I promise you that I once walked out of here on a blistering cold Friday night, underfed and underwhelmed - it was the Old Faithful Bar's second day in on King Street and I was already bitterly disappointed. I didn't share my opinions then because quite frankly, it is unfair to judge a new place on one visit and I was also too pissed off at the time to string any nice sentences together. I love King Street and I had high hopes - so I decided to leave Ol' Faithful be for a few weeks to settle in and thankfully so, because boy have they come a long way since day two and cold, bone dry meat.
I've flitted in and out of here three or four times in the last few weeks - for everything from Saturday night drinks, mid afternoon snacks and the big night time banquet with a rowdy clan in tow. There are still a few things on the menu that are pretty take it or leave it; well okay, one thing - better cornbread and maple butter can be found on the opposite side of the train tracks, but you'll do well at Old Faithful if you stick to the meats.
For $20 a head, you can get a decent spread for a group of six or more - we went for the $80 Big Sur Platter (Chopping Pig, Beef Brisket, Lamb Leg & Pig Middles, as well as enough sides for days) plus some extra Beef Ribs on the side ($15 a serve). I was met with that dreamy amber smoked meat that I've drooled over during every Man v. Food episode. I'm particularly fond of dousing the sweet, fatty brisket with their smokey barbecue sauce and moping up the meaty remnants with a hunk of crusty bread. It's all very primal and not very lady like - but if there's ever a time to leave a majority of your table manners at the door, this is it.
By 4:45PM on a Saturday, there were a line of eager punters building up outside Old Faithful's doors and by 5:10PM, there was not a single empty seat in the house - the good word seems to already be getting around. If you're not fond of waiting around for 2 hours with a drink and nibbling your way through the bar snacks menu, get in early.
It's a stark contrast in between the weekday afternoon lull, but I quite enjoyed coming here in the downtime. It's a flexible space and it's exactly what Perth needed; I already know that when 5PM seems too far, I could easily slip in for a beer and some Crispy Pig Face Chunks ($7.00) Be aware that they phase out their lunch menu from about 3PM onwards and you're limited to bar snacks from there until 5PM, when they'll once more start rolling out kingly platters of middles, chopped meat and crispy bits.
This place is not just a feast for the gluttons, but also for interior design freaks like myself - I'm particularly fond of the bathroom decor and even the barmen aprons; hipster level, off the charts. Beyond being concept meets execution, there's also a well placed on the actual meat itself; it seems that they've really listened to the feedback that was propelled to them within the first few weeks and their commitment to keeping the food consistent has paid off. Also, don't leave without giving that milkshake a whirl - creamy vanilla and bourbon were just meant to be together.