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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bites: Jamie’s Italian @ Perth

Jamie Oliver has finally landed in Perth.  After many months of anticipation, queues are the only obstacle between a fan and Jamie’s magical plate of pasta.  Watching Jamie cleverly construct his 15 minute meals yet received massive scolding on his Italian pilgrimage from the noonas many umpteen years ago has made me no less a fan boy.  However, even the quickest fingers only allowed me to book a date 3 weeks later.  Upon entering, the cheerful waitress brought us to our table and introduced us to our area waitress.  Water was quick to reach and the menu was presented to us.  As for the environment of the place, it was what the little darling describe as Jamie.  It was very rustic yet it had a very cozy feel in a way friends and family would gather here.  In fact, the menu itself shouts Jamie’s trademark of describing his food with very descriptive words.  But the noise was really quite over the top in the venue.  Definitely no romantic moments here haha.


After awhile, the complimentary Italian Bread Selection was served to us (but only upon asking).  Unfortunately, the obligatory olive oil and balsamic took a little more effort to come with us having to ask them for it.  Over all, the bread basket tasted OK but failed to make an impression.  Music bread was wafer thin and I expected a good crunch to it but as it unfolded in my mouth, I found the bread has actually gone slightly soggy.  True enough, I was not the only person with such thoughts as my mates gave me the same comments. 



After looking around the menu, we ordered a few appetizers to share with the Arancini being the first to hit the table.  For $9.50, you get 3 smoked mozzarella & porcini arancini.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While I was expecting massive bursty flavors from the Arancini, it was ultimately the delicious spicy salsa that brought the dish to live with its great mix of sweet-spicy along with a hint of acidity giving life to the bland arancini.  Smoked mozzarella sounded a lot better in writing compared to eaten as the flavors were a little too subtle to make any real difference.  Still not a bad treat for $10 bucks in this city though we needed 2 serves for the 6 of us.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext up were the nachos with fiery Arrabbiata sauce for $7.50.  While not your typical nachos, these crunchy cheesy goodness were absolute joy to eat despite missing out on the kick from the usual nacho mix of salsa and sort.  The fiery Arrabbiata (fear not, its quite mild), still gave great flavor which complemented the crunchy ravioli filled with creamy ricotta.  I really enjoyed this dish more than the Arancini.


Last appetizer for the table was the Pomegranate Salad @ $14.50.                                                                  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor that money it was a really meager serve of fresh salad, baby herbs & crispy salumi, with sticky balsamic & pomegranate.  But for the quality and taste that we had on the plate, it was absolutely worth it.  I have mentioned in the past that price can be offset by the quality of a dish and this is one such instance when the fresh greens and salty salumi really created wonders.  Freshness of the dish was just top notch and the sweetness of the pomegranates were also spot on.  Perhaps having an Asian background makes this appreciate this more but really, it was a great appetizer! :)!


After  a bit of chit chat, our mains finally arrived.  But one problem was spotted immediately as we were waiting.  The wait staff were not the most friendly and considering it was around 8.30pm with fewer diners around, there ought be no excuses.  Requests for water attracted the most unfriendly glare and that was such a put off.  Hope they could be more accommodating like Jamie’s smile because what we had was on a whole new level of crap service. 


Our mains for the night:

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy sister’s seafood bucatini for $29.50 is pretty good for all the seafood you get.  Generous serves of seafood including some crab, scallops, mussels, clams and prawns really gave the sauce a flavor my sister liked.  Factor in the acidity from the tomato based sauce and it suited her palate well.  For me, the highlight was the use of tubular pasta which absorbed all the flavors when cooked slowly in a foil.  Pretty yum but the serving was a little small.  My sister who is normally a small eater polished the meal easily!


My main – Truffle Turkey Milanese @ $29.50.


Unlike the pasta., this serve was awesomely generous with a large crumbled turkey stuffed with cheese and prosciutto taking up the whole plate.  It came topped with  a fried egg, truffles, cheese and for that added shot of healthiness, the watercress.  The first few bites of this dish was really nice.  Oozy cheese and prosciutto was so tasty that the turkey did not need any sauce whatsoever.  I also spread the yolk over the schnitzel and that gave it that extra richness which really help the dish hit all the right notes.  But what happens when you are halfway through and feeling a bit full?  I found little encouragement from the dish to keep me going.  It was really nice but somewhere midway, I believe most people will find the dish a little dry.  This dish as advised earlier by a friend was definitely suited to share between 2 people with a few good sides.


