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Monday, December 23, 2013

Bites: Good Fortune Roast House @ Victoria Park

Northbridge used to be my destination for the best roast meats in town.  Starting with my early years in Good Fortune Roast House to the amazing Hong Kong Barbeque now, a slice of the good old Hong Kong roast is never too far.  But with Perth’s burgeoning crowd growing beyond optimal comes massive traffic jams.  Pair it with the long queues for paid parking makes Northbridge a massive hassle. I am really so over that now.  But there has never really been a roast in Victoria Park with a big “wow” factor.  That is until Good Fortune Roast House Open on the 13th of December which so happens to be my birthday! 


The interior is heaps bigger but still features the same old small wooden stools from its Northbridge stall.  However, unlike its shabby older brother this one is large with heaps more room to breathe.  Comparing HK BBQ and Good Fortune in Northbridge, the former is heaps better for 2 main reasons.  A  much more presentable interior, as well as delicious non-roast dishes.  However, with this new flagship in Victoria Park open, at least my roast meat craving can be satisfied :)!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


That day I stuck to my favorite boneless roast duck and crispy roast pork for $13.50.  It arrived on a large plate looking generous! Plump juicy duck that has been roasted to perfection.  It companion the roast pork was crispy, salty and had just the right ratio of fat to meat.  Put that on rice and douse with lovely roast juices, what else do you need in the world?  Not to mention their trademark pickles were just the right thing to cut through this meaty meal.  For me, one thing the Good One lack over my other favorite roast places is the tasty sauce poured over the rice.  The one here is so much more flavorsome with a hint of traditional herbs.  Simply glorious!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


If you crave noodles,  there is something for you too.  My friend loves his roast with noodles and says that Good Fortune Roast House makes the best dried noodles in town.  True or not, you shall be the judge :)!PC170008 Over all, impressive roast is still a forte of the Good Fortune Roast House making it amongst the best in town.  In fact, it is in the top two although I am still a bigger fan of Hong Kong Barbecue.  You can see a post of mine here  Hong Kong BBQ on WenY.  However, if it is just roast that you are looking for, look no further.  With Victoria Park’s  free parking and bearable traffic, why queue and be stuffed in the city.  Definitely come here.  In fact, Victoria Park has some really great places now like the Imp, Harvest Espresso, the Prophet, V Burger, and a host of other places serving amazing curry, Chinese and sort. So happy :)!



Good Fortune Roast Duck House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bites: Duende @ Leederville

Many times have I stood at the queue in Sayers  only to point to the café opposite the road, insisting that we should try it one day instead of repetitively queuing up here.  Little did I know that the café was actually Duende, one of the restaurants that my blogger friends ChompChomp and more noticeably Queen of Bad Timing’s love dining at.  Coming in on a Sunday evening, the crowd seemed quite relaxed and it was not as busy as I expected.  Duende’s interior is simple but nothing overly loud or bold.  Then again, I am not critic when it comes to fashion!  The waitresses and waiters were all dressed casually or hipster-ish if you prefer but more importantly, the service here felt impeccable.  However, despite the sweltering 40 degree heat earlier that day, the cheeky waitress tried sitting us by the door only to be rejected by Bel.  Thank god we did not sit there!  Might have died.

Water was quick to come and our orders were taken as soon as Jordo arrived.  Tapas seems to be rather high on my list in the past few weeks.  Whether it was going to be Mexican, Spanish, Australian or Japanese, the concept of shared plate seems to get everyone’s nod of approval.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst thing to hit the table was the tomato and olive oil dip.  Despite looking like any other dip, this tasted so fine. Char-grilled bread went perfectly with the dip but those meager 4 slices barely started the meal.  Thank god we also had some more bread from the Jamon which the folks happily used to mopped up any remnants of tomato and olive oil dip OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe jamon was quite a bargain on first sight, but was it the best cured meat I have tasted? Definitely not.  But go on, give it a try ;)!

Next up was a waitress favorite.  One of the orders I typically do when I run into a dead end.  This was the grilled eggplant, haloumi and pepper salad. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pan-fried Haloumi was in full glory here.  Pan-fried delicious with its outer bits mildly crisp and perfectly browned.  The eggplant was grilled nicely and that went well with the salty haloumi and peppers.  My non-critique companions had a comment and it was that the dish as a whole tasted very much like a pizza.

