On Friday 20 May, Brightwater Care Group hosted their second ever Perth’s longest lunch at Crown Burswood. Created as a business networking opportunity that sought to raise much needed funds for Brightwater, 840 individuals attended the event and enjoyed the six hour festivities which included six courses of food with matched Western Australian wines.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to come along to this year’s lunch, which was a wonderful reason to get a little dolled up and donate money to this valuable local organisation.
Brightwater has been a part of the Western Australian community for over 110 years. They are a well-known and much loved not-for-profit provider of care to people from all walks of life with many different abilities and disabilities.
Over the years of operation, Brightwater has grown into one of the largest care providers in Western Australia, supporting over 2,600 clients aged 16 to over 100. Their purpose is to enable wellbeing and means they spend every day providing support and assistance to their clients so that they can achieve their goal of helping more people to enjoy life’s possibilities.
While networking and the opportunity to meet new people was commonplace during the lunch, there was also a great range of entertainment acts including WAAPA’s choir, local singer Jerrie Demasi and more. Plus there was also a sports wall and live auction to look forward to – both of which aimed to raise even more funds for Brightwater to use with their care programs.
Once we were settled in for the afternoon, our amuse bouche was served matched with a Castle Rock Sauvignon Blanc 2015. A warm plate of Mount Barker chicken came out to the table with charred leek, Baldivis carrots and peas with lemon confit.
Given the large volume of people in attendance that Crown’s Chef Sean Marco was cooking for that day, I thought this was a particularly strong start to the event. Catering for the masses in this style of cooking is a tough feat in itself, so six courses of intricate and thoughtful food definitely impresses.
While my chicken was juicy in the centre, it was just a touch dry on the edges. However it was the other components that really shone on the plate for me. The charred leek in particular had a lovely sweetness to it, melting in my mouth.
Our first entree was duck breast with Davidson plum, riberries, bunya nut floss, Indigenous herbs and flowers with fermented pineapple. It was served with a crisp glass of Watershed Awakening Chardonnay 2013.
This dish sounded particularly interesting to me on the menu with it’s use of native ingredients. The duck was pink in the centre which I found particularly pleasing, though I was surprised that it was cold. The fermented pineapple was the strongest element on the plate having a great sweet and sour tang to it.
My favourite course for the lunch was our second entree of bigeye tuna with soy gel, roasted sesame, radish and black garlic, matched with a glass of Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2013. This was just an exquisite offering, with the tuna seared ever so slightly on the outside and raw in the middle. There was great crunch from the sesame seeds scattered on top, and warmth from the black garlic.
What I particularly liked was the strong Japanese flavours throughout the dish and the surprising use of finger limes – a native Australian fruit currently in season.
Our main course of White Rocks veal, feuilletine potato, asparagus, autumn mushrooms and truffle puree was one our table agreed read the best on the menu – it sounded fantastic and hearty, suited to the cold weather outside!
Out of all the courses though this was my least favourite sadly. While the veal was pink and juicy which was excellent to see, the accompanying mushrooms and asparagus lacked any real flavour and actually detracted a little. But the potato was soft and well seasoned, and I would have loved to have more of the sauce on the plate as that was deep and delicious.
I thought that all wines served were well matched, but this dish in particular really worked well with the Voodoo Moon Malbec 2014 which was rich and generous in it’s bold flavours.
When the time came for dessert I was pretty excited to get a sugar hit. An oval plate was topped with green apple cremeaux, apple cloud, walnut sand, cider gelee, fennel jam and Granny Smith ice.
Cremeaux is French for creamy, and is a type of soft pudding that isn’t as rich as a mousse but is thicker than a ganache traditionally. This version was delicate and wobbly, though slightly on the eggy side for me I thought (might have been my imagination). It was the other elements on the plate that I really enjoyed, with bursts of sourness and freshness from the range of apple textures. It almost felt like a complex palate cleanser.
The accompanying flute of Howard Park Jete Rose Sparkling Wine was absolutely delightful. Definitely a wine I’ll be purchasing again the future, I may have asked for a refill of this glass at least once…
Our long afternoon of lunching finished with an amazing door prize of a $14,500 pearl necklace being won by a lucky attendee while we all enjoyed smoked Margaret River chocolates with mulled whisky and a glass of Mosswood Amy’s Cabernet Blend.
Smoked desserts (as can be the case with savoury) can sometimes be quite overpowering, but these were delicate yet flavoursome. I thought the chocolates were excellent – rich and dark, with a luxurious mouth feel.
The mulled whisky had a balance of red wine and spices included, and was quite warming to swallow. I’m such a fun of mulled beverages during winter, they hit the spot and bring a new flavour profile to your normal drinks. So yum.
And after 6 hours, that was a wrap for Perth’s longest lunch 2016! It was wonderful to be part of this experience raising money to assist Brightwater in providing residential care for older people, people living with Huntington’s Disease, acquired brain injuries or acquired disabilities, at home services, transition care and retirement living. And on this day alone over $250,000 was raised!
Please check out just some of the work Brightwater do and support them by donating or coming along to next year’s event. It’s definitely a great day out.