For many years now we have been supporters of the Entertainment Books as a way to support one of our favourite charities but also to get us to try restaurants and cafes that we perhaps might have overlooked or not been tempted to try.
We decided that with having a Saturday night free we would look for something out of our usual dinning area and that might offer us a different experience and so chose 4 Blake Street in North Perth as our dining choice for Saturday night.
During the day this restaurant is a more casual affair offering breakfast and lunch but of an evening it is transformed into a fine dining establishment that offered us 2 options for dinner on Saturday night. The options were either a 5 course degustation menu or a 9 course classic menu with the added option of having wines matched with either menu by their very knowledgeable sommelier Matt.
Thinking that 9 courses might be too much for us we chose to go with the 5 course option as we were also driving home and were concerned about being over the limit. We were also informed that each course would consist of 2 or 3 bites so you could enjoy and taste the different creations coming from the kitchen.
Now a 5 course degustation menu should probably take about 2 1/2 hours to properly enjoy each course and savour the wines as well but I think that the kitchen might have been a bit overwhelmed as we sat down at 7pm and did not leave the restaurant until 11pm with some major gaps between courses.
I have never minded a reasonable gap but on a couple of occasions it was over half an hour between courses which was just a little too much. But now to the food which really was sensational, well thought out and crafted by the use of good quality produce and food processes in the kitchen that take several days. They also use lots of local produce and buy from small local farms where possible, adding yet another dimension to the food presented.
Now some of the descriptions of the courses are not exactly as they were told to us because there was no written menu and we had to take in details about each course and each wine from the wait staff and from Matt the Sommelier. I did try as hard as I could to ensure that I got all of the details correct to give you a full indication of each course and the wine that was matched with it. There were some very interesting taste combinations of different ingredients in some of the dishes that added a complexity to that particular dish and made for a talking point at the table.
We began the meal with an amuse bouche with was a light fluffy cream cheese mousse served on Parmesan crisp with chopped fennel. It was a nice dainty starting point to the meal ahead and we both enjoyed it. We were then served homemade sour dough bread with three artisan butters and a bite size brioche which were a nice way to begin the meal.
The plate that the amuse bouche was served on…we ate before we took the photo…
The first course served was a squid silk with local sea asparagus and an oyster sabayon. This was a very light dish that highlighted the ocean in its flavourings and was a delight to taste. It was served with a very dry sherry that was incredibly dry and for me was not something that I really enjoyed , although I could see why it was pared with the squid as it had an almost salty sea flavour too it that just added another dimension to this course.
Squid Silk – delicious
For We then had one of our long breaks in service here (about 45 minutes, much too long) and were served a cauliflower risotto with burnt rice crisp. This was accompanied by a Spinafex Rose from the Barossa Valley. The risotto simply delightful and instead of being really strong in flavour was delicate enough to let the full flavour of the cauliflower to come through. The Spinafex Rose was light and fruity enough to sit perfectly along side the risotto and this dish was a real treat!
The Cauliflower risotto was light and a real delight
Then it was time for the main course which was an aged venison with eggplant mousse blueberry compote and a homemade crispbread on top. The venison was cooked perfectly and the taste was robust, strong and full of the deep flavour that you expect from an aged venison. The addition of both the eggplant and blueberry compote surprised me with its delightful additional flavours to add to the dish. This was served along side a Grenache style red wine from the French Loire valley. The berry top notes and the dusky smell of the wine again added a complexity to this dish and really was the perfect match. I would easily have had a full size main course of this dish as it was truly memorable.
Aged Venison was full of flavour
Next we had the cheese course which was a home made feta served on a crisp bread and served with a tomato relish. To accompany this we were served a Japanese whiskey which was 51 per cent proof. I have not for many years been a big fan of drinking whiskey like this. It was served with a small carafe of water to add to it to bring out the full flavour of the whiskey. The home made feta was irresistible and had that fresh creamy, salty taste to it that was a sheer delight and the tomato relish added a nice touch to it. I had one small sip of the whiskey but it was much too strong for me and not something that I really enjoyed so just sat back and enjoyed the cheese by itself.
Home made feta cheese
Before the final course of the night was served we were presented with a palette cleanser which was a buttermilk sorbet with buttermilk crisp. It had a hint of lemon through it and tasted too me like a rich fresh natural yoghurt and it really worked well as a palette cleanser.
For the final course we were served a Forest Hill noble rise Riesling that was the accompaniment of the pumpkin mousse served with banana ice cream, pork crackle, prawn hair and pecorino cheese. I was originally sceptical about how I would enjoy this dish but I have to say that when you combine all of the above flavours into a mouthful you can truly appreciate how well this combination of both sweet and savoury really do work together.
And so we arrived, over 4 hours later, at the end of our meal. We were thrilled with the food, the service was at time much to slow in between courses, the décor is great, the ambience works really well and Matt the Sommelier is a real find. He explains each wine perfectly and shares his knowledge about the wines and you can see how much he knows and the excitement he feels for the wines he is explaining to you.
The palette cleanser
This was a great meal but the time spent was much too long and I would hope in future that serving 5 course should only take 3 1.2 hours and not the 4 1/2 that we experienced.
The night cost us $305 after the Entertainment book discount and I will leave it up to you to decide if you think that was an expensive price tag for dinner for 2 in Perth these days. Especially if you end up going home still hungry.