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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bites: Modern French Dining @ Petite Mort, Shenton Park

Petit Mort is a Modern French restaurant in the heart of the leafy Shenton Park suburb.  With an impressive degustation menu documented among my peers, I was the last to visit but was ready to be impressed.

The start of the meal begun with the staple bread course.  Coming into a French restaurant, the pastries are always expected to be stellar.  The brioche at Petit Mort made a good first impression with its buttery notes carried through its pastry’s fluffy consistency.

A dish served to whet the palate.  I loved the hint of coriander through the sweet-earthy Veloute that was consistently creamy and finished by the crispy chicken skin. 
Sweet Corn Veloute, Coriander, Chicken Crisp

Raw produce of the sea paired with wasabi is synonymous with the Japanese culture, but with a different approach things can be rather interesting.  Ponzu jelly and wasabi sorbet were not the most inventive condiments in town but I have to say, it served as a tasty summer treat when paired with the slices of fresh snapper and cuttlefish!
Snapper, Cuttlefish & Ponzu, Wasabi Sorbet

Scallops and Pork with Apples is another classic combination.  Hard to fault but often abused.  Quality pork is a must and technique is vital.  While the technique here was flawless, the table was not too convinced with the pork belly and its crispy skin.  It smelt somewhat, porky.
Scallop, Pork Belly, Pig Head, Apple

Have you ever eaten sweetbreads so delicious?  I have not.  The textures across the plate is interesting and the flavours felt some what chic provincial. Its interesting summer plating is worth noting too.
Lamb, Sweetbread, Caperberry, Asparagus

My main is quite a common one.  Steak and chipped topped with fried egg.  The steak was not a life changing bite but the quirkiness in plating was made for art.  From a top, it look somewhat liked a Lego artwork.  Petit sized chipped injected with ketchup, a small fried quail egg and little dollops of béarnaise.  Swag.
Steak, Egg & Chips

My other companions around the table did not quite enjoy their final course with the same level of satisfaction I had with my steak.  The presentation, faultless.  But what is the point of something that looks good but tastes blend.  The preparation on the plate was minimalistic but could do with a good amount of seasoning.  A basic seasoning of salt would have been much appreciated.
Salmon, Ash, Root Vegetables, Horseradish.


Death by Chocolate.  Death literally felt instant on this plate. Whether it was the rough edges truffles to the quenelle shaped mousse, there was simply too much to like on this plate.  I am not a big fan of chocolate but this is a rarity that I have learned to enjoy at Petit Mort.  After all, any dish if done well is delicious.  Fantastic dessert to end!
Death by Chocolate

Petit Fours -Pistachio macarons with a cherry filling.

Petit Fours - Bourbon filled chocolate 
The approach Petit Mort had to celebrate good modern French did not quite reach the proportions of the legendary Joel Robuchon but it did not disappoint in anyway.  From the new approach to the Japanese staple, to the Steak and Chips art piece and even the finale of decadent Death by Chocolate, it was an impressive feat one after the other.  Each course carried the essence of satisfying the senses of sight, touch and taste.  It was probably a better meal than the one I had at Amusé the day before.

Petite Mort on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bites: A Singaporean Breakfast @ Sprolo, South Perth


Perth has an interesting dining scene that is growing at a rate faster than mushrooms do in rainy days and Sprolo in Como is one of such venues in town offering a different dining scene beyond the staple bacon and eggs.  During this visit of mine, this Singaporean inspired breakfast place bring chicken rice and poached eggs to plate with a modern twist.  Critically enough, many venues has tried to be inventive and unfortunately more duds than success stories, what about Sprolo?

The morning essentials.   Sister reckons it was OK.  In saying that, Australia has some of the best coffee places around the world so OK itself is a rating above the rest!

As Sprolo only starts serving breakfast after 8am, I decided to start with a sausage roll.
Heated till crisp, this goes beyond the packed ones.  The meaty roll might be a little heavy to some in the morning but for me, this meaty loaf was what I needed to get started.  Tasty it was but certainly could have had more paprika or spices to make the norm a little more gourmet.

A little sweet treat of doughnuts with salted caramel.  
The doughnuts here were decent for most parts but the salted caramel was a little docile.  I reckon the balance between its saltiness, fragrant butter and sweetness was a little off.  Not despicable in anyway though!  However, is this a case of salted caramel, a once was unique treat become a subject of abuse in recent times?

