What happened to Perth last weekend? After months of long, balmy days Mother Nature decided to unleash enough rain to last us an entire winter within the space of 48 hours. Normally I love a good rainy weekend, snuggled up on the couch with some tea and a good book (or more lately, netflix) watching the water lash the window and feeling blessed to be inside and warm. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be last weekend as the Taste of Perth organisers made a choice they probably regretted and scheduled their fabulous, yet very much outdoor, festival that weekend. I can imagine them months ago, locking in a date and crossing their fingers that the weather would hold up its end of the bargain like it did last year – and unfortunately it turned into the most rain drenched event I have ever been to. But I had committed to showing up on Saturday and Sunday to support OzHarvest, a food rescue organisation that takes perishable food from commercial sources (restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets etc) that hasn’t been sold and delivers it directly to people in need, and show up I did. Walking around chatting to people, I had been intrigued by many of the stalls, including Asado where there was some tempting meat being BBQ’d. I had planned to try out a few of the dishes on offer at the festival around the fringes of my shift, but after freezing my tootsies off for a couple of hours on Sunday all I wanted was somewhere warm and inside. So after conferring with Ollie it was decided that instead of eating Asado outside in the rain, we would get ourselves over to Claremont to check out their full menu.
We booked in for 4.30, and I could pretend to be disappointed that the restaurant was fully booked out for later in the evening but the secret nanna that lives inside me was actually really excited to have an early dinner and get home with plenty of time to snuggle under the doona on the couch with a full tummy, watching House of Cards (my latest obsession) and listening to the rain outside. This backfired on me though when I was home, already in my PJ’s, and my friends called me asking me if I wanted to go out for dinner and I had to admit that I already had and was at a point where I wasn’t prepared to put socially acceptable clothes back on.
Asado have a few tables up the front of the restaurant reserved for walk in’s, and a few shared tables down the back for those with the foresight to book online. There is also an outdoor area which looks as though it would be lovely in summer, but obviously didn’t look so inviting whilst we were there!
There is two sections to the menu – share plates and parilla BBQ, the second of which consists of just meat on the plate . Looking over the menu, I was regretful that we weren’t there in a bigger group because there were just too many things that I wanted to eat! Unfortunately, choices had to be made and they had to be limited as there was no way I was walking out of there without having dessert as well. After much debate, we settled on the jerk chicken wings with cabbage slaw ($18), the ceviche with market fish, cherry tomato, avocado, chilli and lime ($16) and corn cobs with chipotle butter and coriander ($14) from the share plate menu- all dishes with fresh, tangy ingredients that I thought might complement all the meat we were soon to consume.
They were great choices – the ceviche was perfect, with fish that melted in your mouth, strong tangy lime and a subtle hint of chilli. The creaminess of the avocado and the pop of the cherry tomatoes was a fun little party in your mouth as well. Chicken wings held their own, with a sizeable amount of meat on those bones, lots of flavour and a nice crispy skin. The corn was fresh and bursting with flavour, and we saved most of it for the next round of meat dishes to break up the flavours a little bit.
From the parilla BBQ section, we ordered the beef short ribs with chimmichurri and pickled green tomatoes ($22) and the pork belly with persimmon puree and apple radish pickle ($22).
The highlight of this round was most certainly the pork belly. A thin, perfectly crisp layer of skin hid below it an almost liquid layer of rendered fat which was the business – there isn’t words to describe how good it was. The meat that sat below this was tender and fell apart at the prod of a fork, and combined with the sweet persimmon puree and the crisp apple pickle on top I was in carnivorous heaven. The beef ribs were also fairly pleasing, although they paled in comparison to the pork. My favourite part about them was the chimmichurri which was really flavoursome, but I would have liked to see the meat fall off the bones a little more on these ones.
After all this, I was pleasantly suprised to note that I wasn’t feeling incredibly full as is the norm when Ollie and I go out for dinner – there was plenty of room for dessert. Based on my instagram feed over the duration of Taste of Perth I knew that the burnt banana with butter biscuit, dulce de leche mascarpone and pedro ximenez ($14.50) had to be on the cards, and we also wanted to try the lemon curd with meringue, ginger bread and lemon thyme sorbet ($14.50).
The burnt banana dessert lived up to all the expectations that had been built up on social media. The marscapone was creamy beyond belief, the banana perfectly caramelised and the small dot of pedro ximenez provided an element of tartness to the dish. I think I was a bit enthusiastic with the banana at the beginning, as I found the ratios a little off kilter towards the end of this dish, other than that I couldn’t fault it. I really enjoyed the lemon dessert as well, and found it a good contrast to the creamy banana dessert. The lemon thyme sorbet was really interesting – definitely more thyme than lemon, I really got into but Ollie didn’t and I think it could be a very divisive dish between many groups!
Asado was a really great way to spend a couple of hours – fun atmosphere, friendly staff, a playful menu and a stellar drinks list – I can’t see any reason not to pay a visit!