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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bites: Ha-Lu @ Mount Hawthorn.

Last year during darling’s birthday, I spent quite a great deal of time trying to seek a place that both of us would enjoy.  After searching and searching, I finally found two restaurants, Ha-Lu and Tsunami.  Unfortunately, the food at Tsunami didn’t really reflect her liking while Ha-Lu was CLOSED =.=!  Bummer to the max!  In the end, we settled for Ha-Lu’s sister restaurant, Satsuki @ Subiaco.  Ever since I had that, I have been dying to try Ha-Lu.  Today, I got my chance with my little darling, my sis and mates Jimmy, XinNee and Fishman!


Spring Flower! O yea~!


Before dinner, I decided to snap some pictures of the peeps before they got their mouths dirty! :P!!


Little darling and my sister!


Fishman, XinNee, and Jimmy!

Ha-Lu serves Japanese food in a similar manner to the way Satsuki does.  The Japanese styled tapas called Izakaya, recommends diners to order small plates of dishes to be shared among others while enjoying a casual evening.  Funnily enough, we spent a portion of our time talking rubbish about Pokemon!


Service was good as the waiter was attentive and took our order upon us letting out the slightest gesture.  After awhile, our food arrived.  I tried to take photos of all the food but, hehe there was just too many!  I left out 2 dishes or so I think!


The sashimi of the day consisting of salmon, king fish and tuna slices started our evening.  Unbeatable freshness out of each cut, I’d reckon!  Sis says its good! Jim likes it and XinNee says good but salmon slices was not as soft as it should be ahha.  She’s the pro in this! And Fishman, fell head over heels for sashimi! 


As I am not so much of a sashimi fan, I decided to appreciate the freshness of the Japanese food culture in another manner, so I ordered:


Tartar style sashimi of the day.  It was really really good.  The chopped up mixture of tuna, salmon and kingfish lightly seasoned with god knows what and what.  WOW!  Top the crisps with wasabi mayo and the sashimi tartar, and slurpss!! Kickass!

Then came the Wagyu Beef Tataki:


Hehe, I really liked this as well.  Double the price at Kanta, but double the serve too! Seared local Wagyu beef, thinly sliced and served with seasoned root vegtables! I like the vegetables that accompanied the beef tataki.  It differed from the usual beef tataki severed with grated onions.  The spiced vegetables were really delicious and provided a tastier kick compared to the pungent onion taste.



Oww yeah! Pork Belly “Kaku-Ni” was deliciously tender with that melt in your mouth feel when there is just that perfect ratio of meat and fat! I likey!  However, I think Jun @ Perth City does it better though!  More fats! ahaha


The typical Teriyaki Chicken did not turnout so typical and was an absolute favourite on the table.  Chicken was tender, sauce wasn’t overpowering with sweetness, and the mayonnaise was just sooo desirable!


1 word? Awesome.


Next up was another beefy delight!


This is the Wagyu Beef “Ishi-Yaki”  with fried onions which was Wagyu beef grilled in a hot stone pot served with “Oroshi Ponzu” sauce!  This one was really pricey and we probably paid for the restaurant’s gas bill because notice the stone pot above, it was radiating with heat when it was served. Recommended that you do not touch it because it absolutely burns. How would I know? Because I tried it =.=!


This dish is actually quite unique because you can choose how cooked you would like your beef to be!  Too raw? Just press it on the rock pot.  It cooks in an instant!


Next up was the Scallop Nanban.  This was another favourite for the night!


Deep fried scallops marinated in sweet soy vinaigrette.  Served with crispy lotus roots chips, chilli mayonnaise and pumpkin julienne! YUMS!

And darling’s favourite, the Agedashi tofu!


I cannot say much about this really, it is most of the time, very delicious.  Whether it is served at Kanta, Satsuki or Fuji. 



Chicken Karaage with Iwanori sauce!! Hoho! Crispy chikennnnn!  But what made this different from other Chicken Karaage out there? If not already obvious in its name, is the sauce itself :)!



