Many moons ago when GG and I celebrated our second anniversary together, we booked in a special dinner at Jacksons to celebrate the occasion. This was at a time when I was starting work at 5.30am in the morning and I’ll admit that my memories of that visit are of being incredibly tired and struggling to make it through the 4 hour sitting. But we always felt like it was a place we should go back to, given it’s an institution in the Perth dining scene, particularly for their degustation menu. So I was more than a little pleased when the secret birthday dinner GG booked for my birthday turned out to be there. What a treat!
We were booked in for a Friday night at 7pm….. very reminiscent of the timing of our last visit, but I was highly confident that I was a lot more awake on this evening and perhaps a more seasoned campaigner on the long, lingering dinner front. GG had booked us in for The Dego ($125) and then matched wines for ($50 – dego wine pours are 100ml). As we sat I quickly glanced at the menu and I was well excited about what we had ahead.
Being particularly spoilt we started the evening with a glass of bubbles and also an oyster each – complete with lime and chilli sorbet. They were perfectly chilled and so fresh! I think I may well become a fully fledged oyster fan yet!
Once we’d finished the oysters and ahead of the first dego course an amuse bouche arrived, Jackons’s take on a greek salad. Very unique presentation in its little cone and complete with a tomato sorbet. Incredily delicious and a prelude to the good times ahead!
Next we were brought an entirely impressive selection of bread – House made bread rolls, sourdough, lavosh & cheese sticks – which came served with Organic extra virgin frantoio olive oil from Cherith Grove Gidgeganup WA, Lescure salted butter from France and Murray River pink salt flakes from Victoria. While I know that indulging in too much bread has not served me well in the past I couldn’t say no to the range of freshly baked rolls they had on offer, especially with some of the Lescure butter anddivine flaked pink salt was ready to be spread and sprinkled on top. Divine – good bread is a joy.
From there, the first official plate was presented – Scallop ceviche, green pea pannacotta with Dom. Pichot Coteau de la Biche 2010, Loire Valley, France. It was quite a vision, the green pannacotta with the delicate disk of scallop and compressed pea on top. It was such a light and refreshing start, but with such intense flavour. It really showcased the magic of the green pea and how fabulously sweet it can be. We both loved it.
We stuck with seafood for course two – Blue Ridge marron, miso cream with Villa Wolf Pinot Gris 2011, Pfalz, Germany. Special care had been taken to present the marron tail and its sweetness was well matched with the salty smudge of miso cream that was on the plate. I also really enjoyed the little taco they had included. It was particularly posh and had such a refreshing flavour.
The first surprise course arrived next and in keeping with the first two was a salute to the sea with a Buri-oh kingfish ceviche, kimchi. I really appreciated the freshness of all the seafood that was being used. It was so a delicate balance of flavours, with a kick of spice from the tasty kimchi. Overall it was just delicious!
I heart duck, so it was great to see a duck course on the menu – Duck breast & leg, forbidden rice, radicchio marmalade with Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir 2010, Mornington Peninsular, VIC. Perfectly pink and well paired with the slight bitterness from the radiccio marmalade, I was a big fan. And hard to go wrong matching duck and pinot noir, the two seem to go hand in hand. We weren’t entirely sure where the forbidden rice was hiding though? Could have been the decorative dark dots around the plate, we weren’t quite sure.
The next course was the only time you had to make a decision in the Dego menu. The option was either pork or venison. I went the pork and GG went the venison, with the intention of sharing. Always nice to get to try both.
Mine – My friend, the suckling pig with Pizzini Il Barone’ Red Blend 2006, King Valley, VIC was wonderfully prepared. Some carefully crafted vegatbles and then pork done two ways. The pork belly was the perfect blend of fatty deliciousness, while the loin just melted in your mouth. I enjoyed half of this dish before sending it GG’s way so he could partake.
Across the table, GG’s dish – Margaret River venison, beetroot & chocolate with Les Courtilles Cote du Rhone 2010, Rhone, France – was a vibrant splash of beetroot pink with the dish coming on a bed of beetroot spatzle. I had half of this dish and it was very nice. The beetroot added some nice sweetness, but we both agreed that of the two we preferred the suckling pig.
We had the option of no cheese course at this point, but both feeling quite comfortable, made the decision to decline.
Preparing us for dessert next was the second intruder course – a pretty pre dessert – Chocolate Aero, peanut butter ice cream, complete with a few flowers. As a long time lover of all things sweet I was particularly enamoured with this dish, so lovingly plated and designed. The bubbly chocolate and the peanut nuttiness were a well matched pair, and the thick brushed chocolate on the plate contrasted nicely with the biscuity pieces that had been crumbled on. It definitely had me looking forward to the dessert course ahead.
So what was for dessert? Sticky black rice pudding, torched fruits, coconut & gin with Dom. Pichot ‘Le Marigny’ Vouvray Moelleux 2009, Loire Valley. I was even spoilt with a happy birthday message scrawled in chocolate. A lovely touch. Now I’ve never been a massive fan of rice based desserts and I wouldn’t say this one pushed me into the ‘big fan of them’ camp, but it was pleasant enough and I quite liked the coconut and gin sauce over the fresh fruit.
Finally we both opted for a pot of tea, peppermint for me and Earl Grey for GG, and we sipped on that while enjoying the “Things” that came along with our hot beverage. A delectable truffle and the precious shot glass full of trifle was the perfect conclusion to our dining experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Jackson’s. The service is friendly and uninstrusive and the whole experience, from the timing of the food and the careful pairing of the wines, is a polished experience. Neal Jackson is clearly a master of his kitchen, plating delicious and creative dishes and his consistent performance sees Jackson’s a consistent Perth favourite. I definitely hope I can head back for another special occasion some time soon!