I don't exactly keep my obsessive following of seasonal menus a secret; I await menu changes like I'm counting down to the next Apple keynote and it thrills me whenever a new season rolls around. Seasonal menus are just such a beautiful way to do food and it always ends up producing the best of dishes. It had been awhile since I frequented Five Bar in Mt Lawley and I had a great opportunity to visit again thanks to the lovely Laura Dew of Yelp Perth. It was a delicious night spent rubbing shoulders with some of Yelp Perth's Elite members during their September Elite event. We all also had the pleasure of enjoying Five Bar's showcase of their newly launched Spring/Summer Menu, as well as enjoying hand-crafted beers from local brewery, Feral Brewing Co. Admittedly, I'm definitely more of a foodie than a beer snob (Beerie? Nope, that doesn't sound quite right...) but I arrived at Five Bar with an open mind and much excitement!
(I was also joined fellow blogger and long time friend, Sandy (Hungry Again Perth). Regular prices are provided below where available and note that all portions pictured are only tasting sizes!)
DRINKS: HAND-CRAFTED BEER BY FERAL BREWING CO.
We approached the bar staff and handed over our drink tickets, which generously allowed us to try all four beers featured that night between the two of us. I asked for a recommendation for something light; having not known much about beer, I was hoping to ease myself into it. The ever friendly Five staff recommended the Golden Ace and the White Witbier to start with. I really enjoyed the Golden Ace Ale and I was only a few sips in, when the regrettable happened! My butter fingers and I rested the bottle on the slanting pool table...next thing you know, I had wasted what was a darn good bottle of beer. After offering my apologies to the staff ("no worries, you'll be right!"), Sandy and I shared the Witbier until we were a few courses in to the tasting menu.
Unfortunately, by the time we made our way back to the bar - the Feral Smoked Porter had sold out for the night! I was devastated, but really enjoyed the Hop Hog Pale Ale - it was my favourite amongst the three beers. Despite being a beer novice and someone who gravitates towards hard liquor 99.99% of the time; Feral Brewing Co still got my vote! I wouldn't hesitate to try the Feral Smoked Porter for next time too.
OLD SCHOOL CHICKEN LIVER PARFAIT
Before we knew it, the first course was starting to make it's way around the group. I didn't start eating offal until midway through 2011 (yes, I've been missing out for that long!) and ever since, I've pretty much made "I'll eat anything once" my motto. I have to say, once you start...you can't stop! I love offal anything from cow's tongue, to lamb's brains to organs of all kinds. I've had some great parfaits around Perth and I was very excited upon discovering that I would be graced with yet another for our starter! The parfait itself was so smooth and beautiful - it was truly one of those "please fill a take home jar of this magic" moments for me. I would have preferred if the baguette was toasted but even without that little bit of crunch, I'd gladly order this again next time I visit Five Bar.
CHINESE STYLE PRAWN TOAST
This was one of my favourite dishes of the entire night; talk about bringing me right back to Hong Kong! The traditional prawn toast flair that you'd find in a typical "Cha Chaan Teng" (local HK tea hall/canteen) is served sans lemon and slammed across a slightly greasy plastic plate. Five Bar definitely classed up this old favourite and I thought the inclusion of fresh lemon gave each bite of crispy, sea same seed studded toast a great burst of citrusy tang. I was impressed; I haven't seen a contemporary Prawn Toast in Perth yet and like the previous parfait, it's definitely something I'd come back for.
CORIANDER & AVOCADO SALMON CEVICHE
Unlike the previous courses, the ceviche was distributed out on individual white plates - very considerate! The ceviche was zippy and borderline a little too sour for me; there unfortunately wasn't enough fresh avocado in my portion. It's one of those dishes that you have to ensure that you get all the components onto one forkful. A bit of crispy salmon skin alone left a throbbing hit of salt on my palette and it was followed by a slight sting from the juices from the ceviche there after. Having learnt my lesson, I crumbled the rest of my salmon skin over my remaining slither of avocado and hunk of fresh, tangy salmon. I'm a sucker for ceviche, but this one was a little too acidic for my taste.
The Meet and Greet.
It's always a pleasure to watch passionate people, speak with passion about whatever it is that they're passionate about! First up was Five Bar Manager, Andy - who gave us a great insight into the making of this Beaufort Street favourite. There were a lot of fresh, Asian inspired aspects of Five Bar's new menu and I had a great time picking Andy's brains about their irresistible Banh Mi Roll (coming up soon!)
