This Northbridge restaurant has harnessed Perth’s love of market food, by bringing street food indoors. Genius.
Quick – someone create a restaurant-sized time capsule marked “Perth dining scene, circa 2014” and chuck in Clint Nolan’s new venue, Pleased to Meet You.
The Northbridge eatery sports all the trends: exposed brick, pendant lights, upcycled wooden pallets, a vertical garden, and even the indomitable trend of stripy paper straws. Hipsters sit on paint-dipped stools around communal tables spread with share plates and growlers of beer. The sense of dining deja vu is so strong, it’s a wonder the restaurant’s not called We’ve Met Before.
So on-trend is it that you might write it off as a touch try-hard. But don’t judge till you taste the food. It’s sensational.
Pleased to Meet You serves hawker-style food with a focus on North American classics (corn bread, sliders and s’mores), alongside Asian favourites (banh mi, pork crackers and ramen). It’s the kind of fun, flavour-packed food that’s best shared with friends and washed down with beer.
I make sure I’ve got both on hand before tucking into the first dish of the night, Salt and Pepper Squid Banh Mi, a take on the classic sandwich sold by street vendors throughout Vietnam. Inside a chewy French baguette are chunks of hot and crunchy deep-fried squid, and pork pate with pickled carrot and cucumber. Coriander and mint give it a fresh kick. Just awesome.
Next we try the tacos – soft corn tortillas filled with shredded duck, crunchy slivers of cabbage and sweetcorn, slathered with a tangy, ginger-shiitake dressing. We share one between two, but they’re so good we wish we had ordered one for everyone in our group.
The watermelon salad throws my husband for a loop. “This is the weirdest thing I’ve tasted in a long time,” he says, frowning. That doesn’t stop him from polishing it off in seconds. I venture in and I’ve got fireworks in my mouth. Bitey sheep’s cheese. Bang! Peppery rocket. Boom! Sweet watermelon and crispy, deep-fried shallots. Kerpow! So weird, yet so good.
At Pleased to Meet You, it’s nearly impossible not to order the Roast Pork – it’s spinning on the rotisserie behind the bar, filling the dining room with its incredible aroma. It comes served on a mini-pedestal, but doesn’t quite live up to its promise: the pork itself is tender, but the chimichurri dipping sauce is
all wrong, tasting instead like a peppercorn and bay leaf paste.
It’s curiosity and not hunger that compels us to order the bizarre-sounding Ice-Cream Nachos. When they arrive at our table in a large paper cup, we all stare. And look back at our server. And stare some more. How can this be dessert?
I dive in first, breaking off a piece of what looks to be a plain tortilla chip... And find that’s exactly what it is. It’s even salty. The yellow strips are mango, not cheddar. It’s diced strawberry and not tomato. And under it all is a generous scoop of an incredible cinnamon and maple ice-cream. Again, somehow the strangeness works. In fact, it reminds me of the amazingly bizarre cornflake-flavoured cereal-milk ice-cream from Manhattan’s Momofuku Milk Bar.
Adventurous and unpredictable, Pleased to Meet You’s version of street food is a trend I hope catches on.
38 Roe Street, Northbridge. Open for lunch Saturday and Sunday, and daily for dinner. Find out more here.