Nuffnang Ads

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bites: Restaurant Amuse @ Perth

A special occasion demands a special venue.  While it is nothing new for little darling, I did want us to have a good night.  With countless of praise from bloggers and food critics alike, there seemed no better place than Amuse.   Often renowned as one of the best if not the best in Western Australia, I booked well ahead of time to ensure we both had a place for our anniversary.  The decor of Amuse is minimalistic with art pieces showcasing symmetry and it all seems very textural from where I sat.  Was this a sign of things to come that night?  Multi-dimensional food with significant textural elements fit for heaven? I wonder.
Simple sitting!

As this was our anniversary I told myself not to be that geek with the camera but realise that I have the little darling with me. A few dishes I have missed out due to poor lighting and I did not take more than 1 shot of each course. But that was alright, the night was one to remember!

Drinks for two!  We decided to leave the menu a secret until we finally gave up waiting in anticipation after 6-8 courses.

Ocean Trout with Honey Mustard.  Good first impressions creates lasting ones and this was here to say.  This was an enjoyable yet fairly straightforward snack which can be applauded for so many reasons.  One in particular was the honey mustard where subtleness of the mustard gave a really good taste to the fish while the sweetness of the honey was just spot on!  Well toned flavours for this one.  The crisp gave it a nice crunchy too!

Potato Crisps were really good but I did not quite get the dollop or something.  I think the waitress mentioned brine or something something?  I remember that it was salty and sweet. Not bad!
Two other snack that were served was the Oat crisps and Prosciutto piped with Bone Marrow.  The oat crisp was nice but the snack with Bone Marrow was even better.  Darling and I were pretty sceptical at first but oh boy we were wrong.  The meat used to encase that lovely bone marrow was so nice!  So was the bone marrow itself.  Felt creamy and really tasty!

After the snacks came the bread with a really nice spread which I think was butter and solidified olive oil!  Basically really good in-house crusty bread where you have both wholemeal and white.  Free flow for the whole night.  Neither of the condiments were salted as the bread was already salty.  I have to say, I love my bread fresh.  That smell and the satisfaction of pulling it apart is gorgeous.  Saying this, I rarely eat bread, but when I do, I love it!

King Fish, Nashi Pear and Tea Tree.  This was the first proper course.  I hate sashimi.  But this was wow! No seriously, wow!  The fish was so fresh it was hard to hate.  Nashi pear slices really paired well with that fish.  Good thinking in the kitchen.  Tea tree hmm how does it even taste?  Not quite sure whether the crowd was necessary but as it is, the pear and the king fish was kickass! Nonetheless, I cannot say that having the tea tree did any harm.  Thumbs up!

Manjimup Truffle and Risotto was an additional course which I added on. No regrets.  Truffles really went well with that delicious risotto.  Definitely could have more risotto to bring everything together.  The flavours here were really  good. But was I liked most was the fact that it had that smokiness in it as if it was smoked or cooked in some bacon or something. So good!  It was also cooked to the extent of creaminess and silkiness that Masterchef judges always want. So this for me a thumbs up! 
After that came the all time catchy half-cooked egg in a jar course with enoki and hickory smoke. DAMN it was good.  I really enjoyed it.  Did not feel like it was something difficult to make but WoW! I do have a theory of how the hickory smoke is captured in the jar but some things are better left unknown.  The eggs and mushroom really felt like a modern reinterpretation of a Chawan Mushi crossed with an Onsen egg. Flavours were significantly Asian but had that Western flair.  Do I even know what I am talking about @@? Probably not.  Still suffering from after effects.
Also, there was the marron course served with guacamole on a thin layer of crisp with lemon dip.  I have had many marrons over the past few months. This one did not disappoint but neither was I wow-ed.   Good stuff but not “blow me away”.

Duck with red and gold beetroot on chestnut puree.  Perfectly cooked with a pinkish middle, these little morsel was of perfectly executed.  However though, it felt a little too small to feel the perfection of a duck breast. But the pairing with beetroot and chestnut was good. From the earthy feeling of the beetroot to the sweetness of the chestnut.  The combination was spot on.  There was also a textural component which brought a nice crunch to the whole dish!

Lamb three ways – diced, fillet, and pulled with chickpea was another dish that felt special.  Textural spectacular was here.  Two almost melt in your mouth lamb and a slightly chewy yet tender tongue finished with a creamy  chickpea names the reasons for the “wows”. The taste albeit slightly blend was really celebrated the flavour of the meat which I did enjoy.

