Taste of Perth 2015

Oh, is it raining in Perth at the moment? It’s been an unpredictable rollercoaster ride of weather this month, with bright sunny days and cold biting nights… and then a sudden onset of wet wildness just as Taste of Perth hit our shores. But who cares about horizontal rain when you can warm your belly with delicious dishes from some of Perth’s best restaurants, basically creating your own degustation or progressive dining experience. 

I headed down on the Friday afternoon with fellow bloggers Cyn from the Food Pornographer, Martine from Chompchomp and Michelle from Foodie Cravings, thanks to Taste of Perth in partnership with Electrolux. After participating in an evening where we got to preview dishes on offer, I was really excited to sample more of what the event had to offer.

The day kicked off in a slightly different fashion to normal, with a private driver arriving at my house to pick me up. A massive treat from The Taste team which I was pretty pleased about because it meant I didn’t have to struggle looking for parking or having to walk far in the chilly weather down at Langley Park. 
Our day was one that sounded promising, with canapรฉs to kick things off, a cooking demonstration by Bib and Tucker/May Street Larder’s Head Chef, Scott Bridger. Then it was time to sample some of the finest goods at Taste, plus some exploring of our own. Definitely a chocked itinerary, and my stomach was growling the minute we walked through the gates. 

I love a good cooking demonstration, not just because of the food nerd that resides inside me, but it also allows you to interact and observe with the chefs leading Perth’s culinary scene. I really appreciate the style of cooking Scott has, with his respect for Australian produce and showcasing our native ingredients. To this end, it was great to see that he was cooking Bib and Tucker’s Taste Icon Dish – a Flinders Island wallaby shank with puffed wild rice and pickled grape agrodolce.

You could also purchase this at their stall for 14 crowns (= $14), which opened the doors for many diners who hadn’t tried wallaby before. And yes, it was slightly tortuous sitting there smelling that beautiful rich meat which had been slowly cooking away in the oven for 3 hours prior… my mouth was literally salivating. Such is the magic in beautiful food being prepared before your eyes.

After the cooking demonstration we exited the Electrolux Theatre and began a series of tastings for dishes on offer. Restaurants with stalls at Taste of Perth were Asado, Bib and Tucker, El Publico, Lalla Rookh, Mary’s, Next Door at No 4, Print Hall, Propeller, Bistro Guillaume, Modo Mio, Nobu and Silks. All stands had four different dishes on offer, including one at only $6 and another being their ‘icon’ dish. Sadly too many options for one person to try them all, but I was willing to give it a decent shot!

Our first dish was also the most expensive on offer at $32, a grade 9 wagyu carpaccio with quail egg, ahi amarillo aioli, fried salt bush and soy salt. Silence. There was no time to speak, no words to explain, just the light echo of wooden forks against cardboard plates.

Soft, unctuous and melt-in-your-mouth meat was as good as it gets with those beautiful ribbons of fat marbling the beef. The aioli was tangy and vibrant; the salt bush crisp and living up to it’s name. I really enjoyed the quivering quail eggs, sitting quietly, unassumingly, awaiting to be burst and spill forth glossy orange yolk. It was cohesive, playful and a flavour explosion to get me sitting up straighter and peering around curiously like a meerkat determining what would come next.

Our next stop as a group was El Publico, where we wrapped our eager mouths around succulent and sweet lamb ribs (yes: lamb is the new pork). I’d already tried these at the Taste of Perth preview, but they still were equally impressive after being twice cooked, served sticky with sesame, cucumber and lime ($12.00). 
It was no surprise to us at all that later that day we would find out that these bad boys were named best dish of Taste of Perth. As El Publico’s recently appointed new Head Chef replacing Sam Ward, it would seem that Tom Payne has definitely picked up the reins and surged ahead. Considering this is one of my favourite restaurants in Perth (alongside Lalla Rookh, Bivouac and Mary’s… yes I have a long list of loves), this is entirely elating and brings more allure than ever to continue as a regular patron of this Beaufort Street staple. 

I also enjoyed a serving of their street corn ($6.00), which is charred and braised, served with cream, chilli, lime and fresh cheese. This dish… I’ve spoken of it several times on my blog. For me, it is all kinds of goodness featuring some of my go to ingredients – and it is a great showcase of how cheese can be integrated into a Mexican dish but remain fresh, not overladen or stodgy.

And for those who don’t like to eat corn in public from fear of getting kernels stuck in your teeth… never fear, this has been removed from the cob making it a festival friendly dish that you can walk around while munching away on (sans buttery corn smeared across your cheeks).

With Scott Bridger accompanying us on the walk, we then finished up our little tour of Taste at Bib and Tucker. Immediately my eyes went to the glossy whole pig turning tantalising on a spit with glowing embers underneath. The smell wafting our way was heady, full of meaty goodness – enough to get anyone’s mouth watering. 
Here it made perfect sense for us to indulge in rotisserie suckling pig sliders with kimchi slaw and kewpie mayonnaise ($8.00). Soft, pillowy bread encased that tender meat which was complimented by the sweet and sour nature of the accompaniments inside. It was a great bite, and true to Bib and Tucker’s cooking style. And don’t forget the little curl of crackling on the side which was crunchy and full of salty goodness! I left that to last because I love ending my dishes on the ‘perfect bite’. 
Sadly due to her gluten intolerance Martine was unable to partake in our pigging out (see what I did there?), but her replacement was a vivid feast for the eyes and tastebuds. Rosella flower cured kingfish with beetroot, finger lime and beach herbs ($12.00) was another clever use of native ingredients, especially finger limes which are now at the end of their season. I can’t imagine she felt left out by having this dish instead of the slider!