For my side, I ordered Jamie’s famous polenta chips @ $8.50.  This alternative to chips were no less impressive when it came to crunch.  The polenta was beautifully seasoned with salt and for me, the crunch was simply spectacular.  Not to mention the smell of the parmesan melting on the polenta’s heat.  Superb.  No wonder it is Jamie’s famous Polenta Chip!  A great side to accompany any dish except the turkey Milanese lol.  Nevertheless, this is highly recommended!  Perhaps if one ordered the Veal with the salsa, that might have been perfect! :)                                                             OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


The little darling went on a little overload tonight due to her curious taste buds.  Her first main for the night was the Wild Truffle Risotto (entrée size) @ $13.50.                                                                                                                           OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do not think I can put in  a different way compared to the menu.  Described as  “a real treat” with finely minced truffle, butter and Parmesan, it really was.  Delicious butter made the risotto silky rich and very creamy.  The rice were still very much intact but just had that creaminess from the sauce.  Darling thought it was yums although she found it a little salty towards the end!


Her next main was Jamie’s classic take on a good old Italian Tagliatelle Bolognese @ $12.50 for entrée size.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs simple as it sounds, yet when someone tells you that they have made Pasta Bolognese, a good Bolognese needs heaps of love.  Perfect caramelisation of a celery, onion and carrot medley before slow cooking the melt in your mouth Pancetta and quality ground beef.  In my opinion Jamie’s version quite nailed it although for me, I like a little more acidity in the melt-in-your-mouth Ragu.  The herby crumbs gave it good flavor and texture although it worked more for the latter.  My biggest dislike of the dish was how the pasta was done perfectly al dente.  It was crunchier then I expected.  For me, definitely a silky Parpadelle over this or perhaps just 2 more minutes in the pot for the Tagliatelle!


The next dish on our table was the Steak Tagliata.                                                                                                         OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABiggest complain of this dish from JS was not the beautifully cooked steak or the rustic greens, but rather the lack of visibility of the meat.  This makes it seem as if there was almost no steak.  But true enough there was steak but not quite enough as the menu also stated 180g only.  Over all though, the flavors were great and the crunchy vegetables were really quite good according to JS.  I would expect so too considering all the various textures with the crunchy fennel, watercress, mint, chili, garlic, horseradish & lemon! :)!


The last two pastas we had on the table was the Spaghetti Vongole and the Black Angel Spaghetti.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFishman did not need to be convinced to go further down the menu when he saw this on there.  Steamed sweet cockles with garlic, chili, white wine, parsley, butter & lemon.  All the magical ingredients that help seafood shine in its simplest form was on there.  The result should have been truly outstanding.  And putting aside a major complain, the flavors really spoke for themselves.  It was just really good.  It is a type of pasta that you would go for second or thirds unlike a cloying cream based one.  Unfortunately it was the saltiness that was a put off.  It was so salty we had to ask them to remake this pasta.  Speaking of which it came back saltier and Fishman was so unimpressed he could not be bothered asking for a new one.  This definitely needs fixing.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYv’s order for the night is something no less spectacular in terms of flavors.  Scallops and other seafood were beautifully cooked in a seafood based broth that really excited the taste buds.  The squid ink pasta was also really nice, it was smooth and not sandy like some which I had eaten before.  Its color as well was really dark.  Nero!  However, similar to the  Pasta Vongolese, this turned out extremely salty too.  To our dismay, the waitress exclaimed that “it is meant to be salty, so it is just going to be salty even if it was made again”.  At that point, it felt no less than a slap on our faces.  We told you it was salty, so please go back and fix it.  Do not make unnecessary statements please? 


After a disappointing meal for both Yv and Fishman, I would not believe that they would bother with the Jamie hype anymore.  This was quite saddening for them as they were rather chuffed when we landed a booking.  From my point of view, it suddenly felt as if all the numbers of wait staff did not really make a difference to the dining experience if some of them continued to be immature.  More importantly, to insist that something that is bad will only come out as bad shows how amateurish they were in the kitchen and on the floor.  The waitress ought a rethink to be honest.  Also, it might be OK if we were the only ones with problems but from reading other reviews, many diners had similar problems too!


Putting bad experiences aside, Fishman decided to give Jamie’s one last shot at retaining its pride, the desserts.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For his dessert, he ordered a trio of sorbet @ $8 which turned out to be a sorbet of apple, passion fruit and blood orange.  This for him was his highlight of the night.  It was refreshing, with the fruity flavors hitting all the right notes.  It has sweet, sour and a slight bitterness with the blood orange but over all, it was perfect.  He was happy.  Or at least I hope he was haha.


For my sis and I, we decided to go with something sour to give us a little kick.  We both ordered the Lemon tutti frutti.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe meringue on top was not quite as good as I expected but the lemon curd was still every bit satisfying.  My sister on the other hand was not quite impresssed.  But hey, for $8.50 it was hard to complain.  My tart would have been at least $10 at Nahm Thai and is easily $15 dollars at Guillaume’s Bistro.


Yv’s dessert was the Tiramisu @ $9.50.  If you are  a big fan of coffee, this is for you.  For me, I would have preferred something more subtle to end the night with.  This was by contrast rich, and intense in coffee flavor.  Downfall?  The sponge needed a lot more moisture.  At least twice as much soaking time.  What was even more appalling was the fact that it was not moist yet it was served as if it was so sloppy it could not stand.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATiramisu.


The little darling’s Poached Winter Fruits with Frozen Vanilla Yoghurt @ $10.                                                             OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a hearty dessert which darling thought was quite nice.  I tasted a little and found it quite nice although I did not feel it was anything extraordinary. 


Over all, my experience at Jamie’s Italian was pretty good.  While Yv and Fishman had something to lament about, I was lucky enough to have made the right choices and had a really good evening despite the poor service.  To be honest, I felt that the evening could have been more pleasant if the waitress could accommodate our complaints and made improvements.  Saying that, who not be tired of trying to get to the flavors of the pasta if we had to face a mound of salt in each mouth. I mean like seriously?  It is about the salt.  UNLESS, everything was pre-made in a large pot then there is no real remedy.  Despite these hit and misses, there were some real questions such as the pricing which have garnered heaps of praises for this new kid on the block.  A meal at Jamie’s can be really cheap or really normal (considering Perth’s ludicrous prices).  If one goes for a simple 2-course, it can be as cheap as 30 dollars but if you had the full course, it might be closer to $60 depending on what you choose.  Reasonable or not, it is up to your wallet :)!  For me, it presented an above average quality for its price and would definitely re-visit if I land a booking or manage to go really early and skip the queue.


There you go, a review of Jamie’s Italian in about 5 pages. Even I am sick of reading what I type =.=!



Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bites: The Local Shack @ Perth

Burgers are easily one of most versatile feeds on earth.  With a bun, you can simply stuff anything from an honest patty to a luscious foie gras (see pic here) and even deliciously grilled vegetables.  Perth is no stranger in the gourmet burger scene with Jus Burgers, and Grill’d dominating the market.  On the other hand, we still see a bunch of special places like Alfred’s Kitchen Past and Missy Moos sticking close to their roots and serving their burgers exclusively from the same place.  Past experiences at these places have never let me down, but to a certain extent some of these brands have moved from being “THE burger” to being just another burger thanks to poor quality control and a for-profit mentality. 


So is there still a standout in the crowd?  I was recently invited to another popular spot in town called Local Shack which serves a great combination of alcoholic beverages with delicious burgers.  To start we had crunchy chips with a herbed aioli.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGolden brown crunchy goodness kept our tummies satisfied while we waited for our drinks and burgers.  It was crunchy as it should be and the aioli was just perfect.  Definitely went well around the table especially when the watermelon cocktail arrived at the table!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe watermelon cocktail which was the perfect drink for non-alcoholics.  The subtle alcohol taste made it easy to consume.  A mixture of Vodka and Midori gave that kick but not to the extent where one would go on a high.  I really enjoyed this drink as it was simply refreshing and the fruitiness was great considering the type of food we were about to have!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe burgers came looking big.  No doubt on generosity unlike some places where the patty is only half the size of the bun!  My pick for the night was the Moroccan Lamb @ $16!  Built from prime Australian Lamb, brie, roasted capsicum, and a refreshing homemade Tzatziki, this really hits the Moroccan sweet spot.  The subtle tang from the capsicum went well with a cool tatziki.  There was some heat in the burger as well probably due to the spices.  It was a great feed.  I would particularly like to point out that the lamb tasted great too. 


