Aristocratic touch is super

DINING with a touch of elegance is all too rare these days with silver service disappearing so fast there’s no time for tarnish.

Still, there are stalwarts who enjoy serving food with traditional formality and pomp. Restaurants where standards never waver and expectations are always high, including dress standards of both patrons and staff.

At Jessica’s Seafood Restaurant, mine host and co-proprietor Andreas Supper gives a fine-tuned and polished performance as a restaurateur.

Jessica’s as a Perth restaurant has graduated from those early times when Warren Mead began his hospitality career. Jessica’s set new standards and smashed the fish houses of the day where the freezers were bigger than the restaurants.

Warren’s policy was to target fresh produce, regional fish supplies and name the source. Having moved on, he has become synonymous with seafood in this state.

Certainly, today’s Jessica’s has a smart, classy style, almost as aristocratic as a clipped accent.

Quite beautifully appointed in terms of furniture, glassware, table dressings and the view – what a delightful scene.

Perth water stretches out before your eyes across to South Perth with ferries and sailboats everywhere. Jessica’s is a restaurant enclosed in glass at the Swan River end of the Hyatt.

At night the lights of South Perth come alive as the sun goes down and vista remains.

I’ll never understand why the hotel (then the Merlin) didn’t take advantage of these premises and those across the terrace that house another silver service restaurant – Friends.

There has been a long-term reluctance of Perth’s major hotels to take advantage of the views afforded to them when it comes to dining. Any other city would have hotel restaurants staring over the Swan River in number, our’s tend to bury their finest dining rooms in the bowels.

A vastly improved cocktail bar welcomes you to Jessica’s Restaurant and on mentioning that the lagers weren’t blizzardly-cold, I received an instant response, the beers were immediately put on ice.

Andreas heads a fine staff who provide well trained service and, if its not a busy day, he will smartly entertain with illusionists’ card tricks. They are almost magical.

At market price, the benefits of WA’s remarkable crayfish industry can be appreciated with live lobster from the aquarium.

Fresh is the only way these creatures of the ocean should be enjoyed.

I have long thought the rock lobster should be the basis of a statewide culinary tourism drive – blend in our wine industry and a summer crayfish season and an international tourist drive could easily be mounted.

Fresh oysters are offered singularly or in any numerical combination you prefer.

The four-sauced options are $3.30 each, taken natural $2.90 each and a lime and tabasco lift is available if the natural flavours are not to your taste.

This is fairly smart seafood served elegantly such as the richly flavoured; brandy fortified prawn bisque ($10.50).

This is an appetite filling, opulent starter which is built up with double cream.

You can imagine the full-bodied consistency of this prawn soup with the heavy cream component so the elegant bowl was sufficient. The brandy married perfectly adding to the overall structure.

Fresh coriander, mint, lime and garlic flavour the marinated local sardines, which were served over English spinach as an entrée at $18.90.

The spices gave the good-sized fish an Asian flavour. Squid from our waters, which was also marinated in sweet-soy and mirin shared this.

The latter being the sweet rice wine extensively used in flavouring Japanese cooking and sometimes used to glaze.

The squid was prepared by stir-frying with leeks, spring onions and carrot then served with crispy wontons ($18.90).

Jessica’s is gold credit card country.

Main courses are presented on a small, concise menu list. From these offerings I liked Jessica’s barbecued seafood platter at $35.50.

A feast of skewered prawns, scallops served with charred Rottnest squid and a fillet of the fish of the day. The sauce is a light one of lemon and dill.

The French peasant seafood stew bouillabaisse was traditionally the leftover dish where the fish a French fisherman couldn’t sell went to feed his family.

There are no unsold residual ingredients in the Jessica’s version.

Served in a cast iron pot, this is a wet dish rich in tomato and garlic and herbs with ample seafood gems to make it a big meal ($38.50).

Seafood isn’t compulsory.

There is a wonderful chicken course ($31.50) where the breast is stuffed with fresh spinach the wrapped in prosciutto with a fig and orange seeded mustard and served with Mediterranean vegetables.

Chargrilled veal cutlets bring you into the meat choices. For $33 they are served a sweet potato mash and an interesting braise of lentils.

The grilled fillet is served with rosemary, roasted mushrooms and chickpea puree and spinach and an English mustard/ cream sauce.

A clever winelist awaits you with a fine selection but there is not a great deal down the list in the affordable department.

Jessica’s is a restaurant for a smart business meal to do a deal or a very special celebration dinner that requires a spot of intimacy.

Jessica’s Seafood Restaurant

1 Hyatt Centre

Terrace Road, Perth

Reservations 9325 2511

Lunch Sunday to Friday, Dinner seven nights

Fully licensed.

Parking undercover below the restaurant.

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