The Little Pantry is filled with a big heart

The Little Pantry, Subiaco

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Once upon a time, I used to drive past The Little Pantry every day, on the way to work. I would drive past early in the morning when most people would be asleep in their warm beds. Before I knew about The Little Pantry, I would wonder what this place could be. It is attractive on the outside, and when I would have my afternoon shifts at work, I would see this place buzzing, and filled with people. The Little Pantry is located on a main suburban street within walking distances from nearby homes (lucky them!). And you know how I love hidden gems in the suburbs! So when I had a catch up brunch session with a best friend, she left the recommendation up to me, and I knew where I wanted to go.

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When we walked into The Little Pantry, there was a rustic, old feeling about it. The high ceilings, wooden floor boards, the dark walls and furniture with the pop of colours here and there. There is also an additional seating area at the back, but we did not go to see it. It was fairly busy, but we managed to find an empty table at a cosy nook, next to the window at the front. We grabbed some menus, analysed the menu, and ordered at the front (I was happy that they also accept Rewardle cards, yay!). They were also helpful when it came to my friend deciding what coffee to have, despite the queue forming behind us. We had such a hard time deciding what to eat because everything was so good on the menu – I decided on savoury and my friend decided to go with sweet.

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The Little Pantry’s cappuccino.

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The Little Pantry’s chai latte.

Our coffees came first, and my friend ordered the cappuccino, which was reported to be sweet and really good. I had the chai latte and it was perfect, and just the way I liked it, with that famous dusting of powder on the top.

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Pancakes with blueberry and vanilla compote, fresh honeycomb, and marscapone ($16).

How is this for presentation? Just from the look of it, the pancakes appear so soft like clouds. This was my friend’s dish – Pancakes with blueberry and vanilla compote, fresh honeycomb, and marscapone ($16). My friend loved it. I had a taste, and I loved it, too. The pancakes were absolutely delicious, and so soft that it melted in your mouth with every bite. The stack of pancakes were also uniform in shape. And the presentation – oh my goodness – was again, just beautiful The icing sugar dusted all over the plate made it just that extra special. The blueberry and vanilla compote around the plate was not too overly sweet, but had the slight tang.

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Boston baked eggs, speck salsa verde ($13) – without the salsa verde, with rocket and Japanese rocket.

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Boston baked eggs, speck salsa verde ($13) – without the salsa verde, with rocket and Japanese rocket, now with the poached eggs.

My love for baked eggs continues, so of course I ordered the Boston baked eggs with speck salsa verde ($13). I was later informed by the staff that they had no more salsa verde available, so they offered me rocket and Japanese rocket plus two poached eggs at no charge. Score! The poached eggs later came on a plate to which I placed on top of the rocket, so that the runny yolk can ooze into the beans. The dish was really delicious, and it was also very filling with a lot of different types of beans. The baguette, torn in half, was crusty, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to eat it with the dish, so I broke it up in slices and spread the butter cubes on the bread. The bread probably doesn’t look hard, but it was, as the dish wasn’t runny enough to soak the bread. Nevertheless, it was really delicious.

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We stayed for a few hours to chat, and slowly eat our way to the bottom of our plates. The Little Pantry has enough natural light to feel comfortable to relax in. I thought the prices of the meals weren’t too bad, as I opted to get something cheaper on the menu (as I was travelling to Melbourne that night, I wanted to save on the money!), and was really surprised that my Boston baked eggs was only $13. Cheap! The food was of top quality, fresh and delicious. I do have to note that I had a bout of a week long stomach bug that came into effect when I arrived in Melbourne (thank goodness not on the plane!), and after much thinking, I can only put it down to The Little Pantry, although I have no idea how (I can only guess from the poached eggs, but I always have poached eggs so I don’t know how). I’m not sure how, but don’t let that scare you – I would return to The Little Pantry for their amazing food and coffee.

Rating: 7 out of 10
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Address: 206 Nicholson Rd, Subiaco WA 6008
Website: http://www.thelittlepantry.com.au

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Little Pantry on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open Monday to Saturday from 7am to 5pm, and Sundays from 8am to 3pm.
  • The Little Pantry uses Ponchione coffee, who is the only place to use these coffee beans in the southern hemisphere.
  • Limited street parking at the front.
  • Check out their amazing food at the front of the counter, with special paninis to go!

- A.

Taste of Perth 2014

Taste of Perth 2014

To say I was excited for the final few days of the Eat Drink Perth festival was a gross understatement. The first Saturday of my May month was dedicated to the Taste of Perth, using the Silver Crown tickets that I had purchased a few months before the date. Silver Crown tickets were only available for pre-sale through Ticketek, including entry fee and 30 Crowns (1 Crown = 1 Dollar).

Welcome to the Taste of Perth 2014!

Welcome to the Taste of Perth 2014!

I had scouted through multiple food blogs during the day (thanks Chomp Chomp, Breakfast ConfidentialFood Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse and The Food Pornographer) for tricks and tips of the trade for the event. I also had a long hard look through the Taste of Perth Menu Card, which included a map, a list of the food stalls available, the different events running throughout the day and a menu (surprisingly enough, sarcasm inclusive).

A few of the many tables, seats and tents out that evening!

A few of the many tables, seats and tents out that evening!

I can get pretty OCD and that particular day was no exception. I had spent a good hour browsing over the recommendations made by fellow bloggers and friends who had visited the previous day, before doing up my own draft schedule for the night. The common key, everyone had said, was to be prepared and organised. So my sister, her boyfriend, my friend and I rugged up for a cool Saturday night and headed off to Langley Park, with my printed schedule in hand. On the schedule, I had organised the times of the masterclasses I wanted to attend, where each event was located, how much it all cost and complied a list of all the dishes I wanted to try. I have to say, I was pretty proud of it (#bigego).

Beats & Seats!

Beats & Seats!

We grabbed parking at Wilson parking on Terrace Rd, which was only a quick 5 minute walk from Langley Park. Parking was said to be a problem, so I went through Wilson’s Book A Bay system and reserved one online for a mere $8.50 for 5 hours. Winning! There was a line snaking around the corner as we approached, but the staff were ready to go. As we stood in line, people came past to check if we needed Crown Cards. We were immediately given our special bright pink plastic credit cards, which contained endless possibilities. Moments later, our tickets were collected and the herd of people waiting outside were let in, luckily a few minutes earlier than the official 5:30pm mark. Efficiency at its best!

Fancy some Champagne?

Fancy some Champagne?

Our plan of attack was to sign up to everything we wanted to go to first. Team work was put into motion – my sister and her boyfriend headed off to book the Sensology Art of Cocktail Making Class, whilst my friend and I put down our names for the Brookfield Table Talks and Lurpak Cookery School. We blazed through it and met up briefly to self-congratulate each other on our productivity, before we decided to put some food into the system, prior to indulging in some choice alcohol. It wasn’t excessively busy at this stage, which was good, because it meant we weren’t waiting in lines for a long time!

Lallah Rookhs pop up store!

Lalla Rookh’s pop up store!

Nonna's meatballs ($8)

Nonna’s meatballs ($8)

Our first dish of the night was Nonna’s Meatballs ($8) from Lalla Rookh. The meatballs were braised, submerged in a soft polenta and coated in parmigiano sauce. There were only two meatballs swimming inside our little container, so for $4 they were quite steep in price, but they certainly were as tender as anticipated. Best yet was the polenta, which was reminiscent of a gooey béchamel sauce. My sister and her boyfriend also ordered one between them, whilst sipping on a hot Rekorderlig and the standard cold icy version ($8 each).

Nobu's pop up restaurant!

Nobu’s pop up restaurant!

Pork Belly with Spicy Miso Caramel ($12)

Pork Belly with Spicy Miso Caramel ($12)

We wandered up to the end of Langley Park to purchase the Pork Belly with Spicy Miso Caramel ($12) from Nobu. Hands down, it was my favourite of the day. Nothing is better than melt-in-your-mouth pork belly with a snappy cracking, and this one was in fine form. I adore the combination of sticky, sweet caramel with meat, so this dish was a great starter for me. The four portions of pork were covered by a line of red onion and possibly something like pickled ginger. I almost licked the plate.

Yellow Tail Sashimi with Jalapeño ($12)

Yellow Tail Sashimi with Jalapeño ($12)

My friend always raves about raw fish, so she chose the Yellow Tail Sashimi with Jalapeño ($12), also from Nobu. The fish was fresh and thinly sliced, curled up around a sprig of parsley. The jalapeño on top added some colour to the dish and a wave of heat (not too much though, luckily for me). It was the sauce that struck me though, which was soya sauce with a burst of citrus acidity, perhaps from lime, lemon or yuzu. It elevated the natural elements of the yellow tail fish. Delicious! It was so good that my friend went back for seconds!

Jean Pierre Sancho's pop up store!

Jean Pierre Sancho’s pop up store!

