03/10/2006 - 22:00

Mt Lawley eatery adds Spanish flavour

03/10/2006 - 22:00

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When Damien and Dion Trinder swung open the doors to their new restaurant, The Pony Club, just over a week ago, they did more than introduce Perth to its newest restaurant - they further entrenched Mt Lawley as the state’s hottest food venue.

Mt Lawley eatery adds Spanish flavour

When Damien and Dion Trinder swung open the doors to their new restaurant, The Pony Club, just over a week ago, they did more than introduce Perth to its newest restaurant - they further entrenched Mt Lawley as the state’s hottest food venue.

Just when you thought the mixture of eclectic and amazing restaurants Beaufort Street had to offer couldn’t get more dynamic, this stylishly-appointed tapas eatery has done just that.

Messrs Trinder took over the Infusion Noodle Bar close to the intersection of Walcott Street and began major renovations in July.

The result is a complete re-modelling of the space and the achievement of a theme the owners describe as decadent but comfortable.

"We wanted to create a space that was fun but also relaxed," Dion Trinder told Gusto.

"We relocated the original kitchen, cleared out the fireplaces and reset the bar back to free up the space."

"We wanted it to feel like an extension of our living room," he said.

The restaurant feels like old-world meets new - chesterfield couches sit alongside motifs and statuettes of horses. But the glass-work of the modern style bar and communal bench seats make it like an egalitarian 21st century gentlemen’s club.

And despite the quirky name and interesting fit-out, it will most likely be the food that will create the buzz around The Pony Club.

The menu, created by ex-Freehills corporate chef Michelle Forbes, is one that seeks to find a balance between tapas and traditional entrée/mains.

At the outset, tapas is Spain’s gift to the world of food. Not belonging to the hors d'oeuvres of Britain, amuses-gueules of France, or even antipasti of Italy; tapa, meaning lid, has a tradition unto itself.

That is because, as the custom goes, tapas bars place little sauces over diner’s drinks to serve the miniature menu items while punters sit at the bar.

And while The Pony Club serves their wares a little differently than this tradition, the idea remains the same, according to Ms Forbes.

"People have always enjoyed this style of eating that is like grazing. We didn’t want to go down a traditional Spanish style of tapas though, we wanted to create a modern Australian take on it."

Of the ten tapas that Ms Forbes created to launch The Pony Club, there is a definite feel for Spanish roots, but a deliberate emphasis on updating the concept.

The grilled green pea shots with smoked paprika crème fraiche and house-cured salmon, and the chorizo hot pot in chick pea romesco, combine some of the hallmarks of Spanish cuisine; but the goat’s cheese croquettes with beetroot, and the Moroccan chicken cakes with ginger lime vinaigrette work in wider influences.

As well as these options, a range of main meals back up Ms Forbes’ tapas choices, giving the rest of the menu a more traditional feel.

And while all concerned admit that if the restaurant’s rhythm eventually took them down a solely tapas route, that would be fine - the menu will only change to expand the tapas range.

But the food is not the only thing given an old-world turn. Assistant manager Madonna Prior was charged with creating a wine list that not only had to straddle the tradition of tapas, but also stand up to a more standard restaurant fare.

And her result is to be applauded. Choosing well-established names from France, Italy and Germany, the list offers some of the best and best-priced old-world wines in town.

Wines from Vouvray and a smattering of tempranillo sit quite comfortable next to some well known Aussie wines, most neatly under the $45 price mark.

So if your next dinner date can't be sipping albarino and nibbling on sardines at San Sebastian, The Pony Club is the way to go.

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