This treat won’t be packed with South of the river jokes. Scout’s honour. Except I was never in the scouts and I can’t help myself. Talking to my friend Fran, who had never stepped foot into tourist favourite Little Creatures, Fremantle is very much still a day trip. You don’t pop over there just for lunch. Well that’s just lies. Because you can and I am living proof that the drive to Freo is worth the couple hours you spend there. You don’t have to spend all day there. Just lunch. So that’s we did at Ootong Lincoln. We missed the breakfast menu by half hour (I underestimated the time it would take me to get to Freo…sorry I told you I couldn’t help it). I was impressed that the breakky menu lasts till 1.00pm. I like Freo’s laid back style where breakfast and lunch menus co-exist together. I ordered the ‘Asian salad’ as the waiter described it when he gave it to me. In his defence I couldn’t pronounce it either. Crispy bean sprouts, fresh capscicum and a small portion of chicken was combined with a refreshing Thai fish sauce dressing. Sweet, sour and delicious. My sister’s frittata was gluten free and vegetable packed. Did she like it? Well she finished it. But I couldn’t tell from her poker face if she was in love with it. Now the salted caramel macaron or coloured biscuit as she likes to call it was a hit. We demolished them in no time. My friend Kirsty had the salads and wasn’t overly impressed. The couscous salad was bland with the large corn pearls absorbing any form of dressing. The rocket and pomegranate salad was enjoyable but it didn’t hit the ball out of the park. I talk baseball because my friend Erin at work is heading on an amazing six week trip that includes a baseball game in New York. We spent many a minute on wikepedia figuring out how long the game goes for. So the salads weren’t amazing but it just proves my point. You don’t make friends with salad. I’m definately more brunch than lunch so I’ll be back at Ootong Lincoln before 1pm for their breakfast menu. P.S. Love the vintage bikes and jar lighting. Makes bric and brac from the verge look cool. Screams Freo. Actually I should say screams South Freo. Yes I admit I got lost finding south Freo. I can’t wait to spend a few more hours (no day trip necessary) there.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Pumpkin arancini with the peski couscous salad.
Vegetable packed frittata
Asian salad….I loved the dressing.
I’m a tragic when it comes to new places in Perth. I try to be the first one there. If I like the place I keep going back. So that’s the situation I have found myself at Gordon’s Street Garage. Don’t get me wrong, it has let me down at times. The coffee that never came, receiving a white wine when I ordered a very red Sangiovese, getting charged for three bottles of wine when we only ordered three glasses….sadly the list of service mishaps goes on. Can we put it down to teething problems? I do have to criticise how each mishap was handled. Apologies were never received. In fact the coffee that never came was blamed on us even though we had paid for it and had an itemised bill to prove it. When you order two take away coffees and only receive one take away cup – there is no other way to explain it but a miscommunication between the barista and wait-staff. This should be rectified immediately rather than questioning the customer. That was my second breakfast visit at Gordon’s and compared to my other visits was the one with the worst service. Considering it was quite empty for a Wednesday morning, it was very slow to have our orders taken and even slower to get coffees to four dedicated females who don’t work in West Perth but wanted to experience Gordon’s breakfast delights. Sorry for the negative start to this treat. I will now write with a more positive tone. The first breakky experience showcased how busy a new place in Perth gets. Though we didn’t have to wait long to get a table for our big group of seven. Service was polished despite mounting pressure from the heaving crowds. The food that came out was delicious. The bruschetta, avocado, heirloom tomato, labneh and rocket combination was spot on. The labneh was deliciously tart as I expected it to be. The gluten free banana bread toast with cinnamon butter was a hit with my coeliac sister Suzy. I think I ate most of it (poor Suzy). All my dining companions were impressed with their breaky dishes. The vegetarian breakfast was very filling and I admit food envy as I saw my friend Louise plough through it. The only negative point was they ran out of the savoury muffins, which sounded amazing. It was an artichoke number. At this stage, Gordon’s had been opened for less than two weeks. So far I was impressed. The second breakky visit as discussed above let me down. The pumpkin and feta muffin was slightly dry. The real let down was in the service. Now to dinner. You will be happy to know that Gordon’s is open late Monday to Sunday. About time there is a late night dining venue where you can have a nice red wine and graze over a pizza with your mates. The first dinner experience had hits and misses. My friend Krystle has severe gluten intolerance so we had to be careful with what we ordered. That rules out the pizzas and half the salads. Unfortunately the menu isn’t very flexible so asking to have the buckwheat replaced with quinoa in the tabouleh was a fail. The highlight was the beetroot salad. So elegant. Delicately shaved beetroot perfectly matched the walnuts and blue cheese. The fish was delicious but we needed more of it. As it was on the share menu, there wasn’t much of it to go around. The tabouleh was a disappointment. It was a modern take on this Middle Eastern