Regardless of best intentions and levels of gluttony, the chances of trying every single truck of the annual Food Truck Rumble in the Perth Cultural Centre is near impossible. Alissa and I had to make our choices, and inevitably some food envy set in when we heard of great dishes from some of the less busy trucks while the half hour wait for a Mac and Cheese Toasted Sandwich proved to be far from worth the absurd wait. One of the trucks that we kept hearing praise for was Eat No Evil, a truck with a mission 'to create a food experience that brings people together, breaks down barriers and gives an interaction with local ingredients and dishes that will inspire you to try something new and really think about what your eating.' Although we had considered trying to find the truck in the ensuing months after the Rumble, a meal from the Eat No Evil truck never eventuated. So when our friends Jarrad and Lexi invited us to a dinner at Eat No Evil's Pop-Up Restaurant at Good Things Mosman Park, we immediately jumped at the chance - what better way to try their food than to order the entire menu in a tasting format for $45 per person, with BYO for a very reasonable $5 a head?
Living across the river in Bateman and a short drive up Leach and Stirling Hwys, Alissa and I were amongst the first of our party to arrive for their dinner service, and found Good Things nicely dressed up by the Eat No Evil staff with moody candle lighting. After a brief wait the rest of our friends arrived, and within the hour the place was positively buzzing with activity.
The first dish to arrive was Torn Cos Salad, Kimchi, Pickled Grapes, Maple Labne. Inauspiciously, this was probably my least favourite dish of the evening as I found the sweetness of the Grapes and the Maple Labne overpowered the vinegary acidity of the Kimchi and the Pickle of the Grapes. If the dish had more acidity and perhaps a bit of heat to help provide balance, I might have thought a bit more if it, but as it was the salad did not stand out to me as anything particularly special.
Thankfully, the salad was brought out at the same time as the awesome Corn on the Cob, Chipotle Mayo, Cheese, Zest, Cilantro. What made the dish so impressive was how relatively straightforward it was in execution while being very complex in flavour. The layered flavours were well considered; the sweet pop of the nicely charred corn wrapped in a cheesey, spicy and zesty blanket of mayo, grated cheese and zest was immensely flavoursome and was an early favourite for all around the table.
The next round featured Pumpkin Soup Croquettes, Spiced Ricotta, Pepita Ginger Sambal. Alissa and I really enjoyed the crunchy shell of of the Croquettes, however as someone who likes food really hot out of the fryer, I was really hoping the soup inside was going to be just a touch hotter. I suppose an exploding parcel of molten pumpkin is probably not great from an OHS standpoint, so their caution is quite understandable. The soup itself was a well made Pumpkin soup, and Alissa and I appreciated how the Ricotta's creaminess really complemented the Croquettes With a garnish of fennel fronds providing a welcome anise note, this was another winning dish.
Korean Raw Beef San Chow Bow, Eye Fillet, Nashi Pear, Roasted Sesame was up next. As someone who does not really like beef, I seldom get very excited about a Carpaccio. For this reason, it was far from my favourite dish of the evening, however even I had to concede that the beef used was of a very good quality, and that it was nicely balanced out by the sweet, crunchy pear. While the Sesame Oil used to bolster the flavour of the Roasted Sesame gave the dish an additional dose of umami, it was perhaps a bit heavy-handed for my tastes as I found it a bit overpowering. Still, this was a good take on San Chow Bow, and I'm sure your mileage would vary if you're more partial to bovine flesh.
While I don't particularly love beef, I do love a good lamb dish, and the Braised Lamb Tostadas, Coffee Mayo, Avocado, Fresh Apple that followed ended up being one of our two favourite dishes of the night. The richly flavoured Lamb had been braised beautifully, and when combined with the nice earthiness from the Coffee Mayo, the sweetness of the Fresh Apple, the creaminess of the Avocado and the the good crunch of the well made Tostadas, it made for a dish that was so good that Alissa and I both wanted to go for another one. If going a la carte, this would be a dish worth ordering a few plates of as it will certainly be a big hit.
Char Grilled Beef Sirloin, Jalapeno Salsa Verde, Jerusalem Artichoke was our second beef dish of the evening, but the Beef here was cooked so well it more than earned its place on the menu. The slices of Sirloin had a wonderfully charred exterior while being perfectly medium rare inside. When tasting a slice of the tender beef, I was stuck by how perfectly seasoned it was, and the heat of the Salsa Verde helped give the dish added gutsiness. The only minor issue with the dish was the Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, which could have used a tad bit more salt. This was a minor issue however, as the positives of the perfectly cooked Sirloin greatly outweighed this small negative.
Hand Made Ravioli, Inside Out, Stuffed with Carbonara Sauce was our final savoury course, and it was a case of saving the best for last. It's an idea that seems so obvious that it's a wonder it's not commonplace - if you can make a raviolo with a liquid, semi-set eggy centre, why not fill it with Carbonara instead? The idea absolutely worked and, what's more, was very well executed - the lovely, cheesey, creamy, eggy, bacony goodness of the filling was a good Carbonara sauce in its own right, which was encased within nicely pan-fried Ravioli. It was so delicious both Alissa I would have loved more; just like the Tostadas, this would be a dish to order a few serves of if going a la carte.
Dessert of Doughnut Bombs, Anise Sugar, Salted Caramel, Rhubarb Jam was satisfyingly well balanced. the Doughnuts themselves were nice and fluffy, and the Rhubarb's sourness helped balance out the Salted Caramel's sweetness. The Salted Caramel's salty-sweetness was right on point, and many around the table felt like licking the bowl as it was so good.
Which is exactly what Alissa did!
To finish we were served a cheese course of Shropshire Blue Cheese, Fresh Honeycomb, Salt and Pepper Lavosh. The Shropshire Cheese was awesome - this was incredibly intense and flavoursome blue cheese, and we all joked about the old Moccona Mocha Kenya ad from the '90s*. The Lavosh was crispy and well seasoned, and the honeycomb and pear paired well. "Shropshire? How wonderful' indeed!
Having skipped Eat No Evil at the Food Truck Rumble, it was great to finally get around to trying their food. The slowness of some food trucks at the Rumble has been a major negative of the event, and I've often wondered how Food Truck operators would go running a brick and mortar restaurant. The Eat No Evil crew acquitted themselves admirably, with good service and pacing throughout the evening. There were a few dishes that were misses for me - the Torn Cos Salad and the overpowering flavour of the Sesame Oil in the San Chow Bow - however when Eat No Evil hit the mark, they did so with aplomb. The Corn on the Cob, Braised Lamb Tostadas, and the Inside Out Carbonara Ravioli were all excellent and memorably delicious dishes we'd love to eat again. Luckily for Alissa and I, Eat No Evil have been hired as caterers by Jarrad and Lexi, so it won't be long before we get to try their food again. For everyone else, the $45 asking price for their pop-up tasting menu is a really great deal you should not pass up on. If all else fails, follow their Facebook page to see where the truck is this week.
*For those not old enough to remember the '90s and the days when granulated coffee could be considered 'exotic', here's the ad in question: