Matilda Bay Restaurant and Bar is located on Hackett Drive in Crawley, right opposite the University of Western Australia (UWA). Having studied in UWA for a number of years, I vaguely know where the restaurant is located but found it a bit tricky getting into the car park. It shares its driveway with what I presume is a yacht club and we somehow ended up there instead of the restaurant. We had to make a couple of turns before finalling arriving at the correct car park. A word of advice is to check and FOLLOW the signs properly! Another confusion we had was with the entrance to the restaurant! There was no particular sign except for a notice of a wedding luncheon so we had to look around a bit before taking the first tentative step towards one entrance. Luckily it was the correct one! Phew! The thought of walking into someone’s wedding reception randomly does not sit well with me.
The building itself doesn’t look like much from the outside but the inside reveals a very modern and chic restaurant setting with thick black cloths draped over the tables and matching black chairs. The ambience would be lovely at night with such setting.
I love the brightness around the place – the sunlight pouring in through the glass window which encased the restaurant. The restaurant sits along the bank of Perth’s iconic Swan River, with views of the city skyline and docked boats floating gently up and down the banks. Magnificient views!
We were there to try their “Cray on the Bay” special, which consisted of a Whole Crayfish cooked on the Webber BBQ for only $29. This offer started on 22 January and lasts till 7 March and is available during lunch from Friday to Sunday. Looking around, nearly everyone in the restaurant had ordered the crayfish and the barbie was cooking non-stop from the time we arrived till we left and still going! It is so popular! The restaurant was full by the time we left – it’s a really great way to attract business! A review of this crayfish special can also be found from the Bowl of Honey food blog.
Having read the Bowl of Honey post, I contemplated ordering the Seafood Chowder he had as an entree but they must have changed the menu as the items that he ordered did not seem to appear on the menu I was looking at. However, something else caught my eye…
Cheese Souffle!!..double baked served with smoked eggplant, hazelnut pesto and dressed rocket – it sounded so interesting..how can I not order it?
(What is a souffle? Definition courtesy of Wikipedia …A soufflé is a light, fluffy, baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up” — an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.)
The dish came and I was quite impressed. Presented well, the outside of the souffle was baked to a slight crunch with the lightness maintained on the inside. Making a good souffle is not an easy task, as not only a fluffy texture is a must, it also has to maintain the ‘puffed up’ state coming out from the oven till it reaches the dining table. This is very well done! Yum!
While waiting for the souffle, we were offered bread on the table with dips consisting of olive oil, butter and dhukka. Delicious!
For mains, we had:
- 3 x of the ‘Cray on the Bay’ Whole Crayfish ($29 each)
- Half Duck ($42)
- Sides of Button Mushrooms, Steamed Vegetables of Broccoli and Cauliflower and Zucchini Patties with Yoghurt sauce ($21 total)
Commendation to the waitstaff for upselling their menu to accompany the crayfish. It was suggested that the crayfish itself will not be too filling and it was their recommendation for us to order an entree or sides to go with it. The sides cost $8 each but if you order 3 sides, you only pay $21. Another technique used to increase the profit margin. Most of the tables I noticed ordered the 3 sides.
A look at the Chef grilling the crays outside - it was a swelting 35degC day and she was standing in front of the barbie the whole time. Thanks Chef for all your hard work. She even gave me a smile when she caught me taking a photo of her preparing the crays. Such great attitude :)
With the Whole Crayfish, there is a choice of lime, garlic, ground black pepper, brandy or chilli butters sauce or the lot. All three dishes we had were with the lot. The meat was fresh and received good comments albeit being a bit small in size and not very filling (echoing the word of the waitstaff). The sides nudged the fullness factor up slightly. My favourite was the Button Mushrooms, they were huge and seasoned with oil and salt – simple but tasty.
I ordered the Half Duck for mains and that was very filling. The skin was crispy and crusted with salt and pepper and the dish came with buttered sugar snap peas and sauteed Kipfler potatoes. The duck meat was tender and there was enough sauce to take the dryness away. I love the smaller size of potatoes served with the meal, it’s so much more easier to eat than the usual big chunky ones you get from other restaurants. Peas were crunchy too. Awesome dish!
Service that day was more on the average side – the waitstaff was very informative with the menu and attentive to our needs (she even came to roll up my napkin which I chucked on the table when I went nearer to the grill to take photos), however, there was a lack of warmth and friendliness which I think is very important in a fine dining restaurant. Maybe they were just busy that day?
For those who haven’t tried the ‘Cray on the Bay’ special, it’s a must try – there’s only 3 days left of it, hopefully there is still booking space. Besides that, great restaurant with panoramic views, great selection of seafood and grills and entrees. I also spy some funky looking cocktails coming from the bar too – did not manage to try any this time round but there’s always the next.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rating by: N.L.
Matilda Bay Restaurant & Bar
Telephone: 08 9423 5000
Address: 3 Hackett Drive, Crawley