Dear Friends Restaurant, Caversham

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One of our best wedding presents that we received was a gift voucher for a degustation at Dear Friends Restaurant in Caversham. Dear Friends is owned and run by Welshman Kiren Mainwaring and his Canadian wife Kelli.  My first introduction to this team’s talent was at the final Largesse dinner held at Petit Mort last year. For this charity event he created a spectacular and beautiful dish of air dried ham, Swan Valley yolk, ajo blanch and foraged herbs. Since this evening I have longed to make the trip to their restaurant in the Swan Valley to be wowed by his creations once again.

"Air dried ham" "Swan Valley Yolk" "ajo blanch" "foraged herbs" "Largesse" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Air dried ham, Swan Valley Yolk, ajo blanch and foraged herbs (From Largesse ’12)

Dear Friends is located on the rural flat lands of the Swan Valley and has featured in the Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant Guide and the Good Food Guide year after year. Chef Kiren focuses on utilising the variety of local and seasonal produce from the region sourcing directly from local farmers or foraged from the wild surrounds. The entrance to the restaurant is quaint and understated, bordering on old fashioned. For our seven course degustation I chose to have the matched wines and for each course sommelier Kelli took time to explain to me the origin of each wine and why she chose it.

"Gluten Free Garlic Bread" "House Churned" "Guernsey butter" "mushroom powder" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Gluten Free Garlic Bread with House Churned Guernsey butter and mushroom powder

The Boy and I now each have our own individual dietary requirements; obviously I’m still gluten free and fructose friendly but more recently the Boy is a vegetarian. I can see how some kitchens would baulk at having the two of us as their customers. Upon arrival we were immediately made to feel relaxed and at ease as our dietary requirements presented the Dear Friends team with no problems. More importantly each of our dishes were not just ones with alterations and deletions but were carefully planned; plated with elegance and originality.

"manchego" "Manchego tacos" "fresh cheese" "lupin chips" "eggplant" "Saratoga chips" "balsamic vinegar" "amuse bouche" "tasters" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Tasters (Matched with 2010 Mann Methode Champenoise, Swan Valley, WA)

Our first course consisted of some “tasters”; call them modern day amuse bouche if you like. There were super cheesy Manchego tacos containing some house made fresh cheese, crispy lupin chips topped with eggplant and Saratoga chips with balsamic vinegar. Despite being proud of both my father’s French heritage and all the cheeses that come from this fabulous country I have to confess Spanish Manchego is by far one of my favourite cheeses. It has such a distinctive flavour and the tacos made me reminiscent of my recent over indulgence in Barcelona.

"Blue Swimmer crab" "Welsh soup" "Welsh watercress soup" "Watercress soup" "Shark Bay Crab" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Watercress soup, Shark Bay Crab (Matched with 2011 Molly Dooker “The Violinist” Verdelho, McLaren Vale, SA)

My next course was a Welsh styled watercress soup. Watercress is supposed to aid with the digestion and this soup certainly did sit wonderfully warm in my stomach. The soft flaky blue swimmer crab contrasted with the strong pepperiness from the watercress leaving a fresh crisp taste on the palate.

"smoked tomato puree" "field mushroom" "oyster mushroom" "Soy Tofu" "Swan Valley Mushroom" "Smoked Tomato" "Parsnip chips" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Soy Tofu, Swan Valley Mushroom, Smoked Tomato, Parsnip (Matched with 2007 John Kosovich Bottle Aged Chenin, Swan Valley, WA)

My third course was the same as the Boy’s as it was a vegetarian dish. Who on Earth said vegetarian food was boring? Silky cubes of home-made soy tofu and locally grown Swan Valley field and oyster mushrooms sat upon a richly flavoured bed of smoky tomato puree. Some crunchy parsnip chips provided an interesting change in texture. This dish threatened to turn any meat eater into a vegetarian!