To cap things off, Steve from Feral Brewing Co spoke with gusto about the various craft beers on offer tonight. He spoke so emotively about the Smoked Porter that I'm sure that his passion alone is responsible for the whole lot being cleaned out right in the middle of the night! I visited Feral Brewing Co. in Swan Valley back in my pre-blogging days and will be on the look out for those that we didn't get to try tonight; including Fantapants and Watermelon Warhead...you can't get cooler brew names than that!
LYONNAIS ONION TART
This was another favourite of the night for me - I adore apple/pear and cheese combinations! Originally, Sandy and I thought we missed out after observing that the rest of the Yelpers were half way through munching their portions. Andy was quick to notice this and made arrangements with the kitchen to get us some spares before the next course rolled out. With every crunchy shatter of the puff pastry, I could taste the wonderfully caramelised, savoury onions. Even amongst all the big flavours, the sweet, roasted pear and salty goats curd shone through - it was such a perfect match.
MINI PULLED PORK BANH MI ROLL
Event organiser Laura, Sandy and I cowered off into one corner and practically wrote a spoken love song about these adorable, mini Banh Mi rolls. My only gripe (and I'm sure I wasn't the only one) was - why are you mini sized? However, that gripe didn't last for long as I immediately made a mental note to bring fellow pulled pork loving housemate along with me next time. The pork was so tender and very creamy, well encased within a crunchy baguette and nestled amongst fresh, thin cuts of carrot and cucumber. It was a beautiful Banh Mi that stands heads and shoulders above the local standard of Vietnamese rolls around Perth!
BEETROOT AND PEARL BARLEY SALAD
Another plated tasting made the rounds and I chuckled as Sandy wrinkled her nose at the sight of beetroot - typical. I have no idea what she's on about to be honest; I'm a huge fan of the flavours and texture of beetroot, especially when it's paired with cheeses! Unfortunately, like the previous plated course, I felt like I didn't get enough of the lemon ricotta; the serving as a whole lacked seasoning. The pearl barley was cooked al dente and had a slightly rubbery texture which I surprisingly found quite pleasant. The salad as a whole plays with a lot of earthy flavours like beetroot and pesto; it would have been perfect if the lemon ricotta was more prominent; the salad was sorely missing that contrasting sour note.
HOUSE BANANA SPLIT
And finally, to cap off the night; the dessert course appeared! Banana splits always fill me with some sort of guilty nostalgia; I was rarely allowed to indulge in more than a scoop of ice cream as a kid and an entire banana split was definitely the off-limits king of all ice creamery sweets! I really wish there was more of it on the plate; the banana had that great, caramelised "pisang goreng" quality to it and it was not the first course to make me feel like I was really back in South East Asia tonight!
SWEET POTATO FRIES (GLUTEN FREE)
That very same week Martine (chompchomp.com.au) and I had previously undertaken an epic 4.5 hour long brunch together at Vans in Cottesloe - by good graces we crossed paths again at the Yelp Elite event. Poor Martine was sidelined by a few of the options on the Spring/Summer menu as they weren't all gluten free, but it was nice to notice that Andy and the Five Bar staff had made an effort to accommodate her too. She was also kind enough to let us pick at her Sweet Potato Fries, which taste even better than they look!
After the event wound up, Martine, her boy, Sandy and I lingered around to finish of the remainder of those delicious sweet potato fries and the last of our drinks. It was a lovely excuse to relax and have a great chat before we continued down Beaufort Street for a post-event bite.
Some people are a little dubious over whether or not venues knowingly "put on a show" when they have invited bloggers or guests in for an event. On my previous visit to Five Bar, a large group of friends and I stopped by for a few bottle of wines to celebrate one of our friends' birthdays. The service and the wine were both amazing, despite there being so many of us at a fairly late hour. The staff were nothing but accommodating, even when we BYO'd a whole cake to share - not all venues are this allowing and their hospitality was much appreciated. I saw that same level of friendliness, attentiveness and all round good service from all of the Five Bar staff tonight and now after attending this Yelp Elite event, I know that it won't be long before I'm back for all of my Spring/Summer menu favourites. Oh yeah, and Feral Smoked Porter...my curiosity and I are coming after you!
If you'd like to know more about Yelp, as well as read other reviews from the event, you can do so here.
Disclaimer: dinewhitme.com, along with hungryagainperth.com attended the Yelp Elite event courtesy of Yelp Perth, Five Bar and Feral Brewing Co. A big thank you Yelp Community Manager, Laura Dew for asking me along.
As always - honesty is my second best food policy. (Right after, "I'll eat anything once!") All praises and criticism were given based on what I truly thought each aspect of the experience deserved.