Perth's Restaurant Amuse to close in March
Author: Max Veenhuyzen
3:11PM, Feb 1, 2017
Restaurant Amuse, a long-time standard bearer for good eating and drinking west of the Nullarbor, will call it a night after dinner on Saturday 4 March.
While the intimate, owner-operated restaurant is leaving on a high - among its many accolades, Amuse has been GT's top-ranked restaurant in WA since 2009 - its decorated CV hints little at the story's modest 2006 beginnings.
Back in Perth after working in London and Melbourne, owners Hadleigh and Carolynne Troy (chef and restaurant manager respectively) decided to open a fine dining restaurant on a lunch bar budget. A lease was signed for a former accountants office on the fringes of suburbia in East Perth; money was borrowed from family; the space was decorated using furniture and fixtures sourced from famous Scandinavian design house, Ikea. In short, opening Amuse was an exercise in youthful naivety.
"You wouldn't get away with it these days," laughs Hadleigh who lived with Carolynne behind the restaurant in its formative years to save money. "No way in hell."
Why now? The combination of the end of the site's lease and recently becoming parents has convinced the Troys the time is right for a change of direction.
"The plan with Amuse was always to do fine dining, but we don't want to do it if it means compromising our standards," says Carolynne.
While opening staff can recall nights with zero guests, Amuse circa 2017 is a far different prospect. The combination of Hadleigh's seasonal tasting menus and Carolynne's relaxed, engaging service sees the wait for weekend tables at around four weeks. Undersell-overdeliver is something of a credo in the kitchen, from the addictive house sourdough with whipped jersey cream butter to wondrous creations involving Rottnest Island scallops (a resourceful fusilli-like pasta of salvaged skirt, tomato and Ortiz anchovies from 2011 remains a fond memory) and marron, one of Hadleigh's favourite ingredients.
While Amuse's days are limited, the restaurant's bold DIY ethos and commitment to excellence lives on in two of its alumni. David Pynt, the restaurant's first sous chef, now oversees Burnt Ends, a modern barbecue restaurant in Singapore's Chinatown district (the restaurant's wood-burning ovens were both designed and built by Pynt). Last year, the restaurant made its debut at number 70 in the World's 50 Best Restaurant List.
Paul Iskov - Pynt's successor and one of the opening chefs employed by Troy - has gone on to establish Fervor, a native food pop-up that travels the state and hosts events in distinctly West Australian locations (shearing sheds in Albany, say, or under the stars in the middle of the Pinnacles).
Restaurant Amuse is currently fully booked until its last service on 4 March, though you can join the waitlist at its website restaurantamuse.com.au