Try saying the word “degustation” without sounding like a snob. It’s nearly impossible. Why? Probably because it comes from French (meaning a sampling of a chef’s signature dishes via multiple small courses, often paired with different wines), because it’s served almost exclusively in fine dining restaurants and let’s face it, it’s darn expensive.
But not all degustations are so hoity toity. Take The Aviary’s Matilda Bay Beer Dinner. It’s a six-course degustation meal pairing Executive Chef Telina Menzies’s best dishes with beer from Matilda Bay Brewery. It’s all of the flavour and adventure of a degustation without any of the elitism.
Matilda Bay Brewery was established in1984 in North Fremantle, selling small batches at the Sail & Anchor in Fremantle. It may now be based out of Melbourne, but it’s as popular as ever.
The Aviary’s degustation menu is out to prove it – one course at a time. First up is a seafood dish served with the Redback Original, a Hefeweizen-style beer that’s been around for almost 30 years. It’s that good.
The next four rounds match courses poultry, pork, lamb and beef with the Fat Yak (American Pale Ale), Bohemian Pilsner (Czech Pilsner), Alpha Pale Ale (an even stronger American Pale Ale) and Big Helga (Munich Lager).
If you can manage the last course, you’ll taste chef Menzies’s chocolate dessert, paired with the Dogbolter, a Munich-style darker lager that has a unique flavour of caramel, chocolate and toffee.
After a meal like this, we’re willing to bet you’ll never roll your eyes at the word “degustation” again.
(Also published in AgendaCity)