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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bites: Fibber McGee’s @ Leedervile

In a country, that prides itself with one of the best beef in the world, Australia certainly does not disappoint.  In my latest foodie visit, I decided to give Fibber McGee’s in Leederville a try.  This Irish pub has operated for more than a decade with its very own farm (according to its website).  All cows are butchered and dry-aged in house, meaning diners should only expect the best.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Using the entertainment book, my sister and I both ordered the humungous dry-aged rib eye with a side vegetables and fried goodies which include tempura onion rings and chips!  Believe it or not, the discount is a buy 1 free one which made our steaks only $25 dollars each.  It was such a steal!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Generous Dry Aged  Rib Eye which came weighing in at 500grams.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious sides which includes the vegetables, tempura onion rings and chips (can’t fault with store bought ones), I had a question about the steak.  What constitutes a good dry aged steak?  For me, two important requirement, first is the robustness of the flavour thanks to the higher concentration of blood and reduced moisture.  Dry aging lets the beef naturally reduce its moisture (water content) through evaporation.  The next important thing is the increase in tenderness due to the deterioration of chewy muscles intertwining the meat layers as the meats due to natural enzymes digesting them.  So how does Fibber McGee’s stack up against my two requirement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA My sister and I had our steaks cooked to two style, one was medium rare and the other medium.  My medium steak felt slightly overdone as all it had in the middle was a very pale pink colour.  I was hoping to see a little darker shade of pink but it still works fine for me.  In terms of tenderness, the steak was spot on.  Cooking large slices of steak is usually impossible to get even cooking but this was perfectly executed.  However, my major complain is that the flavour of the beef felt lacking in richness.  I am not sure what Rockpool does to their steaks but theirs carry a certain flavour and taste to their beef which makes it even more tempting to eat!  Sister’s beef on the other hand, was deliciously red on the inside and for me, this is the maximum cooking that dry aged steaks should be prepared to.  Medium Rare.   But then again, like my steak, I believe the richness the steak flavour still felt lacking.


At the end of the night, we barely finished half of our meal as sis decided to add a side of mash which was velvety smooth and yummy.  With so much leftovers, it would be a waste to throw it away such good meat although sceptics even questioned among themselves why would we even bring steaks back when they were pretty “positive” that it was going to get thrown away.  So to those disbelievers, a steak can be used for more than one purpose.  In this case, the steak was still absolutely tender when I did a quick pan fry to make my steak sandwich!  :P!


Last but not the least, I found the service here pretty slow although there were so few of us.  On the positive side, at leas the waiters were keen to serve!


Fibber McGee’s to me is a pretty damn good steakhouse that charges decent money for quality steak.  With such places around, is there even a need for places like Hog Breath?  I doubt it.  If you have a budget and want a bite of luxury, Fibber McGee’s definitely is definitely the place to be.  In fact, 3 people can easily share two serves.    However, if you are an extremely picky eater who wants nothing but the best, the steaks at Rockpool still holds a place dear to my heart.  Its steaks are tip top with no expenses spared in making it absolutely the best.  The catch?  $60-120 dollars for a piece with no sides.



Fibber McGee's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bites: BlueWaters @ Cottesloe

Bluewaters hold a happy memory for me as I first came here with the little darling awhile ago.  Last week, I decided to pay a visit with my friends to see how the cook, a former Michelin starred restaurant chef has cope with time.  The food that night felt a little lackluster but where it was strong before, it still is now.


For starters, risotto dishes at Bluewaters are just simply delicious! They are light, buttery and pack the beautiful flavors of the season.  That night, I had the Nero Risotto which was squid ink risotto with scallops.  This for me was the highlight.  Superbly executed and easily comparable to the mint and sweet pea risotto I had 2 years ago.  Many kudos for the consistency!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next appetizer was the Arancini which to me felt a little dense.  The creamy dressing if I recall correctly to be Aioli or a mayo concoction of some sort did not quite make the cut too.  The Arancini itself is a pretty dense ball filled with cheese and rice which to me is pretty bland.  Perhaps a chutney for some sweetness or tomato chili salsa for that extra freshness and acidity.  That would definitely prevent this dish from starting your meal too heavy especially if you had the whole thing yourself, it would be cloying! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


For my main, I chose the Wagyu steak.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI really felt that this was nowhere near the fillet steak I had before.  What to me was a turnoff was the fatty bits which were not tasty.  So, for me, I plucked out all the fatty bits to have the meat.  Nowadays, I find the name Wagyu overused.  There is no point using the Wagyu is it does not benefit the steak enough.  This clearly is one of those instances.  A cube of prime Angus fillet would have more than suffice like it did 2 years ago.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other main we had was the Salmon which my friend said was pretty good! Kudos to the chef for that one.