Parpadelle with Sear Scallops and shaved Octopus.  This was one of the dishes that I was really looking forward to that night.   I started the dish with the parpadelle and some of the vegetables with a slice of the cuttlefish with some sauce.  And I really felt disappointed. The taste was blend. Really blend.  Another dive into the dish did not taste until different.  All until I popped that juicy scallop into my mouth and BAM it was a score.  While one could not fault with the scallop, I did not enjoy any of the other elements which followed.

Finishing the mains, we moved onto the the dessert dish where we started with a dehydrated mandarin slice and long pepper.  Just in time to prep us for our dessert course :)!

The first one up that night was a Hazelnut Sorbet with Lemon Curd and Pear with crushed nuts.
Upon my first glance, I was left wondering where was the lemon curd.  Apparently unsuspectingly shaped into long string.  Hazelnut sorbet was silky smooth like how ice creams should be.  Controlled sweetness with good flavours made this dessert every bit delectable.  The foamy pear element was another applauded creation that night.  It was foamy slightly sticky .. are there even words to describe it?  Crunchy hazelnut with all these other texture and once again, textural brilliance by the amazing crew at Amuse!

The final dessert that night was a game of balance and creation.
Passionfruit Meringue two ways with bitter chocolate mousse, sticky toffee, white chocolate and to finish, a sprinkle of salty caramel.  Passionfruit flavour was strong and so was the sweetness from the white chocolate, but the intensity of the bitter chocolate was spot on.  And like how many have mentioned before, a little sweetness can really bring the chocolate to another level.  The fragrant salty caramel was just so good!   Could have had seconds!

To finish the night was petite fours and hot drinks.  Darling and I were too full for drinks but we gladly picked on the little desserts.
I found the chocolate mediocre but the rest pretty good! Unfortunately the jubes did not leave me on a high note.  Previous dining at Le’Atelier de Joel Robuchon had me drooling for their berry jubes.  They had aced the consistency, and the fruitiness.  Amuse version of the fruit jubes was fruity but it was just soft through.  A little bit more of chewiness would have really made it perfect!  Then comes my favourite of the petite fours, the jam doughnuts which felt like a reminiscence of my holidays to Melbourne in my university days.  Was its that fluffiness of the pastry or that well proportioned jam and pastry, or perhaps both?  Having it warm fresh out of the kitchen was that added bonus. Delectable!!

I could summarise all that I have said once again.  But with the word good, yummy and all those words representing delicious so overused, I believe the contents have summed itself up.  High and lows were eminent but did I enjoy Amuse? Yes, I did.  The hosts were perfectly. Attentive in every sense and always prepared to help, what more can be asked of the crew?  Judging the food it was cleverly put together and despite the simplicity of some, sometimes less is more.  Amuse @ Amused. 

Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bites:Taro Taro @ Victoria Park.

The Asian food scene in Perth has never been boring.  Whether it is Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese, there was always something to cater for everyone.  With the addition of a Taiwanese cafe in Vic Park, my argument has a solid backing.  Promoting itself through Facebook, Taro Taro gained for itself great momentum which saw its first three days of soft opening flooding with keen taste buds.. and I was one of them.

For dinner last Friday we ordered heaps of braised pork rice and a oyster noodles to share.



Oyster noodles!


For me, I have never liked this sort of noodles even in Malaysia.  In Taiwan itself, I could not appreciate the fondness of the locals towards a popular franchise called the Ah Chung Mien Sin which specialises in such noodles. Not sure if the spelling is correct lols but nonetheless, Yvonne who ordered this thought it was ok with the exception of the oysters which seemed to be covered in flour. She was also hoping to get some of the chilli to go with this but it was not available during their trial runs.  Overall, an OK eat!


My pick for the night was the braised pork rice


When I collected the rice from the counter, I was really pleased with what I saw.  There was a whole lot more of mince which one would not get in Taiwan.  First impressions were great with me.  The addition of Coriander was smart, the egg was well done, and the pork was lean.  However, after a few spoon full, I stopped getting the sensation which I had before back in Taiwan.  I think we needed a little more kick in the sauce.  Perhaps make the sauce thicker and a little more of that preserved vegetable which I think is Mui Choy or pickled mustard which would have been great.  Another thing which I missed was the slightly greasy feel of a typical braised pork rice bowl back in Taiwan.  Having lean meat is a luxury and at the same time really healthy, but at the expense of taste hmmm.  I would prefer unhealthy.

