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The Roving Dinner

Hello folks, last week I went on a Roving Dinner. “What’s that?” you may possibly cry, well it’s a four course meal with a difference. It’s a progressive feast, with each course being served at a different restaurant along the brilliant Beaufort Street in Perth.

It’s all in conjunction with the Beaufort Street Festival, an all-dayer attracting heaps of people with loads of live music, art, bands, a food stage, entertainment, and local restaurants and bars selling their wares out the front of their premises.

Jolly good show, so let’s get on with it! First stop is Mary Street Bakery for canapés and a good chat with Courtney the Head Baker.

Courtney’s been working here for about a year and is a great asset to the business. Knowledgeable and affable, he takes great pride in his work. At Mary Street Bakery they source their flour from Western Australia’s Eden Valley and it’s bio-dynamic, organic, stone ground and milled especially for them. The place is a great stop for breakfast, a real vibrant hub with a ton of freshly baked goods. Tonight’s canapés were a great way to kick the evening off, delicious and plentiful. It was like being in the kitchen at a house party, no chairs, everyone mingling and meeting their fellow diners. Always the room you wanna hang out in.

And the award for Tastiest Canapé goes to…..The polenta and sesame fried squid in a brioche bun with slaw, and the pork and kimchi on toast were tied for first place.

Onto the second course, entree at Beaufort Street Merchants and a seat next to a 6 foot 6 inch skinhead with a big black eye. Very nice chap, does a lot of work for charity, got the black eye (unfortunately/bizarrely it’s permanent) after being hit by a car driven by a couple of Welsh men. Loved his starter (as did I) of rolled and crumbed pulled pigs head with a sour cherry and pickled radish salad. I asked Chef Stu about the inspiration behind the dish.

“I’ve had a bit of a fascination with pig heads recently.”

Great answer. Yesterday he chopped five pig heads in half, brined them for 24 hours, put them in stock and simmered them for 10 hours overnight. Stu enjoys pushing diner’s boundaries and getting them “out of their comfort zones” with his cooking. “Be proud of what you put on your plate, and use the whole animal”.

If push came to shove, this was my favourite dish of the night.

A couple of doors down, and it’s mains at Ace Pizza where we nearly didn’t have mains at Ace Pizza! The butchers were playing silly buggers and got the delivery times somewhat mixed up. Luckily Head Chef Scott knows his chops (and local suppliers) so managed to get a big delivery of steak just before all 43 of us showed up. No need to sweat (I briefly spoke to Scott pre-dinner whilst the kitchen was making up for lost time) because the grilled flank steak with red peppers and fontina (Italian cow’s-milk cheese) was delicious. The meat was succulent and tender, balanced really nicely with the sweet red pepper and all served on a bed of roast tatties. Now I know it’s not West Australian, but Ace has Italian overtones, so it was all washed down with a couple of very welcome cold cans of Peroni. Perfect.

Finally, for something cold and sweet it was a short walk to probably the most established eatery on the strip, Cantina. Canadian Chef Gord (along with Super Apprentice Byron Fini) spent the day crafting our chocolate sharing platters (darn you sharing). I actually saw FIGHTS breaking out between usually extremely civilized and well behaved people over the last spoonful of exquisite homemade chocolate and hazelnut mousse*. And GROWN MEN rolling around on the floor for the final bite of sticky white marshmallow with white chocolate ice cream**

*I didn’t really

**Also a slight elaboration of the truth

Along with the superb food and great venues, I really liked the fact that throughout the evening there was no seating plan, so you got to share tables with people you’d never met before. Great idea and a great night.

Just one more “waffa thin mint??”

……You know the rest!