Over all, I thought my dinner there was pretty enjoyable.  Food was still quality although the misses were pretty apparent this time!  Also, my friend found the waiter quite rude as she mumbles to herself when speaking.  As if mocking as times according to fishman.  Perhaps better luck next time? 



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bites: Nahm Thai @ Highgate

As an amateur to the fine dining scene in Perth, the suburb Highgate and Mount Lawley has been nothing but surprisingly good (although EXPENSIVE) restaurants.  Located next to one of my favourite Japanese fusion restaurant Nine Fine Food, a Thai restaurant has taken the decadent Thai cuisine to a whole new level.   To start off, I am going to put a little controversial statement that if you dislike Thai food, you probably do not know how to eat. Fact.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Nahm Thai, this was all business and this was no joke.  Forget messy, forget street style Bangkok food.  At Nahm Thai, it is all about the finesse and matching taste without losing its traditional roots.  Funny fact though, is that Nahm Thai is not run by a Thai person but instead a Vietnamese couple who is passionate about their Thai food.   On Saturdays, only a Nahm Thai set menu is available for $75 per head. 


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGalloping Horse was our first appetizer where little slices of pineapples and orange segments were topped with a paste which closely resembled “belachan”  or prawn paste.  Clearly present were bits of dried prawns which were nice.  It was sweet, and salty with a hint of heat but not too much.  With the fruit, it was really quite tasty although it did not really “wow” the palette as it did to the eye!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASoft shell crab, watermelon, salad was probably one of the best dishes that night.  Whether it was the delicious sauce or the perfectly crispy soft shell crab, it was yummy!  Underneath all that fried crabs are a bed of diced watermelon which works quite nicely with the crispy seafoods.  I realize that watermelon goes well with deep fried slightly spicy food like the deep fried squid I had at Jacksons and even this dish at Nahm Thai is a really good example.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAScallop, curry and chili  was for me the reason why the first appetizer lost its “wow” factor.  The same paste we had on the fruit were used on these perfectly seared scallops with a spoonful of lip smacking red curry sauce.  For me, this combination was just absolute.  The large scallops means there is no hiding that delicious sweetness of the scallops despite the strong flavored herbed paste.  More importantly, the red curry sauce tied everything together for that one perfect morsel.  I really liked this!


Having the appetizers above, Nahm Thai had my appetizer riding a high although the similarity between the scallops and galloping horse will not have happened had they been able to supply their betel leaf.  Nonetheless, knowing what we ordered for our mains made me drool!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst main served to us was the roast duck red curry with lychees and quail eggs.  Unlike previous versions I have had before, this was simply flawless especially the red curry sauce that was rich and extremely fragrant.   The sweetness is well toned on this one although it was a little sweeter than I would have liked.  But more importantly, is that the sweetness did not feel as if it was all from the sugared syrup.  It felt more subtle although its presence is unmistakable.  Also, one thing that made me like this even more was that the curry did not feel oily in anyway.  My previous tries even at the S & T Café was extremely oily.  To put it together, the roast duck red curry in Nahm Thai is simply sublime hitting all the right notes where it matters most!!


Crispy skin barramundi, and herbsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur next main was a fish course which to me turned out slightly disappointing.  The fish definitely felt lack luster with it soggy skin being the main cause.  And at this early stage, I am already starting to feel worried.  The little concoction which made the soft shell crab appetizer highly appetizing is starting to feel overused although in fact, the sauces could be different despite tasting similar.  Not sure how that works but I will not mention further.  The grilled vegetables went well with the fish and my praise for this dish is that the fish is very fresh.  I would normally not eat barramundi as I have heaps of bad experience with it being overly fish with a scent of muddiness.



