On Wednesday night, I joined a group of fellow food bloggers at Restaurant Amuse, for their much talked about, much anticipated, dessert degustation.
Some of us hadn’t met before, but it didn’t take long for us to get settled in, chatting about recent eating experiences, cameras and all things food related.
Have I ever mentioned how great it is to dine with fellow food bloggers?
Reasons why I love it:
- No one blinks when you say, “wait, can I take a photo of that?”
- You’ve always got somebody (or in our case, several somebodies) who is willing to hold up an iPhone ‘torch’ to illuminate your plate
- Sharing food and drinks is not only accepted, but encouraged!
Golden scream, $10, pineapple mocktail
Our menu for the evening was strictly dessert – but I’m not going to say strictly sweet, because, as we discovered, the team at Amuse have a thoroughly creative view of what constitutes dessert.
We were treated to an insight on what was in store for the evening, from wife of the Chef, and front of house manager, Carolynne. She explained the menu for the evening would feature some classic Amuse dessertsfrom the archives, in addition to some experiments developed over the last couple of weeks.
We began with Caramel, white chocolate and wasabi. The pale golden spheres which were presented to us immediately made me think of birds’ eggs.
Biting into the creamy white chocolate shell revealed a cold and creamy caramel parfait. We were all pleasantly surprised by the sharp wasabi kick to the palate which followed.
Our next course, Chimay 2011, gets its name from the Belgian beer used in the sorbet. Brewed by Cistercian monks, this flowery beer was originally brewed as a ‘festive’ specialty.
I’m glad it’s not a once-a-year thing any more, as even I, the most anti-beer person I know, found the rich caramelised notes of the beer sorbet really pleasant.
Set off with a barley foam, salted cashews and a thick, wheaty pretzel, this reminded me of all the salty accompaniments we all crave with a cold beer.
I think it was Bon Viveur who said, ‘who doesn’t love a good G and T?’ and I have to agree.
Though it resembled no G and T I’ve ever seen, I’d be happy to indulge in this pillow of deliciousness any time!
Rounds of fluffy, caramelised marshmallow encased a layer of gin and tonic jelly over a ‘drunken sponge’ cake. I loved the burst of lime oil from the finely grated zest.
Something about the smell of limes for me, just screams summer, and immediately conjures images of gin and fizzing tonic water, with ice cubes clinking in a glass.
Lychee, banana and finger limes caused a bit of a stir amongst us, as we marvelled at the presentation of lychees three ways – as mousse, gel and freeze-dried. The freeze-dried lychees had me guessing at first, looking very much like puffed pork rinds.
A sweet banana puree and coconut creme patissiere were also joined by fresh finger lime from Marvick Natives Farm, just north of Perth. The finger lime ‘caviar’ was a favourite, adding a burst of acid tang to every mouthful.
Looking back at the description of this stunning dish reminds me that not all desserts are created equal.
Mike Thompson [Galapagos, Mana Lucie, Snow White, Thai Pink Lady, Green Grape, Orange Cherry, Princep Borghese, Marmande, Pale Purple and Black Plum], featured a diverse range of unusual and heirloom tomato varieties, most of which I’d never heard of, sourced from local WA grower, Mike Thompson. I love that the dish was named after him!
The medley of tomatoes was turned into a sweetly umami sorbet, and complemented beautifully by the sweet-sour verjuice and balsamic ‘pebbles’. The addition of hyssop added a minty, astringent flavour to this dish. It was quite strong, and even now, I’m not sure if I can call myself a fan.
Bee pollen and crunchie was a delightfully retro treat from Amuse’s 2008 menu. The bee pollen milkshake was strangely addictive, reminding me a little of the malty-sweet milkshakes I adored when I was young.
We all enjoyed Amuse’s take on the Crunchie, which featured thick chocolate around homemade honeycomb. More please!
Capturing the beauty of Hay, blueberries and cocoa just wouldn’t have been possible without the helping hands of my food blogger friends :)
As the wafts of hay smoke cleared, we found fresh blueberries piled over a sweet hay custard, blueberry syrup and a tumble of slightly sweet coffee and cocoa crumbs.
Digging into this was an absolute pleasure, revealing more (and more!) with every bite. I loved the creaminess of the custard, and how well it was offset with the sour-sweet flavour of the blueberries, and texturally by the cocoa-coffee crumbs.
Sidenote: at this point, Gastromony and I simultaneously ‘ooh-ed’ at the beautiful ceramics which our dishes were presented on. Though it never contributes to the flavour of a dish, I do love a beautiful dish, and I was thoroughly impressed with the selections used by Amuse!
Beetroot, pistachio and raspberries featured a thirty second beetroot sponge, pistachio sorbet, crushed milk biscuit and fresh raspberries. I loved the play on textures – from soft and spongy to crisp and crunchy.
A definite favourite of the night was Return of the 2007 Snickers, one of Amuse’s early desserts from their first year of business.
Two cubes of creamy mousse were the standouts for me – flavoured with peanut butter and chocolate, and topped off with a slightly salty soft peanut caramel. A quenelle of creamy nougat ice cream completed this salute to the Snickers bar.
I don’t think I have adequate words to describe how much I loved this. Let’s just say – a lot.
Chef Hadleigh joined us for our next course, Apricot and Anglaise, to top each individual apricot souffle with a silky sweet vanilla anglaise.
Though I loved the delicate flavour of this souffle and the creamy vanilla custard, I have to confess I was struggling to finish at this point. The sugar rush hit me hard. Oh boy.
We ended our evening with a sweet (but slightly less sweet) finish, enjoying a perfectly executed coffee macaron and rich Baileys Irish cream truffle.
The creamy coffee flavoured macaron and rich Baileys truffle worked perfectly for me as a replacement for the usual post-meal coffee. I’d be happy to go without on a regular basis for treats like these!
Though you’d have to work seriously hard to convince me to give up the savoury component of any degustation, this valiant effort from the team at Restaurant Amuse certainly grabbed my attention and held it.
And though I originally thought I would need a salt-fix in the form of late night junk food after our meal, I can report that no post-dego chips, burgers or cheese were consumed ;)
And shout outs to my fellow food-fans, and eaters in crime:
Bon Viveur, Gastromony, Blue Apocalypse, The Strawberry Thief, Eat Meets West and Carolanne’s Kitchen. We should do this again some time :)