Hotheads and heat-seekers can make their way to Northbridge Brewing Company this week, as this Perth brewery, bar and restaurant revs up its annual Chilli Fest.
The week-long festival launched Monday September 12th, but though there’s plenty of mouth-melting food available at Northbridge Brewing Company, there are also some quality dishes for those who prefer theirs slightly more “medium”.
Though the festival menu is only available for five days, Chef Greg Knuckley has been preparing a salvo of spice for Perth diners over the last couple of months. Additionally, NBC have acquired extra pop in the form of condiments from WA company Firehorse.
As well as various food forms of pepper – we encountered them sauced, sliced and pickled – chilli has also crept into a limited edition beer. The “Trinidad Scorpion Lager” emits a spicy whiff, and there’s crisp bite to the brew as well.
Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to accompany a burger or hot dog, I imagine it’d complement nachos and dip nicely. It certainly went well with our first course, melted-cheese-topped “Monkey Bread”.
The tear-n-share dough was tasty, but represented a mere warm-up: the 18-inch “Heat Seeker Sub” gave us our first taste of real heat. Divided into four sections of sequential spiciness, the final quarter oozed Trinidad Scorpion chilli sauce, and left our mouths warm for a good five minutes.
The sub struck me as a good fit for a festival – designed to be shared and flexible for varied temperature tolerance. On pure tastiness, though, it was topped by a bucket of buffalo wings – a crispy crumb avoided the greasiness that can spoil that dish, and it arrived with several very decent dips.
The burgers that followed were even better. A fluffy brioche bun held a truly flavoursome patty, made from mince from just across the road at Torre’s butchers. The sliders were so good, I was only too happy to accept a second …
… to discover it had been spiked with pickled Trinidad Scorpions. Here, my friends, is where you’ll find the real fire. I unthinkingly chowed down the chillies, and then experienced mild internal incineration as beads of sweat formed on my forehead.
I imagine The “Russian Roulette” menu option will prove popular this week; it offers three identical-looking sliders, one of which is a supercharged scorcher. There’ll be a few beer hunters looking to extinguish the flames, and NBC are also offering $50 vouchers for those who post the best reaction photos with the hashtag #NBCCHILLIFACE.
Thankfully, a fellow diner was kind enough to shovel some ice cream into my face. Dessert had arrived, and I was impressed. I’d wrongly assumed the sweet options on a chilli-themed menu might be something of a token gesture, but the chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream and white chocolate sauce were all delicious. The fondant was infused with chilli – naturally – but the warmth worked well with its perfectly soft shell.
Speaking of shells, Northern Territory mud crabs struck me as an interesting addition to this year’s Chilli Fest menu. The crab meat itself was tender, but the armour-plating that surrounded it took a bit of work, defeating one pair of pliers along the way.
Overall though, the Chilli Fest menu should provide both tasty and toasty notes for diners all through this week. Worth sampling before it burns out.
Northbridge Brewing Company, 44 Lake Street, Northbridge, serves food from 11am – late.
This post is written by foodie cravings writer Martin Flynn:
Having moved to Perth from the UK, I’m getting to know the city by working my way through its cafes, bars and restaurants. I’m not sure if I have a favourite cuisine (all of them?) but I am enjoying Perth’s East-Asian options, along with the many opportunities for beer and ice cream.