The pursuit of Liberte
HAVE you ever had an obsession with a dish, so much so it’s had a starring role in your dreams? No, just me?
Some might deem this worrying behaviour but I consider it an entirely rational response to feasting at Liberte at the London Hotel.
Under a canopy of sandalwood fans, I scrutinised the menu, fixating on what simply said: “Pork skin noodles, yabby, water cress, chilli”.
At the helm at Liberte is the inimitable Amy Hamilton, protegee of Must Winebar’s Russell Blaikie and a food hero in her own right.
She fast became my hero too once those silky, savoury strands of steamed pork rind found their way into my mouth.
My only bugbear with Liberte and Hamilton? They’re in Albany and I’m in Perth.
But Taste Great Southern is just next month and I had to know if this porcine delight was going to be on the menu the next time I was in town.
Hamilton, along with Blaikie and wine writer Mike Bennie, will host the Liberte Garden Parte as part of the festival on March 25, promising generous servings of food and plenty of the region’s booze to go with it.
“We’re going to do lots of fun things that are quite theatrical,” Hamilton said.
“It’s a real opportunity to see the potential of where the produce from this region can go and it’s about shaking it up a little bit.”
Hamilton is a real champion of the Great Southern, churning out dishes with a heavy South-east Asian-influence to showcase the region’s rich tapestry of offerings.
“I’m also really interested in supporting this new wave of producers that are coming up and using different techniques in regards to making their wines and beers,” she said.
“I’m going to be using a local brewer called Wilson Brewing, who have just come on the scene, and they are going to do us an exclusive seasonal beer. “Because I have these good relationships with a lot of the producers, like Andrew Hoadley from La Violetta, he’s going to do something too.
“I’m still challenging the notions of traditional food and wine pairing so we’re going to do some pretty renegade matching.” Diners can also expect to be enchanted on the night.
“I want them to feel like they’re outdoors, so a play on the idea of a picnic – it’s going to be shared, the Wilson boys are going to have a keg out the back, and I’m going to probably work out how to get people close to the ground,” Hamilton said.
Last year’s Liberte dinner for Taste Great Southern saw steamboats add to the theatrics. Inset: Pig skin noodles, the stuff of dreams.