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.
My cousins and I give each other titles similar to royalty that claim a special skill/talent. Actually it’s not like royalty because this title is not a birthright…it is earned. For example I have the title of being the baby whisperer. I have this knack of getting kids on planes to like me or stop them from crying. Exhibit A is 4 year old Ryan on the long haul flight from LA to Sydney back when I was 16 who laughed at all my jokes. However, my title is on the line with my cousin Nat winning the affections of a 2 year old on our recent flight to Sydney. I also have stolen the title of beach person from my cousin Nen by going to the beach every day for 2 weeks but she took my title of being the person that attracts free stuff. So as you can tell these titles are taken seriously, you work hard to claim them. So what does this have to do with treating? Well as my followers would know by now my cousins and I meet regularly for breakfasts before work. We take turns deciding where to go. This time round Nen decided we be daring and branch out to Crown Perth for a buffet breakfast at Atrium. So not only do we have to wake up an extra thirty minutes early we are also competing for the title of the best buffet person. The criteria includes how many laps you can do, how much of your plate you actually eat and how many different food combinations you can make. My problem is I fill my plate to the brim and pick at things and only eat what I like. Most things on my plate have only one bite taken out of them. For my first lap I did the traditional scrambled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and hash brown along with some random breakfast options like steamed fish, roasted vegetables and glazed ham. The fish was discarded quite early on…my mind couldn’t comprehend fish for breakfast. The ham made me feel like it was Christmas again but it is no match to the wonderful glazed ham efforts of my Aunty Georgette and the Nigella inspired ham that my friend Nush made for Thanksgiving 2012. I was disappointed that for the premium price you pay for this buffet that poached eggs are not an option. They do make an omelette in front of your eyes but for a majority of the time this was left unattended so I didn’t benefit from this. Another criticism is that they only offer percolated coffee. You have to pay $5 extra for your standard cappuccino/flat white options. You could end up out of pocket by $45 for breakfast. It’s not the best way to start the day. Round 2 I tried the Asian offerings like gai lan, dumplings and stir fried noodles. I’m not afraid of such savoury options around 10am dim sum time but at 7am I was struggling. This round was left mainly on the plate. After the overwhelming savoury options I went for sweets in Round 3. Think waffles, hot cakes, pastries and fruit. The highlight for me was the snail raisin pastry. It was light and crunchy. The hotcakes were slightly cold…unlike the freshly made ones you get at a Hyatt High Tea buffet. Same issue with the waffles. The strawberries were out of season and sour. Overall, the Atrium breakfast buffet has a lot of options. Maybe too many because the execution and quality isn’t always there. It’s that small attention to detail that can raise a buffet from ordinary to exciting and worth the premium price. Would I go back to a buffet before work? No. I should have learnt my lesson after the Miss Maud experience (see Treat 31). But my philosophy is at first you don’t succeed pick yourself up and try it again…and again. I was wrecked for the rest of the day. I think I was in a food coma that required intensive care (a nap) rather than work. Congratulations to my cousin Nen for her five laps of the buffet tables and for scraping her plates clean rather than my poor attempt. I also liked what she did with her pancakes…great choice with the berries. She has officially been crowned the Buffet Queen of the cousins (well between Nat and I at least). If you have time on your hands (before work is not recommended) and want to enjoy breakfast at a leisurely pace with a variety of options then head down to the Atrium buffet at Crown Perth. It is a guaranteed food coma especially with a title up for grabs you will be doing a lot of laps to win. Yes the competitive Monica (from Friends) in me comes out and a buffet becomes a competition. Except I lost…I don’t how to feel. I’ll have to steal back my getting things for free title from Nen or my baby whisperer title from Nat.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The sweet round – shame about the sour strawberries
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Tagged pancakes, dim sum, coffee, sausage, Crown Perth, eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon, strawberries, buffet, pastries, danish, Atrium, waffles, roasted vegetables
