I’ve driven past the Red Cray hundreds of times since moving to Perth, but never stopped for dinner. It’s in an awkward spot, sandwiched between a run-down old pub and Great Eastern Highway in Belmont, so I think their foot traffic is minimal. But I’m always up for something different, so was happy to go there for a friend’s birthday dinner last night.
The interior is surprisingly nice; not five star but certainly not shabby. I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable donning a nice dress to eat there. And the wait staff were fantastic, really helpful and happy to chat about the menu items, which is not something you can take for granted nowadays.
I skipped past the $12 pasta specials and zoomed in on the crayfish options. They were available three ways: grilled, ‘mornay’ with béchamel sauce, and ‘royale’ with vermouth and cheese and accompanied by prawn and scallop skewers. I opted for a mornay half crayfish at $34.50 and the Welshman ordered a whole royale for $60.
I’ve never had crayfish before and I’m not usually big on shellfish, but my serve was really lovely. It was very cream-saucy, and the flesh was tender and juicy. It was served with a small side of chips and a rocket, feta and Spanish onion salad, which was a welcome alternative to the spray-of-purple-lettuce-with-a-tomato-wedge doled out by most restaurants.
The Welshman’s cray was cheesy and tasty, but I preferred mine. The chips, half cray and salad filled me up but the Welshman was still a tad hungry after his whole cray – though that may say more about our appetites than anything else.
Luckily there’s always a spot in my belly reserved for dessert, so we had a quick look at the menu. It contained mostly ice cream and sorbet-based desserts, so we opted for a cake cabinet special. The Welshman and I shared a round of chocolate mud cake ringed with a soft chocolate shell, which was aptly titled ‘Chocolate Decadence’. I misheard our waited and thought he said ‘chocolate deck’, and thought we were getting a Cadbury Topdeck-themed treat – but no matter, mudcake is always a winner, especially zapped in the microwave and served with gelato. Nom nom.
I really enjoyed the dining experience at Red Cray, but I’m not sure how soon I’ll visit again. $60 for the signature dish is pretty steep, especially when I know I can get a main at my favourite restaurant Cream for around the $40 mark. But Red Cray lets you BYO wine, which can really cut down the costs – especially with a bottle shop next door.
Okay, here’s my compromise. Red Cray is all about seafood, and they do it well. When I have a hankering for ocean fare, it’ll be my pick, and I know I’ll leave full and satisfied. But until that seafood craving comes along, there are plenty of other… wait for it… fish in the sea.
Ohhh yeah. I did that.