Besk is all about great product and easy-going good times. 500 bottles of wine from players both traditional and radical are available to stay or go. The smart fire-fuelled cooking is ample reason to stick around, though.
The nuts & bolts
Function spaces: 40 guests (cellar)
At Besk in West Leederville, there’s no clear delineation between bottle shop floor and public bar. James Lorimer, wine buyer for the venue, says this was no accident. The 200-seat space is an “interactive library”, where customers can choose from bottles on the shelf, rather than a printed list.
The name Besk comes from an old Danish word that roughly references a bitter flavour profile, which is a tongue-in-cheek nod to pretension-free dining. It’s a community-minded space (read: you can bring your kids) that’s open seven days a week, with an outside area for 60 that’s the place to be when the sun is shining.
The shop houses roughly 500 unique wines and 600 unique beers, as well as spirits and many non-alcoholic options. Lorimer says there’s a large focus on organic and biodynamic producers with minimal/no additions, although it’s not a “hard and fast rule”.
The 20-strong glass list is displayed on screens behind the bar (guests can also scan a QR code), along with 20 rotating beer taps for drink-in and takeaway via BYO growlers. It’s an impressive cross-continental craft selection that ranges from Western Australia’s Hop Nation to Garage Project in New Zealand and a Burly Oak from Maryland in the United States.
Following an early collaboration with former Young Gun of Wine Jo Perry of Dormilona, the house wine is now a custom cuvee from Eagle Bay in Margaret River (a semillon and sauvignon blend and a cabernet merlot). Other local drops include a crunchy chilled red from Brave New Wine in Great Southern and a buttery chardonnay from Nannup Estate.
Head chef Tom Harper’s menu is share-plate focused and laden with wine-friendly food. Think tuna tartare with house-made potato chips, and bonito flakes, or gnocchi with blistered tomato, local mushrooms and brown butter.
Besk takes bookings, but only for around half of the space, leaving the remainder open for walk-ins. “We encourage a relaxed and informal atmosphere so that people can come down with their dog, sit out the front and enjoy a bowl of chips with some riesling, a Soave with tuna tartare, or even a nice glass of something fizzy with fried chicken,” Lorimer says.