131 Bussell, at the back, off the road, but not on a Monday or a Tuesday, and only if you have a booking. . . It's wise to be prepared; the food is delicate and beautiful, the room off white, with a sunken kitchen in the centre. The only minor fault - the heavy scent of cooking oil as you enter, which is not entirely unexpected given the focus on tempura. Miki smiles and chats, marshalling his team and pouring beer for the patrons while slicing and preparing his little plates, each one complete and gorgeous. The room is small and the seats are all taken. The common choice is the trust menu, a set price and a cascade of morsels. We had a predetermined departure time and ate off the menu (the trust takes about 2 hours), everything was as it should have been - simple, clean and pure.

I arrived post facto, but even from the distance I could see something interesting was happening. A small crowd was gathered around watching as a handful of men emptied nets full of three and four kilogram salmon. Their mouths open, stunned and even in death beautiful and streamlined.

A complete and quite brilliant meal at Restaurant Amusé. A lifetime ago I visited only to find the food complicated but cold; I was left unmoved by the cleverness. . . If anything the food has become even more complex and layered; but the passion, produce and flavours are no longer subservient to method and all the plates sing with warmth and depth. The cleverness is balanced with generosity and there is now a notable absence of anything that might be construed as superfluous.

I took this photo earlier in the year, when the days were longer and warmer. Yallingup, heading south along Smiths beach, Canal rocks in the distance. I was just about to walk into a swarm of sandflies. . .

Carcinogenic salt fish, my childhood was sporadically dotted with meals featuring it and my memory is replete with images of my grandmother curing the fish, it's something even now I enjoy, but with ever increasing intervals. I stir fried some Tuscan kale with the pulled meat of the pictured fish and a few cloves of chopped garlic; the memory of the saltiness and rich meatiness will linger, which is fortunate as I'm not sure when if ever I will eat more. . .

The 2011 edition was Shiraz dominant, while this is mostly Pinot noir. Again the stems and whole bunches are notable, but this seems less on edge and more enticing. Cherry and stems, a low grade smoulder and a hint of acetone. . . Tart, lean and quite delicious. . . it's clean, bright and svelte, in profile pip and stem flavoured, the stalky tannins giving definition and shape. yes.


The first wine I've tried from this new producer, and also the first West Australian traminer I can recall tasting. It's very convincing. Lychee and tropical fruit, spice, perfume and rose petals. It's floral and expectedly exotic. Sweet and fleshy, lychee and nectar, but with a redeeming crunch to offset the grip and musk. Yes.

Invisible from the street, a modern day den at the base of Jacob's ladder. The ceiling is low, patterned with hexagons, and once inside you feel disconnected and removed. It's like a bomb shelter with Cantonese food, thankfully there's a bar and the option to BYOB. We had pre ordered a family favourite. Eight treasure duck. . . I think it's been more than a decade since we last shared one. It's a spectacle and comfort; a plump, mostly deboned duck, swimming in sauce, stuffed with treasure.

aka rooted. . .

Tamar Ridge Pinot noir 2002. Mature. Blinded, I thought this was a Seppelt Gt Western. . . Saddle and leather, ginger spice. Round, full (14.5%) and bold. Surely a shiraz. . . Hide and meat in the mouth, it's firm but fine. Soon.

Cocotte of radish. Take 8 or 9 radishes, scrub away the earth and trim the roots and stalks. Toss into a pot with a tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of miso and 60mls of water, a few leaves of sage and two sprigs of thyme.

A blend of three, Cabernet being the majority. (13.5%, screwcap, approx $A55). Very pretty to begin, more spice and violet than blackcurrant. It's delicate to open, but in time the shadows and darkness emerge: bay leaf and chocolate, crushed herbs, bramble. . . On the tongue, soft and hard; a sweet core, generosity, meat and granularity, but within the flesh an inky spine of tannin, serious and long.