Next up was Bel’s recommendation! The beetroot, goats curd, walnuts and honey.  Needless to say, I became instantly attached to this dish in my first bite.  The earthy yet juicy beetroots went so well with the walnuts and salty crumbs.  Not to mention the tangy goat’s curd that was in between a cheese and a yoghurt was seriously refreshing.  Also, who can forget the honey in the dish.  It just did wonders here.  This dish for me could be an appetizer, a main or a dessert.  Simply full of flavors.  The earthiness, the sugary-salty feel, and the nuttiness with a refreshing curd as well as textures that pleases the mouth.  So many things happening at the same time, but so well synchronized.  This was definitely my favorite dish of the night!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another pick for the night was the braised goat with cous cous.  If you love eating, you will love your goat.  If there was goat curry vs lamb, I would always pick the former despite it being more bony.  There is something about the unexplained gamey taste of the meat that does so well when cooked in curries.  And do not be too quick to judge me, I am no curry addict. But here, the flavors just did not seem to set off any explosions in my mouth.  Never mind the goat.  Lets talk cous cous.  Is it just me or is cous cous best served with a thick sauce that screams Mediterranean flavors or something with tomato in it.  My take on this is that if the sauce were to be watery, all you get is some mushy cous cous unless you get into it the moment it is served.  Pretty sure everyone like me, enjoy a cous cous that is light and fluffy.  Sadly the one we had was gluggy @@! Disappointment kept adding up for this dish. I declare it a write off.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next up were the patata bravas.   It was too good to miss especially after reading the reviews of this around town.  Sadly my picture in no way justifies this dish.  It might be just chopped up deep fried potatoes but they were bloody good.  And hence, I officially translate its names to “Bravo Potatoes”.  The crispy potato bites were fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside and the generous seasoning of paprika was simply sensational.  The sauce that came with it had my friends thinking whether there were any peppers in there but for me, it was so fresh I could not care less.  Yums! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The last dish to hit the table was the Pork Belly with coriander, pine nuts, pomegranate and fennel slaw.  Again, so many things happening in one dish but did they all work together?  But never mind that, let the pork belly be the focus for now.  We had 5 people around the table and there were already some expectations set when we walk into a restaurant and have pork belly.  Needless to say, crispy skin came tops followed by a melt in your mouth meat.  So did Duende deliver?PC150055IMHO, no.  However, it was close to doing both.  The pork belly was tender and close to melt but not quite there.  Its skin after detaching the top and scrapping of the still hard lard, cracked like shards but it did not quite go all the way.  I was left with sticky bits up my tooth because of that.  The fennel slaw had a mild seasoning that is hard to complement either so hmmmm not the best and we found that the coriander lacked seasoning.  Honestly, I would have been really pleased with just the pork belly and a well-seasoned coriander salad alone.  Nevertheless, there was something that the whole table agreed on; that the grapes in this dish were extremely delicious.  If that counts ahah.


After we finished our food, I was rather full but the table said they could eat more.  So we ordered 5 desserts.  Needless to say, we really overestimated ourselves.  Sadly, it was already 7-ish that time and to get drinks and desserts to the table took them a whopping 25 minutes.  In comparison, all 10 of our tapas only took like 20 minutes to hit the table.  But that’s ok.  We had time for some photos. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABel and her boyfie


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         AC, Jordo and I.  A crew of retarded yet extremely fun people.