Little darling and Yv had the Bring it On @ $14 which was the Shack’s take on a good cheese burger.  Perhaps a bit more luxury with the crispy bacon, and herbed aioli included.  As expected, the girls struggled to the finish line with the little darling forced to leave her burger roll behind.  I had a little bit of hers and found the patty to be a stand out once again .  At the Shack, its not a plain patty with salt and pepper as there were herbs and other ingredients infused together.  I cannot complain about the sauces but one improvement diners will expect is the “crispy bacon” promise which was only partially fulfilled as the bacon was in no way a qualified crispy bacon.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFishman had no fish for his burger but decided to fulfill his steak cravings with the Shack Steak burger  @$16.  With little complains except for the readiness of the meat, he enjoyed the burger and complement the whole package to be “still a nice burger to eat”.  Perhaps a few resting minutes before coming would have been ideal as his plate was mildly soaked with the juices from the steak.


Looking back at our meal here last Friday, I really found the Local Shack to be a great place for friends looking for a casual hangout.  Its laid back environment with catchy music videos paired with great burgers and drinks quickly lived up to its name, the Local Shack.  It does not throw gimmicky marketing like “healthy burgers” because seriously, let’s get real.  If I were to eat a burger, do I even count the calories? Obviously not.   


So this brings me back to my main question. Is there still a standout in this overpopulated scene?  Definitely yes with the likes of the Local Shack, Missy Moos and Alfred’s.  The Local Shack for me might not the BEST burger but to be honest, I have not found any burger worthy of that title yet.  More importantly, this place packs substance in their burgers!  Also, it is so depressing to find the lack of exclusivity and honesty in places like Jus Burger and Grill’d makes them no more different than McDonalds. In fact, I will not lie that Jus Burgers used to be my favourite gourmet burger place in 2008-9.  Back then it was just Leederville.  Then things started growing and the rest is history.  Sucks.



The Local Shack on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bites: Yu @ Crown Perth.

Chinese food is probably one of the best cuisines in the world with so many techniques and ingredients making the possibilities unlimited.  As Yu places itself in one of the most exclusive venues in town, Crown Perth, I expect not lesser than a grand statement on the plate.  Or maybe not?  I have eaten in almost every venue offered in Crown Perth and I have to say that while many restaurant had me question the cost – quality benefit, it normally still serves pretty kick ass food.


For a birthday dinner, I was invited to join my friend and her family for a meal at Yu where we had the most expensive banquet on the menu.  The Pearl banquet for $110 per head is no cheap dining affair.  But when the list of dish was read out, it felt like an impressive selection of food.  To start the meal, we first asked for tea.  And this was how the whole event unfolded.  Firstly, the stained napkins of mine which still had lipstick stains on it.  Is this even premium dining?  I wonder.  To make things worse, no one bothered refilling our tea pots and even our glasses of water were dirty.    Absolutely horrible.


The first course is a traditional Chinese soup, the shark’s fin soup.                                                                             P3090004Such soup normally uses a rich poultry broth with delicious crab meat and egg swirls with sharks fin in there.  Unfortunately, there was close to no shark’s fin, the broth was horribly watery (and taste wise) and even the egg swirls were curdled as if no one bothered to stir it in.  That for me was an ultimate failure.  It was so bad that the birthday host questioned whether was he drinking a proper soup.


The next dish was the Baked Crab Shell with Portuguese sauce.                                                                              P3090020Digging in with the gold spoon, it looked creamy and luscious.  But when you eat it, it just felt weird.  The meat did not hold its form.  It was a little cloying because of all that sauce that did not pack a punch of flavors.  At the end, most of us did not even finish this.  The highlight? Gold Spoon.


Just when all faith was lost, the Peking Duck came out.                                                                                              OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love my Peking Duck and my uric acid on the health report shows.  For me, this was a fine example of how things should have started.  A slightly crisp skin with just the right amount of sauce and those crunch from the flavors are just spot on.  It was from this point that I felt maybe there was a chance that things might turn around.  All because I really found this to be delicious and really this is one of the highlights of Chinese food in town.  Pretty good roast and Peking duck! Especially those in Northbridge like HK BBQ and Good Fortune.


