241 Canning Hwy, Como
Phone: (08) 9367 6666
CRUISIN’ AT THE COMO
It was a glorious autumn afternoon – far too pleasant to be indoors – and the shady courtyard at the Como was the perfect place to while away a few hours over good food with a glass or two of beer or wine, and some good company. Dappled sunlight through the leaves of a large maple tree pierced the gaps between shade-cloth sails overhead, bringing light and warmth to the polished wood and stainless steel modern outdoor settings. We sat surrounded by giant succulents, which, we all agreed, must have been there a long time. We noticed that there were quite a few patio style heaters around, which would help keep the area cozy on cooler days or nights. There were several tables full of people enjoying the lazy afternoon sunshine in the courtyard, but it was not crowded.
Manager Marcus McQueen welcomed us and told us a little of the history of the Como . Since he took over last year, he’s been working hard to re-establish the Como ‘s reputation as a relaxed dining experience. The interior has been recently repainted and smartened up a little. But the main focus is on customer service, and great food, created and served with passion. The new chef – Gavin Hall – originally did his apprenticeship at the Queen’s Hotel in ’98, and was the head chef at the Flying Scotsman in Mount Lawley before heading off to the UK for two years, returning in 2003 to become the sous chef at the Belgian Beer Café.
The venue is open 7 days a week, from 11:30am till late. On the weekend, breakfast is served from 8:30am . With the new chef comes a new breakfast menu, including fresh juices made to order. Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings feature DJs from 8pm onwards, and are well patronised. According to Marcus, the Steak Sandwiches and Steaks are always popular with the evening crowds, and the Malaysian Chicken Curry is the most popular Main Course on the menu.
But enough about breakfast and dinner, we were there for a leisurely lunch! Scott, Jemma and I started off with the “Taste Plate to Share” – a tower of toasted fingers of Turkish bread, surrounded by an assortment of little dishes containing such things as Franklin River olives, marinated Delphic feta, Babaganoush (an eggplant-based dip), home-made pate, and grilled & skewered slices of Venison sausage with caramelized onion. The pate was delicious, and the Babaganoush was interesting. Scott declared that the trick was to mix and match several of these ingredients onto one piece of the Turkish bread and savour the combination of flavours.
We washed this down with a beer for Scott and champagne for Jemma and me.
Naturally we had to try the Malaysian Chicken Curry, paired with a glass of Amberley Chenin Blanc, which really brought out the flavours of the spices. The Curry was fresh and spicy, but not too hot, and we could see why it was such a popular dish. It was served with aromatic rice, delicious pappadoms and a dish of coriander raita. The freshness of the vegetables in the raita gave it a real zing.
Next came the Kangaroo Fillet – grilled, medium rare kangaroo fillet on a celeriac potato rosti, topped with roasted field mushrooms & bush tomato chutney, and served with red wine jus. Kangaroo can sometimes be a bit tough and dry, but this was quite tender and moist, and well complemented by the savoury field mushrooms and sweet bush tomato chutney.
It was set off perfectly by the Mount Trio Shiraz, a really good, full-bodied red, which brought out the true flavour of the ‘roo.
We also sampled the Duck Confit with a glass of Trevor Jones Grenache Merlot Cab Franc, which, along with the sour cherry gremoulata, counterbalanced the saltiness of the duck and pancetta.
Then it was time for dessert, and the Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake was “to die for”. It was a truly divine wedge of chocolate-lover’s heaven, served with vanilla pod ice cream, sliced strawberries and a raspberry coulis. I could go back there again and again just for this one dish.
We also tried a white chocolate and cardamom Crème Brulee – a delicate baked custard delight with a layer of crisp toffee on top, served with biscotti – and the Meringue, served with rich double cream, banana pieces and passion fruit coulis. Both were very nice but I thought the Chocolate Truffle Cake was just superb. Scott’s favourite was the Crème Brulee, and Jemma liked the Meringue, so we were all happy!
A cup of premium Espresso coffee was the perfect way to finish off the meal. The shadows were getting longer and the day was drawing to a close. All in all, it had been a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
As you might expect from a place like the Como , the food is rather more gourmet style than your average pub nosh, the service is friendly, polite and unobtrusive, and the surroundings are gracious and relaxed. It’s not what you’d call cheap, but you get what you pay for, and this is quality dining. The menu is quite extensive, with something for everyone, ranging from snacks and light meals, through to hearty serves of mains, plenty of side salads and veggies, and delicious desserts. There is a good selection of wines and beers available, and some interesting sounding cocktails if you fancy something a bit more exotic.
Next time I might just have to try some of their seafood dishes such as the Prawn Fettuccini with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and cherry tomatoes, topped with basil and parmesan, or pan fried Barramundi with a fennel, orange and rocket salad, or grilled Baby Squid served with chilli linguine, asian greens, sugar snap peas and a vodka, lime and sweet chilli sauce – and I’ve just got to go back there again for some more of that Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake!
By Georgina Goss