First-class foodie exposition
Top left to right: Dave Whitting, Leif Huru, Sam Ward, Joel Valvasori. Front: Dom Moldenhauer, Hung Cheung, Shane Watson. Picture: Jessica Wyld.

Eat. Drink. Learn. Shop. Perth will host the world's greatest restaurant festival this autumn, with bespoke menus from the city's top chefs over three days at Langley Park, which will be transformed into a foodie heaven with masterclasses, beer and cider tastings, interactive demonstrations and artisanal produce stalls.

The gourmet extravaganza - Taste of Perth, served up by Virgin Mobile - will wrap up Eat Drink Perth and put the city on the global Taste Festivals circuit, which takes place in 18 culinary hotspots including Melbourne and Sydney, as well as London, Cape Town, Moscow, Milan and Amsterdam.

It's a glowing recognition of Perth's evolving culinary scene that's come of age in the past couple of years with a record number of small bars, restaurants and cafes which can hold their own on an international stage.

"Any city that has a robust dining scene can support a Taste - that's why we chose Perth," Taste of Perth's event director Simon Wilson said. He came to Australia from Dublin on a six-week contract three years ago to work on Taste of Sydney and has never looked back.

Taste of London, the first festival 10 years ago, is the biggest with 40 restaurants and 40,000 people attending. Melbourne and Sydney each have about 20 restaurants. "We're expecting 15,000 visitors in Perth over three days and wanted to be very selective at the start with a view to making it bigger and better next year," he said.

Ten restaurants - Print Hall, Lalla Rookh, el Publico, Greenhouse, Nobu, Silks, Bistro Guillaume, Co-Op Dining, Bib & Tucker and No4 Blake Street - will take part with tasting menus, each offering four dishes to showcase what they do best. Three dishes will be staples; the fourth, the restaurant's signature, will be available in limited runs.

"There may be only a few of those put on through the day, so it's first in, best served," Mr Wilson said. "The idea is that visitors create their own dream degustation from a range of Perth's most celebrated restaurants, take in a masterclass, have a cocktail and browse the artisanal stalls. So the typical Taste experience would be eat for an hour, drink for an hour, learn for an hour and shop for an hour."

Taste of Perth will operate like a restaurant with a lunch and dinner service. Each session lasts four-to- five hours and tasting dishes are 6-12 Crowns (1 Crown equals $1).

Print Hall executive head chef Shane Watson believes it's a one-of-a-kind opportunity to sample the best food in town at one venue. Think of it as sophisticated grazing. Wander in and have some of Print Hall's signature oysters shucked by Jerry Fraser, drop into the cocktail master class by Sensology and pick up a few tips as you make an espresso martini, grab a black cod miso from Nobu and maybe a chicken liver parfait with pear chutney from Bistro Guillaume, meet a brewer in the Beer Hall (there are free tastings as well), enjoy a "panna cotta vera" with roast cocoa and walnut crumble from Lalla Rookh and stock up on treats to take home.

There will be 40 dishes to choose from. You can eat on the go, pause at "grazing tables", or savour your festival delights in a double deck chair or on a plush picnic blanket while enjoying a live band at the Virgin Mobile Beats & Seats precinct. More than 60 producers will participate and there will be a line-up of world-class chefs, including Shane Osborn, from St Betty in Hong Kong.

Taste of Perth will run from May 2-4 at Langley Park. For more information and to buy tickets visit tasteofperth.com.au.

The West Australian

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