Taste of Perth is a three-day food festival held at Langley Park from the 2nd to the 4th of May 2014. The Taste Festivals are popular all around the world and this is the first year the amazing event finally arrives in Perth. It brings together in one location many of our city’s famous chefs allowing visitors to sample a multitude of signature dishes in a single experience.
The chef line-up for the weekend includes some of the best dining Perth has to offer such as Nobu, Greenhouse, Silks, Print Hall, Lalla Rookh, Bistro Guillaume, el Público , Co-op Dining, No4 Blake Street and Bib & Tucker.
There will also be a number of other gourmet food and beverage stalls, interactive attractions, master classes and cooking demonstrations for you to check out in between devouring multiple courses of do-it-yourself degustation. The event expects an attendance of over 15,000 foodies over the course of the weekend with a choice of either a lunch session under the sun or a dinner session under the stars. I attended the evening session as a guest on the Friday night along with my fellow Eat Drink Perth bloggers.
There were a number of gluten free options available with most of the kitchens having something on offer. Having listened to my husband talk up eating bugs after his positive experiences at a number of Thailand night markets I figured I should do him the honour and give them a go.
The fried crickets are served with chilli salt and tasted somewhat like whitebait with a crisp exterior and a distinctly soft but not unpleasant centre. They were very salty which enabled me to wash down the artisan mescal without too much effort, although I did call on Ai-Ling from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse to help me out. Being a wonderful friend she was more than happy to oblige.
Ai-Ling’s recommendation for my next dish wasn’t one that I had originally planned to eat however it actually ended up being one of the best dishes of the night. This was No4 Blake Street’s lamb belly. Yes you heard it right, LAMB belly. It had all the alternating layers of flesh and fat you would expect from a belly but with the rich depth of lamb flavour instead of the more familiar pork. It was served with a pomegranate glaze, charred eggplant and fava bean tofu.
Not being a big meat eater these days I was keen to freshen up my palate with something vegetarian and moved across to the adjacent stall Bib & Tucker. Their vegetarian beetroot salad was also gluten free. It was an interesting play on textures with puréed, shaved and roasted beets tossed with Swiss chard, barrel aged feta, tiny little husks of crispy quinoa and tart pomegranate dressing. Within minutes of ordering this dish I was summoned by my group as it was time for us to return back to the VIP tent for the announcement of the Gala awards. I should have really given a bit more thought to my dish choice as I looked a bit awkward in the posh VIP area trying to eat messy salad while holding a camera, handbag and champagne. A large portion of it ended up on the floor along with my fork, and some of it on my friends! (Sorry Michelle! xx)
Regrettably there wasn’t anything gluten free to eat in the VIP lounge excluding the freshly shucked oysters. Not that I was sad I had to eat lots of oysters but a few more options would have been better, especially given the price of the tickets at $135 per person. Once the formalities of the evening had finished, I was happy to dash back out into the crowds to complete my crazed eating binge.
My next stop was Co-op Dining. I absolutely love the Mainwaring’s and everything they stand for; sustainability, local produce and seasonality. I already had marked on my menu the duck and chestnut soup as a hopeful gluten free option and was over the moon to hear my prediction was correct. Creamy thick chestnut soup warmed my chilled bones while the luscious chunks of duck confit soothed my soul. This was also one of my favourites of the night.
My group was starting to slow in pace at this point. We had already knocked back quite a few champagnes and wanted to make sure that our final selections were wise ones. The unanimous decision was for Nonna’s meatballs from Lalla Rookh. I prepared myself for the bad news that they were not gluten free and my suspicions were correct. Whilst the chef informed me there was only a “trace” of gluten, that little smidge is enough to ruin my night so I shimmied next door to Greenhouse.
Greenhouse could do a number of options gluten free which left me somewhat indecisive for a few brief moments before I settled on the paper bark smoked barramundi. Topped with bacon and on a bed of sauerkraut it was super tasty and surely it was also somewhat healthy. After eating the barramundi and bacon pieces out of the bowl I spared myself the fructose aftermath by only nibbling a small mouthful of the sauerkraut. It was just enough for me to enjoy the flavours before I reluctantly cast it away.
I had room for just one more. And to be honest I only had enough crowns to buy one more too. I opted for the piece de la resistance; Bistro Guillaume’s salted caramel macaron. This is no macaron for the light hearted and in fact I question whether this can actually be called a macaron at all. In fact I prefer to call it a salted caramel dessert burger. It filled my whole hand and took me several minutes to eat.
Whilst I was initially a little disturbed at the gigantic abomination I had purchased, with each bite that I took the whole concept of this dessert burger won me over. It was certainly something different and absolutely worth trying however I couldn’t see myself binging through a whole box of 20. It least not without making myself very sick!
Taste of Perth runs all this weekend and tickets can be purchased at the gate. Like many of these food festivals, food and beverages are purchased using a currency called “Crowns” which you can purchase on site very easily with cash or cards.
For more details head to the Taste of Perth website.Disclaimer: Chompchomp visited the Taste of Perth Festival as a guest of 3am Thoughts PR. My meals were purchased with my own money. Nobu Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood WA 6100 | (08) 9362 7551 | www.noburestaurants.com/perth www.greenhouseperth.com www.crownperth.com.au/restaurants/premium/silks www.printhall.com.au www.lallarookh.com.au www.bistroguillaumeperth.com.au www.elpublico.com.au www.co-opdining.com.au www.no4blakestreet.com.au www.bibandtucker.net.au
Last year during the Gourmet Escape food and wine festival in Margaret River I attended a dinner event with Miles Irving, an Englishman known worldwide for promoting foraging of wild produce. In the aftermath of the evening I found no desire to write about my experience largely because the food served for the evening was bland and tasted more like catering than fine dining. And let’s be honest, what’s a blog post without pretty pictures? What also uninspired me was I felt the attitudes of the evening toward sustainability for our precious wildlife ecosystems was somewhat lacking. I was left disappointed and wanting to know more about what our native food tastes like without damaging our delicate environment. Enter Fervor.
