Savour The Moment

To appreciate fully; enjoy or relish

Ready to Impress at Mrs S

Mrs S, Maylands

Let it be known that I don’t like exercising. You are constantly out of breath, stinging cramps always appear in your lower abdomen and your shoulders actually feel like they are going to fall off. This particular Anzac Day however, I was enticed by my friend to do some training at our local Yokine Reserve. It became immediately apparent within the first few meters of my supposed 12 km run, that without extensive training, I would not be cut out for long distance running.

So, why the forced exercise? This year, I was a proud participant of the HBF Run for a Reason, as a proud supporter of the Cancer Council WA. One of my best friend’s mother had been diagnosed the previous year and I wanted to do something about it, besides from sitting about and moping, feeling largely sympathetic about this sudden life upheaval. I was so in admiration of the journey my friend and her family had been though, and was finally motivated to do something about it (and simultaneously get super fit).

Well said, random card.

Well said, random card.

After my legs had turned to jelly, my friend and I decided to go out for a spot of brunch. We met up with her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s three friends to try out Mrs S, in Maylands. I have been a previous customer of Mrs S and have been impressed every single time by its inventive brunch menu. I had been a bit worried about it not being open (Anzac Day is one of those big holidays that is reserved for reverence, hence not a lot of places are operational) but a quick Google search informed me that I needn’t worry – it was open!

Mrs S was ridiculously crowded when our party of six got there. We stuck our names on the makeshift list and were told by a friendly man that the wait would be about 15 minutes or so. He offered to give us menus to browse though and quickly cleared the end of a large table for us. Another waitress informed us that the wait on food would be about 30 minutes, which was a considerate “heads up” for our hungry party.

Hot chocolate ($$$$$$)

Hot chocolate ($4.30)

To sate the hunger pangs, I ordered a hot chocolate ($4.30) that came in a ginormous China mug. It had a sublime amount of velvety froth and had been steamed to a good hot temperature. Alongside it came a small silver jug of molten chocolate and a pink marshmallow. I am a huge fan of drinks that include coverture chocolate and loved that I could administer the rich, decadent goodness to my own free will.

Oreo Brownie ($)

Oreo Brownie ($4.50)

To continue keeping the hunger at bay, my friend’s boyfriend ordered a chocolate Oreo brownie ($4.50). It was one of the highlights on a two-row display of baked treats at the counter, including muffins, cupcakes and slices. I had a corner of the brownie and loved its crusty exterior. It was delightfully rich and decadent, the crunchy shards of Oreo lodged on top.

Smoked Pork Hock ($20.50)

Smoked Pork Hock ($20.50)

Our food came out at the 30 minute mark and thanks to the brownie and hot chocolate beforehand, I didn’t have to wolf my Smoked Pork Hock ($20.50) down in ravenousness, allowing me to appreciate it so much more. First of all, it was a beautifully displayed dish, an array of pulled pork, roasted cauliflower, slices of chorizo, fried potatoes and daubs of aioli. Everything worked together so well, with an even balance of all the main elements.

I loved how the potato was fried crispy on the outside, but buttery soft on the inside. The aioli had a creamy consistency but wasn’t overpowering in its lemony acidity. The parsley and lemon added something to freshen up the dish when it got too heavy. There was a delicious tomato quince that added a herbal sweetness to the ingredients. The fried egg smack in the centre had a beautifully gooey golden yolk. Hello, heaven. Well worth the wait!

Manwich ($16)

Manwich ($16)

Four of our party had the Manwich ($16) including my friend. I got a bite of it. My friend told me it was soft, which I didn’t experience first hand until I picked up the ciabatta roll for myself. The bread was pillow-y in texture, though across the four that were ordered, some of my friends got a chewier version of the roll. The Manwich was a delight in itself, packed to the brim with pulled pork, beetroot pickle, cucumber and aioli. The pulled pork was a smear of moist, tender meat, with a sweet kick from the beetroot pickle. One of my other friends commented that the cucumber was a nice touch.

Croque Madame ($13.50)

Croque Madame ($13.50)

My friend’s boyfriend had the Croque Madame ($13.50) with ham, gruyere cheese, fried egg. It was a massive toastie, that came with a side of tomato relish, dressed leaves and an additional side of bacon ($4) which my friend added.  For a total of $17.50, it was a loaded plate. He really enjoyed the gruyere cheese and commented that it was very filling.

