Whenever I decide to eat out, I go for the standard sashimi / sushi / teppanyaki japanese dinner, fine dining modern aussie, and the stock standard steakhouse. This weekend, I decided that I wanted to try something a little different and so, made my reservations for Saturday night at Riki Blake's here in North Perth.
Riki Blake's is a little cafe restaurant that has in recent months received rave reviews, and was the winner of an STM eating out award. Given these reviews, coupled with the fact that they primarily serve French African cuisine(think moroccan and cajun spices, creole food, mediterranean blends) , and that friday and saturday nights is live jazz night, I hit Riki Blake's with high expectations...
.. and unfortunately, I think those expectations were a bit too high.
The exterior of the place leaves a bit of wanting for the patrons that visit.. especially on a Saturday night. Located in a nook of North Perth away from the trendy cafe streets, Riki Blake's is situated in the middle of what looks very much like a residential street, and so my first impressions were.. well.. not impressed.
The interior is a lot nicer though. The place has a cozy ambience about it, with little candlelight dinner for twos, and a stylish decor throughout. Unfortunately, the seat that I was given was such that I faced the street and so wasn't able to experience the cozy ambience for what it was worth.
The jazz itself was a nice touch. However, given that Friday and Saturday nights are famous for the "live jazz music", and the fact that there is a surcharge for the jazz, I assumed that it would become a real focus of the night. A little to my dismay, the jazz music was more of a background touch than a focal point of entertainment, That is, whilst the saxophonist played some lovely tunes, it would have added more to the night if he was given a bit more recognition and physical presence than in the back corner of the venue.
The food? We ordered the "feast" which included a turkish bread and dips/tapas platter for entree and for mains, a selection of cajun fish, morroccan beef stew, mint salad with yoghurt dressing, white bean salad, spiced chicken, and rice.
The entree was delicious. The selection of dips and tapas was great, and the turkish bread delicious and fresh.
The mains were definitely a feast (had about half of it before being stuffed to the brim) but what let it down was the presentation and the fact that my table was so small, everything was cornered down. Dumped into little bowls much akin to the chinese rice bowls, the presentation of food was somewhat poor. However, the food itself was pretty tasty and aromatic in spices.
I think I went to this place with too many expectations. Had I just expected a standard cafe style restaurant (think Siena's), I would have probably liked it a whole lot more.