Sweetwater Rooftop Bar lured me into its grand interior, then invited me out onto its vast terraces where the breathtaking views span right across the ocean and East Fremantle. There were large sofas and tables all along the terraces, the tall glass panes kept out the wind, and the vergola allowed filtered light through.
Inside was pure luxury with a hint of industrial/exotic décor – the large bar is clad in a golden timber, and there are high and low tables, and a separate dining room for families, cleverly separated by a gorgeous chainmail curtain.
We met the executive chef Leigh Power, who has a passion for Asian fusion cuisine. He hails from Melbourne where he ran Ginger Boy for quite a few years. Leigh describes Perth as a growing food scene, and spread out compared to Melbourne. When Sweetwater opened in 2016, Leigh helped to redesign the kitchen fit-out provided by Caterlink in conjunction with Moffat using Waldorf cooking equipment to suit the complexities of Asian fusion.
Other items in the kitchen fit-out included warewashing solutions such as Washtec and specialised cooking solutions such as Turbofan convection ovens which makes the kitchen run smoothly and efficiently.
The food is designed to share and we began with ‘Smalls’ dishes – the first being candied onion, chickpea and sweet corn curry puffs with turmeric yoghurt. The pastry was crisp and light and the onions’ sweetness blended with the creamy curried chickpea sauce, which was not too spicy. The turmeric yoghurt was the perfect accompaniment.
The chilli spiced school prawns, bell pepper jam, and sweet potato dish was delicious, with crunchy potato starch batter, crackly prawn shells, sweet juicy sauce and fresh coriander.
The soft shell crab, squid ink bao, avocado, hot sauce, and pickles was a hit with my companions. The freshly made bao (a traditional Chinese-style steamed bun) was light and spongy. We loved the crab legs poking out, and enjoyed their crunch. The crab meat was sweet, the sauce tangy and the avocado added a creamy touch.
The wine was 2016 Pizzini Pinot Grigio (King Valley, Victoria), which is a light, fresh wine perfect for Asian dishes and matched beautifully with the crab baos.
The coconut poached chicken, banana blossom, with ginger nuoc cham had quite a bite but the coriander and mint cut through the chilli, making it a rounded dish. As with all the dishes, the subtle sauce was delicious.
The ‘Big’ dish we tried was fragrant yellow curry of Shark Bay prawns, mussels, and baby corn baked in banana leaf, which was my personal favourite. I loved the slight heat of the rich sauce, the tender seafood, and fragrant corn. Green beans added a crunch which brought extra texture to this dish.
We completed the meal with fair trade coffee, which was about all we could fit in after a most enjoyable share meal.
Later in 2017 Leigh will also be offering Yum Cha and cooking classes. He is certainly a key element to Sweetwater, which to me makes it more than a bar.
Sweetwater Rooftop Bar is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 noon to 12pm, and on Sunday from 12 noon until 10pm. They offer business lunches, family get togethers, romantic dinners for two and large parties.
By Frances Myshell
Let us know what you think about this venue by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!