Last night the Boy and I braved the elements to attend the Taste of Perth 2016 festival. This is certainly one of my favourite food festivals despite the fact that the past two years have had less than perfect weather. For those of you who have yet to attend Taste, my best way to describe it is an outdoor roving degustation. Many of Perth’s top restaurants participate offering a small selection of their signature dishes to try. There is always a decent amount of gluten free options too which makes a refreshing change from many other festivals held over the year. To help guide you through your Taste experience this weekend, here’s my Taste of Perth 2016 gluten free tips .
The Boy and I share a similar approach to these type of events which consistently will result in both of us overeating, but then I am sure that this is actually half the fun. We get so absorbed with the “hunt” for our favourite dish of the night that we both end up ignoring the painful sensation of bulging bellies and keep pushing on. This year was no different!
My favourite stall for this year was newcomer Manuka Woodfire Kitchen. I have been a huge fan of Chef Kenny McHardy for some time and love his Fremantle restaurant.
Manuka’s wood roasted chicken was equally as amazing as when I ate it on their home turf, and it would appear that I am not the only one who thought so. At the Best in Taste awards last night the judges gave this dish a unanimous first place. Marinated in miso to give a magical umami hit, the chicken was served with pickled red cabbage dressed with roasted sesame seeds. It is a must try dish regardless of whether you are gluten free or not.
Another notable dish at Manuka was their vegetarian dish of blackened carrots. The carrots had the smooth texture of roasted pumpkin with crunchy dukkah sprinkled over the top. A blob of whipped feta with coffee and date puree added an interesting mix of sweet and subtle bitterness.
The final dish we tried at Manuka was their new season King Prawns. Once again Chef McHardy showed his talent in using very few ingredients to create a perfectly balanced dish. He paired the wood fired fresh prawns with a dollops of hot sauce and shaved pickled cucumber and fresh fennel.
Asado returned once again this year with their usual fare of meat, meat and more meat. Their kitchen is always a sight for the eyes with various chunk of flesh bubbling away on the hot plates.
This year they had a number of gluten free options including the pig’s head taco which comes with slaw, chipotle aioli and a decent serve of crackling. Maybe it is just because I am not actually the biggest fan of pork, however I was a little underwhelmed by this dish and found the pork to be quite dry and chewy.
Asado’s icon dish of blackened chicken won back some brownie points with me. The chicken was so tender that that it fell off the bone which was fortunate because we could only find spoons to eat it with! The chicken was heavily laden with a thick drizzle of spicy chimichurri which had a pleasant spicy and sour kick.
Our last stop for the night was Bib & Tucker. It was so lovely to see familiar faces behind the counter. I was grateful to Chef Scott Bridger for providing so many gluten free options too.
The first dish we tried at Bib & Tucker was their roasted Fremantle octopus which won them third place in the Best in Taste awards. I was pretty excited to find the octopus was not tough nor chewy. After being spoilt with eating copious perfect octopus in Barcelona, I wish I could find chefs that respect cooking octopus like this more often. It was served with beetroot skordolia, thinly sliced kohl rabi and squid ink crackers.
Bib & Tucker’s vegetarian option was even more mouth watering than I expected. A duo of roasted and shaved cauliflower were served with moreish Manjimup hazelnuts, luscious brown butter and goat curd.
The last dish we tried from Bib & Tucker was my second favourite for the night; the charcoal roasted lamb shoulder. This lamb was slow cooked to the point it nearly had the texture of custard and dissolved in the mouth like a piece of heaven. It was served with spiced eggplant, smoked yoghurt and topped with air-light puffed grains. As the Boy and I moaned in delight devouring our second round of the lamb we had a giggle at the somewhat tipsy girl next to us exclaiming how “flavoury” and “amazeballs” the dish was.
Taste of Perth runs every year in April and brings out talent from our top restaurants all in one location. There are also many other wine and food producer stalls to visit, entertainment and VIP lounges for those wanting something a bit more special. Whilst it isn’t the cheapest food festival on the circuit it is one that I always thoroughly enjoy.
Disclaimer: Chompchomp was an invited guest at Taste of Perth. She purchased all dishes described above herself.