Dîner en Blanc Perth – did it live up to the hype?

The inaugural Dîner en Blanc Perth was held last night. In the Q&A below, your questions are answered.

What is Dîner en Blanc?

According to their website: At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

There isn’t a higher reason or fundraising component for charity, simply a beautiful event in a public space.

Is it simply an event?

Simply isn’t the right word to describe the Dîner en Blanc event.  Much effort is required to attend as I discovered last night. One must bring everything, and I mean everything (except the one thing I wanted to bring, wine. No alcohol permitted the venue was fully licensed). Everything had to be white, eskies included. This is what we had to bring:

  • Table 90cm x 90cm
  • Chairs
  • Table decorations – encouraged to get creative, electric candles, vase (not glass), flowers, etc.
  • Food
  • Crockery (no plastic permitted)
  • Glasses (these had to be acrylic)
  • Water / soft drink
  • Garbage bag (white)
  • Cloth napkins (for the napkin wave)
  • Table cloth
  • Lighter to light provided sparklers
  • Esky – if bringing esky, must be white or covered in white cloth
  • Your appetites and good cheer

Now, not sure how many people met the brief on the last point, after lugging all that stuff to the secret location which happened to be (predictably) Elizabeth Quay. We met at Maylands train station at 4.25pm and arrived at Elizabeth Quay at 5.50pm. There were meeting points scattered across the Metro area. As the Dîner en Blanc venue was kept secret, there was no option to drive and drop off furniture. Public transport there was the only option.

How many people went?

1554 is the official attendance figure quoted.

DEB_Perth16_mr - 3

Did everyone wear white?

Yes, or at least they were instructed to.  No cream, no ivory, off-white and no beige clothing were permitted. Just white. Nude shoes were permitted but white shoes were highly encouraged. It was noted that not everyone stuck to the rules in that regard, lots of off-whites spotted including some in the Dîner en Blanc organising team.

File 21-03-2016, 16 50 18

Was there anywhere to buy food and drink?

Guests could pre-order food and drink. No sales were made on the night, which meant one had to be organised and pre-determine how much one would like to drink on the night.  We ordered one bottle between two of us (one driver), which was sufficient.

The queue to pick up pre-ordered food and drink needs better management. I queued for 30 minutes but heard others queued for over an hour to pick up their food and drink. It wasn’t the greatest start to the night, especially after lugging all our stuff from Maylands train station to Perth, then changing lines to EQ. The queue for drinks only moved much faster.

DEB_Perth16_mr - 2

What sort of people were there? What was the crowd like?

A real mix in ages – from 18 years old to the elderly. That was my favourite part of the night – seeing such a wide spectrum of ages. They were all there to have a great night, and most people seemed to.

Was there music?

Yes. There was a violinist that travelled with us from Maylands Station, which was a nice touch. It added to the ‘decorum’ and set the tone. Not that every guest adhered to the ‘conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette’ house rule issued. Some Generation Why’s (pun intended) seemed to think getting drunk and dancing on tables was a good idea.

A DJ played some groovy tunes that was a fantastic mix of chart topping hits across many eras.  I was bummed that the one ABBA song I heard happened to be playing as we were waiting for a taxi home.

Did people dance?

Oh yes, lots of stylish and not-so stylish dance moves on the makeshift dance floor under Spandex (see below).

It must’ve looked amazing. Was it a magical night?

It did look amazing. It was a stunning balmy Perth night and the backdrop of the city skyline in one direction and the Spanda (or Spandex as I call it) sculpture and the Swan River beyond in the other direction was really beautiful.  1500 people in white and white balloons and sparklers, in that setting made for stunning photos.IMG_4027


How did you get tickets?

This is the Dîner en Blanc thing – you need to know someone who knows someone to get a ticket. Once Dîner en Blanc has done those rounds, then a set amount of tickets are released to the public.  In my case, a friend knew one of the organisers. Apparently 400 tickets were sold to the public and over 5,000 people were on a waiting list. I feel kind of special that I got to go knowing that.

Was it worth it?

I think so. It was quite an effort, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t cursing all the rules before the event. However, the event was fun (after a glass of wine to calm my queuing angst) and really beautiful. DEB_Perth16_mr - 4

Would I go again?