Crispy Pork.  Crispy sliced pork belly served with “Oroshi” ponzu vinaigrette!  If Yobi had this, he would definitely be back for this again.  So damn crispy even though it is a piece of cake to make!


The last picture here is the Squid and Octopus Mayo Gratin! Squid, octopus, and mushrooms baked in a creamy cheese gratin sauce.  Normally, you would expect this sort of dish to be a bit stinky (if you are particular about your seafood) and a bit heavy (if you hate cream + cheese), but believe me, the Japanese are passionate about their food and they like nothing more than people eating their food happily!  This one was good and I don't think anyone felt sick from this.  Oh, but XinNee though that Ha-Lu was a little stingy on the cheese as there wasn’t any cheesy fragrant from a baked cheese dish!



Darling’s desert:


The little darling’s dessert was rwarrrrrrrrrrr! Three elements to this one.  YUMMY, SMALL and PRICEY!  But the idea of giving the berry pannacotta  a layer of white chocolate was brilliant.  Then there was the Ume Plum Jelly which had a distinctive flavour bursting with fruitiness!  It was lovely even though the serve was miniscule.


Ok, I’m nearly dying of exhausting trying to put everything on @,@!!!! But everything tonight was yummyyyyyyy.  OMG everything was so god damn yummy! *ackk*  Only if I could somehow use a magic wand and double up the size of the dishes, I would not mind coming here every week!  At the end of the meal, we were all poorer.  I think poor Fishman was not entirely full! The serving size here is really small.  In a way, you could say that Ha-Lu does casual fine dining.  Nonetheless, it was an experience I would not regret.  Maybe next time, just the little darling and I?



Ha-Lu on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bites: Little Ying Thai @ Victoria Park.

This little Thai cafe along Albany highway near Dome has a name that reminds me of one of the best Thai restaurants in Melbourne, Ying Thai 2 (check it out here).  Then comes the food unfortunately, which my sister tried once and said it was mediocre only.  I was not satisfied with her comment and could not resist trying it which I ended up doing yesterday!  Vil tagged along as it has been quite a while since I last met him!  When we went into the restaurant, we were greeted by some fine smelling Thai fragrant which covered the entire eating place.  Funnily enough, we were the only ones there at 1.30p.m.  Hmmm, who were they cooking for?


We promptly attended to by  the waiter who kindly asked us to call him when we were ready to order.  We soon ordered and I asked for something that was not on their lunch menu.  Well, they keen to kindly prepare my roast duck red curry which I love so much.  Darling ordered chicken tom yam, Fishman ordered spicy chicken fried rice and Vil ordered the Pad Thai!


When my dish came out it looked pretty good. Pineapples, aubergine, capsicums, and tomatoes all of that in a rich and fragrant sauce with pieces of boneless roasted duck in it.  When I first taste it, I though to myself, “Wow, this is actually pretty good,”.  But when I had my first bite into the duck, I was disappointed.  The meat was actually tough, as if the duck has been undercooked.  I would normally expected it to be tender and soft, but it turn out otherwise :(!  The taste was good but a bit sweet.  Perhaps this was because this dish was only meant to be available at night but they prepared it for me during lunch!!  What surprised me more was the difference between the red curry chicken and beef @ $8.80 while the duck curry cost $16.90.  Shocker really.  But the worst was yet to come.


Darling’s beaming face went to an all time low when she was served little Ying Thai’s tom yam soup because it tasted as if tom yam paste was used instead of fresh ingredients!  Real bummer without a doubt!  Vil found his pad Thai “ok” BUT he liked the one at S & T a lot more.  And then comes YH fried rice which he says its way too oily.  Overall, you can see that my sister is right here.  Goddamit I should have trusted her.  This restaurant definitely get a PASS but not even a CREDIT if it was an examinable unit! 


Little Ying Thai on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bites: Phong Vinh @ Northbridge!

