I really wanted to like this place. I really did. But all I feel is disappointment and hunger. My first visit to No 4 Blake street was more successful. Good coffee and I enjoyed the banana bread. Though disappointed that at 11am I couldn’t get the brownie as they hadn’t made it yet. The menu said it was available. Now I still don’t know what homemade aero tastes like. I still liked the cafe enough to suggest to my culinary adventurous friends from my European travels to join me there for an overdue catch up. How I wish I did not spearhead this decision. Firstly, the coffee was undrinkable. It was so bitter that I thought my glass still had detergent remains from the dishwasher. I barely had a quarter before giving up. My friend Daniele also didn’t enjoy his coffee. The tea however was a hit with both Kirsty and Krystle, which helped keep them warm on this blistery cold winters day. So if the coffee was bad, how about the food? The disappointment sadly continued. I ordered the chakchouka after having a very positive experience at Boucla in Subiaco. Boucla’s chakchouka had intense flavour. Chunky tomato pieces made it easy to pick up with bread. The egg was baked to perfection, the white was dense and the yolk gooey. For $14 it was great value.The Blake version was the complete opposite. It was not cooked properly. The egg whites were clear and runny. Only two tiny pieces of olive bread were provided to dip into the small clay pot. The intense tomato flavour was missing. The red peppers were few and far between. It lacked the kick that made Boucla’s chakchouka soar. In fairness Daniele who also ordered the chakchouka had better looking whites. The fact he left most of it in the clay pot is not a good sign. For $18 I wished I suggested Boucla in the first place. I was left hungry and popped down the road to Hobart Street Deli for my coffee fix. Sorry it doesn’t end there. Kirsty’s sourdough bread was either stale or not properly toasted. In other words it was inedible. On a positive note her poached eggs were perfect. Krystle also ordered the poached eggs but on gluten free bread. Her side of avocado never came. Getting the waitstaffs’ attention was near impossible. I think they forget the section up the stairs. Everytime we tried to wave them down they had quickly turned their backs down the stairs to the kitchen. So the service was also a let down. If you see a table with most of their plates with food remains and cups with undrunk coffee…that should be a sign in itself that the party is not happy. We tried to complain in the end but the waitstaff serving us wasn’t very receptive. All in all it was a letdown from start to finish. I’m hoping Blakes was having a bad day because I’ve heard great things from quite a few people. I just checked their website and they have taken the week off. Me thinks it’s good timing to get the staff refreshed. Hopefully the food improves, perhaps a good opporunity to clean the coffee machine and next time I look forward to seeing service with a smile. Otherwise go to Boucla instead for chakchouka that won’t let you down. And yes…I like to say chakchouka.
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Tagged bad coffee, banana bread, brunch, chakchouka, coffee, No 4 Blake Street, north perth, North Perth cafe, poached eggs, runny, sourdough
My friend Louise is moving South of the River and though I am sad to see her leave us Northies behind, on the bright side it means branching out and trying new places that aren’t in my local radius. I do apologise to my followers that are south of the river because I knowingly neglect you. I also apologise for making jokes about needing road trip CDs to get to Fremantle. I’ll be honest I won’t stop making them (sorry Louise and Neha). So in the next couple weeks you will notice new brunch locations and I’ll mention suburbs where I probably have never eaten before. However, I couldn’t let Louise cross to the dark side without one last supper or brunch in this case at one of her former haunts, Hobart Deli in North Perth. This was actually my first time at Hobart Deli. I find myself continually surprised by these random corner cafes in the suburbs. Recent discoveries include Lincoln’s Cafe in Highgate, Piccolos Cafe in West Leederville and West End Deli in West Perth (see Quick Treat: The Slap). Hobart Deli was packed to the rafters on this Monday public holiday. I was lucky to nab a table so quickly. I’d like to think that was because for the first time in my life I was actually on time for brunch. Hopefully this experience will motivate me to become more punctual but I am naturally a late person and I can’t fight genetics. What I like about the Hobart Deli menu is that it has brunch options that you usually wouldn’t eat let alone make at home. The small space inside and out means you are almost practically sitting on the person next to you. It’s not arms distance apart more like a pinky finger space next to you. The advantage in this is that it is great for food watching (and eavesdropping but that’s neither here nor there). Unless you have already ordered then the advantage becomes a disadvantage because then you have food envy staring a pinky distance away from you. I ordered the full vegetarian, which didn’t sound as fun as the full playground (the title for the meat-eaters option). I’m not vegetarian but I like vegetarian options at brunch. You will notice me choosing the mushrooms and feta or anything with poached eggs really. This was a vegetarian’s dream – zucchini and haloumi fritter, roasted tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and poached egg on rye bread. They should rename it the Full House because it