Fervor is a family run business who specialise in providing unique pop-up dining experiences that are held at a variety of locations around Western Australia. They are dedicated to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, a philosophy that I immediately can connect with. They are huge supporters of local small businesses and are passionate in helping enhance the community feel in the regional towns they visit. Many of their signature dishes are centred on using native Australian plants that are obtained from small-scale producers or collected with permission from private properties. They are extremely mindful of sustainability and will limit what they take to avoid negatively impacting the environment. For Eat Drink Perth this year, they graced us people of Perth with their presence for one amazing night that was suitably held on the rooftop at Greenhouse, a restaurant on St Georges Terrace that is also focused on these concepts.
Every tiny detail of the evening proudly showcased produce from this great State of ours. On arrival we were served gin from the Grove Distillery in the Margaret River region. If you are ever in the South West, I highly recommend a visit to The Grove. Their staff are dynamic and entertaining and if you enjoy flavoured liqueurs, you will find more than a few to tickle your taste buds. The Grove gin was served with tonic and fresh pearls of finger limes from Marvick Native Farms in Moore River.
The evening was very intimate with only 30 guests which encouraged relaxed conversation to spark up between strangers. While we enjoyed our gin a number of small canapés were offered around. Included were twigs of crispy saltbush that looked like they would be barely palatable yet they were tastier than any packet of chips I’ve ever eaten.
One of my favourite canapés was the pickled dried youlk, a type of Australia tuber that is similar to a potato. The youlk was paired with Samphire powder and small little dried native apples called muntries. The macadamia crisps had a light, dissolving texture similar to that of a prawn cracker and were dusted with macadamia snow and roasted crushed macadamias. The macadamias are sourced from Treeton Road’s macadamias in South West of WA.
Set up next to our long table was the chef’s pass where the talented team plated up all of our dishes with tender love and attention. It enhanced the informality of the evening as in between each course all the guests would gather around the chefs mesmerised while they created such beautiful masterpieces before our eyes.
Our first course was a single poached Albany oyster obtained from a sustainable farm in southern Western Australia. It was garnished with ruby saltbush berries and finger lime vinaigrette. The oyster slid out of the shell effortlessly and left a wonderful fresh taste in the mouth. It was paired with a glass of South Coast Cider from the Old Coast Road Brewery in Myalup.
Our second entrée was an Esperance scallop served with fermented riberries and juice, sea celery oil and macadamias. Riberries are a type of Australian Lilly Pilli with a tart flavour with subtle hints of cinnamon and cloves. They complemented the more savoury flavours of the macadamia and gentle sweet creaminess of the scallop. This was matched with a 2006 Semillon from Cape Naturalist winery. This winery only produces a small amount of hand crafted wines of very high quality. Their Semillon had a hint of oak and ended with a beautiful citrusy finish.
As the sun set and the combination of good food and drink filled our veins, the mood became even more ambient. I learnt that some of the guests at our table were die-hard Fervor fans having come all the way from Mukinbudin, a wheat belt town halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie. They were lucky enough to have had Fervor come to their tiny town for a sell-out night which encouraged one of the couples to invite them back to cater for their wedding. Hearing stories about how their Fervor dinner experience brought all the town together was so heart-warming.
Our next course was a Yallingup marron with lemon myrtle emulsion and handmade sea salt. This piece of marron was incredible enough to rival that which we had at Co-op Dining for our anniversary dinner last year. Tender and super sweet, the marron was sourced from a local winery where is sustainably farmed in dams. It was paired with Eagle Bay Brewery’s Pale Ale which I did not drink as it wasn’t gluten free.
Our first main course involved a bit of guest involvement which is a great way to add another level of entertainment to the evening. Local crab with Samphire was served in terracotta pots with a slow cooked, unopened egg and fire roasted bread. My gluten free requirement was not overlooked and I received my own serve of gluten free bread with separate butter to avoid contamination.
I gently cracked open my egg and let it carefully slide into my dish with the crab before slicing into the soft yolk and watching it slowly envelop everything on the plate. My heart nearly stopped a beat it was THAT good.
The next main dish of kangaroo tail required a fair bit of artistic plating by the chef and his team so once again we gathered around the pass to be fascinated by their effortless creations. Fervor chose to use kangaroo as it is abundant in Western Australia and they source it from a bio-dynamic, free range producer. The plates were vibrantly decorated with rich marron coloured slashes of Wild Rosella purée in addition to red gum ash, crispy salt bush and macadamia.
Amongst my various food intolerances and allergies, I have learnt the hard way that I am strangely allergic to kangaroo. My reaction is similar to that I imagine someone with a nut allergy would have. My throat swells up and I have trouble swallowing; it is altogether unpleasant. Consequently I requested an alternate meat and was offered lamb instead. This course was paired with a beautiful drop of ruby red 2006 Merops Ornatus.
Our palate cleanser was a scoop of eucalyptus ice which was refreshing and cleared the palate for the two courses of dessert.
The first dessert centred on the quandong, an extremely diverse and unique Australian fruit that is related to sandalwood. The fruit is quite versatile providing both edible flesh around the nut in addition to a more interesting flavoured kernel inside the nut.
Our dessert was carefully constructed on pieces of rock with layers of coal toasted meringue, quandong kernel cream, quandong relish and quandong sherbet garnished with preserved quandongs. The flavour was reminiscent of a cross between a sweet apricot and more sour tasting rhubarb.
Our second dessert was served in small little jars that contained a puff of sandalwood smoke that wafted out when you opened it. Inside the jar contained smooth milk ice cream and wattle seed curd topped with shards of fresh local honeycomb and crystallised sea lettuce.
The smoky taint gave a beautiful rounded finish to the array of textures and flavours. This finale was paired with a 2011 Cane Cut Riesling from Cape Grace one of my favourite wineries in Margaret River.
In a perfect way to end the meal, a collection of petit fours were handed around the table including wattle seed lamingtons and strawberry gum truffles. Only the truffles were gluten free so I figured I deserved more than just a few of them and helped myself to a handful. I was told the lamingtons were ever so light and fluffy and the wattle seed imparted an interesting coffee flavour to them.
As tea and coffee were served, Chef Paul and his sister Bree made some closing remarks to thank us all for joining them on such a beautiful evening in Perth. Their passion and energy was so inspiring and it was such a beautiful thing to have the privilege to be part of it all. I love that their Fervor vision is not only to showcase to guests what amazing flavours are out there in the Australian bush but to always ensure sustainability of what they harvest whilst respecting our environment and supporting our local communities.