XO Scallops and Asparagus                                                                                                                                   P3090026The XO Scallops and asparagus was in no way short of being generous.  It looks rich as it was piled onto a heap of asparagus with tasty looking XO sauce.  But it was in the first bite when things went a little awry.  Most noticeably due to the false sensation of sweetness of the sauce.  It felt a little fake and I am not sure whether it was sugar or perhaps MSG?  Either way, it was a waste to see this dish fail.


Crispy Fried Fresh Tasmanian Salmon


If I was on a mission to find crunchy cardboard to soak in soy sauce, I surely would not pay 100 dollars.  Why would you waste such a beautiful fish?  Only they would know.  Why not batter it well before doing a rapid fry for a crispy batter but a spot on inside?  GOD WHY?   This was another blunder that we did not anticipate.  It was simply cooked way longer that it needs to be.  The whole night really, was starting to crumble.


P3090032The next dish was the Steamed King Prawns.  I quite enjoyed this dish.  it was simple and touched on the basics but importantly, it was done right.  The prawns were worthy of being called king prawns and its garnish was just outstanding.  The simply spring onion and garlic really complemented the flavors of the prawns.  Plus the saltiness and sweetness from the soy, I was pretty keen to eat this dish again.


After waiting for a bit, we had our dessert.  But it was not a sweet ending like we hoped.  When we ordered the banquet, we asked their permission to each have a different dessert.  Initially, they said it was ok and it can be done.  But after making us pay $2000 for dinner, they decided otherwise.  How can this even be right?  Anyways, banana fritter, vanilla ice cream and syrup.


Not much criticism here but neither was this a spectacular finish.  It was just banana.  Deep fried.  At this stage I really have nothing left to say.  It was BORING.  Is this what Chinese food becomes when it is meant to be a level up?


This really was just PREMIUM GONE BAD.  At the end of the night, I had questions.  Heaps of question.  Perhaps simple ones are such as “Why is Yu even a premium restaurant and not in the food court?”  or “How is this even fine Chinese?”.  For me, Yu clearly it did not deserve the hype and respect at all.  In fact, when we made the booking for 2 tables, we were told to make a PRIVATE booking which would incur a cost of $100 buck or more for just a room.  When we said all we needed were two tables, they mentioned that they could not guarantee that we can be seated side by side.  All this threat and after a hefty bill which was close to $2000, this was the food they served.  No wonder I was told that they were going to change with another restaurant called Silk.    Sometimes even a helpful smile or good service can make a difference, but when someone treats you like crap, it makes the meal utterly disappointing.  In fact, this was the 2nd or 3rd worst Chinese meal I have ever eaten in Australia.  Most readers would know I often leave a decently neutral review even for some really mediocre restaurants.   So when it’s a scathing review, it’s a horrible place.  To all who found Yu disappointing, please do no think this is how a good Chinese meal should be. 


For example, this was something which I had in Hong Kong @ Ming Court last year.  See it here.  Funny how I thought Ming Court was only decent before.  Now that I have eaten at Yu, I might not be so harsh anymore!



Yu Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bites: West End Deli @ West Perth

Knowing where to eat can really come from simple chit chats and recommendations from the people around you.  Having heard heaps of praises from an ex-colleague and my junior, I finally decided to give West End Deli a try.  Positive reviews of this place are plenty and there seems no slowing down for this little eatery located on the of West Perth (though it felt more like Northbridge).                                                                                                                                       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Inception?  No, just a light feature in the house that was intentionally left derelict.
Just another barista rocking up his favourite stuff on a Sunday morning!                                                        OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAComing in at 9.20 in the morning, I found the service a little below acceptable.  Various gestures to call for the waitress were regarded without a nod or eye contact making impossible to confirm whether anything has been established.  Head waitress which wore specs had probably the best discipline that day.  Fortunately, more capable hands came on board and it did not take long for the service to escalate back up.  Empty cups on the tables were filled with water and everything seemed to be moving again.  THANK GOD.

After about 20 minutes of wait time, our breakfast arrived on our tables.  I would have to say that the presentation was meticulous and rustic in a great way.                                                                                                  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASalmon rillettes with cress salad, and slow cooked egg.  For me, if you look for simplicity but feel too lazy to construct anything, this is spot on.  The perfectly cooked onsen egg perched on top of a delicious salmon rillettes mound was simply tantalizing.  In terms of taste, the rillettes was light, with a subtle seasoning from the herbs and heaps of acidity from the lemon.  It was a refreshing breakfast but if you put it in a more layman term, some might liken it to salmon and mayo spread.  For me, this was one of the healthiest breakfast I have seen in awhile. 

