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.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged avocado, bad coffee, beef, Bon Marche Arcade, Cabin Fever, coffee, knick knacks, mustard, op shop, sandwich, vegemite
My local pub is literally 2 minutes down the road. I have lived in the same suburb for 23 years and not once have I stepped foot in the Odin Tavern. In the last month I have been there three times. My dad has been there 5 weeks in a row. So what has the Odin Tav done right to gain our local patronage. It’s all about value for money. For $15 on Sundays you get 2 courses – either soup or dessert to accompany your roast main. It’s truly bang for your buck. Last night I saw the comedian Danny Bhoy complain about an $8 glass of juice. It’s no secret Perth prices are obscene. The Odin Tav restores your faith in the concept of the Local. Pubs in Perth are serving pub food at ridiculous fancy restaurant prices. I don’t think paying over $40 for a main is true to the definition of the Local. However, this seems to be the reality at most local pubs. The Odin Tav is making fun of these restaurants with their $15 Sunday roast deal. Let’s talk food. The soup changes per week and so far I’ve experienced chicken and corn and another time was tomato and pancetta. Both times you will be pleasantly surprised to find real ingredients in the soup and not the canned variety. My mum found the soup salty but my mum has one of the healthiest palates on the planet. This is the woman who uses herbs and spices for flavour instead of salt. My house is not a salt and pepper house, it’s a parsley, cumin, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil house. Our spice rack takes up most of the bench space in the kitchen. So whenever I say anything is salty, it probably isn’t. The hero of the meal is the roast beef. Odin Tavern gives you a generous serving. I normally can’t finish the beef. My brother uses the bread from the soup course to make his own beef sandwich. If you wanted some carbs you can get a roast roll and chips for $7.50. It truly is a bargain. The surprise package is the generous serve of steamed vegetables. Your plate is colourful thanks to broccoli, carrot, potato, green beans, pumpkin and squash. For some reason they are very generous with the squash. I think I had ten pieces of squash last time. It’s quite a random vegetable/fruit depending on your definition to have with a pub meal. Wikipedia says squash botanically is a fruit but in the culinary world it is considered a vegetable. The steamed vegetables are probably the main reason why the parents like to come back here. Oh and the friendly price. The dessert is usually your stock standard chocolate mousse. Look there is a reason this meal is $15 – it’s not fine restaurant quality but it is fantastic comfort food. Wednesday is $14 steak night where you can choose from a T-Bone or Porterhouse including chips, salad and a choice of sauces. You can’t go wrong. I had my steak medium rare and I couldn’t fault them. It was on the rarer side but that’s how I like it. I am so happy that I finally met my Local. Odin Tav I am sure I will be seeing you more and more to make up for lost time.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Generous and delicious!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged $15, beef, carrot, danny bhoy, herbs and spices, odin, pub, pubs in perth, roast, squash, sunday, tavern, vegetables
With the Christmas break over it’s time to reminisce on that relaxing period of my life now that the daily grind of work is back. For two weeks I enjoyed a lady of leisure existence. I went to the beach 7 days in a row. This is quite odd behaviour for a person with high maintenance hair. Previously going to the beach was a rare occurrence because it turns my tresses into seaweed. Since my Indiana visitors in May 2012 I’ve been making an extra effort of becoming a beach person. Having lived in land locked Indiana I now appreciate WA’s sweeping crystal blue coast. So the next couple treats embrace coastal dining. On my last day of holidays my cousins and I pretended to go to Bora Bora except it was like the Friends episode when they go to Barbados, it was cloudy and raining. So the venture to Scarborough Beach was a failure. The angry clouds reflected the mood we were in. Food normally cheers me and the cousins up and after a great gyros experience the week before after a hard day in the surf we decided to go back to our friend Peters by the Sea. However, I think the salt water and hungriness may have affected us last time because it was not the same. The beef gyros was very dry and no amount of sauce (sweet chilli and garlic) could disguise it. We must have got the last pieces of the cow as it was overcooked, which explains its toughness. The chips were heavily chicken salted by us but any vinegar was absorbed by the cardboard the chips came in. My cousins make fun of me because after I eat I always say the same thing. ‘It’s either a hit or a miss and this time it’s a miss.’ Unfortunately Peters by the Sea didn’t come through for us this time but the Nerds candy strap from the BP nearby was a definite hit. If you have a spare $1 look out for it the next time you get petrol. At the end of the day Peters by the Sea is your stock standard kebab shop with slightly inflated prices because of the beautiful view. My negitude will clear up like the skies in my next treat when I branch out to another beach dining experience.