Hainan chicken rolls.
The familiar punchy taste of gingery chilli is a hit to the tongue so early in the morning.  Its flavours were truly unique.  But the inconvenient truth was how a promising dish get let down by 2 things (IMHO).  First was the chicken, maybe a bit of smooth chicken skin? That would made the dish a little more tender because the breast meat was a little bland!  Secondly was the lack of salt.  The whole dish needed more salt ~.~!  This could easily have been a stellar dish otherwise.  Refreshing, healthy and tasty.

The full Singaporean breakfast.
These soft boiled eggs bring back memories of the childhood.  Soft, runny yolk topped with lashings of soy and sprinklings of pepper.  Everything complemented one another but then came the Aussie bread slices.  Sure it was quality, but I am quite sure that a thick slice of soft white bread, mildly toasted as done in Malaysia and Singapore would be my preference over the bread I got at Sprolo!  The last element on the plate, the Kaya was a strong merit.  It was not creamy smooth but had traces of course coconut which made the whole experience very organic.  That one I liked a lot :P!  Perhaps a little less sugar.

Breakfast at Sprolo reminded me of my breakfast at Architect and Heroes in Subiaco.  It was good, not great.  The food inventive, different and yet it was again another case of so close yet so far.  More importantly though, the effort of trying is what counts.  Surely everyone is bored of bean, egg, sausage, bacon and hash by now?  Great effort Sprolo!  I will be back.


Sprolo on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bites: Summer Degustation @ Amusé, Bronte Street

As I spend my summer days catching up with all the good folks in town, Amuse on Bronte Street in East Perth played host to one of those instances. Its presence as one of West Australia’s finest degustation restaurants stems from Amusè's inventive and slightly scientific approach to cooking.  The outcome like experiments can lead to some pretty amazing outcomes which always keep things interesting.  Does this elite institution still has what it takes to wow the crowd?

The Summer Degustation $135

Flour and watermelon

Linseed and rice & Cheese and onion

Tapioca and crab
The starting courses at Amusé had always been a bit of a delicacy.  A mix of refined techniques plus a hint of mystery creates a social environment where diners are left intrigued.  Whether it was the sneaky puffs loaded with a bursty cheese filling or the bread stick wrapped with watermelon which emulates a trout, the courses felt queer yet extremely pleasant to the palate.  The comes the crab and tapioca jar which felt a little bland.  Sure it was subtle and to a certain provided that much needed summer freshness but it definitely did not hit the mark like the rest did.

Bread and butter
One thing I took away from the General Manager before leaving my old company was that Amusé serves really good bread.  He was right.  The bread was good, but the butter was even better.  Sure, Testsuya’s really serve me kick ass bread and butter but the one served at Amusé is probably two folds better than its nearest competitor. 

Parmesan, almonds, tomatoes, and nectarine
The infamous jar emitting a mysterious cloud of smoke before diners dig into crispy bacon, mushrooms and egg has now been replaced.  Fermented nectarine might not sound appetising but the clever combination was nice.  Unfortunately, diners like myself are still mesmerised by the past and not the present.  Bring back the egg in a jar! :P

Marron, red cabbage, cucumber and plum

Barramundi and beets
Both these produce of the sea displayed colours of summer.  One raw, the other cooked. Its approach was special, but taste felt rather normal.  

Duck, sweet corn, caraway and mushroom
While the duck was not overcooked, I strongly suspect it was a tad undercooked.  My companions around the table agreed too.  But flavour wise, it was superb.  Everything in the duck course agreed with one another, the smoky mushroom paste, the earthy-sweet corn and gamey duck. Kudos!

Beef, black garlic, daikon and shiso
Beef was very well-cooked but the whole dish did not have enough seasoning and felt a little bland.  There was not any strongly flavoured element in there.  At best, the daikon provided acidity to the dish and that was about it.  There was no fancy play with the black garlic or shiso.

Buttermilk, blueberries and passionfruit

Fig leaf, pumpkin seeds and ginger
After all my visits to Amusé, I have yet to be extremely satisfied with their dessert courses.  These two dessert courses to me is like a turning point in this modern institution.  Both desserts worked.  Refreshing, and decadent with a matching complexity.  Take the course of fig leaf, pumpkin  seeds and ginger.  Who would have thought of such a composition?  Amazingly, Amusé perfected the balance whilst leaving diner with a pleasant gingery note.  Buttermilk, blueberries and passionfruit, give it to me any day and I will be a happy man.

