The Wembley

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344 Cambridge Street, Wembley
Ph: (08) 9383 7488
Tapas Style Pub Grub

THE Wembley Hotel is a grand old lady, full of character and looking good at 81-years-old. A beautifully preserved art deco wonder, she captures the classic pub feel while maintaining a fresh and relaxed atmosphere.
Designed by Edgar Le Blond Henderson and built in 1932 for the princely sum of 7998 pounds, the building is classified by the National Trust for its architectural significance in elements of federation and art deco design.
Built for this climate with high ceilings, large doors and thick walls, the two-storey building is located on Cambridge Street, just north of Subiaco. Its art deco elements include curved walls, broad stone steps, a marble and wood bar, and large windows allowing in a lot of natural light during the day, however many of the original fittings and furnishings have been stripped back and replaced with features such as polished concrete flooring, ceiling fans, and contemporary brown and black furniture, with bright red and yellow feature pieces.
The overall look is comfortable, clean and contemporary. With multiple rooms, some with sports TVs, others with big comfy armchairs, as well as a restaurant and a massive outside area, all of which provide a range of different atmospheres. The menu matches this range with all kinds of meals from tapas to hearty mains.
Head Chef James Patric Keogh is determined to over-deliver on food but says he thinks “it’s important that the pub keeps to its roots” and his menu reflects this.
The first thing that struck me looking down the menu was the impressive tapas selection. We tried the slow cooked pork belly with apple and fennel slaw mini burgers, which came with a perfectly salted pile of crackling that completely surpassed the normal side of chips you expect when ordering a burger. While we both enjoyed the burgers’ salty and sweet flavors, my associate who eats at The Wembley regularly was disappointed that I didn’t get to try his favorite item on the tapas menu, the tacos. I guess that just gives me another reason to go back.
While the tapas are great if that’s what I’m in the mood for, often when I go to a pub it’s because I want something more substantial. The Wembley has all the classic pub grub dishes like barramundi, chicken parmy, chef’s pie and three different cuts of steak. But it’s the little things on the plates that surprise and impress.
The steak came out perfectly cooked, accompanied by steamed asparagus, broccolini and thinly sliced and arranged crispy baked potatoes. The dish went well with the Anonymity Shiraz with its sweet, soft andslightly peppery flavors making it easy to drink and not at all overpowering.
The second main I’d like to tell you about is the grilled sirloin chimichurri with niçoise salad. It’s a warm salad that is full of interesting textures and flavours and manages to be rich and filling while remaining clean and not too oily. Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce used when cooking meat, and niçoise is a French salad containing tomatoes, green beans, eggs and potatoes. The fusion of the two worked beautifully and what really stood out about the dish was how different it was to the steak. I’d never eaten a niçoise salad before and to find something so unusual right next to the classic favorites demonstrated that the crew at The Wembley are working hard to be inclusive to a wide range of clientele.
The Wembley is well worth remembering next time you’re in the mood for a relaxed meal or catch up with some friends – they have a welcoming attitude, dinner specials most nights and some really tasty tapas.
By Floyd Holmes
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