So I have spoken about my talent of reciting movie quotes and song lyrics incorrectly but there is one minor exception…I can quote Friends quite accurately because of the hundred billion times I have watched the show. It’s not surprising that in my daily life there will be a moment where I think of something that happened in Friends that relates to the situation I am in. Today’s treat is an example. The new Bistro Guillaume opened at Crown Perth and I was excited. I have a not so secret crush on Guillaume Brahimi, the chef behind this new restaurant. Actually it’s a family crush shared with my mum, aunty and cousins. I was lucky to meet him at the Good Food Guide awards night at Print Hall a couple weeks ago and he touched my arm. It’s like that Simpson’s moment when Bart falls for his new next-door neighbour/baby sitter Laura who jokingly reads Bart’s palm and tells him that he’s going to be rich except the swimming pool in his house is empty. She asks if she wants the pool to be full so she spits on his hand and Bart says he’s never going to wash his hand again. So yes when Guillaume touched my arm that’s what I thought of except you will be glad to know I have since washed it. Now that was way off topic and I haven’t got to the moment that reminds me of the Friends opens episode, the one where Joey speaks French. I also haven’t uttered one sentence about food. Let’s begin. On this Friday night the cousins and I had just feasted on ribs, fried chicken and chilli fries at the Merrywell and were tossing up having French or a thirty cent cone. In order to make a decision we paper, rock, scissored it. My cousin Nen was French and I was thirty but I lost out after three rounds so off to Bistro Guillaume we went (for once in my life I didn’t do a Monica I was happy to lose). Arriving to the beautiful lime green décor, chequered black and white floors and pretty light fixtures we decided to sit in the cold outside. Bistro Guillaume without doubt has the best view than other Crown Perth restaurants as it overlooks the pool area. We decided to warm up with a chai latte, flat white and peppermint tea while we shared a dessert, the riz au lait with poached rhubarb and strawberry sorbet. The riz au lait reminded us of a Lebanese dessert, riz b-haleeb aka rice pudding. The main difference is the proportion…the Khouri family size is a generous sized ramekin while the Guillaume version was a large plate with a tiny shallow hole in the middle which fit about five spoonfuls of the rice pudding mixture. Now it makes sense why French women are so skinny, their portion sizes are tiny. The main drawcard for this dessert for my cousin Nen was the poached rhubarb but the five strips that were on the plate did not satisfy. The best feature of the dessert was the strawberry sorbet despite the chill in the air we enjoyed the zingy and refreshing taste. So this dessert was disappointing to say the least but it didn’t stop me from visiting my mate Guillaume the next night for Neha’s birthday surprise. After an amazing vegetarian meal at The Prophet (see Treat 35) it was time to feast on French desserts. I wanted to take my French speaking friend Neha here for a proper meal but unfortunately the French aren’t vegetarian friendly in contrast to the abundant vegetarian options at The Prophet. So we made do with dessert…yes I know life can be hard sometimes. After some oohing and ahhing we decided on sampling the Petit Fours and then conformed to all getting the chocolate soufflé. In the Petit Fours we enjoyed a tropical jelly, pistachio macaron, salted caramel, chocolate truffle and a Madeleine biscuit. My favourite was the salted caramel (no surprises there see Treat 33) for its chewy sweet goodness. The tropical jelly had mixed reviews. I was a fan of the soft gooey texture and its fruity punch. The macaron lacked the pistachio flavour it should have but in terms of texture it was spot on. My friend Kristen made a good point, usually petit fours are complimentary at fine dining restaurants not that the $5 will break the bank but it is a valid observation. Now let’s talk about the star dessert, the chocolate soufflé. I always forget what a soufflé is mainly because I don’t eat it often. I was thinking of a chocolate moelleux, which is like a self-saucing pudding or lava cake so when you crack into the cake, chocolate sauces oozes out. Guillaume’s neighbour, Nobu does a cracking lava cake, they Japanesefy it by putting it in a bento box and adding green tea ice cream to break the richness of the chocolate. A chocolate soufflé on the other hand is lighter in texture, almost mousse/meringue like thanks to egg whites and sugar folded into chocolate. However, the light texture will fool you because it is still a rich dessert. The waiters recommend putting the pistachio ice cream scoop into the pudding, which we all did. It’s all about breaking up the richness as I quickly found myself induced into a food coma. More than anything I love the whole experience at Guillaume from the Lacoste wearing French speaking waiters, the lovely décor and plating as well as the delicious desserts (except the riz au lait). The table next to us had the shared lamb dish with the smell wafting over making me hungry again. I think I found the cure for a food coma…more food! I can’t wait to see my friend Guillaume again and try the savoury options. Now that we finally spoke about the food I can tell you about the Friends moment. I did not realise but I have been saying Guillaume’s name wrong this whole time. Apparently it is pronounced Gi – yum but I keep saying Gua-lim but I don’t realise this. Even when I’m thinking I’m saying Gi-yum I’m actually saying out loud Gua-lim. No matter how many times Neha tried to explain it to me I kept reverting back to Gua-lim. It reminds me of the episode when Joey has on his CV that he speaks French fluently but obviously he doesn’t when Phoebe tries to teach him. Je m’appelle Claude becomes blah blah Claude. Don’t worry Joey I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Can you tell I have the iPhone3? Yes it’s about time I get with technology. I actually have an old Nokia that has a flashlight, maybe if I use that as a flash when I take photos with my iPhone3…or I could just invest in the iPhone 5. Anyway there wasn’t much to see or eat in the riz au lait so opt for the chocolate souffle instead.
