How do the words ‘private dining experience with Guy Grossi’ sound to you? If you’re anything like me, you would have done a whoop for joy when that invitation hit my inbox and a resounding ‘hell yes’ at the idea of meeting this renowned chef, and dining in the private room of Garum in the Westin Hotel. I mean who doesn’t love Italian food, and the thought of seeing the chef in action was too good to pass up on.
On a cool Wednesday night a group of diners (me included) set about this beautiful establishment, winding down the stairs into the private room. I’d never seen it before, and it was so elegant and tasteful – the perfect spot for an intimate dinner (which I was happy to see Guy was popping in and out of, in between cooking the courses with Garum Head Chef).
Glasses of prosecco were cheersed, and before long sourdough Roman bread with moretum was placed at the table. This is a type of spread that is made of herbs, fresh cheese, salt, oil and some vinegar – and it is delicious! A great way to highlight the bread, which has a very distinct flavour, and something a bit different to the normal butter or oil approach (though I do still love those of course too).
The Roman-style cooking here is a nice take on Italian cuisine, and what I particularly like is that they highlight Western Australian produce while keeping true to their recipes and techniques.
Our first shared entree – fresh figs with cured meat and parmesan was a real treat. It’s the simple things in life that can often pack a punch, and I could have happily eaten this all day. Salty, sweet and just a little sour.
It was in good company with the quaglia, which is quail with honey, garum, fennel, currants and pine nuts ($22.00). I’ve had this dish before at Garum, and it really is a must order in my opinion. Cooked perfectly, with the centre of the bird rosy, it was bang full of flavour and had a really satisfying char on the skin.
Our pasta course was where I was transported to heaven! Gnocchi pomodoro with tomato and pecorino ($26.00) was an absolute delight. It doesn’t get more basic in ingredients and yet I felt the richness and impactfulness of the chosen flavours in each bite. Gnocchi that was light as a cloud – the way it should be. I make gnocchi at home a lot, and I can only wish that mine is as good as this someday!
The absolute standout in this course, and really for the whole night, was the ‘Granchio’ ($28.00) which is ravioli with crab and garum butter. Holy hell. No other words can be used to describe the magic of this dish. I only wish we’d had a full size serving and not the teaser of two ravioli, because it was a stunner. Literally the whole table went quiet as we devoured these.
From pasta to mains (I can get used to the Roman way of eating!). A great lineup of dishes started peppering their way down the dining table for us to share and feast.
Local fish with mussels, saffron and chard ($45), spit-roasted spatchcock with pulses ($45.00) and Arkady lamb shoulder with parmigiano, sage and bread ($45.00). Don’t forget the sides of potatoes with rosemary and garlic ($12.00) and a simple salad of cos lettuce and oregano ($10.00).
Oh that lamb. Apparently it’s a Grossi family recipe and you can taste the love in every bite. Really it was all good, but I do want to give a special mention to the fish which was just cooked through, and flaked away ever so gently.
Our night finished, as all good ones do, with a little sweet release. I tried the tiramisu (when in Rome and all that) and the white semi-freddo. Really I was too full to really indulge, but gosh what I did taste was so lovely! And just the thing to ensure I left with a very happy belly and memories of what was an absolutely incredible night.
While meeting Guy Grossi and chatting to him was a treat in itself, the food really shone throughout the whole experience. Since my first time dining here, Garum really has raised the stakes and has left me utterly impressed. I’m looking forward to my next visit – and I’ll be chowing down on that crab ravioli for sure.