Salted Caramel Macaroon

Salted Caramel Macaron ($3)

My friend also grabbed a salted caramel macaron ($3) from Jean Pierre Sancho, which she munched on as we hightailed to our Sensology Art of Cocktail Making session. We also got a few macarons for the back home trip at the end of the night, after all the other stalls had closed. Luckily for us, we had a total of $6 left on our cards at the end of the night, which equated to exactly two macarons. Not only did we get two popcorn macarons, but we also got a bonus coffee flavoured macaron for the drive back. Thanks JPS!

Sensology Cocktail Making Class

Sensology Art of Cocktail Making Class

We had paid 10 Crowns for our Art of Cocktail Making Class, which included a simple step-by-step guide to making and serving iconic cocktails. The purchase also included the drink at the end of it. The vibe of the class was perfect for a Saturday night – fun, loud and funky. People around us were dancing. Our guide for the session was at the front in a loud Hawaiian shirt, also busting out some moves to the music. Everyone was jubilant.

Set up for Cocktail Making Classes!

Set up for Cocktail Making Classes!

We got a station each, the four of us placed at one table. We were given black aprons and got a chance to suss out the utensils and ingredients in front of us. A poor, unwilling newbie at cocktail making (a.k.a human sacrifice) was brought to the front of the tables to demonstrate “how easy it was to make an espresso martini”.

Time to pour!

Time to pour!

We filled up our shot glasses with vodka, chocolate liqueurs and coffee syrup. When I measured mine up to everyone else’s, it seemed marginally less, so I was a tad worried…. until the man at the front sternly told everyone NOT to add extra alcohol (my sister, beside me, looked away guiltily). We crammed it with ice, stuck it in the cocktail shaker and shook the sillies out of it. A guy whirled by to grab it off my friend, giving it a vigorous, almost manic shake. We poured it into our glasses, froth on top (mine actually looked a bit naked because apparently I didn’t do a good job of shaking it) and decorated it with three coffee beans, in a triangular shape. It tasted amazing – sweet with a mellow taste of espresso. Easy peasy!

Espresso Martini - the finished product!

Espresso Martini – the finished product!

The cocktail making class was over very fast (it had been about a 15 minute session), but it had been an absolute blast. Considering you pay about $12 – $18 for a cocktail on average in Perth, to get a crash course on how to make one and to walk away with one in hand, was real value for money. Plus, I now had something to sip on as I waited in the long queues for our food, which was rapidly growing.

Co-Op Dining's Pop up shop!

Co-Op Dining’s Pop up shop!

Cheddar Perogies ($8)

Cheddar Perogies ($8)

The Cheddar Perogies ($8) from Co-Op Dining were great, two dumplings with a creamy, cheesy filling. It was slightly crusty on the outside, but had a hot, oozy centre. I couldn’t really taste the caramalised onion that apparently had come with it, but a gentle sweetness came from the tomato puree-like blobs on either side. They were great to taste, whilst we waited in the mammoth line for Bib and Tucker. Though there was that massive roasted pig that distracted us for a while…

Bib and Tuckers  Pop up store

Bib and Tuckers Pop up store

Ocean Trout Tartare ($10)

Ocean Trout Tartare ($10)

Ocean Trout Tartare ($10) from Bib and Tucker was sure to satisfy my friend, who as mentioned, is obsessed with raw fish. The ocean trout had a slightly tart base or marinade, eventuated by the harissa aioli that mingled with the fish. The fried capers were a nice touch, adding a bit of crunch to the dish, and a contrast to the fresh cubes of trout. The sour dough wafer was sadly a little more on the stale side and we had to ditch it, because it had become rock hard. This was the dish that got the most attention as we walked through the crowds and lined up: “What is that?” a lot of people enquired and we were happy to direct them back to Bib and Tucker, which had a lovely set up.

Giant roasted pig!

Giant roasted pig!

We also got a glimpse of the man himself, Eamon Sullivan. My friend went into a frantic panic attack, watching as Eamon Sullivan helped behind the scenes with the serving of the food. Olympic swimmer, Masterchef winner, owner of two of the best food establishments in Perth, constant food and dog lover as witnessed on social media. The man is a legend!

Lamb Belly ($10)

Lamb Belly ($10)

My Lamb Belly ($10) from No 4 Blake Street was mouthwateringly good. My friend commented that whilst it wasn’t the most visually impressive dish, it was still fabulous in flavour. The Lamb Belly had the tender, pink, fall-apart-instantly quality meat of any slow cooked fare. The fava bean tofu was a throwback to my traditional Chinese Hakka background cuisine, a personal favourite of mine – a spongy piece of deep fried tofu sat next to the lamb. A mound of earthy, charred eggplant puree sat on top of the pork, and along side it were dots of fruity pomegranate glaze, which actually tasted a bit like mango puree…

Virgin Mobiles Seat and Beats

Virgin Mobile’s Seat and Beats

During this time, my sister and her boyfriend took the liberty of seating in the comfy deck chairs in the Virgin Mobile Beats and Seats. It was a psychedelic lit stage with local talent, including Morgan Bain, who ran a few magical acoustic numbers. Everyone was having a great time!

Lurpak Cookery School

Lurpak Cookery School

Salmon ready to go!

Salmon ready to go!

Our next event was the Lurpak Cookery School, which we paid 8 Crowns a head to enter. It was another event that was worth the Crowns, because not only did we get to cook two dishes, but we got to talk to the wonderful Julia Taylor from the fourth series of Masterchef Australia. Each of us were given a work station each. Mine had the ingredients for the ravioli with salmon in nut-brown butter. A lot of the ingredients had been prepped beforehand, which made me sigh in relief  – could you imagine me pin boning a piece of salmon with fast accuracy? Disaster.

Prep ingredients for the Salmon Ravioli with nut butter sauce

Prep ingredients for the ravioli with salmon and nut-brown butter

Pans ready and raring to go!

Pans ready and raring to go!

Meanwhile, my friend next to me was on the other side of the bench, in front of the ingredients for the salted caramel sauce. Both used Lurpak Butter, which was fantastic. The sugar and water was on the stove heating up and the water for my pasta was simmering away. The only thing I really had to do was cut the butter and dill up. Julia had warned us to remove the knife from its sheath before cutting. I laughed at this joke before realizing, as I cleaved through my butter, that I had done the one thing she told us not to do. Doh.

In the pan...

In the pan…

The finished product!

The finished product!

Julia ran two different commentaries simultaneously, one for the pasta dish, the other for the salted caramel sauce. My pasta came off the boil, I pan seared my salmon, and then added it all back into the pan to caramalise the sauce. I think I may have overcooked my salmon (whoops) and not browned my butter sauce enough. A chef I am not.

Salted Caramel Sauce bubbling away

Salted Caramel Sauce bubbling away

On the other side, my friend was having fun with her caramel sauce. The poor guy behind us had “man handled” his salted caramel sauce, by adding the butter too early, but luckily my friend didn’t encounter the same dilemma. She threw up her hand in order for Julia to check if the caramel was turning its proper golden brown, before adding the butter.

Careful assembly of salted caramel tarts

Careful assembly of salted caramel tarts

The finished salted caramel tarts!

The finished salted caramel tarts!

At the end of the session, we had two salted caramel tarts each, a copious amount of salted caramel sauce left over and a ravioli dish with burnt butter sauce and salmon. We also got a bonus take home recipe brochure. Julia encouraged us at the end of the 30 minute session to mingle, talk to her and eat. We did all three, also managing to capture a shot with her.  The whole experience had been lots of fun, really funny (we kept on laughing at our incompetence) and very hands-on. High five for our cooking accomplishments!

Bistro Guilliame pop up restaurant!

Bistro Guillaume pop up restaurant!

Ameilia

Amelia Park Lamb Cutlets Ratatouille ($12)

At Bistro Guillaume, I ordered the Amelia Park Lamb Cutlets Ratatouille ($12) which had earned some high praise from my sister’s boyfriend. The grilled lamb cutlets were cooked immaculately, tearing away from the bone quickly, with its trademark smokiness. The two cutlets had been covered in the ratatouille, a rich stew of tomato, peppers and onion. Warm, great for the cold, and easy to pick up whilst we marched about!

What to choose from?

What to choose from?

Salted Caramel Macaroon ($8)

Salted Caramel Macaron ($8)

The Salted Caramel Macaron ($8), also from Bistro Guillaume, was massive. Dubbed the “dessert sandwich,” it took up the whole plate and was sugar overload. It had a wonderful chewy exterior and the salted caramel ganache inside had a good hit of salt. It was still a bit  too much sugar for me, but my sister relished it. She sure loves her macarons.

A boundless number of salted caramel macaroons!

A boundless number of salted caramel macarons!