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Unfortunately today I didn’t have the luck of the Irish. Though I was dining with my Irish colleague Clare for dinner before Jennifer Lopez’s concert, I was unlucky in my ordering. We decided to eat at Durty Nelly’s after a failed attempt at eating at the neighbouring pub James Squire in Shafto Lane. We did get lucky in securing a table because it was also chockers. It was the silly season so people were out in numbers celebrating or there were a lot of JLO fans in our midst. I ordered the Thursday special, beef parmigiana There was nothing special about it. The meat was as big as my face. It was chewy, hard to eat and the sauce had no flavour. It was a struggle to eat. The chips were yummy, I’ll give them that. At least an Irish pub got the potato right. It was my own fault for ordering an Italian dish at an Irish pub. A rookie mistake. I haven’t given up on the Irish pub just yet. Clare raves about the curry chips at Fibber McGees in Leederville, I can’t wait to try it. I’ve never had curry chips. Apparently it’s the Irish version of a kebab after a late night out. The other people I was dining with enjoyed their Durty Nelly’s meal. Try the calamari, chicken parma and wedges – they all got nods of approval. Don’t get the beef parma unless u want a jaw workout. On a side note Jennifer Lopez was amazing! She’s made me want to go on a health kick. It started straight after the concert, after her diva delay in starting the concert at 9.30 it was a run back to the car before the parking closed at 11pm.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The beef parma was a jaw workout.
I have put spoilers throughout my treating about this French Revolution taking over Perth. In the last year we have seen the birth of the following French restaurants:
o P’tite Ardoise in Highgate
o Petite Mort in Shenton Park
o La Brasserie De Paris in Subiaco
o Bistro des Artiste in Subiaco
o Le Poisson D’or in Fremantle
Unfortunately the wallet hasn’t stretched far and I have only visited the first on this ever expanding list. The first time I went I was so impressed with how French everything was. From the décor, to the service, to having acclaimed French chef Alain Fabrègues from the Loose Box dining behind me made me think I was in a tiny bistro in Paris lost in the Latin Quarter. On that occasion I had the twice cooked duck leg with vegetable tian and orange sauce. The duck meat fell of the bone and was heavenly to eat. The accompanying vegetables or legumes as the French would say helped break the richness. I decided to finish this meal with another traditional French touch, creme brulee. It had a good amount of cracking, I love that sound. Since then I have been waiting for an excuse to go back and was very happy when my friend Kirsty chose to have her birthday celebrations at P’tite Ardoise. Coincidentally, this time last year we were actually dining in the Eiffel Tower (see Treat #2). All winter I had been craving the comfort of a beef bourguignon and boy was I excited to see a blackboard outside with those two words on it. For once in my life I was decisive. As our group of ten was packed into a small area with another group of ten you definitely felt the sardines’ effect. This wasn’t all that pleasant for the claustrophobic amongst the group. P’tite Ardois is BYO so we had about 5 bottles of wine scattered around the table. Warning when you get the final bill not to be shocked like we were, there is corkage of $10 per bottle. So that was an extra $50 slapped on our bill. Our sitting was at the respectable French time of 8.30 and by the time we left it was midnight. The French would be proud of our efforts. Ok finally to the food, another warning don’t fill up on the bread that gets passed around. Don’t go crazy like I do and dip roll after roll in the delicious olive tapenade. Don’t worry about me though I still left room for mains and dessert. My beef bourguignon came out nice and hot in a beautiful copper pot. I was beyond excited. I have spoken about the beef bourguignon in Versailles from this tiny bistro with narrow wonky stairs where I first fell in love with this dish (see Treat #1). I still haven’t found anything to match it and unfortunately P’tite Ardoise failed to hit the mark. It was too salty for me and I know the root of the problem was the bacon pieces. So I barely made a dent in this because the saltiness, mixed with the wine and all the bread from before was much of a muchness. However, dessert saved the day and the chocolate tart I shared with the birthday girl hit the spot. The search for the best beef bourguignon continues, oh what a shame (not sure if you can read sarcasm) I’ll have to keep treating to find it. Overall, I still love the ambience, service and the food despite my salty beef bourguignon because P’tite Ardoise takes me on a journey back to the streets of Paris as I get off the metro at Saint-Michel and find a place to eat in the Latin Quarter. Plus the lollies you get at the end means you always leave P’tite Ardoise with a smile on your face.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Cuisse de Canard a l’orange et son tian de legumes – do you have any idea what that means? Please let me translate – it is a twice cooked Duck Leg with vegetable tian, orange sauce. Don’t ask me what a tian is – google it.
