With the city skyline on one side and the Swan River on the other, Langley Park is a gorgeous venue for an outdoor festival… as long as the weather cooperates. Unfortunately, after weeks of sunshine, we had a blustery and extremely wet weekend for the second Taste of Perth.
By way of disclosure, I went to Taste of Perth twice – Friday and Saturday lunch. Friday was by invitation to an Electrolux VIP experience; stormy Saturday was with Jac. We had complimentary General Entry tickets for Saturday. Please see the notes at the end of this post for more details.
Ponchos were free but given the weekend forecast of heavy rain and storms, it would’ve been wise to set up extra marquees to provide more covered dining areas. While it rained, many seats and tables were unusable as they were out in the open, which was a shame. We huddled under umbrellas and the restaurant marquees to eat our food, but if more people had braved the weather, there would not have been enough places to shelter from the rain.
At Taste festivals, you pay for food and drinks with crowns; 1 crown equals 1 dollar. Your crowns are loaded onto a card, so paying for items is done simply by scanning the card. On rainy Saturday, there were no queues at the Crown Bank and it was easy to wander over when we needed to top up our card with more crowns. There was no pressure to ensure you used up all your crowns; you could get a cash refund for unused crowns before leaving the festival. To be honest, I initially thought the crowns concept was just a gimmick, but I can now see how convenient it was for stallholders – transactions were quick, and I liked not having to muck around with change.
The question of what represents good value for money at a restaurant regularly generates debate in Perth. I was impressed with the quality of the dishes I tried and thought they were reasonably priced. Every restaurant (apart from Lalla Rookh Wine and Salumi Store) had one 6 crown dish. Most dishes were priced from 8 to 12 crowns. Of the 51 restaurant dishes, four were 20+ crowns and three were 30+ crowns. 8 restaurants featured a dessert dish.
As a VIP guest on Friday, I tasted the most expensive dish of the festival, Nobu’s Icon Dish of 9+ Wagyu Carpaccio with quail egg, soy salt and the Nobu signature South American twist, aji amarillo aioli. Priced at a princely 32 crowns, it was a treat for the senses, with soft marbled beef, bursty gooey eggs and umami seasoning, all destroyed in seconds. If I’m being perfectly honest, I probably wouldn’t have forked out 32 crowns just from reading the menu description. But now I’ve tasted it, I realise I’d have missed out on a spectacular dish.
The rest of the food pictures come from Saturday. My favourite dish wasn’t from one of the official Taste of Perth restaurants; it was from Catalano’s Seafood Bar, which I almost missed. Hiramasa kingfish sashimi served with shredded cabbage, bacon crumbs and tobiko (flying fish roe). The tender slices of shiny fresh kingfish with crunch and pop is one of the best things I’ve eaten this year. Yes… wow!
PS. Catalano’s Seafood has just opened at Westfield Whitfords City, selling ready-to-eat and fresh seafood.
We were pleasantly surprised to receive $30 gift cards with our purchases at Nobu and Silks – one for Bistro Guillaume and one for Silks. There is fine print: minimum spend of $150 and to be used by 30 June 2015, excluding Saturday nights, but even then, it’s a clever way to promote the Crown Resort restaurants and get the punters in. Gift cards were being given out at all of the Crown restaurants at Taste of Perth (Nobu, Silks, Modo Mio and Bistro Guillaume).
There were four live cooking demonstrations per Taste session in the Electrolux Taste Theatre. On Friday, I watched Chef Scott Bridger’s demonstration of Bib & Tucker’s Icon Dish – Braised Wallaby Shank (16 crowns) with puffed wild rice and pickled grape agrodolce. Chef Bridger shared tips on pickling and showed us how easy it is to make puffed rice.
While there were plenty of bars and tastings for booze drinkers, there weren’t so many options for non-drinkers. Bottled water was reasonably priced at 3 crowns, but a juice/mocktail bar would be brilliant next year.
We tasted Grandvewe sheep cheese, Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter, The Honey Cake and shamelessly returned multiple times to the Lurpak Cooking School, not for the cookery lessons, but for samples of fresh bread spread with Lurpak butter. We went home with goodies from Turban Chopsticks (really looking forward to trying the Royal Festival Briyani meal kit), Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter show special (two jars for $10) and a 4-pack of Custard & Co Vintage Dry Apple Cider ($20).
It’s difficult to take photographs in very heavy rain and I didn’t get all the shots I wanted. But we had a great time and ate some truly fantastic food (me, on both days I attended). If the conditions had been better, we’d probably have stayed longer on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll be luckier with the weather next year.
Taste of Perth 2015 was held at Langley Park, Perth CBD on 15-17 May.
- TFP attended Taste of Perth Friday lunch as an invited VIP guest of the festival major sponsor, Electrolux. The dishes I sampled for free as a VIP guest were: Nobu’s Carpaccio, el Publico’s Lamb Ribs and Bib & Tucker’s Slider. VIP guests were each given 30 crowns to spend at Taste, and the following dishes were purchased using gifted crowns, either from my card or another guest’s: Mary’s Fried Chicken Wings, and Asado’s Lomito, Ceviche and Burnt Banana.
- TFP and Jac then attended Taste of Perth on Saturday using General Entry tickets with compliments of Brand Events Australia. The first 16 crowns we spent on Saturday were the last of my gifted crowns; the rest of our purchases were paid out of our own pocket.
As always, all opinions expressed are my own, based on my experience at the event. Prices have been included for all dishes, for your information.