PorkStar is a travelling showcase of Australian pork, a program that encourages chefs and those in the food industry to get creative and innovative with pork, taking its tasty message from state to state across Australia with special events held in the capital cities.
I’ve drooled over the pictures from previous PorkStar events and was absolutely thrilled to score an invitation for Jac and me to this year’s Perth PorkStar, held last month at The Cabin Small Bar in Mount Hawthorn. It was fun to mingle and catch up with a who’s who of Perth’s top chefs and food service leaders, local heroes of fine dining, bistro and casual fare, all champions for cooking with the pig.
The evening’s menu was prepared by The Cabin’s chef Melissa Palinkas and her team. We were treated to a 15-course feast of porktacular proportions, every dish featuring pork, even the three sweet courses – plenty to intrigue and inspire the chefs in the room.
The highlights of the porkfest for me were the dangerously addictive pork cracklings, the finger-sucking good balsamic glazed pork ribs, and my secret fantasy come true – a bacon milkshake. Yeah, seriously! The serving sizes were well measured and the timing of courses sensibly paced – it was my own greedy fault for pigging out on the crackling. But I regret nothing!
PorkStar Marketing Manager Mitch Edwards with The Cabin’s chef Melissa Palinkas.
To wash down all the porky goodness: Skimstone wines, James Squire beer, Appleman alcoholic cider made from 100% Australian apples and Cape Grim natural water.
The staff happily made Jac and me lemon, lime and bitters, served in tall glasses with special stripey paper straws.
Left: I knew it was going to be a porktastic night when we were welcomed with pork cracklings with ancho chilli salt. Right: ‘Bacon and egg on toast’ – smoked jowl, crumbed egg yolk, crispy toast – could’ve eaten a stack of these!
Left: Crispy pigs head (in a crumbed ball), steamed bun, achar and red curry mayonnaise. Right: Cold – smoked bacon dashi; warm – ham hock consume, delicately crispy mushroom, all in a surprising shooter glass.
Irish ‘craic dog’ – pork sausage in a bun, bacon jam and provolone.
Right: Sticky roasted pigs tail, migas and piquillo. Left: Balsamic glazed pork ribs, black pepper.
Pork belly, red miso, cuttlefish, coriander, avocado, yuzu, and sweet corn – the cuttlefish was served in strips, like tender pasta.
Left: Tenderloin, house bacon, rockmelon, chilli, papaya, tom kah and peanut. Right: The cheese course – cos boat, Cashel Blue foam, crispy house cured ham, pear and agave caviar – best picked up and popped into your mouth all at once for a strong socky hit of blue cheese, crunchy pear and the agave caviar pearls popping under your teeth.
Left: Bacon shake with toffee pecan glazed bacon – buttery and rich, a perfect size in a shooter glass. I was much keener on the bacon shake than Jac was! Right: Jamon semi freddo, cherry compote – this reminded me of a Redskin Split ice cream, with an ever so slight hint of jamon, which probably sounds disturbing, but was actually rather good.
Chocolate truffle, with bacon, salt and chilli – the final taste of the evening was, for me, the least successful. The taste of chocolate was overwhelmed by saltiness and after a taste of one of these sneaky fireballs, I was reaching for my drink.
Comfy couches, furry cushions, cowhide rugs, stag motifs and lots of wood – cosy cabin style.
How many cones of crackling could you eat?
TFP and Jac attended Perth PorkStar event held at The Cabin Small Bar as invited guests of PorkStar, an initiative of Australian Pork Limited.
The Cabin Small Bar
174 Scarborough Beach Rd, Mt Hawthorn WA 6016
Telephone: 9444 6214
Check out the PorkStar website for more information, including recipes, tips for cooking with pork, and images and video from PorkStar events, including the Perth PorkStar 2013 video.