Yes, I would. Hopefully organisers will make some improvement on the event management side in relation to food and wine pick up. And now that I know how painful it is lugging all that stuff, we will be able to plan better for the next event to make the whole experience enjoyable from go to woe.

What would you do differently?

  • Have better trolleys, secure ties (occy straps?) and less load on each trolley. Let’s be honest, transporting all that stuff is no fun. Imagine if it was a 38 degree day like the weekend before?
  • Not order food. The food we had was ok – the duck liver parfait didn’t come with bread or crackers but was pleasant and the lemon meringue pie was sweet but nice enough. More fun and tastier to share food that you’ve made yourself. We had some impressive home cooks in our party of eight.
  • Not bother covering an esky in white cloth – it looked hideous to start with, kept falling off during transport and was just an unnecessary rule in my opinion. I’d spend $5 on a disposable esky at the hardware store instead.
  • Consider hiring tables and chairs rather than lugging our own

What would you do the same?

  • Wear flat shoes and a hat

Did you go to Dîner en Blanc? What are your thoughts?

DEB_Perth16 - 1

I tried to make my blue esky white…

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Taste of Perth 2016 – go for free

It’s that time of year again – Taste of Perth 2016 returns to Langley Park in the City of Perth for the third time from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May. The best news is that you can go for free!

Friday lunch session on 29 April from 12pm to 4pm is FREE! You can thank the City of Perth for that who have sponsored that session.

And for a limited time, festival goers can purchase general admission tickets priced for $15 – that’s half price. This offer is only available on advance ticket sales. 

Taste of Perth

Taste of Perth brings together the latest, greatest chefs and restaurants in Perth, along with the who’s who of the local dining scene – providing something for everyone from fine dining to sustainable eating. What I love about it is that I can sample some dishes from fine Perth restaurants relatively inexpensively. We all love eating a great places, but it can add up. At Taste of Perth, there’s a great atmosphere, music, tastings, delicious dishes and food / wine workshops, masterclasses and demonstrations to attend.

Whilst Taste of Perth has had it’s critics in the past, it seems that organisers have listened to feedback and adjusted their offerings accordingly. Which is great.

Another thing I like about it is how the day is divided into sessions. Four hours is long enough to have a great afternoon or evening out. Without time constraints, it would turn into a booze fest and there’d be drunk people everywhere, which is what happens at other food and fine festivals. It ain’t pleasant.

credit: Jessica Wyld

Photo credit: Jessica Wyld

It’s a fun day or evening out. And for $15 entry (pre sale) or free entry on Friday lunch session, definitely worth a look.



WHAT:  Taste of Perth in partnership with Electrolux 2016

WHEN:  Friday 29 April – Sunday 1 May 2016

WHERE: Langley Park, Perth

TICKETS: On sale through Ticketek

INFO:  www.tasteofperth.com.au


Facebook:  facebook.com/tasteofperth

Twitter:  twitter.com/tasteofperth

Instagram:  Instagram.com/tastefestivalsaus

Hashtag:  #TasteofPerth #ElectroluxLovesFood

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Lucky Chan’s is lucky for some

Lucky Chan’s is Perth’s first crowdfunded restaurant. Interested punters could contribute by signing their name signed on a wall or impart your wisdom on a step for $5 or $175 respectively. 672 punters put in and Lucky Chan’s ended up raising $112,000, well over their $100,000 target during the 60-day campaign. It opened about a six weeks ago.

It’s a narrow little eatery has a crazy Asian-Urban influenced fit out makes is tricky to climb the stairs – there’s so much stuff to look at everywhere – on the walls, floors, stairs, ceiling, mezzanine.

Of the three floors, the roof top is the best space – high above busy William Street three floors below. The city skyline is in the near distance and it’s wonderful to see it from a higher perspective.  On a warm and sunny autumn day, the roof terrace was a great place to be. The tables are probably a bit too close together, but it wasn’t busy the day we visited, so no bother to us.Lucky Chans_LR - 1

The menu is short and sharp and not much is paleo friendly.  It was one of my 20 per cent off-paleo days when I visited (planned that way), so all was okay. If you are avoiding grains, then avoid Lucky Chans. It’s all fresh dumplings and hand made ramen noodles – and worth going off-paleo for.