Pho Pho Pho Pho Pho-ker face!  Noodles are not without substance considering the comfort it provides!  Cool weather paired with a piping hot bowl of noodles is my slice of heaven.  After getting stuck in the Kwinana Freeway jam for close to an hour, we reached Phong Vinh.  My sister has been trying to bring me to this place every since she tried it a couple months back.  She describes it as “Tra Vinh’s” sister restaurant.  Feeling super hungry yesterday night, I didn’t hesitate much and quickly ordered the Raw Beef and Beef Ball Noodle soup @$10.50! 


On the first sight, this hearty bowl of noodle soup looked like an exact replication of the one from Tra Vinh.  But after slowly eating spoonful after spoonful, I soon realise the flaws which  were not so obvious on the first sight.  The soup tended to be a little oily  which is rather unfortunate because the soups felt somewhat contaminated !=X!!  But I did not feel deterred to finish the entire bowl of noodles and was close to finishing the entire bowl at the end of the meal haha! I love Vietnames Pho man!  Especially with its fresh condiments scattered around it!


The girls ordered the “Drop Noodle” with chicken which to me was a very catchy name.  Drop noodle huh?  Sounds like something I would not put on my bowl ahah.  But no worries, it turned out to be an udon-like noodle.  The name drop noodle did have a rationale to it though. Little Darling mentioned that she found eating the noodles difficult because it kept dropping off the spoon! xD!


The girls meal for the night, the Chicken Drop Noodles @ $10!


At the end of the night, the oil in the noodles mattered little, if anymore at all.  We arrived the restaurant close to 8 and finished half past nine.  Hungry much, these delightful serves of noodles soup were heavenly.  With Tra Vinh, To To, and Viet Nosh, in my good books, I would not hesitate to put Phong Vinh up there too! It was an absolute delight despite some minor setbacks!   Recommended to noodle lovers!  The rich albeit slightly oily beef broth was a pleaser!

After having our noodles, we decided to ditch our normal Dome coffee session and instead, headed over to Cream @ East Perth.  I was left shocked really!!  The place was overloaded with well dressed people, well for me whom was dressed in Polo and shorts + thongs at least. I shyly made my entry with the the gang. Quite a nice place! The Panacotta with ice cream, mango and passion fruit was stunning, the Brazilian dark hot chocolate, well, not so.  Cream has definitely made entry to one of my must try restaurants now! But first, Ha Lu next week!



Phong Vinh on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bites: Iku Sushi @ Perth City

It been awhile since I actually walked in the city; two weeks to be exact.  Lately, if you realise, the city has been oozing in desperation to get rid of its “dullsville” title and in doing so, many buildings have been developed and, WOW!  I have to say, the main shopping street is starting to feel a bit hmm.. how do I say this? A bit “Melbourne-ish”?  One of the newest buildings called one40william houses a new sushi cafe in a cool place.  I definitely liked the makeover given to this building.  Really stylish and all, but putting decors aside, I recently visited this sushi cafe in an attempt to comprehend the hype that has stirred up.  This it the blog review for Iku Sushi :)!


Iku Sushi!


The interior was good, but the outside dining area was nice!


Lady Boss at the counter?


Even nicer, the Popcorn Chicken Kaarage and Onion Rings at about $5 each!


The chicken Kaarage was good but a tad under fried leaving it a bit oily.  But its taste was good though. I had the chicken bites with the salad drizzled with citrus ponzu and Jap mayo, BANG! However, Toraya at Subiaco still does the kill.  Unfortunately the onion rings, had the same exact problem, leaving it greasy @.@! But Iku Sushi,  isn’t  alone, V burger does the same thing too! Too greasy too oily!  Yobi, who loves grease felt disgusted after SHARING with me a serve from V-burger last year.


This can’t be all I ordered knowing that this place has a secret weapon under its sheets.  Iku Sushi’s chicken cheese burger roll ditches all the clich├ęs to try to standout as a star player. 