Our feast!

Our feast!

I had never seen Mrs S that busy in my life, so watching the staff handle it with collected calm and professionalism was truly impressive. Having been warned of the wait, we were able to make appropriate adjustments as customers, which was due to Mrs S and their on-the-ball service. The food was wonderful, filling, tasty and beautifully presented.

On top of great food and drinks, the ambience of Mrs S is vibrant and chatty. With its storybook menus, pastel paper flags and fairytale characters, it is a cute and quirky cafe with a playful feel to the interior design. I will continue to visit Mrs S and value it as a remarkable brunch spot, not only on the Maylands foodie strip, but also in Perth.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Address: 178 Whatley Crescent, Maylands 6051
Website: http://www.mrsscafe.com.au/

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Mrs. S on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open for breakfast and lunch on Tuesday to Friday (from 7am to 4pm) and Saturday to Sundays (8am to 4pm).
  • Does take away coffee and baked treats (a huge range to choose from the front counter!).
  • Baking merchandise for sale in store (including cupcake decorations, aprons and cookie cutters).
  • No reservations available.

- L.

Sunshine & Soup at Blue Lotus Cafe

Blue Lotus Café, Stirling

As a kid, I would always go past Waldecks in Stirling, on the way to visiting my grandparents house. It was a landmark that would signify that I was approximately 2 minutes from entering their house, allowing me to gorge on my grandma’s famous fried rice and her pickled carrots, which were my favourite Asian dishes ever. The scary prospect before eating however, was that I also had to come face to face with their hyperactive Doberman, named Pepper.

Fountains at Waldecks!

Fountains at Waldecks!

Over the years I have come to associate Waldecks less with Pepper and her harrowing barks and more so with joy – Waldecks is the landmark now for the bestie’s house, as she lives a good 2 minute walk from Blue Lotus Café, housed inside the greenhouse. This particular sunny day, the bestie and I decided to have a bit of afternoon tea and go for a leisurely walk at the same time.

Flowers for sale!

Flowers for sale!

I didn’t expect much from Blue Lotus Café – I already had it in my mind it was a generic, run of your mill café which had out-sourced pies and canned drinks. I was in for a pleasant surprise, because it turned out to be a proper little eatery. It had a bright, vast open space inside and a gorgeous outdoor area that took full advantage of the greenery and flowers.

Brownie time!

Brownie time!

Chocolate Brownie ($4.50)

Chocolate Brownie ($4.50)

The day the bestie and I went there, we had gone in quite late (at about the 4pm mark) which was just in time for the place to close. Luckily, they were happy enough to give us some take away treats, including a rich chocolate brownie ($4.50) that had been baked in-house. The brownies were decadent and crunchy on the outside. I was in heaven – it was a bit rich for the bestie, however. We drowned it down with a bottled iced tea and Noah’s fruit juice smoothie.

Al fresco!

Al fresco!

A week later, the bestie and I were back, this time with our other friend and the bestie’s sister. It was a bon voyage celebration for my bestie’s sister, who was relocating to America for her studies. We settled for a bit of lunch. In contrast to the last time we visited, it was wild and windy with heavy patches of rain. It was also significantly more crowded in Blue Lotus Café this time around, predominately filled with the older population of Perth and mothers with their young children.

Hot chocolate ($4)

Hot chocolate ($4)

I had a hot chocolate ($4.00) and I was given the option of having it in a glass or a mug. I chose a mug, hoping that it would retain the heat sufficiently while we waited for our lunch. It had a slim layer of froth but it was nice and warm, which was good. I did a quick check to make sure I hadn’t smudged chocolate powder on my lips – nothing is more embarrassing than walking around a chocolate face.

