The pop up movement has taken over the world and Perth has fully embraced it. It would seem the more temporary the venue, the cooler it invariably is. Alphabet Soup Dining, a new Perth pop up restaurant, is the epitome of this. Popping up on Wednesday nights in Subiaco and soon moving around to other inner city suburbs of Perth.
Alphabet Soup is the wonderful creation of Chef Melissa Palinkas (Head Chef of The Cabin Small Bar) and Susan Whelan – who runs the front of house with ease. The basic concept of this pop up restaurant is that each six course menu is focused around a certain ingredient. Its used on each and every dish. Last month the theme was “B for Beetroot”. Chef and I were dining the first night of the “C for Citrus” menu.
We found Alphabet Soup at Milk’d on a Subiaco side street. Milk’d café is a coffee haunt by day and usually shut at night. But not on this night! I like the idea of using a space that would ordinarily not be open. There was a warm ambiance with lots of candles and soup tins adorning the “Alphabet Soup” logo. We were greeted by Susan and joined other fellow diners, excited to see what was in store!
I looked at the menu in anticipation. Susan brought out something to nibble on – some citric pepper seasoned popcorn – so tasty! I made a mental note to myself that it would be a fab healthy snack to make at home.
The preserved lemon chicken bomb was, ahem, the bomb! We squeezed in the little tube of sauce and popped the morsel in our mouths – it was scrumptious.
Fremantle octopus with grapefruit mojo, finger lime and black salt
When we eat out, Chef avoids octopus like the plague, as he finds it chewy. Thinking about it, I don’t think I can truly say I’ve ever had an octopus dish that I’ve enjoyed – until now. It was sliced so paper thin it melted in the mouth. That’s how octopus should be served! It was an absolute surprise and we both thought it was a cracking little dish. The saltiness of the seafood and the sweet citrus worked well. We just love finger limes.
Mandarin sweet n sour duck shank with a carrot cream, topped with crispy shallots
WOW! If there’s something we find Mellissa does exceedingly well its game meats – we’ve had excellent rabbit, quail and duck at The Cabin. I loved this duck shank (leg) and it had such a depth of flavour. Our favourite dish of the night!
Choko slaw with crab, lemon ponzu, citrus segments, herbs, cashews and black sesame
Linley Valley Pork Belly with quince a l’orange and salted desert lime
The pork belly was cooked to perfection, with a slither of crunchy crackle on. It was so tasty and left me wanting more! I’d been so focused on devouring the pork, I’d almost missed the odd look Chef was giving me. I popped some more food into my mouth and then realised why – he was waiting for me to try the salted desert lime. It was indeed salty and very tart. I first ate the desert lime on its own, then I had it along with the quince, so the sweetness of the fruit balanced out the salty taste. It was much better second time round!
Citrus S’mores – Blow torch marshmallow – lemon biscuit – yuzu foam – choc orange
I love the American comfort food s’mores (marshmallow and biscuit). The jaffa version was very more-ish! A fab little dessert.
Cheddar shortbread with lime & pepper goats cheese and an olive oil caviar
The final course – the cheese course – was lovely. The cheesy shortbread was crumbled, so eating it with the creamy goat’s cheese and little pearls of olive oil was a breeze. A great way to end a delicious meal.
Clearly Melissa has a passion for cooking. Most Chefs do – but this is another level. Head Chef of The Cabin, a favourite food spot of Chef and I, Melissa is now prepping and cooking on her days off too. That is absolute dedication!! You can really feel that love of food with each dish that is sent out from her kitchen, be it The Cabin’s or now at Alphabet Soup.
We’d recommend that you visit. Currently running on a Wednesday night, you will have to get in quick to secure a booking. This week’s dinner (June 11th) is sold out. At the Milk’d venue it’s BYO. Check out http://www.alphabetsoupdining.com/ to see current location, details and menu, it changes regularly.
Melissa’s aim is “to deliver several small courses of flavour bomb food”. The food certainly lives up to that - Melissa has an excellent pallet. Thank you to Susan and Melissa for having us dine as their guests. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a pleasure to meet you both!