Edit: Had it again today! Tasted better with the preserved vege provided on the side :)!


For dessert we had the bean curd dessert with sago, yam and sweet potato balls as well as Ai Yu Jelly with White Pearls and lemon tea.


While I enjoyed the Ai Yu jelly and found the addition of the white pearls really nice, I could not help but feel that the entire drink which is a modern reinterpretation of the classic one in Taiwan has not succeeded.  A few sips had me not wanting the drink anymore as it was unbearable.  Don’t get me wrong, it did not suck all that bad but I believe that the lime essence has been squeezed or obtained inappropriately making it really bitter.  Felt as if someone actually just boiled down the whole lime just to get the lime flavour.  With a cup that big, it was really difficult to finish considering how bitter it was.


As for the special bean curd dessert, it was pretty decent.  If I had any complains it would be that the yam and sweet potato balls were a little hard to bite through.  It would have been a lot better if it was slightly softer yet it pack the chewy consistency that I’m used to!

IMG_6997 Bean curd Dessert!

Earlier this year, my trip to Taiwan was packed with great scenery, polite locals and fun peeps. What felt lacking was the food. Nonetheless, I still brought fond memories of delicious beef noodles, crunchy XXL Chicken Chop, braised pork rice and the refreshing Ai Yu jelly drink home with me. So with Taro Taro, I had high expectations.  Over all, I felt that it was average but could be improved. The braised pork rice was OK but could definitely be improved in terms of meat and sauce. I heard the XXL Chicken Chop was pretty good according the both the little darling, my sis as well as from fishman and Yvonne who had dined there twice on Friday.  I look forward to the grand opening where I hope the Ai Yu jelly drink and the yam/sweet potato ball would have been improved!  At the same time though, I cannot help but feel grateful for an additional variety in Perth!

Edit: Also had the fried chicken today! Smashing!!



Taro Taro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Product Talk:Squeeze & Stir Heinz Soup

I recently volunteered to help Nuffnang do a review  for Heinz who has just launched a line of handy squeeze soup packs.  In return for this product talk by Nuffnang, I have received free soup and such.  Anyone keen can be part of this too.  Just visit this link here.  While there was not requirement to post this, I decided to do this because the product was actually pretty decent.  The product I received this time was Heinz’s Squeeze and Stir instant soup.  It actually just reached me last Friday and in the box, I had 2 sachets and a mug with a soup spoon! All that you would need to make it work, really.



Sunday saw a massive storm tormenting the state and this could not have come in any more handy.  With trees falling, going out for lunch during the storm is definitely not a choice.  So for my morning lunch, I had the soup.  The overall taste is pretty damn close to a quality tomato soup.  It was salty, sweet and hmm pretty yums actually. 


Unfortunately though, the only thing that was less than satisfactory is the consistency of the soup. A typical tomato soup for me has to be thick but this felt nowhere near thick. Also, you do not get much tomato bites pieces. Nonetheless, you do get small pieces of herbs and onions which were pretty decent. I guess it is hard to complain when you are dealing with instant food.


Over all, I am thankful to be included by Nuffnang for their product talk!  While this soup did not have all the qualities of a homemade one, this one was pretty damn good for one of a packet.  There was the ripeness of the tomato, saltiness was not overboard and this all made it fairly good.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bites: Rasa Nyonya @ Victoria Park

My typical Saturday bite is a good fix of Nasi Lemak and a whole lot of other goodies.  Unfortunately, that only happens in Malaysia.  Nonetheless, if you are craving for a little goodie with a twist of exciting yet authentic flavours, perhaps Rasa Nyonya might be your pick.  The term “Nyonya” to my knowledge originates from the term “Baba & Nyonya” which is a Malaccan term for a certain mixed race of Peranakan Chinese.  Typically, Nyonya food often revolves about a concoction of sweetness, spiciness, saltiness with a hint of sourness. For me, that was what we had tonight.


Random decor!


For this table of four, we ordered dishes which were highly recommended by our Asian peers. 