The pork hock was also the victim of the “same sauce”  syndrome with the exception that this also had a thicker syrup on the dish.  But for this dish, it was simply perfect.  The sauce is spot on.  Hard to fault as this combination of sweetness and pork like a classic pork roast and apple sauce.   Or perhaps turkey with cranberry sauce.    But more importantly, the pork hock was crisp on the skin, tender on the inside with absolutely no bones.  This was absolute joy!


Other than this dish, we also ordered grilled prawns which were placed on a bed of cucumber salad.  The crime?  SAME SAUCE problem.  No insults but it did not taste  any different from the sauce seen in the soft shell crab, fish, and pork hock.  To a certain extent, this is going to be a problem for most if not everyone.   To drag things a little lower, we were 1 prawn short which had your sincerely giving up the prawn so others could have theirs.  Fortunately though, I asked for an extra serve of dessert instead of troubling the chef to prepare one large prawn.


After a less than satisfying main (more reasons to come at the end), we were treated to our dessert course:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe lime tart with coconut ice cream was a in house specialty that had me drooling with its presentation.  Taste wise, this dish splendidly displayed the zesty lime flavors that was simply delicious in desserts.  On first bite though, the acidity might feel a little overpowering.  But when the tongue adjusts itself to this velvety smooth lemon custard, it was hard to stop.  The crust was slightly hard but that was hardly enough to fault with the dessert.  For me, I thoroughly enjoyed it but to my dismay, my dining companion enjoyed it even more than I did.  I have always thought that he is no big fan of sour foods but I was wrong.


For my second dessert, I could not have gone any further than to try the benchmark of any Thai cooking, the obligatory sticky rice with coconut milk and fresh mangoes.  Not joking! In Thailand  most electric rice cookers come with multiple levels drawn on the pot which distinguishes between water levels needed to cook glutinous rice and normal rice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was delicious in almost every place that screams “I’m authentic” and the version at Nahm Thai did not disappoint either.  But where changes can be made for the better, I felt that the sticky rice was a little tougher than I would have liked it to be.  Pandan leaf taste was way too subtle as if it never existed.  For me, the rice has to be fragrant, light, and cooked just right.  And to me, having deep fried shallots just does not make the cut.    While it seems like I have faulted with every element except the coconut milk and the mango,  it was still pretty good.  But in my list of tops, nowhere near Jim’s mother’s version where authentic Thai is finished with a touch of homeliness.


Another issue I need to point out was the fact that the Jasmine rice was a little hard that night.  But having mixed the coconut and Jasmine rice in equal proportions help bring the carbs back on track!


At the end, Nahm Thai is clearly a winner when it comes to quality food which further reinforces that fact that anyone can cook anything.  But with its highs comes its lows where the food to a certain extent felt slightly one dimensional with the sauce and condiments used over and over again.    Then comes the fact that the waitress seemed more interested in varying our meat than the flavors that day.  But how does Nahm Thai change the Thai food scene in Perth.   For me, the quality here significantly differs itself from other high end places without being pretentious.  Nahm Thai could easily be a whole new level if our choices were made with better help from the waitress.  Unfortunately in this particular occasion, it was good but not great enough to be prided as Thai dining at a whole new level.  I remembered the menu and I know what we should have ordered to avoid the problem of the same sauce issue.  A step which could have made our meal a whole new level.


My pick for a more than 3 person Nahm degustation is:


Scallops on shell

Crispy soft shell crab

Miang Prawns



Roast Duck Red Curry

Crispy Pork Hock

King Prawn Green Curry

Beef Stew (Nahm Thai’s version of the Massaman)






Nahm Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bites: Amuse Re-visited @ East Perth

The last time the little darling and I came to Amuse, we were treated to a degustation like none other were the simplest of ingredients were turned into something extraordinary.  Hoping to relive our beautiful experience with our friends, we decided to have our last gathering for the year at Amuse.
Considering how much praises I had for them in my last visit, I will not dwell too much on each dish served but instead mentioned the high and lows for the night.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA “snack” of cured meat was not even half as satisfying as the bone marrow tubes the little darling and I had before.  It was rather unfortunate that the cured meat did not benefit from the curing as is did not pack the natural flavors that usually mellows with the meat but this still carried a porky stench.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet potato crisps with sour cream was probably one of the nicer snacks along with the crackers topped with rosemary powder and edible flowers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATasmanian trout with dill and mustard on top of a thin layer of crisp was not as good as my previous visit because the crisp had turned soggy at the bottom.

