I’ve long been a fan of all things Print Hall and have been particularly partial to the consistent deliciousness of The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House, their Asian shared plate style restaurant. Their Linley Valley Pork Spare Ribs are my favourite ribs in Perth. Just fall off the bone tender and marinated with such divinely flavoursome loving care.
Recently, as a part of WAToday‘s Good Food Month Apple Daily held a collaborative dinner between the talented Chef Ivan Blackwell from Apple Daily along with the Chef Dylan Jones from Bo.Lan, a much heralded Thai restaurant with an Aussie at the helm. It was sure to be a spicy affair and an invitation to attend was accepted very appreciatively.
I love the fit out at Apple Daily, the walls are artistically covered with old newspapers, all with a warm red glow from the bright lights of the wall art. There’s a cool, casual vibe to such a cleverly refined space.
GG and I were shown to a table for two and brought out the first wine. A zesty riesling from the evenings wine partner Yalumba. It was crisp and easy drinking….. as I find a lot of wines to be.
On paper the menu looked interesting and our friendly waiter outlined it all to us. We would be starting with individual serves for our entrees, then it moved to a shared affair for mains and finally dessert would follow.
Cambinata Yabbie and Grilled Aubergine Salad with Soft Boiled Quail Egg
Northern Larp of Fried Wagin Quail
Coconut Curry of Seafood, Local Succulents, Heart of Palm
Stirfry of Linley Valley Pork, Shrimp Paste, Fresh Chilli, Shallots, Lime
Southern Style Soup, Chicken & Red Turmeric, CHilli
Organic Jasmine Rice
Preserved Rice Custard, Sweet Corn & Young Coconut accompanied by Crunchy Rice Cake
And so it was time to get the foodie fun started. Now larp. I’d only had it once before, down the road at Long Chim and I was very much aware that it had kick. Like a lot of kick. A solid boot the mouth kick of spicy heat. So I felt like I was ready for Bo.Lan’s version. I was not. It was by far and away the spiciest dish I have ever eaten. I thought my mouth was literally on fire and tears sprang to my eyes. Water provided some cooling refresh, but I was grateful when the fellow on the table next to us asked for some steamed rice and I eagerly also took a scoop while it was on offer to try and allay some of the fire on my taste buds. Quite a powerful starter….. with a lingering reminder. They weren’t going to be easing us in.
The quail leg on top of the larp was a soothing counter and I was glad that I tackled the larp first and had the quail as a chaser. It has been crisped to absolute perfection and across the table young GG actually said it was the best duck he had eaten and I did agree that it did rate very highly on the great duck dishes list.
The second starter dish features an elegant yabbie tail. Incredibly sweet meat and well paired with the eggplant salad, which was still well spiced, but seemed pleasingly mild compared to the larp situation. Plus the quail egg was a delicious addition, almost creamy in texture. The two starters had both showcased Bo.Lan’s talent for spice and for challenging the boundaries of the heat that folks perhaps thought they could manage. As I found out my tolerance, albeit teary at times, was higher than I expected.
Each course had been matched with two wines and I was enjoying working our way through the Yalumba catalogue. As we waited for mains to arrive we happily chatted away with the couple at the table next to us. It is one thing I really like about events like this. You get to meet lovely people, similarly enamoured with food, and it gives you that common ground to chat about memorable dining experiences.
Time for mains and dishes arrived in quick succession. We both started with the soup. Appearance wise it had an elegant simplicity, but the depth of flavour in the fragrant broth was amazing. Tender chicken pieces were savoured and an occasional spoonful would yield a small piece of chilli. It’s only small right? We’d all learnt our lesson and knew that even a skerrick of chilli coming out of that kitchen was going to be punchy and it was, but it enhanced the soupy experience and we were old hats at the chilli game now right?
The curry was a marvel, so well balanced and there was a reluctance to leave any of that rich, flavoursome sauce behind. Thankfully there was much steamed rice at the ready. A mixture of different seafood was hiding throughout, including a few mussels which always add some dramatic flair with their large black shells displayed in the bowl.
Great to see a local appearance in the final mains dish, with the tasty Linley Valley pork stirfy. Just the right amount of spice made this an incredibly interesting dish, so much depth of flavour and no morsel of said deliciousness was left behind. The team has totally mastered the balancing act that is Thai cooking – sweet, sour and spicy all marrying together to flavoursome perfection.
The dinner had been such an adventure to this point. Such vibrant flavours and our taste buds felt like they were dancing. Good times. Now even when I read the description of dessert I suspected I wasn’t going to be the biggest fan. Rice based desserts have never been my favourite and teaming it with custard, something else I’m not a lover of and it was going to be an up hill battle for me to be on board. GG and the two lovely lads at the table next door were raving about it but it wasn’t a dessert for me. It was an interesting dish and I liked the fairly strong coconut flavour and also thought the accompanying crunchy rice cake was a solid textural addition to the dessert.
What a night it had been. A combination of some of my great loves – creative and delicious food, sensational wines and excellent company and in a beautiful venue. It was a real taste of Thailand, at home, right along the terrace. I appreciated the efforts of both talented chefs to bring together all the amazing spices for a delicious series of dishes. Dinner had been sensational. I liked the chance to push my spice boundaries.
Thank you to the Apple Daily team for the invitation.