Jul 20, 2012

Largesse Dining #6

Largesse Dining - synonymous in Perth with selling out in under an hour - has come to a close with the 6th event, this time held at Petite Mort in Shenton Park. Wait! I get ahead of myself. What is this Largesse Dining thing you speak of?

Well, Largesse is the rather clever fundraising brainchild of six of Perth's best chefs. 

Each event was held at one of their respective individual restaurants, and all proceeds go to a worthy local charity. Number six - was to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Thanks to some persistence (and abuse of the company telephone) I managed to get in, and at $190 for a six course degustation with matched wines, it was totally worth it.

The night was a smooth, well paced affair, in part due to the MCing of local Gourmet Traveller editor and fellow food blogger, Max Veenhuyzen.

First up:
Air-dried ham, Swan Valley yolk, ajo blanco, foraged herbs
Kiren Mainwaring – Dear Friends Restaurant

Swan Valley Yolk
A beautiful textural dish, based around a perfectly cooked yolk, but the real art here was the dehydrated stinging nettle "soil" and the "ajo blanco" - a soup thickened to the point of being a mayonnaise. 

A very clever modern riff on the ham and eggs breakfast with hollandaise sauce and one of my favourites of the night.

Second Course:
Smoked trout, chilli squid, saffron
Scott O’Sullivan – Red Cabbage Food + Wine

I've never had the pleasure of dining at Red Cabbage, but I have partaken in a number of Scott's dishes at various events such as the Mundaring Truffle Festival - he's been good, but with this dish in my estimation he jumps feet first into the great category.

My favourite dish of the night - which was a hard decision - was the smoked trout. There were a lot of very good dishes, but the delicate balance of the smoked trout, the chilli paprika, wonderfully tender squid rings and the cool cucumber did it for me. 

Despite the trout looking like a huge mouthful, its texture was absolutely perfect. It's difficult to describe, but so few restaurants manage to cure fish this well.

Smoked Trout

Third Course:
Radicchio tortellini, fontina fonduta
Jason Jujnovich – Divido

Best Italian restaurant in Perth? I'm no expert, but this tortellini was pure art on the plate. This course left me whimpering for more. The pasta was al dente, with the filling of caramelised radicchio and onion, sweetly savoury. The fresh radicchio was tender and not at all bitter, the fontina an exact counterpoint for the sauce.

Radicchio Tortellini

Fourth Course:
Braised venison shin, foie gras espuma
Shane Middleton & team standing in for Shane Clarke - Clarkes of North Beach

This dish was not what it seemed. Almost everyone was bemused, confused and questioning; just how did they make that sausage casing? Guesses ranged from more handmade pasta, to actual sausage skin, despite the presence of the embedded chopped herbs. The answer was pureed chicken meat, cooked boudin blanc style around the venison!

Inside the parcel was a wonderfully rich, shredded, braised venison, set up by a jus of beetroot and a hint of liquorice. The foie gras foam was a little bit of a let down, its delicate flavour overwhelmed by the venison. The crumb topping was spiced with ginger and cloves, adding a little wintery perfume to the dish.

Braised Venison Shin

Palate Cleanser
A palate cleanser of beetroot and ginger water was served at the half-way point of the meal. The beetroot took the form of a dense, fizzy foam atop a clear golden ginger water, and the whole was meant to be mixed with the straw before sipping.

Fizzy, tangy and earthy, it wasn't to everyone's tastes, but it was certainly a very interesting and attractive mouthful.

Fifth Course:
Pressed duck thigh, chanterelle, cep
Todd Stuart – Petite Mort

I loved the meaty, earthy, comfort food flavours of this dish. Duck, mushrooms, the stinging nettle soil from the Dear Friend's opener. The duck thigh had been shredded before being pressed into a rectangle, its flavour and texture were reminiscent of confit. The mushrooms had been wrapped into a delicate parcel to steam in their own juices, topped with an airy cep foam.

This was another one I would have been happy ordering as a main on its own.


Chocolate, caramel, sorrel
Hadleigh Troy – Restaurant Amuse

The dessert every one seemed to be raving about. A fudgy chocolate ice cream ball, on a puddle of sticky milk caramel, framed by chalky triangles of sorrel meringue.

It appeared to be a simple (albeit tasty) dessert, but for me it just didn't have the wow factor of some of the earlier courses, and was a little disappointing - I guess I've become accustomed to Hadleigh's more spectacular offerings.

Petit Fours
The evening was completed with an awesome plate of chocolate petit fours, tea or coffee, and a meet and greet with the chefs. Some of those guys were looking truly in need of a beer.

Petit Mort resident chef and host, Todd Stuart was introduced to everyone, and between this and me catching a moment to talk to other bloggers, chefs and various people I'd met during the night, the plate full of petit fours vanished! I guess they were good.

A great night that cemented my desire to visit these restaurants again, taking more time. I think, like a lot of people there, we are hoping that the team will continue with the Largesse series again.

Dear Friends
100 Benara Rd, Caversham
(08) 9279 2815
Dear Friends on Urbanspoon

Red Cabbage Food + Wine
49/15 Labouchere Rd, South Perth
(08) 9367 5744
Red Cabbage Food + Wine on Urbanspoon

170 Scarborough Beach Rd, Mt Hawthorn
(08) 9443 7373
Divido on Urbanspoon

Clarkes of North Beach  
97 Flora Terrace, North Beach
(08) 9246 7621
Clarke's of North Beach on Urbanspoon

Petite Mort 
225 Onslow Rd, Shenton Park 
(08) 9388 0331 
Clarke's of North Beach on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Amusé  
64 Bronte St, East Perth
(08) 9325 4900
Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon

Todd Stuart - Petit Mort

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