Sweetcorn and zucchini fritters ($16.50)

Sweetcorn and zucchini fritters ($16.50)

The lunch menu had a good number of items, but I made a beeline for the sweetcorn and zucchini fritters ($16.50). Grated zucchini and creamed sweet corn speckled these moist pancake-like fritters. They were quite nice, though I felt they were a tad on the soggy side – it lacked the crisp pan fried edge that fritters are known for, and they fell apart a little too easy. It came served on a bed of salad made of rocket, red onion, red capsicum and cucumber. The best part of the salad was the tangy, chunky tomato salsa and the dollop of greek yoghurt, which slipped down the fritters like a waterfall.

Soup of the Day ($10.50)

Soup of the Day ($10.50)

My friend went for the Soup of the Day ($10.50) which came served with two of the biggest slices of ciabatta toast I have ever seen. The soup of the day was roasted cauliflower with cumin, and came as a green stew. We had a scoop each – it was heady and hot, infused with cauliflower, celery herbs and spices (I may have detected a smidgen of basil in there). It was a unique combination, that my bestie’s sister finished off when my friend couldn’t. There was a plentiful amount of the soup too – they had been exceptionally generous.

Pie of the Day ($17.50)

Pie of the Day ($17.50)

The bestie and her sister shared the Pie of the Day ($17.50), which was a peppered steak and pumpkin pie. There sure was pepper in it – I was metaphorically hit with a heat wave as I consumed it. The pie was delicious – chunky pieces of beef, that pulled apart easily, combined with the earthy, sweet portions of pumpkin. I loved the addition of the pumpkin inside the pie. The pastry was fantastic as well, a good shortcrust that had been baked to light gold. The pie came served alongside a bowl of salad and some chunky salsa. The salad had grains of pasta that resembled rice (formally known as Orzo pasta), sprouts, sundried tomato, rocket and roasted pumpkin. It was dressed in a slick olive oil and herbed vinaigrette.

Inside the cafe!

Inside the cafe!

Inside the café itself, it was buzzing with energy. The staff were engaging and pleasant, and the food and drinks come out at a rapid pace. The café has an almost boutique-y feel to it, with inspirational quotes scrawled across the wall. It was also very consumer friendly – condiments, cutlery and water hot spots were available for use, to your own free will.

Goldfish swimming about!

Goldfish swimming about!

Blue Lotus is a gorgeous place, perfect for families or a one on one catch up. There was a kids play area outside, which would be great to keep the kids entertained whilst carers are chatting away, or need to look for something outdoors-y. It was a sanctuary for the bestie, who has a bit of a green thumb. After we had finished the food, we had a browse through all the gardening areas, looking through a great number of trees, flowers, pottery and water features. She was hooked.

Tour of Waldecks!

Tour of Waldecks!

Overall, I had a good time at Blue Lotus Café – whilst I don’t think the food in particular blew me away, it had a lively atmosphere, good service and was a pleasant place to sit down for a snack, drink or coffee. The bestie and I sure will be back, as it is a great little location close to her house.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Address: Waldecks Nursery, Corner Hamilton St & Karrinyup Rd, Stirling WA 6017
Website: http://www.waldecks.com.au/stores/os%20park.htm

Blue Lotus Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Open for breakfast and lunch (open 8:30am till 4pm)
  • Free Wifi available!
  • All items made in house and fresh for the customer.
  • Takes reservations via phone (contact 9254 6740).

- L.

Aced Out With Pizza!

Ace Pizza, Highgate

As Ronny Chieng, the comedian, so eloquently put it – you can’t please everyone. Your passion projects will always have an audience, and that audience’s feedback to your work can be mapped out in the shape of a bell curve. A large majority of the population will think that your quality of work is standard, many will think it is just below or above average and there will always be a minority that truly adore or, on the flip side of it, truly despise your work.

Welcome to Ace!

Welcome to Ace!

One of the great things I’ve realised since starting Savour the Moment is taking on board constructive criticism – there will always be people out there who, no matter what you do, will not be impressed by your labour of love. But to balance it out, you have people who genuinely value what you do and spur you to continue. It’s taught me to be more open minded, better at problem solving and be just that little bit more attentive to the smaller details. Part of these skills I have developed through my professional career, but this food based passion project has also enhanced my techniques.

Menu time!

Menu time!

My little sister happens to be one of those special people, who will be my side when it all gets a bit rough and crazy in life, so when the opportunity came, I decided to reward her support with two tickets to the Perth International Comedy Festival. The comedy session finished at 7pm and as the venue was Astor Theatre, we decided to head up Beaufort Street to Ace Pizza for some good hearty Italian food.