really has all the vegetarian favourites. The standout item for me was the zucchini and haloumi fritter. I loved the texture of the shredded zucchini and the punchy herbs made it memorable. The letdown was the overcooked poached eggs and hard rye bread. The bread choice was my fault. Rye is notoriously hard to cut but for some bizarre reason I like the sour taste that comes with it. The hard poached egg makes me sad because it’s gooeyness would have helped soften the rye bread. I won’t remind you about the last time my heart broke when I got hard poached eggs (see Treat 49: Foam Home ). I won’t give up on this place though. If I take your mind back to food envy, I had that from the lady next to me who in her own words was staring at the ensemble on my plate. In turn, I was staring longingly at her brioche with berries. I can’t wait to go back there just for that. The coffee was decent. When I looked at my coffee connoisseur friend Louise, she did not seem that impressed. She’s only moved in across the river five minutes and she’s criticising the coffee on the northie side. We will see about that. I really mean that….I have a long list of places to try including Ootong & Lincoln, Harvest, Barque, Aubergines….the list goes on. To sort of quote a wise man, Ali G….North side is the best! The crowds at Hobart Deli, Tuck Shop Cafe and Sayers are testament to that. But as a ‘foodie’ who actually eats food (not just take photos of it) I am excited by the prospect of finding the south of the river version of these brunching options. Watch out southies I am coming and I have an awesome road trip CD all ready to go.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Breakfast is the only time I’m vegetarian (except when I eat bacon)
I am still learning about the abundance of different cuisines from the world’s largest continent. I mean technically Lebanese food is geographically under the Asian umbrella except you wouldn’t find any soy sauce in the traditional Lebanese recipes. With all this modern fusion going around you never know what they might do the traditional dishes. My mum is guilty for fusing her Lebanese flavours when she cooks an Asian dish. She’s shy when it comes to spice. So it was refreshing visiting Saowanee’s Place Thai Restaurant and getting dishes with punchy flavours. I loved it so much that after going there on Saturday night for Christmas dinner with friends I went back there the next night to take the parents. The standout dish was a recommendation from my Thailand loving friend Kirsty who always raves about the paw paw salad. Usually the only paw paw I digested was incidental from my Lucas paw paw ointment for my lips. I didn’t even bother to check the menu to see what was in the paw paw salad but I was happy as Larry to see prawns. My favourite part of the dish was the sweet and sour sauce. I tried making it last night and I could not get the balance probably because I used the wrong sugar. The lemons from my garden also weren’t the best. I could think of countless excuses as to my failed attempt at replicating the sauce that Saowanee’s Place has mastered. I recently bought a mandoline and besides making coleslaw I haven’t used it much. Now with the introduction to paw paw salad I will be saying hello again. This dish has crunch, spice, sweet, sour and with those flavours combined you get a party in your mouth. Another favourite was the duck curry. Normally duck can be quite rich and sometimes I get food regret when I order it especially if it’s dry. This duck curry was nice and light with a great kick of spice. My mum was happy with the amount of vegetables in the dishes; this is usually her chagrin when it comes to eating out on the cheap. One serve of fried rice though for $18.90 is not a cheap and cheerful and did not satisfy our party of five. So we ordered another plate. The tom yum soup was my dad’s favourite dish because he is man who likes his spice. This hot and sour soup had us all steaming and my mum in a coughing fit. It was disappointing to see canned mushrooms were used in the soup especially when you are paying more than restaurants that give you the real deal. The only criticism from my dad was the sambal. He loves the sambal at Kulcha in Joondalup but he barely touched the one here and he had to pay $3 for it. While at Kulcha it’s complimentary plus they always give him a container to take away with him. There’s not much that can be said about the décor and service. The yellow walls and the burgundy chairs are a feast for the eyes and well to put it kindly wouldn’t be colours I’d be combining in an outfit. The service was quite abrupt at first and when we requested if we could have a different table apparently they were fully booked. At 5pm only one other table was occupied. I’m assuming they didn’t want to clean in between patrons because no one came to claim the other tables in that time. Overall Saowanee’s Place has some standout dishes. I definitely recommend the paw paw salad and duck curry. I would avoid the fried rice, I just can’t the amount you pay for it. I’ve never been to Thailand but my friends Fran and Kirsty rave about it. I found the food addictive and am craving my next paw paw salad. I guess it’s back to the drawing board and attempting that delicious sauce again, hopefully this time I can get it right.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The new love of my life – paw paw salad. It’s overtaken my love for Thai beef salad.
Is it worth $18.90…me thinks not.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged asian, curry, duck, fried rice, north perth, paw paw salad, prawn, Saowanee's Place Thai Restaurant, thai, tom yum, vegetable