Mango Pudding

Mango Pudding ($8)

The Mango Pudding ($8) from Nobu, was possibly my favourite dessert of the night. The dessert was a scoop of velvety, fruity mango flavoured crème brulee, blanketed in fresh mango cubes. It was inundated with sago and coconut milk. The coconut milk was rather viscous and worked well with the mango. The buttery lime crumble was delicious, a twist on your traditional “mango pudding” affair. As I waited in line, I snapped a lot of shots of people, food and my surroundings. Alternatively, there would be times I would have food on hand to eat whilst I waited and luckily this was my saviour as we waited. The wait would be up to 10 minutes for some places.

Brookfield Place Table Talks

Brookfield Place Table Talks

We had to arrive 10 minutes early for our pre-booked session of the Brookfield Place Table Talks, which was free entry. We were attending a culinary discussion revolving around Champagne, aka a Champagne Masterclass by the head sommelier of The Heritage. It was exceptionally educational and we got to sample some of the top range champagnes from Piper-Heidsieck.

A sample of our first champagne

A sample of our first champagne

The head sommelier explained the characteristics of identifying different wines – the consistency of the bubble, the colour, the aroma and the notes. We were given an in-depth account of each wine’s origin, and were encouraged to help point out the different notes or flavours we tasted (someone hilariously said “grapes” at the back of the bench, when asked what she could taste).

Champagne Masterclass

Champagne Masterclass

We got to try four different wines of different grades – the Piper Heidsieck NV, the Rosé Sauvage NV, Vintage 2006 and the Charles Heidsieck Reserve. The length of each wine increased as we went down the line, indicating its quality. My friend favoured the rosé, for its pink pearly touch and its black cherry tones.

A rose!

A rosé!

My favourite was the last one, a non-vintage champagne. The sommelier told us that it had been made from a combination of wines, with an average age of about 6 years. It was my favourite because it was sparkling with many bubbles, leaving a fizzy aftertaste. He also gave us an interesting tip on what food to match with champagne – surprisingly, it was popcorn! I must try that out one day! The whole session was very educational, plus I got hydrated after a long, solid period of eating food.

Paul West

Blanco Taste Kitchen with Paul West

The Blanco Taste Kitchen with Paul West from River Cottage Australia was a definite highlight of the night. My sister and her boyfriend managed to secure us a row of seats, third from the front and luckily, being on a centre aisle seat, I got clear view of the cooking demonstration. Paul, an upholder of fresh, local produce cooked up a chicken salad. This chicken had been poached in milk and herbs, laid across a bed of cos lettuce and radish.

Discussing a tale of run away roosters....

Discussing a tale of run away roosters….

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Poached Chicken Salad!

The best part of the cooking demo was Paul West himself. He kept a running commentary as he exhibited his culinary skills, which was equally witty, genuinely hilarious and insightful. The whole session was interactive, with questions fired at him from the audience (there were some serious fans out there) and he was also delightfully self-deprecating. The occasional interruption by the announcer, who had to redirect him to what he was actually cooking, also had us in stitches. It was so worth it for free entry. Behind me, a man had commented that “chefs were now like rock stars” – this would be the truth for Paul West, as he knew not only how to cook, but also how to entertain.

Whiskey & Cigars ($10)

Whiskey & Cigars ($8)

At the start of the Blanco Taste Kitchen, my sister’s boyfriend went around to use up the last of our Crowns. He managed to buy a few bottles of Rekorderlig, but also got me a Whiskey and Cigar dessert ($8) from Print Hall. This rivalled the mango pudding in its sugary glory, because not only did it look a treat, but it tasted sublime. Lorchan Ora, a blend of Scotch and heath honey, was layered as a golden, slightly gelatinous component on a beautiful, velvety vanilla panacotta. The cocoa nib and bittersweet chocolate cream formulated the cigar component, showcasing a crisp, papery wafer before the chocolate spilt out. It all worked together perfectly, though I felt bad about eating it during the start of the Blanco Taste Kitchen – biting into that cigar executed an embarrassingly loud “crunch!”

Taste of Perth Crown Card & a badge of honour from Rekorderling!

Taste of Perth Crown Card & a badge of honour from Rekorderlig!

Before long, the end had arrived, with many of the stores closing up shop, ready to rumble for the next day. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Taste of Perth. It was exceptionally well organised from start to finish – at the start, people in line were handed passport sized menu cards that were easy and portable. Getting inside the event itself wasn’t a hassle, with smiles from numerous staff stationed at different points. There were plenty of chairs and tables to sit and eat, and picnic blankets were handed out when they started to fill up. Littering was counteracted by the sheer amount of bins. Crown Checkpoints and Banks were located at stations every couple of metres, in case you needed to refuel or check your balance. The use of the cards were also smart – bright pink so you wouldn’t lose them and non-cumbersome. Genius.

Party time at the Rekorderling Tent!

Party time at the Rekorderlig Tent!

Every foreseeable problem was addressed, and it could be boiled down to the great organisation of the Eat Drink Perth team. The atmosphere was fantastic and there was a non-stop flow of entertainment – music, dancing, cooking classes AND a ping pong table (cool or what?). The Rekorderlig Tent turned into a Party House of 90’s musical hits towards the end of the night, its neon lights a glowing beacon in the middle of the event.

Takeaway Creme Brulee fudge from Fudge-a-licious

Takeaway Creme Brulee fudge from Fudge-a-licious

Compared to the Good Food and Wine Show, I felt as though I did a lot less walking, perhaps due to the fact that there were less stalls and everything was contained in a very accessible area – feel like munching on an El Publico taco while waiting for octopus at Bib and Tucker? No problem, they were right next door! Great example of a well thought layout.

One final shot of Co-Op's pop up shop!

One final shot of Co-Op’s pop up shop!

The food was were rather expensive for the portion sizes (and the quantity of key ingredients per plate varied across the range) but the food was refined and of a high quality, showcasing talent and technique from some of Perth’s best chefs and establishments. It was certainly more of a  “degustation” style as a result, but I heard very little complaints from my party at the end of the night. Overall, I had spent $50 on my Silver Crown ticket, plus loaded an extra $50 onto my card for a total expenditure of $100. This allowed me to attend all the events, plus I got several rounds of food across the savoury and sweet spectrum.

Goodnight Taste of Perth!

Goodnight Taste of Perth!

We were all very impressed at the speed the food was provided at, upon placing our order. The food came out super quick – it was either on the table ready and raring to go, or it was divvied up in a matter of 60 seconds. It showed professional kitchens, working efficiently in a foreign environment.

I can’t wait to return back to Taste of Perth next year. Next time around, I think I might purchase a Gold Crown and take more time to talk to the head chefs – they have wisdom that will surely expand the skills of any foodie! To 2015!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Website: http://www.tasteofperth.com.au/

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Co-Op Dining on Urbanspoon

Bib & Tucker on Urbanspoon

Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Nobu Perth on Urbanspoon

Print Hall Bar and Dining Room on Urbanspoon

No4 Blake Street on Urbanspoon

Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House on Urbanspoon

Bites:

In honour of all the great blog posts I read on the Taste of Perth, my Bites section will instead be dedicated to tips and tricks for next year:

  • Get there early Saturday night’s event opened about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled and we didn’t have to compete in lines to get food because it was rather quiet. It also gives you more time to browse all the stalls, many which offer free tastings!
  • Plan out what you want to do and where you want to eat beforehand – it saves a lot of time and energy spent walking around aimlessly. Also, figure out the times of each session you want to go to – I highly recommend going to Lurpak Cookery School and the Sensology Cocktail Making Class. Though you have to pay, it is well worth the price for the experience and you get food to eat/a cocktail at the end of the session!
  • Book the places you want early by putting your name down on a wait list (a.k.a as soon as you get in) – a lot of the places have limited seating capacity. For places like Blanco Taste Kitchen, which doesn’t have a wait list, go in at least 15-20 minutes early to secure good seats.
  • While waiting in line, get some food to eat or have a drink in hand. Also it is a good idea to split up and line up in a separate stall each to increase efficiency.
  • Have a rough idea of a budget – Crowns are non-refundable, so make sure you aren’t overspending! Crowns can only be added on the card in $10 denominations. It also gives you a good idea of what you want to eat and buy. Buying Crowns beforehand is also ideal.
  • Keep record of how many Crowns you have. If you are like me and are bad at mental maths and have a gold fish memory, the banks are good for this, and I thought I saw someone with a sticky note on their card, with their current balance written on.
  • Park at Wilson using their Book a Bay service. They usually have weekend or weeknight specials making it relatively cheap, close by and you won’t spend 100 years trying to find parking.  I paid $8.50 for 5 hours.
  • Have a hands free bag (ladies), a good pair of walking shoes/boots or lots of pockets. Otherwise you’ll end up juggling food, cards, paper and drinks all at once (this happened to us and we had heaps of pockets/hands free bags!).
  • Enjoy yourself! :)

- L.

Harvest Espresso Hits a Home Run (Harvest Espresso Revisit)

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

Accumulating food envy is attributed to two of the seven sins – gluttony and jealousy. Shameful to say, recent times have resulted in food envy reaching uncontrollable heights. In particular, this would happen every time I went on Instagram. My favourite brunch place, Harvest Espresso, was gracing everyone’s Instagram feed, leaving me wanting to try this fabled “Mango Coconut Bread” that was stacking up the likes. Since my sister had visited it over a year ago, Harvest’s popularity had skyrocketed – more people were posting delicious pictures of Harvest Espresso’s Autumn menu on various social media sites, all at a consistent pace. I was so jealous that I couldn’t see straight, so for my sister’s birthday, I decided to take her there for a special brunch.

Hello to Harvest Espresso!

Hello to Harvest Espresso!

My sister, her best friend, my brother and I got there at about 10:30am on the school holidays. We secured parking right at the front of Harvest Espresso and within seconds, I realised we would not be able to find an immediate space for our party of four. The place was packed to the brim. I had never seen it so full in my life, people moving inside like fish in a glass bowl. There were even more people outside, who had been moved onto the outdoor table seating. No doubt Harvest Espresso was getting the attention it has always deserved!

Drinks menu...

Drinks menu…

Light on a dark day!

Light on a dark day!

My sister’s best friend went inside to put our names down on a waiting list, and within a 10 minute interval, we were given a spot right next to the coffee machine, before happily swapping brunch stories. Harvest has to be up there on the list for beautiful, filling food at decent prices – we were all discussing how places like Harvest Espresso are a great rarity here in Perth. Often you find yourself paying an arm and a leg for any form of food.

Harvest Prawn Roll ($)

Harvest Prawn Roll ($16.50)

Our waitress came up with menus and informed us that the pork belly was sold out. I had a internal cry to myself, as I had been planning to get that dish, but instead I went for the next best option, the Harvest Prawn Roll ($16.50). I was relatively hungry at this point and the Prawn Roll did nothing but impress. It was piled high with juicy, springy prawns, coated in a creamy mayonnaise and cradled in a leaf of cos lettuce. If I had gone to a typical bakery, prawn rolls probably would have been a smear of smashed shrimp between a heap of lettuce and a ridiculous stack of tomato – not so here at Harvest. The prawns were the star of the dish.

At the table!

At the table!

The pickled onion on top of the prawns added a vinegary kick to the dish, clearing the palate before the next mouthful of prawns and mayo. The chopped celery was used sparingly, scattered throughout the prawns – this was well suited to my liking, as celery is not my favourite vegetable. The tomato had been cubed and mixed throughout. Everything had been packed into a gorgeous crusty, almost brioche-like roll. I love bread, and indulge in it as a simple life pleasure – nothing is better than a good piece of baked goodness. Beside it was a pot of crisps, dusted in something like paprika. Harvest didn’t let me down – the whole dish was fantastic. It made me forget about the pork belly in its entirety.

Bubble & squeak

Bubble & squeak ($19.50)

My sister and her best friend ordered the Bubble and Squeak ($19.50), which was an artsy masterpiece in itself. The bubble and squeak was an encrusted round of cornflakes, which contained a fusion of potato and cabbage.  The vegetable farce was a medley of vegetables including zucchini, bell peppers, tomato and potato, tossed up in what looked like finely chopped basil. I loved the integration of the sweet potato crisp on top, a net of orange floss, perhaps provided to give an extra crunch to the dish, as well as some height. I also adored the spiced pumpkin puree which was nutty, silky and a perfect accompaniment to the bubble and squeak. Two poached eggs sat on top, gleaming in white before the knives attacked them, spilling golden yolk on the plate. Perfection.

Full Harvest ($20)

Full Harvest ($21.50)

My brother had the Full Harvest ($21.50) which came with sour dough toast, scrambled eggs, free range bacon, grilled tomato, pure pork sausage, grilled tomatoes and wilted spinach. The abundance of food on this plate was astonishing. No scant amounts of bread here at Harvest – two huge pieces of sour dough was enough to satisfy my brother, who pretty much inhaled the food. He left aside the mushrooms and the wilted spinach which I got to finish off. The mushrooms were well salted and sautéed till brown, retaining its natural juices. The spinach was nice and fresh, the scrambled eggs pillowy and velvety in texture. My brother was very content.

Mango and Coconut Bread ($19.50)

Mango and Coconut Bread ($19.50)

We weren’t leaving Harvest without trying the Mango and Coconut Bread ($19.50). We stared at it for a good couple of minutes as it sat on the table, admiring the beauty, the design, the resplendence of the dish. It looked almost too good to eat. It got to the point where we had to eat it, so I tentatively used my spoon to scrap away some of the ginger cream, which resembled lemon curd. It was was only mildly spicy from the ginger, smooth and glossy, speckled with crushed pistachios and blueberries, which all had been dusted in powdery icing sugar.

Overhead shot of the Mango and Coconut bread!

Overhead shot of the Mango and Coconut bread!

The strawberries that sat on top had been carved into and gently fanned out. Two things stood out for me – the brioche and the fruit coulis. The brioche was bright in marigold, vibrant and sweet. It was delightfully spongy and better yet had a glorious crunch to it, perhaps due to the coconut smattered on the very edges of the baked brioche. I’m not a big fan of coconut, yet this one had been used sparingly to add a crusty texture to the bread – a delicate touch and smart baking. The coulis was submerged at the bottom, crammed with mixed berries and a fine balance between acidic tartness and sugar. It worked well to counteract the saccharine qualities of the seasonal fruit and the brioche. There was a wonderful balance of every component and the attention to detail was applaudable. Delicious, delicious, delicious.

Red Espresso Iced Tea (?!?!???!?!)

Red Espresso Iced Tea ($6.50)

The Harvest Espresso drinks menu is quite extensive. I eventually settled on the Red Espresso Peach Iced Tea ($6.50). I actually don’t know what possessed me to try it, though I was feeling quite experimental that day. It was a peculiar combination. A fruity kick from the peach, mingled with the subtle earthy flavours of the tea, with a further punch from the Red Espresso, the faux caffeine element. It took a little while to get use to, but I did enjoy how refreshing it was.

Hot chocolate ($4.50)

Hot chocolate ($4.50)

My brother drowned his hot chocolate ($4.50) in a matter of seconds. I’ve said it time and time again that proper hot chocolates should be made from couverture chocolate, which Harvest has always upheld. My brother’s hot chocolate was warm, frothy and came in a tall mug. Very impressive. The pace at which he consumed the hot chocolate was a testament to how good it tasted.

Iced Chai Tea

Iced Chai Tea ($5)

My sister’s best friend ordered the Iced Chai ($5) which was beautifully aromatic and sprinkled with cinnamon. It was one of the best iced chai’s I’ve ever had – lightly spiced with nutty undertones. She added some espresso into it to make it a dirty chai, which further enhanced its flavour.

Chai Tea Latte

Chai Tea Latte ($4.50)

Staining with espresso - the dirty chai!

Staining with espresso – the dirty chai!

My sister ordered the Chai Tea Latte ($4.50). Being slightly lactose intolerant, she decided to go for the soy milk version, which Harvest Espresso was easily able to cater for. Best of all, she added a dash of espresso to “dirty” up her Chai Latte (the espresso borrowed from her best friend). The shot of coffee was perfectly extracted too!

a

Almond croissant anyone?

Top tier of muffins!

Top tier of muffins!

I was so impressed by everything that I totally forgot to use the Entertainment Book voucher, which I had brought along. The service, as per usual was fantastic – there were extra personnel to cater for the growing crowds at Harvest, but everyone was friendly to the tee. The girls were so pleasant and worked well as a team – the food and drinks came out at a quick pace and we were checked up on by the owner, as she came over to clear our plates. Did we enjoy the dishes? Yes, we were in absolute heaven here at Harvest Espresso!

One last shot of the baked treats!

One last shot of the baked treats!

Thank you Harvest!

Thank you Harvest!

The food is something else – for a place that had an average price tag of about ~$19 a dish, it is well worth every single penny. Great effort is placed into the presentation and creativity flows through every section of their seasonal menu. I’ve fallen in love with Harvest – a high recommendation for anyone visiting Perth. You will not be let down.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Address: 629 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park 6100

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Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week (7am to 4pm).
  • KeepCup Brews also are stocked at Harvest Espresso, providing glass take away cups with cork heat protectors! They also do beautiful biodegradable cups, featuring stunning artwork.
  • Reservations not available, walk ins only!

- L.

Falling in Love with Sidney Loves Audrey

Sidney Loves Audrey, West Perth

I have always loved Audrey Hepburn and her iconic 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It is one of my all-time favourite movies from the old Hollywood era, and Audrey Hepburn to me is a timeless beauty, the epitome of elegance and natural talent. So when I found out there was a little cake and coffee place named after the Academy Award winning actress, I had to try it out. Technically, Sidney Loves Audrey is named after the owner’s two dogs (who in turn, are named after Sidney Poitier and Miss Hepburn herself), but whatever the origin, the name is super cute and quirky.

