The Grill at The Duxton

No. 1 St George's Terrace
Telephone: 9261 8000

www.duxtonhotels.com

Lunch from the Provedore's Table

The Duxton is one of Perth's finest hotels and now boasts a new lunch concept in its restaurant, The Grill, and a new chef to go with it.

The day Karen and I visited the restaurant, the sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze wafting up from the Swan River, which is only a stone's throw away. The room's large French doors open on to small balconies overlooking the Terrace and we sat in this delightful outdoor area with palm trees and Victoria Avenue's striking avenue of trees mellowing the hum of the city.

Inside, the restaurant mixes traditional art deco with the soft furnishings one expects in a high-class hotel. The décor provides a sophisticated yet relaxing dining environment, and The Grill's new lunch menu deftly reflects our ever-changing tastes.

The Duxton's director of sales Jeremy Carton told me they have recognised that many people no longer have time to spend an hour or two at lunch. In a bid to move away from the stereotypical buffet, Rory and his team based their restaurant around the idea of a Provedore's Table.

A Provedore is traditionally a person or business that provides a large range of stores and supplies, such as fresh seasonal food from the markets and beverages, to ships. Thus, The Grill's Provedore's Table is a daily changing lunch buffet, featuring a range of entrees, main courses and heavenly desserts. This means you can indulge in an hour or so of delicious, fresh, seasonal food, or just pop in for a 20-minute meal.

If you would prefer to enjoy the a la Carte menu, then let the new executive chef Aaron Burrows work his magic. Dishes include an Italian Panini with Spicy Cacciatore, a Chicken Caesar Salad, and a Spiced Tasting Plate, which has duck vermicelli spring rolls, vegetable samosa and Thai chicken curry puffs. There are also fish and hearty sirloin steak dishes to salivate over.

However, the Provedore's Table is something you've got to experience. Fresh and healthy, the buffet has something for everyone whether you are a vegetarian, meat lover, seafood fan or simply can't ignore your sweet tooth.

Aaron has worked hard to re-invent the stereotypical idea of the buffet, which often conjures up images of bland food that's been sitting in a bain marie for hours. The Grill takes this expectation and turns it on its head, in the most elegant way possible.

While the dishes available from the Provedore's Table change daily, Rory told me there is always a meat, fish, noodle and rice dish, and Aaron has created an international buffet which showcases a fusion of old time favourites with a local twist.

The buffet's cold dishes are beautifully presented on ice, and obviously fresh, and I was surprised at the variety of dishes available. On the day we visited there was a magnificent Sushi Platter, Prawns in Avocado, Penne Pasta Salad, Lamb Loins on Rosini Pasta, and Braised Mushrooms with Asparagus, just to name a few. Karen loved the mushrooms, and the lamb loins had a delicate and distinct flavour.

On a hot summer's day, I could imagine sitting out on the balcony, watching people rush about the city's busiest thoroughfare, with the breeze whistling softly through the palm trees, while I sit back and enjoy the refreshing cold dishes. And to top it off, The Grill's restaurant manager Kevin Smith treated us to a glass of Ashbrook Estate's 2007 Semillon!

The hot meals won't disappoint either. My favourite was the Lamb Cutlets, served on blue cheese polenta with red wine, while Karen loved the Stir-fried Asian Vegetables with egg noodles. We both agreed that the Kingfish on pumpkin and ginger mash was a winner, with the excellent flavour of the mash complementing the tender fish.

Onto the desserts... The desserts have to be seen to be believed - delicate towering lemon meringue and strawberry tartlets and chocolate cake to die for - bite size and just irresistible. There is also a colourful sliced fresh fruit platter for those who can control themselves.

Whether you want to pop in for a quick bite, have more time for a leisurely lunch, or just want somewhere quiet and professional for a business meal, The Grill can satisfy everyone. The staff are friendly and courteous, and the pricing won't break the bank.

While the restaurant can fit over one hundred people in its spacious restaurant, there is still plenty of room to move around, and with soft jazz tunes playing in the background, The Grill is probably one of the most comfortable places I've ever visited.

The Provedore's Table awaits you.

by Tiffany Wertheimer