When the desserts came, I was chuffed.  Everything looked so pretty.  First up was the cream catalana or simply, crème brulee with biscotti.    The cream here was velvety smooth.  The hint of vanilla was just spot on but it was the sugar layer that disappointed us.  It felt a little too thick and not blow torched enough.  This resulted in a chewy sugar layer that stuck to our tooths.  While this was in no way perfect, it was not bad either!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next was the doughnut balls with condensed milk ice cream.  When it hit the table and I took a photo, it looked sensational.  Sugar coated – deep fried goodies looked like the ultimate no-fuss dessert tapas.  It was easy to share but was it easy to eat?  Probably one of the most obvious things was the sugar coating.  It was a tad over considering it was served with a condensed milk ice cream.  Nevertheless, it is something I could live with as the sugar easily dusts off! However, in each doughnut ball was an overpowering saltiness that seemed to smash my buds as I chew more and more.  For a while I thought perhaps a lump of salt got caught in my doughnut only.  Apparently not, as my friends voiced a similar problem with theirs.  Probably a one-off mistake as no one else online has encountered a similar problem!
PC150072Then comes its merits.  I loved the ice cream. Spiced condensed milk ice cream was genius!  Nothing new, but just delicious.  Served semi-melted, it was everything an ice cream should be.  Creamy, silky smooth, and despite expecting it to be overly sweet, the use of spices totally help make it just nice. Was it cinnamon?  Or maybe cardamom?  I do not know, the sugar and salt distorted my senses!  Despite flaws in the doughnut, I would definitely order this dessert when I return!  Very promising!

However, despite hearing rave reviews about the doughnut balls with condensed milk ice-cream, it was only second best that night.  Believe or not, it was a gluten-free dessert that blew me off my socks at Duende.   In fact, I think my gluten-intolerant buddy Chompchomp is going to be pleased to know about more GF treats in town!  The flourless chocolate and orange cake was totally awesome that night.  And please excuse the clotted cream, it was totally unnecessary.  I’d rather a scoop of ice cream please!  To simply put it together, the chocolate was super moist, RICH and not overly sweet.   Orange puree was fragrant and added another dimension to the dish.  A little bit like eating Lindt’s Dark Chocolate with Orange, with the exception that this was super moist!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Duende in a nutshell was a superb eating place.  But the use of square tables means like all other tapas places, unless you are actively on your foot, keep the group small to about 6 people to enjoy a good conversation.  If seated outside, it might be a little more romantic.  But honestly, the noise here just kills the mood.  But if it’s a drink, and some great bites you are looking for, definitely keep Duende in mind.  This restaurant sits pretty high at the top along with the likes of Cantina 663 and Old Crow. Or if it is Japanese, Bonsai and Ha-Lu!  So much too love! Not to mention, if it was not for the overkill on the desserts, food alone would have been only been $40 max.  Now, tell me what is not to like!  No wonder it is Queen of Bad Timing’s favorite too!


Duende on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bites: Kanta Japanese Restaurant @ Langford (revisited 2)

If you have been a reader of WenY Wonders Why from when it first started, the name Kanta would have been brought up many times over the years of my food blogging hobby.  There has always been a strange attraction between this restaurant and I ever since I first came here.  The price has always been right at the bottom when compared to other Izakayas in town like Bonsai, Ha-Lu, Satsuki, Shiro and even Izakaya Sakura.  Yet the satisfaction has always been top notch.  Additionally, the level of showmanship whenever I came here to dine was lovely.  The chef used to be a lone ranger running the whole show in front of his diners for which he only does two sittings a night.  Even now with an extra hand to do the deep frying and sort, the sitting at this little Izakaya is still extremely limited.  Typically, you would get one sitting at 6pm and the other at 7.30pm.  A meal at Kanta cost 10 times less than a degustation at the famed Tetsuya’s in Sydney, but in my mouth it provided no less satisfaction.

WenY’s take on Tetsuya’s @ Kent Street, Sydney

My choice of food here is very limited as I have grown fond of my past orders and so have always stuck to the same thing with perhaps one or two new orders from time to time.  After an amuse bouche of savory pasta, I always call for an Agedashi Bean curd ($8) to start.  Its light palatable flavors has always been a key attraction of this dish. PC050728Mixing the grated ginger into the soy, I cannot help but devour more of the liquid with the delicious bean curd.  Kanta always seems to provide all the condiments and sauce in the right proportions!


