Doing a plum job

THE Plum Restaurant is a welcome haven for the folk who frequent this northern beachside restaurant. The friendly and professional team at the Plum provides diners with a first-class dining experience. Erich Rauning’s Plum Restaurant moved to the northern suburbs about six years ago. Its original home was Northbridge, where diners first experienced its delights in 1982. One of the restaurant’s most endearing features seems to be the ability Erich (pictured above) has to ensure all dinners feel very much at home, which means many of the patrons are keen to return again and again.

We had booked a table for four and a half on a Thursday night and, when we arrived, the restaurant was almost full. We were welcomed and shown to our table (phoning in advance, we were able to reserve a high chair for our youngest diner). The Plum has a lively atmosphere and appealing views over the ocean and coastline.

After ordering a mixed platter we settled into our chairs and a glass of Hill Smith Sauvignon Blanc at $28 a bottle

The platter ($22) included chicken rice-paper rolls, banana prawn cocktail, cabanossi sausage, King Island brie, smoked salmon and kalamatta olives. If you were really hungry then you may need a couple of these platters, but our table was happy just to share the tastes around. When next I head back to the Plum it will be hard to pass up the Japanese style fresh oysters, served in a Japanese marinade, which is a little sour (so I was told), presented on a traditional woodblock and, naturally, eaten with chop sticks. The oysters begin at $12.

The Plum offers set course menus for both lunch and dinner for between $20 and $35. Our main dishes arrived without an extended delay … about the time our youngest member decided he was ready for an after-dinner kip. One of the notable things about the menu was that many of the dishes could be ordered in two sizes, helpful for those who enjoy sampling different choices and allowing for a little more flexibility.

Our main dishes were all very well prepared, displaying quality presentation as well as top quality produce. The Moroccan-style chicken breast ($27) was served with cous cous and spiced orange fritters and had a fantastic flavour. It was presented moist and very tender, and had a wonderful combination of flavours.

The herb-crusted lamb loin, which was served with a bay leaf sauce and spring vegetable pattie, had plenty of flavour and, while tender, it was a little over prepared for most on our table ($27). The sauce and vegetable pattie were kind partners, however.

The premium market fresh fillet ($29) was the dish voted as best on ground by the table. The ‘special’ chef preparation of the swordfish was flavoursome yet delicately prepared, and with no overpowering flavours in the dish.

The last of our main dishes was an intriguing combination of venison topside and de-boned quail ($24), which was braised with bitter sweet chocolate raspberry and a kumara potato puree. Apart from the venison being just a touch overdone, this combination was enough to put a rosy glow in my cheeks. The quail was soaked with enticing juices and the kumara puree sweet and a perfect partner.

One of the members of our table spent some time as a ski bunny in Austria, so she was delighted to speak with Erich about the traditional dessert ‘Topfenpalatschinken’ ($13). This dish consists of crepes filled with a combination of fresh quark, sultanas and brandy, which is baked in a Grand Marnier egg custard then topped off with a raspberry coulis... quite delicious!

The wine list is very well presented and reasonably priced. It represents a cross section of styles and it is not hard to find something to accompany your meal.

The Plum Restaurant

134 West Coast Drive

Sorrento 6020

Tel: 9246 9221


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