After a few enjoyable visits, The Standard in Northbridge often comes to mind when I’m asked for suggestions in the CBD/Northbridge area, somewhere cool but casual with yummy share style food. On this particular mid week evening, with a group of girls and a few glasses of wine, it certainly ticked lots of boxes.
The bar and restaurant has a bit of a modern, industrial vibe with the concrete flooring and high ceilings and simple but trendy fit out. There is quite a large garden area out the back which is perfect for summery days but not quite as ideal as the weather gets colder and wetter. I’m a fan of the sparkly fairy lights around the trees as it adds atmosphere and gives the place a backyard, homely feel. This place can definitely get busy and a little noisy on Friday and Saturday nights but with food service going till late it’s certainly a great option to start a night out.
It was pretty quiet on this particular night so not buzzing with the same vibe as I’ve experienced before, but low key and casual is more what we were after. Wine and food ordered it was back to chatting while we waited for the food. The food is designed to share, so it does all come out at different times, but with lots of yummy things to choose from this suited us fine.
First to come out was the slow cooked squid with green mango, mandarin salad and cuttlefish cracker. The green mango and mandarin gave the dish a vibrant colour and was quite tart and acidic but piled onto the delicious cracker gave it some balance. I felt the squid was a little lost in the salad as the other flavours were quite strong but it was still a good dish and I couldn’t stop eating the crackers, super crunchy and topped with a black salt that made them incredibly moorish.
Next up was the free range chicken with Malaysian spice, prawn and tamarind sambal, that my chilli loving friend couldn’t wait to get stuck into. She was disappointed with the lack of heat but as I’m not great when it comes to chilli I really enjoyed it. The chicken was perfectly cooked and so juicy and had a slightly crunchy and really tasty coating.
Our table was kind of split with our sharing choices so we had two different menu’s going on. The other half of the table ordered the potato salad with cucumber pickle, fried onion, egg yolk and air dried pork, as well as the yellow fish and pineapple curry with gooey rice balls and coconut sambal. Both dishes I had eaten here before on previous visits and after my recommendation I was hoping these dishes were as good as I remembered. I managed to sneak a little mouthful of each of them and they were still delicious. I know potato salad is not something you would normally go for at a restaurant but this isn’t any normal boring potato salad. This is one of the best salads I’ve had dining out, is quite hearty and filling and a lovely balance of flavours with the pork, egg and pickle.
The fish curry is also a warm and inviting dish, full of flavour and the gooey rice balls give it an interesting point of difference, designed to leave in the curry for a bit to soak up all that sauce.
The last two dishes for our side of the table were the crisp zucchini flower salad with sour soy dressing, pea tendrils, potato and chilli and couldn’t go past ordering the chicken grill with rice noodles, peanuts, herbs and nuoc cham. The zucchini flower salad was quite a large dish and again quite filling for a salad. Very generous serve with lots of crispy fried zucchini flowers, in what seemed like a tempura batter. The batter had gone a bit chewy and soggy in parts because of the wet salad but I still really liked it. Another well dressed salad with loads of flavour. Even though there was a bit going on in this dish it still had the freshness that I was hoping for to provide some relief.
I think we were all glad we were still a bit hungry once we started on the chicken grill, it was my favourite dish on my last visit and definitely hit the spot once again. Quite familiar flavour combinations and fairly simple but so delicious and tasty you want to just keep going back for more. With the combination of the perfectly cooked, well seasoned chicken, the freshness from the herbs, the salty crunch of the peanuts and those fabulous rice noodles, this dish will always be a winner for me. My chilli loving friend was also happy with the side serve of that nuoc cham to provide the chilli hit she was looking for.
Not too much left on our plates and all sufficiently full we were pretty happy with our menu choices. Alas, again I leave The Standard without getting to try dessert and with all three dessert options calling my name I feel I may have to make a special trip back here just to eat dessert, sounds like a pretty good plan actually.
The food at The Standard is heavily Asian inspired but with a modern twist, a smallish menu but I could pretty much order anything (and everything) and would be happy. Small and large share style plates which I believe are reasonably priced for what you get and lots of big flavours to wet your appetite. The Standard is a great bar and restaurant, perfect for starting off your Friday or Saturday night (they also have great cocktails and punches) but also good for a week day night out or a lazy Sunday lunch in the garden.