Fervor | Australian pop-up dining | www.fervor.com.auFervor was held at The Greenhouse Perth on the 6th April 2014 for Eat Drink Perth. This was not a sponsored event and Chompchomp paid full price for her ticket at $225 per person all inclusive. Fervor travel all around Western Australia, check out their website for their next pop-up location. Held at Greenhouse Perth 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000 | (08) 9481 8333 | www.greenhouseperth.com
This year sparks the very first year that the internationally acclaimed Taste Festival hits our shores. Taste Festivals are held in 18 cities around the world including London, Milan and Sydney. Taste of Perth is a food event not to be missed that will take your festival foodie experience well above and beyond the familiar battling of crowds for a nibble on free samples to a higher end design-your-own degustation extravaganza.
For three days the festival will take over Langley Park as hot shot chefs from around town show off their signature dishes in one location. Already secured on the line up are Nobu, Greenhouse, Silks, Print Hall, Lalla Rookh, Bistro Guillaume and el Público with more restaurants to be announced in the coming weeks.
I can already start to imagine what amazing designer dego creations might be able to be created by these amazing Perth chefs; I’m dreaming of freshly shucked oysters topped with cucumber chilli granita from Lalla Rookh, something hyperlocal and sustainable from Greenhouse, the heart stopping Black Miso cod from Nobu, wood grilled black salsify with oyster mushrooms and ricotta from Print Hall and I would love to end it all with el Publico’s peanut butter parfait with dulche de leche praline.
In addition to the star studded line up there will be a multitude of other activities including master classes, live cooking demonstrations, interactive cooking classes, expert wine tasting and live entertainment.For your chance to WIN a DOUBLE PASS to Taste of Perth valued at $64, describe what dishes you want to eat for your perfect designer degustation in the comments section below then head over and like my Facebook page and sign up to receive my Chompchomp updates by email. You can be as creative as you like! If you are stuck for ideas check out the restaurants menus for inspiration. Good luck!
Competition Terms and Conditions
● This competition is open to all Chompchomp readers who have an Australian postal address
● The two winners of the double passes will be chosen by myself and the Boy based on the most interesting and creative answer written in the comments section below who have additionally liked my Chompchomp Facebook page and signed up for Chompchomp updates by email.
● Entries close 5.00pm Thursday 24th April 2014 – COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSEDTaste of Perth: The World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival | www.tasteofperth.com.au 2-4th May 2014, Langley Park Tickets available from purchase through Ticketek here Proudly part of Eat Drink Perth
This year I am very excited to be selected as one of the four official bloggers for Perth’s biggest food festival Eat Drink Perth. For the whole month of April there will be foodie events to suit everyone’s budgets and tastes held right across our fabulous City. The festival will climax at the end with Taste of Perth occurring in the first week of May. Taste is an international restaurant festival that is held in 18 cities around the world and this year is the first time it comes to Perth.
Eat Drink Perth 2014 will include a number of events that focus on providing gluten free and fructose friendly options leaving me spoilt for choice, here’s a Taste of what’s to come!
1. Fervor @ GreenhouseSunday 6th April, Greenhouse Perth, 100 St Georges Terrace $225 | Bookings essential | 6 pm | www.fervor.com.au
I love being part of something more exclusive and look forward to heading to Greenhouse for their degustation event by Fervor. This intimate event will cater for just 30 guests and is held at one of my favourite spots in Perth. We will get to sample some of the incredible native food that our state has to offer all matched with wines from our Southwest region.
2. Yum Cha in the ParkSaturday 12th April, Northbridge Piazza Free entry | 11 am-4 pm | visitperthcity.com
The fabulous Chinese tradition of yum cha is something of an institution in many Chinese restaurants in Northbridge every Sunday. Friends and family laugh and share dishes of dumplings, pork buns and even chicken feet. Entering its third year, Yum Cha in the Park returns for a day of entertainment including lion dances, live music and of course lots of traditional little dishes. There will even be a chicken feet eating competition to win flights to China with China Airways.
3. Food Truck RumbleSaturday 13th April, Perth Cultural Centre Free entry | 11 am-8 pm | Facebook | Twitter
The Food Truck movement has finally hit with full force in Perth and many of these trucks offer gluten free friendly options. Having already become addicted to both Marcelita’s Empanadas and Delish Ice’s sweet treats I am hanging out to see what else will be on offer at the Food Truck Rumble.
4. Pizza Date Night with Paul MacNishWednesday 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30th April, Northbridge Piazza Free | Food Demo 7.3 0pm, Movie 8.30 pm | visitperthcity.com
Get over hump day with a mid-week movie night. Arrive early to watch Perth personality Paul MacNish cook up some delicious dishes for the audience to try. There will also be fresh wood fired pizzas to buy before you get yourself getting comfy for the movie screening which starts at 8.30pm. Food is catered for by CNR Kitchen who are well known for their healthy menu focusing on paleo, raw, vegan and gluten free options.
5. Perth Home GrownSunday 6, 13, 20 & 27 April, Forrest Place, Murray Street Free entry | 11 am-4 pm | visitperthcity.com
I am a huge advocate of local and organic produce sourced from farmers markets. Perth Home Grown Markets offer a weekly changing variety of stalls focusing on wholesome goodness, sustainable options and eco-friendly living. There will be cooking demonstrations and activities including an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Day. Most importantly there will be plenty of ready to eat food options to provide you will the sustenance to carry all your goods back to the car!
6. High Tea at Muse CaféSaturday 5, 12, 19 & 26th April, Western Australian Museum, James Street, Northbridge $46 per person | 11 am & 1 pm | Book on 9221 4110
Held in the beautiful heritage listed Western Australian Museum building and offering both vegetarian and gluten free options. I am going to try and convince the Boy to do his first High Tea with me…wish me luck!
7. Gluten free cooking with Rebecca KerrFriday 4th April, City of Perth Library, Level 1, 140 William Street, Perth Free entry | 1-2 pm | Register
Rebecca Kerr will be presenting a free event at the City of Perth Library on gluten free cooking. I am always keen to learn more about how to eat healthier and live gluten free. She will be preparing some delicious creations for all attendees to sample.
