Degustation: the action or instance of tasting, especially in a series of small portions.
It’s not that I find it difficult to make decisions or that I am overly indecisive, it’s just that often there are several options that appeal. This is a problem I face when shopping, when travelling, when planning things to do and especially at restaurants. I enjoy variety and I thrive on new experience, yet I also love the tried and true methods and my old favourites. I am a serial experience gatherer and a sensory hoarder. I get excited by the prospect of anything new and different and I especially love the concept of not having to choose because you can have a little bit of everything. The thali of life as I like to call it.
So, it stands to reason that degustation menus are well suited to my personality.
Degustation menus often consist of several small courses starting off light and white; appetisers, seafood, vegetarian moving into white meats like pork and veal, and finally onto red meats, all followed by dessert. The wine is matched and moves from light sauv blancs into chardonnays then rosés, and then into the reds. Mostly it is followed by a sticky dessert wine to wash it all down.
On the 12th of August, we attended a Truffle Degustation dinner at Lamont’s Bishops House. The food was paired with Picardy wines which was a fitting match since both truffles and Picardy wines are sourced from the same region in the south west of WA.
Bishops House is one of the jewels in the Lamont’s crown. There are also Lamont’s restaurants in Cottesloe, the Swan Valley and Smiths Beach but there is something very special about the heritage listed building in the CBD which was a grand home built in the 1800s. The old building is juxtaposed with the skyscrapers and modern glass structures that tower beside it. The Perth city rises up around Bishops House which is nestled comfortably off St Georges Terrace, in-between Spring Street and Mounts Bay Road.
As you approach Bishops House from St Georges Terrace, you walk through an alleyway, past modern building foyers and stairs, and out into a garden affectionately known as the secret garden which is close to the entrance of the restaurant. Feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland I descended the nearby stairs and found myself on an old verandah of a house reminiscent of a bygone era.
A welcome mat told me I was in the right place and I entered the restaurant ready for the truffle degustation night.
We were seated on a large square table with 8 other guests which was fun. It would also be perfect for a private party or a dining experience for a group of friends. There are smaller tables in the restaurant for a more intimate dining experience.
The food by chef Nathan Le, was varied and delicious and consisted of 6 courses plus an appetiser with matching Picardy wines. Please see below for some of the dishes we were served.
Lamont’s host regular wine and food degustation nights as well as their a la carte menu which is always available for lunch and dinner. There is also a tapas menu for those who wish to share or enjoy a lighter meal perhaps before a show or shopping in the city.
The next event Lamont’s is hosting includes their museum releases. Digby Leddin, the winemaker, has searched the cellar and collected some of Lamont’s most awarded wines, pairing them with new releases. A six course menu has been created to match with the wine selection. The Museum degustation dinner is on Wednesday the 26th of August at a very reasonable cost of $105 per person. (Please see link at the end of this article for tickets.)
We spoke to Matthew Schwind, the Event Coordinator & Manager for Lamont’s Bishops House who said that, “Our focus with these events is for (the patrons) to experience wines that are not always available, and match them with simple flavours and ingredients.”
So next time you are in the Perth CBD or looking for somewhere to go that is in the heart of the city but has a friendly, family vibe, why not try Lamont’s Bishops House. Just walk through the secret garden and like Alice, fall through the looking glass into a world of exquisite wine, delicious food and a location with the class and feel of a time gone by.
Please see our photo album below for more pics of the night and the delicious meal.