“A Taste of Must” – celebrating asparagus at Must Winebar, Highgate

Must Winebar

Must Winebar

Must Winebar opened in 2001 and is a well known Perth dining landmark, having won numerous awards for both its food and outstanding wine list. Last week, Must Winebar held its inaugural “A Taste of Must” event, a series of evenings that celebrate an ingredient with a special tasting menu and matching wines – in this case, asparagus.

This was my first time visiting Must Winebar, and I was invited to dine at this event with a group of local food bloggers as a guest of Must and Zomato.

Must Winebar

The menu, which also shows the matching wines served with the meal and dates for future events.

Must Winebar

We were served a small asparagus-infused gin sour to start with, which was interesting – you could certainly taste the asparagus – but I’m not sure if it was an improvement over plain-old-gin.

Must Winebar

Must Winebar’s chef and partner Russell Blaikie needs little introduction to Perth foodies, with Must Winebar and Margaret River being two of WA’s finest restaurants. He is also an ambassador for two charities, Food Rescue and SurfAid International.

Russell started his apprenticeship in Perth and is a great supporter of local culinary talent, as I have learnt in my day job as IT Manager at ACAE – one recent graduate was actually working on our meals this evening.

Russell kindly took the time to visit our table on several occasions and explained the menu to us in detail, talking with great passion. He was also happy to indulge the questions (and rampant photo taking) of a group of excited food bloggers…

Must Winebar

Two appetisers were served, the first being a prosciutto and white asparagus crostada. This was the perfect bite – crunchy and salty, topped with soft and subtle white asparagus.

Must Winebar

The second appetiser was a blue manna crab custard with asparagus tips. I didn’t actually try this – I’m not a big seafood eater, and the idea of a savoury custard has never really appealed. By all accounts it was very smooth, not too fishy and most enjoyable.

Must Winebar

The entree was an asparagus and shallot tart tatin, with mushroom foam and white wine gastrique. This dish seems to look a little odd in photos, but it was really nice to eat with perfectly soft shallots and a variety of different asparagus textures & flavours. The mushroom foam wasn’t overpowering, although the pastry was soft and a little hard to cut.
Must Winebar

The main course – which was my favourite of the evening, and seemed to be that of many at the table – was the middle eastern spiced lamb rump with asparagus two ways: risotto and a raw salad, shankilsh (a Middle Eastern cheese with a similar texture to feta) and walnut tahini.

Russell took great pleasure in telling us how a poor apprentice had spent much of the day cutting asparagus into risotto-sized pieces for this dish! At least their efforts didn’t go to waste as everything on this plate was delicious, with a surprise highlight being the walnut tahini, which added an interesting flavour and much needed crunch.

Must Winebar

A couple of diners didn’t eat red meat, and instead they received this (very moist) chicken version.

Must Winebar

Of course there was dessert to finish, and asparagus featured in the form of candied samphire (also called sea asparagus), served on top of salted caramel ice cream and chocolate “aero”. I found the samphire a bit chewy, and felt that something like candied citrus would have been better, but then again that wouldn’t have been asparagus. The ice cream was subtle and beautifully smooth, the “aero” initially chewy and then dissolving in your mouth. Great stuff.

I should have prefaced this article by declaring that I’m not a big fan of asparagus – actually, I’d go as far as to say that I really didn’t like it before this meal, and was a little nervous when I found out the theme. This menu has converted me, however – there wasn’t any form of asparagus on these plates that I didn’t enjoy, and I feel privileged to have experienced such creative and beautifully cooked dishes.

The next “Taste of Must” events are egg (10th November), cherry (1st December) and cheese (5th January), and I expect these will sell out quickly – I’d make a booking sooner rather than later if you’re keen to attend. Must Winebar is open seven days a week from 12 noon, and you can see the wine list and food menus here.

Make sure you also check out these great Perth food bloggers who dined with me:

Bake You Smile
Josh Gets Fat
Miss Eat A Lot
Simone McKenna
Take Me To Foodie Heaven
The Woman from Oz
Vicarious Ave

Must Winebar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About the author


Martin was born in England but now lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has a passion for breakfast, coffee, hot curries & fast food, and is a cat & Dalek person.

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