EAT. DRINK. BLOG. the classroom cocktail and cuisine masterclass

glasses

There’s something surreptitiously naughty about drinking an espresso martini whilst sitting cross-legged on the floor of a room that resembles your school library.

Whether this was an intended effect of The Classroom‘s education-themed decor, I’m not sure. Either way, I felt fleetingly like the coolest kid in the class whilst attending the Eat Drink Blog Cocktail and Cuisine Masterclass on Sunday 10th November 2013.

barwindow

The Classroom is a small bar situated on Charles Street in North Perth that specialises in ‘cocktail gastronomy’ or cocktail and food matching. Established in 2012 by chef Daniel Sterpini and his business partner Adam Keanes, The Classroom has since gone from strength to strength, winning the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ‘ Mixology and Cocktail Menu of the Year’ in 2012 and ‘Best WA Cocktail Bar’ in 2013.

The team behind The Classroom describe the inspiration for their small bar to be ‘fun and education’… taking patrons back to the days when ‘learning was fun’. Upon entering the premises, it’s immediately obvious that they’ve executed their concept well: contact covered menus litter the front bar whilst neon backpacks hang joyously above the front entrance. Spirits sit snugly within a wall of modified lockers, right near to a pin-board of pencil drawings.

It’s school, the way it wasn’t supposed to be.

classroombags backroom

After acquainting ourselves with the surroundings, our ‘class’ was introduced to teacher number one: Andrew Bennett, The Classroom’s bar manager and resident mixologist. Andrew amiably introduced himself before leading us through a mysterious secret door from the ‘classroom’ into the ‘school library’ where he demonstrated the science behind one of the bar’s most popular cocktails: LN2 Espresso Martini ($22).

andrewNow, before you balk at the price, let me give you the rundown on this little concoction: one pure Darkstar espresso shot, shaken and strained with The Classroom’s secret espresso mix (apparently this has notes of vanilla bean, pure coffee and Pedro Ximénez) topped with mascarpone sherry foam and liquid nitrogen (LN2/-196 degrees C turning the drink into a delicious iced concoction) before being dusted with shaved couverture chocolate. As Andrew explains, it’s like the best parts of espresso, tiramisu and cappuccino in one deliciously boozy, science-dusted hit.

I was seriously impressed (even if he did forget his safety glasses whilst pouring the LN2). preparing liquidnitro2cocktail

Whilst the bar staff formed a production line to complete our class cocktails, we were introduced to The Classroom’s teacher number two: head chef Daniel Sterpini.

Daniel explained his very complex, gastronomically-matched dessert to us in the most ‘teacherly’ of ways: kneeling on the floor (my quick snap gave him an unfortunate magic hand; he was regrettably being bombarded by cameras whilst explaining the dessert elements).

dandessertDaniel’s dessert, the Asteroid Rocher, was apparently inspired by an affogato combined with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Upon tasting the dish, I could understand his train of thought.

The smooth nougat ice cream and rich coffee ganache contrasted beautifully against the crunch of homemade honeycomb and pop rocks, just like the textural qualities of a Ferrero chocolate. Pistachio dirt, crystallised violets and blueberries added an earthy, fresh element, rounding out the floral complexity of the smooth coffee ganache.

Surprisingly, the smoky, smooth roasted banana mousse was my favourite element of the dish; smooth, complex and light, with a perfect balance of roasted caramel. When eaten alongside sips of the LN2 martini, the sweet, smooth smokiness contrasted beautifully against the bitter, robust elements of the coffee in a happy revelation.

dessert dessertaerial

For a brief moment, I entirely understood the unique drive behind Dan, Adam and Andrew’s ‘cocktail gastronomy’. It’s an endless, complex and multifaceted journey into the science of food and drink; the building blocks of taste, texture, visual presentation and aroma.

Witnessing the passion behind their product was inspiring.

liquidnitrogen

dan

I drove home in a state of quiet, deliberate contemplation. Whilst I’m not entirely sold on the idea of matching cocktails to each course (partly due to my obsession with South Australian shiraz), I’m interested in furthering my ‘education’ in cocktail mixology and food matching over the summer months… starting with a ‘Moroccan Affair’ (house-made rhubarb cordial and Tanqueray gin with extra deliciousness).

glasssilhouette

The Eat Drink Blog: Cocktail and Cuisine Masterclass was hosted and sponsored by The Classroom bar, Unit 1/356 Charles Street, North Perth WA 6006. Thanks to Andrew Bennett, Daniel Sterpini and The Classroom team for their patience, time and generosity. This blog post is a non-sponsored reflection of my personal experience at this event. Thanks again to the Eat Drink Blog committee for their hard work in organizing this masterclass.

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29 responses

  1. Pingback: EAT. DRINK. BLOG. Conference, Perth 2013 « Laura's Mess

  2. Once again, stunning pictures! That dessert looks so amazingly weird. I think I wouldn’t know where to start with eating it, being used to apple pie and sponge cake … Was it satisfying and/or tasty, or simply of gastronomical interest?
    But I reckon a tiramisu cocktail would do the trick in the yum department :)

    • Haha, I know what you mean about the dessert. It was really interesting, in a gastronomical, taste-matching kind of way. But to be honest, I’m more of an apple pie and custard kind of girl. I was brought up on English bread and butter pudding and trifle, so I like my desserts served in large portions with lashings of cream! :) xx

  3. Sounds awful!! I could think of worse things to do! I love the photo of the glasses all lined up ready for their fillings. I do want to know however, what was the cotton wool-like substance on top of the dessert?!

    • Hahahaa, yep it was quite the endurance! As for the cottony substance, I think it was Persian fairy floss. It wasn’t actually listed in the ingredients in the menu so I assume it was just added for extra effect. Thanks for the comment! x

    • Thanks lovely! Haha, it was definitely a fun day (we were drinking this stuff at 11:30am, can you believe it?!). I felt very spoilt. I still have heaps to learn about cocktails though x

      • My girlfriends dog had to be put down :( So I was being the supportive boyfriend. It is lucky everyone was friendly! But after reading your post I think I will have to make the trip there and see how it is. :) Perhaps they will make a broccoli cocktail?

      • Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that :( Definitely a necessary duty, hope she’s doing ok. As for the bar, yeah we should go there and try their full bar menu one day! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they made a broccoli cocktail, if anyone could make it taste good, they could! (with cheese foam? Ick)

    • Hey Chef, thanks for the kind words. You’re right, I was seriously impressed by the passion and skill that the Classrom staff imbed in everything that they do. Are you a blogger or in the industry yourself? Would be cool to check out your work. Followed the mortarandpestlefinefoods.com.au but got a ‘coming soon’ page :) Thanks again for the comment.

  4. Pingback: Don’t take our word for it | The Classroom

  5. Pingback: Barbecued Chilli Con Carne with Beer « Laura's Mess

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