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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bites: Malaysian Delights @ Nasi Lemak Korner, South Perth

Asian food is my go to after a long stint on site.  This time around, I organised a meet up with my fellow Hatchies at Nasi Lemak Korner.  Located on the ever evolving eating scene on Preston Street, this Malaysian joint has been around for awhile now.  At least a year! Maybe even two.  Having heard numerous reviews regarding its pricing has held me back a bit, but that’s alright I am finally here. 

Looking at the menu, you get all the local favourites like Beef Rendang, Chicken Curry, Ayam Masak Merah and other Malaysian goodies.  Amongst the table of four, we ordered to share;

3 Nasi Lemak 

The basics were really the basics.  As you would expect, you get a perfectly steamed rice with no “over” or “under”-cooked bull crap here.  Just good old, fluffy coconut rice served with its traditional accompaniments of hard-boiled eggs, peanuts, anchovies, cucumber and sambal (sauteed chilli paste). While it was a decent bite I would have loved some blanched “kangkung” or water morning glory.  To go with the Nasi Lemak we had the Beef Rendang and Sambal Chicken.

A whole serve of Beef Rendang (~$16)

These tender beef pieces are a trademark accompaniment of Nasi Lemak.  Slow cooked in coconut milk for hours, these tenders chunk of meat will fall apart effortlessly in your mouth.  While the grated coconut help made the sauce the real deal, I could not help but wonder whether the chefs might want to turn their salt level down one notch.  Also, while it was fragrant I like mine with more finely sliced up kaffir lime leaf which gives any Malaysian Beef Rendang that final kick of flavour. 

A whole serve of Sambal Chicken (~$16).

Another classic Malaysian dish that truly makes any rice dish go up one notch in flavour.  Tender chicken sauteed in caramelised onions in a rich tomato chilli blend.  Absolutely delicious. It's balanced dish. Slightly sweet due to the tomatoes but not too sweet, the heat mild and the flavour of the dish really went well with the Nasi Lemak. 

Last but not least, Mamak Mee Goreng. While the Nasi Lemak served was pretty good, it was the Mamak Mee Goreng that got my tongue wagging. This more-ish dish of noodles was cooked to perfection. Its recipe stayed true to the original recipe with little pieces of fried batter, beancurd and potato cooked together with the egg noodle! 

It's savoury almost tangy flavours were reminiscent of the good old Malaysian noodles typically served by the road side stalls. It reminded me of my childhood days when dad used to go out and pack fried noodles for my sister and I from an Indian restaurant not too far from the beach resort we used to go to in Malaysia.  Even more impressive was the wok fried flavours that is rarely present in the Australian Hawker food scene. 

Over all, I was sufficiently impressed by the quality of food at Nasi Lemak Korner and that made me wonder; why is the rating for Nasi Lemak Korner so low on Zomato? Sure the price range was not the cheapest and neither was it easy to get a table, but the food was sufficiently satisfying! By comparison, the popular Pappa Rich charges some $15.90 for a miserable plate of Nasi Lemak and parking in Northbridge is now $4 an hour. That's a big step up from the $13 Pappa Rich’s started on. Other popular options in town for me are Old Cathay and Sarapan. Both of which are nice with the latter having a consistency issue.

Nasi Lemak Korner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bites: A Succulent Pulled Pork and Amazing Pancake Brunch @ Cafe 2TwentyFour, Belmont

With soaring brunch prices and cliché menus hoarding the brunch scene, Cafe 2TwentyFour is an unlikely but welcoming find.  Pardon me for my ignorance but I reckon Cafe 2TwentyFour  has been around for awhile now.  From Monster Shakes to the usual brunch menu, I was expecting something boring. But it was not.  To start were some hot drinks for the table.  Coffee for parents and Matcha Latte for myself.

My Matcha Latte was yummy! A little bit on the sweet side but every bit fragrant.  Not as grassy as I would like it to be but it reminded me of ones I had in Starbucks when I was in Europe :)! Good times!!

First up was my Pulled Pork Benedict ($19).

