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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bites: South American Ribs @ Subidoo, Subiaco.

A week of sudden rib cravings led me to dine at two American diners last week.  First was a meal at Ribs & Burgers in Perth city and the other at Subidoo in Subiaco.  The latter was my pick to meet up with a few colleagues over dinner.

To start we ordered a main size buttermilk fried chicken with spicy mayonnaise.

These crispy boneless chicken came out promising.  It looked crispy on the outside but it was missing the outer crust with a deep crunch. What also felt lacking was the memorable buttermilk fragrance.  Subidoo’s buttermilk chicken had a thin layer of crust rather than a crunchy batter. In saying that it came out really tender and still yummy.  Apparently buttermilk works as a tenderiser too!

Fish Tacos; battered fish, slaw, and chilli aioli.

This unsuspecting taco is one of my surprise favourites at Subidoo.  Its flavours were spot on! You have the acidity of the slaw, the creamy mayonnaise and the crispy fish.  Sounds like a sure win does it not?  However, it could be super-sized though to make it real American if you get what I mean.  The tacos were a little small.

That night we had three serve of ribs which allowed us to sample all their specialties.  The first of the three was the beef back ribs.

The full rack for $30 was a steal.  Imagine thick and juicy fall of the bone meat that is tender, slightly fatty with its edges mildly caramelised. Basting was rich, and its flavours all worked so very well together.  Delicious.  

The other two rib dishes were based on pork.  The Five Spice Ribs and the Cuban Style BBQ Pork Ribs.

The Asian inspiration in the Five Spice Ribs were pretty obvious.  It had notes of tamarind and was topped with some chilli.  The Five Spice flavour was present and to bring all the flavours together you have that fruity sweetness from the palm sugar which carries a natural caramel flavour.  It was decent but I did not feel quite as impressed as I was with the beef ribs!

The Cuban style BBQ Spare Ribs was also something which I felt tasted OK but did not really live up to my expectations.  With all due respect, I did not get the smokey BBQ flavours one would normally expect.  Perhaps it has something to do with the Cuban style barbecue? Never had that before haha.  

As a side, we also had the chargrilled corn.  Boy, these were so good.  Sweet corn perfectly cooked and simply oozing with the chipotle sauce.  The added sprinkling of cheese made dreams come true and it was all a very common flavour that everyone on the table enjoyed.  Except AC of course as he does not like cheese at all!

Subidoo is a nice place to catch up with friends over a meal in Subiaco as its casual and airy diner means you have a lot more space without the feeling of suffocating.  But if you are here for the ribs which is the specialty of Subidoo, you will feel disappointed (with the exception of the beef ribs).  The plate of porky ribs did not feel as though there was enough love present in the process of preparing the dish. Clearly enough from the picture, it felt as though the sauce and the ribs were two separate components from start to end.  Sauce poured on top of dry ribs?  I wanted ribs tenderised by slow cooking.  Then set it on a grill and baste it with the sauce repeatedly to initiate the fusion between meat and sauce.   Subidoo’s execution of the pork ribs was mildly flawed but its lack of attention to detail made it deplorable.   In hind sight, I would return anytime for those gorgeous beef ribs!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Bites: A quick lunch bite @ Jun, Perth City.

Whether its a cheap lunch alternative or  an authentic dinner bento, Jun is a venue not to be missed.  Its large clientele of Japanese during lunch hours especially is clear indication that this basement diner is doing something right. 

This lunch we ordered several of their punch specials which includes the usual suspects Chicken Karaage, Chicken Katsu and another Chicken dish called the Tatsuta-age.  These chicken dishes are comparable to your suburban Japanese takeaway but in massive proportions.
The Chicken Tatsuta-Age

The Chicken Kara-age

Confused about between a Kara-age and Tatsuta-age? They are both fried chicken right? So I thought! But no worries Google the source of know-it-all tells me that,  the Kara-age does not necessarily need to be marinaded but the Tatsuta-age always is!  More importantly, Tatsuta-age uses a tapioca starch instead of the wheat flour used by Kara-age.  This results in a more crunchy slightly chewy fried batter that is very similar to that of the Taiwanese XXL Fried Chicken.  Hope that helps!


The Chicken Katsu

Most people prefer would rather pay an extra $3 premium for Jun than dine at Taka during lunch, and there are legit reasons for that.  This includes Jun spending more time and love in the preparation of their food,  and top class Kara-age.  If you come in at night, expect to be treated to some tender braised soy pork belly and amazing skewered meats.  During lunch that day, the only thing that did not really deliver was the Chicken Katsu and the rice as it was a little wetter than I would have liked it to be! The Chicken Katsu on the other hand had a batter that way too thick!  It felt way over the top.  But for those who had the Kara-age or the Tatsuta-age, it was all good :)!  Note, come early and sit first!  Late comers wait longer and it reduces the pleasure of dining at Jun.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Bites: The best Salmon and Mandarin Pudding @ Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

Harvest Espresso has changed its menu to respect the produce in season and the winter style of dining.  Their approach is the perfect way of dining where everything is ripe, and full of flavour. New on its menu was a hearty braised beef, a crispy skin salmon and a decadent orange dessert. 

Last winter, they served a beef dish that was slightly underwhelming i.e. the beef pie that did not really tickle my fancy.  But how about this Winter's slow braised cheeks with celeriac puree, PX and remoulade salad?  To start, it was a very hearty combination on the plate complimented by a sensational plating which gave it a hint of sophistication.  Love the contrast of the shiny dark-ish brisket and the remoulade salad at the top!

In essence, the braised beef could have easily be the best winter dish but there were a few slip ups starting with the tougher than expected beef cheek indicating that more braising time was required.  I liked the sauce but found it needing more inspiration beyond the rich PX flavour.  I wanted a sauce combining perfectly caramelised root vegetables and some other element of sweetness to drive the dish home as the PX sauce had a noticeably bitter note to it.  The beef cheeks were nice but it was no heaven.

The next dish was the Crispy Salmon Fillet with braised leeks, butter lettuce jus, toasted buckwheat, and Hon Shimeji mushrooms.

Another dish which reaped the benefits of the slow cooking process.  This was the best fish dish Harvest Espresso has ever served to me.  It was the perfect fish dish with the salmon skin perfectly crispy.  Add the plump and juicy mushrooms along with the buttery melt-in-your-mouth leeks and I was in heaven.  A dish like this is a dish that does not want to make you put your fork and knife down.  Just eat eat eat and eat!!  How can one forget the finer details of leak ash which was a nice touch which gave a hint of smokiness.  It was very mild though!  Probably due to subdued sensations attributed to the winter chill!

The classic mushroom omelette is a dish that never grows old with the season.

Its creamy centre, and generous ingredients make it an all time staple.  Noms!

The sweet ending of the meal is none other than Harvest Espresso’s steamed Mandarin Pudding. Harvest Espresso's Mandarin Pudding has made its way across the whole Instagram for the period I was away at work.

Thankfully, it lived up to the hype with the bright orange sponge coming out super light and fragrant.  Its accompaniment of toasted muesli, jelly, subtle coconut cream and earl grey crumble was a combination where you get all these little flavours working together to give texture, flavour and fragrance.  This was an absolute stunner of a dish.  This Mandarin Pudding from Harvest Espresso was loved by all.  Smashing!!

No conclusion needed here.  All you need to do is visit Harvest Espresso this weekend!

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