classic and lacked dressing. What I do love about the menu is that it works well for sharing. The next dinner experience was all about the pizza. I was a big fan of the 4 seasons with prosciutto, artichoke and mushrooms. I just love artichokes full stop. It didn’t take much for this to be a winner. The Hunters pizza was like a fancy meat eaters with house made salami picante and prosciutto. Yes I googled what picante meant and it refers to the salami being prepared in such a way as to be spicy. I didn’t feel the heat from the salami but I have increased my spicy tolerance thanks to a trip to Thailand. The pizzas weren’t amazing like Dough (see Treat 26) but they do have a delicious flavour profile. Plus add a glass of Tempranillo, good company and you have yourself a lovely night. So there is room for improvement at Gordon’s. However, I can’t believe I left it this long to describe the interior. The space screams Melbourne. From funky booths, to an upstairs area with an old-fashioned record player, it is quirky, cool and industrial. It is loud. The universal music playing in the background will make you think you’re in Spain one minute, the Middle East the next and then off to France you go. I’ll also make a note about the bathrooms. Thanks to the low basins I felt very tall. Maybe not practical but hey it was nice to feel tall for a moment. Overall I would go back to Gordon’s Street Garage. I am not ready to give up on it. Though it’s had woeful service in a couple of my visits, in my last visit service was spot on. We even had a few laughs with the wait-staff as they patiently waited for us to make up our mind. This place makes you feel like you are in another place (Melbourne or Barcelona come to mind because of the arty décor) but a couple of the service mishaps bring you back to earth that you are in Perth.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 4 seasons, artichoke, breakfast, bruschetta, coffee, Gordon Street Garage, Gordon's Street Garage, grazing, hunter, labneh, Melbourne, Perth, pizza, prosciutto, salami picante, share, tempranillo, wine
One of my favourite episodes of Friends is the one with Unagi. In this episode Rachel and Phoebe want to learn self-defence and Ross pipes in about his karate past. He goes on and on and on about Unagi, which he describes meaning a state of awareness. This is a lie. Unagi is a Japanese eel dish. However, this is apt for me because I had none of Ross’ unagi in my last two visits to Nobu. Both times every single dish was explained to me. I even tried writing them down but only got to three dishes before I got swept away by food and forgot. So I have beautiful photos thanks to my friend Theresa but no awareness of what they are. One of my struggles at Nobu is knowing what to order from the menu. Now I just rock up and let the chefs and waiters do the work for me. It’s worked out really well both times. If I listed every single dish I have eaten at Nobu this treat would become a novel. So instead this is my highlights reel.
1. Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno
This is one of my favourites. The yellowtail is so fresh and melts in your mouth. The jalapeno elevates this dish to another level. For sashimi haters, this will convert you.
2. Black miso cod
I can’t believe it’s not butter. That’s what I think of when I eat this Nobu signature dish. The cod is so soft, flakey and moist with delicious buttery goodness. This is a heavenly dish. Even for cod-haters like my friend Fran, you will still have a go and try it. Warning – don’t eat the ginger root as this is for after you eat the cod to help with digestion and possibly to prevent a coronary.
3. Mushroom Salad with Yuzu Dressing
If mushrooms are the meat for vegetarians, this dish will convert me to the herbivore world. It’s all in the dressing. Yuzu is a citrus fruit with a flavour cross between mandarin orange and lime. The frequency of yuzu in Japanese cooking is equvalient to that of limes in Mexican. The mushrooms are sautéd in this gorgeous dressing and definately takes this dish from boring to party animal (without killing any animals). Don’t just let the vegetarians enjoy this dish. Get over your caveman pride and give the mushroom salad a go.
4. Yakimono – Rib eye in Teriyaki sauce
If you are a carnivore like myself, then I will admit that the mushrooms go perfectly with the rib eye in teriyaki sauce. Cooked to your liking (medium rare for me) this dish reminds you that you are in no ordinary restaurant. You are in fine dining heaven. Reap the rewards and empty the wallet for this succulent quality piece of meat. It truly is a pleasure to eat. No chewiness. A word I will say often for Nobu….it melts in your mouth.
5. Chocolate bento box
I would come to Nobu just for this dessert. Yes you heard me correctly, I would go to a Japanese fusion fine dining restaurant for dessert. To be honest there’s not much Japanese about this dessert then the bento box it comes in and the green tea ice cream. The chocolate fondant is amazing. As soon as you dive your spoon into this pyramid of pleasure, the chocolate oozes out. I’ve had this dish over six times now and it never fails me. I can officially say this is my favourite Nobu dessert because I have tried all the desserts on the menu thanks to my friend Theresa. See below a photo of the dessert platter that says it all. It was a feast for the eyes and the stomach. I’ve done the hard work and tried them all for you. At the end of the day I’d always go back to the Bento Box.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno
The Nobu signature – black miso cod
Rib-eye with the delicious mushrooms
Green tea ice cream – give it a go.