Next up was something a little heavier but still extremely delicious.  The Ika Shioyaki or grilled squid tentacles ($8.50) served with a dollop of mayonnaise and a wedge of lime.  Lovely grilled flavors of the stove that leaves the protein a little crisp at the thinner ends with a yummy smokiness.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


One of the newer dishes on the menu that has now become and indulgent staple.  The scallop wrap in salmon.  For $11 you get two large scallops wrapped by a salmon before being seared at the bottom.  To finish, a wasabi – mayonnaise concoction that is blow torched.I normally eat it whole.  Chewing this, you get a bit of salmon, a bit of scallop, all those lovely sauces and then repeat.  This is in someway a blow torched seafood aka Aburi, so there is the lovely melt in each bite and those slightly charred flavors from a Salmon Aburi which are as always, sensational.PC050735

Last of the Izakaya is the salmon sashimi, and chicken roll with some avocado roll to clean the palate.  If you have not been to Kanta before and intend to only eat the shared plates, definitely order a chicken roll to share.  Every Teriyaki dish in Kanta is a forte and if you had just one bite, you would understand what the hype is all about.  And with the perfect seasoning used in the sushi rice, there could be no more perfect setting than this.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile the Avocado roll and salmon sashimi looks typical, it definitely was one of the best in town.  Rich, and fatty.  Smear a little wasabi and soy before finishing with a pickled ginger to cleanse.  Dammmmmmmmmmmn that was fine!


While I could do without mains and linger on with more shared plates, there are some mains that just makes this part of dinner too hard to miss.  For the veterans, we have the good old Teriyaki.  Aforementioned as a forte, some cannot get enough and what better way is there than to enjoy two large crispy tenderloins coated with that sweet and sticky sauce.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt used to be $9.50 when served on a rice bowl.  Now it is $12.50 for more chicken and served separately.  Massive serve that can easily feed two!


For the keen tongues out there, look no further than the Gyu Tongue Steak or simply, the Ox Tongue Steak $13.  Cooked to perfection, the outers bits which tend to overcook taste more like steak whilst the middle parts are still pinkish in the middle.  It almost melts in your mouth if not for the common trait of the Ox Tongue which was the mildly chewy texture.  The sauce is quite similar to the Teriyaki except that it is a little less potent in terms of sweetness and feel more peppery than the usual. Served with rice, this is another staple that I added to my list around the same time like the scallop wrap in salmon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


The final main for tonight was something XL decided to try. It was the pan fried salmon with creamy sauce ($13.50).  This was perhaps the underdog and true enough, it felt underwhelming to our senses.  As far as I know, this was a new creation slightly more than a year ago.  The fish was cooked nicely but it was the sauce that lacked flavor.  It was cream on oil if you get me?  The salmon itself is a beautiful oily fish which need not be complimented by another creamy sauce.  More so when the sauce did not have substantial acidity or sweetness to move away from being bland.  Bad luck but this was by all means a mediocre dish.  A worthy try that might appeal to some.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The night ended with a serve of Kanta special ice cream for $5.50.  With the appetizers and mains we ordered for 4, the bill came up to $132 including 4 pots of green tea.  Needless to say, we were filled to the brim and was every bit satisfied despite the lows from the pan fried salmon in creamy sauce.  If you ever happen to land a booking which should be done AT LEAST 1 week prior to your preferred date for group of more than 3, definitely do come in and enjoy some truly authentic Japanese food without a wallet busting bill.

2008 – Kanta Japanese @ Langford

2012 – Kanta Japanese @ Langford (revisited)


Kanta on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bites: Galangal Thai Cuisine @ East Victoria Park