Petite fours; Mint, pepper-berry, dessert limes and lychee.
Re-visiting this degustation icon in Perth is still every bit enjoyable as it was before.  The food has changed with some courses surpassing its predecessors whilst some courses fared better in the past.  But as I have reinforced before, Amusé is not that boring restaurant where you eat something you expect to eat.  No, its not that predictable.  Here, everything is a little bit of an experiment.  As of such, hits and misses are apparent.  More importantly, when it hits a sweet spot Amusé does it really well!

See my previous posts:


Restaurant Amusé on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 6, 2015

eatBANGKOK: WHAT, WHERE and HOW to eat in Bangkok

I am no expert in eating but I have no hesitation in claiming Bangkok as one of the top cities for eating. In this mini series called eatBANGKOK, I bring you what my homeboys Yobi, ZS and I ate through this bustling city.  Everyone boasts to present the cuisine in this Royal loving city best so the quality of food here can quite easily get diluted.  But are you really eating Bangkok’s best? This is WHAT, WHERE and HOW to eat Bangkok’s  popular and hidden eateries.

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Here, go street food eating like a local and even chance on some rare offerings like the infamous Daniel Thaiger burgers.  Do not be afraid as most dishes are often cooked on the spot.  So whether its a piping hot coconut pancake, or the grilled pork coated in sticky sweet sauce, there is always something to keep your hands busy.

Oyster omelette? More like Oyster fritters.  These crunchy fritters are delicious and with a little dipping sauce, they make a treat.  Just do not forget the small plates of perfectly fried crab rice.  

Typical cuts of meat are boring talk.  But include coal for a back to basic cooking experience and life changing sauces, aced it Best Beef did.  And its all for less than 250 Baht.

Curry crabs are so yesterday.  So Jae Piak does generous portions of prawn with glass noodles cooked in a secret sauce like no one does.  Fantastic seafood clay pot dishes means finger actions at its best!  With only 4-5 dishes on offer, its simplicity at its best.

With 4 exits around the monument, you have a 1 in 4 chance to hit the right spot for Bangkok’s best boat noodles.  Following a local’s advice, I took the road less traveled.  Just 5 minutes further in walking distance, this 15 Baht Boat Noodle is the best Bangkok has to offer. 

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Large juicy prawns, and wok-fried noodles coated in Thip Samai's special shrimp oil is all the rave.  Fill your nostrils with the fragrance of the rich shrimp oil. The queue of locals speak for itself.  But with a kitchen at the back to fry and a kitchen at the front to finish, the turnover is quick.  

The basket of fried chicken holds the brand name better than their papaya salad does.  That batter coating the juicy wings are aromatic with hints of garlic, onion, and ginger is simply sensational.  The seasoning is perfect and damn it was good.

Exploited in so many flavours, the Mille Crêpe or million layer crêpe is a common dessert nowadays.  But Thai Milk Tea is not one of them, and Petite Audrey makes a unique one where the silky sauce matches a potent tea flavour with balanced sweetness.

Bangkok is laden with quality mango sticky rice desserts but no one serves a more elaborate mango dessert than Mango Tango.  Housed in a small container off Siam Square Soi 3, this mango inspired dessert house in Siam Square specialises in everything mango.

No questions asked, this was down right the most mesmerising form of liquid I have had during the trip. This tom yam deviates away from the original one which is usually clear.  It was rich and cloudy for most parts and no, this was not Tom Kha.

A photo from my boat ride to Wang Lang market:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

eatBangkok: the Best Tom Yam and Fish Cakes @ Chatuchak Market

Chatuchak market or JJ Market is the world’s largest day market and there is absolutely no doubt about this.  With such a title, Chatuchak has a lot to offer when it comes to feeding the hungry locals and tourists.  If you are unable to visit the food-loaded Wang Lang market or Soi 38 in Sumkuvhit, Chatuchak is easily your best one-stop-has-it all.  The food here might not be the best but coming from so far away, most amateur buds will find it hard to tell the difference.  But if you are here to dig out some of the must eats, these are mine!

The trip to Chatuchak was all about reliving that first mates trip I had 5 years ago.  With the best Tom Yam I have ever tasted, I was excited to be here again.  9.30am is a little early to be at Chatuchak, but this gave me the opportunity  to have a serve of boat noodles for breakfast .  (FYI - the soup is made out of pork blood and bones).

The way I like it topped: thin slices of tender pork, springy pork balls, fresh vegetables and some crunchy pork crackling.
The thought of eating noodles served in a broth made from pig’s blood might sound daunting but with the broth formed from generous amounts of pork bones graced by countless herbs and spices, the broth might be one of the tastiest one yet!   Dark, rich, slightly sweet and over all, just  spectacular! Its a big claim to make and most will definitely give this one a miss, but if you are all about mind over matter this 40 Baht bowl of joy might just be your thing!

