless style and bistro chic. La Cuisine is open plan and diners have the option of a table or perching at the bar and sampling delicious tapas, with a prized pata negra jamon providing the centrepiece.
While Significant Other surveyed the various Plats de Jour blackboard before ordering a gloriously fleshy Roast Hake fillet on a well-sprung bed of couscous, vegetables and salad I delved into the tapas menu, with the Sauteed King Prawns served with a kicking chilli, garlic, spring onion and lime dipping sauce; traditional Tortilla Espanola; and flat mushrooms sauteed with garlic, olive oil and parsley. The home-made bread was another treat.
With my companion rushing off for a chat with his number cruncher, we drained the last of the Diet Coke – moi – and, for him, a quite exceptional Rioja Crianza in a truly vast goblet.
Santé may not be on the sunny side of the street but prepare to be transported to the Mediterranean when you step inside the glazed frontage.
And who knows, one day you may be looking out onto a civic square.
Venue: Santé Winebar and Restaurant, South St John’s Place, Perth.
Food: Mediterranean with traditional Spanish tapas.
Decor: Slate, wood, brick, ironwork.
Price: £43.90 for two, including drinks.
Service: Hit the ground running.