Located just minutes from the main café strip in Victoria Park, lies another hidden gem in town.  Galangal Thai Cuisine has been around for years but its hidden location among the East Victoria Park’s suburb shops means it gets little exposure compared to the more main stream ones on the Albany Highway café strip.  The shop is pint as anything but as I have said before, never be too early to write off anything as some of the best things come in small packages.  My meal here with 6 other companions were an absolute bargain with the voucher giving us more than 50% of the price, but even without it, a meal here would not blow your wallet.  Small but complete 3 courses can be as cheap as $30 or as expensive as $60 depending on what you get.
It was a good first impression when I found out that their Thai Iced Milk Tea and Coconut Juice started at $3 bucks while sodas were only $2.50.   Comparatively, typical Perth prices for an Iced Milk Tea normally starts from $4.50.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy expectation of a small little glass with more ice than anything were seemingly exceeded.  It arrived in a large Ikea see through glass filled to the bream.  Definitely a steal for $3.   Its taste while not the best still proved substantially delicious and refreshing when paired with some of Galangal Thai Cuisine’s slightly spicy offerings.
We had 3 appetizers that night.  First was the Papaya Salad or Som Tam with all the condiments including peanuts,  and dried shrimps. A table favourite loved for its crunchy textures which are not only refreshing, but tasty as well. The sauce here had everything it needed. Salty, sweetness, and acidity with a mild heat. Definitely could do with more chili though.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPapaya Salad; shredded papaya, tomatoes, snake beans, chili, roasted peanuts, dried shrimps, lime juice, palm sugar
Next was the Tom Yam soup with Chicken($8) or Prawn ($10).  The bowl was slightly larger than your typical bowl but do not feel cheated. The prawn option came with at least 2 or 3 large prawns. Very yummy. While the soup tasted fine as is, I would have really preferred more heat to it. So if you are a thrill seeker, definitely ask for more chili!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATom Yam; spicy and sour soup with lemon grass, galangal, coriander, kaffir lime leaves. chili, lime juice
The last appetizer was the beef salad ($10) and it was by far my favorite appetizer for the night.Perfectly seasoned and cook spot on, the finely sliced beef was absolutely tender. The salad dressing again, was top notch like the Som Tam. However, it was the clever mix of greens and shallots which includes coriander, mint, cucumber that won my heart. It was a simple yet very cleverly put together recipe with all the herbs complimenting one another to give the dish a clean aftertaste. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeef Salad; lightly cooked beef, shallot, chili, coriander, mint, tomato, fish sauce, lime juice
The finish of the appetizers was followed by the arrival of our Pad Thai ($14).  One with prawn and the other with chicken.While the taste was unmistakably Pad Thai, there is an alteration that would have made an OK noodle perfect. That is to reduce the amount of palm sugar used. It was not bad as is but there seemed to be a lingering sweetness in each bite that I did not quite like! In the end, it felt a bit colluded between staying true to its roots or to conform to the Aussie palate. Definitely stick to the former IMHO.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The next dish to hit the table was the beef Masaman.  Sitting close to the top of my curry list which also includes the Red Roasted Duck curry, the Masaman is something that is either extremely moreish with rice or a failure in waiting.   In the hands of Galangal Thai Cuisine’s chef, it was an absolute blessing.  Even Mei, who tended to dislike this dish due to other restaurants who undercook the bovine, found this curry to be delicious.  Seems to me like the chef’s slow cooking methods have paid off as the beef easily fell apart even by means of a spoon.  Served with rice, and its Thai at its best.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeef Masaman Curry; rich and aromatic beef curry slowly cooked with coconut milk, roasted peanuts, potatoes and tamarind
Another dish served best with rice, the Roasted Duck Red Curry.  All the merits of a good Roasted Duck Red Curry was present here.  Perfectly cooked duck served with a slightly crisp skin with a rich and fruity sauce.  Duck breast were not the most tender but nothing noticeable when eaten with rice.  Definitely a crowd pleaser.  This curry can easily be a meal I will happily chow down with a serve of Jasmine rice.  Give me that any day, and I will be a happy man.  No arguing on that. (Edited picture with dual toning to further experiment with Lightroom)  PC010737-2Roasted Red Duck Curry; roasted red duck curry cooked in red curry paste, coconut milk, lychee, tomato, fresh basil
The last dish for the night was the Pad Prik King.  A quick stir fry which includes to use of a special in-house chili paste with prawns, snake beans and kaffir lime.  I have to say, it was just bursting with fragrance.  The chili paste was well sautéed and those kaffir lime leaves were just so yums together.  Definitely a good variation from my typical order of Basil Stir Fry. PC010731Pad Prik King; prawns, Thai chili pastel snake beans, Kaffir lime leaves
The dessert for the night was a combination of two things that is very true to the Thai street food culture.  One was the sticky rice, and the other was a coconut ice cream with hints of coconut flesh.  Creamy, sweet, and fragrant with a good savory-sweet balance simply brings out the best of this dessert.  Together, they are a pairing that lives at the very top only to be rivaled by its classic siblings; the Durian or Mango with sticky rice.  If I had one wish, it would be to double this desserts size.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe meal for the 7 of us ended up at $140.  That is extremely cheap and much of the cost was shaved off the bill thanks to the use of a Groupon promotion.  But without a the voucher, would it be very much more expensive?  Well for 7 appetizers, mains, dessert and drinks, the bill worked out to be around $280 which was about $40 per head for a complete 3 course plus a drink.  With the level of finesse on the table, a comparable meal elsewhere would not have been any cheaper than what I paid here full price or not.  But while the meal was not too expensive, be wary that the sizes of the food here were not exactly the largest in town.  But with such moreish sauces to go with rice, I doubt you will be complaining much.  Last but not least, I have to commend the decent service displayed by the staff that kept coming to our table despite being extremely busy on a Sunday evening. Our repeated calls for drinks were heard more often than not, and impressively without a sulk. 2 cheers for that.
This was definitely the highlight of my foodie hunt last week.  The food was good,  and my dining companions were every bit as awesome.  While its location away from the main café strip brings disadvantages, Galangal Thai Cuisine’s legion of loyal fans along with it’s prestigious recognition from the food industry is sure to keep it strong for a long time to come.   Sadly, this might be the ONLY and truly delicious Thai place in the whole of the Victoria Park area.
Galangal Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bites: Kitchen Inn @ Kardinya

