Sunday Times Magazine
26 November, 2017
Neighbourhood Secret Bursts With Flavour
Fine dining is not to eat, it’s to delight. It’s an interesting concept, delivered in the endearingly broken English of cooking great Alex Atala. The Time magazine cover boy, who presides over the No.16 World’s Best Restaurant, D.O.M., was sharing his wisdom with starry-eyed foodies at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape last weekend.
For many, it seemed a light-bulb moment. Eating out is not necessarily about filling all corners of your stomach, even when you’ve forked out a sizeable amount, Atala explained, as he served a spoonful of edible flower ceviche to each diner. It’s about the unexpected, the innovative, the delight of a gastronomic discovery.
These ideas might well apply to the kitchen at Budburst. Don’t come if you want to fall into a food coma. The portions are small, but they’re also dainty and refined, produced with careful detail and fine technique. It’s relaxed, lo-fi fine dining, where you’re paying for quality, not quantity.
The winebar and restaurant is still a well-kept local secret. It feels French, with bentwood high chairs lining the bar, intimate tables and a pared back, narrow dining room that forms around the stainless steel benches of the open kitchen. There, Brittany-born chef Gwenael Lesle works away quietly. His charcuterie boards and creamy croque monsieurs are known favourites, particularly paired with the excellent wine list, but the small plates allow his abilities to shine.
They’re affordable enough to order a handful between two.
Perfectly seared scallops ($20), crown a bed of pearl barley studded with broad beans and slim-cut octopus that is both super fresh and wonderfully chewy. There’s a hint of harissa through the liquid sauce. More please.
A rainbow of bright pinks and lush greens stripe a bowl of rare beef tataki ($16). Interchanged with spiced cucumber slivers, it covers a pile of shredded pawpaw and green mango, garnished with more cucumber and shallots marinated in chilli and ginger. This Asiatic dish stays true to the delicate leanings of French flavouring — I’d like to see more daring in the chilli department.
Blue swimmer crab meat stung by a hint of citrus covers a mound of quinoa like snow ($17), with only a thin layer of tomato concasse separating the two. Half-moon gingerbread crisps and dollops of yellow bottarga puree add interest value, along with a scattering of grated bottarga. It’s subtle, agile perfection. As is a thin-sliced duck breast ($20), fanned out over caramelised corn cake, in a rich pool of game jus.
Dessert is a copious surprise — I count at least five elements on each $14 plate. On one, there are mini quenelles of chewy, super salty caramel, a slab of deep, dark chocolate marquise dressed with preserved cumquat, a subtle log of liquorice parfait, micro madeleines — and more. The other is a coconut-infused mix of mousse, cut like a cake slice, mango spheres, passionfruit curd and matcha soil. I can’t pick a favourite.
As we fork the fabulousness in, we sip on exceptional wine and enjoy gentle, respectful service from the long-serving staff. We leave not brimming-over full, but absolutely delighted.
A gorgeous little French winebar-restaurant that still feels like a delicious secret, two years after it opened. Servings are petite, flavours are delicate and the technique, care and presentation are impressive.
20 June, 2017
The Best Wine Bars in Perth
This western Australian city may seem isolated, but its booming population and proximity to the Margaret River wine region make it a lively destination.
Budburst Small Bar
Just north of the city center in Mount Hawthorn, Budburst encompasses everything you could hope from a neighborhood bar. It’s hard to believe this is the first venture of owner/sommelier Rachael Niall. The lovingly renovated 100-year-old cottage has a cozy, Old-World ambiance. It’s easy to linger for hours and savor the charcuterie and French-inspired small plates from Gwenael Lesle, the bar’s Brittany-born chef. When it comes to wine, Budburst has become the go-to spot for obscure, natural-leaning Western Australian labels.
QANTAS Travel Insider
20 March, 2017
Perth’s Must-Visit Wine Bars
Wine connoisseurs have it good out west. Whether you’re after cutting-edge local releases or hunting down trophy cuvees from around the world, the wine glass is most definitely half-full in the western capital.
Although not exclusively a wine bar, Budburst has an emphasis on grape-based refreshment (to wit: its name comes from an integral part of the grape-growing process). In owner and sommelier Rachael Niall’s world, up-and-coming producers rub shoulders with established names in an environment free of pomp and pretension.
23 February, 2017
Wine bars to visit this weekend
Not only is going to a wine bar enjoyable, but for curious drinkers it’s also great for a reconnaissance. Think about it. When an interesting drinks list is presented to you, you’ll study it thoroughly and feel especially pleased when you make a good choice – in which case you’ll jot the name down and investigate later. So, in the name of research, why not check out one of the wine bars ahead this weekend? All have sublime snacks, some have star sommeliers, and some even allow you to try a glass and then take a bottle home.
Budburst Small Bar, Mount Hawthorn, Perth
Rachael Niall is a respected wine personality in Perth whose passion for sharing the good stuff has put her tiny Mount Hawthorn bar on the map. (She also moonlights as a wine educator, so talking you through the options comes easy.) The eclectic, natural-leaning list has been developed with food in mind, and lively, aromatic whites and supple, medium-bodied reds dominate. Western Australia’s greats are on show, with regions such as the Swan Valley, Great Southern and Margaret River featuring heavily, and indulgent small plates are expertly paired to the wines – you might try ocean trout with broad beans, prawns and chorizo paired with a smart Italian soave, or oxtail ravioli in brodo alongside an off-dry riesling from Denmark.
