opinion

Going Steady in the Windy City review: Geraldton’s exquisite Emerald Room is an unexpected delight

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
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Journalist Lisa Favazzo enjoying a nice dinner.
Camera IconJournalist Lisa Favazzo enjoying a nice dinner. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian, Lisa Favazzo

Tucked away in a very unremarkable brick building by the highway out of town sits a little green Geraldton gem we have been meaning to try for a while now.

The Emerald Room promotes itself as an upmarket dining experience attached to motel- style accommodation.

It’s a bold juxtaposition, but anyone who has seen Harry Styles in a dress knows the unexpected can be delightful.

After spending the weekend wearing winter socks and watching Netflix, my date and I booked a table for Monday night.

Every table had a white tablecloth, more forks and knives than I knew how to use correctly, and a small ramekin of carefully shaped butter.

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A friendly waitress greeted us and didn’t pressure us to make any food decisions too quickly.

The menu was long and detailed, and full of delicacies, so we appreciated the time to mull it over.

It was seafood-heavy, which I am sure is a drawcard for tourists given we are right on the ocean.

However, there were also great options for vegetarians, vegans and people who don’t eat seafood.

The barbecue plate at the Emerald Room.
Camera IconThe barbecue plate at the Emerald Room. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian, Lisa Favazzo

Somebody working behind the scenes appreciates alliteration because several menu items read like newspaper headlines — sambal squid salad, chicken camembert, pumpkin Persian penne.

I went for the perfect-sounding penne, which came with roast pumpkin, charred capsicum, caramelised onion, Persian fetta, and crushed macadamias.

I almost ordered an eggplant dish, but the fancy nuts pushed the pasta across the line.

My date went full-on carnivore and ordered the barbecue plate.

It came with barbecue pork belly ribs, green apple coleslaw, lemon aioli, cornbread, and emerald hot sauce.

Liam Beatty’s barbecue plate. Pics: Lisa Favazzo
Camera IconLiam Beatty’s barbecue plate. Pics: Lisa Favazzo Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

While we waited for our mains, we received piping hot dinner rolls, which we liberally smeared with butter.

I am almost sure I used the wrong knife to do so. My pasta was sweet, with the pumpkin the undeniable dominant flavour.

However, the bitter, smoky capsicum played a balancing role, and the meal was tasty — especially once I doused it with a healthy dose of pepper. Despite being only an entree, it was more than enough to fill me up.

My only criticism — a hair-splitting critique — was the pasta could have used a touch less time on the stove.

My date’s barbecue board was so big I half-expected Miley Cyrus to pop out of the pork ribs wearing ripped denim shorts and singing Party in the USA.

Pumpkin, Persian and Penne from The Emerald Room in Geraldton.
Camera IconPumpkin, Persian and Penne from The Emerald Room in Geraldton. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

He described the flavour palette as “cola with a touch of chilli”, saying the meat was perfectly tender and also rather sweet.

It came with a tiny potion bottle of emerald sauce — a whimsical aesthetic touch.

The spice-cautious shouldn’t be wary, as it was more flavour than fire. That said, my date would have preferred a chilli KO.

Our meals, and two lovely glasses of red wine, were just over $70. It was a splurge for a Monday night, but the restaurant, with its inconspicuous exterior, puts on an offering worthy of its price point: red wine, warm bread, good food and a venue calm enough for conversation to flow.

This Geraldton gem was a great lullaby to end a weekday.

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