Friday, November 29, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Establishing itself as one of the pioneers of Contemporary Japanese food, Bonsai has always gotten my fancy for a place that keeps your buds interested without punching a hole in the wallet. True enough, the banquet which saw us have 10 appetizers and a main each only cost $49 bucks and with the Entertainment Book, you can get a further 25% discount. Hospitality never strays too far their practice as the supervisor, a cool looking bald-headed guy ensured that our no-prawn and no-crab dietary requirements were met. Water was always brought to the table and the waitresses despite serving a massive crowd of people never failed to put up a smile.
The night started with our favourite Chicken Salad topped with crisp wanton skins. Delicious chicken and as mentioned before, can salad even be that tasty? Mind boggling. We also had a substantial Beef Tataki well drenched in the citrus ponzu that suited the palate before moving on to a refreshing Salmon Sashimi Bites. A delicious salmon tartare dressed with aioli on a mildly bitter-ish witloaf. Good balance of flavors and textures with a refreshing bite. Then comes the lovely Salmon Aburi Nigiri. Another table favourite. I have always loved my oily fish on a charcoal grill or blowtorched a little bit. The oils when heated gives out that delicious smoky smell and the protein becomes buttery. Topped with a in-house miso, booms!Pic (clockwise): Boys be Boys, Crispy Chicken Salad with Wanton Skins, Tempura Baby Squid, Salmon Aburi Nigiri, Salmon Sashimi Bites
For most parts, our crabs and prawn dishes were swapped into a squid dish. Deep-fried in a spicy batter or a tempura one, they were exceptionally moorish. Even XL who tends to stray from squid had a bite and found that they were actually really tasty!
Pick (clockwise): Teri-Steak, Pork Belly Kakuni, 2-Style Fried Chicken, Teriyaki Toothfish, Yv and the Boys, Spicy Cuttlefish, and Jimmy with the girls (middle)The mains made no less of a good impression than the appetizers. If anything felt lackluster at all, it was probably the chicken Katsu/Kaarage combo which felt a little underwhelming after having all the deep fried goodies during the appetizer! However, for one down, we had three joys. For instance, the beef teriyaki is a classic favourite still resisting the change of time. Since my first visit to Bonsai a few years back, this yummy steak in a garlicky butter teriyaki sauce have impressed. It still does really as Jim who repetitively mentioned throughout the night “This sauce is so good. I wonder how they make it”. Then we have the toothfish which was cooked to perfection. Another stunner with the skin still mildly crisp when it first reach the table. Lastly, the pork belly kakuni! A delightful soy sauce pork that when accompanied by rice, felt like a match in heaven. While it could do with more time in the cooker, nobody was complaining.
The meal at Bonsai was no less satisfying than the meal we had there last year or earlier this year. Its flavors, presentation, and service did not fail us that night. Seems like an exaggeration but when you realize how little $50 buys you in Perth, you tend to be more than satisfied. If there was any regrets at all that night, it was probably the missing chocolate cake that Yv, Nee, XL and I love so much. Perhaps better luck next time? :)
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I rarely do promotional posts as well as accept invites, not because I hate to go, but rather where the invitation end up. Junk Mail. Looking through my mail, I recently received an email from Tam Le of Perth Room to Read Chapter. Room to Read helps children to pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and world. To do this, the organization focuses on literacy and gender equality.
In December, Perth Room to Read Chapter will be raising funds through a dinner called Noodles for Books on Thursday the 5th of December at Mama Tran in the city of Perth, for children's education in the developing countries. They will be raising funds to invest in creating local language children's books in Vietnam. One of the greatest challenges to early adoption of the habit of reading is a lack of high-quality, age-appropriate children's books in the local language. Room to Read responded by providing training to local authors and writers to write age-appropriate books that is visually appealing and culturally relevant and distribute thousands of copies to schools and libraries in Vietnam. The organization is requesting support from the local Perth community to assist us in reaching our goal.I strongly encourage my dear readers and Perthians to take part in this good cause. It will be a great night out and you will meet lots of people who have a passion for books, education and food. Not to mention, there will be some great prizes as well as silent auction items including cooking classes with Lawless Cooking School and a signed (with a personal message) copy of Pauline Nguyen's book, Secrets of the Red Lantern. But you know what, nothing else beats the last inclusion of your $50 bill, GOOD KARMA. If you are keen to help, you can get your tickets from http://www.trybooking.com/DVSK. .
