Monday, 5 August 2013

Loose Box, Mundaring WA

When we heard that chef Alain Fabregues of Loose Box was closing shop after 34 years of service, my friends and I were eager to try (or for some re-try) Loose box before it's gone forever. I manage to squeeze in a booking for a lunch degustation the second last weekend before it was to be closed forever.

For me personally it was the first time I trying Loose Box and in fact the first time I trying degustation in Perth. We arrived for lunch around 12 noon to a quaint little cottage overlooking a a very large garden & "vegie patch". On the other side of the garden were several chalets for guest to stay in should they choose to after a 3.5 hour dinner. It was already quite busy with mostly middle aged patrons when we arrived. Walking into the restaurant, you are welcomed into a small living area with some old fashion but tasteful couches and an ornate fire place.
We were then shown to our table, which turned out to be almost like a little private room. It was a square table which made it easy for five people to share food and talk. The table was set out with delicate looking tableware, bread for each patron and olive oil for the table.

The degustation menu was an eight course menu. It's quite different to your typical degustation, you actually get a choice for each course, sometimes up to four choices per course! It was great that you could mix and the items from the non-vegetarian and vegetarian menus, as well as the "specials of the day". Our waitress was very good with the menu and the explanation for the items. 
First Course:
I went with the Coconut and prawn broth which was served with freshly shelled prawns, kaffir lime leaf and some spices. It was a frothy, light and delicious way to start the afternoon.
Second course:
My Second course I selected to Tian de Fruits de Mer, which consisted of smoked trout, prawn and salmon gravlax tian folded in a dill mayonnaise, served with a lemon and fennel salad and saffron aspic. It was basically like a fresh seafood salad.
 Below was one of the alternatives for the second course.
Third Course:
The Le Saumon & St Jacques Aux Aromates “Jean Delaveyne”, was fresh Atlantic salmon and local scallop poached in champagne served with a light butter sauce infused with fresh herbs. This was one of my favourite dishes of the day, the salmon and scallop was nicely cooked and the butter sauce was a great combination.
Below was one of the alternatives, yabby tail.
Fourth Course:
I went with the pork hock for my fourth course which was actually the alternative. It was the first time having pork trotter and it was pretty good.
Escargot a la Bordelaise en Pate de Brick sur Ratatouille Proven├žal consisted of a snail fritter served golden on a warm ratatouille stack with a tomato and chilli sauce. I opted for the Pork trotter and tried my friend's snail fritter instead. I have never tried snail before and it had quite a chewy mussel like texture, but with a more earthy taste, probably an acquired taste.
Fifth Course:
For my fifth course I chose the Joue de Boeuf en Daube, which is Loose Box specialty of beef cheeks slow cooked in Shiraz, garnished with carrot and baby potato, served in a rich red wine sauce. The beef cheeks were tender and fell apart as you cut through it. The red wine sauce went well with it as you would expect.
The alternatives were also very appetizing. One of my friends had the herb-crusted rack of lamb while another had the confit duck leg. Both I was told to be very good.
They also gave us two generous servings of salad for the table.

Sixth Course:
Here is were our desserts start as we were on the eating home stretch. The palette cleanser of Fruit Sorbet was served up. Seasonal fruit churned as a sorbet with a thin slice of apple. There were no options in the sixth course. Can't go wrong with sorbet, it was delicious and light.
Seventh Course:
I chose the Le Cygne Majestueux en Voyage sur son Lac de Framboises, which was the majestic swan, made from homemade vanilla bean ice cream and fine tuille biscuit served on a “lake” of raspberry coulis. It was a very pretty dish.The vanilla ice cream was smooth and tasty and went well with the raspberry coulis.
One of the dessert options was Les Crepes Chocolatines, which was homemade crepes filled with frangipani cream, rolled and baked, served on a chocolate sauce with a side of vanilla ice cream and a swan shaped meringue. I had a bite of the crepe and wow it was delicious, can't go wrong with chocolate.
Another dessert option was the cheese and fruit platter. I'm not normally a huge fan of cheese platters but I was told it was good.
The last dessert option was the Honeycomb bavarois. It was the special of the day looked amazing and intricate. They even created a tiny bee to place on the dessert. Again I had a bite to eat and it was really good!
As Loose Box was a semi-belated birthday celebration, they brought out more ice cream for me! I had to wait for my friends to sing the obligatory birthday song, blow out the candle and make a wish before I could have more ice cream. Can't complain when there's more ice cream :)
Eighth Course:
Of course the final course of the day was Petit Fours which I had to take home as by 4pm I could not eat anymore. It still tasted great when I had it after dinner that night. The petit fours consisted of the Grand Marnier profiterole, Lemon macaron and Lemon meringue.

After 4 hours of chatting, eating and talking about the food, we had the pleasure of meeting the chef himself Alain Fabregues! He was a lovely French guy with lots of charisma. While the price tag was not cheap it was a great dining experience and great hearty french food. I really enjoyed my time at Loose Box and it would be the kind of place I would come back for a special occasion. Sadly it is closing but we shall be visiting Bistro Des Artistes, which is co-owned by Alain Fabregues in August. 

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