"fennel" "seafood" "ink puree" "cuttlefish Ink" "cuttlefish" "Asparagus Shoots" "Japanese turnip" "Turnip" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

WA cuttlefish Ink, Asparagus Shoots, Turnip (Matched with 2010 Moric Blaufrankisch, Burgenland, Austria)

My next course of West Australian cuttlefish was served with tender tips of new season asparagus, Muchea grown Japanese turnips and shavings of fennel. I was intrigued by these turnips having never eaten them before as they were nearly as sweet as the fennel and as soft like potato. As I made my way through each of the generous wine matches I was glad this dish featured early in the meal. I tend to be a bit of a messy eater; which can worsen the more wine I drink. I could see the potential for me making a complete spectacle of myself and ending up with black ink purée everywhere.

"pickled cucumber" "cured pork" "german cured pork" "Kassler Cured Pork" "Pea" "Yellow Squash" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Kassler Cured Pork, Pea, Yellow Squash (Matched with 2012 Myattsfield Shiraz, Mouvedre, Viognier, Bickley Valley, WA)

As much as I am very respectful and proud of the Boy in his strong decision to become a vegetarian, I am yet to join him 100% and for my next course I could sense his disapproval at me eating animal flesh. I can console myself that Dear Friends source their organic free range pork from Margaret River Big Red Pork. Big Red’s pigs are kept in small family groups and run free range in the creek lines, grass lands and woodlands of their farm. They are fed on a natural diet of grasses, legumes, grains and grubs which gives the meat a characteristic dark colour. The Kassler pork loin was cured using a German technique which involves smoking and ripening the meat in brine for about 7-10 days. It was served with yellow squash and pickled cucumber. The cucumber gave some lovely sweetened acidity to the saltiness of the meat.

"farm" "slow cooked egg" "freshly foraged vegetables" "herbs" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

From the Farm

There was no missing out for the Boy as his next vegetarian course looked just as mouth-watering as mine. A near-translucent slow cooked egg sat nestled in amongst a variety of freshly foraged vegetables and herbs. As he cut into the egg, the yolk burst into life engulfing everything on his plate. Regrettably I missed the opportunity to take a picture of this egg porn moment as I was far too engrossed enjoying my cured pork.

"horseradish" "slow cooked lamb" "lamb cutlet" "Dorper Lamb" "Celeriac" "Brussel Sprouts" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Dorper Lamb, Celeriac, Brussel Sprouts (Matched with 2011 Cherubino Laissez Faire Syrah, Porongurup, WA)

My final main course was undoubtedly one of the highlights. Over the years I have worked my way through eating a variety of slow cooked meats but this was my first opportunity to enjoy a lamb cutlet prepared in this way. It was just as delicately soft as you could ever imagine. To complete the decadence it was finished with a bone marrow jus. Oh heaven! I was grateful for the lack of pretension and stuffiness as I just couldn’t help myself picking up the chop with my fingers and nibbling every last tasty morsel off the bone, not something I could get away with at every fine dining establishment. My Mum would shudder at the thought!

"Brussel sprouts" "celeriac" "fermented chenin hollandaise" "Welsh sausage" "Welsh vegetarian sausage" "cheese sausage" "Glamorgan Sausage" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Glamorgan Sausage

The Boy’s final main dish was a thick Glamorgan sausage served with Brussel sprouts, celeriac and broccoli. Glamorgan sausage is a traditional Welsh vegetarian sausage made with cheese, leek, potato, cabbage, herbs and breadcrumbs. A fermented Chenin hollandaise sauce was drizzled luxuriously over everything on his plate.

"Macadamia" "glazed cumquat" "curd" "Tulle" "white chocolate " "dessert" "desserts" "Pre dessert" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Pre dessert

It was now time to veer away from all these amazing savoury courses and enjoy some sweets. Our pre-dessert teaser consisted of two medallions of macadamia and white chocolate chiboust which is basically pastry cream lightened with egg white meringue. Light and airy, each portion of chiboust dissolved with a “poof” on the tongue. Dollops of kumquat curd and glazed kumquats gave a tart element to the dish along with the nutty sweetness of shavings of locally grown macadamias. The Boy also received a paper thin peppercorn tuille.

