French champagne and fine dining put The Ritz-Carlton, Perth’s new Sunday brunch on the map, writes Lisa Perkovic.
Australians might have turned brunching into a national art form, but we’re not talking about smashed avocado toast and flat white. Instead, French champagne, a celebrity chef’s menu and a first-class setting are the key ingredients at The Ritz-Carlton, Perth’s newly launched three-hour event.
The Ritz-Carlton burst onto Perth’s skyline in late 2019 – a 28-floor tower in the city’s waterfront Elizabeth Quay that’s home to a glam new restaurant with the city’s top chef at the helm, a rooftop bar and high-end spa. The global brand’s return to Australia brought with it a serious dose of luxury.
Sunday brunch takes place in Songbird, one of the hotel’s two bars and the aforementioned rooftop bar. While dubbed ‘rooftop’, it actually sits in the middle of the building, on a cut out, inside-outside floor plan that’s been adopted by many luxury urban hotels to add that resort-esque atmosphere.
On arrival, Songbird is a study in modern elegant design, with subtle nods to Art Deco – touches of gold, marble tabletops and low line dove grey padded seating. The bar is well stocked with international drops, housemade syrups and some seriously bespoke glassware. Walk outside, downstairs to the DJ, firepit and water views, and it’s a little more Miami. Tables near the pool even more so. It’s one of Perth’s glorious sunny Sundays and the outdoor options are calling our names. Complimentary sunscreen is a well-used amenity by all our fellow diners.
When it comes to five-star hotel brunches, most international travellers would put Dubai’s decadent Friday brunches at the top of their list. Champagne towers, chocolate fountains, live performers – bigger is better. But at Songbird, the Ritz-Carlton’s open-air bar, it’s definitely more about relaxing into a refined, elegant experience than anything too over the top. The menu is served canape style for the first 90 minutes, with six to seven different dishes, before live seafood and barbecue stations are opened for you to request more of your favourite dish. There are three different beverage packages – $145 per person Mocktails, Sparkling (which includes Cape Mentelle wines), $195 per person adds Chandon Brut and Signature Belvedere Cocktails, topping out at the Veuve Clicquot package for $245 per person, covering all of the above, together with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Rose. The French champagne certainly makes this experience worthy of special occasions and seems to be the popular choice around the room.
The hotel’s executive chef Jed Gerrard is well known Australia wide for his work at the well lauded Wildflower Restaurant at COMO The Treasury, just up the road from The Ritz-Carlton. Here, he has taken on the new challenge of the hotel’s Hearth restaurant, with a commitment to locally sourced produce and a flame hearth.
Songbird’s usual menu has a lower price point than Hearth, but benefits from Gerrard’s equally meticulous focus on seasonal produce and bold flavours. The brunch draws from both menus, with the hotel’s already iconic wagyu beef sandwich a real standout. Delicate Shark Bay scallops with yuzu kosho and smoked salmon atop housemade crumpets make local seafood stars of the show, while moreish Mottainai lamb cutlets, dotted with sheep’s curd, cumin and mint, are picked up by the bone and devoured in a few bites. Add in pork belly bao buns and potato pikelets with leg ham and fried quail egg, and it’s clear these are serious canapes. Sweet tooths will look forward to a dessert tray of mini brownies, pistachio sponge petit fours and a decadent chocolate ganache tart.
Brunches and bubbles go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise the waitstaff go straight for the Veuve Clicquot. They are attentive, ensuring no one’s drink is empty for long, or goes warm in the midday sun. As the sun gets higher, the bartenders step up to the plate with well balanced, refreshing cocktails that have serious ‘wow’ factor. The Signature Songbird is a delicate balance of elderflower, lychee, cranberry and mint, served in its own Songbird flute – hand-blown glass complete with elegant swan neck and wings. The Polish Mule gets a serious upgrade with a chunk of hand-carved ‘gold ice’ flecked with 24-carat gold. The ice comes from a local company and is an appropriate ode to the mining industry. Gold or not, along with the zing of ginger, it’s a perfect cool hit on a hot day.
The ‘wow’ factor
Usually, hotels use overabundance to ‘wow’ the crowd at brunch. Here, there’s not a buffet in sight and nor would you want there to be. The quality of the produce, the focus on high-end cuts and top-notch ingredients, along with attentive staff and excellent drinks, make this a serious contender for showstopping dining in Australia.
In 2020, Perth and Western Australia currently enjoy a lot of liberties when it comes to gathering in groups and dining. It did still feel a little odd to use my hands to pick up my canapes – gloved waiters or tongs for the table might have been a nice touch.
For relaxed, refined and elegant entertaining, put The Ritz-Carlton, Perth’s Songbird brunch on your list.
Time and date
Sundays from 11am to 2pm, bookings essential.
- $145 per person for Mocktail package.
- $195 per person for Sparkling package, including select Cape Mentelle Wines, Chandon Brut and Signature Belvedere Cocktails.
- $245 per person for Veuve Clicquot Package, including select Cape Mentelle Wines, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, Veuve Clicquot Rose and signature Belvedere Cocktails.