Appetizers:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACeviche of blue ridge marron, poached marron claw, compressed melons and cucumber.  This for me was an appetizer not worthy of the Amuse household.  Its mediocre ceviche was served lukewarm making it feel as if the marrons have started turning bad.  Definitely a low especially when my friend got mild food poisoning later that morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAsparagus, green and white was a showcase of how one can do so much with so little.  Beautiful white asparagus was poached in pecorino oil while the green asparagus was shaved with its harder outer layer turned into ash and sprinkled on top pecorino cream.  To finish off was an asparagus soup which was delish.  This dish was not one of strong taste but rather a subtle sweetness of the asparagus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The obligatory half boiled runny egg served smoking in a jar.   Inside was a serve of egg, mushrooms, pine nuts and salty treat of crisp chicken skin. Slurps!!  This dish was voted the top “HOT” dish in Australia which was on par with a dish produced by Quay in Sydney!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEgg, mushroom and pine nuts!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACuttlefish, pork and nettles.  This for me was one of the best dishes we had that night surpassing the mediocre cuttlefish dish I had in my first visit at Amuse! This beautifully composed dish was cooked spot on, topped with spicy crisps and sat on top of a salsa Verde which had more than 25 ingredients including chopped sausages.  It was delicious.  I enjoyed every bit of this dish as it was just the perfect pairing of ingredients although some might argue that the salsa Verde was a little too salty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Rabbit, carrot and buttermilk sounds like the perfect Bugs Bunny story but this fell a little short of my expectations.  I loved the bit of the rabbit wrapped in silver beet cooked sous vide as it was super soft and tender but the other rabbit strip loin felt like corned meat and was really salty.  Perhaps it was meant to be corned but I must have missed that part of the description.

Our final savory course for the night was called the Duck, sweet corn and buckwheat.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
But for me, the best bit of the night would have to be the duck course which was absolutely spot on in terms of cooking.  The duck was perfectly cooked I can guarantee, while the buckwheat provided a textural element with the grilled corn providing an earthy yet very delicious flavor when paired up with the gamey meat!!  Broccoletti though, felt as if it was there because mom says greens are good for you.

Palette cleanserOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrape fruit, lychee and Thai basil. 

Desserts:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJersey cream, berries and rhubarb!  In an attempt to re-make a typical ice cream, Amuse has whipped up chill cream making it extremely light without losing it creaminess before topping the lot with rhubarb!  Put in a small jar on the side is a small compote consisting of grilled strawberries, crystallized blood orange and berries making this dessert delicious!   The fruits were a mix of sweet ripened ones and sour berries which provided different levels of sweetness in this dessert. I like this quite a fair bit despite its simplicity!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur final dessert course before the petit fours is a course of chocolate, wattle and honey comb.  But do not be fooled, the chocolate here is no conventional chocolate but instead been served in a form of jelly.  While some might consider that special, I have never taken a liking to having my chocolate in the form of a jelly as there is no sense of creaminess in doing so.  All you get is a mild bitterness in it.  Other component were nice with a little liquid nitrogen play in freezing the ice cream so that it melts in your mouth.  But the unfortunate story is the bit where the little ice cream bits still take a little too long reach that state of creaminess and very often it is down your throat before it happens.  For me, this could have been a lot better.

After the sweet finish, we were serve complimentary tea and treatsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPineapple jubes, sugared berries and half dipped tangerines were a very poor ending to the night.  Not really sure is this the intention of Amuse but the execution of the start and end was really poor.  For me, if Amuse was a person, the his/her image is totally tarnished.  The start and the end if really all that counts where outcome matters.  For me, Amuse has failed in this aspect.  The half dipped tangerine felt like Koko Black rip offs while the jubes have not improved from when I had it before.  Even the berries looked childishly prepared.  