The Nobu dessert spread.
I thought I’d dedicate this treat to my favourite Canuck, Celine Dion. Though she has ignored me both times I tried to visit her in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace, I choose to forgive her. Why? Have you not heard her Falling into You album? ‘Because of you’ remains one of my favourite songs. ‘The Power of Love’ is a classic. Who could forget Titanic’s ‘My Heart will go on’? Now before this treat becomes an ode to Celine I will move on to a new restaurant to grace the suburb of Inglewood. There is a connection as Miss Kitty’s Saloon has strong Canadian and North American western influences. Think cowboy and Indians. The first time I discovered this place I was actually visiting it’s across the road neighbour, Il Pasto. As I stumbled in I quickly realised this was not an Italian restaurant. I said to myself that I’d come back to check this place out. So one day I said to my friend Patrick ‘what do you say to takin’ chances’ and giving this new place a go? He was initially quickly impressed. I love to impress my friends with new places, especially the hard to please Fran (See Treat 32: Lola you’ve got me on my knees Lola). The awesome décor with the beer barrel at the entrance; quirky chairs and tables; and eclectic bibs and bobs live up to the saloon name. There was a great selection of music from the glory days. Unfortunately to Patrick’s chagrin, I didn’t know many of them until he spelled it out for me. The hostess was very helpful and when we asked if we could be moved to a more comfortable table she happily obliged. Now to the food, which we really hoped would live up to everything else. This is where it came unstuck. Did we choose the wrong food? Did we over order? I will answer these questions shortly. The beef chilli on corn waffle with avocado butter was lacklustre. There was no heat. I asked the waitress for Tabasco sauce that never came. There was no chilli in this beef chilli. In fact there was no flavour. I wanted to like it I really did but the waffle it came with made it worse. It was not off to a good start. The grilled local octopus with smoky eggplant, roasted cauliflower and jalapeno salt for $18.80 was overpriced for the portion size. Give me the octopus salad at Inglewood-favourite Estia’s Greek restaurant any day (see Treat 58: Anything you can do…I can do better). The octopus itself was flavoursome and grilled to perfection. There was just not enough of it. The fried pickles with house cured ham and spiced mayo was a highlight. However, I am embarrassed to admit but the fried pickles at Hooters are better. Fun fact there is a Hooters in Parramatta (New South Wales). The only reason why I know this is my friend from the USA who now lives in Sydney goes there when she’s homesick. I think it was because Miss Kitty’s used good quality pickles compared to the cheaper ones normally found in cheeseburgers fried at Hooters. What can I say, the USA do junk food better. It’s hard to make fried food fancy. However, I do think Merrywell (see Treat 27: Born in the USA ) has done a great job and is better proportionated in price. Again Perth portion sizes disappoint with Miss Kitty only providing a few pickles to share. If you were in a group of four you might need two serves. I’m assuming with Crown Perth’s backing, the economies of scale allow the Merrywell to have a lower price point. Quality in Perth does not come cheap so I understand why the prices and portion sizes at Miss Kitty’s are the way they are. Any of the Northern American themed restaurants in Perth don’t replicate the low prices and big portions that you find in this region. Instead you have Perth’s higher prices for smaller portions. That’s just a reality we have become used to. From here the meal took a turn for the better. The poutine, which is the Canadian way of saying chips and gravy, was delicious. Add curds (just like the ones Miss Muffet ate with her whey), it was simple and delicious. Chips and gravy take me back to my childhood swimming lessons at Beatty Park. Till this day the best chips and gravy of my life. Unfortunately the café is being renovated so on the rare occasion I’m down at Beatty Park doing laps (at least once a year I go on a health kick) I really miss them (even though they defeat the purpose of what I’m there for). The final dish that was placed down was the roast suckling pig with a tomato relish that wasn’t really needed. It was at this point we realised we over-ordered. If only the food came all at once then we would have eaten more of the delectable pork. It really was melt-in-your mouth pig meat. The crackling did exactly what it was meant to do. Crunch! There were hits and misses but like Celine Dion once said, this place will go on. I definitely will give Miss Kitty’s brunch a go. Otherwise I’d be happy to pretend I was in Canada, drinking my Brooklyn brewski and quoting How I Met your Mother Canadian jokes or singing my praises about Celine Dion (warning I might actually sing her tunes because those lyrics I know). Maybe I got them on a wrong day as Miss Kitty’s Saloon is still relatively new. I’ll wait till a new day has come and give this Canadian/USA inspired restaurant/bar another chance.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The dark interior does not allow for quality iPhone 3 photos so unfortunately there are no food shots. So here is a photo of my favourite Canadian instead.