The morning heat in Thailand during my trip was a mild one, but I’d make any excuse to stop for a serve of coconut ice cream.  6 years ago, this shop was just one.  Now, there are plenty in the market.  For something like 25 Baht, you get a scoop of ice cream with a choice of three toppings. 
Being in Thailand, I decided to keep my choice of toppings minimalistic and local.  My choice of toppings were the roasted peanuts and sticky rice.  Out of the many possible combinations, I loved my mine for several reasons.  First one though is because I simply love my sticky rice haha.  But there is a reason for everything!!  Just think of the fragrant sticky rice cooked to perfection before being paired with the creamy coconut ice cream and finished with crunchy peanuts. *re-drool*

The ladies serving the delicious coconut ice cream.

After snooping around for interesting shirts which threw me into a limbo of what do I really want to buy, I decided that eating is more important!  (Oh and I ended up buying nothing!)  My lunch was at J-Eung a small little Thai place at the very back of the market near the noodle shop and the rest rooms. 

Seats in this restaurant is limited but when you see locals queue, you know it is worth the wait.  But for us early birds, we were seated like royal customers. The joke though is that the restaurant seated us at 11.30am but only took our orders at around 12pm.  Got time?  No worries, keep eating. So I had  the opportunity to drink some hand squeezed mandarin juice.  
This uncle squeezes every drop of juice by hand.  His effort is every bit appreciated in this amazing juice he makes.  It is fruity, sweet and mildly sour with a pulp content that is neither too over- or underwhelming. Spot on is the word.

But my interest in the juice was short lived as soon as the waitress brought us our first appetiser, Tod Mun Pla or fishcakes.
Across all the Thai fishcakes I have had in Bangkok, this simply comes tops.   The fishy cake was springy, and the spices in there was amazing.  The sauce it came with was no less impressive especially when you considering the amount of chilli, cucumber and peanuts they had in there.  It was not one of those boring adulterated sauces you get elsewhere.  How good was it?  We ended up ordering two plates!  Enough said.

The mortar and pestle kit opposite us was not just for show.  Moments after servings us the Thai fishcakes, the lady walked up to the kit and started making our Som Tam.
The result of the mortar and pestle action is a Som Tam in its simplest form.  Finely chopped young papaya, peanuts, snake beans, plump tomatoes, garlic portions and herbs pounded together before being dressed.  If Som Tam Nua did the salad great, this place does it even better.  The sauce was a vinegary syrup carrying a burst of lime juice and fish sauce. Dress a salad the way this place does, and I could have salad everyday!

We also ordered a fried chicken to share.  
It was yums but nothing to rave about.  I felt that it should be cooked on the spot or re-fried at the very least.    These were just chopped and serve crispy but its lukewarm temperature means it lacked the necessary kick one gets from eating freshly fried chicken!

They say keep the best for the last.  This restaurant takes such advice and served their Tom Yam Gung last.
No questions asked, this was down right the most mesmerising form of liquid I have had during the trip. This tom yam deviates away from the original one which is usually clear.  Here, it was rich and cloudy for most parts and no, this was not Tom Kha.  There was a certain depth in this Tom Yam that no other places seem to be able to achieve.  I would like to believe that the secret lies in the generosity of the chef.  In other places we get plenty of shrimps in the soup, but here there were 6-7 large prawns (legit size check!) in there and boy were they good!   With a bill that totalled below 400 Baht (RM45/$AUD17), we walked away with a big grin.  It could not have been any better!

The internet is a place which presents the food at Chatuchak from many angles.  Some good, some bad, some hype but many still stay traditional.  Coming here guide-less, just think like local and you will enjoy most of the food.  My eats at the market are no less common that what a typical Thai person would eat.  But if you come here and decide to feast on some random Spanish Paella, then I have no more words for you :P!


About eatBANGKOK
I have not travelled to many parts of the world, but Bangkok is easily one of the top cities for eating and in this mini series called eatBANGKOK, I bring you what my homeboys Yobi, ZS and I ate through this bustling city.  Everyone boasts to present the cuisine in this Royal loving city best so the quality of food here can quite easily get diluted.  But are you really eating Bangkok’s best? This is WHAT, WHERE and HOW to eat Bangkok’s  popular and hidden eateries.  Keen on a Bangkok food itinerary?  Look no further.