When my partner, Steve, and I had first discussed our New Years Eve plans, they hadn’t extended much beyond a quiet evening at home. And, to be honest, I wasn’t mad about this! Nowadays, I am all too ready to snuggle up on the couch with my current Netflix obsession and a cup of piping hot tea. Guys, I can actually see my 20-year-old self shaking her head at me right now! HA!
But, in all honesty, I retired my ambitious NYE plans long ago. My most enjoyable evenings have always been spent with close friends at home, having a few drinks, even more laughs and playing Cards Against Humanity or something equally as crude!
This year, however, I decided to break tradition (see my previous post, Our New Years Getaway to Perth) with a romantic stay at the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel. In addition to being a gorgeous venue, this hotel celebrates the new year in style! Below is the six-course menu we sat down to as part of their New Years Eve Gala!
Pastry cup filled with crab, topped with balsamic pearl
(not pictured: lamb meatballs and “Mary Vickers” – sweet onion, bacon and cheese on bite-sized toast)
Anyone who knows me well, knows about my undying love affair with seafood. So, big surprise to no one, I thought this bite was delightful! For those asking ‘what the heck is balsamic pearl?!’, this shiny garnish is, basically, balsamic vinegar jelly spheres! Think of the tapioca pearls you get in your bubble tea, and then imagine those pearls tasting like a balsamic dressing you’d put on your salad. Yum! This bite was the perfect combination of textures and flavours – creamy crab, flaky pastry and a hit of acidity.
Smoked salmon mousse
One of my favourite things to indulge in is salmon – lox and bagels all day please! – and this amuse (french for “mouth amuser”) was the perfect bite to prepare us for the next dish. Whereas I put capers and red onion on my salmon (as most people do), this creamy mousse was topped with crunchy pickles and sprouts! Delicious!
Brie, wrapped in phyllo and topped with a blueberry coulis
Who doesn’t love cheese?! Especially when it’s gooey, wrapped in flaky pastry and topped with a thick fruit sauce!? I’d like to be more elegant with the following description but I don’t really know how to write, in foodie terms, that it tasted like an upscale toaster strudel with cheese. And I mean this in the best way possible! Perfect combination of sweet, savoury and salty!
Steve and I had to Google this one! As it turns out, zuppa toscana refers to the Tuscan-inspired preparation of soup. For me, this was a hearty bowl of comfort food; the kind of soup you’d want to hibernate with on a chilly day, featuring kale, potato, onion, Italian sausage and bacon in a creamy, mildly spicy broth.
Spinach salad with feta, red onion, candied walnuts, fresh raspberries and drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette
The perfect dish to cool us down. It was so nice to cleanse our palates with some green-y goodness! And, of course, what’s a salad without those beautiful, fresh toppings?!
Beef wellington served with a twice-baked potato and roasted fennel fan topped with pearl onion in a balsamic glaze. Optional brandy peppercorn sauce, served table-side
Finally, the pièce de résistance! This beef was cooked so beautifully we needed little effort to slice through it. It was a VERY tender and flavourful piece of meat! I had to ask Steve what fennel was (oops!) but it turns out that I’m a fan! I really enjoyed the sweet, almost black licourice taste, in this hearty vegetable. I almost didn’t finish my potato. Almost.
Grand Marnier chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup with raspberry coulis, served with a choice of tea or coffee
A truly decadent (but surprisingly light) dessert! You can never go wrong with chocolate, especially when paired with whipped cream and fresh fruit. I was thankful to see this on the menu (and that I’d worn a flow-y dress!) rather than a slab of heavy, dense cake. My stomach was way past maximum capacity at this point! Poor Steve with his dress pants…I don’t know how he managed!
This experience was definitely the highlight of our trip for me! As someone who LOVES good food, it was rewarding to see (and taste!) the artistry behind these dishes. As a first time fine-diner, I couldn’t have asked for a better venue, menu or dining partner!