The Naked Fig, Swanbourne

Fran Rimrod

We asked and you told us where in Perth serves up the best meals with a side dish of waterfront views.

Everyone loves an extra, extra long weekend so when you're done tucking into the chocolate eggs and buns brandished with hot crosses let us set a place for you at some of Perth's best waterfront dining rooms.

Join us as we trek up the coast from Freo to Sorrento and tuck into the menus of Perth's top 6 eateries on the water.

After a disappointing verdict the last time WAtoday visited the Naked Fig, almost two years later I was pleasantly surprised by a well-rounded, accomplished dining experience.

The restaurant, which is very popular with the breakfast and lunch crowd, sits perched right on the beach in Swanbourne. As we walked up to the restaurant I mused as to whether the nearby nude beach was the inspiration for its name, as the eatery also has wild and a pickled sisters in Scarborough and Fremantle.

A happy, bubbly waitress greeted us as the door, leading us to a table in the back room. It was a bit of shame going there after sunset, as the beautiful beach right in front of us was dipped in darkness, with only the soft thunder of the shore break assuring us the ocean was right at our feet.

It's no wonder the Fig is a breakfast favourite. I went once a while ago, after a refreshing swim and I remember the breakfast menu being vast and scrumptious and that it really was a place most enjoyable when the sun shines.

Unfortunately the evening of this review was the night Perth's temperatures dipped for the first time in autumn. Sitting on the deck would have made for a frosty dinner and so our nightly beach view was blocked by the plastic tarp sheltering us from the wind.

We had just grabbed the menu when another friendly waitress introduced herself to us as "ours" for the night, told us about the night's specials and asked for our drinks order.

The Fig's menu offers a nice snapshot of mod-Oz cuisine favourites, such as garlic prawns and Carpaccio for entree and an array of chicken, seafood and beef dishes for main.

After we had decided on garlic prawns ($12.50) and tempura soft-shell crabs ($16) to get things going, to be followed by crab and prawn linguini ($33, suitably called 'The Claw') and a steak with mushroom gratin and potatoes ($36), our attentive waitress was right by our side to take the order. I have to say that I rarely ever experienced such prompt and competent service.

The restaurant's interior is modern but cosy, with some coloured feature walls and lots of wood.

It was nicely filled for a Friday evening, with a mixed crowd of young and old and a table obviously celebrating a birthday (the Fig offers birthday boys and girls a free meal).

Our entrees arrived and my tempura soft-shell crabs were great. Crispy tempura batter, the nice texture and subtle flavours of the crunchy crab making it a delectable start to the meal.

The prawns were juicy and perfectly cooked, but we had expected them to be a tad more garlicky as they were swimming in a very lightly scented olive oil juice they couldn't really grab onto.

After we had devoured our entrees "our" waitress returned, asking if the chef was to start on our mains. I'm not a restaurant fiend, but I had never experienced this in Perth and was very pleasantly surprised about the care we were given.

Shortly after our mains followed and despite "The Claw" not actually featuring a crab claw, it was a very nice pasta dish.

Nice big chunks of crab and juicy prawns tossed through a subtle lemony olive oil sauce. If there was any fault, it was a bit underseasoned, which was quickly rectified with a dash of salt and freshly cracked pepper.

The dish was finished off with fresh rocket, which I love in pasta, and some collapsed cherry tomatoes, topping off the flavours with their juicy zing. Classic, well-rounded and subtle flavours matched perfectly.

The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and incredibly soft to the bite. The creamy mushroom gratin added a nice creamy contrast to the roasty meat flavours of the steak, and the potatoes and asparagus which accompanied the dish were faultless. A classic steak dish any meat lover and meat-and-three-veg baby boomer would approve of.

Despite having polished off our mains to the last tasty morsel, we couldn't leave the Fig not having sampled some of the desserts.

I couldn't go past a chocolate pudding called "Ooey Gooey" on the menu and an apple crumble with strawberry and pear salad had also tickled our fancy.

We were told that "Ooey gooey" demanded 20 minutes waiting time, but that it was "well worth the wait". I was intrigued and certainly not in a rush, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the Fig, with its jazzy music and dim lights, juxtaposed to the dark ocean front.

Not too long after our deserts arrived and thank god, they were very contained in portion size.

With a pudding called "Ooey gooey" I did expect an oozing core of molten hot lava chocolate, but sadly there was none. The pudding was light and chocolately, but that was kind of about it.

The crumble was a bit hard and had barely any apple compote underneath, but the fruit salad on the side was refreshing and crisp.

A lot has happened since the Fig got a bad rap from us two years ago. I found it to be a really pleasant, solid dinner experience with good food at acceptable prices.

The Naked Fig, 278 Marine Pde, Swanbourne, 9384 1222, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

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  • Cuisine - Modern Australian
  • Prices - Entrees around $16
  • Opening Hours - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Seats - beautiful sun deck
  • Author - Fran Rimrod

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