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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!!

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