Well Christmas in Perth, it tends to be a hot affair and this year did not disappoint. The Christmas/New Year period delivered a blistering heatwave that left the majority melting!
Christmas Day itself was just a touch under 40 degrees but I’m sure it was north of this figure further inland, for instance in the Swan Valley where GG and I found ourselves for Christmas lunch. It was not my usual Christmas fare as my family had all gone to Europe to experience one of those picture perfect white Christmas you hear so much about in Christmas carols……. Dashing through the snow… and all that So the family were in Kirchberg, Austria – all snowy and sipping on mulled wine, while GG and I basked in the searing summer sunshine for our December 25th. We headed along to a lunch that Dear Friends were holding and having seen the menu I was pretty excited!
I hadn’t been to Dear Friends since my birthday in 2011. That was my first visit and it was such a lovely night. More recently we had tried out the talented Mainwaring’s latest venture – Co-Op Dining in East Perth – another delicious outing. So all frocked up in our festive finest we taxi’d it to lunch. The air conditioning was so refreshing when we walked inside! I find the Dear Friends is a really welcoming restaurant. The fit out is entirely classy but still manages to have a refined casualness to it. We perched ourselves at the bar for a drink before we were shown in the restaurant. While we had initially thought we’d go for a glass of bubbles, when sangria was suggested it sounded like an ideal choice! It was so good! This delicious mix of red wine, cognac, Cointreau, lemonade and cinnamon. It was lovely and refreshing and dangerously easy drinking If we weren’t feeling festive before we definitely were by the time we had finished that amazing drink.
From there we took our seats and as is custom on Christmas day, popped our Christmas crackers, put on our Christmas crowns and laughed at the hilarious jokes.
Tehehe they are generally terrible jokes….
To start proceedings we were bought out fresh Home made Rolls, which were delicious along with the Home churned stinging nettle butter that was waiting for us on the table.
Followed close behind was the Amuse Bouche. A dainty pithivier filled with divine, melt in your mouth suckling pig and a beautiful tasty jus. It definitely got the taste buds ready for the courses ahead.
From the Shores next came Beetroot cured Tasmanian ocean trout with Russian salad, quail eggs And fennel pollen ice cream. It looked beautiful! The intense colour from the beetroot cured fish along with the vibrant golden yolk of the quails egg. It tasted so amazing! The Russian style potato salad that was hiding under the ocean trout had a wonderful creaminess and the chill from the fennel pollen ice-cream was a decadent contrast. I thoroughly enjoyed this!
More seafood followed with the We Three Crustaceans course – Tian of king prawn with mint and mango; Scallop boudin blanc on cabbage remoulade; Millefuille of crab and crisp house cured speck. It was particularly lovely that this course was delivered to us by Chef Kiren himself! So nice to get the chance to say hello and thank him for putting together such a special menu for our Christmas Day lunch. He did note that a scallop was a mollusk but we could appreciate that we three crustaceans had a much more festive ring to it Each of the three items was a careful marrying of fresh, flavoursome ingredients that really showcased the amazing freshness of WA seafood. Another winner!
And now the star attraction, The Festive Main – Free Range Local Goose with all the trimmings. I had never had goose before so I was really intrigued about how it would taste. It was artistically arranged on the plate with a colourful arrangement of vegetables. As I found out, goose is a fatty meat, but the bird had been lovingly prepared and was very flavoursome. The vegies were a nice addition too and a healthy amount of crunch still to them. I think I’m still more partial to duck, but I enjoyed the opportunity to try something new. And goose for Christmas lunch is definitely memorable.
A special mention here to the wines. We had switched from sangria across to vino and a lovely white had been suggested to me 2009 Egon Muller Chateau Bela, Mužla, Riesling, Štúrovo, Slovakia. GG enjoyed a glass of this but for the goose switched to a red and was thoroughly pleased with the chilled glass of
Time to sweeten us up with Pre Dessert – a dainty white chocolate pannacotta on a dramatic raspberry smear and a snow like sprinkling of coconut. The wonderful richness from the chocolate, the sweetness from the berries and the textural crunch from the coconut was delightful! And it just looked so pretty!
And what would Christmas be without Christmas Pudding today served with sauce Anglaise And egg nog ice cream. The pudding itself was indulgently rich and fruity, well matched with the creamy Anglaise sauce and perfect for the Perth weather was the addition of the egg nog ice cream. It was a bit of a modern twist on an old classic and it worked well. It was a delicious finish to the Christmas lunch adventure we’d had at Dear Friends.
Or so we thought…. Two little fruit mince pies appeared! The beautiful light buttery pastry with its fruity filling – thankfully we just had enough room for these tasty morsels.
It had been an entirely lovely and completely memorable Christmas lunch. Our thanks to the Mainwarings for putting on such a great event and to all their staff who were all so friendly and attentive – our thanks to you too! Such a beautiful restaurant, where such care is given to fresh, local ingredients, really showing what can be done with West Aussie produce.
I’ll never forget GG and my first Christmas lunch together