"carrot ice-cream" "honey comb" "marshmallows" "blueberries" "sour grass flower" "carrot "dessert" "desserts" "cake" "gluten free cake" "purple carrot cake" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Carrot cake (Matched with 2008 Carmes De Rieussec Sauternes AC, Sauternes, France)

Our dessert was quite possibly one of the most stunning carrot cakes I have ever seen.  Made with purple carrots it was scattered in soft crumbles around a scoop of carrot ice-cream and decorated with honey comb, marshmallows, fresh blueberries and cute little sour grass flowers. As my belly expanded over the top of my pants it was hard to believe our magical afternoon was nearly over.

"Ubriaco al Vino Rosso" "Italian hard cheese" "Northern Italy" "West Australian brie" "Dellendale" "brie" "Denmark" "Colsten Bassett Shropshire Blue" "blue cheese" "cheese course" "cheese" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Cheese course (Matched with Mc Williams Amontillado Oak Aged Sherry, Hanwood, NSW & A R Valdespino El Candado Pedro Ximenez, Jerez, Spain)

However as many of you will know, it doesn’t matter how full I am I can always fit in cheese. The cheese course at Dear Friends is an optional extra but if you have the gumption to squeeze it in I can highly recommend it. Our three cheeses were Ubriaco al Vino Rosso, an Italian hard cheese from Northern Italy, a West Australian brie from Dellendale in Denmark and Colsten Bassett Shropshire Blue, a lesser known blue from the same cheese makers as the famous English Blue Stilton. Kelli continued to be far too generous and offered me not one but two different wine matches to go with our cheese; thank goodness I wasn’t driving!

"coffee" "short machiatto" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

At last! A dego with coffee!

The concept of enjoying a coffee after a degustation is always so appealing. However most of our dego experiences are in the evening so unless I want to lay wide awake in bed all night I tend to end up drinking tea instead. I look on in envy at those that can drink coffee after dinner and then fall blissfully asleep. Being a lunch time meal I was in luck this time round as the time to sleep was still a long way off. Knowing this was a rare opportunity I made sure I savoured every last drop.

"petit fours" "Coffee nougat" "aerated dark chocolate" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Perth restaurants" "Perth food reviews" "swan valley" "Middle swan" "Swan Valley food reviews" "swan valley reviews" "swan valley gluten free" "Dear Friends Restaurant" "Dear Friends caversham" "Dear Friends" "Kiren Mainwaring" "Fine dining" "degustation" "local produce" "foraging" "Caversham" "vegetarian degustation" "vegetarian fine dining" "vegetarian" "vegetarian restaurant"

Petit fours: Coffee nougat and aerated dark chocolate (both gluten free)

It is easy to see why Dear Friends has maintained their position as one of Perth’s top restaurants for a number of years. Sommelier Kelli provides charming and faultless service whilst each dish clearly shows Kiren’s passion and love for his craft. A definite thumbs up from both of us; and as we walked away we were already planning our visit to their East Perth digs Co-Op Dining.

Dear Friends Restaurant
100 Benara Road, Caversham WA 6055 | (08) 9279 2815 | www.dearfriends.com.au
 
Price:                     $$$$ ($115 for a 7 course degustation, $70 for matched wine)    
Food:                    5/5 (each dish was filled with wonderment despite our different dietary requirements)
Service:                5/5 (charming, knowledgeable and with a humble sense of well-deserved pride)
Ambience:          4/5 (you do feel like you are in the country)
Drinks:                  4.5/5 (seamless matching of wines)
Total:                     18.5/20

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6 Thoughts on “Dear Friends Restaurant, Caversham

  1. OMG CHomp, seriously, that lamb looks so awesome. Looking at the meat, I can tell the intensity of its melt. The marbling looks amazing! Looks like you had a really good time there!

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