A pleasant surprise is a wonderful thing and something that I don’t often encounter when trying new eateries around town. Being the nosy food blogger type that I am I’ve normally thoroughly researched a place before I walk through the door, found out what style of cuisine they serve, what they do well, what other bloggers thing of the place etc. Yet despite all this for some reason The Old Crow had somehow managed to fly under my radar. Opening relatively recently on Newcastle St in Northbridge, I’d heard faint rumblings that they were good and did Cajun/southern style food, but apart from that I knew pretty much nothing. Seeking some new material for a blog post I suggested that we check it out for a family lunch a couple of weeks ago. I’m very glad I did.
I have to admit that I did find it a little underwhelming to begin with, at least in terms of the décor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite nice, but I didn’t see anything that overtly hinted at the southern/Cajun influence that I’d heard about. There weren’t any tattered confederate flags adorning any walls, no rocking chairs on wide verandas on which to sit and sip mint juleps nor any earthenware flagons of moonshine. Our table in the front courtyard area also proved to be quite noisy due to the passing traffic on Newcastle St and nearby construction work going on. None of this, however, mattered at all as soon as the food hit the table.
As is normally the case these days we opted for a whole bunch of dishes to share between the five of us: duck parfait with rhubarb compote and toast ($16), char grilled asparagus, corn bread, beetroot remoulade ($18), slow roasted brisket sandwich, thousand island, pickled cabbage, fries ($17), jerk pork belly strips, peach coleslaw ($22), crispy Brussels sprouts, chilli jam, pine nuts, buttermilk ($15.50) and fried potatoes, ranch, Cajun salt ($9).
Being as I had no expectations I was very impressed by both the quality and serving sizes of all the dishes. Given the exorbitant cost of pretty much everything in Perth these days you don’t often get a whole lot for the hard earned cash you hand over, but at the Old Crow they’re certainly not afraid of piling things on the plate. It’s all super tasty stuff too. The pork belly was very well flavoured, decadently fatty (in the best possible way) and offset by the great, piquant colseslaw while the parfait was exactly as smooth and luxurious as it should have been. Far from being mere sides, the asparagus a Brussels sprouts stood up fantastically well as their own dishes, with the tangy, curry-esque flavours of the chilli jam on the crispy sprouts being a particular highlight. The fried potatoes are also worthy of a special mention. Boiled and then broken apart haphazardly, fried and then coated in spicy Cajun salt and ranch dressing there were pleasantly different to your standard chips and wedges (and also insanely moreish). The only slight low point was the brisket sandwich. I’ve been a fan of this much underrated cut of meat (in Australia anyway) for a while now, and when done properly it is gloriously rich, decadent, fatty and chock full of slow cooked meaty goodness. Unfortunately theirs was a little on the dry side and also a little thinly spread for my liking too.
All up our bill came to $30 a head (including a drink each), which when you take into account the amount and quality of the food is a pretty damned good deal. Now while I’d definitely say that the food was more southern influenced than authentic, Yankee-hatin’ southern fare it was nonetheless interesting, unique and very well excecuted. My only slight gripe is that when we examined our bill we discovered that we’d been charged and additional 50c a piece for the lime in our GnT’s. Now I know limes ain’t cheap these days, but when you’re already paying $9 a pop for the drink it does seem more than a little cheeky to charge extra for a wee sliver of fruit. That aside I would still highly recommend getting yourself down to the Old Crow sometime soon for some of their excellent grub. Just maybe order yourself a drink that comes serves sans citrus fruit…