Coming from a place like Amuse and a degustation menu which had increase in price, I certainly expected more from the kitchen.  On the bright side, the middle courses have certainly improved.  The cuttlefish was a shining start along with the perfectly prepared duck.   Unfortunately, the only saving grace were the savory menu.  The dessert bits were a tad of disappointment which quickly escalated to a large disappointment with the chocolate course. 

Was this a failure by the kitchen?  For me, I would like to think not as every degustation is an experiment.  However, my friend have a different dining definition and for him, a degustation is where the chef’s skills and imagination should be stretched to the limit.   If you have the definition of the latter, my dining at Amuse which totaled to over a $1000 tonight was by means a failure which only have a 6.5/11 approval for which a point was given to dishes I liked and 0.5 points where applicable.  For a meal that cost $130 per person, one would definitely have expected more.

Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bites: Bistro Guillaume Pt. 2 @ Crown, Burswood

Promising a return to Bistro Guillaume after a disappointing first visit, I am back here just two days after .   Some say “once bitten, twice shy”, but in this situation, it is a case of “don’t try, don’t know”.  Coming at 10pm, we were promptly seated and served unlike the first visit.  From there it was clear that the atmosphere at the Bistro has calmed down a  whole lot.  The crowds were more settled, the floor less frantic and everything has seemed to have slowed its paces.  In fact, even the waitresses are more composed and able.  For example, our waitress for the night very enthusiastically explained to us their dessert menu and accompanying hot drinks unlike the first time when we were just left with the menu.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust the restaurant half empty which for me was a perfect setting for a relaxing end to my Friday night.


Having felt disappointed at the complimentary bread initially, I had really hoped to see something worthy produced in this place tonight as part of the renown Guillaume franchise.  For dessert tonight, the little darling and I ordered the petit fours and a chocolate soufflé to share.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first three are the cocoa dusted chocolate truffles, aniseed cake, and caramel candy.  The petit fours were priced at $5 which was extremely cheap considering the variety we had.   And of course curious readers might be wondering why 5 varieties for something called Petit Fours, that is because the terminology actually means small oven in French and nothing to do with the number of mini desserts.   The chocolate truffles were one of the best I have ever eaten with its bitter cocoa dusting complementing the creamy velvety smooth chocolate filling.   The aniseed cake tasted very familiar but yet delicious.  As for the caramel, it was fantastic.  I am a big caramel fan and I cannot help but enjoy the  buttery rich flavors of a caramel candy!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the other end, the pistachio macarons and fruit jubes were probably my highlight of the lot.  These sugary morsels were top notch.  Macarons had the right balance of sweetness with a hard shell which slowly develops to a chewy consistency through.  Pistachio flavors were obvious and for me, it was lovely.  Lastly were the fruit jubes which I have compared many times across my fine dining experience.  Fortunately, this is an extremely redeeming feature for the pastry kitchen who had initially failed to ‘wow’  me with their complimentary bread offering.  The jubes from my taste buds felt very fruity.  If I am correct, it was guava passionfruit flavor which had a good balance of sweetness and sourness.  The jubes had a good bouncy feel through it too.  This easily tops Jacksons and Amuse while sitting comfortably with the jubes offered by Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon.


The next dessert was the chocolate soufflé @ $22.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Digging in, I was treated to a luscious warm spoonable chocolate that felt so light it was unimaginable.  More importantly, it was rich yet it did not feel cloying.  Pistachio ice cream felt spot on in term of texture and in terms of flavor it had a good pistachio fragrant too.  Judging by the number of these that were coming out of the kitchen, it was clear that this is a house specialty.  And from what I had that night, this will continue to be one of the most highly sought after desserts in town.  However though, I was slightly disappoint as I was imagining a small chocolate lava filling in there as well.  Nonetheless, this was delicious!