8. Progressive Dinner TourHosted by Two Feet & A Heartbeat, every Monday and Tuesday in April Meet at Perth Town Hall | $150 per person | 6.30 pm | twofeet.com
In Perth City we have so many fabulous fine dining options so why not visit three in one night? The progressive dinner tours will have you at different venues for each course covering a total of three restaurants in one evening. Dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.
9. International Great Waiters RaceSunday 27th April, 2-8 pm, Claisebrook Cover, East Perth Free entry | www.perthwaitersrace.com
Make sure you head down to Claisebrook Cove for some action packed free entertainment at the International Great Waiters Race. This is the first year Perth is participating in this international event that first started in Paris in 1904. The visualisation of apron clad men and women sprinting around the river with trays of beverages in hand sounds like it shouldn’t be missed. Meanwhile you are free to wander at a more sedate pace through the gourmet village enjoying the food and entertainment on offer. There will also be a helicopter golf ball drop competition with the first prize winner receiving a car!
10. Taste of Perth 20142-4 May, Langley Park General entry $32 pre-purchase | www.tasteofperth.com.au
For the big finale closing event for Eat Drink Perth, Taste of Perth will bring together our most talented, acclaimed and esteemed restaurants into one location at Langley Park overlooking the Swan River. The star studded line-up will include Nobu, Greenhouse, Silks, Print Hall, Lalla Rookh, Bistro Guillaume and El Publico. All my favourites!!
As most of my regular readers will be aware I recently married the love of my life in Phuket, Thailand where we had the most magical dream wedding I could have ever imagined. In the coming weeks I will soon be getting around to posting a review of the fabulous venue Andara coupled with some snap shots of our big day.
In order to make our wedding ceremony in Thailand a legally binding one back home in Australia, the Thai government required us to travel to Bangkok for an undetermined period of about 3-5 days prior to the wedding in Phuket to allow for translation of documents. After giving this much thought we agreed this was way too much hassle and decided to wait and get the legal stuff done once we returned to Perth. To make it more meaningful, we planned to do this on our anniversary, a date we have celebrated for nearly 15 years.
Although we reinforced to our friends and family that this was to be a casual affair I still needed to have an outfit fit for a bride. I imagined finding myself something totally opposite to a bridal gown, something short, something funky and something dark coloured. With this in mind I hit the shops the weekend before with the ever so patient Boy in tow. After trawling all of the department stores to no avail I could feel my anxiety building. As an off-chance I decide to drag the Boy down to the other end of the mall to the Enex100 building to look in Lisa Ho. To my (and the Boy’s) relief I found the perfect dress…..but it was ivory and girlie; the complete opposite of funky and black! At least it was short!
Standing right on Greenhouse’s doorstep feeling thirsty, famished but totally satisfied it didn’t take much convincing to get the Boy to agree to stop in for a late lunch with the promise of beers. Commencing with some super fresh rock oysters to freshen our palates along with some Westwinds Cutlass Gin I allowed the feelings of relief that my mission was accomplished wash over me.
After chatting with our waitress I was pleased to see there were a lot of options for those on a gluten and fructose free diet. She relayed her conversation with the chef that he was more than happy to alter dishes that contained onion and much of the dishes on the menu were already naturally gluten free. I chose the marron with kipfler potatoes, native citrus and green olives. The delicate marron flesh flaked out of its shell easily and was so tender soft. I haven’t had marron cooked this beautifully in a long time. The salad had lots of crunchy finely sliced fennel and radish through it giving a fabulous texture contrast to the buttery marron.
The Boy chose the rare seared emu but instead of coming with “grains” the chef kindly altered it to come with a gluten free version of quinoa and lentils so I could try some. Fresh herbs and sliced green grapes were tossed through this dish adding some sweetness and depth of flavour. The emu was a dark plum red colour and had a milder flavour than I expected. Being a very lean meat it was a wise idea to serve this rare as it remained juicy and succulent.
Sitting enjoying a relaxing meal together without having one hundred and one things to do felt like a new experience to us. In the lead up to the wedding we had both been so flat out. We were so grateful to have this time with just the two of us sipping our drinks, gazing out the window with nothing to do and nowhere else to be. To prolong the experience we order a dessert to share. Unlike the mains there was only one dessert choice that was gluten free. This was the watermelon foam with berry salad and almond milk jelly. Those of you who are fructose malabsorbers know very well that we have to be a little careful with melons however I figured that I could just try to avoid most of the foam and eat the fruit.
Our dessert was delightfully light and incredibly refreshing; the perfect way to end a meal without feeling like you have stuffed yourself full. I do confess though as we left the restaurant I realised that it might have been a bit too much fructose for my belly and quickly dashed into the chemist to grab some glucose tablets. Glucose can counteract the fructose in fruit and reduce symptoms. It doesn’t work with onions unfortunately as the fructose contained in these is the starch form. If you want to know more about fructose malabsorption check out here for more.
It has been couple of years since we last visited Greenhouse and I still remain a huge fan. Their menus are always interesting, they use seasonal produce and source it locally were possible and are forever accommodating for us more difficult customers without compromising the taste of our meals.Greenhouse 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 WA | (08) 9481 8333 | http://www.greenhouseperth.com/ Price: $$ Food: 4.5/5 (I was spoilt for choice, ultra fresh ingredients and made to order) Service: 3.5/5 (we arrived for a late lunch so service was a little slow) Ambience: 4.5/5 (you love it or you hate it; recycled and reused with a quirky feel) Drinks: 4.5/5 (fabulous wine and cocktail list, Westwind gins too!) Total: 17/20
My soon to be parents-in-law are always complaining that they never get to spend enough time with us. Both the Boy and I have pretty hectic careers, so when we do actually have a bit of spare time, we want to spend it out and about enjoying good food and company. So when Christmas approached us last year, instead of buying his parents a gift, we offered to take them out to a fancy meal all expenses paid.
Just as we managed to lock in a weekend for our dinner, we were blessed with our brand new little niece who was born on the other side of the world in Texas! The Boy’s parents jumped on the first plane out to the States and didn’t return back for three months! We were all so envious of them as they got to meet her and we cannot wait to eventually get over there ourselves.
Upon their return to Australia I was keen to book our outing as soon as possible. This was meant to be their Christmas present after all! The timing worked out quite well because we were in the thick of the truffle season and neither of them had ever had either degustation OR truffles before! I booked at Clarke’s of North Beach as it is local to their house.