Ikan Assam Gulai Pedas, was one of the dishes we ordered that night.  The slices of fish cooked in a broth rich in spices and flavour went with rice.  While the fish was not overcooked, the fillet slices were not the best fish to use for this considering how much the texture has deviated from what I am typical accustomed to back home.  The sauce which sweet, and sour with a hint of spiciness! Definitely yums for me!  However though,an unpleasant sensation was inevitable as the sauce was gritty due to the herbs and spices that was blended for this dish. 



Special Egg Tofu was another dish we had today.  This was one was pretty special albeit a little on the sweet side.  The dish to me consisted of two main components, an egg component which acts as a binder and the other, diced fried bean curd.  The omelette held the tofu together before being topped with fresh garnish with a mix of sweet chilli sauce and sweet dark soy.  This is pretty unique and I’m pretty sure the sweet tooths Nee and Fishman enjoyed it a whole lot!



The last dish was my favourite for the night.  This is a classic butter prawn with egg floss rather than an oatmeal coating.  Generous servings of egg floss made the ordinary prawns absolutely lip smacking!  Present also is the fragrance of the curry leaves which added another taste to the prawns.  Back home this is an absolute favourite in my family.  The thought of having steamed rice with the prawns covered in fragrant and crisp egg floss is almost impossible to resist!


Overall our meal was pretty decent.  Coming here tonight, it is clear that Rasa Nyonya has more to offer other than the Nasi Lemak that I have been having here for the past years.  While this might seem a little premature considering the 3 dishes were the few out of the many more served, their chef recommendations seem rather good too!  When I come back next time, it’ll definitely be to try the salted egg dishes as well as the kankung belacan!  Other than the food, Rasa Nyonya also serves up some of the Malaysian classic drinks such teh tarik, milo dinasaur and what not.  So would this restaurant be a yay or nay? Definitely a yay this trip!



D'Nyonya Penang on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bites: Tuck Shop @ Northbridge.

It is finally good to not have Asian food for lunch at work anymore.  After a good 3 months at work, I have finally managed to visit the Tuck Shop which is no more than 5 minutes walk from my office.  Well known for its pies and other brekkie foods, this little establishment along Newcastle Street has already set a name for itself.  It is clear that Tuck Shop is a popular choice for both food and coffee considering the constant crowd it attracts as well as the mentions it gets from my office mates.


The interior of Tuck Shop is simple, neat with a touch of country I’d have  to say.


The Menu:


Approximately 15 choices for brunch ranging from simple toast to fancy ones with meatballs, oven roasted chorizos and such with the eggs of your choice! For lunch though, its a small selection of gourmet pies and dishes.

As the pies were all the rave at Tuck Shop, I did not bother looking further!  My choice for the afternoon was a Beef & Stilton Pie while my mates Andrew and Win had the Chicken, Vegetables and Tarragon Pie.


My choice of Beef & Stilton could not have gotten any better.  Rich, melt in your mouth beef enclosed in aN outstanding puff pastry was absolutely smashing.  Stilton as Andrew mentioned to me is a variety of strong pungent cheese like the Blue Cheese.  While the cheese taste was milder than expected, it did add some flavour which had me wondering what it was before.  Nonetheless, the pungent taste one normally gets from blue cheese is not all that obvious.  For me, the beef is really delicious as I have mentioned before, melt in your mouth!    For $12.50 this is no ordinary pie pricing.  Nonetheless, it was a good.  Unfortunately though, both Andrew and Win felt that their chicken pie lack in salt which I agree too!


Hand Cut Chips with Homemade Aioli to share.


Hand cut chips always seemed to get the better of these gourmet cafes promoting healthier eating habits.  For me though, the chips at the Tuck Shop were ahead of its peers but it is still, a healthy eat. For me, I have always been a fan of classic shoe string chips.  In this taste test then, this was OK only.    It’s aioli on the other hand was full of flavour which is a quality I usually look for in a dip.  Saltu, full of garlic flavour with that light pungent twist of mustard made it every bit desirable!


This seems like a perfect start to a long holiday drought for me.  I guess unless Australia wins the Olympics, there will not be a holiday until the 1st of October which is a good four month from now.  Tuck Shop definitely makes a name for itself in the Northbridge suburb putting out good food at fair prices.  While I know my review has come in later than other bloggers, it is always better late than never.



The Tuck Shop Cafe on Urbanspoon