Sewing time!

Sewing time!

Gracing the window sill....

Gracing the window sill….

The besties and I decided to go there for a late afternoon tea session on a Thursday. Stepping into Sidney Loves Audrey was like entering a vintage art and craft store. We were instantly captivated by the mass number of merchandise, ranging from trinkets and gifts to homeware. This blog post is particularly dominated by photos – I couldn’t wait to capture all the creative little displays here and there.

Craft table!

Craft table!

Books for the kiddies

Books for the kiddies!

Better yet, Sidney Loves Audrey was very child friendly, with storybooks, toys and play areas set aside for the young ones. For the school aged children, there were art and craft materials placed here and there to entertain them and to encourage their crafty imaginations. I was falling in love with the whole store already!

People milling around inside....

People milling around inside….

Chocolate brownie

Triple chocolate brownie ($5)

The four of us ordered a few of the tantalising home baked treats at the counter, including the triple chocolate brownie ($5). The triple chocolate brownie was ridiculously rich and muddy, the trademark of any great baked treat. The top was crisp, the corners sightly crunchy. It wasn’t a mangy little slice as well – this chocolate brownie came out as a thick slab. Embedded at the bottom of the brownie were white and dark chocolate chips that broke up the cake-y texture of the slice. A fresh dollop of cream came alongside it.

banana and choc chip bread ($6) - smearing with cream

Banana and choc-chip bread ($6)

The banana and choc-chip bread ($6) also came with a dollop of cream, that was sadly smeared unevenly on the bread by the bestie and her sister, before I managed to take a decent photo. After a dramatic wail of despair, I dug into the slice. The whole loaf looked beautiful in the glass confines of the cake stand – gleaming white icing dotted with chocolate chips. The banana bread itself was packed with banana, moist and crumbly. It was a great banana bread that was devoured quickly.

Blueberry and lemon muffin with lemon curd ($4.50)

Blueberry and lemon muffin with lemon curd ($4.50)

The blueberry and lemon muffin with lemon curd ($4.50) was another winner. Like the banana bread before it, it was soft, friable and littered with juicy globules of blueberry. The lemon curd off to the side was of the home-made variety, treading between tart and sweet, a hallmark of the very best lemon curds. Eating the two together worked a treat.

Hot chocolates ($4 each)

Hot chocolates ($4 each)

Latte ($3.50)

Latte ($3.50)

We needed a few drinks to wash down the brownie, the bread and the muffin, so the bestie and I had a hot chocolate each ($4). My friend also had a latte ($3.50). Both were nice and hot with a velvety, even froth. They both also came in mammoth sized china mugs, which was real value for money.

Food cabinet!

Food cabinet!

Sidney Loves Audrey had a warm, homely environment, which was also simultaneously filled with cheer and enchantment. The layout was fun and kooky, packed with so much merchandise that you couldn’t possibly get bored browsing. It really was a special little gem to behold, especially on a bustling, jam-packed road like Fitzgerald Street. Better yet, it is a family owned business!

More merchandise!

More merchandise!

Join them on Facebook!

Join Sidney Loves Audrey on Facebook!

Sidney Loves Audrey also happened to have one of the most memorable farewells we have received in the history of our cafe experiences. An adorable baby with the bluest eyes and the widest beam ever seen, waved at us continuously, up to the point of us leaving the shop. It actually took us a good 5 minutes to leave; we were too busy cooing at him. So sweet!

High tea options also available

High tea options also available!

Even more gifts!

Even more gifts!

Service was fantastic. The ladies at the counter were so friendly, and happy to offer recommendations for drinks and food. We had also arrived at 3pm (rather late) and even though the store closed at 4pm, they weren’t in a hurry to usher us out or wave away last minute customers, who came darting in. The list of drinks was rather expansive and there seemed to be a good range of different afternoon tea treats to try. I would highly encourage everyone to try out Sidney Loves Audrey – it’s now my go to place for afternoon tea!

A few more lunch boxes...

A few more lunch boxes…

Enticing sign outside...

Enticing sign outside…

Rating: 8 out of 10.
★★★★★★★★☆☆

 

Address: 307 Fitzgerald Street, West Perth WA 6005
Website: http://www.sidneylovesaudrey.com.au/

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Sidney Loves Audrey on Urbanspoon

 Bites:

  • Open from Tuesday to Friday (from 8:30am to 4pm) and Saturday (10am to 4pm).
  • Coffee is made from Rubra organic coffee beans. Sidney Loves Audrey also stocks Parker’s Organic juices, sodas and iced teas.
  • Savoury tarts are also baked in house for those who feel like a bit of lunch!
  • No reservations available, but there are plenty of seating options inside and out.

- L.

The Boss is Back (Bossman Revisit)

Bossman, Mt Lawley
(Since we last visited, Bossman no longer opens late, now closing at 4pm, which is a huge blow to the Perth food and coffee scene).

Bossman will always be known as A and I’s saviour as we struggled to find a late night coffee shop on a Friday. Since our first time there, I’ve been back an additional three times and consequently have fallen more and more in love with it. Bossman ticks all the boxes – chilled, friendly staff, great coffee, a broad tea selection, a cosy by-the-fireplace-like ambience and it also houses some delicious teatime delicacies.

Cakes on display!

Cake on display!

My cousins and I all decided to catch up after a big family feast (who doesn’t love it when all the family gets together and totally pigs out?). To wash down the abundance of noodles, curry and rice, we decided to head down the Beaufort Street way, which luckily was only about a 5 minute drive from my cousin’s house.

The

The baklava!

Despite Bossman’s growing popularity (it has become increasingly more crowded with each subsequent visit), we managed to wrangle a table off a poor man on his laptop, though he was kind enough to move without request from our party of five. He headed off to the bench right next to the kitchen area, while we perched on little stools at the end of a long wooden table.

Hot chocolate ($4)

Hot chocolate ($4.50)

Hot chocolates ($4.50 each) were ordered, with a spot of latte art. My sister does like to indulge in the odd coffee (she is more of a chai drinker) and I’m a big hot chocolate person, so it’s a rare treat when we do see latte art in Perth. Turns out Bossman were able to knock out a few killer hearts. Having worked as a barista during my Uni days, I understand how difficult it is to be creative when you are churning out multiple orders. However, the barista at Bossman seemed to have no trouble creating a peacock like embellishment on my hot chocolate. Technically, it had sublime froth and had been steamed to the right temperature. I was very content.

Seville Orange Cake ($5.50)

Seville Orange Cake ($5.50)

I had the Seville Orange Cake ($5.50), an orange almond cake dotted with almonds. The orange cake was dense and syrupy, laced with citrus. It had a baked, chewy exterior and went down well with a pot of hot lemongrass and ginger tea. It also happened to be mammoth in size – good thing I shared it, otherwise I would have gone into a food coma.

Jam Drop and Almond Cresent

Jam drop ($3.50) and almond crescent ($3.50)

We also got a selection of biscuits including the almond crescent ($3.50), which was crumbly and almost chalky in texture. It came dusted in icing sugar and had chunks of crushed almond melded within it. The jam drop ($3.50) had a layer of sticky strawberry jam, sandwiched between two buttery rounds of biscuit. Both were a treat!

Service is fantastic at Bossman as always. The staff there are fast, but have a very zen-like aura. They make you instantly feel at ease and they all encompass a quirky sense of humour, witnessed during interactions between themselves and their customers. It’s also a nice place to have an intimate chat or even to keep to yourself – the staff are never intrusive, though make sure you are well taken care of, whether that be drink or food wise.

Welcome to Bossman! Open almost all the time :)

Welcome to Bossman! (However now closes at 4pm)

Bossman is a winner of a café. It almost feels a bit like a library at times – there is a hushed reverence about it when it is quiet, and when there is conversation buzzing about, it’s intelligent remarks from the literary and artsy people of the Mount Lawley precinct. The dark furnishings and the sparse furniture also adds to the ‘library’ illusion. The cutlery is also unique, classically European – moon shaped spoons with thin handles, forks that look like they have been fashioned from iron lace, and knives like spades. It adds to the cultured feel Bossman exudes. A place to take your friends!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Address: Shop 3, 669 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley 6050
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Bossman Coffee on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open from Monday to Saturday for drinks and baked treats (from 7am to 4pm, no longer open late).
  • No EFTPOS facilities available so make sure you bring cash (ATMs are nearby on Beaufort Street).
  • No reservations available, walk in’s only!

- L.

Food for the Public

Public House, East Perth

The best thing about summer and autumn is the outdoor cinema season – warm nights means chilling out on the grass with a bottle of Rekorderlig and a tub of ice cream, ready to watch the latest action-packed adventure. This particular Thursday night, I had tickets to the Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema, so my friend and I decided to make a date night out of it and chow down on some dinner beforehand. We decided on some food in East Perth before a session of Monuments Men by the foreshore.