Another budget bite to tick off my list this week is Kitchen Inn.  A successful business that first started in Thornlie, this little eatery has since expanded  down to Kardinya and even as far as Melbourne.  How is it possible that something that started little more than 4 years ago  manage to expand so rapidly you might be thinking?  I have not spoken to the charismatic family who owns this eatery, but I have some answers of my own from a foodie’s point of view.  For starters, stick with the basics and keep it that way.  Its cuisine style is from East Malaysia and here it is done the same way it would have been done back home.  80% carbs and 20% meat.  To justify, keep the price low.  The traditional favorite, the Kampua Noodle starts at $6.90 and that has not changed since it first opened.  To be honest, I love it.


The noodles are cooked perfectly, the Asian Al Dente before being tossed in a lardy and salty sauce.  To finish, slices of barbecued pork followed by a sprinkling of shallots and crisp scallions.  Its taste reminds one so much of home and for me who just loves everything Malaysia has to offer in terms of food, this Sibu (East Malaysia) delicacy just helps to keep those cravings at bay.PC050715


If you are from the Peninsular like I am, we tend to add a little black sauce to our food and at Kitchen Inn, Kardinya those requests can be accommodated with no extra cost.  Least to say, I was chuffed. While there is hardly any flavor in the black sauce or dark soy sauce, the beautiful caramelized color it gives the noodles is enough to make me drool.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKampua with Dark Soy Sauce for that added kick.


Put a few more dollars and you meat lovers can get your needs sorted too.  So why not finish the Kampua Noodles with some delicious mince and crispy Roasted Pork?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven if you are not a noodle fan, Kitchen Inn offers a host of other traditional favorites such as Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice and even the famous Bak Kut Teh.  For me, having the added homemade love in the preparation of such classic Malaysian dishes never grow old.  In fact, I do not think anyone ever gets sick of such food.   If you every come, do try their Crispy Chicken Wings which they tend to have every now and then.  It is superbly moreish and I have never failed to get excited every time I order it.  Delicious.


Never once have I finished a meal at Kitchen Inn feeling hungry.  The serves here are simply gargantuan and with the help of a little chili oil, I always leave the bowl empty.  That tends to get me a little bloated at times, but I still love this place to bits especially for their noodles which are prepared the traditional way.  While I would not rank their other offerings like the Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice or Bak Kut Teh among the best, the convenience of knowing it is there when you want it is just pleasing.  So if you are looking to eat like a king, and make the crowd happy for little money, do come and try Kitchen Inn.


