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Taste of Perth 2015 – tips for a great experience

Taste of Perth 2015 is in it’s second year and Perth foodies and wine lovers are gearing up for it.  Held in 22 cities around the world, Taste is touted as ‘the world’s greatest restaurant festival’. Thirteen of Perth’s top restaurants will each offer four dishes in tasting-size portions, allowing punters to put together their own progressive lunch or dinner.  

 

Music stage2

How it works

The festival is broken into afternoon or evening sessions of four hours duration on Friday and Saturday, either 12pm-4pm or 5.30-9.30pm, and a five-hour afternoon session on Sunday 12pm-5pm.

Entry starts at $36 per person for general admission ($4 increase from last year) and from $135 for VIP tickets ($20 increase to last year).

Get your wallet out. You need to do this as soon as you walk in to purchase the festival’s currency, Crowns: 1 crown = $1.

Last year, a few complained at the cost of the dishes. This year, every restaurant will offer one dish at $6 ($2 cheaper than last year’s cheapest dish), or rather 6 Crowns, the currency of the event. Prices range from $6 to $32 per dish – the most expensive is for Nobu’s 9+ Wagyu Capracio with quail egg.  Seems that dishes average between $10 to $15.

UPDATE:

Crowns are now refundable (they weren’t last year).  This is a great improvement and means that punters can load up their cards and spend what they like, knowing they will be refunded at the end of the session. Loading up and getting a refund on the crown card was painless – very easy and hardly any waiting in queues.

Bib & Tucker suckling pig slider, 10 crowns

Last year’s Bib & Tucker suckling pig slider, 10 crowns. Beautifully balanced thankfully, which made it worth the wait. The good new is that it’s only 8 crowns for this slider this year.

Participate and learn

The best thing about Taste of Perth, besides the central location, city skyline backdrop and pretty event set up, are the information sessions and demonstrations.

Book into sessions as soon as you arrive because the popular ones fill up.

Some sessions cost, others are free. From Create your own Margaret River Red (wine blending workshop) to Know your Craft (beer making raw ingredients), special skills sessions and cooking demonstrations, choosing what to attend is a balancing act.

UPDATE: Some sessions you can pre-book. I tried to pre book into the Create your own Margaret River Red session by email at 3pm (session at 8pm) – I did get a response at 6.30pm saying that the session was full. I also tried to register when we arrived at 6pm, but it was already sold out.

Bistro Guillame Beef Daube on a bed of Paris mash 14 crowns

Last year’s Bistro Guillame Beef Daube on a bed of Paris mash 14 crowns. Tender beef that just fell apart.

Restaurants present:

  1. Asado
  2. Bib & Tucker
  3. Bistro Guillaume
  4. El Público
  5. Lalla Rookh
  6. Lalla Rookh Wine and Salumi Store
  7. Mary’s
  8. Modo Mio
  9. Next Door at No4
  10. Nobu
  11. Print Hall
  12. Propeller
  13. Silks

 

The friendly service from Lalla Rookh stand

The friendly service from Lalla Rookh stand

Top tips for Taste of Perth

 

  1. Arrive on time, you only have four hours (3.5 hours to order drinks)
  2. Put a reasonable amount on your crown card and top up if needed – there’s no refunds and plenty of crown stations if you need more
  3. As soon as you arrive, book into the demonstrations / lessons you want to attend
  4. Keep an eye on the time so you don’t miss any demonstrations – last year I went nerdy and put them in my iPhone diary (the ones I really didn’t want to miss)
  5. Organise transport to and from. Closest taxi ranks are outside Hyatt Hotel or Pan Pacific Hotel

 

What I’m looking forward to:

I’ve already decided I’m going to have a Paleo-free day (I always said I’d do Paleo 80% to 90% of the time, and I do), I’m going to indulge in all the things I’d otherwise avoid. Yes, I might regret it later on with a dodgy tummy and feeling icky, but at least my taste buds won’t be left wondering.

  1. Eating at Mary’s – I had dinner in this Mt Lawley restaurant last week and it was fantastic
    UPDATE: I strayed from the paleo way and enjoyed a donut with peanut butter icecream. I felt so naughty eating it and was on a massive sugar high afterwards.
  2. Lalla Rookh – trying fried custard
    UPDATE: Missed this!
  3. El Público – trying the twice cooked sticky lamb ribs.
    UPDATE:  While many hosted guests raved about these ribs, I paid $12 and was disappointed – dry, stringy, and the fat not rendered and hardly any sticky sauce. I must’ve got a dud because lot of others raved it…
  4. Honey Cake – having a full piece – it’s so light and delicate
    UPDATE: the honey cake was every bit as good as I remembered from the sliver of a taste I had last year. I also converted three friends to be honey cake lovers.
  5. Blending my own Red in the Grape and Grain Tasting Room
    UPDATE: I missed out on this – the session was already booked out.
  6. My overall favourite thing – chatting to producers about what they grow or make. Hearing them tell their stories with such passion is always inspiring. And I could talk food and wine ’til the cows come home.

 

Highlights from last year

I love the event set up. It’s easy to navigate, there’s room to move, places to stand and eat or sit and relax, and enough exhibitors to keep one amused for four hours.

The music stage in the centre of the event created a lovely atmosphere.  Little details such as covered garbage bins made the site clean and appealing. Hay stacks, giant tee pees, rugs, a ping pong table, and the instagrammer’s favourite ‘taste’ letters near the entry all contribute positively. The guys at Brand Events (event organisers), do it well.

Last year, tasting this gorgeous Honey Cake on my way out was a definite highlight. This traditional bohemian recipe is a winner. It’s a natural light fluffy honey cake with layers of caramel and ground walnuts.

Honey cake

Honey cake

The lowlights last year would be the waiting time for some of the dishes, the liquor licence that prohibits alcohol tastings and drink sales 30 minutes before the event closes, and the prices of some tasting plates.

 

Summary

Taste of Perth is foodie heaven, and cashed up foodies will have a brilliant day out. Last year it is not a cheap day out, then again, it’s rare to have the chance to taste dishes from some of Perth’s premium restaurants in one place. It’s great to see some cheaper options available this year.

FACT FILE

Taste of Perth is held at Langley Park from Friday 15 May until Sunday 17 May
Entry tickets start at $36 and are available at the gate, or from Ticketek

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