Finally, I have found my affordable go to Italian restaurant in Perth. The only problem is that it has become everyone’s go to Italian restaurant. I am talking about Jamie’s Italian. Since it opened end of March I have forced my way in there 3 times. From a girl that does not wait in lines (see Treat 44: I just can’t wait) this is out of character for me. The food and experience is worth it. Jamie Oliver has the midas touch except instead of everything turning to gold it turns to amazing food. I love everything about Jamie’s Italian (except the waiting). If you think arriving there straight after work on a Monday will get you straight in…you would be wrong. Like all new things in Perth, we all flood there. Add Jamie Oliver’s name to it and it’s a tsunami effect. So two months in and the lines have not died down and good luck getting a dinner booking before August. So it might not be the easiest restaurant to get into but once you get a table, the juice is worth the squeeze. Each time I have been there I have not paid more than $50 for a drink, starters, mains and dessert. Imagine being able to order a pasta main for under $20. It’s almost Siena prices (see Quick Treat: It is what it is) but it’s fresh pasta made in the restaurant. Before I get ahead of myself I can’t forget to mention you get complimentary bread. It’s not just a basic Italian loaf. You get variety! Did I mention it’s FREE! The menu is quite overwhelming. To help my followers I have made sure to try new things every time I go. What can I say I am a dedicated blogger. Below is my recommendation list of what you should order at Jamie’s Italian:
For an easy drinking red get the Umani Ronchi Motepulciano D’Abruzzo 2011. For $43 the bottle this Abruzzo wine is great value and matches most dishes
Antipasti – Planks
The planks are a novelty starter at Jamie’s. It is literally a plank of antipasto on top of two canned tomatoes. Hot tip here – don’t order per person. If six people are on your table you don’t need to order six serves. For a table of six, three serves will suffice. There are three varieties of planks to choose from: vegetarian, meat and fish. I have tried all three and the favourite had to be the fish. The highlight for me was the beetroot-cured salmon in its cold bowl. I don’t know how they did it but it was mighty delicious. I was surprised to see yuzu mayo at an Italian restaurant. As I continue to develop my Japanese knowledge I have learnt that yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit similar to a sour mandarin or small grapefruit. The yuzu mayo is like a fancy take on tartar sauce for the mini fritto misto (the fancy Italian way of saying battered seafood). All the planks have cheese including Jamie Oliver’s favourite, an aged pecorino with crispy “music bread” & chilli jam. There is also a crispy beetroot and carrot slaw to refresh your palate for the mains.
Antipasti – Plates
So you can’t stop your starters at the planks. There is just too much to choose from. The fried squid is a favourite, perfectly crispy and deliciously accompanied with a garlic mayo. Another recommendation is the baked mushrooms. As Jamie Oliver says, mushrooms have great flavour and he doesn’t stick to the boring buttercup mushrooms. I would get this starter to come with your main to add some vegetables to it otherwise you might find your table overflowing thanks to the planks.
Pasta and risotto
Now you can get overwhelmed with the pasta options. I know I have. To remedy this, my table and I usually decide on a pasta or risotto to accompany the entrees. Yes I know pasta for entrees and mains might seem like a carbo overload but it will help overcome the indecisiveness. Here are a few options that I recommend:
• Wild rabbit tagliolini: slow-cooked McLeay Valley rabbit ragu with garlic & herbs, mascarpone and amalfi lemon. This pasta is a citrus delight for the senses. The lemon makes what could be a heavy creamy pasta into a very deceptively easy to eat meal. Get the main size and you will feel a siesta effect. To prevent this stick to an entrée size and leave room for dessert.
• Prawn linguini: Now the first time I saw this dish my friend Kirsty ordered it and I got food envy. Not that anything was wrong with the dish I ordered but nothing beats the simple chilli and garlic combination. So far this is my favourite pasta on the menu. The seafood bucatini has similar flavours and is cutely presented in bag with mussels, clams and prawns. However, out of the two go for the prawn linguini instead.
• Honeycomb cannelloni 3 ways: Unlike what the title suggests there is no honeycomb in this dish to my initial disappointment. It refers to what the dish looks like, with the cut pieces of cannelloni representing a honeycomb. This inventive take on the cannelloni goes beyond the basic flavour combination of spinach and ricotta. Aubergine and pumpkin is also added to the mix to give you three ways.