Looks can be deceiving…it looks inviting but it was too salty for my palate.
The creme brulee is delicious with the right amount of crack (one of the sugar kind). How cute is the Eiffel Tower shortbread? Tre magnifique!
The perfect remedy to a salty dish…chocolate.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged beef, bistro, chocolate tart, creme brulee, duck, France, french, highgate, legumes, Loose Box, orange, paris, P’tite Ardoise, vegetables
My favourite word at the moment is teppinyaki. Actually that’s a lie, it’s tied with Nusa Dua. I’m still on my search for teppinyaki ala How I Met Your Mother style. Till that day happens I will try alternative versions still using a grill but without the cool flippy chef moves. Today’s treat takes us to Korea, neither north or south but a Korean grill on Barrack Street. Took Bae Kee II was a pleasant surprise considering it was close to the dodgy end of Barrack street. Thanks to a spreets voucher I went with the Myer girls to enjoy a Korean grill price for the cheap and cheerful price of $10 each. This gave us two choices from the dumplings and grill section of the menu. After much indecisiveness here is what we chose:
• Kimchee and a bit of pork seasonal vegetables steamed dumplings (that’s exactly what the menu said – a bit of pork)
• Sweet potato noodles and seasonal vegetables fried dumplings
• Thick sliced soy chicken with seasoned vegetables
• Thin sliced beef oyster blade in special seasoned soy sauce marinade with seasonal vegetables
I am sometimes wary with those cheap internet vouchers but this was a fantastic deal and we enjoyed a great selection of food. The table was set out with a few condiments including soy beans and kimchee. The grill was positioned in the middle of the table and located dangerously near my elbow was a bell to call for service. What an amazing invention! I felt like a naughty kid though because my elbow ‘accidentally’ kept hitting it. This is great for ordering extra water and rice but no so great for ordering extra lettuce, that request was ignored. Besides that minor hiccup the service was spot on and attentive throughout this grilling experience. I am first to admit my knowledge of Korean cuisine is very limited. I have been fascinated with kimchee for awhile now as I have heard it has amazing health benefits because of its fermentation. I had never tried it and I enjoyed the kick of spice that came with it. When I go to the dentist tomorrow I think I’ll buy a jar from the Asian store next door. The kimchee and a bit of pork steam dumpling was seasoned nicely but it did have a rubbery texture around the edges that I discarded. It also needed some dunking in the soy sauce for extra flavour. The sweet potato noodles dumpling was a bit confusing for me because I thought the noodles would be made of sweet potato. I was wrong, it was vermicelli noodles with grated sweet potato. Same same but different. At the same those dumplings were put on the table I got distracted by the sound of grilling. The waitress carefully arranged the oyster mushrooms and chicken mixture in the pan. I got so excited. So by the time I remembered to eat my dumpling it was cold and rubbery. My own fault on that one. The chicken was delicious with the rice and vegetables. Thanks to Kirsty for the great idea of wrapping the chicken in lettuce and eating with our hands. By that stage I was struggling with my metallic chopsticks. I’m not going to lie I struggle with wooden chopsticks as well – I’m one of those people who dart the chopstick in the prawn dumpling at dim sum. The beef was next to hit the grill and we watched this closely because we prefer it on the medium rare side. The chicken we didn’t mind to leave cooking because let’s face it we didn’t want salmonella but unfortunately it left for some hard bits. The beef was tender and my favourite of the two. I think I was in a beef mood though. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this dining experience. Here I was thinking that we would be cooking the food ourselves, which I’m not a fan of because I don’t go to a restaurant to cook. Sorry Arirang (another Korean restaurant on Barrack Street) you lose brownie points there. I would definitely go back there even without a cheap deal. For the amount of food you get and the fun you having ringing the door bell (okay maybe that’s just me) and having food grilled in front of you then Took Bae Kee II is a winner chicken dinner.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Kimchee and a bit of pork dumplings
They cook it right in front of your eyes (except without the flippy cool teppinyaki moves)
Now it’s cooked ready to eat
I told you we like our meat rare (ok I lie we cooked it a bit more than that)