The two ‘from scratch’ dumplings we shared were prawn, snapper, squid ink mai and caviar ($13) and the sticky beef shin and liquoice gyoza ($14). The prawn dumplings had a pungent fishy smell that put me off, most likely from the squid ink. Not for me. But the beef ones were amazing – soft tender beef, slightly sweet, perfect dumpling casing, finger-licking-good. Lucky Chans_LR - 2

The ramen noodles are made in-house and a bowl of Shoyu ramen ($14.90) with Hanoi chicken, 62 degree egg, fishcake and nori is what I had next. The noodles were a wonderful texture, still with integrity (not mush). The broth was really tasty, perfectly seasoned, and the gorgeous 62 degree egg oozed all through it. What I didn’t like was what looked like seafood substitute. The waitress didn’t know what it was when I asked, only to return to inform us that it was fish cake. It looked wrong, so I didn’t it.Lucky Chans_LR - 3

Lucky Chan’s is hot right now in Perth. The prices are really very reasonable. The drinks list is excellent, and the service friendly. Would I go back? Absolutely, especially if the sun was out, I’d be heading straight for the roof terrace.



Lucky Chan’s
311 William St, Northbridge

Lucky Chans_LR - 4

Click to add a blog post for Lucky Chan's Laundry + Noodlebar on Zomato

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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.


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.



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.


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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Review of Thriller Live, Crown Theatre Perth

I was thrilled to be invited to review Thriller Live at Crown Perth last night, the preview night. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson’s music.

The show opened with a Jackson Five montage of songs, including ABC.  The dancing was terrific, although if I was to be very critical, some dancers didn’t have the same snap and sharp moves that MJ did, but they were in time, there were no stuff ups and it was highly entertaining and engaging to watch.

The set was simple, two sets of stairs on either side and a mezzanine level on top. The lighting was brilliant and the band – wow – just awesome.

The singers nothing short of superb. If I closed my eyes, at times I would not have been able to if it was Michael Jackson singing or not. They were spot on, high notes and all. Listening and watching Samantha Johnson (USA) who has the most amazing hair, and Tyrone Lee (that man can groove!) were highlights.  I was hoping to see Australian Prinny Stevens who is a lead singer, but she didn’t perform last night.

Photo of previous cast member

Photo of previous cast member

There was a little narrative to explain each phase of Michael’s career, but it was minimal. From the Jackson Five, it moved onto Disco and we sung along to ‘Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight…’.  The cast got the audience involved, asking us all to get on our feet – and everyone did, clapping and grooving in their spot.

After the Disco phase came Dangerous, a ballad, and then ‘Can you feel it’ which was a great place for intermission.

In the second half, it opened with the Thriller album (the hits played at the end of the night) with PYT and Beat it getting the crowd revved up again. Michael Jackson’s Thriller album stayed at number one for 37 weeks. Unbelievable! As a solo artist, he sold over 20 million albums. Incredible.

Smooth Criminal was a favourite – a brilliant song and performance. I expect more from Dirty Diana. Perhaps the dancers wearing black leotard with suspenders, topped with white mohawk centurian helmets distracted me? It didn’t have the impact I was hoping for, given it’s one of my favourite MJ songs.

Photo of previous cast member

Photo of previous cast member

The night rounded off with Man in the Mirror, They Don’t Really Care About Us, Heal The World – all three songs were delivered with intensity and I found myself welling up with emotion.

They cast bowed, left the stage, only to return to get us on our feet as they smashed out Billy Jean, Thriller, Bad, Black And White, and Smooth Criminal, again.  The audience bopped, clapped, and cheered when the dancers moonwalked across the stage.

Thriller Live is a celebration of Michael Jackson’s music. There wasn’t much story telling and no other aspect of his complicated life was mentioned. It’s not a show that will give you any insight into the life of the King of Pop, but it will entertain and engage for the the duration, demonstrating exactly why Michael Jackson earned himself that title.

Photo of previous cast member

Photo of previous cast member


Thriller Live is on at Crown Perth until 21 December – more details can be found here



Dianne Bortoletto was invited to review Thriller Live.
All reviews on Travelletto are done with honesty.

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