Fishman decided to go for the poached eggs duo with a serve of cherry tomato and goat ricotta on the side.  As simple as it looks, several cafes have disappointed me in their ability to serve runny yolks.  This was perfect.  Huge eggs with large yolks were runny as hell.  Acidity in the marinade paired with the sweet tomatoes create a sensation worth dying for.  And for me, strong flavored cheese like this ricotta just bring everything together.  While I really loved the whole thing together, Fishman found the cheese a little too strong for his liking but praised the tomatoes.

For my breakfast I decided to have the mushroom and pork croquettes, smoked creamed corn and fried egg.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACutting through the first croquette, a delightful crunch was heard before steam poured out of the cavity.  It was superb.  I believe whenever the chefs say that the right amount of salt makes a big difference, it really does.  This was just spot on.  More interestingly, the smoked creamed corn carried a beautiful hickory flavor which mellowed beautifully with the earthiness of the corn.  In fact, the medley of herbs which I believe consisted of coriander, basil and mint was a surprise considering how well it went with the deep fried croquettes as it was really refreshing in each bite.  The only element which did not stood out so well for me were the fried eggs.  I would have liked a more runny yolk to coat the bits and pieces from the croquettes, herb salad and corn.  It would then, be a truly fulfilling moment.  Nevertheless, this was no less a perfect bite.

Having run a good 10km before breakfast, I decided to end my brunch with a delicious treat of chocolate tart, crème fraiche and mandarin puree.                                                                                                                                            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor starters the chocolate ganache was pretty damn good. I am not a sweet tooth but the ganache which was rich in cocoa yet carried such a subtle sweetness was really what had me going in spoon after spoon.  It felt decadent and rich yet not too cloying.  However, it was the crust that was a let down.  As I shared it around the table, we found the crust to be a little more doughy than short.  For us, this was were improvements could be made.    Additionally, having the mandarin puree on the side really complemented the chocolate with it zesty flavors cutting through the decadent ganache.  Having said all of these, the $15 charged was hard to fork out.  Something similar at Harvest was only around $6 and while it lacked the mandarin puree, it was no less a good ganache.  Paired with a very short pastry, it was decadent.

Over all, I am superbly impressed by West End Deli.  The morning started a little bumpy with the patchy service showing flaws here and there.  But as soon as that picked up, I have to insist that the food we ordered spoke for themselves.  For me, its rustic appearance paired with impeccable taste composition makes this place hard to fault.  Conversely, the serving sizes were pretty small but for such quality, it was still on the money.  Its derelict building also looked hip and cool, a trend that is highly sought after nowadays.  But unlike most, West End Deli still puts substance before form when it comes to food on a plate.  I really hope Gorgon Street Garage could learn a thing or two.  This is what food is all about.  And if you notice the barista, he was no less good looking compared to the hipsters at Gordon!!

West End Deli on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bites: Jayusigan @ Victoria Park

Walking into the restaurant we invited ourselves to our seat whilst our Korea hosts stood by the counter busy chatting.  If was only after awhile that we were brought our menu.  Not exactly the hospitality that I was looking for.  Soon, I started getting annoyed by the fact that there was also a foul smell was floating in the area making me quite uncomfortable.  Nevertheless, I quickly scanned the menu and found what I would have for dinner that night.  It did not take long before everyone made their minds up!

While waiting for the food, I saw the picture of the ddeokbokki served in the restaurant and seeing them put eggs, and fishcakes in reminded me of the good times I had in Seoul.  It was awesome!  Definitely had my expectations a little high.

First dish up was the kimchee pancake!                                                                                                                      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is customary dining at all my Korean restaurants in Perth.  Fortunately, this was pretty good with all the delicious bit of kimchee goodness except for the fact that it was pretty miserable in size for the price we paid.  In fact, it would only be half of Tookbekgi’s pancake’s size.  Conversely, the slightly crisp top bit still made this every bit delectable.


The darling called the bibimbap which was pretty much Korean mixed rice.                                                                       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt look magnificent on arrival with all the simple yet tasty garnish on there.  However, as soon as it was all mixed together, it was clear that the restaurant was really stingy.  The important sauce used for mixing had to be double at the very least.  In fact, I think there was a little too much rice and not enough condiments!


