One of the nice little pleasantries of food blogging is every now and then you get a lovely invitation to restaurant launches, special events or celebrations. It's always a great excuse to get your feed on, chatter away with the other food bloggers and give my little camera a bit of a workout.
This week Jeremy and I attended the launch party of the Jazz Apple season at Bistro Guillaume in Burswood Casino. I have to admit we had no idea what to expect at the launch of a fruit - but as big fans of Bistro Guillaume, we were definitely keen to see what this whole event was all about.
If you haven't been to Bistro Guillaume, it's a gorgeous and opulent restaurant. With it's vibrant green and white decor, it's actually the perfect contrast to the crisp red apple that this night was celebrating.
The night starts off with drinks circulating - glasses of white and red wine, plus a couple different apple based cocktails which use the juice squeezed from jazz apples. Canapes circulate and I have to admit I'm starving so I leap on the first canape as soon as it comes near me.
The first spoon for the night is raw salmon topped with apple batons. The salmon is cool and refreshing; a delicate flavour compared to the burst of sweetness from the jazz apple. I would have loved a bit more acidity to elevate the salmon, and a bit of salt to counter the sugariness of the mouthful.
The second savoury canape that I try for the evening is a slight adaption of a staple Guillaume menu item - the chicken liver parfait with apple slice.
Smooth, creamy and absolutely addictive - I do love a good parfait! It is a bit cumbersome to eat, with the mixture sticking to the spoon but I think I manage without looking too uncouth to those around me.
Sadly I only got one of these spoons, I really would have loved another couple!
Chicken liver parfait
Around the time we're eating our chicken liver, fellow bloggers Chomp Chomp, Perth Munchkin and I have all relocated slightly closer to the kitchen. A good choice because we have more room to stand, we're closer to the jazz band (how in theme) and also are now in a better position to get our hands on food. And that's the part that counts for sure!
Once I've finished my glass of wine I decide it's time to try a nice chilled apple martini. It starts off tasting like juice - deliciously sweet and fresh! But towards the end of the glass I do start to find the alcohol has settled at the bottom and is a little strong.
When the lovely blogger The Food Pornographer told me there was pork belly on the cards for canapes I have to admit I was immediately excited. It seemed to take it's time coming to us but once it did I was quick to grab a spoon.
Sitting a top of pickled cabbage, the meat is cut thick and piled high, with a scattering of apple batons. The meat is well cooked, the fat melting in my mouth. Like the salmon, it needs more salt which leaves the bite not quite as fulfilling as you'd hope.
The final savoury spoon that I try for the night is confit duck on smashed peas with apple cubes. I love how vibrant it looks - what a pretty bite!
The duck is tender and juicy, with the peas offering a nice contrasting texture and flavour. The apple works so well with the duck, which is a meat that suits fruit flavours perfectly. I can see why those around me are all saying it's the best spoonful - though I do like the parfait better given my immense addiction to this food type.
Cute styling by Butcher Baker Stylist Creator
When it comes to the dessert canapes, I feel like this is where the food really shone. My absolute favourite bite for the evening was the creme brulee with diced apple on top. While I think this isn't really the best showcasing for apple (felt a bit like they'd just put the fruit on top as a garnish), the flavour and texture was show stopping.
Crisp, wafer thin pastry shatters under my teeth when I bite in, the vanilla oozy centre offering a decadent sweetness. I'm really happy to see the lovely waitress who serves us actually has organised a gluten free serving for Chomp Chomp who to that point had been lucky enough not to encounter any food issues. How lovely! The service for the entire evening really was flawless, and seeing that extra step was so impressive.
The final canape is an apple jelly spoon which wiggles enticingly as it's presented to us. I love jelly, it's such a deliciously simple dessert that always pulls at the nostalgia string inside my heart. This one is nothing like your aeroplane variety, with a strong sour and sweet flavour and soft texture. I have to admit I ate a couple of these and didn't even feel slightly guilty!
Around this time we all start parting ways, most of us in search of proper sustenance. While the food and drinks were lovely all night, there definitely was not enough given we were there from 6.30pm to around 8.30pm. Jeremy and I both needed dinner!
Walking out we both pick up a gift bag to take home while deciding where to go next. There's a couple choices in our mind - Merrywell since Perth Munchkin has mentioned it and Rockpool since Chomp Chomp had. But I leave the choice with my boy and he suggests we go to Leederville instead to Pinchos. Quick, cheap and delicious - I'm easily sold.
As he's driving I dig into our goodie bags to see what we've been given to take home. A cute box of apples each is definitely an exciting way to reinforce that this night was all about jazz apples. I'm also happy to see a fact sheet inside and a new 8gb thumbdrive. Yay!
When we get to Leederville I realise quickly that Pinchos is out of the question. As usual the tiny restaurant has a line out the front and we're pretty keen to get home. So instead we go to one of my favourite restaurants instead - Duende. I was definitely not complaining about that!
While I love the food at Duende, I have to admit whenever I go for dinner the service is always hit and miss. On this occasion we stood for about five minutes with different staff looking at us but never helping us. We were just about to give up when we finally got a table.
Ordering quickly, our food comes out speedily and we dig in. First up is the Jamon and Leek Croquettes. These have replaced my beloved sweet corn and manchego croquettes but I do not mind at all - they're golden and crisp, sitting in a gigantic pool of garlicky aioli. They're so delicious, sweet, peppery and creamy. I could have eaten a few more serves of these then called it a night!
Morcilla and scallops
Morcilla and scallops
Jeremy chooses from the menu the Morcilla and Scallops. At $22 a serving I was expecting a decent size dish but it's actually quite small. Thankfully it actually tastes good otherwise I would be feeling quite disappointed on top of my size shock!
The blood sausage is soft and falls apart, the scallop seared perfectly and so wonderfully plump. I really enjoy the delicate flavours of the seafood combined with the intensity of the morcilla. Very moorish.
Confit duck and chicken meatballs
Confit duck and chicken meatballs
Our final dish is the Confit Duck and Chicken Meatballs which come out in a rich tomatoey sauce. The flavours are strong - paprika, preserved lemon and a nice kick of seasoning. I do hesitate as to whether there's any capsicum in the sauce but I cant see it and Jeremy cant taste it so we decide it's okay. We definitely should have asked because later that night I discovered my stomach cramps were telling me our detective skills were not good at all!
But was it worth it? I'll have to say yes because I did really enjoy this dish. I would have loved some crusty toast (though it's a blessing I didn't have any!) to dunk in that thick and vibrant sauce. It's dishes like this that really prove to me why I love returning here to Duende over and over again.
All up our Wednesday night out was good fun. It's always lovely going to an event that celebrates food, and to catch up with my fellow food bloggers. A big thanks to Genevieve from Media Moguls for the invite to the Jazz Apples 2014 season launch. I'm actually snacking on one of the apples now as I write this!