We didn’t have a booking, so the man at the front offered us a seat outside or up on the bar. We chose the latter option and hoisted ourselves up on the stools. Luckily for my sister and I, we had ample room to move about and better yet, the lighting was fantastic (yay for photo-taking fanatics, like myself!). So often when I have been at Ace, my pictures have required significant filtering and editing to remotely resemble something that isn’t a block of black or a dish shrouded in shadows. The lovely man at the bar placed water and menus onto our table immediately and we began to read through.

Chilling bar side...

Chilling bar side…

As my sister went to the toilets, I tried to get a snapshot of the “Ace Pizza” neon green sign, but my flash popped up and blinded a few people. The manager came over to inform me that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to take photos of people, especially without their permission. I quickly told him that I had been trying to take the sign with my zoom functions, so he seemed okay with it. I always feel so self-conscious with my Digital, this chunky device that will single you out from the rest of the world. The things we do for love (of food).

Parmesan and prosciutto croquettes ($13)

Parmesan and prosciutto croquettes ($13)

My sister and I started off with the parmesan and prosciutto croquettes ($13), four oval rounds which had been crumbed and deep fried. They were cracked open and the steam erupted from its creamy, oozy interior. I loved the bite of the prosciutto, all meaty and chewy, which infused the overall flavour of the croquettes. The feathery parmesan on top had a sharp bite and was pleasant.

Mac n Cheese Bites $)

Mac n Cheese Bites ($7)

The cross section...

The cross section…

The humble mac and cheese came out in a jazzy format, as two crumbled, fried mac and cheese cubes ($7). They were mammoth in size, with a crisp deep fried exterior sprinkled with a dash of salt. Inside was the prized mac and cheese, tube pasta suspended in a thick béchamel sauce. Cheesy goodness right there, still in the same faction as our previous croquettes. My sister and I thought that it was well worth the $3.50 each we paid for them – it hit all the right spots.

The Amalfi Pizza ($25)

The Amalfi Pizza ($25)

Surprisingly, I have never actually ordered a pizza from Ace, despite it being part of its namesake. This time around we got “The Amalfi” pizza ($25) that came with a topping of north west prawns, lemon, garlic, capers, san marzano tomato, mozzarella and salsa verde. There were bursts of colour from the tomato and salsa verde, but my sister and I thought the toppings were a bit scant as a whole on the pizza. Whilst I loved the fried capers scattered on top, they had been applied quite liberally and as a result made the pizza super salty. The lemon only added extra acidity to the dish, so much so that my sister and I couldn’t really completely enjoy it. I did love the pizza base though – lightly crisp on the edges with a chewy baked dough.

Fat pasta and braised beef shin ($22)

Fat pasta and braised beef shin ($22)

Another “Things from the Kitchen” items included the fat pasta and braised beef shin ($22). The fat pasta turned out to be pappadalle, immersed in a creamy sauce and mingled with portions of braised beef. The beef was lovingly cooked, braised to perfection. It came away easily with every stab of the fork and the sauce was rich, but used only to dress the pasta casually so it didn’t become too heavy. The pasta was a tad overdone, lacking the firm al dente chew after we popped it into our mouths. The braised beef was a standout in the dish.

Ace Soft Serve ($7)

Ace Soft Serve ($7)

I forced my sister to share two “sweet things” with me, even though we were bursting at the seams from our mains. We shared the Ace Soft Serve ($7), a specific obsession within my group of high school friends. We’re all a bit salted caramel nuts, so the tall bottle that came with our vanilla ice cream was perfect to satisfy those cravings. The other bottle contained chocolate ice magic (confirmed by the waitress who exclaimed to my sister, “good guess!”) that froze upon contact with the ice cream. To the side was a powdery biscuit crumb, which melted like icing sugar on my tongue.

Our finished concotion!

Our finished concoction!

The salted caramel sauce was probably the best I’ve ever had – with the craze now, some places say they have “salted caramel” so-and-so, which actually turns out to be just an exceedingly sweet caramel. Ace whizzed up a fantastic salted caramel sauce, which had even measures of both salt and sugar. Melding all the toppings together was heaven. We kept on dousing layer after layer of soft serve in the various toppings. It was like a mini dessert buffet.