See my first visit here to the original place here.  WenY Bites: Kitchen Inn @ Thornlie



Kitchen Inn Kardinya on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bites: Rice Noodle House @ Shelly

Earlier this week in my review of Big El, I promised a mix of half price discount eateries as well as hidden gems.  Here is the first.  This is the Rice Noodle House in Shelly.  It seems to have garnered many “likes” on Urbanspoon and through word of mouth, it is simply a suburban favourite.    Hidden amongst a small complex of shops, I would not blame you for not stopping for a bite as even I felt like my life was at stake coming in on a gloomy Friday afternoon.  I had absolutely no expectations of the interior looking posh and true enough, it was bare as hell.  But through my eating experience in Asian countries like Bali, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, it is these places that packs a punch.  The Rice Noodle House in Shelly is famous for a few things including its super smooth Hainan Chicken or its Ipoh Hor Fun (rice noodle).  In fact, some people claimed that the Chicken Rice here rivals the famous one from Boon Tong Kee in Singapore.  True or not, only a Singaporean can decide.  Fortunately we had one with us that day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHis comments were little and murmured along the lines of “Boon Tong Kee in Singapore is overrated” as well as “It’s just chicken rice”.  But it ended with an agreement that the chicken here is indeed very smooth.  But so smooth that it stole our money for so little on the plate.  For $10 $9 bucks, one would expect a lot more chicken.  This has got to be one of the smallest serves of Chicken Rice that I have seen in a long time. In fact, it was as flat as the plate.  But fortunately where taste was concerned, the chicken rice was spot on.

Next up was a serve of the Rice Noodle House’s famous Dry Ipoh Hor Fun.Least to say, Fishman and Nee founded it appealing to their tastes buds. Fishman liked the flavor and when I tried it, I found that it easily rivals the one made by Ipoh Garden although its sauce felt not as thick.  In fact it felt less sweet and more salty typical for an Asian palate.

For me who has been craving for some wanton noodles since a week ago, I ordered the Rice Noodle House’s Dry Wanton Noodles.  Not one of their specialty, but this is what a taste test is all about.  Experimenting.The noodles for starters were cooked spot on.  Not too soft or hard whilst still being springy.  Easy to understand why this place is famous for their noodles.  As for the wantons, they were pretty decent although nowhere near the standard of the ones I have had in Hong Kong.  I like the seasoning of the noodles which had enough flavor from the concoction of essential Chinese sauces with a good hint of pepper.  This one though felt a little sweet, possibly from the use of sugar/kicap manis.

At the end of the meal, we were all satisfied with the taste and quality in the food.  But where size was concerned, it was pretty obvious that this was not your typical  Australian serve where there was always going to be an abundance of meat and carbs.  Really quite surprising considering I have seen photos of the Nasi Lemak served here that looks absolutely huge.  Nonetheless, the Rice Noodle House in Shelly is definitely worth coming for the Malaysian classics it makes.  But if you are hungry, definitely ask for extra noodles.  In the end, putting its price (<$10), the quality and it’s location, this is definitely a hidden gem ;)!

The Rice Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bites: Big El's Latin American @ Northbridge

Obscure little gems and half price discount restaurants have been my foodie’s go-to this week.  But rather than jumble all of them into a one-liner post, I have decided to do it one by one like I always do.  With the much lamented Sake Bar done and dusted from Francis Street in Northbridge, Big El has volunteered itself to be the new kid on the block.  It promises Mexican tapas and I will be honest.; I love Mexican.  The spices and its almost South-East-Asian approach in taste combination (the sweet, salty, sour and spicy) has never failed to tingle my appetite.  So did Big El manage to get me all excited for me to return with my friends next week?

First of all, it pays to know your chili at Big ElsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut bugger that! With me finishing a fair bit of Novembars Chili burger or drinking the blisteringly spicy Tom Yams in Bangkok, I have little fears for chili. Although you-know-where is going to hurt the next day :P!

Non-alcoholic drinks were priced decently in Big Els.  Most drinks were $4 max.  But if you want to go Mexicana, there were a few Mexican beers to get you started before getting into hardcore stuff.  The drawings on the wall were definitely not the most juvenile at Big Els.  But with so much liquor on offer, I least expected the pictures of Sesame Street in Sombreros to grace the wall .


