New Years – so overrated isn’t it! Always seems to be a bit of a struggle for me to muster much enthusiasm for a late night out. Stay up til midnight? Who am I, Cinderella? I’ve never been much of a night owl, much more of an early bird so I knew it would be tough going to pull a late nighter.
My friends and I had mixed it up the last few years – The Brisbane, The Paddo, Matilda Bay last year…. And we thought this year that it would be nice to do a dinner. Meant we could sit ourselves down for the large part of the night, have a good chat over some nice wines and it appealed as being a whole lot more civilised that trying to battle the crowds in any of the usual busy spots around towns.
So after keeping an eye out for the few months prior I came across the menu for Red Cabbage’s New Years Eve dinner. I was intrigued… very sparse details provided about what each of the 6 degustation courses were but enough to get me interested. At $175 it wasn’t a cheap night out, but that included your food and drinks, plus I’d always wanted to give Red Cabbage a go, especially after Chef Scott O’Sullivan’s creative gem at the Largesse dinner! (http://perthmunchkin.com/2011/10/08/largesse-dinner-5/) We locked it in.
Having parking available under the restaurant was helpful…. Not that I planned on driving home, but South Perth is close enough that it wasn’t too much of a bother to pick the car up the next day. So first impressions when I walked in. I liked it. Dark black tassles decoratively hung about, some mood lighting on the go, and a big bright red apple looking thing as you walked in, which I thought was pretty cool. We were a group of 6, and were sat on the terrace. Basically there is an indoor section and then a larger balcony style area. There weren’t too many spare tables, so clearly a popular choice for NYE.
As we sat down we were offered drinks – a range of wines and beer were available so I started with a glass of the Fraser Island Chardonnay – winning choice, it was my drink for the rest of the evening. We noticed not too far from our table, two chefs were mysteriously working with some sort of smoking potion…. Which as it turned out was a lychee cocktail frozen with liquid nitrogen. Presentation wise as they made it, it did look very speccy :)
Tasted pretty good too!
It was at this point I was more than a little chuffed when Chef and Owner Scott Sullivan came over to say hello. I had tweeted him on a few previous occasions, given we both share a solid appreciation for all things UFC. So that was lovely – top guy! And we got to chat about the Brock vs Overeem fight from that morning – wow! :)
On the food front, we were each brought out a tasty roll, very light, with a slight sweetness but worked a treat with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar that was dished up on the tables.
They also brought around some oysters, but since I can’t get past thinking that they are a big goober in a shell, I declined, but was told they were very nice.
The first official course was Quail with Black Bean. The quail was done in a light tempura batter and presented well with the darkness of the black beans and the smattering of microherbs (one of the big winners of 2011 in terms of appearances on dishes…. Which was a lot). I totally enjoyed this dish. I was wishing that a quail was perhaps a larger bird, say an emu, because given its deliciousness I had wanted the good times to keep on rolling. But there were other courses ahead, so keeping it dainty was perhaps prudent at this early stage of proceedings.
Up next came a Duck Liver parfait. I’ve never been a huge fan of pate but the presentation of this course was just beautiful and the flavour of the parfait was well matched with the sweetness of the fig and contrasted nicely with the crunchy cracker. So I didn’t mind it after all.
Then came the salute to seafood – a combination of Scallop + trout – Ahh scallops, such an ocean treasure they are! Another course that was as pretty as a picture. Especially with the thin slice of radish. Radishes are such an underappreciated vegie and they can add so much spark to a salad. The scallop was sweet and plump and worked well with the creamy sauce that was swirled on the side. I tried the trout, but it had a slightly stronger seafood flavour that I fancied so I passed it along to GG who made quick work of it.
Moving right along….Pork + chilli caramel came next and this was definitely my favourite course! From the creative way the cucumber came out in its two different shaped wheels, to how the green of the cucumber contrasted so nicely to the red plate, and the pork – my gosh the pork! Melt in your mouth material, just beautifully, beautifully cooked. And as a combination of flavours together, the sweetness of the chilli caramel pork married so well with the refreshing, crunchy cucumber.
Always nice to have a Palate cleanser and this one was particularly special. Again they’d put the liquid nitrogen to task to freeze up some citrus mousse. This was then scooped and topped with strawberry powder. The end result was yum. Yum in a bowl.
We had a choice of two for the next course so I suppose it was essentially the mains. You could either have Venison, almonds + sprouts or Salmon with zucchini flowers. I went for the Venison, it was juicy and delicious and I especially liked the addition of the brussel sprouts. They seemed to have been pan fried and they were just wonderful. I’ve always been a big fan of these green treasures, though I know they may not be as popular with others. Very nice!
I heard similarly positive reports on the salmon, though one comment from the fellows was that perhaps if this course was the mains then it could have been slightly larger.
Finally came dessert and it was a vision – Au chocolate. Rich, indulgent chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries, all atop the magic chocolate soil. I say magic because one mouthful left you popping! Ahh popping candy, so cool that it’s being used in fine dining desserts. It’s an old school classic that’s appreciated at any age. Seriously great dessert, really loved it.
All in all I did enjoy my meal and will definitely be heading back to Red Cabbage on another occasion – actually can’t wait to :) The food was well prepared with an inventive use of flavours and beautiful presentation, service had been attentive and friendly and bringing in the New Years surrounded by some of your nearest and dearest is always going to be a good night out. Plus I got to dance to Little Lion Man – big fan of that song!
Thanks to Chef Scott and his team for putting on a great night…… and for the cheeky post dinner port – brilliant way to cheers 2012! :)