Brand new bistro and wine bar Circa on Mount Lawley’s Beaufort Street strip is easy to miss, painted black and tucked away opposite Malt.
Once I walked in I was taken aback. Although it was dimly lit and narrow, it was stylish and overly confident.
Unfortunately, we were sat at the back corner of the restaurant next to the doors to the kitchen so we didn’t experience the ambience the designers were going for.
To start we ordered the chorizo, smashed broad beans and manchego crostini and field mushroom and valdeon arancini with arrabiata sauce and were both surprised and disappointed – the chorizo dish was packed full of flavour but the arancini were a little lacklustre as the rice wasn’t fully cooked.
Our waitress promptly cleared our table as we ordered our mains and a bottle of Salitage pinot noir.
Minutes later we were presented with a wine that we didn’t order, and when we asked for the correct wine we were told that she “didn’t think we wanted the more expensive bottle”. Slightly insulted, we thanked her when our pinot arrived and anticipated our main.
My spaghetti with crab, lime, chilli, white wine and crème fraiche came moments later and I nearly forgot all about our wine mishap; it was beautifully presented and smelled delicious.
However, my partner was disappointed after being given the wrong main. Originally he’d ordered the ricotta gnocchi with tomato and pecorino ragu and basil crumbs but was given the beetroot ravioli. The two sound nothing alike, and the waiter was most apologetic that our waitress had gotten it wrong. About five minutes later he came back with the right main and I could finally stop feeling guilty that I was eating first.
The house-made spaghetti was perfectly cooked, and the serving of crab meat was generous. The chef was clearly very experienced – each ingredient in the dish had its own part to play and came together to form a pasta dish that was light but flavoursome, and even the chilli was cut to perfection in fine strips.
As always I couldn’t finish my main, but had saved some room for dessert.
I ordered the fried Venetian custard with blood orange ice cream and pistachios, and although it wasn’t something I usually order, it was an excellent decision.
The custard was velvety yet crispy on the outside and the blood orange ice cream was subtle, while blood orange sauce brought out the flavours of the ice cream and cut through the rich custard.
In the end it was a night that could have been much better, right down to the smaller details of decent seating to the more important details of service and knowledge of the menu.
Maybe wait a few months until it finds its feet – it’s still got a way to go.
676 Beaufort Street
Monday to Thursday open for lunch and dinner
Friday open til late
Saturday open from breakfast til late, and Sunday from breakfast til dinner