The Gaya Applecross, Applecross
Getting invited to events has been a pretty exciting experience for A and I since we’ve started the blog – whilst we haven’t been inundated with requests to eat at places, we have received the odd exciting email. A couple of weeks ago, both of us were invited to The Gaya Applecross to try out their fusion Korean food. Both of us were keen to catch up after a few long, busy couple of months, so one wet, windy night, we made the trek down south to indulge in their food.
Gaya looks like your average Korean restaurant from outside – wooden chairs and tables, artwork adorning the walls, candles on the table. A’s name was scribed on a little place card on the table, indicating our reservation. I’m not a huge consumer of Korean food (kimchi sets my mouth on fire, and Korean BBQs will leave a lingering smell of burnt coal in my hair for days on end), but A has travelled to South Korea extensively, so she knew her stuff when it came to authentic Korean food!
We began the night with some complimentary starters, including two bites of what appeared to be airy cheese puffs. There was a sharp bite of parmesan in them and they were relatively crunchy, thought melt-in-the-mouth after the first initial seconds of being inside the oral cavity.
Both of us ordered teas ($4 each), which came in hot steaming pots. A had the green tea, whilst I went for the yuzu tea, a speciality Japanese citrus fruit. I could smell A’s tea from afar – it had my favourite aroma of toasted rice! My tea was a lot more sweeter, almost like consuming a deliciously hot honey-lemon tea. Heavenly and perfect for the wet night!
The crabmeat croquettes ($14) were crunchy, crumbed spheres containing crabmeat, potato, cream, onion and egg. They were nicely deep fried and contained a compact amount of crabmeat. It came with a slurry of spicy tartare sauce, which also contained a few pieces of something pickled that added a flash of tartness before the next bite of croquette.
The beef cream roll ($14) reminded me a bit of the dry bean curd rolls you get at dim sum. It consisted of enoki mushrooms, asparagus, beef, cucumber, capsicum and cream cheese tightly wrapped up into a roll. It was a lovely medley of colours, flashes of red and green, served alongside Gaya’s special sauce. I found the thinly sliced beef a bit too chewy, with a bit more effort required to tear away the parts of asparagus and the roll’s skin. I loved the combination of beef with cream cheese though! It was a decent starter, made better by the presence of those garlic chips, which added a crisp, smoky element. A loved it, finding the interesting ingredients working well together.
The Kimchi Cheese Jimiji ($12) was the surprise hit for the night. Like I had said prior, I’m not the biggest fan of kimchi, but I really liked this homemade cheddar-kimchi-onion-carrot hybrid. The kimchi was a spicy, chilli hit for A and I, but it was countered by the stretchy cheese. I loved the flavour of the cheese and the crispness of the whole pancake. It was drizzled in a sticky, balsamic-like sauce which further added to the curious combination of flavours.
The 36 Pork ($30) was a bargain for its price tag. It was a mammoth section of sous vided pork belly, cultivated for a good 36 hours, as aforementioned. It had a crisp crackling and a dense amount of juicy pork, which for the most part, was rather tender. The sweet potato puree was a lovely accompaniment, though I felt that the Korean chives on top didn’t really add a lot to the dish except colour. The apples were beautifully glazed in soya bean sauce and in added in good proportion to the pork meat.
Our Gaya BBQ Rib Galbi ($30) was a tall stack of gleaming, grilled short beef ribs, which was accompanied by a daikon roll salad, a nice fresh and attractive side to the ribs. The potato egg salad was something starchy to add to the works and I really liked the coconut rice ball on the side, which was like a compact ball of savoury glutinous rice. The ribs were nice, but lacked that fall-off-the-bone quality that you associate with hearty, finger-licking ribs. It looked a treat on the plate though!
The truffle hamburger steak ($28) was a moist, crumbly beef and pork mince patty. I couldn’t really taste the truffle, but I really enjoyed the cream sauce which complimented the meat and the rice alongside it. The mushroom was well cooked, as was the cauliflower. I skipped out on the bean sprouts as I wasn’t a particular fan of it, but as a whole the dish was quite nice. A found the dish rather odd with the rice, meat and sauce, and was probably her least favourite dish for the night.
The Red Misu ($8) was a red bean take on the traditional tiramisu dessert. I loved it – it was probably my favourite dish of the night. It looked a bit like an oriental garden, the soil made of crumbly dark red chocolate, decorated with gleaming pastel coloured stones (candy coated peanuts). Beneath it were spongy portions of chocolate cake, saturated with a light syrup. It wasn’t excessively sweet and was broken up by pockets of red bean. Absolutely lovely.
A had amazing things to say about the Hotteok, one of our another dessert options, but unfortunately the waitress came back around to say it had walnuts in it (cue internal cry of sadness). Instead, A ordered the Gold Pave Chocolate ($8) for us, which was creatively decorated with icing sugar. The chocolates were dense, with a smooth-paste like texture inside. They were incredibly rich and came in three separate flavours as denoted by the powder dusted on the outside. The green tea one was my favourite (as the bitterness of the matcha powder), followed by the wholegrain one (the white one on the far left) and then the chocolate cocoa one.
Overall, I had a very pleasant experience at Gaya Applecross. A and I received a 50% discount on our total bill as part of the invitation that Gaya had sent us, which meant that we had certainly got value for money! The service was straightforward, attentive and pretty good with recommendations, becoming very apologetic when they came back to tell us that the Hotteok did in fact have walnuts in it. Initially, the restaurant was relatively empty when we arrived, but it began to fill up quickly – The Gaya Applecross was indeed quite popular with the locals. The food was overall at a good standard, with colourful, clean plating and some very homely, traditional flavours. We knew we had ordered way too much when the third dish came out, and we were not even half way through. But at 50% off the bill, we didn’t want to complain that much! I would certainly recommend the red misu dessert and the kimchi cheese jimiji. Thank you Gaya for having us!
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Address: Shop 3 & 4, 3 Kearns Crescent, Ardross WA 6153 (inside Applecross Arcade)
- Open for lunch and dinner (Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30 pm to 10pm; Friday to Sunday from 11:30am to 2:30pm).
- Set menu also available from $45 pp.
- Bookings can be made via phone (contact: 9364 8887) or through Dimmi.