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Australia Dinner

Shenton Park (Perth), March 13, 2012

Fifty members and guests descended on the quaint Petite Mort restaurant, in the Perth suburb of Shenton Park, for a nine-course menu specially created for the Bailliage of Western Australia’s first major function for the year.

The restaurant still retains most of the ambience of its former Star Anise glory with little change to the original décor. It is in the kitchen that the real change is noted. Talented chef and owner Todd Stuart has steered his restaurant team into an entirely new direction of modern French cuisine.

The multi-award winning Stuart has created a menu of small plates which allows the diner to try many more mouth-watering dishes than is allowed by a traditional menu format.

We started with an amuse bouche of Lobster Bisque. With its rich, creamy consistency and intense lobster flavour sadly it was gone all too quickly- leaving many wanting more. Next though was Snow Crab with Avocado and a duo of Caviar. Fresh and tangy it was a perfect starter.

For some there was a moment’s hesitation before tasting the Braised Pigs Head, Black Pudding and Apple course, but as one of the restaurant’s signature dishes we all agreed that it would have been remiss not to at least sample it.

And we were pleasantly surprised given that the textures and tastes all married beautifully in what was a dish bursting with flavour.

Moving on, the Foie Gras mousse with cauliflower puree, vanilla foam and caramelized walnuts was simply sublime. Perched atop a lightly toasted slice of brioche the silky smooth foie gras with its melt in the mouth texture and hint of vanilla evoked many memories of dining in France.

The final savoury offering of Salmon, Oxtail and White Bean puree was a sheer delight.

As if we weren’t being spoilt enough, we were treated to two desserts. The first of caramelized white chocolate mousse with maple foam was deliciously rich and creamy. The distinct cigar flavour of the second dessert was like no other. Its smokiness was a little unusual at first but when added to the chocolate ice-cream, macaroon and "doughnut" it was like a flavour bomb in the mouth.

Each meticulously-designed dish was perfectly matched with Western Australian and International wines chosen by the Petite Mort’s resident sommelier.

At the evening’s conclusion, Chef Todd took to the floor for a vibrant Q&A about his food with delighted guests. Bailli Wayne Teo presented him with a Chaîne plaque in appreciation of his team’s stellar efforts in making the evening a truly memorable gastronomic experience.

Adapted from an article by guest writer Anthony Von Leonhardi