Much like potential romantic partners on a first date, restaurants pull out all the stops trying to woo their love.
Whether it’s a bawdy Sydney celebrity chef, a jazzy renovation, an amazing venue or an Instagrammable dish, there’s more often than not something that catches your eye.
For me, somewhere by the water’s edge is my weakness.
From the Oyster Bar in Mandurah to the Beach House in Eden Beach, I was intrigued enough to try them all.
Over the weekend, I joined a quarter of Perth’s population and headed to City Beach.
It was my first time trying Hamptons, an “expanding, hip bistro specializing in craft cocktails, seafood dishes and ocean views” – their Google words, not mine.
As advertised, it’s expensive; there were several long tables of at least 15 guests celebrating monumental birthdays, and the food was impressive.
The interior is a bit more formal than trendy, with dark carpeting and some furniture selections feeling more like a hotel bar than coastal chic. And there are certainly plenty of seafood dishes to enjoy on the traditional Aussie menu.
To start, we had the scallops with mashed peas, duck fat potatoes, pancetta and vanilla beurre blanc ($24) and wagyu bresaola with horseradish cream, pickles and rye crust ($26 ).
The four scallops were well seared and just cooked inside, the freshness of the mash complementing the salty taste of the pancetta and potato chunks.
The Wagyu bresaola looked pretty on the plate and was the kind of starter you’d be happy to gobble down with a glass of wine anywhere in the world.
The Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Truffle Smashed Potato Rosti, Mixed Forest Mushrooms, Béarnaise, Port Jus, Celeriac Mash, Macro Salad Jus ($49) was one version slightly elevated from the pub classic.
The imposing dish had a lot going for it, with the beef cooked medium-rare, as requested, and the flavorful and well-seasoned mash and gravy, but the vegetables seemed more of an afterthought. The Brussels sprouts were chewy and barely cooked and the mushrooms a bit overcooked.
The Tasmanian salmon with black rice, zucchini, broccolini, pickled ginger, citrus glaze and coconut siracha mayo ($37) also had its ups and downs.
Eating each item together was great, the pickled ginger giving a kick to the richness of the mayonnaise and salmon. The salmon however was cooked all the way through and not as flaky as expected, and the veggies again felt a bit like an afterthought mixed in with the black rice.
If Hamptons were a potential suitor, I wouldn’t be obsessed with arranging a second date, but I would definitely consider it.
Address: 179 Challenger Parade, City Beach
The verdict: overall the food was tasty and harmless, if a bit pricey, the service was quick and friendly, and the view is fabulous.