It was a love of creating communal tables filled with adventure and creativity that Plate and Barrel was born. Founders and mother daughter duo Karina and Debbie Preston have thrown themselves into the culinary world, bringing warm and intimate bespoke events that have a focus on supporting local producers.
Their Three Plates and a Chef experience are an inviting occasion: a night where a local, single ingredient is highlighted across three courses – and WA wines are chosen to offer the ideal accompaniment.
Recently I was invited to attend their February dinner at Halo Expresso in South Perth. Titled ‘The Fig Drop’, it was a fruity delight in promise that heroed figs, which had just come in to season. I was so excited, and brought Jeremy with me to enjoy a night out under candlelight and amid the soft vocals and guitar strums.
Upon arrival we took a glass of the House of Cards ‘Queen of Diamonds’ blanc de blanc 2014, then circulated to meet others in attendance while admiring the set up.
It’s great to see a local cafe transformed for use at night time for pop-up events like this. I haven’t eaten at Halo Expresso before, but it is quite a cute venue and I could see myself coming back to check it out now as a result.
Our entree was fresh fig with goats cheese and pancetta, accompanied by Bress Wines ‘Gold Chook’ fume blanc 2016.
This was my absolute favourite for the evening. A wobbly, sexy little goats cheese pannacotta that was so soft and creamy I wanted to run around and steal everyone else’s. The ripe figs were bursting with juice, and the saltiness of the pancetta cut through the sweetness.
I loved each and every bite. And I knew from that moment that the Plate and Barrel dinner was definitely my kind of night.
Our main course was mysteriously titled ‘the pig and fig’ and came out accompanied by Hart and Hunter Ablington shiraz 2015.
This was a lovely plate, with two cuts of pork – loin and belly – with a creamy scoop of buttery potato and the best part, a red cabbage and fig strudel. While the meat was well cooked and tasty, it was the strudel that Jeremy and I both fell ridiculously in love over. Crispy and flaky on the outside, and jammy and sticky inside. Delicious!
Our final course was the fig and macadamia pudding with burnt sugar ice-cream, served with Paul Conti’s reserve muscat.
Oh that wine! Sticky, sticky, sticky. It was the perfect companion to the dessert which reminded me of a Christmas pudding. Spiced, fruity and a generous serving size – it was the ice-cream that I really loved, especially with the praline underneath to bring some crunch into every bite.
What a night. Beautifully decked out, great conversation and a wonderful focus on Australian figs. The wines were well chosen to accompany the courses, and you can really see the passion Karina and Debbie bring to the night.
Having the chance to talk to them both, joy radiates from within and it’s so evident that they love what they do. And in a world where we all get so bogged down in our day to day jobs, it’s pretty special to see people who are completely passionate and committed to the path they’ve carved for themselves.
If you like the sound of this event, definitely check out their website to see what they have on the horizon: https://www.plateandbarrel.com.au.