Having finished our drinks, we were very happy.  Whether it was a comparison to our dinner two days ago or to our dining experience at previous fine dining establishments, this is how my first meal here should have turned out.  I enjoyed the service we received as the waitress showed passion at doing her task and performs it well.  More importantly, she picks up the little things such as being able to tell that diners are shy for asking more and does it automatically to help us make our decisions. Absolutely helpful.  Even the little darling felt that the service we received was impeccable!  But how do you make a great night even better?  Why not have a picture with the owner Guillaume Brahimi himself? :)! It was super good! I think I can safely withdraw my negative criticisms now.  But even then, there still exist a certain doubt in mewhether we were treated better because they can or because Guillaume was in house or was it just because the crowd was lesser.  Anyways, it was a good start to my weekend! I am pleased!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bites: Bistro Guillaume @ Crown Casino, Burswood

After weeks if not months of anticipation and fully booked venue, the little darling and I landed our booking at Guillaume’s bistro at Crown Burswood, the new restaurant from the renown Guillaume Brahimi.  For me, this could not be a better way to celebrate our 29th Monthniversary, a date I came up with lols.   As we arrived at the bistro, we were served but told that we could not be seated at our table as it was still occupied.    After 15 minutes at the bar, we were finally seated.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABistro Guillaume! Finally!


Sitting down, one of the most notable feature of the restaurant was its quirky interior and how Guillaume has place his name all over everything. For me I liked the interior as it did not feel to cliché or pretentious.  Then comes one of the most dreaded parts of the evening, the ordering process.  On Urbanspoon, one user has even came up with a slogan for it called “French or Frantic”.  Yes the restaurant was full but with so many waiters and waitresses on the floor it should not be that hard.  After trying a few times, I finally got the attention of the waitress who mentioned that she was only here to serve bread and that taking orders were the task of the section waiter.  Ok FINE… I shall eat my bread.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrusty Bread!   Was pretty damn crusty on the outside but soft on the inside!   Served with the obligatory salt flakes and butter, it was hard to fault although Bistro Guillaume being French, I was expecting a twist in its pastry kitchen.  Maybe a small Croissant?  Ok perhaps that was an insult to think that French only makes Croissant.  But seriously, just a bread basket with 2-3 choices would not be too hard.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASea Salt Flakes and Butter.   Without this, that crusty bread would have been impossible.  This was <3!


After a course of bread, our drinks arrived.  Darling’s Strawberry Frostie and my Butterscotch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile  the little darling’s drink tasted very familiar as she has mocktails every now and then, my cocktail of vodka, orange liqueur, and butterscotch felt delicious at first.  And typically being alcohol, it tasted pretty bitter.  But still a delicious treat for those not into drinks that taste too alcoholic!


I have always been a safe eater when it comes to my meals.  It was always legged or some sort of fish that I would call.  But being encouraged by fellow foodie Glenn of Glennlee and Chomp who reviewed this dish before, I ordered the Escargots En Persillade. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJudging by what I was served, these tiny morsels which tasted no more than mushroom with an earthier note was covered in a delicious herb sauce.  Not exactly sauce but rather a perfect mix of parsley, butter and a very obvious amount of garlic.  As a first time Escargot eater, I was very satisfied.  It did not feel chewy and neither did it stink.  Probably the later was more important than the former.  Eating this, I could not help but hoped that I was given more bread to polish every single bit of sauce of this dish.  The bread given has this bloody outer crust that just won’t cooperate in absorbing all that delicious parsley butter!   Luckily enough, the miniature spoon was handy in making this cumbersome task a whole lot easier!  When I was done, I momentarily reflected on what makes a great dish while putting away the exotic ingredient because I felt like something was missing. And it did not take too long before I realized that the dish was missing some sort of depth in flavor.   Yes, a few to share would have been absolutely stunning, but a dozen of these soaking in buttery parsley all for myself?  I was too greedy.


For the little darling, she ordered the Onion Soup.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnion Soup, Old Bread and Melted cheese.  Typically something soupy would have gone down extremely well with the little darling.   But the onion soup at Guillaume’s was very rich in onion such that every scoop was filled with it.  To some, that might be lip smacking but for the little darling, it was a little overboard.   What she disliked even more was the fact that the soup was overly sweet.  She was hoping for something a little more delicate, more subtle.  The onions were ok but the sweetness was probably the thingy that she disliked the most.    I had a bite too and was wondering whether is even possible for onion soup to have such sweetness.  With no culinary knowledge, I can only assume that sugar must have been a component added somewhere along the line.