The chicken cheeseburger roll came with spicy mayonnaise!  Served piping hot, melted cheese leaked from everywhere like a real good cheese burger should.  Everything looked perfect from its image.  However, that all becomes an illusion when your teeth sinks into rice rolls which leave you feeling stuffed! SAD!  Oily!! =X


By the end of the meal, 2 girls and 2 guys were feeling really full from the little dishes we ordered.  The girls though it was the grease, the guys, well, thought it was OK.  I find the roll a tad over fried while the onion rings a little too stingy on the batter and the pop corn chicken, under fried.

One thing for sure though, we were kinda douche for ordering all fried foods in a sushi cafe.  Like seriously?  Sushi is meant to be healthy but we came in looking for KFC. @@! Next time, fresh ones!!



Iku Sushi on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bites: John Street Cafe @ Cottesloe

Happy mornings, lazy mornings, what other “mornings”do we have? A yummy morning maybe? Last Sunday, was Nee’s mom’s last day here. So we decided to start her last morning in Perth with a different type of meal :)! My cousin suggested to me, a few times before, that a certain cafe along John Street makes superb brekkies. The hash brown in particular really. Having problems waking up before, we slept early, determined to wake up to enjoy this morning with our new housemate’s mother. We were there around 8.30 in the morning and it was already packed to the brim. We booked a place for 6 and was 4th in the queue. Fortunately, it did not take long for their energetic crew to find us a seat. 15 minutes ;-)!


Morning people! Kids, moms, and dads!


Colourful table! Hehe!

When the menu came to us, I wasn’t exactly amused. Simple things that could be cooked for 20 bucks. While my mind wasn’t convinced to order the big breakfast, I actually ended up with one of the meals people would consider less value for money. But that didn’t matter, when I was done with the meal, it was a happy ending! Breakfast really feels better when it is all done up for you!!


My Vegetarian Big Breakfast @ $20. Homemade baked beans, mushrooms, poached eggs, hash browns, tomatoes and olive oil toast. The eggs were awesome possum no question. But I guess it is a norm that it comes out perfect as I have been to a few brekkie cafes in Melbourne before and it always comes out perfect. The mushrooms were really good, and oh the hash brown. It is was homemade. Felt like battered mash potatoes seasoned with herbs and mustard before being deep fried. The beans were also a house special. I recognised three beans in there. The baked beans, kidney beans and chick peas all cooked in a thick tomato sauce which felt rich enough to be tossed in pasta. Really delicious. I feel like I must have it once more. Maybe once I feel motivated to wake up early again? :D!

This was Xin Ling’s Egg Benedict @$15 which was err Egg Hollandaise on top of English brekkie muffins with ham? I think so ahah. Oh and she added the hash brown to her meal which was $4 bucks!


She liked it a lot and was super enthusiastic at first making a statement she didn’t know she would regret later on ahah. She insisted on having one breakfast meal by herself and by the time she knew it, she was filled to brim while the plate was only half finished! Ahhaha.

Xin Nee and My sister ordered pretty much the same thing. They had a Big Breakfast @$20. They were your typical ones with meat overload. The sausages, and the bacon with a massive serve of scrambled eggs on top of crisp olive toast. It’s my sister’s second time having it and I’d have to say, she looked like a merry pig by the time she was done with it.


Over all, I think this place makes the cut as a good eatery to have a relaxing breakfast on a Sunday morning. In fact, any mornings will do. A good change from the dim sum mornings we would normally have in Perth. No mistake on the things we ordered. Vegetarian or meat, you will not leave the John St. cafe hungry. In fact, you will be full till lunch time! On a down side, a juice here will set you back $7.20 and a coffee/tea something like $4 which is quite a norm in Perth. So, I would recommend that you seal the deal and get the John St. breakfast which allows you to have a choice of either vegetarian or meat with both a Coffee/Tea and an Orange juice! You don’t need to have both because you could easily share it!


John Street Cafe on Urbanspoon