Thanks to COVID, city staycations are here to stay for the foreseeable future, and in-house dining is enjoying a timely revival. The newest kid on the accommodation block is DoubleTree by Hilton’s Perth Waterfront hotel. Neighboring the Bell Tower, the hotel boasts city skyline and Swan River views, as well as top-end amenities including an infinity pool and roof top bar.
Opened just months ago, it isn’t easy to secure a booking at the Doubletree’s restaurant, Reel Kitchen. Google and automated phone answering services send me in the wrong direction. I get there eventually. Currently it’s only open Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner service.
Found on the second floor, the chic, light filled restaurant is easy on the eye. An energetic waiter warmly greets and seats us by the window. Executive Chef Mohammed Musaddiq’s modern Australian menu has a focus on West Aussie seafood, and it momentarily distracts us from gazing out of the window. Reel Kitchen’s uninterrupted river view, to the lights of South Perth, lend well to a romantic date night.
A well assembled wine list offers popular and premium WA labels. Knowing that seafood dishes are on my wish list, I choose a glass of Pitchfork Moscato Rosé, from respected winemaker Michael Kerrigan of Hayshed Hill. The light wine complements ocean flavours with its sweet, fresh aroma and a light fizz on the palette. The bar is well stocked with beer, gin and whisky from around the world.
I’m a tad reluctant to choose the octopus ($20.50) for entrée. Occy done right is sublime, however it’s often overcooked and chewy. Props to the kitchen – this pretty tentacle, served with a roast capsicum purée and a well-dressed leafy salad, is grilled to tender perfection.
Shark Bay salt and pepper prawns ($20.50) are equally lip-smacking. Crunchy crumb leads to tasty prawn meat. A cauliflower purée and delicate pickled papaya salad complement the plump prawns.
Onto mains and another stand-out seafood dish. The firm, moist flesh of grilled Kimberley barramundi ($36), is topped with a delicious macadamia and herb crust. The fresh flavours are rounded out with sweet golden beets and just-cooked asparagus, drizzled in a little lemon oil.
Mr C splashes out on the sirloin ($48) with parmesan and truffle dressing. Aged for 250 days, the grain fed 220gram Angus sirloin is tasty, but doesn’t knock our socks off. Served with harissa lemon potatoes, beans, grilled tomato and too-chewy chorizo, the steak is missing a real deep, meaty flavour. It is not a dish worthy of the price tag.
For dessert, a light pavlova ($15.50) with a medley of berries, white chocolate and passionfruit hits the spot.
A crowd-pleasing chocolate fondant ($15.50), oozes with chocolate sauce and is paired with chocolate ice cream and strawberries. You won’t want to share either.
Before our last sweet morsel is devoured, the fire alarm goes off, triggered by a smoke machine at a neighboring function. Though it’s hard to speak above the loud siren booming “emergency, emergency”, the professional staff keep their cool, calmly explaining that there’s no need to panic. The Fire Brigade rock up as we depart, so we skip the rooftop bar. 18 Knots, on the 18th floor of the DoubleTree is an excellent spot for a pre- or post-dinner tipple, with 360° city views.
Despite DoubleTree Perth Waterfront being part of an international chain of hotels, with nearly one million rooms, the service feels personal and engaging – a great asset to any hospitality business. Far from being a bog-standard hotel food outlet, here dishes are executed with flair and technique. Be sure to request a table by the window at Reel Kitchen – it’s alarmingly good.
And I even got a sneak peek in a room! They’re pretty flash and enjoy stunning city and river views.
I’d love to soak in that bath!
Reel Kitchen – At a Glance
■ Reel Kitchen
DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Waterfront
1 Barrack Square, Perth
Phone 6372 1000
■ Opening times
Friday & Saturday, 5.30pm to 9.30pm
value for money 3
■ style – Modern Australian
■ wine – a reel-y good selection of
mainly West Australian wines with
accessible and premium drops.
■ Chef – Mohammed Musaddiq
■ Owners – Hilton
■ feel – modern, fresh
and what a view!
■ wheelchair access – yes
■ cost –
Entrée – $19.50 to $27
Mains – $21.50 to $48
Dessert – $15.50 to $36.50
■ all in all – a concise, seafood-heavy
menu ticks all the boxes. Service is
warm, energetic and knowledgeable.
Better than your average hotel eatery.