• Wild truffle risotto: In an earlier blog I looked at why there was a fuss over truffles especially because they are so expensive (see Treat 16: What’s the kerfuffle about truffle?). This dish was recommended by the guy front of house (I don’t know what his name was but his service was amazing). He recommended this as an entrée to share because of its richness. Each spoonful was a pleasure to eat. I’m not sure if it’s the truffle that takes the credit or the parmesan and butter combination or a combination of all three. This is a MUST try.
As the hero of Jamie’s Italian is the pasta I usually keep to this option. I will however recommend one of the mains, the fish baked in the bag. This is another signature dish of Jamie’s Italian with local fish (we had barramundi) baked in the bag with clams, mussels, fennel, chilli, anchovies and cracked wheat. This is a popular item as you will find out with many plates coming out of the kitchen with alfoil. My friend Alisa found this dish spicy so get excited if you like heat in your meals. This also is quite filling so keep that in mind if you want to fit in dessert. If you have tried other mains that you recommend please leave a comment below.
Now there is always room for dessert even if you get over excited with starters. Don’t waste your time staring at the menu. Get the brownie. It’s ooey gooey chocolate goodness. Another recommendation is the ice cream with random flavours like peanut disaster (my personal favourite) and death by chocolate. Flavours change daily so ask your waiter. It’s made by Australian ice cream maker Serendipity and is another example of Jamie using local producers to feed the restaurant. They even use Fiori coffee, which is my favourite coffee supplier in WA. I go out of my way to find Fiori coffee in Perth and sometimes pay the price for it ($4.80 for a take away coffee at a café near my work).
As you can tell I’m absolutely in love with Jamie’s Italian. The attention to detail is evident in the décor and service. No wonder there is over 35 restaurants all over the world. The service is polished and unique to Perth. The knowledge shows the emphasis that Jamie’s Italian puts on training their staff. Though it’s not always perfect, two times I have been there they forgot a salad. This is easy to forgive because we are full without it. Despite the chaos of people, the staff are cool under pressure and provide excellent and warm service. They are also very happy to ask questions and it’s impressive to see them answer the questions from the top of their heads. I know this should be a standard at restaurants but Perth is not known for good service. I wish there was something wrong with this place so I good complain about it to help the lines die down. I’m just so happy that Jamie Oliver chose Perth over Melbourne to open this establishment. Jamie’s Italian is a welcome addition to Perth. Thank you Jamie Oliver for bringing delicious pasta at friendly prices and amazing service.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Sorry no photos – I was too busy eating. I always forget when I get overwhelmed. My brother did buy this awesome SLR camera that I’m going to figure how to use. Coming soon…professional photos instead of blurry iPhone 3 photos.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Abruzzo wine, antipasti, canneloni, dessert, fresh pasta, fritto misto, italian, Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Italian, linguini, pasta, Perth CBD, planks, prawn, red wine, risotto, serendipity ice cream, truffle
This hidden gem was first brought to my attention by my friend Theresa. It is literally an old fish and chip that is tucked away in a local shopping complex. It is not even physically transformed as the fittings remain. This tiny 16-seater does not have a glamorous fit out. The beauty is in the food. Chef Moe Oo rules supreme with a monthly Omakase (Chef’s selection) seven-course degustation menu using local and Japanese seasonal produce. Now people complain about the prices in Perth. Well someone forgot to tell Marumo that you are meant to overcharge not undercharge patrons. For $39 you get such good value for amazing food. This month’s menu included:
- Tempura of oyster, caviar & shichimi Mayo
- Poached Mt Barker chicken ginger & nori Oil
- Hokkaido scallop, egg tofu & edamame Puree
- Chef’s selection of assorted sashimi
- Lightly torched Tasmanian salmon belly sushi, tiger prawn & tobiko.
- Soy braised Margaret River beef, croquette & pan jus
- Green Tea mascarpone ice cream
The tempura oyster showed no sign of the establishment’s former life. It had the right amount of outer crunch without the oiliness. The shichimi mayo was a taste sensation. This is where Google comes in handy as I am still learning the complexity of Japanese cooking and flavours. Schichimi is also known as Japanese 7 Spice consisting of sesame seeds, orange peel, poppy seeds, paprika, Chinese chillies, Szechwan pepper, ginger and nori. There is nothing in this flavour combination that I don’t like. I am looking forward to finding this spice mix and attempting to use it in my cooking. The chicken was poached to perfection and I loved the generous ginger slices. I love my ginger. It takes me back to my days working behind the cosmetics counter at Myer. I worked for Origins, this natural company from the USA which had a huge ginger range. Name the product and there was ginger in it. After two years working there I was over lathering my body in ginger scented product. However, it has not dampened my love affair with eating ginger. The next course was one of the highlights of the night. It had to be the largest scallop I have seen. It looked bigger because it was sandwiched in an egg tofu. This was a winning combination. The scallop was actually from Japanese waters, which may explain its generous size. I haven’t seen scallops of that size in Perth. Though chefs rabbit on about the Rottnest scallops, you hardly see them at restaurants in Perth or if you do you pay a pretty fortune for it. To say Marumo servings are generous is an understatement. The assorted sashimi portion would probably cost $39 at most Japanese restaurants. Not here. The produce was exceptional. Each course was full of thought and technique. This was abundantly clear in the sushi course. The lightly torched Tasmanian belly sushi was another favourite of the night. The smokiness from the salmon’s oil was absorbed into the rice. Each bite was a delight for the senses. Then surprise…a palate cleanser. The orange sorbet cleansed the palate from the seafood as we moved onto the hearty beef course. The soy braised Margaret River beef shoulder showed the Chef’s clever technique to transform a cheaper cut of meat into a melt in your mouth moment. I was beyond full by the dessert course. Luckily the green tea ice cream was a refreshing touch to an amazing feast. I was mighty impressed. Behind the lacklustre shopfront is a hub of passion for Japanese cookery at a rare price in Perth. Good luck getting a booking (last time I checked it was booked out till November 2013).
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Tempura oyster – showed no signs we were in a Fish and Chip shop.
The scallop was huge! The best scallop dish I’ve had in Perth.
Generous serve of sashimi.
The meat melted in your mouth.
The green tea ice cream hit the spot. A refreshing way to end the feast.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged beef, caviar, edamame, egg tofu, Japanese, Marumo Japanese Kitchen, salmon belly, sashimi, scallop, shichimi, sushi
One Saturday I was struggling to find a place for coffee and a chat in the CBD. With all these cafes throughout the CBD only opening during the working week I resorted to the food courts. I will give two big thumbs up for the sushi at the David Jones Food Hall. Fantastic variety including brown rice options which have been all the rage in the unofficial diet capital of the world, Hollywood. Whenever I read a celebrity food article it’s all about brown rice sushi. My local sushi at Innaloo shops does brown rice sushi but this sells out fast. The David Jones ones look and taste spectacular. Do yourself a favour. Now like my teacher friends explain to me when they are telling of a child they use this technique – positive, negative, positive. So I started this treat off with a positive. Now to the negative, back to cafes in Perth being closed on a weekend. I stumbled across the closed Cabin Fever and vowed to try it one day when it was open. Today was the day. It was an long overdue catch up with my uni buddy Rachel and Cabin Fever was the destination. The décor was cute with knick knacks, op shop furniture and books filling the small space. Off to a good start. This is where things turned. The coffee failed us miserably. Both of us were up early and we desperately needed the caffeine hit. It was burnt, bitter and disappointing. So disappointing that I had to complain. The second try was better but still not amazing coffee. My theory is that because the café was relocating the next day we were given the scrappy coffee beans. Rachel had been before and said the coffee was ok. This was sadly not the case this time. Food wise – I have heard great things. My friend Kirsty loves the vegemite and avocado from here. This is what Rachel ordered today and my food envy raged. I love this combination. I decided to branch out and increase my iron levels (after a fainting spell from donating blood I was in short iron supply) by ordering the beef mustard sandwich. I definitely tasted the mustard. My watering eyes could taste the mustard. My nose could taste the mustard. If you couldn’t gather by now there was a lot of mustard in my sandwich. It wasn’t an enjoyable dish for me. I wouldn’t get it again. I don’t eat mustard often so maybe I have a low tolerance. Either way my nasal passages were cleared out thanks to Cornel Mustard. This was my first and only time at Cabin Fever and I left disappointed and teary. However, I think it’s all about timing. I think I need to return to the relocated Cabin Fever and hopefully I’ll have a more positive experience. See what I did there. Turn a negative treat into a positive. So next time I ketch up with friends in the city (see what I did there ketch up instead of catch up) I relish the opportunity of giving Cabin Fever another go.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
I must admit there was a lot of mustard.
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Tagged avocado, bad coffee, beef, Bon Marche Arcade, Cabin Fever, coffee, knick knacks, mustard, op shop, sandwich, vegemite
My favourite Disney movie of all time is The Little Mermaid and my favourite song from that movie is ‘Part of this World.’ I can relate to Ariel because we both have strict fathers. Though Ariel thinks, ‘Betcha on land they don’t reprimand their daughters’, I’m pretty sure my dad is stricter than hers. I didn’t get married off at 16. Like Ariel I am very close to my dad. On the weekends we usually go out to eat somewhere to give mum a break. If I didn’t take the initiative we’d be eating at the same places each week, namely Hungry Jacks or Odin Tavern (see treat 55). My dad loves to go to restaurants with a view but this usually comes at a cost. Case in point is my dad’s experience at the recently opened Kailis Brothers Café in Trigg where the tiny fish and large serve of mashed potato was not warmly received. Till this day dad complains about that mashed potato. He makes a good point; you are paying over $30 for the fish and not the potato. So I decided to take a risk and take my dad, mum, sister and brother to The Partisan in East Perth overlooking the Swan River. I had a $50 voucher that expired that day so it was now or never. The Partisan won the 2011 best new restaurant in The West’s Good Food Guide so I had high hopes. The service was great and we were quickly greeted and seated. The menu had quite a few different lunch options from your humble croques (French style toasted sandwich) to your fancier fish of the day, larder board, moules marinare and pommes frites (mussels and chips) and pasta of the day. My dad and I both chose the fettucine with garlic, chilli, prawns and crispy pancetta. I love simple flavour combinations with garlic and chilli being my all-time favourite. For this dish my dad thought it could have more chilli. Unfortunately, he didn’t notice the chilli plant behind him till after the meal was over. Without doubt my dad would have grabbed a few chillies to eat with his meal. Otherwise he is usually prepared and would pull out his chillies from his Mary Poppins pocket (see treat 55). The crispy pancetta added the crunch this pasta dish needed. Though it wasn’t my favourite seafood pasta, (Must Wine Bar’s crab angel hair pasta still wins) it did pack a lot of flavour and I would recommend this dish to my fellow seafood pasta lovers. However, it was only pasta of the day so if you have to get lucky on the day you go. My mum and sister were happy with their barramundi, roasted potato and broccoli dish. This was fish of the day so don’t always go to The Partisan expecting it. Both their plates were scraped clean so it looked like they enjoyed it. My brother as always likes to be different and there was no mistaking the variety from the Larder Board. This included a rabbit & rosemary terrine, chorizo sausage, shaved prosciutto, fennel & caraway marinated olives, danish fetta and charred ciabatta. My sister loved the danish fetta but she has a soft spot for cheese. My dad and I hogged the olives. Mum let my brother be. Luckily we ordered mussels and chips to share otherwise he wouldn’t have much to eat. It does explain why he ordered crepes at Toast after. The chips were forgettable and the mussels were quite small. Not the most filling dish. I probably would not order again as I’ve had better mussels at the Belgium Beer Café for a similar price and larger serving. Overall, The Partisan was a special outing for the family with beautiful East Perth views and equally beautiful looking food. No it’s not a place like my family would frequent often but it is a wonderful restaurant for special occasions. My parents had a wonderful day celebrating their 32nd anniversary with their children and the scenic surroundings of East Perth was a nice change from mum being in the kitchen on her anniversary. So here is where I get all mushy in my blog. Despite growing up with a strict dad, I am very blessed to be close to both my parents and spend quality moments where I get to spoil them instead of me being the spoiled one. Congratulations mum and dad on 32 years of wonderful memories.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Fish of the day…barramundi.
The crispy pancetta makes this dish.
I would have liked a bigger serving.
Oh brother! Another random choice from brother dearest (not a bad one – I enjoyed the olives).
In 2011 I embarked on a random trip to Europe thanks to $900 return flights to London. Yes it was with Air Asia but I live to tell the tale. A highlight was the idyllic coast and delicious food of the Greek Islands including Santorini, Mykonos and Ios. Now there is lots of debate over what country invented what food. With my Lebanese background I am honestly biased. I do know the Greeks invented maths but it looks like they also are experts at bankruptcy. I am learning this in the book I’m reading, Michell Lewis’ Boomerang which are about countries in Europe who suffered from or contributed to the GFC. Wow that sounded so boring I almost fell asleep writing it. The book is actually quite interesting and you learn about how Greece ended up in this financial position (or lack of finance in this case). This has nothing to do with food but now it will. There are some Greek delights that I remember fondly from the trip including dolmades (vine leaves), spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) and mousaka (lamb and eggplant layered dish). On this beautiful night, Perth’s Mediterranean climate was a perfect setting for my first dining experience at Estia Cafe in Inglewood. Our table was outside and though slightly neglected in the beginning while we waited to order, it was nice to feel the breeze while sipping on New Zealand sparkling white. I was torn by many options on the entree. It’s probably because I’m