Half baked heaven ($14)

Half baked heaven ($14)

We asked the man at the bar what the half baked heaven ($14) actually entailed, and he was happy enough to give us a run down of the dessert. He described it as a chocolate peanut parfait with a peanut butter sauce. When it came out, I was entranced – it looked beautiful, topped with one of my favourite sweet treats – Italian meringue. It sat like pinnacles on top of the parfait, surprisingly warm despite the freezing cold floor of the half baked heaven. The meringue was charred and had a marshmallow-y consistency.

The parfait was icy and deliciously sweet. Crumbled dehydrated white chocolate, a smatter of peanuts and a thick peanut butter paste surrounded it. It all worked together very well and was a favourite from my sister. You did have to eat the half baked heaven first before the Ace Soft Serve, as my sister and I found out, because the salted caramel topping would overpower the sweetness from the half baked heaven!

The food came out super fast and the team at Ace consistently checked up on us to see how we were going. The ambience reminded me a bit of an underground clubhouse, a funky basement lit by flashy neon green lights and fitted with dark booths, but thankfully minus the thudding bass music. It was also a pressure cooker for body heat, which thankfully warmed us up on a cold, windy autumn night.

See you next time Ace!

See you next time Ace!

The man at the bar area was exceptionally helpful and attentive, requesting if we wanted chilli with our prawn pizza and constantly refilled our glasses when the water levels got too low. As we were making our way through the pizza, it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to finish it – requests for a take away pizza box were met with easy adeptness from the lady at the bar. As a whole, the staff drew parallels to the wonderful service I had received at el Publico, a few blocks up the road – they were approachable, warm and easy going.

It got pretty quiet towards the end of service, so my sister and I decided to head home. Ace Pizza has some killer desserts and a grand selection of different Italian dishes (including pizza, its specialty). It is all incredibly substantial and the good food is matched up by great service. I would recommend Ace as a go to place for those seeking a bit of adventure on the traditional pizza!

Rating: 7.5 out of 10
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Address: 448 Beaufort Street, Highgate WA 6003
Website: http://www.acepizza.com.au

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Ace Pizza on Urbanspoon

Bites:

  • Ace is open 7 days a week for dinner (from 5:30pm to late).
  • Pizza are available for take away (contact number: 9328 1106).
  • Reservations can be made via phone on 0499 448 000.

- L.

No longer rookies @ Lalla Rookh

Lalla Rookh, Perth CBD

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The first time I visited Lalla Rookh was a memorable experience that I had shared with some of my uni friends. I was pleasantly surprised as Lalla Rookh was still relatively new, yet it had already proven to be quite impressive. Initially, Lalla Rookh can be a little hard to find as you enter from street level to below ground (off St George’s Terrace in the city), but it has a bright sign at the entrance of the staircase that you cannot miss.

Last time I was here, it was almost packed. Lalla Rookh was filled with office workers, or professionals having a business dinner. It reminded me of when I was in Sydney, and I went to a few restaurants where they were packed (thank god I had a booking), and most of them being businessmen in their suit and ties, bonding over delicious food and wine. Anyways, enough of reminiscing…

This time around, there weren’t too many people at Lalla Rookh. It was the start of dinner time, quite possibly a bit early for dinner now (6pm, anyone?). I wanted to take my boyfriend to Lalla Rookh for quite some time now, so I decided to go after he finished work. We didn’t have a reservation, but they were able to seat us at the back, with the only ones being in the room (until about 30 minutes later). Lalla Rookh has different nooks everywhere where you can sit, have a chat or relax. The lighting is quite dark (which explains my awful photos).

The menu had changed since I last ate here. I had the chef’s selection (Il Capo) last time, which was definitely a highlight. The chef’s selection (Il Capo) was also a recommendation I always heard and saw from other people. So we ordered the il capo at $55 per head, and also asked them for the non-seafood variety, since my boyfriend is allergic.

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Complimentary zucchini focaccia

Our waitress gave us complimentary zucchini focaccia which was delicious with the olive oil that was on our table, free to use to our liking. The zucchini was subtle, and was enough for us to have something to munch on whilst we waited for our dishes.

