Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents melt-in-the-mouth caviar made of melon. Equally
dazzling, and not a little daring, is her marron with
chocolate XO sauce. Inspired by the traditional
Mexican mole and the fabled shrimp and chilli-
based XO sauce of Hong Kong, this is a miracu-
lous foil for the sweet succulence of the marron.
Served with a delicate saffron-infused pickled
fennel and a crunchy twist of potato noodle, it is
a deliciously unexpected orchestration of flavours
Marianne's duck is a minor miracle. Offered as
a five course degustation with the option to order a
la carte, it comes braised or baked, smoked, or in a
dry amontillado tea or, even as a biryani in a clas-
sic broth. And her take on the old classic duck a la
orange -- roast duck breast served with a moorish
fritter of foie gras, glazed apple, blood orange sauce
and a whisper of orange salt -- is a masterpiece of
succulence and flavour.
But then crayfsh lovers might well fnd them-
selves transported to some other gastronomic gal-
axy with her summer crayfish degustation menu.
It also has to be said that her homemade gnocchi
with its pillows of silky lightness married with pan-
fried scallops and a cepe mushroom sauce, is alone
enough to compel you to return. Yet her favourite
summer ingredient remains, not WA crayfish, but
WA marron, "because it reminds me of the Euro-
pean lobster." She also loves chilli "because if you
balance it and use it wisely, it actually transmutes
flavours in food".
She also uses chilli in many desserts. Her
chilli-thyme fudge is a client favourite, and it also
appears in her spiced plum served with green tea
ice cream and baked almond custard.
Seasonal fruits appear in myriad incarnations
on her menu, coupled with a tantalising assort-
ment of house-made brulees, syrups, sauces,
sorbets, and ice-cream. Any form of chocolate
she presents seems to have an element of magic,
including her homemade after dinner chocolates.
But the most popular dessert on their menu
remains the Salzburger Nockerl.
An Austrian speciality, it looks rather like a
loaf of bread when presented at the table, but is
actually an airy dessert more akin to a souffle and
cooked like a meringue.
Some guests, even though it is not on Gala's
menu, will request crepe suzette, and Hans will
happily cook it at the table. "If one person sees it,"
he chuckles, "usually everyone in the restaurant
will then want it." He recalls the quip of one guest,
who when told it would be a 20-minute wait, said:
'I've not had it for 20 years, what's 20 minutes?'.
Far from creating problems with their relation-
ship, the couple say it makes it easier to work
together in the restaurant. "We're lucky we're
both doing the same thing", says Hans. "If a day
changes from 10 to 12 hours it doesn't matter
because the other person is around."
“But if we had children or pets,” quips Marianne,
“they would probably starve. But I relax by making
Hans do all the cooking at home."
They love to eat out, but given their nights off
are the same as most other chefs, it is rare that they
do. But they cite Bouchon Bistro in Wembley as
a favoured haunt. "Our trust in the chef there is
such, we just say cook for us. He cooks traditional
European food creatively, and whatever he cooks
has such a depth of flavour, its got weight, its got
texture," Hans says. They also enjoy Nahm Thai
in Bulwer St, Perth for its favours and, says Hans,
"for the ease of things. It's a place you go to for the
food, the flavours, and you just go, wow." They
also like Jackson's in Highgate, and its owner chef,
Neal Jackson. "He's solid, he's consistent, and he
does things differently. When we go there we just
pick something and we get surprised. We want to
be surprised by things," Hans says.
For the foreseeable future, the couple have no
plans to abandon Gala. But they are always look-
ing for innovative ways of doing things, while at
the same time consciously avoiding trends. They
plan to avoid, for instance a tapas style bar or any
similar bar-type incarnation, which they see as
proliferating in Perth and becoming, ultimately,
less viable. Their dream restaurant, says Marianne,
"would be a 20-seater that's totally crazy, in food,
design, everything". The kind of place, adds Hans,
"that steps outside all conventional boundaries of a
But neither can imagine a life too far away
from the industry itself. "Even when I'm too old
to cook," says Marianne, "I would always have
something to do with food." sm
Gala Restaurant, 22 Kearns Crescent, Applecross,
(08) 9316 3600. Open Tuesday to Saturday for
dinner, and Friday for lunch.
"I think sometimes when you look at the e ciency of things it
cuts out that thing that makes the industry about hospitality,
you know, it becomes more like hostility," laughs Hans.
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