Is it really petit fours when you get five items? The answer is yes…petit fours is French for small oven and are small confectionary eaten at the end of the meal. So you can have your cake and it too and then have your petit fours.
C’est très magnifique = it’s very magnificent.
P.S. Happy Birthday Neha!
Dude food is the latest trend in the food world and has hit the sunny shores of Perth with The Merrywell at Crown Perth. While I write this treat I am listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA because the food that was rolling out took me back to College life and the American dream… hamburgers and hot dogs. My last blog was about hot dogs (the aussie breed) so it’s fitting that I continue with this theme and celebrate the dude food trend. The definition for dude food from the dictionary of me is any morsels of food with high fat content that you eat with your hands and make a mess with. Think hot dogs topped with chilli corn carne, wagu beef hamburgers with pickles in them, fancy quesadilla triangles, lamb chops with a chilli rub and mint jelly and my personal favourite deep fried cheese cubes. The Merrywell is a concept born in the USA and is the brainchild of King of Casual, Sammy D and his mate Grant MacPherson. Both have over 50 years of experience in the restaurant industry including stints in the casino capital of the world, Las Vegas (well technically Macau has taken over but Las Vegas is Las Vegas…what happens there stays there except in this case with these chefs bringing their knowledge from Las Vegas to Australia). These 2 chefs have delivered The Merrywell concept first to Crown in Melbourne and now Perth is able to feast on dude food. I was lucky enough to attend the launch party with an open bar and a continuous flow of food as the menu was shown off to the Perthonalities in attendance. My advice for future punters going to The Merrywell, go with an empty stomach and an open mind. Do not think of calories, fat content, sugar, weight, heart attacks or anything health related. The day you eat at The Merrywell should not be the first day of your detox and is not for those on a mission to lose weight. No The Merrywell is for people who want a taste of the USA in their backyard. Especially with Perth being the most isolated city in the world, it’s easier just to drive to Crown Perth then get on a jet plane to Las Vegas for these indulgent treats. So what’s my take on the food that I ate at the launch. The dish of the day goes to the wagyu burger, succulent meat cooked medium with a fantastic pickle surprise inside. Other highlights was the lamb chop cooked to perfection at medium with a nice pink inside. Another favourite was the deep fried cheese, who thought cheese could taste better but that melty goodness really is magic. The lobster roll and the barramundi wings failed to hit the mark for me. The sauce of the barramundi wings in particular was quite grainy and overpowered the fish. Give me bdubs anyday (see Treat 24 for futher explanation). In terms of dessert the Polish donuts made no sense to me but I still ate it. I’m not going to lie, I prefer Krispy Kremes over that. THe desserts in shot glasses were very rich. The rice pudding I barely could eat a spoonful and the chocolate was very decadent and thick so I managed to eat a couple more mouthfuls. The puzzling thing for me was the food we were eating didn’t in my opinion match the interior. The decor is very similar to the Brisbane Hotel and the Boulevard with it’s dark walls, wooden features, artistic wine display and huge bar area. The food however is closer to Tony Roma’s style, very casual and almost dinerish (yes dinerish is a word as of now). Then again this is Perth afterall so you aren’t paying USA prices and a fancy decor automatically jack up the prices. I will have to go to The Merrywell again and test out this theory to see if this dude food gives you bang for your buck. I also want to try their ribs. I have a feeling though when I am craving the USA, The Merrywell might be a new place I will visit besides Tony Romas unless of course I win lotto and buy a private jet and fly to the USA willy nilly. Don’t let this negitude fool you. I am so excited that Perth is getting developments like The Merrywell and I was very impressed with the renovations of Crown Perth. I am well and truly on the Perth bandwagon, there is a lot to be excited about and dude food is just one of them.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
I loved the toppings! It’s like a hot dog Mexican style…very different to a Bunnings sausage sizzle that’s for sure.
lamb chops…not going to be eating that for a week or two thanks to wisdom teeth surgery.
wagyu hamburger…meaty cheesy pickle goodness
It’s no bdubs…but I like the celery touch.
Dessert in shot glasses aka diabetes.
Finishing off my meal with fairy floss…take that dentist!!
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Tagged cheese, USA, Merrywell, Crown, Crown Perth, burgers, hamburgers, buffalo wings, barramundi wings, celery, ranch, corn, hotdog, southern, fat, pig, salsa, fried, dude food, shot, donut