Manjimup’s Cilantros Bar and Restaurant will be one of many venues around Manjimup presenting special menu items as part of its participation in the Manjimup Truffle and Wine Festival. Chef Raj Thyagarajan will be presenting a special truffle-themed degustation menu on June 23 and 24 from 6pm. The menu will include truffled yoghurt dressing on zucchini and ricotta fritters, truffled cheese tortellini, truffled aioli on arancini, truffled olive mash with peppered beef brisket and truffle risotto with crispy-skinned barramundi — all before a choice of four desserts, with truffles supplied by the Manjimup Truffle Company. Thyagarajan said he had been wanting to create a truffle-based menu “for a while” and encouraged visitors to come to the Southern Forests to try some of the truffle dishes on display. “I thought for this year, we’ll do a dinner, which was what I wanted to do for a while, and it will be an affordable price for everyone to come and try truffles,” he said. “Come and experience the region and try the truffles, because we are so fortunate to be here where we grow the best truffles in the world.” Thyagarajan completed his apprenticeship in Bangalore through the Taj group of hotels in 1986 before spending the next 15 years working on cruise liners in Miami and through Bermuda. He came to Australia in 2004 and worked in Pemberton for seven years, during which time he received the Chef of the Year award during the 2007 RCIA South West Hospitality Awards. In 2010 he started Cilantros Bar and Restaurant in Manjimup with the support of his wife and is also known for embracing local truffles in many of his culinary creations. The Manjimup Wine and Truffle Festival will be running from June 23 to June 25 and will include truffle specials at the Pemberton Hotel, a Truffle and Marron Farm tour from Blue Ridge Marron, fresh truffles at the Manjimup Farmers Market courtesy of Truffle Hill and a masterclass brunch with Lady Truffle.