Those who have met me you know I am a bit of a talker; however my dearest mother in-law gives me a run for my money in the talking stakes. As a result my usual attentive listening skills were lost amongst all our animated gas bagging and I missed much of the descriptions of our dishes! I will do my best to remember. Forgive me if my distracted palate is incorrect.
The Amuse Bouche was a braised beef shin with cauliflower foam. It contained very interesting combinations of textures; with shredded tender shin accompanied by barely existent foam and the crisp crunch of calamari. It entertained our palates perfectly and we were ready for more.
We opted for the truffle supplement which meant that once every dish was served, our waiter came over to our table donning white cotton gloves and shaved fresh black truffle over each of our dishes. The Linley Valley pork belly entrée was beautifully cooked; the fat was soft like custard and the surface of the crackling had a caramelised shimmer to it. It was sprinkled with “crackle dust” and a variety of textures of apple decorated the plate.
The next entrée was a sliver of King George Whiting, scallop and snapper mouse. The whiting was pan-fried to give a subtle crisp to its surface which contrasted beautifully with the smooth mousse and succulent pillow of scallop. Although not specified on the menu there was also some fresh salmon which added an oilier almost satiny element to this dish. Shavings of fresh black truffle once again graced our plates. The Boy’s Dad swallowed this dish in a few quick mouthfuls, but his Mum deliberated in taking her time, differentiating out all the different flavours. She was learning the art of degustation quickly!
Our next dish was an optional one and when I saw the words “slow cooked egg” on the menu my heart leaped with excitement. My introduction to slow cooked eggs happened quite some time ago at Greenhouse and since then I insist on ordering them wherever I see them. They are like the holy grail of poached eggs to me and I am so elated when I see them feature on menus other than just for breakfast!
In order to successfully cook a slow cooked egg, one must cook them at a much lower temperature of about 60 degrees for 1 hour. The end result is like an improved version of a perfectly poached egg. The egg white has a nearly translucent appearance and the yolk is perfectly molten. Imagine this served over a pulled ham hock cassoulet! The cassoulet was wonderfully deep and rich in flavour but unfortunately there was no gluten free replacement for the brioche for me, considering the price of our meal this was a bit of a disappointment ($155 per person, not including BYO wines). I watched enviously as my family all mopped up the delicious juices pooling in the bottom of their plates.
Some may remember my most recent degustation at Petit Mort for the last in the series of Largesse dinners. For these amazing dinners the Head Chefs from six award-winning restaurants from around Perth donated their talents and time to each create one dish to contribute toward a six course extravaganza. All of the proceeds from the evenings went toward a charity of the host chef’s choosing. The head chef of Clarke’s Stephen Clarke was one of these six chefs and his braised Venison shin with Foie Gras Espuma was a definite show stopper for us all.
The foie gras espuma featured again in this dish but a much larger more generous glob was piped out this time round! The confit leg was encased in chicken mousse to make it into a boudin (sausage) and the buttery breast tasted nearly too soft to be duck! We were all so glad we chose to have these two supplement dishes as they were each outstanding and really completed the meal experience.
Where’s the lamb gone you ask? When I returned from the bathroom, our next course had already been served and everyone had decided to start tucking in without me. I sat down quickly and followed suit savouring every morsel on the plate. It wasn’t until I started scraping the plate clean that I realised I had completely forgotten to take a photo! It’s been a while since I’ve done that! Sorry dear readers! The new season lamb was incredibly delicate and tender. The boulangère potatoes were just like my mum used to make with the chewy outer crust and inner discs of potato encased in slippery creaminess.
I was in for some fortunate luck with our cheese course. The plate included a massive FIVE different cheeses: Miguel (a semi-soft cow’s cheese from Portugal), Valdeón (a blue made with goat and cow’s milk from Spain), Buche d’Affinois (a beautifully smooth and buttery surface-ripened cheese made with cow’s milk in France), Will Studd Brillat Savarin (a classic French triple cream brie from France) and Queso Manchego (a hard sheep’s cheese from Spain). Already a plate with five cheeses is pretty exciting but even better still amongst these portions were not just one but two of my favourite cheeses of all time!
Brillat Savarin is in my humble opinion one of the creaminess and most luscious of the French brie. Thankfully it is a regular resident at my local greengrocer’s Scutti in South Perth so I can spoil myself whenever I wish. My waistline may tell you otherwise though! My other favourite cheese is the Spanish sheep’s cheese Manchego. It is a firm compact cheese with a well-developed, slightly salty flavour and has that characteristic aftertaste of sheep’s cheese that I really enjoy. The cheese was accompanied by some crisp lavosh – once again there were no gluten free alternatives here.
For our pre-dessert we were all in for a fun surprise. My dish was a strawberry espuma with raspberry gel and the rest of my family received an Irish coffee espuma. Sprinkled over all of our dishes was something that took us back to our early childhood: popping candy! After such a decadent and luxurious meal, it was very entertaining for us all to sit there like amused school kids noisily cracking and popping away!
I was amazed that for the whole ten course experience only the two courses that had to be significantly altered for my dietary requirements were the desserts. Not being the odd one out greatly enhanced my evening as I didn’t feel like my dishes had key elements omitted (with the exception of a brioche alternative). My family’s dessert course was described as caramelised mandarin tart, raspberry gel, mandarin macaron and sorbet.
Before I had time to feel any macaron jealousy I discovered that scattered across my own plate was even more popping candy! Stretched across the plate was a colourful array of sumptuous morsels including raspberry gel, pistachio nougat, chocolate ice cream, mandarin jelly cubes and some more strawberry espuma. I wasn’t sure which element to savour the most as they were all so different yet so delicious.
As our evening drew to a close I was left with the feeling of complete satisfaction that we had thoroughly and deservedly spoilt our parents. We drove them home in a comfortable silence full of so much trufflicious food. Clarke’s is definitely a great choice for special occasions….it just might break the bank a little!www.clarkesofnorthbeach.com.au/ Price: $$$$$ (Basic degustation $120 including cheese course and Manjimup truffle, supplementary courses an additional $15/20 each) Food: 8.5/10 (exquisitely prepared, need to provide bread/crackers for us GF-ers) Service: 4.5/5 (attentive without intrusion) Ambience: 4/5 (don’t judge a book, enter to find a warm, unpretentious atmosphere) Drinks: N/A (BYO – I tried to cater for the ranging wine palates of the group, starting with Perrier Jouët, then Millbrook Viognier 2009 and ending on Moss Wood Cab Sav 2009) Total: 17/2
It was New Year’s Day and I woke up a bit weary-headed and totally famished. We had started our New Year’s Eve night off at the Greenhouse enjoying some good tunes, food and company then all continued partying on back at our house after they shut at 2am. The night was made even better because my sister had flown all the way over from Melbourne to join us for the week.
Looking at the casualties scattered around my house that morning it seemed that I was not the only one that was border-lining on starvation either. My sister and I were craving something much more delicious than my fridge could offer us so; accompanied by Big Bones we set off on our search. Unsurprisingly, the boy chose to stay at home nursing his sore head which was a result of the excesses of the prior evening. We had arranged to meet my bestie and her other half at the OBH for some hair-of-the dog drinks later in the evening so we figured head towards the beach and see what we could find.
Not a lot was open around the Claremont area so after some time of driving around we were pleased to see most of the restaurants along the iconic coastal road in Cottesloe were open. Cottesloe beach is internationally renowned for its beauty and lifestyle. Having had many a pleasant breakfast at the beachside café Barchetta before, I convinced everyone to stop in there for a nibble before we recommenced punishing our poor bodies with further frivolities at the Obie.
As we were seated at our table we all realised we were starting to fade fast and were really in desperate need of some sustenance. Our waitress was friendly enough despite the fact she looked like she was suffering from her own post-celebratory pain. She verbally stumbled throughout the whole process of taking our order and she kept repeating herself several times. We ordered some lemon peppered baby calamari but requested for them to be served gluten-free. She warned us the dish wouldn’t taste as nice without the “powder” so we explained to her that we are used to making compromises and we are actually very grateful to the kitchen for willing to adapt. Unfortunately we should have heeded her advice as she was indeed correct, this dish was quite disappointing. The calamari was tasteless without the crumb and was in desperate need for some seasoning of sorts. It was served with a rocket and herb salad which was similarly flavourless and unexciting.
We also ordered the chilled king prawn salad which was served with cherry tomatoes, orange, spinach and crispy pancetta. The prawns were fresh and a decent size, the pancetta wonderfully crispy and crunchy, and the sweet vincotto dressing married perfectly with the addition of juicy pieces of orange. It was a perfectly fresh and uplifting hangover cure.
Big Bones ordered the house made porcini mushroom gnocchi with braised rabbit and chevre cheese. This dish was not exactly what he expected and consisted of a long plate of braised rabbit topped with four gnocchi which were dolloped with the goats’ cheese. The rabbit was apparently quite dry and was in dire need of some more love and attention in its preparation in order to make the most of its delicate flavours. The gnocchi were also a little dry and perhaps not that fresh.
Finally to share we ordered a bowl of cinnamon kumara fries. These were the highlight of the meal, I have never tried the combination of cinnamon with the kumara before and it was a match made in heaven. It was served with a preserved lemon and basil aioli which only made them even more moreish!
Once the food started to line our stomachs, the thoughts of the last night’s overindulgences faded away into a distant memory so we shared a zesty bottle of Mount Langi Ghiran “Cliff Edge” Pinot Gris. With the cool wind gusting around us from the ocean, we sat back and relaxed as someone fossicked around in the sand with her metal detector. I wondered if she would actually find anything of value. Observing her complete lack of expression of her face in the distance, I highly doubt it!
After finishing our meals we sat waiting for over ten minutes to be offered dessert menus and coffees. After seemingly becoming invisible to all staff, Big Bones gestured over to a waitress and requested dessert menus. A further five minutes passed and she forgotten again to bring them over so we had to ask her again. By the time we actually were given the menus in our hot little hands it was getting well into the evening and we were very late for our drinking session across the road. Refuelled we traipsed over the road to recommence our celebrations where we had left off earlier in the wee hours of the morning. We are going to need to do some serious detoxing in the New Year!Price: $$$$ (Entrée $16-24, Mains $25-39) Food: 6.5/10 Service: 3/5 Venue: 4/5 Total = 13.5/20 Barchetta 149 Marina Parade, Cottesloe 6011 | (08) 9385 2411 | http://www.barchetta.com.au/
It was Friday night and the boy phoned me say he had just finished work and was about to head home. We had made dinner plans for in the city and it looked like he was right on schedule to get home in time for us to head straight in. Excitedly I starting thinking that we may even have time to quickly stop in at the Greenhouse for a pre-dinner drink! But as he made his way back to his car, he received a call informing him that the air conditioners in the server room were failing. This meant he would need to wait back for someone to arrive to fix them. What was even more annoying for him was that the repair men would be at least two hours away! So by the time he eventually did get home, our plans to head into the city sounded like far too much like a mission for him, so we decided to go local and head to Little Ying Thai instead.
We have visited this restaurant before and enjoyed its simple charm. The quality of the dishes do not begin compare to some of my favourites venues such as Dusit Thai, but then neither do their prices and when you add in their BYO license it has all the makings of a cheap but tasty night out. The service is very friendly and they are more than happy to accommodate for both gluten-free and fructose friendly requests.
We started off with the Charcoal squid which we have ordered before on previous nights here. It consisted of marinated strips of squid served with sweet chilli sauce and ground peanuts. As she did previously, the waitress warned us this dish takes a little bit longer to prepare than other entrees, but to be honest we were not waiting for long at all. The squid was surprisingly tender and although it appears minimally char-grilled it was still flavoursome presumably due to the marinade. We also ordered chicken larb, a sure-fire favourite of mine. Unfortunately with memories of the scrumptious duck larb we had at Dusit Thai still fresh in my mind, it was going to be a big ask to be able to impress my little taste buds. Little Ying’s larb had a pretty decent kick in it and the addition of fresh mint and coriander made it feel a bit more traditional however the flavours were too subtle leaving it tasting a bit bland.
For mains we shared charcoal grilled pork. I’m not quite sure why I went all out and ordered so much charcoal dishes! In fact, I never really used to eat much pork until recently. In Thailand pork is a very popular meat, and many Thai chefs will use nearly every part of the pig to make a variety of different dishes – including the intestines! This pork dish was quite a standard fare, marinated nicely and the pork pieces were meaty and not fatty. It was a reasonably large-sized serve considering the price (around $16).
