Almost six years to the day, I revisit Swanbourne’s ever-popular oceanfront restaurant, The Shorehouse. Closed over winter for renovations, Shorehouse 2.0 is fresh as a daisy and ready for a summer full of long, lazy lunches on its sunny deck.
Opened in 2015, the interior of the light and open Hamptons style dining spot has had a contemporary change. While the deck’s iconic yellow and white umbrellas and the dining room’s antique copper bath-cum-wine-chiller centrepiece remain, subtle changes enhance The Shorehouse without altering its essence. A grey colour scheme, along with branded plates and glasses with nautical illustrations by local artist Susan Respinger keep things current. A new third dining area, The Gallery Bar, is for a drink and bite to eat on a whim – no booking required.
The in sync wait staff, dressed in trendy linens and denim aprons, deliver an almost flawless service. As the dining room begins to fill, it’s harder to flag down a waiter, we can tell they’re under the pump.
The wine list is a 74-page extravaganza. The extensive list of mainly Australian and French drops includes other excellent drink choices – craft beers, ciders and bespoke cocktails.
I pick a solid Cab Sauv/Malbec/Merlot blend, with hints of red fruit, from relatively new Karridale winery Gant and Co.
Shorehouse Swanbourne – The Food
The sophisticated Shorehouse isn’t a place to enjoy a casual burger or pizza. The refurbished kitchen is led by Pali Singh – previously Head Chef at sister venue Island Market. His menu is seafood-heavy, as well as featuring grilled meats from the “Josper”, a Spanish BBQ oven. This cooks meat and veg at 400 degrees, keeping meat juicy, whilst adding touch of charcoal to the flavour profile.
We share plates from the “small house” menu. Golden salted cod, leek and potato croquettes ($18 / GF) are crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. The small spheres are served with a dollop of sour cream and chives.
A plate of fried buttermilk chicken ($25.50 / GF) is finger lickin’ good. Not only does soaking the chicken in buttermilk tenderise the milk, it also gives it a distinct creamy taste. Coated in a crisp chick pea flour, the juicy chicken is accompanied by a sharp pickled coleslaw, and lashings of ricotta salata (an Italian Whey cheese) and a creamy yoghurt sauce. I wish I ordered two plates.
The day’s market fish is Goldband Snapper ($40) fresh from Exmouth. The thick, flaky fillet is pan fried then plated with a cauliflower cream, asparagus, broad beans, and a preserved lemon gremolata. It’s a classic dish, though the overcooked asparagus lets it down.
I get stuck into a pile of whole Shark Bay tiger prawns ($36 / GF) heaped with charred fennel and baby courgette. Shelling each morsel enthusiastically – there’s no way to be lady-like. I lap up the perfectly balanced seafood sauce, a buttery prawn bisque with added tang from yuzu juice, with the Josper-cooked prawn meat.
Shorehouse does the superb side of duck fat potatoes ($13.50) justice. The spuds are as crisp as can be. Cooked three times – they are boiled, roasted, then just before serving finished in a hot pan of duck fat. I can’t get enough of the caramelised onion aioli.
Show Stopping Desserts
Shorehouse’s Pastry Chef Ella Saleeba, has been getting a lot of attention for her sweet creations. Her white chocolate, passionfruit and macadamia gelato bar ($18 / GF) is heaven on a plate. The delectable dessert consists of delicate layers of milk ice cream and passionfruit ice cream on a chewy vanilla and almond macaron base. Fresh passionfruit, white chocolate shells and toasted macadamias adorn the beautiful bar.
A vanilla cheesecake ($18) is a masterclass in how to keep things simple, complimented by a tart poached tamarillo, and tangy rhubarb ripple ice cream.
The Shorehouse is styled as “casual beachside dining” and whilst the vibe is chilled, the food is far from casual. A rare thing in Perth – a coastal dining spot which doesn’t solely trade off it’s ocean vista. One thing is for certain – dining at Shorehouse is a “shore” thing.
The Shorehouse – At a Glance
■ The Shorehouse
278 Marine Parade
Phone 08 9286 4050
■ Opening times
7am till late
value for money 3
■ style – Modern Australian
■ wine – Extensive list, with lots of
“iconic drops” for all budgets.
Chef – Pali Singh
■ Owner – Kailis Hospitality Group
feel – coastal chic
■ wheelchair access – yes
Small – $4.50 to $28
Big – $29 to $46
Dessert – $16 to $18
■ all in all – The Shorehouse Swanbourne is
a stunning seaside restaurant
with a menu to match. Excellent
drinks program. Friendly service is spot on.