Perhaps I’ve been a bit spoiled lately. The run of cool, unique, interesting bars and restaurants opening up around town over the past year or so has been nothing short of a food/entertainment blogger’s wet dream. So when I heard about The Stables, a new bar opening up in the CBD, a few weeks ago my mind ran wild with the possibilities. Would it have an equestrian theme? Perhaps it would be decked out like a stately manor house to which one would retire to at the end of a hard day spent on horseback chasing a fox across the picturesque English countryside, all chesterfields and oak and hunting paraphernalia on the walls. Given its historic use as one of Perth’s original horse stables I was definitely hoping for some horsey connection. In order to satisfy my curiosity I went in to town to check it out last Friday night.
Sadly I have to report that all of my previous imaginings evaporated quickly after entering the place. Although their website states that they’re “blending the authentic with the modern” (whatever the hell that means) it soon became apparent that there was one guiding factor behind its design and construction; the numerous office towers nearby. With a large outdoor area, balcony and upstairs dining section it can pack in a huge amount of suited individuals looking for a post-work beverage. They have the footy on several screens downstairs and the music is directly from a greatest hits and top 40 playlist on the iPod out back. That being said, the fit out is nice enough and they have a decent drink selection and menu. But therein lies the problem for me, it’s nice enough and nothing more. Whoever’s behind the venture clearly knows what they’re doing in terms of opening a big place that’s going to make them a lot of money, but they’ve not put any extra effort in to make it anything special or unique. If you’re in town and looking for a fairly pricey drink and perhaps something the nibble then by all means check it out, just don’t expect too much more.
While we were in there we decided, in the name of thoroughness, to try a couple of things off the “all day grazing” menu and I have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed. The chicken wings ($13) came coated in a sticky BBQ sauce and were tasty but nothing to write home about. The Pulled Beef Shin Sliders ($15) were another issue entirely considering you only got two per serve (that’s $7.50 per miniature hamburger for those of you out there who are a little mathematically challenged). The beef was a bit on the dry side, and unless the mound of fried potato slivers in the middle were incredibly rare and worth their weight in gold, it would have to rank as one of the most outrageously overpriced bar snacks I’ve ever had. If I’m going to run with the equestrian analogy (and you know that I am) The Stables is definitely a workhorse and not a finely groomed thoroughbred.