I was pretty excited about Lot Twenty opening a couple of weeks ago. With new venues popping up all over Perth like babies nine months after valentines day, Lot Twenty looked like it was going to be a good one. In the middle of the Cultural Centre, close to the likes of PICA Bar and Mechanics Institute, and brought to life by 4 industry professionals (Gary Beadle, Ben Powell, Haigh Nicholson and Andrew McIntyre), it has all the ingredients for a great venue.
We arrived there at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, and it was pretty busy already. The outdoor seating area is lovely – there is a large space with low tables on benches on the left as you walk in, a few more seats dotted around the place closer to the bar, and lots of oversized cushions available to spread about where you will. Although you are in the middle of the Cultural Centre, you feel quite shielded from the busy-ness outside thanks to the large panels surrounding the area. It was really nice sitting out there on a sunny afternoon, a very chilled vibe and I can see it being very popular through summer.
We had a few drinks downstairs before our dinner reservation at 6. They have some nice beers on tap including Feral Brewery’s Sly Fox, a Colonial small ale, a Last Drop Brewery pilsner that I really enjoyed, and Stowford Press cider. The bar inside is a bit awkward to line up at, it is very small and funnels people down towards the tables, and it makes it hard for people to get past. At about 4.30 they opened an outdoor bar that was just for beer, which helped a lot, although still a long wait at the bar if you wanted anything other than that.
Aside from that wait, time passed quickly out in the sunshine, and before long it was time for dinner. The restaurant is located upstairs, although there is some seating downstairs, including a lovely big table for about 8 people. Unfortunately I think it would be pretty busy down there on a weekend, which might make chatting over dinner difficult. Upstairs was really squishy though, It felt like they had forced too many tables and the kitchen into a space that was just too small.
There is about 4 high tables that could seat 3-4, one bigger table at the end, and then space for about 6 people sitting along the bar facing into the open kitchen. We were initially seated at the table second to the end, which didn’t have the main drawcard of a view out on to the courtyard, and also had one chair uncomfortably backing onto an open window pane, and the other one sticking out into the walkway awkwardly. However our lovely waiter moved us on request when the couple at the table by the window left, which I was really grateful for and I think made a big difference to our comfort for the night.
The menu is designed for sharing, and on first glance seemed pretty exciting. The usual popular menu items like pork belly, lamb rack and some more unusual options like son in law eggs with chilli caramel dressing and roast pumpkin with maple syrup, goats cheese and curious cheese invited you to ‘create your own bespoke dining experience’. We had decided we were going to order the pumpkin (as mentioned, $15) and the pork belly with chestnut crumbs, cardamon and apple gel ($20) as starters, and the lamb rack with herb crust, beetroot glaze and salsa verde ($26) and wagyu beef rump with chimmichurri butter ($30) as mains. As we started ordering though, our waiter stopped us and advised that it was probably too much food, and that we should order three of the dishes and then see if we can squeeze in dessert. Never one to argue with those who know better, we cut out the beef and just went with the first three. I ordered a Pinot Noir, and Ollie a ginger beer.
The ginger beer was really nice, had a nice bite to it and definitely one I will be trying to chase down to enjoy at home.
Our meals didn’t take too long to come out. The pumpkin was first, and it was a little disappointing. I initially thought that there was a lot of goats cheese on there, but half of it was a white powder which turned out to be dehydrated maple syrup powder. I didn’t find it that sweet though, and there wasn’t a whole lot of goats cheese in the end. The pepitas and almonds gave it a nice crunch though, and the pumpkin was very flavoursome.
The lamb quite tough and chewy, and I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much, particularly as only one piece had the herb crust on it. The salsa verde had a lot of flavour, and a nice kick to it, but didn’t make up for the rest of the dish. Apologies that the photo is not so great, but the lighting wasn’t ideal for it, and we were impatient to eat!
The pork belly wasn’t outstanding either, which is a real pity when so many places in Perth are doing it so well. The crackle was really chewy, and took quite a while to get through. The pork itself was nice and moist, but the apple puree reminded me of baby food – I think they could have done much better with some crisp green apple to contrast the fat in the pork belly.
After this, we weren’t really as full as our waiter may have thought we might be. You can make up your own mind based on the pictures above, but none of the dishes above were particularly large. We decided to order something from the dessert menu, but it was difficult to get the attention of the waiter again. To be fair, he seemed to be running the service for the entire upstairs area, and was friendly and enthusiastic whenever he came to the table, but they probably could have done with another staff member on to help things run a bit smoother.
So we eventually ordered dessert and another drink, and ended up waiting about 40 minutes for dessert. I thought this was a bit unreasonable given what was on the plate.
Dessert was made up of vanilla icecream, lemon tarts, strawberry pannacotta, lemon madeleines and a salted caramel macaron. Highlights were the lemon tarts, which were deliciously tart with a crunchy base, and the HUGE salted caramel macaron which was rich and gooey on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The strawberry pannacotta tasted a lot like yoghurt, and the madeleines weren’t too exciting, nor was the icecream.
Overall thoughts – a great bar area downstairs with some nice beers on tap, as long as you don’t mind waiting a little while. The food was a bit bland, and pricey for the quality and size of the meals. The dining area was squishy, and if you weren’t at a table overlooking the courtyard didn’t have all that much going for it. A great place for after work drinks maybe, but I probably wouldn’t go back for a meal.