I often say that food festivals are the best kind of event - after all who doesn't love a day or night or eating and feasting and dining away. So feeling like this it's pretty much a gimme that I was excited to attend the final event of Eat Drink Perth - the Taste of Perth.
This three day event at Langley Park is one that has recruited some of Perth's hottest restaurants, all of whom put up 3-4 "tastes" each for purchase. That way you can sample all different fare, and basically put together your own degustation meal based on things you like. I have to admit, the concept was very intriguing to me.
Our passes included an invitation to the gala event held in the Citroen VIP Lounge which awarded the Best in Taste winners. With a judging panel that included local foodie celebrities Gail Williams and Rob Broadfield, it was great to see Lalla Rookh, The Greenhouse, Bib & Tucker and El Publico all placing or winning an award.
We run into fellow bloggers Chomp Chomp and Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse who are feasting on fried crickets and mezcal. What a fun way to start the night out! And a nice warm kick I'd imagine seeing as it's pretty cold here by the river when the sun goes down - I know I was chattering away but I'm always cold!
After finishing our starter dishes we decide to take a closer look at all the stands throughout the area. There's a lot going on with masterclasses in sake/champagne/wine at Brookfield Place Table Talks, cooking classes with Lurpak, and even cocktail making classes.
There's also a variety of stands selling phenomenal produce and goods. The first to reel me in like a fish on a hook was "Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter". Oh how I love peanut butter, I really do! I chat to the owner for a bit and soon discover that this is the number one selling peanut butter in New Zealand and after trying a taste, I can see why. Nutty, decadent and just the right amount of saltiness.
I end up buying two of the medium size jars (at the back) which are two for $10 or $6 each. Naturally I get crunchy - because smooth peanut butter is a sin in my eyes!
The slider ($10) is made up of a beautiful brioche bun stacked with strips of that glorious pig and a well seasoned and punchy fennel salad. There's also a little wedge of crackling which my boy gobbles up immediately before I even register what it was! I don't blame him - pork crackling is a rare commodity in our house, it disappears before it even hits the plate half the time.
The slider is one of the highlights for the night - it's incredibly tasty and a decent size for the price compared to some of the other offerings we'd seen so far. I love a good brioche bun and this one doesn't disappoint, it's buttery goodness in a bite!
It's so fresh and the flesh of the fish is soft on the inside but firm on the outside. It's got a great balance of citrus and seasoning, with the punchy flavours accompanying it. I love how crisp that wafer is though as a vessel to scoop up the trout it does get a little tricky to handle as I proceed.
Both times that I've dined at Print Hall I sampled some of their oysters and fell in love. For me it's not about size with oysters - bigger isn't better in my opinion. I'm all about the smaller, sweeter oysters like these South Australian Coffin Bay beauties.
The oysters are slightly creamy and have a nice salty aftertaste showing just how fresh they are. I love that mignonette, it dances on my palate and elevates the natural sweetness of this beautiful seafood. I could have easily polished off another half dozen but decided to keep some space in my stomach to continue munching through the festival.
I have to admit that sadly it wasn't quite to my liking. While the texture of the parfait was extremely light and silky, the flavour wasn't in sync to my personal tastes. I think the intensity of the kangaroo liver was a bit overpowering and almost bitter for my palate which is such a shame because I'm a HUGE fan of The Greenhouse and their sustainable cooking ethos. Never mind though because taste is obviously a personal and subjective thing - I'm sure others love this dish.
Jeremy chooses a pear cider and I opt for the passionfruit. It's a cold night but the ciders are a welcome sweet interlude during our eating session. Rekorderlig is my usual cider of choice and I note that they have warmed winter cider available too - I make a mental note to return when the cold officially pushes me to the edge.
This one is definitely worth the wait - a perfect little pillow of pasta with seasoned mushroom and ricotta inside that holds together well when I cut into it. I love the little chestnut that comes out with the pasta, it's softened and buttery from it's inclusion in the sauce.
From Bistro Guillaume we decide to try their chicken liver parfait ($8) with crisp wafers to see how it distinguishes against The Greenhouse's version. I love parfait so I'll never say no to this kind of dish!
Guillaume's version is so lovely and creamy. I think the portion size is great for the price though I would have loved some more wafers or actual bread since the wafers couldn't hold much parfait without falling apart. But the flavours on the plate were just plain lovely - really delicious.
For dessert we know we have a few options to consider. There's a giant salted caramel macaron at Bistro Guillaume, a pannacotta at Lalla Rookh and the beautiful chocolate garden ($16) at No 4 Blake Street. If I'm being honest I wanted them all! But I decided to rein in my usual greediness and just pick one - opting for the latter.
Walking over to No 4's booth I'm met immediately with a smile from a familiar face - Madjouline, the lovely lady who runs their front of house. She tells Jeremy and I teasingly that she hasn't seen us for sometime which we both have to admit we're way overdue for a return visit. I make a mental note to book in some time to drop by for brekky or dinner in the next couple of weeks.
The chocolate garden is a feast for all senses. It's a gorgeous terracotta pot with nuts, chocolate mousse, crumb and edible flowers. I think it's so stunning and when I bite in I know we've made the right choice. Yes, we have had this before at the restaurant but I love that I could take a trip down memory lane - and I actually think it tastes better than ever!
We sample their goats cheese, aged cheddar and brie which are all equally delicious. I love cheese so I know I have a battle on my hands picking what we leave with that day. In the end after chatting to the attendant I choose the haloumi because he tells me it's the same brand Bivouac uses. Sold!
Jeremy picks a 20 month aged cheddar which is dry, firm and intense in flavour. It's really nice and I know we'll enjoy this at home one night this week. It's a great pick.
It was the perfect way to finish Eat Drink Perth and a wonderful Friday night to kickstart my weekend. I hope you managed to make it down to Langley to get your own Taste of this beautiful city.