On Thursday night, hubby and I, with a group of friends, had a beautiful dining experience at The Loose Box , in Mundaring, about 30 minutes from Perth. The night was chilly and we braved the cold night air in our best frocks and hoped and prayed that the restaurant would be heated. Thank Goodness for log fires (environmentally unsound but hey, we were freezing!) and cosy restaurants! We had been looking forward to dining at this wonderful establishment for several months and so nothing but a blizzard would have kept us away.
The Loose Box has been operated and headed by Chef Alain Fabregues for over thirty years and has gained a reputation for being THE place to dine at least once in your life (it’s one of those bucket-list type of places). The restaurant is, sadly, being sold soon as Alain and his wife are moving on to pastures new (luckily for us, another eatery in Perth) and so the Loose Box will become something else and people will not have the opportunity that we were all too happy to experience last night.
At $160 a head, it’s not the cheapest meal around and I, being the tight wad that I am, did hesitate when first invited to come along. But I am oh-so-very-glad I decided to loosen the purse strings and plunge head first into foodie heaven. We had the “Degustation” experience – seven (count ‘em!) courses (vegetarian for us, a mixed bag for everyone else) as well as crusty bread, complimentary tea and coffee and the most delightful selection of mini-desserts (I guess they’d be petit fours but they were really like tiny dessert masterpieces – lemon meringue tartlets, profiteroles and the most divine salted caramel macaroons). Each dish was so beautifully presented, it seemed a shame to eat it. A shame, but not an impossibility Each bite was full of flavour and I found myself taking smaller and smaller forkfuls just so I could make the dish last longer. The first course, a “Snow Pea Cappuccino” soup was oh-so-yummy. The flavour was amazing and I could have happily just eaten that all night. A beautiful bright green, with a lettuce foam on top and a sprig of mint. Heaven!
I swapped my vegetarian option for a seafood one in the second course (I know, I know, bad vegetarian!). So glad I did (sorry fishies!). It was a tiny tower of seafood and smoked trout with dill, lemon and celeriac. Oh. My. God. So delicious! I love dill and it flavoured the dish magnificently. The following offerings were equally delicious (although hubby and I both agreed the main dish of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine was a bit of a letdown and neither of us finished it) and by the time the amazing apple sorbet palate-cleanser came around, I was starting to be very glad I was wearing tights – they were the only thing stopping my stomach from expanding in a very unattractive manner.
The final course – dessert, yay! – was so pretty and beautifully presented. I opted for the “Majestic Swan” which was comprised of a vanilla bean icecream, tuille biscuit and a raspberry coulis (all made to look like the most wonderful swan on a scarlet lake). Gorgeous! My hubby had the “Beehive” which I believe consisted of honey cream in a tiny tuille beehive with an even tinier meringue bee on top. Also on offer were chocolate frangelico crepes (complete with a delicate little meringue bird perched on a scoop of vanilla bean icecream) and a cheeseboard of fine French cheeses, fruits and walnut bread.
The petit fours that arrived at the end of the evening were so lovely we all forced ourselves to try at least one, despite our groaning bellies and the possibility that we might not fit back in the car on the way home. The salted caramel macaron – sigh – was a-maz-ing. I could have died happily eating that little sucker. It was better than chocolate and that’s saying something (especially for someone who dearly misses chocolate and thinks nothing compares). I ended up taking my lemon meringue tartlet and profiterole home in a little box the restaurant provided. Dessert for tonight!
All in all, a wonderful experience. I am so glad I went. If you’re in Western Australia, and can get in before the restaurant closes its doors, I thoroughly recommend saving up your pennies and booking in for an evening of dining. The staff were warm and welcoming and the hefty price tag was so worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime-experience. Two thumbs up (and a definite need to wear elastic-waist pants) from me. Beautiful.
PS I wish I had photos but we were all too busy eating and enjoying ourselves to take photos, plus the room was quite dark (for ambience doncha know) so any pics we attempted to take turned out a bit iffy. Check out the Loose Box website while you still can.