When prepared and cooked correctly, Pandan chicken is a melt in your mouth treat. Wrapping the chicken in the pandan leaf keeps all the juices of the chicken inside resulting in a very tender and succulent mouthful of deliciousness. The leaf itself improves things further by adding a distinct sweet and floral like taste to the meat. Unfortunately a number of my previous experiences of this dish have not been that pleasant due to poor preparation and overcooking resulting in dry and chewy chicken. But after enjoying it cooked to perfection recently in Thailand, I thought we would give this another try. Regrettably this time round the chicken was indeed quite stringy and had a strange aftertaste that made me wonder if we would regret our choice tomorrow. (By the way in defence of Little Ying; there weren’t any further unpleasant outcomes the next day.)
This simple but delicious classic Thai dish never fails to satisfy me. I love all things eggie and I was happy to take the opportunity to sneak some into a dinner meal. Coupled with minced chicken, fresh herbs and some hot chilli sauce, we devoured this one very quickly.
Overall, for a cheap, local night out Little Ying Thai hits the spot. The food is by no means amazing and will not blow you away, but nevertheless it’s still enjoyable and the staff are all super friendly and attentive.Price: $$ (Entrée $7-10, Mains $10-21) Food: 3.5/5 Service: 3.5/5 Venue: 3/5 Drinks: 3.5/5 (BYO – my choice was a bottle of Jarrah Ridge Chardonnay that we picked up last time we were in the Swan Valley) Total = 13.5/20 Little Ying Thai Shop 3, 895 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park 6101 | (08) 9362 3899
What a blissful and sunny start to our day! Starting off with a delicious brunch at the Greenhouse with my family and the boy, the morning got even better when Dad gave me a generously sized suitcase filled to the brim with beautiful Robert Robert and Diavolina shoes. Most importantly, the suitcase contained some super-hot shoes for the party tonight! I headed home with my love to spend the afternoon preparing ourselves to look our very best for the big party. One of my bridesmaids, Amber was so kind to offer to go The George without me earlier in the afternoon so she could set up everything for the night. This meant all I would have to do would be to arrive on time! She is such an angel!
The afternoon flew by surprisingly quickly and before I knew it we only had a short time until things were due to kick off!! I slipped on my shimmering Alannah Hill dress matched with the cutest flower headband, kicked on my most awesome shoes from Dad and jumped in the cab hand in hand with the boy!
Upon our arrival my heart sunk for a brief second as I expected to walk into an ambient lit room and instead was nearly blinded by bright ugly fluoro lighting. I subsequently found that some of Amber’s instructions she had carefully given to the staff about setting up the lighting, heating and visual equipment had not been followed through. Consequently some further little instructions were given to the function staff and they slowly assisted us without an accompanying smile. Not that anything could take the wind out of our wings! Grabbing a quick round of pre-party G&T’s, we all felt our nerves settle ready to greet all the special people in our lives that would join us for our celebrations.
Amber is a very creative person – something my scientific brain is most definitely not – so when she suggested we have a lolly bar at the party I initially struggled to visualise what she actually meant. We had shopped all around town together in the weeks prior to the party buying a collection of gorgeous vintage vases and bowls that she filled to the brim with lots of colourful sweets. It looked fantastic! The boy wasted no time getting stuck into the assortment, tossing handfuls of lollies into his mouth for a strong pre-party sugar kick.
Before guests had even started to arrive, the waitresses started bringing out plate upon plate of turkish bread with dips to scatter around the tables. I rushed up to the waitresses and advised them stop them filling up two little cocktail tables with plates of food and to try and stagger them a bit with the arrival of our guests. The food provided was delicious – a part of me wishes I had stopped talking and mingling among everyone for two seconds to be able to snap some photos, but it didn’t even cross my mind until the following day! I guess us food bloggers should be allow a night off once in a while! The selected canapés including freshly shucked oysters, spring onion aranchini, lamb koftas, sun-dried tomato and asparagus tarts and a variety of sushi rolls. The special gluten-free options included five spiced duck pieces – amazingly succulent little cubes of meat marinated in a sweet chilli caramel sauce. I’m sure I must have greedily gobbled a number of those!
A major feature of the night was the amazing efforts of two of my guests (one of those being Amber) in joining forces together to bake enough cupcakes for seventy people with a third of the cupcakes gluten-free! They sparkled glamorously in the centre of the lolly bar and almost looked too good to eat! Being able to enjoy devouring cupcakes with everyone else at the end of the night was such a treat although the way I stuffed the butter cream frosting into my mouth may not have been so nice!
The highlight of the night to me and my sister was surprisingly not food related. My Mum and stepmum have not spoken words since over twenty years ago when Mum and Dad separated. We have all accepted this and our family events have always been planned separately to accommodate for this. So when I looked over and saw my Dad arm in arm with my dearest Mum on one side and his wife on the other my eyes started to burn hot. My sister came running over to me in amazement and we shared watching this special moment together before flicking away our tears of joy.
Toward the end of the night I wanted everyone to be able to have something more substantial than just the canapés so we arranged for some noodle boxes to come out with sticky pork with ginger, chilli and bok choy. The pork was so scrumptiously juicy and the sticky marinade had nearly caramelised but not burnt. This was the most popular food for the night and I’m sure I saw a few people go back for a second box!
As with all good parties, the night flew by at the speed of light and before I knew it we were standing under those hideous bright fluoros with the reality that it was over. All those weeks of preparation and anticipation for a night that felt like it only lasted one hour! I was extremely chuffed to see that our budgeted bar tab lasted for the whole night and no one had to dip into their pockets to pay for a drink.
After such a fabulous occasion, the events that followed on next totally took me by surprise. Bear in mind that the venue was nearly empty in the main bar for the whole night so our party of 70 people would have been the only real income for the night for The George. As we were all slowly drifting out of the function area and leaving through the main bar a couple of the bar staff got annoyed with us not leaving quickly enough for them. As they walked past the bar, a number of my guests clearly overheard the staff retorting insults and foul language directed at us presumably because they wanted to us to hurry up so they could go home. None of my guests were unpleasant or rude to any of the staff to call for this attack.