Glowing bright, glowing light

Glowing bright, glowing light!

After a decent walk down Terrace Rd and up Victoria Ave, my friend and I finally reached Public House. I had heard mixed things about this corner restaurant, this bringer of all South American food. As we came around the side, we could already see all the corporate suits crowding the al fresco area, sipping on after-work wine, cocktails and beer. We entered and approached the bar, which was already swarming with people. I looked around, trying to catch the eye of some of the wait staff, who appeared to be busily folding napkins.

Casually grabbing a booth!

Casually grabbing a booth!

My friend and I debated for a few seconds about whether or not we would have to take a seat of our own accord, or if we should wait for the staff to greet us, before we were finally approached someone, who waved a hand in the direction of the booths at the back of the joint. The chaos of Public House was starting to get to me by this stage, which was a tad unnerving. I’m all for lively atmospheres, but when it borders on chaotic, then it can foreshadow scary things to come (i.e. unorganisation).

Peeking into the al fresco area!

Peeking into the al fresco area!

We grabbed a seat on a high, cushy leather booth, sidled up next to each other. There was quite a bit of space, which was good for me, as I unloaded what felt like half my house – I had brought blankets and jumpers along for the impending cool weather later, as well as the usual camera gear. We were given menus and poured over them for about 5 minutes, before we finally received a bottle of tap water and two glasses. It was another substantial wait before we had our order taken, and the staff whizzed off to get the food a cookin’.

Corn Fritters

Coriander and corn cakes with corn salsa ($13)

The menu was divided up into different sections: más pequeño (smaller plates), compartido (shared dishes), acompañamientos (sides) and sobremesa (desserts). The first of our dishes included the coriander and corn cakes with corn salsa ($13). The corn cakes came out as a trio and were lying on a bed of golden corn kernels and finely chopped pieces of red onion and tomato. I loved the freshness of the corn, onion and tomato medley which really cut through the creaminess of the corn cakes.

A strange but inventive addition was the popcorn – I don’t know if it necessarily added anything to the dish apart from an extra crunch and unfortunately the popcorn was a little on the stale side. The corn fritters themselves however, were delicious, though appeared to be more like croquettes than cakes (however both can be considered “fried batter,” so I suppose the distinguishing factor was subtle). They were killer croquettes though – crumbed, crisp and fried on the outside, beautiful and gooey on the inside. It had the right amount of corn and cheese, flavoured brilliantly. I was enamored by them.

Coffee and honey lamb ribs, mint and lime ($17)

Coffee and honey lamb ribs ($17)

Our coffee and honey lamb ribs, mint and lime ($17) were a stack of six, next to a pot of coffee and honey marinade and a grilled half of lime. Thoughtfully, the kitchen had put the marinade off to the side with a wooden kitchen brush for liberal application, dependent on the consumer’s preference. I tasted the individual components before combining them together.

The ribs were succulent and already slicked in a sticky marinade, with the coffee honey sauce dominantly sweet. Coffee beans had been infused in the honey, creating patches of earthy bitterness from the espresso beans. It was a lovely amalgamation of flavours, that worked even better with the meatiness of the lamb ribs. A splash of lime added some zing to the works. The only negative I could pinpoint was the quantity of meat on the ribs – though it fell straight off, as if it had been immaculately braised, there was a sparse amount of meat in proportion to bone and a decent quantity of fat. My friend and I wanted more!

Peruvian potato salad ($9) 

Peruvian potato salad ($9)

Being a potato freak, I ordered a side of Peruvian potato salad ($9) which came with lime & chimichurri. The potatoes were delightfully cooked, half mashed together in big chunks. It was dosed with a light sour cream/mayo-like base, a slight acidity coming from the lime. The herbs and chimichurri added a sharp crunch to the whole dish, cutting through the heaviness of the starchy potatoes. The potatoes themselves were a bit on the salty side, which made it harder to stomach at about the half-way mark. Despite this, it was a decent side and was a good accompaniment to the ribs!

Consulting the menu....

Consulting the menu….

My friend and I were discussing the evolving culture of Perth’s food scene – one of my favourite things about modern dining in our city is the investment of restaurants in tapas, shared plates and usage of local produce. I love the communal feel of sharing food, sampling different dishes and discussing the pros and cons of the shared plates with friends and family. Public House appears to embrace this emerging tradition as eagerly as we were, which was a definite plus.

The spread!

The spread!

The execution of food at Public House was overall at a good standard, though there were some parts of our dishes that weren’t perfect. The food had come out at a cracking pace (almost five minutes after we ordered), but the lack of organisation from entering the building to sitting down outlined either a problematic system or lack of inattentiveness from the staff. There were also a few other people looking around behind us, a touch lost about where to go and what to do. Waiting around to be seated, while there are staff who are folding napkins, wasn’t the best first-hand experience of Public House.

Random Cacti behind us!

Random cacti behind us!

Overall, I would love to try out Public House again, especially to delve further into their extensive menu. I had seen great pictures of their Ecuadorian 70% tart with dulce de leche, and would be very keen to sample it!

Rating: 7 out of 10.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Address: Shop 2, 263 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth 6004
Website: http://www.publichouseperth.com.au/

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Public House Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Mondays to Fridays (8am to late) and for dinner on Saturday (4pm to late).
  • If you fancy some wine, Public House provides white and red wines from Argentina and Chile, as well as some local South American beers (such as Aguila and Quilmes), spirits, liquors, cocktails and shared pitchers.
  • Pre-theatre dining packages are also available, as Public House is a quick walk from Perth Concert Hall (starting at  $35 a head, including a glass of house wine or beer).
  • Bookings can be made via phone (contact number: 6336 9780) or through Dimmi.

- L.

Bellisa Cafe is a Beauty

Bellisa Cafe, Morley

Fancy chandelier at Bellisa

I will enjoy myself, thanks!

Lunch while you are at it?

Lunch while you are at it?

Finding a reliable brunch destination in Morley is one of the most challenging tasks in living history. As a permanent resident of Morley for the majority of my life, I have often ventured out for a 15 minute trek to a decent spot on Beaufort Street. Within a 5 minute radius from my house, there is nothing remotely good to eat in the area. Luckily, one busy Saturday morning, Bellisa was up and running, ready to meet our brunch needs. Bellisa is one of the few independent cafes in the area and best of all, it’s not too far from the Galleria, where I had to pick up some things for work. That morning I was at a particularly low point of physical condition, having just gotten over the flu and a sprained ankle (best immune system ever).

Sweet treat, anyone?

Sweet treat, anyone?

Bellisa is always consistently packed with locals, but the staff there are always buoyant and run a tight ship. No missing dishes or wrong orders at Bellisa. They also deal with the crazy people that frequent the area on a regular basis – not once, but twice, have I seen their staff calmly deal with stranger members of the population, who have made a public scene either inside their dining area or out near the road. The situation is always dealt with aplomb by the crew at Bellisa and at the same time, they are able to happily cater for their relatively more sane customers.

Big Breakfast ($22)

Bellisa Big Breakfast ($22)

My sister’s boyfriend had the Bellisa big breakfast ($22) which had the Italian chipolatas, bacon, roasted mushrooms, potato cake, spicy beans, roasted tomato and scrambled eggs on sour dough toast. The chipolatas were still sizzling, as was the bacon which pleased my sister’s boyfriend as he teared through it. The scrambled eggs were said to be fluffy and creamy, the typical characteristics of eggs done well. I received a snippet of the potato cake, a packed disc of fleshy potato, fried on the outside and speckled with salt and herbs inside. Delicious and substantial.

Harissa Chickpeas ($18)

Harissa Chickpeas ($18)

My sister ordered the Harissa chickpea, avocado, pomegranate and feta ($18) on toasted rye bread with a poached egg. It was the ultimate vegetarian health dish and a beauty on the plate, a kaleidoscope of colour. Harissa chickpeas tumbled from beneath a wonderfully poached egg (we sensed the golden yolk before it oozed out), and the chickpeas crumbled once masticated, leaving behind a mild nutty aftertaste. The avocado was in creamy abundance on the plate, mingling with the pop of a pomegranate seed and spots of feta cheese. My sister thoroughly enjoyed the combination of all the different flavours, praising how clean she felt after eating it too!

Smoked Salmon Omelette ($18)

Smoked Salmon Omelette ($22)

Whilst I was eyeing off the French toast, I finally settled on the smoked salmon, saffron potato and confit grape tomato omelette ($22). My waning appetite over the past few days was now coming back in full force, so when the dish arrived, my first reaction was disappointment – it looked so small compared to the size of the plate. Looks however, were deceiving. Delving into the folded omelette revealed thick cubes of soft fried potato, spiced up by the saffron. The smoked salmon threaded its way through the egg, substantial flakes to warrant an internal cry of relief from my starving tummy. If that wasn’t enough to fill me up, there was a piece of ciabatta bread beneath it, as well as some creme fraiche and rocket to add extra colour and taste.

