THE CLASSROOM, 356 CHARLES STREET, NORTH PERTH
The Classroom have been running cocktail degustations (which I have been following with anticipation on Facebook) since August – five cocktails with matching food, and it was not hard to figure out the October theme given the date! We were all super excited when we read the menu, it was obvious that a lot of thought and passion had gone into it – some very interesting-sounding dishes and drinks involving items such as syringes and eyeballs!
Heston’s Eyeball: chicken parfait in orange aspic jelly, redcurrant jelly veins, chlorophyll and licorice
Chemistry Set: shared conical flask, individual test tubes
First up we were given a reasonable sized beaker with some clear alcohol in it…
Then we were given a rack of test tubes with various ingredients…
This is what happened…
There was a lot of activity going on in the beaker, it was smoking and bubbling away, and we ended up with a fresh-tasting fruity cocktail, with little lychee pearls which exploded in our mouths – yum! The drink was based on a Blood Orange Cosmo, made with Citron Vodka and Cointreau.
The eyeball looked a bit like some kind of creepy small fish – but tasted great, lovely smooth parfait served with a jenga-like stack of toasted brioche.
Shrunken Head Cauldron: Polish borscht, julienne vegetables, horseradish dumpling faces
Vanilla Beetroot Martini served in a glove
This was my favourite course of the evening – the vanilla and beetroot flavour combination totally worked! One of the bar staff came around to snip everyone’s glove, so we could empty them into a big goblet-style glass with ice. The drink was quite thick – it started of with a fresh, pure beetroot taste (but not too earthy) and finished with sweet vanilla. A great idea, that I will definitely try to recreate this summer!
Borscht originates from the Ukraine, the Polish version of the beetroot soup also contains onions, garlic and other vegetables such as carrot and celery. I loved this soup, there were no particularly strong, dominant flavours, it was just warm and homely, and quite refreshing. Beetroot is not one of my favourite ingredients, so quite surprised that this was my favourite course! I am a big fan of dumplings though, was very happy eating my little horseradish flavoured head!
RIP Grave: chevre cheesecake, poppy seed tombstone, viola in olive and walnut soil
Sangrita Syringe & flute of Sparkling Rosé
This course was a little bit too rich. But in saying that, each time I decided that I had finished eating, I would pick up my fork and have another mouthful! The tombstone was a little cracker to eat the goat’s cheese with. Great presentation – especially the walnut soil – wow!
This was my other favourite drink of the night, a close call between this one and the beetroot and vanilla martini. Sangrita dates back to the 1920’s and translates as “little blood”. It is served in Mexico as an accompaniment to tequila, in a small glass, designed to sip in between sipping tequila. A lot of versions have tomato juice, (which may have happened when it started being made in the US), but the original Mexican way does not have tomato juice, one website stated that it was originally a resourceful way to use the leftover fruit juice from a bowl of fruit salad – most Mexican versions seem to contain orange, lime and pomegranate juice with pepper and spices, but there are a lot of variations to this.
The Classroom version was made with tomato juice, orange juice, lime juice, vodka and Tabasco sauce, served in a syringe of course – which we all got to “inject” into a glass of sparkling rosé – will definitely be working on my own sangrita mix for this one – so nice! I could not taste the wine at all, just lovely cold, fresh, citrusy flavours, it was actually quite difficult to pinpoint which fruit juice had been used in this drink.
Frankenstein: “our take on the turducken. A whole spatchcock filled with a whole quail filled with a farce of turkey, clementine and thyme. Brined, sous vide and roasted. Served with baby carrots, brussel sprouts and a brandy and tarragon gravy”
Fermaldahyde Flask: Cognac, Thyme, Chardonnay
The Classroom’s version is made with a spatchcock, quail and turkey farce (stuffing). Turducken is made from chicken, turkey and duck – hence the name! For the record, a turducken can be purchased in Perth at Christmas time and they feed 16-18 people! Our quail version was cooked sous vide and then roasted. The meat was juicy and tender – the time to construct these Frankensteins must have been considerable!
There are some very interesting “turducken” variations, such as the “quaduckant” an upscale version made with a quail, duck and pheasant, and an unusual and very unappetising-sounding variation from Greenland (found on http://www.delish.com) which consists of defeathered seagulls wrapped in a freshly disemboweled seal carcass, which is then buried and left for months to ferment!
The Fermaldahyde flask – a combination of cognac and chardonnay, was a bit too boozy for me at first, but it grew on me! Yet again, superbly presented, I loved the fact that each drink was so different to the one prior.
The Tarantula: Bomboloni spider (made with ancient Japanese bamboo powder), candy apple boab tree with pistachio spider web, jam venom syringe
Chocolate Sazerac: with black ice and chocolate smoke
The dessert was a Halloween monstrosity! The spiders were Bomboloni – Italian filled doughnuts, and there were a lot of flavours going on; and interesting things to crack into! I loved the spider web – pistachio flavoured Persian fairy floss.
The chefs then came out of the kitchen (to a huge round of applause) and dispersed to all the tables to answer questions and talk about the dishes – and of course to perform the final scene – injecting the spiders with jam venom!
A great finish to the night – a chocolate sazerac! Well not really the end, as we were definitely in the mood to keep drinking cocktails with our new friends from our table! Such a great night, and a true bargain at $100 a head. I hope the Classroom’s monthly cocktail degustations continue into 2014 – I cannot wait to go again in the new year!
Dinner – Thursday 31 October 2013
Please also refer to my June 2013 post The Classroom for Pre-Dinner Cocktails