Charlie Watts, me and Lady FWO headed down to the WACA on Friday – it was the first day of the new Sheffield season; WA were playing Tasmania; Charlie Watts was there to watch a bit of cricket; and Lady FWO and I had been invited, as long term WACA members to come along and hear Delaware North, the food and beverage managers at the ground (and from 2015 also at Patterson’s Stadium) showcase their new season menu and the facilities available at the ground for catered functions.
Everyone gathered in the Willow Room in the Prindiville Stand (where the Member’s bar used to be before we were banished to the other side of the ground) and served a glass or two of sparkling to accompany some small bites. Outside the room, but still under cover, benches and stools had been set up on artificial grass where patrons were perched having a drink and watching WA demolish the Tasmanian batsmen; looked a great spot to watch from.
The canapés served here included goats cheese tartlets with candied beetroot and pesto – these were quite lovely in their crumbly shortcrust shell –citrus crème fraiche and crab meat served in funky little hand-made sesame cones, topped by truffle tartar which were delightful; mini arancini with bacon and peas, served with a garlicky aioli and small slices of very tender rare beef fillet, served on crostini with tapenade and tomato. Everything so far was very impressive.
After a slide show we were escorted across to an open air pavilion just along from the scoreboard. This is the Terrace and here a couple of pop up food stands were arranged serving Thai style street food and seafood – together with a range of whites and reds from Evans and Tate. This is also a fabulous spot to view the ground – it is in the Members area but much more open than the somewhat crowded and restricted view from the Members bar area inside the Lillee Marsh stand.
The street food bar run by the Executive Chef, Andrew Mann, was turning out Meang Kam – betel leaf pocketed with shredded chicken, peanuts and fried eschallots with a lime and palm sugar sauce – these were light, spicy and really hit the spot.
The other stall was serving Huon smoked salmon with various accompaniments – among them a quite delicious marinated papaya.
The wines from the Metricup Road vineyard included their sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet merlot.
It was here that we spotted Charlie talking to Xavier Doherty – after the recent dismal performance of the Australian spin bowlers against Pakistan, perhaps Charlie was giving X some tips – he could certainly use them!
We then moved into the Boundary Room in the Lillee Marsh stand and were seated for the desserts, more drinks and a final slide show. The desserts were plentiful especially as some of the guests had drifted off (to work, I guess) and among those sampled were a range of macarons; mini vanilla crème brulée with biscotti; lemon cones filled with lime crème patisserie and topped with grated chocolate; and individual tarts topped with meringue pieces.
There was a lot to try but we knuckled down and did our best. They were uniformly well executed and very attractive in their presentation.
All in all in was a very fine day – WA had Tassie on the ropes, the food was very good and a lot of it and the wine excellent. What more could you want?
What did we learn from it? Well the Delaware North chefs and kitchen can turn out quite impressive food. So their functions would be great to attend. And there are a lot of nice spots for all sizes of crowds. It is certainly worth investigating if you are planning any type of catered function.
Of course when they cater for the cricket crowd the food doesn’t quite reach these heights – I guess they have to have the usual sports crowd fare – pies, chips and burgers – but perhaps some thought could be given to a greater and better choice on match days, and I don’t mean just a few wraps or sandwiches.
In the Dennis Lillee Club where Lady FWO and I watch from, the food is of a somewhat better standard – but again doesn’t approach the delights they displayed on Friday… there are only around 60 people in the Club on even the biggest days so methinks Delaware North could extend themselves and give us some of the wonderful canapés they showed they can produce….here’s hoping..