With a taste of Western Australia on your plate, all within a stunning central city setting, Hearth at The Ritz-Carlton Perth is worth every bite, says Nardia Plumridge.
Dining style: sleek dining by the Swan River
Perfect for: a romantic dinner date for food aficionados
Catering for: couples to small groups in cosy banquettes
Dish to dine for: Charred Abrolhos Islands octopus laced with saffron and capers in a brown butter sauce
Price range: Entrees $30 – $34, mains $45 – $65 and deserts $21 – $25
Dress code: Smart with a touch of city chic
Wow Factor: those views overlooking Elizabeth Quay
It came at an inopportune moment for The Ritz-Carlton Perth to launch in November 2019, as their bookings were halted by the pandemic. Fast forward to 2022, and this sleek hotel on the banks of the Swan River is positively bustling. Offering standout service, a fine dining menu and a setting ripe for a romantic tête-à-tête.
The 100th Ritz-Carlton property to open globally, The Ritz-Carlton Perth is the first of the luxury brand’s three planned hotels Down Under. It boasts 205 guest rooms, including 19 suites, in its gleaming 28-story high tower.
In the lobby, 13-meter-high ceilings and a custom chandelier – inspired by the cascading waters of the Karijini gorges in Western Australia’s Pilbara region – offers a peek to the hotel’s nod to its Western Australia location.
And it’s not only seen in its interiors where textiles and tones are inspired by the rugged landscape. This affection spills into their menu at Hearth, which focuses on local WA produce and flavours flamed over an open fire.
But first, a drink
Hearth Lounge is nestled in a cosy side room by the main restaurant, made for a pre-dinner cocktail. Mid-century furniture is covered in warm textiles with a feature fireplace taking up the southern wall; it oozes 5-star luxury. As a classic cocktail girl, I asked for a Campari Spritz, my go-to drink. The mixologist created a fresh take on this classic using an in-house bitter topped with bubbles that more than elevated my usual aperitif.
The Hearth concept
Executive Chef Alberto Cuzzit has a Michelin-starred heritage in Italy, the UK and Japan. Now he has brought his creative flair to Perth on the plates at Hearth. Cuzzit uses seasonal produce from Western Australia’s best farmers, fishermen and artisan producers from the Kimberley to the Great Southern region. There is a focus on fire in the cooking – prepared over a traditional open grill – with plates arriving looking like modern art pieces. “Bold new interpretations of the classic Australian barbecue”, they proclaim. I am eager to find out.
We immersed our five senses in the Taste of Hearth menu, which takes you on a culinary journey around WA through its quality produce laced with local bush tucker herbs over 5-courses. All paired with a wine list of local WA drops.
To start, Shark Bay scallops with roe emulsion, charred cucumber and an elderflower dressing had a light freshness that acted as a palate teaser. Paired with Frankland Estate Riesling from the emerging Southwest wine region near Porongurup. Then Abrolhos Islands octopus laced with saffron and tart capers dressed in a brown butter sauce with a garnish of potato bark. The perfect balance of tender shellfish charred over the open fire in a light sauce that isn’t overpowering. It came accompanied by a glass of Cape Mentelle Chardonnay from Margaret River.
My dining companion and I mixed the meat with a pescatarian menu for mains. Carnivores will revel in the refined meat dishes, perfectly bite-sized yet packs a punch. The intense game flavour of dry-aged Wagin confit duck was sweetened with rosella jam, then enhanced with a drop of L.A.S. Vino ‘Grenache’ from the Ferguson Valley near Bunbury. Followed by Margaret River wagyu beef with mushroom ketchup, celeriac, chestnut, and beef syrup that was an elegant take on a Sunday roast.
Beyond the paddock
Line caught WA fish with parsnip and radish was presented in an elegant ceramic bowl that came with a touch of theatre – a roasted bone broth was poured into the plate directly at the table. A Nebbiolo from Amato Vino, small batch vintners from Margaret River, was an unexpected accompaniment. And a reminder red wine does work with delicately flavoured fish.
If that wasn’t extravagant enough, a generous serving of lettuce, fennel and pecorino salad as a side and the most delectable spent grain bread baked with a touch of honey, served with a whipped smoked butter, was worthy of a second batch. Plus, smoked Mandogalup heirloom beetroot with lemon myrtle, black rice and salted mascarpone that came presented like a tartare. And again, as pretty as a picture (along with a glass of McHenry Hohnen, Zinfandel, from Margaret River).
Sweet tooths will delight in the indulgent deserts – Camembert cheese ice cream with toasted sandalwood nuts and grilled strawberries. A lighter finish to a very sumptuous meal.
The (dining) room with a view
Perched on the water’s edge of Elizabeth Quay, Hearth interiors are a soothing blend of cooling blue hues and natural tones. Cosy banquets and sleek tables for two are furnished by creation from local artisans. The colour palette melts in the landscape, surrounded by blue skies and navy waters of the Swan River. It’s a relaxed elegance that suits Western Australia’s style – not stuffy yet refined.
9.5 – Paying homage to the local cuisine whilst delivering quality service, style and taste. Hearth at The Ritz-Carlton Perth provides exactly what you’d hope for in such a fine establishment. It is a taste of Western Australia on your plate, all within a stunning central city setting. And worth every single bite.