Bib and Tucker sits on on Leighton Beach and so, being pasty white with a receding hairline, naturally I visited at night.
A restaurant owned by sportsmen and named after bushrangers, the five of us had heard good things and were keen to check it out. We booked for 7.30pm on a Saturday night at least three weeks in advance via their website and so had no dramas getting in. Being on the beach, there is a car park right next door and so the whole 'getting to the table' process was very straightforward.
Bib and Tucker says the following on its website:
Bib & Tucker is fortunate to not only have one of the best views in town, but we also have a little bit of the ‘Celebrity Factor’. The owners of the restaurant are frequent visitors and love taking the time to meet and great our customers. Eamon Sullivan, Jamie Dwyer and Steve Hooker really have poured their hearts and souls into creating a restaurant that they are proud of and that they enjoy talking to people about. The experience you get at Bib & Tucker is a reflection of their hard work and commitment to quality dining, quality produce and quality food.
The name ‘Bib & Tucker’ was derived from the following tale:
“In the year 1872, two bushrangers roamed and over run the colony of Western Australia. Bib and Tucker. Infamous for their fine threads, rascality and rollicking good times. They were gentleman, accustomed to fine food, women and wine. In those days the “settler” would till his fields with pistols in his belt, and smoke his evening pipe with rifle placed ready to his hand. Bands of escaped convicts ranged the plains, descending from their rocky fastnesses to plunder, drink, eat and ravish in one location. They rode about in gangs with blazers with emblems reading the Bib and Tucker gang, they held councils of war, they posted sentries, and took oaths of secrecy. Bib and Tucker stands today, a place of refined rascality. Sartorial splendor ranging from the colonial to the contemporary are the order of the day. Synonymous with fine food, fine clothes and good times. Get your bib and tucker on.”
From this I understand that Bib and Tucker were criminals that would roam colonial farms to murder, rape and pillage in the name of good old fashioned 'rascality and rollicking'. I am at a complete loss as to why anyone would want to name their restaurant after these chaps.
It's fair to say we were keen to visit this place not realising what it truly meant to get our 'bib and tucker on'. But I digress..
We came ready to eat and for the most part the kitchen obliged. The menu is a bit confused, there is no real theme that I can pick up on, other than 'tasty' and perhaps a bit 'pretentious', but we were there for the former and fit right in with the latter so no real complaints to note.
We began with some olives, dips and fancy fish-fingers. One complaint: as usual, the serves of bread were not adequate for the dips provided. We had to order a second round of the breads. I'm speculating, but you see they sell the dips individually rather than as a package, and I wonder whether we would have gotten the same amount of bread had we ordered either one or two of the dips rather than all three. Ideally the bread should scale to the condiments ordered to compliment. In a further ideal world, the quantity of bread would scale but the price would remain static. We all have a dreams, I suppose, and it seems most of mine are bread related.
Entrees were all good. The Architect's Daughter is a glutenphobe and was happy that the kitchen could accomodate her.
For mains we ordered the slow cooked wagyu, the gnocci, two steaks and the barramundi. The consensus was that all meals were very nice. Tom-A-Hawk had no comments on his barra, he said it was superb.
I ordered the slow cooked wagyu without appreciating exactly what that meant and so, to be honest, I was disappointed as I was really expecting a steak meal rather than a hearty stewed meat. Obviously I have to take the blame for that as it was pretentiously described in the pretentious menu and I should have been more aware of what I was ordering, and less drunk, when I chose my main. I will make the comment though that, in addition to being a bit disappointed due to my expectations, I was also a bit disappointed as the meal just wasn't all that enjoyable. The dish turned into a gelatinous stew with root vegetables and lacked any crisp flavours or texture. Perhaps some people are into that but it reminded me of a crockpot and that's not what I was expecting for the price.
Madam Rabbit noted the gnocchi was nice, but very rich and that meant it ended up a bit one-note. Again she commented that vegetarian food is overpriced considering what you get (her meal cost $30, just $4 less than the scotch fillets.. though on reflection perhaps that's not too bad given the effort involved to prepare gnocchi?).
We ordered sides as well. They were good. It's worth pointing out that the Broccolini here was decent and only $10, and not the ridiculous $19 the Gordon Street Garage charges.
We ordered desserts and for once I made the best choice of the group by picking the Bombe Alaska. I had not had many of these before and was thoroughly pleased with how it came out. Tom-A-Hawk and Divine Brown chose the chocolate fondant, with The Architect's Daughter going with the Parfait Sandwich.
I think the agreed preference was: Bombe Alaska > Chocolate Fondant > Parfait.
Despite what the Donkey may say in Shrek, no-one was that keen to finish the Parfait at the end (remembering of course that we were fairly stuffed by this point, but still, I think in the end we may have just left it to melt, which is a statement in itself).
Notwithstanding that it just wasn't all that appealing, The Architect's Daughter found a hair in the parfait as a bonus. We're not altogether precious and were all happy to continue eating once it had been taken out, but the dish simply hadn't convinced us to finish the job.
Tom-A-Hawk was pleasantly suprised at the popping candy going off in his mouth. Those of us that know him weren't all that suprised to see him so pleased.
Decent wine selection and a brand of cider that I hadn't heard of before. No real comments.
Our waiter was quite good, although he was a bit frazzled when we sat down and tried to give us some wine that another table had ordered. If you're choosing a mistake to make, though, offering people gratus wine they hadn't asked for is always the mistake to go for.
Twice we finished our bottles of water and left the empty bottle on the table, and the gentleman waiter was on the spot refilling it within a few minutes. Later in the evening we seemed to be the responsibility of another lady waitress, and while to be fair she was busy with a few other things we still didn't get enough attention and this almost lead to us giving up on dessert, abandoning it as an option only other tables were given.
I liked the place and I suspect it would be incredible in the daytime looking out over the Indian Ocean.
The front of house is a little bit kitchy, for lack of a better word. I'm not sure it really fits in with the swank of the rest of the restaurant and the outlook over the water. I suspect this is all a part of them appealing to the 'rascal and rollicking' target audience but for me it didn't really make much sense.
A good night. Overall the food was very good, albeit expensive (though I suppose given it's location right on the ocean the price is not as hard to swallow as some of the other restaurants that have gouged us recently).
The decor, the menu, perhaps even the whole restaurant with it's weird name and underlying story - they all seems a bit cluttered and mixed up. I have had huge trouble describing or categorising the experience because it all seems very confused. However, it's enough to say that we went there for dinner on a Saturday night and didn't leave feeling disappointed. The food, except for a few misses, was wonderful, and provided you're prepared to pay 'Perth prices' I would recommend you give it a shot as well.
7.5 rascal and rollicking bushrangers out of 10