We all waited outside The George for what felt like hours all trying desperately to hail cabs. One of my friends had taken a bit of a stack on the pavement and had developed a very swollen ankle (she actually ended up in RPH early that following morning poor thing) so I wanted to get her home quickly. I was also mindful that my dearest mother was keen to get home as she is not accustomed to standing up in her high heels for hours on end anymore. I went back to the front door of the hotel and knocked to get someone’s attention. All the staff were still inside closing up everything for the night. I asked the bartender if he could kindly please arrange us some cabs for us as my friend was injured and many others were tired and ready to hit the sack. He refused and told me to walk down the street to the closest hotel the Hilton where apparently I could find many taxis. I explained to him my friend was injured and couldn’t walk, he then repeated that he wouldn’t call us cabs, and that was that! He closed the door in my face and locked the door!!
After spending thousands of dollars at their venue that night I was completely gobsmacked at such rudeness and appalling service. Despite the actual night being such a wonderful success, it was so disappointing to end on such a sour and unprofessional note.Price: $$$ (Entree $18-21, Mains $25-39) Food: 7.6/10 Service: 3/10 (for the rudeness!) Venue: 4/5 Total: 14.6/25 (58%)
Well, things have gone from bad to worse with the level of customer service that I have received from The George. We left my old iPod touch there on the night of the party and since then I had attempted to contact the functions manager by phone and email to let her know that I would be popping back to collect it on my day off. As I had received no reply, I figured that it’s not too complicated a request to fill so I went into town on my only day off to collect it.Upon arrival my bestie and I spoke to the bartender who explained to us in a curt manner that I needed to speak to her manager. She got her bar manager who happened to be very same person who had bad mouthed to my friends and refused to call us cabs on the night.
I started to explain to him that I had left my iPod behind and had tried to contact the functions manager but had received no reply from her. I purely just wanted to collect my iPod and that was it. He fobbed us off saying that the functions manager was in a meeting and that she couldn’t be disturbed. So I offered to go into the cupboard in the functions room myself to collect it upon which I was then told that she was having the meeting in there so this wasn’t possible. He said to us: “And that’s if you actually have left it here.” If?!?! He offered to call me in an hour when she would be finished her meeting but then uttered that she could be in there for hours so who knows how long she would really be.
My bestie and I popped down the road to the Sentinel for a drink (where the service by the way was very friendly – a total contrast). During this time we received no phone calls from The George. So after one hour we left and made our way back to The George. On my way I called through and asked to be put through to the functions manager, consequently I was put through straight away implying that her meeting was over. She then proceeded to tell me she had no time to walk to the cupboard where I left my iPod and retrieve it for me as she was far too busy! I explained that it was my only day off, I had come into the city specifically and I was 50 metres away! She repeated to me: “I have absolutely no time to search for it, I am very busy and that’s provided you have actually left it here anyway!” She said she would try and call me back by the end of business – it’s now been nearly a week and not a peep!
So it’s been a number of months since all this happened and I thought I better give you dear readers a final report on the outcome with The George…..click to read my Epilogue.The George 216 St Georges Terrace, London House, Perth 6000 | (08) 6161 6662 | www.thegeorgeperth.com.au/
It is so exciting to have all my family over in Perth for our engagement party tonight. My Mum and Dad have been divorced since I was a young teenager and so my sister and I have grown accustomed to dividing our time during any major holiday events between each of our parents and their loved ones. Incredibly this party will not only be a first for us all to be together in Perth, but it also will be the first family event that both my parents have attended simultaneously since I was a little child. Understandably I am thrilled to have them all here!
Dad and his wife arrived late the night before so we planned to catch up on the morning of the party for a light brunch and chatter at the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse seems to be a restaurant you either love or you hate. I have eaten here a number of times and have never been disappointed with the food or the service. The bizarre interiors are all made from recycled materials which gives it a real bohemian greenie vibe. Even the light fittings – which look quite spectacular – are actually just made from wound up barbed wire fencing. The meals are served in quirky pieces such as old milk bottles and terracotta plant pots. It definitely is not for everyone, but I love it more and more with each visit.
Last time I came here for breakfast I had wild mushrooms with slow cooked eggs served on my own gluten free bread – it’s such a shame they do not have any gluten free bread available. The mushroom dish was very memorable and I was eager to see if something similar remained on their ever changing seasonal menu. To my exquisite excitement a new version of this dish was on the menu accompanied by their amazingly gooey slow cooked eggs and some grilled polenta. I wasn’t going to need my BYO gluten free bread after all. Everyone at the table except for Dad ordered the mushrooms and none of us were disappointed with our choices. The eggs were perfectly soft and I’m sure there must have been at least four different types of mushrooms in there. As we sat in the fabulous Perth sunshine basking in its therapeutic glow I felt proud to call this city my hometown.
My Dad is a fashion designer for his own shoe label and spends a lot of his time for work in and out of China. So when he saw there was crab congee on the menu it was no surprise to us all when he ordered it for himself. I am yet to decide how I feel about congee; I think it’s my love of eggs for breakfast that always sways me away from choosing to eat it and I always end up opting for ordering a dish with googs instead. I had a little taste of his congee and found the saltiness and texture of the crab gave it that perfect lift, turning it from a potential bland baby food into a filling and delicious meal. Despite this deliciousness, my mushroom addiction overrode any regrets as I quickly devoured my own amazing breakfast and was left wishing the serve was a touch bigger!
After breakfast, I walked back to the car hand in hand with the boy as we both enjoyed the glorious warmth of the sun I could feel it energise me and give me increasing bounce in my stride. We chatted animatedly about our wedding plans for Phuket. By the time we got back to the car I was feeling a little on the ditsy side and I ended up leaving our parking ticket on the boot of the car as we drove off towards the exit. Unable to find the ticket when at the exit, I started to wonder if this beautiful morning was too good to be true and that the party day was destined to be filled with mishaps. We drove back to our original location and the boy started scanning the ground while I rummage through my handbag hastily. But to my surprise and relief there was the paper ticket still sitting there innocently on top of the car boot! We exited the car park without any further drama and made our way back to my Dad’s hotel room where I was spoilt rotten with a whole suitcase of Robert Robert and Diavolina shoes!
Score: Service 7.9/10 Food 9/10 Venue 8.5/10Greenhouse 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 | (08) 9481 8333 | greenhouseperth.com