The dining style in Big Els is a tapas inspired diner.   For that we called a few things to share among the table, but we ended up with way too many.  But lets be merry shall we?  To get the appetite rolling, we called a few starters like Piquin chips(fries), stuffed jalapenos and tortillas with dips.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf the lot, I have to say that my favourite was the deep fried stuffed Jalapenos. Be warned.  As keen as you may be, your weak tongue might suggest otherwise.    Deep fried Jalapeno popper has always been a crowd pleaser.  Store bought or homemade.  The version at Big El did not fail to deliver. I loved it. But I question the stuffing which consist of “various Mexican cheese”.  That bit failed to take off in my mouth.    I would recommend you to have these little beauties whole.  Dipped in its accompanying sauce, it was heaven.  Spicy as it may be, it was a kickass bite.

Then came the tortilla chips.  Its colors were nice and reminded me of a type of corn which had two colors but definitely not tri-color as the menus suggested.  But what I felt was not so impressive was that the chips felt less crisp than the ones I’d get from a packet of Dorito. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
There were two sauces that night. A creamy Chili con Queso which was yummy and tasted very buttery.  No idea what this was but it was unique and pretty good.  Never have I tasted this in Perth before.  Then comes the Mexican staple, the Guacamole.  Here, you can pound it yourself or let Big El’s wait staff do it the Big El way.  Needless to say, I wanted to taste what the restaurant thinks is an ideal Guacamole should be.  My first bite in and I was filled with dissatisfaction.  It needed more seasoning and acidity for sure.  If it had enough seasoning, it lacked resting time.  I like to let me sauces like Guacamole, Salsas, Pickles, and Raita sit for awhile before serving.  Ideally two hours.  That brings out the best flavors which appears true for most parts.

After having a few starters to share around the table, our shared dishes started arriving at the table.  But none looked more gimmicky than the Mexican Hot Dog.  A simple hot dog bun, toast before being having a hot dogs stuffed in the middle topped with spicy chipotle and Jalapeno slices.  Served on the side was a large serve of Chili con Carne.  But was it gimmicky good?… or bad?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn all honesty, there is little rave about a little $1 hot dog you could get from Ikea.  Plus, I remember looking forward to lunchtime in school when these were packed in my lunch boxes.  Sincerely, there was very little to hate about such simplified pleasures.  It was minimalistic and all the condiments were in its rightful place.  Too add on, it came with a large bowl of chili con carne.  The chili con carne was nice and definitely something I would have over and over again.

To share amongst the table, we also ordered the soft shell tacos that arrived with an army of sauces and salsa.  I got pretty damn confused to be honest.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFortunately, there were some standouts which would really suit the chili wusses.  My friends around the table found the roasted tomato and garlic salsa along with the mango jalapeno salsa one to be the most palatable.

But when it comes to the meat, I found the pulled beef to the best.  It had flavor and the spices were spot on.  If only I had one complain, I think it was a little over-salted/spiced.  When something tastes so strong, my tongue almost instinctively expects it to be a little gritty.  But it was not.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADefinitely try the pulled beef.  I found the ginger torched salmon to be a little dry to my liking and with the chicken, it was far from its description of crispy.  It was just grilled chicken!

Also on the table was the Cascabel Chicken Wings.  Tasty little things there were, but they did not quite blow me off my socks. It was OK.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADeep fried chicken wings seasoned with rattle chilies and served with a side of chipotle mayonnaise.

Last but not least for the night were the Elotes Callejeros or Mexican street corn dusted with Big El’s special spice mix.PB280736On each plate stood 3 beautiful corns and needless to say, I loved it.  Its flavors were just right and there was so many things happening at the same time.  The sweet and juicy corn, the yummy cheese and the spices.  Looking around the table, most seemed to enjoy it especially the cheesy bits.  But my sister whose eating experience was broader than mine, her experience at Melbourne’s MamaSita produced a more significant corn compared to the one here.  Nevertheless, if you are in Perth this would suffice :)!

Over all, I had a pretty decent meal at Big Els.  Taking into account that I only paid half price, it was probably a bargain.  We had a feast for the price of a Mexican takeaway.  But I somehow feel let down by the fact that the restaurant does not bring anything exciting to the existing Mexican market.  It is already in a prime location to start something new.  Perhaps throw some meat on the grill you know, some Mexican spit roast to fend off the Greek/Spanish/Brazillian ones?  While this was in no way a bad start, it left me longing for more of something.  Good potential to be part of something bigger although as is, it is probably just going to live on as an ok eatery.

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