Once we’d finished up our bites at Bib and Tucker, it was time to venture out on our own to get some feasting under way. Cyn and I decided to pool our crowns together so we could maximise the number of dishes we got to try – something that we were both all too happy to do!

Making a beeline to Mary’s, the fried chicken wings were calling our names. Molten hot inside, we were careful when biting down to discover the delightful filling of kewpie mayonnaise and roe. Yummmmm! Slathered in an Asian style soy and chilli sauce, these deboned wings were all kinds of guilty goodness, with crunchy, cream, juice and packed full of flavour.

I’m having a ridiculous love affair with this restaurant at the moment, and find myself waiting anxiously for the sun to go down so that Mary Street Bakery will shift into it’s alter ego state. Was I surprised to hear the aged beef rump tartare was the runner up dish at Taste of Perth? Hell no, because it’s easily one of my favourite dishes there full stop.

I promised myself I’d come back here for their $6.00 dish on my way out – a peanut butter and jam donut with chocolate crumb. More on this later… but in the mean time, yes just think about how damn good that sounds.

The allure of Asado’s smokey barbecue proved too hard to resist as it wafted under our noses on our way to Lalla Rookh. Tantalising slabs of meat were calling our names so we made a point to stop, have a chat to the lovely team there and enjoy a range of dishes they had on offer. ๏ปฟ
The lomito ($8.00) was a bun filled with Argentinian barbecue goodness… BBQ’d rump camp, loose leaf chimichurri, chipotle mayonnaise and salsa criolla. I love the vibrancy of this dish and the generous heaping of beef piled high. 

Cyn and I made ourselves a little picnic on the grass, happy to get stuck into our ceviche and dessert after getting some snaps of our food. The ceviche ($12.00) was made from a market fish, topped with avocado, coriander, lime, chilli, cherry tomatoes and a side of house tortilla chips.

Ceviche is definitely up there with my favourite ways to enjoy fish thanks to the zingy flavours and the lovely freshness it brings to each bite. The corn chips are a nice contrasting texture to the softness of the fish flesh.

The burnt banana dish ($6.00) was my favourite sweet dish of the day with it’s buttery biscuit crumb, dulce de leche, marscapone and PX. I love the charred banana with it’s toffee film, and the cohesive way the flavours on the dish work together without getting muddled. 
This dish reminded me that I am way overdue returning to Asado for their dinner menu. I think that’s jumped to the top of the list after indulging in most of that dessert (sorry Cyn). 

With not much time left to go before my driver was picking me up at the close of the session, I split away from the pack to grab some sweet treats to take home with me. Though the chicken liver parfait at Bistro Guillaume was demanding my attention… somehow I managed to escape the call.

At $8.00, the duo of macarons at that stall was something I knew I just had to buy. One salted caramel, one strawberry, both equally perfect in their crisp shell and gooey marshmallowy centre. I really enjoyed these and was reminded just how fantastic a good macaron can really be.

Out the door I fled, but before I quite made it I knew one more sweet treat needed to be added to my feasting for the day. The Mary Street Bakery donut with peanut butter, jam and crunch ($6.00) was a picturesque sight laden in guilty pleasure. 
For me, as good as a donut is, I’m all about the filling quite often. This one managed to balance the PB&J flavour without being overly sweet. It was playful and worth the extra calories for sure! A nice way to round out a day of indulging.

Wow, what a day. With food like this, it’s no wonder I love a good food festival – especially because you can try so many different places or you could stay loyal and feast away at just one or two. Taste of Perth is good fun, and with yummy bites that offer you a ‘taste’ of what some of our great restaurants are doing without having to commit to a full meal there. For me, I find it inspiring as it gears my tastebuds up for a full blown visit.

Thank you to the lovely team at Taste of Perth in partnership with Electrolux for treating me to such a fun day out celebrating the Perth food scene.

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  • Reply
    22 May 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Sounds you had a great time at Taste! We went on the Sunday and got absolutely saturated but it was well worth it ๐Ÿ™‚ especially for the lamb at el PUBLICO!

  • Reply
    24 May 2015 at 9:51 am

    I dedcided to skip Taste of Perth this year because of the weather… but those dishes you ate make me want to visit some of the restaurants for dinner soon!!!

  • Reply
    Perth Food Explorer
    27 May 2015 at 1:31 am

    I am just writing my post about this. It's the first year I have gone and I LOVED it – what a great way to try so many dishes in the one place ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    1 June 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Glad to hear you still had fun despite the rain! Hopefully you grabbed one of the free ponchos for a little bit of relief ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    1 June 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Aww well there's always next year! Definitely get your eat on, there were some fab restaurants to make your way to ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    1 June 2015 at 1:52 pm

    It's a fun day! Definitely a great way to create your own eating experience tailored to your own tastes ๐Ÿ™‚

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