1This Friday marks the end of one quarter of 2011. Where does the time go? It really only seemed like yesterday when I got the heads up from Abstract Gourmet that the month of March would be dedicated to all the eating and drinking goodness available in our fine city. When I checked in on all the fantastic things happening via the Eat Drink Perth‘s website, I knew March was going to require loose-fitting clothes.
Unfortunately, the first two weeks of March fell into a vacuum and I still have no idea why (well, children can generally be attributed to this time-loss phenomenon). I missed two opportunities to visit the Twilight Hawkers Market and a whole bunch of other fun activities came and went. I did however manage to get myself and hubby into the third Largesse Dining (not technically part of Eat Drink Perth) by mid-March and things were looking on the up thereafter.
Mr Matt (Abstract Gourmet) was tweeting some weeks back about putting people’s names on the door to attend some sort of expo. I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t remember exactly what it was for but as I am a sucker for expos (except maybe caravan and camping related ones), I put my virtual hand up regardless. A few weeks later, I worked out that I had a free pass to Fine Food Western Australia (March 20-22); a trade show for people working in hospitality. Yay!
I was on the promise of free food samples so that alone was enough of an incentive to make my journey into the city (no mean feat given a lot of roads are still blocked off for construction etc.) but once I got in, I was well amused and entertained by the various food preparation exhibits and stands set up. Up until then I’d really only been concerned about the front-of-house and dining experience but being privy to how the other side functions was quite enlightening. I even got to play around with a point of sale system and learnt how Bio-Steam steam cleaners keep stainless steel working surfaces spotlessly clean, hygienic and dry within seconds. Yes, that was a gratuitous product mention but I promised the nice man who was explaining it to me!
Other fun things of note were American style Whoopie Pies which looked as cute as… well pie but packed a massive sugar punch (in spite of Whoopies Downunder apparently cutting the original US sugar content by half). I loved the Bare Crush range of fruit sauces and found the Your Discount concept quite interesting (think those chunky Entertainment Books but as a smartphone app). I also enjoyed watching a massive Electrolux pressure braiser cook up enough mushroom risotto to feed everyone at the Perth Convention Centre. Lunch and a show! Hard to beat.
Amuse Project Mayhem (23 March) was an amazing opportunity that I simply couldn’t say no to. This was a unique opportunity to enjoy a degustation of never before tried dishes, prepared with pride by Hadleigh Troy’s talented team of young chefs. If you’ve had the good fortune of experiencing food at Restaurant Amuse, then you can imagine this would be one heck of an experimental, gastronomic joy ride.
If this night wasn’t already going to be totally awesome, it was made even better by it being a Tweetup! Yes. I was going to get to meet people with whom I had only ever conversed via blocks of 140 characters. Not just random Tweeps either but a group of veritable Perth food writing and blogging talent. As I rocked up 10 minutes late (three cheers for Freeway North!) and saw them all sitting at the giant table looking hungry, the scene was kinda reminiscent of Underbelly, but with food. You do not mess with ravenous foodies.
I needn’t have worried as everyone on the table was lovely, particularly once the snacks were delievered. My theory that people who wholeheartedly love food and wine are rarely mean in spirit stood true. If Team Amuse’s food could have possibly been improved upon, it was only through having great dining company. Many thanks to the lovely Apex of Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse for getting a whole bunch of us Tweeps together and Ace High Wine (Max Veenhuyzen) for arranging the table. For truly awesome words and photos, please refer to Eat Drink Perth or Bon Viveur‘s eloquent summation. On this occasion, I am just going to sit back and enjoy my fond memories of the night :)
My husband forbade us from attending anymore super gourmet dinners but I knew I had to try and fit a high tea in for myself and the Bestie before March was up and the perfect opportunity came in the form of high tea at His Majesty’s Theatre. The theatre has only started to do high tea on a semi-regular basis and once this March gig was done, they would not be getting the Earl Grey out again until this July and October (apparently both sessions are fully booked but worth checking for cancellations I would think).
Fortunately, I was able to get us on a table of ten. His Majesty’s high tea was $45 per head which meant that it competed head-on in terms of price with Rochelle Adonis’ high tea. That is a rather high benchmark to set I must say. What the theatre does have to offer is an absolutely opulent setting for afternoon tea which so far no other venue in Perth can match. With Edwardian influences in the architecture and interiors, you can easily imagine that you’re in London, taking tea at the likes of Fortnum & Mason. A string trio further set the mood for the afternoon. Another notch up on the posh metre.
While not a huge negative, I felt a bit let down by the high tea itself being catered. It probably didn’t help that I had just dreamily floated away from a highly bespoke food experience that was Amuse Project Mayhem (sigh…). Understandably, you can’t go past caterers for convenience and cost-effectiveness but I’ll admit to being left cold by eating savoury items that gave me deja vu (“Say, didn’t I eat you at a cocktail fundraiser last month?”). Don’t get me wrong, the food was lovely and the sweets plate was full of very nice items. Staff were attentive and quick to replenish tea and water.
Curiously, participants found a discount voucher for Simone Perele lingerie at their place setting which while appreciated (Heck, I might be able to get some knickers for under $200!) seemed a bit uncharacteristic for high tea. Might have been nice to get a sampler sachet of T2 tea instead?
Overall, it was a lovely way to cap off an afternoon which the Bestie and I spent ducking briefly in and out of Louis Vuitton and Tiffany on nearby King Street. I hope His Majesty’s Theatre will consider opening the venue more regularly for high tea as the building and its reception room are just stunning. I think the actual high tea items could be worked on a little but I’d otherwise happily visit again.
So. I have about two more days to cram more food into my Eat Drink Perth 2011 efforts. It’s not too late to take advantage of the many dining offers available so please take a look at the website for more information.
Well done to everyone involved and I think everyone will agree that the City of Perth can only benefit from these endeavours. Let’s hope we can do it all over again next year :)