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Roasted beetroot, witlof and toasted hazelnut salad (usually $14)

Our first dish was roasted beetroot, witlof and toasted hazelnut salad (usually $14). Honestly, this salad wasn’t too special, especially being our first dish. My boyfriend said it was less than average – it was OK. The thin slices of beetroot was fresh. There was a mellow flavour throughout, and not too strong – rather lack lustre. I would have liked it if it was a side with a meal. Oh well, hopefully the next dish will impress us.

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Fried ham hock and green pea croquettes (usually $14)

Second dish of the night was the fried ham hock and green pea croquettes (usually $14). This dish was the opposite of the last one. The croquettes were full of meat, really crunchy, and piping hot inside. There was so much flavour in these croquettes. It was really delicious, and got the tick of approval from my boyfriend.

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Polenta and prosciutto

Next up was polenta and prosciutto – I can’t quite remember the proper name of it. This one was a little bit interesting. Polenta isn’t always my favourite thing to eat in the world. It’s always sloppy, clunky, blah. So when it came out, our first reaction was, “uh oh, polenta”. We still gave it a shot, though. The polenta was just like how I always find it – sloppy. The prosciutto glistened in the light and was nice and chewy. The presentation, on the other hand, was like a slop with a small piece of meat on it.

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Tagliatelle with prosciutto and radicchio

Woohoo! Another winner! Definitely our favourite for the night. This was the tagliatelle with prosciutto and radicchio. We just wanted more, more and more. I would gladly just order this for dinner, plus one or two sides, and I’d be mighty satisfied. This pasta dish was just a simple one, but quite often, simple is best. It wasn’t heavy on the sauce, and the pasta was perfectly cooked. There were so many textures in the dish. Crunchy, chewy, yummy. We honestly fought for the last bite in the end.

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Italian sausage, peppers agrodolce style, pine nuts, and sultanas (usually $30)

Our second last dish of the night was the Italian sausage, peppers agrodolce style, pine nuts, and sultanas (usually $30). The sausage was nice but it was salty, however it went well with the peppers and sultanas that gave the sweetness in the dish. The sausage was packed full of meat so it was a bit hard to cut through. It was nice but just too salty for my liking. We were kind of disappointed as it was the only actual meat kind of dish out of the five.

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Pannacotta vera, with roasted cocoa and walnut crumble (usually $14)

The last dish was a pannacotta vera, with roasted cocoa and walnut crumble (usually $14). It was the perfect dish to end the night. The pannacotta was delicious, and had the perfect pannacotta wobble to it. There was so much crunch from the crumble. It was sweet but also bitter at times. I absolutely love pannacotta, and this fuelled my desire to make pannacotta of my own (which actually isn’t as hard as I thought it would be!).

So, as much as I wanted to impress my boyfriend with this restaurant that I had been raving about for many months, it was a bit disappointing. The pasta was definitely the highlight, which is something I think they excel at. I would also recommend nonna’s meatballs, which I had last time – it was the absolute bomb. I think next time, if I ever get the chance to go back, I wouldn’t get the chef’s selection, and stick to something I prefer. Lalla Rookh has a selection called “the whole pig”, which is something I definitely want to try out some time because every dish on there sounds so good. We originally wanted to get most things off that menu as well.

The place looks good and intimate with the dark lighting, but I found the dishes were quite expensive for the tiny portions that you get. The service was good but the prices  could be better. Meanwhile, I’m still dreaming about that tagliatelle and the pannacotta…

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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Address: 77 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000

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Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House on Urbanspoon

Bites:
  • Open Monday to Friday from 11:30am until midnight, and Saturdays for dinner from 5pm until midnight.
  • Bookings are recommended to secure a seat, through their website via Dimmi, or by ringing them on (08) 9325 7077.
  • Lalla Rookh also has a wine store (http://www.lallarookhwine.com.au) for all you wine lovers, where you can discover some Australian and internationally produced wine.
  • As always, parking is notoriously an issue in the city, so make sure you come early to snag free street parking.
  • Many of the dishes are gluten free for those who can’t take gluten!

- A.

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.

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