used to the meze style of eating, similar to tapas where you have a few small plates to share. We decided not to fill up on entrees and instead share the dips and pita. The three dips were tzatziki (yoghurt and mint), melitzanosalata (eggplant) and taramosalata (caviar). I absolutely love tzatziki and you will find me eating it at least a couple times a week. It’s quite easy to make but I definately amp up the garlic content in my version of this Greek favourite. The eggplant dip was milder than my family’s version of babaganoush (the Lebanese eggplant dip). My mum’s eggplant dip wins this round sorry Estia. A slight criticism from all three of us at the table was the dip and pita ratio. We ran out of pita quite early on with plenty of dip going begging. I think it’s a money making strategy as we reluctantly paid the extra for more pita. For mains I got the prawn saganaki, which came in a small claypot with prawns, roast vegetables and a tomato saltsa, halomui and feta and more pita. I should have just waited for my main because I didn’t eat much of the pita on my plate. The prawns were quite sizeable and I did find this dish flavoursome. The secret is in the herbs. I come from a herb family thanks to my green thumb dad. His garden is packed with parsley, oregano, basil, mint and rosemary. Don’t forget his beloved lemon trees (all 6 of them). I know that’s not a herb but it’s still an essential ingredient in Mediterrean cooking. I will give credit where credit is due to the Greeks for their delicious prawn saganaki. My friend Fran was very happy with her spanakopita as evidenced by the scraped clean plate. I must admit and I didn’t say it on the night, I had food envy from Kirsty’s octopus salad. I just thought it would be grilled octopus on the plate but this had the fresh touches of lettuce, cucumber, tomato and mint to make this a perfect summer salad. The photos below will make you hungry just looking at them. Though the dessert menu was tempting we were too full on pita (maybe we shouldn’t have ordered the extra serve). I would definately go back to Estia. Will I take my mum and dad? Probably not because it’s a bit like anything you can do I can do better, I can make tzatziki better than you. Why do you think I’ve never taken my parents to The Prophet in Victoria Park (see Treat 35). If I closed my eyes and used my imagination with the warm summer breeze and aroma of herbs I could imagine myself back in Santorini. Then I’d open my eyes realise I wasn’t in paradise but instead sitting half a metre away from busy Beaufort Street. An excuse to eat my feelings with delicious Greek offerings from Estia Cafe. Sometimes all you need is pita.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Trio of dips (what do we want more pita and when do we want it…now)
Prawn saganki is a pot full of flavour.
I love spanokopita (even thought I always forget how to spell it).
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Tagged Boomerang, dips, Estia Cafe, Greek, Greek cuisine, Inglewood, Michael Ellis, octopus, pita, saganaki, salad, spanakopita, tzatziki
It looks like the only meal I’m eating out and about at the moment is breakfast. Or if it is dinner it is limited only to sashimi. What is going on? I have no idea. Just another phase I’m going through. It’s like the time I went to Jennifer Lopez’s concert and her six-pack inspired me to get fit again. So before I go on a Japanese food bender I’ll give you a couple more breakfast treats. Then after that I promise to spice it up, quite literally as I stumbled upon a Chinese chilli restaurant in Victoria Park that my dad has been wanting to visit. Today I was breakfasting before work with the Myer girls who now all have government jobs in the CBD. We checked out the Secret Garden Cafe on Murray Street in the West end of the city (not to be confused with the Secret Garden Cafe in South Perth which you will meet in an upcoming treat). I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few brekky options under $10. It’s actually a relief to see eggs on toast on the menu for under $10. They also do breakfast specials everyday where you can get a toastie (eggs, mushroom and spinach on sourdough) with a coffee for $10. What a relief! On Wednesdays you can get eggs on toast any way you like with a coffee for $10. Warning these specials are on the second page of the menu so don’t ignore. I chose the toastie and coffee special and was pleasantly surprised by the generous filling in my sandwich. It wasn’t anything difficult and I know I could easily make it at home but it’s the social aspect I love the most. Getting up early to get a good coffee and have a catch up with friends really is a great way to start my day. I know some people go for runs, I go to cafes. This morning we did have an engaging debate on whether the vegemite should be applied on the bread or come separately so you can spread yourself. Lazy me thinks it should come spread so I was disappointed when I went to Toast in East Perth and had to do all the hard work myself. However, when Kirsty’s vegemite toast was served we all grimaced at the thick level of vegemite without any butter to absorb the rich flavour. The waitress didn’t even have to wait for Kirsty to say anything, she apologised and took the plate away. It was replaced with the vegemite in a bowl ready for Kirsty to spread to her liking. Even simple things like vegemite on toast can be ruined. Let’s open this up for debate. Do you think vegemite should be spread or come separately? If you are looking for a breakfast option under $10 with great coffee then give Secret Garden Cafe a go. Just walk through the alley, walk past Tiger Tiger and there you will find the Secret Garden Cafe with their secret breakfast specials where all you need is a blue note.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
$10 for coffee and a sandwich (that’s rare in Perth)