After finishing our appetizers, we talked and talked and talked and TALKED.  As we were pushed for time, we patiently counted the minutes and it took the chefs a whopping 35 minutes to bring our mains out despite us mentioning a couple of times that we had a busy schedule planned for the night.   Between the darling and I, we had a discussion about whether it was us being subjective because we were pressed for time but ultimately decided that it was just way too slow.


The mains:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVeal tenderloin, Beet Root Puree and Baby Swiss Chard.  This was for me really delicious.  The meat was spot on.  Being served with beetroot puree almost felt like a no brainer.  Most gamey meat I have had always works with beetroot.  Lamb especially.  So it was no surprise how this dish went!!!!  Beautiful sweet beetroot which was immensely earthy paired with an earth vegetable.  Seriously a major amplification of taste.  The tenderloins were in a class of its own which was fantabulous!   Melt in your mouth feel was spot on.  This one I like, but was this French? I could not care less.


For the darling, her dish was the spectacle for the night.. or at least it looked great!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor $42, this really had to be a fish and chip with an achievement so high that one could easily pick the clouds after eating it.  Presentation was really cool and unconventional with a fish split up to down when it is normally done the other way around.    The chips were the fattest ones I have seen in a long time and even the lemon felt cut to impress.  The fish came with a slab of parsley garlic butter aka beurre maitre d'hotel that was meant to melt and leave a lingering buttery taste to the fish.  And very pre-maturely, the experience ended.  Promised before hand was a beautifully filleted whiting, deboned, crumbled and deep fried.  From the first few bites which ended just halfway through the fish, the little darling was struggling.  Bones here, bones there and that was it.  I immediately hailed for the Maitre D’ and expressed my dissatisfaction.  He quickly offered a replacement which was a gesture of kindness but as we were short of time, I requested that it be removed from both the table and bill.   Over all, the darling found this dish to be good but lacking in finesse.  The proper removal of bones and a side serve of sauce would have definitely made its price worth it.


It was a moment of coma as I walked out of the restaurant.    This certainly felt like a very premature ending to my night.  There were no desserts, the dinner was not cheap as it amounted to $120 excluding the fish, the darling slightly unhappy and it all felt very surreal.  Was this how my first French experience was to be?  Unfortunately in Perth yes but luckily, not in my life.  I lost it at Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon which was probably a very smart thing to do.    Speaking of food, Bistro Guillaume was not by any standard crappy or lackluster.  It was good.  Perhaps very good for most people.  But for me, it just was not great.  If the little darling’s meal of fish and chips were added to the bill along with two dessert, it was very easily a $200 dollar meal;  and that is my benchmark for fine dining where in all honesty, a picture this decadent bistro would never qualify.  A bistro is still a bistro.  Nonetheless, that does not mean I am not returning. NO that is impossible.  Until that chocolate soufflé with pistachio ice cream please my mouth, Bistro Guillaume is not disqualified from  a rematch.



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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Wedding Dinner! Convention Center

A couple of weeks ago, my cousin got married at the convention center and told me that he had a feast prepared for all his guest knowing how much the family loves eating.  I have to say, I was blown away by the quality of the food we had that night :)!  Taking into account all the horrible experiences I had from past graduations, company events and even engineering cocktails, I guess it is safe to say that my cousin did well in his selection of food.  Most of the food photos are below with the exception of approximately 5 dishes?  I think we had more than 10 dish if each appetizer is considered a dish!



Buddha cups which had close resemblance to a Nyonya favourite, the Pie Tee.



Jelly fish and duck.  Slurps! Loved the blend of gamey duck meat and seasoned jelly fish!



Chicken Cake with Ham is the name of this dish.   Neither was the chicken or ham taste apparent.



Cold Prawn, Melon was decent but would benefit from a spoon treatment!  Bits of melon were impossible to pick up!



Spring rolls!



Sharks fin, dry scallops and fungus.



Singapore style chili prawns.



Shredded beef fillet steak, Chinese style sauce.



Dessert.  Mango Pudding, Strawberry Coulis and White Chocolate Flute.



More importantly, congratulations cousin :)!