Sister’s and Yvonne’s order were the kimchee stew and a tofu stew.  I had a little bit of both and found that they tasted the same except that the kimchee stew had a fair bit more sourness to it.                                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASurprisingly at this stage, I was not too sure why has this place got such a negative review.  The food is actually quite OK.  Not it was not the standard of food which I got in South Korea but comparing it to “KOREAN” places like Poppo or Ninikujip in Perth, haha this was at least on par or better.  I still remember the horribly soggy kimchee fried rice from Ninikujip.  Something which we swore never to go back for again. Jeez!


Mine was the bulgolgi stew which is an all time favourite anywhere.  Beef pieces cooked with tofu, mushrooms, vermicelli and other vegetables in a soy base soup is often a pleasant bite.  It was pretty yums this one. Especially considering they got the taste right.  It had the sweetness of the beef in the broth along with that really pleasant flavors of the vegetable and that bit of glass noodle to slurp it with. 


But would I call this divine?  I believe not.  Nevertheless, I have never once complimented a Bulgolgi stew to be divine.  Never.  But would I order this again or in fact come to this restaurant again?  I would.  Yes I know the service sucks and the over all setting felt cheap and to a certain extent that stench was horrible.  But hey, I realized that my bill in this place was actually a tad cheaper compared to other places.  In Tookbekgi which is a favourite of mine, a beef stew is $20 compared to $16.50 here.


Yay or Nay?  I would say a YAY.  Not great but the food was hard to fault with.  Just that I did not walk away feeling pleasant.  Perhaps next time.  In fact when I was there a Korean guy was eating alone.  He had complained to the waitress a few times presumably because the food felt lacking in some manner plus their service was questionable!



Jayusigan on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bites: Bistro Felix @ Subiaco

Dear parents were here last month so I thought of bringing them out and found Bistro Felix quite highly rated on Urbanspoon.  Came in at 6.30 and was promptly seated by the waitresses who were very friendly.  Menu’s were brought to us and bread laid on our plates.  It was a good start.   The restaurant looked like a proper bistro.  I cannot quite describe how a bistro is meant to look like but it is just a feeling you get.


For starters:                                                                                                                                                              OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHalf dozen of freshly shucked oysters which my dad and sister say were absolutely delicious!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChicken liver pate and crusty bread as dips!  Really delicious and flavorful but definitely does not have the beauty of the melt in your mouth foie gras!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMom and I had some scallops which were OK but not the greatest.  While we wanted the one with butter and coriander, they only had the normal one.  Fortunately though, scallops are such beautiful seafood that does not need much to shine!


For mains:

We ordered one each but not all turned out well. Probably the steak which was mine and dad’s fish were the highlight although misses on the chicken and duck confit was disappointing.                                                              OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy steak was perfectly cooked in the middle and was tender all the way through.  Lone onion ring hardly made an impression while slightly charred outer bit of the steak carried a bitter crust.  Not exactly what I would called divine but was still a tangible steak.  Same thing happened with mom’s chicken!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADad’s fish looked perfectly cooked.  Sister’s confit was so salty she decided to query the waitress but the chef insist that the duck was spot on.  Even for me it was too salty.  However, at the end of the night we were still charged for a meal we returned because it was inedible.  It was a big bummer and a big no-no in terms of customer service.  And believe it or not, they put two chocolate truffles on the table expecting they expect us to settle for. 


For dessert I ordered the lemon brulee tart with mandarin sorbet.                                                                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was delicious and I wish I could have more.  The crust was really short, the curd with the right intensity and the sorbet provided a refreshing end.  It was very fragrant too!  Amazing how that thin tart had enough acidity to stir the taste buds!  Well recommended :)!


Vanilla Pannacotta with strawberries were OK but definitely not the best.  It could have been smother and the strawberries did not have much impact.  Fresh but not enough acidity to cut through the sweet Pannacotta.                                   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver all, the night at Bistro Felix was decent.  But was it superb? I think that I quite hard for my swallow that.  I really find that the service at the table was spot on but when it came to billing, it felt rather ruthless.  Would I recommend it?  Maybe for a try yes.  And for that discount from the buy 1-free-1.  But $40 for a rather normal meal?  Not really quite there.

I have always perceived the concept of bistros to be fairly casual, easy and affordable.  But when it comes to Perth, it translates to something most Perth people would regard as expensive, and opportunistic.



Bistro Felix on Urbanspoon