Room to Read (http://www.roomtoread.org) is a registered charity in Australia which raises funds to help invest in local communities in Asia and Africa by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
While I have lived in Nedlands for 4 years, I have never quite strayed from Hampden Road and Broadway. Missing out on so many hidden gems in the Western Suburbs really did leave me with a little regret. Especially when my colleagues and friends tell me of all the yummy food in the area. Better late then never, I managed to try out the offerings of a popular patisseries in the area. If you are looking for a brunch places with great cakes and pastries, look no further! At Choux Café in Swanbourne, they only use pure butter and not those sub-par margarines. Without a doubt, the use of quality ingredient is reflected in their products.
We had a few things including chocolate cakes, sandwich and drinks! Absolutely fabulous! Delicious ganache with a layer of caramel at the top. Super decadent especially if you are a chocolate fan. In between its layers is a crisp one which gave it a Ferrero Rocher bite. Great praline flavors! With the chocolate coated cake, there was more balance with a mild bitterness keeping the sweetness at bay. All in all, everything at the Choux Café was pretty good. Not to mention if you opt for a mug of hot choc at $5.20, you get a super large one! Probably the largest cup I have seen in a long while.
If you live in the area, it would almost be impossible that you would not know Choux Café. Apparently its something like La Galette de France. A household name. So if you are ever in the suburb and looking around for a hangout spot, definitely try out Choux Café.
Monday, November 18, 2013
My final eating place just before we headed off to the airport was Warung Sulawesi. This was another Balinese dining place found through Hendra’s resourcefulness. Hidden behind other restaurants on the main road, one cannot really tell that an eatery resides behind the walls. But through keen tongues and by word of mouth, this café is no newcomer. On a closer study, it seems like Westerners residing permanently in Bali love this place. I can see why. With plants everywhere and a retro fit to the place, it looked simple yet substantial. The food etiquette here is simple. Stroll along the bain-marie, pick the things you want and by the end of it, you receive a tag with the price on it. Should you need more, rock up the counter and just add on before grabbing another price tag.
Grilled chicken, soy bean curd and a fried chicken
It was the final meal of the trip and no one was holding back. I for starters picked 5 dishes at a cost of $R32,000. All of which reminded me of classic Indonesian favorites from Perth, just that they were prepared one notch higher in their home ground. The Ayam Panggang or grilled chicken was full of flavor from the marinade and spices. More importantly, it was tender unlike its deep fried counter part that came rock hard with a whiff of turmeric. The Tofu Kecap Manis was another stunning dish which almost everyone had. Full of rich flavor from the deep caramelization of the sauce giving it it a sticky-sweet consistency that was extremely addictive. Simple but yummy.I also ordered a vegetable stir fry and the Telur Belado. Telur Belado is an Indonesian egg dish that is pretty much hard-boiled that is deep fried and tossed in a sweet chili sauce. At first I was shocked when I bit into something extremely spicy and started to blame the egg. But it was not long before I realized that it was my cabbage stir-fry with what I initially thought was chopped up beans and spring onions but were actually green chilies. Almost died there!
The concept of Nasi Campur is very much like the Chinese’s Economy Mixed Rice. There is something for everyone. Regardless of whether you are a vegetarian, or a bodybuilder trying to bulk up, the Nasi Campur is simply fantastic. On my plate today there was literally every single flavor except bitterness. It was sweet, sour and salty with a good hint of chili. Together, they are form amazing alchemy. Mixed all together, just a few or simply enjoy each by themself. Whatever you chose, it was ensured satisfaction. So in the end, what really mattered was the Warung’s ability to deliver delicious dishes for selection. At Warung Sulawesi, that was exactly what they did and the Nasi Campur selection was every bit flavorful. Was this a posh, squeaky clean place that will fit into everyone’s good book? I doubt so! Despite its lush garden, the random mix and match furniture was old and the whole place was rather run down. But in the eating world of Bali, it was clear that if you are not fine dining, you will be in Warungs like this. For me, a curious eater, I could not bother much and found it to be rather substantial as mentioned earlier.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Easily, the Smoky Pork Ribs $R90,000 is where I will start. Cooked to perfection, the meat fell off the bone effortlessly and I had no problems eating it. No overly chewy bits that agitates the pleasurable moment. Simply sublime. When it comes to the sauce, it was full of flavor. You have sweet, salty and need I even mention, the great smoky flavors of a traditional charcoal grill. For an unsuspecting eatery like this, simply outstanding if not for its already over-mentioned existence.
Sorry about the picture lol. It was dark as hell in the venue. Also, while the chicken is basted with the same sauce I strong suggest AGAINST the chicken. It was simply dry and tasteless on the inside.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013