This was my second Aussie brunch in the last 8 months and while tbsp. set a starting level of what the Perth brunch scene has evolved to, I was keen to see what others had to offer.   Cafe 2TwentyFour did not disappoint.  The Pulled Pork was succulent and the marinate was joy.  But it was not the succulent meat that had me thrilled but rather the spices that were used.   I have had so many pulled meat lathered in boring brown braise so I will be fair that this is a much welcomed change!  It was almost like a Mexican pulled pork!  How can you not be excited?  Wilted spinach was obligatory but not in any way necessary.  I guess it makes the dish healthy? ha ha..  The Hollandaise  sauce was also another element well executed. Silky, and rich on the tongue, it was also enough acidity to maintain a fresh yet indulgent finish to bring the meal together.  Good!

Next was mom’s favourite the Ricotta Pancakes with Ice Cream, Caramelised Bananas, Bacon and Salted Caramel $17.

When it hit the table I was not too convinced about the looks.  I actually thought it would not be fluffy at one point.  But I was proved all wrong.  In fact, it probably tasted better than it looked.  The salted caramel, with those fluffy hot cakes were sensational.  Add that bacon for a salty punch and crisp to elevate the joy! 

If you had asked me how much I enjoyed the brunch here?  I would say the two dishes were lip-smackingly delicious.  The bill on the meal? A modest sub-$50 one. Parking is a bliss in the complex and the sitting area was pleasant on a mild winter’s day.  Seeing the day go by, I was there for about an hour enjoying the good food and spending time with my parents.  Will I come here again?  I definitely would.  Oh by the way no hipsters serving food here ;)

Cafe 224 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bites: A bountiful brunch @ tbsp. , Bayswater

I came to tbsp. a couple weeks back for a fulfilling pre fly-back-to-work meal and that is exactly what I got.  Located in Maylands, the venue at 8am was lifely and the service attentive with its crew dedicated enough to explain the techniques behind its dishes.   I am finally here.

To start was a doughnut to share.  This one in its classic O-shape coated with a berry frosting and to finish were some dehydrated berries.
Initial impressions, perfect. It looked sensational.  But for me, that it where it all ends because besides the frosting and the berries, I look for a certain fluffiness when I eat my doughnuts.  And I got none.  For me, my doughnut experience starts with that outer brownish layer that’s slightly more bitey than the inner bits.  When I get inside, I expect a slightly yellow fluff as I pull it apart.  Here it was fluffy in the way of a crumbled sponge.  It did not have the mild elasticity.  The doughnut here was a miss.  It was far from the runny ones I have been seeing on Instagram which means I will need to revisit one day because this could be a one-off technical fault.

Next up was the Chorizo toast.  I think that is what its called.

A yummy looking dish.  Here, scarce is not an applicable word as you can see chunks of chorizo strewn all across the plate in a very good way.  You get that runny onsen egg for some TLC coating of all the elements to bring it together.  As simple as it looked, my mate enjoyed it heaps.

My choice for the day was none other than the infamous Brisket Benedict.

This calorie monster hit several sweet spots.  The onions were fantastic. Caramelised through, the onions were rich in its natural sweetness.  The brisket was also another high point, it was tender and absolutely delicious.  The seasoning was flavourful from all the marinade and not overly cloying despite being fatty.  Eggs I had no complain, as they were typical.  With everything on the plate, the Hollandaise was almost a home run but I felt like an additional notch of acidity would have help lifted the heaviness of the meal.  Or maybe, do it the Asian way and spike it with some Sriratcha for additional kick.  But for me, what made this meal difficult was the bread.  The bread in itself was faultless do not get me wrong.  But for some reason, there was a ton of oil gushing out from the bread.  This was where I died.  But once the bread was away, I was good again.   Perhaps it was the juicy fattiness of the pulled brisket.  If that was the case then tbsp. is better of straining it away and using small quantities to toast the bread where required.

tbsp. was a nice bite but I’m was not overly wow-ed because I find the Spicy Beef Benedict at Typika in Claremont to be equally good.  And to think of it, that was back in 2013!!  You would expect 3 years to make a difference haha.  In saying that though, because tbsp. is nearer to home, I reckon its a much easier location to get to.  Over all, the food was above average, the environment was nice and parking was not too difficult.  Would I come back? Definitely yes, to try their other doughnuts.  But for me, the highlight was the customers service.  While you rarely get much interaction at brunch cafes, that little explanation about the doughnut was enough to convince me that the people at tbsp. cared!

tbsp. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato