When veteran bartender James Connolly (El Publico, Defectors, Long Chim, Market Grounds) first envisioned Bertie, he was on a mission to create a place locals would love – and he’s done exactly that. Paul Lim of Mata Design conjured a typically crisp, streamlined design that feels modern but not sterile; the food and drink offering is based on the familiar, yet free of cliche; and the crowd is a mixed bag of ages and tastes.
The cocktails and mixed drinks are about subtly tweaked classics: the Negroni is infused with pineapple and garnished with rosemary, the dirty Martini is fortified with a touch of manzanilla sherry, and a refreshing rhubarb-based Pimm’s Cup analogue is served on tap. The beer list celebrates longstanding Bassendean brewer Nail Brewing and other Australian beermakers, while broad by-the-glass wine selections solidify Bertie as the go-to neighbourhood wine bar.
The food offering is another detail that cements that status. Although its overall vibe is European, a subtle British thread ties together the menu. There’s Welsh rarebit and a Cumberland sausage, for instance, plus steak served with a bone marrow gravy. In addition, little nods to Japan ensure the menu isn’t pub-grub-by-numbers. Rice vinegar electrifies a cool salad of radishes, and late-summer tomatoes are crunched up with toasted white sesame seeds. The mushroom parfait is enriched with no small amount of mirin, a Japanese cooking wine; and the brilliant house-made Scotch egg is armoured in panko.
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