20140322_112425

Hot Chocolate ($4.50)

Our drinks came out the same time as our food, possibly due to the fact they wanted us to enjoy the whole food and drink experience together. As the food did take a while to come out however, it would have been nice if we had the drinks beforehand, so we could nurse something in our hands while we waited for the food and kept the hunger at bay. We ordered the hot chocolate ($4.50), the iced chocolate ($5.50) and a long black ($4) with skim milk on the side. My hot chocolate was particularly good – nice and hot, with a luscious amount of froth and a good hit of chocolate sauce. I almost considered taking another one for the road, but we decided instead to take home a biscuit. The other cupcakes at the counter also looked delightful, but we were quite full by this stage and ready to head home.

Iced Chocolate ($5.50)

Iced Chocolate ($5.50)

20140322_112448

Long Black with Skim Milk ($4)

As mentioned before, the service at Bellisa is always fantastic, though considering how busy it was, there was a bit of time taken on the food (about 25 minutes). Not a huge worry for me, as I don’t mind waiting for good quality food, which Bellisa always delivers on, plus it was popular that weekend. One of the great things about Bellisa is that it is warm and homely  – dark tables and chairs packed together, the place littered with kitchen homeware and high tea decorations, and newspapers and magazines for your own perusal down the front (near the coffee bar, which gives a good view of the streets outside). They also sell the Weekend West at the front counter, which I was super keen on purchasing because it had the Eat Drink Perth guide in there.

What is even better is the fact that Bellisa is child and pram friendly – the staff will go out of their way to entertain kids with books and toys, whilst also demonstrating super-human abilities while re-positioning the tables and chairs to fit in multiple strollers. Bellisa is always a reliable cafe that will be sure to please the locals.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Address: 60B Walter Rd, Bedford WA 6052
Website: http://www.bellisacafe.com.au

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Bellisa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Bellisa is open from Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast and lunch (breakfast from 7.30am to 11am from Tuesday to Saturday; till 1.00pm on Sundays). Lunch is available from 11.30 am to 3.00pm on Tuesday to Sunday (closed at 4pm) and counter lunch on Sunday from 1.00pm to 3.00pm.
  • High tea also available on Sunday from 1.00pm to 3.00pm.
  • Bellisa also caters in house for up to 60 people seated or 80 people standing for functions (they have a fantastic catering booklet outlining the different dishes and prices that are available in store).
  • Picnic hampers are also on offer!
  • Bookings can be arranged via phone on 9370 1348.

- L.

Ready to Rumble Food Trucks!

Food Truck Rumble 2014, Perth Cultural Centre 

I’m not one to set goals, but this particular weekend I had a few. Number one: organise a beach outing with the Youth Group I was a part of. Number two: do some well-overdue baking (cupcakes, perhaps). Number three: eat myself silly at the Food Truck Rumble. This year’s Food Truck Rumble was set for Sunday 13th April, smack in the middle of the 2014 Eat Drink Perth festivities.

Ready to Rumble!

Ready to Rumble!

Since Eat Drink Perth 2014 had launched, I had sadly been unable to make it to many of the fantastic events on offer, due to previous personal commitments. This particular Sunday though, I had cleared my afternoon schedule for some serious feasting. I had been following the Food Truck Rumble Facebook page like a hawk, and was in high anticipation of the goodies advertised. Also, I planned to do a lot of walking and standing as I ate, which meant that I could promote exercise whilst eating, and burn off those impending kilos!

Don't be deceived, there were actually heaps of people behind me!

Don’t be deceived, it looks quiet, but there were actually heaps of people behind me!

Three other things became apparent that Sunday. Number one: it was seriously crowded. I arrived at Perth Cultural Centre at 3.30 pm and it was already swarming with people – mostly families who had screaming children in tow. Number two: it was sweltering hot. It had tipped 33 degrees at some point while I was there, and I was sweating like a pig as I marched my way through the throngs of people, determined to satisfy my food cravings. Number three: there was going to be a long wait in all the queues for almost all the food trucks, with long lines clogging up the walkways.

Feeling merry at the moment...

Feeling merry at the moment…

The “long-line predicament” was applicable for The Merrywell food truck, which I had decided would be my first target. A had been to The Merrywell at Crown Perth previously and had an enjoyable time there, whilst I had mixed past experiences with it. Despite this, I loved the type of cuisine that The Merrywell promoted – good old American dude food. Parked outside the State Library, the Merrywell food truck appeared to be the quintessential dude food experience for many other people there that day, out of the whole array of food trucks – more than a few strapping guys were standing around it, ordering The Merrywell’s chips and their infamous mac and cheese bites.

I also felt like something similarly hearty, so I ordered the BBQ Pork Quesadillas ($10). I stood there for a good 20 minutes, solemnly waiting as those who had ordered after me got their white take away boxes and melted back into the crowd. My stomach decided at that moment to rumble unhappily at me.

BBQ Pork Quesidillas ($10)

BBQ Pork Quesadillas ($10)

At long last, I had the quesadillas in my hand (the man handing out the orders apologised for the wait) and made my way to a grassed area to settle the hunger pangs. The quesadillas were seriously very good. The quesadillas had a crisp, crunchy pastry-like exterior, cut into four triangular slabs. They were piping hot inside, smeared with a layer of tender pulled pork. The pork was wonderfully flavoured, with its trademark Mexican tanginess. On top was a smatter of red onion and freshly chopped tomato.

I think they went a bit over the top with the red onion that day, which had been so liberally provided, it had started to smart in my mouth. I needed to scrap it away a few times, so that it didn’t overpower the rest of the dish. The dollops of sour cream on top were delicious with the tomato, which I scrapped up using a portion of the quesadilla (no fancy cutlery needed). It hit all the right spots and it made the epic reach up for the quesadillas (those food trucks are really quite high!) all the more worthwhile.

Delish Ice = delicious!

Delish Ice = delicious!

Salted Carmel Ice ($4)

Salted Carmel Ice ($4)

Next, I decided to try one of Delish Ice’s Salted Caramel Ice ($4). I had sampled one previously at the 2014 All Saint’s College Pasar Malam, where I had been a guest of my sister. This one was a little on the sweeter side that the one I had previously, but it was still wonderfully creamy and milky. It had melted rapidly throughout the heat wave, dripping aggressively before it turned into a melted slurry. I had to slurp my way though it, before it disintegrated. Still very worth it.

To the cupcakes!

To the cupcakes!

Waiting for a restock…

Waiting for a restock of cupcakes…

Kustom Cupcakes had sold out of all their cupcakes by the time I arrived, with a small sign promising more to come at 5pm. However, by the time it hit the 4:30pm mark, their food truck was already restocking. A large crowd had gathered for the cupcake eating competition, where the ultimate prize included free cupcakes for a year. A whole year. It sounded like my dreams had come true….

Cupcake Eating Competition! It is on!

Cupcake eating competition! It is on!

Sad to say, I didn’t think I had the potential to swallow (more like inhale) a large quantity of cupcakes that day. Instead, I weaved to the front of the pack as a mere spectator, only to be met head on by a man in an elaborate El Macho costume, hailing brave competitors to rough out the sweet fest. I almost lost it laughing, watching his enthusiasm. He appeared to be doing a welcoming dance, drawing significant parallels to the Hakka. It was all very entertaining.

Red Velvet & Strawberry Icing Cupcake

Strawberry Red Velvet Cupcake ($4)

While these antics were on, I decided to buy a cupcake for my sister. I saw a cute one with pink icing, which the girl with the garland at the counter informed me was a strawberry red velvet cupcake ($4). The icing was fluffy and buttery, sprinkled with rainbow hundred and thousands. There was quite a generous quantity of icing spiralled on top of the cupcake itself, surely intended to send me into diabetic shock. The cupcake itself was rich, spongy and moist. All the marks of a great red velvet cupcake recipe. I also got it in a plastic take away box, which was an added bonus.

Crepes!!

Crepes!!

Other trucks that were there that I had tried on previous occasions included the Butty’s Food Truck (best rib burgers ever!), Jumplings (a highlight from my time at the 2013 Good Food and Wine Show) and Churro Central (which had the longest churros I’ve ever seen in Perth). I unfortunately wasn’t hungry enough to try these favourites, but I still grabbed glimpses of their trucks, surrounded by people.

The food truck craze in Perth has been influenced by its Los Angeles / New York counterpart, predominantly featuring in community events across America. Food trucks cater for quick, hot and convenient food, matched with creative wheels. I love how the industry for food trucks has since expanded in Perth, and I can’t wait to see many of these type of meals spread across different events. Park’d in Curtin University is a prime example of a successful collaboration of multiple food trucks, as was this year’s Food Truck Rumble. Looking forward to this event in 2015!

