Andre Mahe was raised in the French province of Brittany, and as head chef at The Trustee Bar and Bistro, he spearheads a menu of classic French dishes that aren’t shy of a knob of butter (or two). He’s also renowned for his charcuterie, which he has been perfecting since the age of 15.
Some reviewers claim his cold cuts are the best in Perth. But Navarre Top, head chef at the Spanish-led Enriques School for to Bullfighting, isn’t far behind.
“Andre and myself are both self-confessed charcuterie lovers,” says Top. “Andre being the master of French charcuterie and myself a nerd of Spanish charcuteriá.”
Though just 24-years-old, Top has worked for the likes of Chicago’s Alinea, The Ledbury in London, and George Blanc in the Loire Valley. Top has also worked for The Trustee and Rockpool Bar and Grill, before becoming the head chef at Enrique’s School For to Bullfighting at 21.
Mahe says Top’s prodigious rise is warranted. “Navarre has a keen interest in understanding all things food,” says Mahe. “He makes his menu all in-house from scratch – the breads, the salami, the pickles, the jams – and you can taste the love.”
The Trustee and Enriques are both part of the Halflight Hospitality Group and Mahe says that connection helped bring them together. They just needed an excuse to collaborate.
“Broadsheet contacted us in the lead-up to their national European Feast dinner series,” says Mahe. “With The Trustee’s French bistro fare and Enrique’s Spanish influence, it was a natural match.”
The European dinner was held at The Trustee, with the booth-style dining room lit by candlelight. The chefs offered a not-so-French-or-Spanish starter of San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, compressed melon, and pine-nut crumb.
“While the Trustee is predominately French, when produce like buffalo mozzarella and San Daniele prosciutto come through our doors, an Italian dish rolls off the tongue and onto the plates with ease,” Mahe says. “We placed the melon under vacuum – the compression removes all air from the fruit and leaves you with a concentrated cube of flavour. To add texture to the dish, we had a roasted pine-nut crumb.”
For mains, Mahe served up a timeless French dish – confit duck leg.
“We confited the duck in-house for eight hours with aromatics and olive oil, before roasting and serving with a crispy skin,” says Mahe. “Paris mash – more butter, more cream and double sieving – was finished with a port wine jus.”
It was paired with glasses of Beau Mayne Bordeaux Rouge.
For dessert, the duo recreated an Enrique’s favourite – creme catalana with white chocolate soil.
“The dessert was designed to showcase Spanish cooking, highlighting flavours like orange and cinnamon,” says Top. The creamy custard and crunchy top, was accompanied by quenelles of raspberry-and-sloe sorbet. “Raspberries and sloe berries are in abundance right now,” says Top. “Including them was an easy decision.”
Here’s how to make Enrique’s Spanish dessert at home.
Enrique’s Creme Catalana with White Chocolate Soil and Raspberry & Sloe Sorbet.
Raspberry and Sloe Sorbet
200g caster sugar
3g agar agar
150g sloe berries
60ml sloe gin
750ml pouring cream
750ml full fat milk
Zest of 4 oranges
2 vanilla beans, scraped
2 cinnamon quills
12 egg yolks
160g caster sugar
10ml orange blossom
300g caster sugar
400g white chocolate
Extra sugar, for brulee
Raspberry and Sloe Sorbet
Place water, sugar and glucose in a heavy-based pot and bring to the boil. Add agar and boil for 20 seconds to activate. Remove from heat.
Blitz the berries and gin in a blender, then pass the mixture through a sieve to discard the seeds.
Blend the mixture in an ice-cream churn until smooth. Freeze until ready to serve.
Combine the cream, milk, orange zest, vanilla and cinnamon in a heavy-based pot and simmer. Remove from heat and pass liquid through a strainer. Set aside.
Whisk yolks and sugar together until thick and slightly pale. Add cooled cream mixture then place in another heavy-based pot over medium heat. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and then cook on a medium heat for 30-40 minutes, or until thickened.
Add orange blossom and pour into moulds. Place in fridge and allow to set for 5 hours.
Add caster sugar and water to a heavy-based pot and heat until the liquid hits 152°C degrees. Add white chocolate and stir vigorously until it breaks down and resembles small pebbles. Remove from pot.
Sprinkle sugar over the surface of each catalana. Using a blow-torch, melt the sugar until a crust forms (If you don’t have a blowtorch, a long-stemmed barbeque lighter will do). Dust with white chocolate soil, and serve with quenelles of sorbet.
This dinner event and article were created to help celebrate the best of Europe, in partnership with Holden Astra, – 2016 European Car of the Year.