Itsara | Nedlands
Sometimes I’m relieved not to have done the usual background research (otherwise known as Urbanspoon) on a restaurant, as Itsara has received an array of positive & negative reviews from diners. What did interest me though, after having driven past the restaurant in an oblivious fog for several years, was its excellent rating of 15.5 out of 20 in The West Australian Good Food Guide 2012. Similar to the 2011 edition, this little purple book is my Perth food bible. Whilst I may or may not agree with the reviewers’ inclusions, exclusions, descriptions, social demographic commentary & ratings; it is a very handy reference point for most of Perth’s dining spots. To be honest, I think some of the selected restaurants are absolute rubbish & ‘what were they thinking?’, but let’s save that rant for another day.
On a general note, I’ve recently preferred to dine out on quieter nights & avoid the busy scrum of Friday & Saturday service. Other than the enjoyment of a more functional noise level, the staff are usually more attentive & friendly, whilst the food can often be quicker & better prepared. However I have come to the conclusion that many first-rate Perth restaurants are closed on Sunday & Monday & even Tuesday, & finding a reasonable place to eat on these evenings are nigh on impossible. Thankfully Itsara is open seven days a week. So on a very soggy & windy Monday evening, we procured a table for two & proceeded to celebrate a Special Occasion.
Loving Couple (Koo Saneha)
A perfect pairing of jumbo king prawns & king scallops with a garlic & lime chilli dipping sauce. The fresh enormous prawns & just-done scallops gave us the first hint of the quality food to come.
Pretending Tiger – Spicy Thai Beef Salad
A stand out dish. A complex composition of robust hot, sour & spicy flavours & juicy tender beef slices made this a memorable salad & knocked other impersonators to the kerb.
Nectarous Duck Curry
Marinated duck curry with cherry tomatoes, pineapple, lychee, grapes & fresh basil. The surprise dish of the evening. Who knew that sweet lychee & fragrant duck were as perfectly paired as peas & carrots?
Three Kings from the Sea (Talay Sam Rod)
Seared crispy skin barramundi, king prawns & king scallops with chilli, garlic, tamarind, kaffir lime leaf & sweet basil. Another generous portion of fresh seafood enveloped in a succulent, glossy caramel sauce.
Ginger & kaffir lime crème brulee
Pure creamy heaven with a subtle infusion of aromatic lime & ginger.
House pavlova with mascarpone cream & seasonal fruits
Completely different to the recent Beluga pavlova, but equally as enjoyable. The delicate meringue crust & light chewy interior was simply filled with fluffy mascarpone cream & adorned with fresh juicy fruit.
Food One of the rare occasions where the food was faultless. Yes, we were surprised too.
Service We were fortunate to be served by Cresswell (one of the business owners) who reinstated my faith in finding passionate, mature, knowledgeable & confident hospitality professionals in this city.
Design First impressions: Itsara is beautifully presented – the subtle interior & exterior lighting, abundance of lush foliage & orchids, cultural artefacts, dark colour scheme & elegant table settings.
Highlight A close tie between the blissful brulee & delightful duck.
Lowlight Not a single negative thought to share.
Rating 4.5 Thai tigers out of 5
Will we be back Without a doubt, yes.