Website: http://eatdrinkperth.visitperthcity.com/blog/are-you-ready-rumble
Address: Perth Cultural Centre (access from William Street/Beaufort Street)

Rating: 7 out of 10.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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Urbanspoon has an amazing list of Food Trucks in Perth that can be viewed here.

Bites:

  • This year’s Food Truck Rumble was part of the 10th Eat Drink Perth Festival, showcasing food trucks from 11am to 8pm.
  • The full line up included: Churro Central, Comida Do Sul Brazilian Food Truck, Delish Ice, Franklin Foodies, Hey Pesto, The Juicist, Jumplings Tasty Dumplings, Kustom Cupcakes, Lil Tortilla Boi, Little Caesars Pizzette Food Truck, The Merrywell Food Truck, Miam Miam a bite of France, Miss Tartufo, Mojito Cantina and Vince’s Mobile Wood Fire Pizza.
  • The Perth Food Truck Rumble was organised by Ai-Ling Troung from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse. What a fantastic first time job!

- L.

Fez is Cool

Fez, Mount Lawley

The above title is a reference to one of my favourite Sci-Fi shows of all time, Doctor Who (nerd alert). The Eleventh reincarnation of my favourite British alien would consistently proclaim that “fezzes are cool.” In regards to Fez, just off Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley, he couldn’t have been more right. Whilst he was probably talking more about the attributes of his favourite hat rather than the Perth cafe, it certainly is an apt descriptor for the place I had chosen to catch up with one of my longest known friends. My friend and I are primary school mates and had coincidentally gone to university together, both graduating with a bachelor of speech pathology. Since we have finished university, we’ve still maintained our friendship, and as she was a recent newly wed, I was curious to hear about married life from one of the most beautiful people I know!

Inside Fez!

Inside Fez!

Fez had elements of “Africa” within its interior designing – the scrubbed wooden chairs and tables, the splashes of sunset gradients and the handcrafted tiles that decorated the inside, gave Fez an exotic feel. Fez prides itself in providing a variety of foods across different cuisines – continental, Mediterranean, French and Moroccan. The bubbly staff behind the counter also embraced a relaxed, casual vibe, making you instantly feel like you were at home. My friend and I chose to sit inside, close to the al fresco area, so we could get a bit of the sunny breeze. The odd rumble of a large truck down Beaufort Street did its best to drown out our conversation, but nothing deterred us from our morning gossip sessions.

Hot pancakes ($15)

Hot pancakes ($15)

My friend ordered the hot pancakes ($15), three thick, fluffy pancakes which had the lightest touch of a crispy border. They were dotted with strawberries and sprinkled with icing sugar, which really added to its colourful presentation. Alongside it came an impressive number of condiments, including dishes of mixed berry compote, maple syrup and vanilla mascarpone.  She really enjoyed the pancakes and found them very filling – so much so that she couldn’t finish them! I honestly don’t know how my friend can eat pancakes on such a regular basis (she had ordered a similar dish at a previous outing we went out to a few months ago) and still retain a waif-like figure. If I didn’t love her so much, I would have huge amounts of body-image envy.

Berber traditional breakfast ($18)

Berber traditional breakfast ($18)

My Berber traditional breakfast ($18) was a brunch item I had over a year ago at Fez and I had been thoroughly impressed by it. This time around, it didn’t let me down. It came with two slabs of sourdough, lightly grilled with a side of packet butter. The meatballs had been braised in a traditional tomato sauce and had been generously provided; I counted eight steaming meatballs in my pan, all which were chewy and beefy. I wish there had been a little bit more caramelised onion in the dish, as it was drowned out by the rich tomato stew. The fried free range on eggs on top were wonderfully cooked, both with a crunchy edge and a gooey yolk. A fine Moroccan style dish that was well worth the $18 I paid for it.

Lemon, Coconut and Raspbery Cake ($5.50)

Lemon, Coconut and Raspberry Cake ($5.50)

The counter was crammed with house-baked goodies, so I went for the no nut option and chose the lemon, coconut and raspberry cake ($5.50). My friend couldn’t share it with me, as she felt as though she had over indulged herself with the pancakes, so I was left to my own devices and tackled it myself. I was absolutely besotted with this cake. My slice was packed with moist crumbs, interrupted on occasion by a glistening purple gem, in the form of a juicy raspberry. The raspberries were in plentiful abundance throughout the cake, giving it a tart kick. I usually don’t enjoy desiccated coconut because I find it has a rather jarring texture and taste, but in this case, the coconut had melded into the moisture of the cake. The traces of lemon also provided a beautiful acidity to compliment the raspberries. I wished there had been a dollop of fresh cream served alongside the cake, instead of the whipped cream can variety they provided, but as a whole, I really enjoyed my sweet finish at Fez.

The service at Fez was fast and friendly, despite the al fresco area being pretty packed out. I had a lovely (and quick) conversation with the man at the counter, discussing the merits of cake (a fellow sweet treats person is so rare to find in this health conscious world), his friendly nature precipitating to the rest of the cheery staff who served our food. They were keen to hear feedback about their food and delivered everything with a bright smile. Fez is such an underrated place in Perth – it’s service is above average, their food looks beautiful and is incredibly filling, and everything is set at reasonable prices. As a hidden gem, I really hope it stays a secret for a little while longer – just so I can come back and selfishly enjoy my own quiet time at one of Perth’s great cafes.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10
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 Address: 83 Walcott St, Mt Lawley 6050
Website: http://www.fezcafe.net.au/

Fez on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Sunday (7 am to 5 pm). Breakfast is served until 11.45 am, lunch from 11 am to 3 pm, with coffee and cake available all day.
  • Fez serves 5 Senses coffee and uses authentic Belgium chocolate to make their chocolate based drinks!
  • No bookings available, though there should be plenty of space inside and outside for walk in’s!

- L.

Get your coffee fix @ Milk’d

Milk’d, North Perth

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Wall art!

On one of my days off at work, I decided to ride my bike to Milk’d in North Perth, which is about a 15 minute ride from my house, and to try and catch up on some blogging. They also had free wifi, which is why I came in the first place (yippee!). Milk’d is one of my favourite choices to have some food, pick up something sweet or to get my coffee fix. A huge draw card for Milk’d is the fact it’s open so early in the morning (I drive past on my morning shifts and see people picking up their coffee at 6:30am), and closes later than other cafes. I find that Milk’d is a good place to go to get take away coffee and maybe to pick up some lunch, borrow some wifi for an hour or two, or do some people watching. There’s not a lot of seating inside or outside, and I would suggest some place elsewhere for a long catch up with a friend – somewhere like Sayers Sister or Pimlott & Strand, both places that are nearby.

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Only a handful of seating inside and outside of Milk’d

I was absolutely starving after walking up the massive hill on Angove Street with my bike (no way was I going to ride up it!). Unfortunately the potato rosti and smoked salmon were not available that day, so I settled on the Milk’d Plate ($17.90), which had poached eggs, grilled Italian sausage and mushrooms, with tomato and feta on toasted sourdough. I also got myself an apple juice to quench my thirst on a fairly warm day. I sat at the back, in front of the interesting fellow on the wall, which reminded me some what of those interesting characters on the wall inside Sayers Sister.

One of the waitresses happily came to me with the password for the wifi, after coming also armed with my apple juice. The apple juice wasn’t too extravagant, but it was what I needed to satisfy my insatiable thirstiness.

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Milk’d Plate ($17.90)

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Tasty and fresh Milk’d Plate.

My Milk’d Plate came out next. There were thin slices of bread, with two halves being toasted. The bottom layer however, was half toasted and half soggy. The bacon tasted a little overcooked, and it was hard to cut through, but it was still crunchy and delicious. The dish tasted pretty fresh with the tomato and rocket, and there was a very generous layer of feta, which my feta-loving tastebuds gladly appreciated!

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A feast for one person!

I’ve heard some stories about the average to bad service at Milk‘d, but I didn’t experience any of that when I came. My previous visitations were much the same. May I also add that they do a wonderful iced chocolate – yummers! Prices were decent with nothing being over $18 (at the time of writing). They also had counter food which looked great as well.

I hung around for a little bit, watching people come and go, and getting some blogging done. I had to be back at home, so I rode down the hill, happy as Larry, with a belly filled with good food.

Rating: 7 out of 10
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Address: 32 Angove Street, North Perth WA 6006
Website: http://milkd.com.au

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Milkd North Perth on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open every day from 6:30am until 6pm, at both the North Perth and Maylands locations
  • And yes, there are other Milk’d locations in Maylands and Subiaco (with different opening hours).
  • Offers free wifi! Just ask the friendly staff for the wifi password.
  • At the North Perth location, there is limited parking on the street and side streets, as there are other businesses around, but you should be able to find parking somewhere.

- A.