Where: 406 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn WA
Eat: pan-fried duck breast with braised lentils, buckwheat, Rebluchon and jamon custard ($17)
Drink: Goon Tycoons Teroldego ($14)
Mood: Rustic and welcoming
Details: Wednesday to Saturday, 4pm – late; Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
21 December, 2016
Meet Rachael Niall of Budburst Small Bar
Rachael Niall’s passion for wine has won Budburst Small Bar a loyal following in Perth. Here, she shares her personal drinking preferences, including top picks for summer.
The Budburst drinks list is an interesting mix. What’s popular right now? Our list leads the way in terms of the styles people will drink. We’ve got lots of lively, high-acid white wines, and then the reds are mostly medium-bodied and supple. Grenache seems to be selling well, there’s a real interest in rosé and there’s growing interest in cabernet franc.
Is there a rosé you would recommend for summer? I tried a standout recently called the tripe.Iscariot Aspic, which is a grenache-based rosé from Margaret River. It’s complex and textured with beautiful ripe fruit, but also some herbal flecks and minerality. It’s one of the most intriguing and well-made wines I’ve tasted in a long time – part of me wants share it with everyone I know and part of me wants to keep it all for myself!
What drinks will you have on rotation this festive season? I’m crazy about chenin blanc at the moment. It’s a variety that I think more people should embrace, whether it’s a frisky Vouvray by Sebastien Brunet, a local sparkling version from Sittella or a complex, aged style from Bella Ridge, both in Swan Valley. Petillant naturel is also a fun option for hot days and long nights.
Do you have a go-to summer wine that also offers great value? Brave New Wine’s Sunshine & Hercules Riesling. It has lively grapefruit, white blossom, lime zest, lemongrass and ginger flavours wrapped in playful texture, subtle grip and flecks of minerality – a mark of the Fig Tree vineyard where it’s grown.
Is there a wine you’ve tried recently that you’ve been surprised by? Pyramid Valley’s orange blend [pinot blanc, pinot gris, gewürztraminer] surprises me every time I try it. There’s a really distinctive earl grey tea note, but I also get yellow nectarine, a touch of apricot, lychee and ginger. It’s just amazing, probably one of the most exotic and perfumed wines I’ve come across.
What are your favourite places to eat and drink around Perth? For some of the best Japanese in the country, I love the omakase menu at Marumo, where it’s BYO. You have to book well in advance though! When I want to try interesting wines by the glass, I head to Shadow Wine Bar, Petition Wine Bar & Merchant or Clarences Bar. One of my all-time favourite places to go is a secret I almost don’t want to give away. The Vineyard Kitchen is located in the hills 40 minutes from Perth, where owner/chef Ryan Fels is self-taught and cooks homey yet perfectly executed dishes, which you’ll most likely enjoy under the trees or near a stream.
When not drinking wine, what do you reach for? If I’m not pouring or drinking wine, I’ll probably have a beer in my hand. My fridge is stocked with Nail Golden Ale and I always enjoy the seasonal releases from Eagle Bay Brewing, such as their Black IPA. For something punchier, I love Victory Brewing DirtWolf IPA and Tuatara APA.
Last supper? My last supper would definitely be dumplings and riesling – preferably a magnum of Grand Cru Ostertag Riesling.
The West Australian
June 11, 2016
Review by Rob Broadfield
The West Australian – Rob Broadfield’s Top 20 Perth dishes to die for
June 15, 2016
Charcuterie board. Place: Budburst, Mt Hawthorn. Chef: Gwenael Lesle.
Anyone can make pate or terrine. Few make it like chef Lesle. His liver parfait sits beside two terrines and condiments, which together form the best charcuterie collection we’ve eaten. The parfait in particular is perfection: pink, unctuous, glossy, buttery and superbly seasoned. Few would suspect that the unprepossessing Budburst bar on Oxford Street would bang out food so refined. It’s one of the city’s lesser known best restaurants.
TIMEOUT Magazine Perth
October 12, 2015 | 4 out of 5 stars
‘Enter Budburst, the first venture by sommelier Rachael Niall, in what was previously Iain Lawless’s Wee Bar. An experienced sommelier working in Perth, Sydney and London, Niall has obviously attained more than just a good palate. From the drinks repertoire, to the small plates, to a team that know the business, Budburst is on the money. You could easily characterise Budburst as a neighbourhood bar – and a very good one at that – but it goes beyond its destination. Seek it out.’
GOURMET TRAVELLER Magazine
24th July 2015
‘Are you workshopping the idea of opening a neighbourhood bar? Before you go registering social media handles, hit the newly opened Budburst for a masterclass in getting the fundamentals right. A welcome addition to Mount Hawthorn’s ranks’.
SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE
July 24, 2015 | 4 out of 5 stars
Budburst isn’t reinventing the wheel, but when you get the basics this right, it doesn’t have to. A shining example of how good a neighbourhood bar can be.
BUDBURST OPENING HOURS
Tuesday - Saturday: 4pm til late
Sunday & Monday: Closed
Budburst Small Bar
WARNING: Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence:
• to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years on licensed or regulated premises; or
• for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase, or attempt to purchase, liquor on licensed or regulated premises.