An educational experience with some of Perth’s most knowledgable and engaging hospitality personalities
Quite quickly, WA’s food culture has come into a world of it’s own. ‘Dining out’ now means so much more than just finding somewhere to refuel on cheap grub and booze. Food and beverage offerings have become more refined and a whole lot more exploratory, ultimately resulting in some incredibly exciting happenings in the industry. Eating out is no longer simply an activity, it is an experience. The food, the beverages, the environment, the staff, the craftsmanship, the passion and the knowledge – they all play an important role in shaping dining experiences. It is the added extras that diners are seeking, the ‘money can’t buy’ experiences that accompany good food.
After spending an evening at Lot Twenty‘s Ladies Only Laphroaig and Oyster Masterclass, this idea of dining out being an experience has only been further solidified in my mind. The intimate evening, limited to only 22 attendees, promised a dozen oysters, canapes and a flight of matched whiskies. As an avid whisky drinker and oyster lover, the product offering alone was enough to get me in the door, but it was the creativity, craftsmanship and passion of each of the chefs, whisky buffs and oyster aficionados that really made the evening something special. Hosted by Caitlin and chef Jeramiah at Lot Twenty, Bill and Margaret at The Exchange, and Jerry Fraser, the evening was a well guided culinary adventure that challenged the senses.
Jerry and Jeremiah let their creative minds run wild with the oysters, serving them up with a chilly beetroot granita, a bitter espresso foam and even as freshly fried tempura – but the stars of the night were definitely the two-hour cold smoked oysters. Silky, smoky and salty (even creamy in the instance of the Albany rock oysters), the smoked oysters were perfectly matched to the very lightly peated Connemara, enhancing it’s gentle smoke even further. The palette cleansers were also, in themselves, a delight. From fresh Tasmanian salmon sashimi finished with vanilla oil (this one was confusing in my mind, but so well balanced to the taste that it made perfect sense) to a tangy, earthy, citrus and Laphroaig Triple Wood sorbet, each dish was meticulously put together and showcased the produce beautifully.
To compliment each course was a peated whisky from the range at The Exchange. Beginning with Irelands only peated whisky, and finishing with a bold and statement making drop from the Laphroaig line up, we were talked through origins and tasting notes of each and how they complimented the dishes in front of us. Bill bought back a stack of first hand knowledge from his recent trip to the Laphroaig distillery, giving us all a fantastic insight into the background of the product and helping us to better understand the commonly misperceived whisky.
At the conclusion of the four courses, I was left buzzing. Blame it on the generous whisky pours if you please, but I couldn’t help but feel a great deal of satisfaction at having eaten my way through a range of ingenious dishes that excited even the chefs, and also having learned so many tasty new morsels. This is the way dining out should be.
(Word on the street is that Lot Twenty will be organising more of these masterclass evenings in coming times, so keep an ear to the ground for any developments!)