Nuffnang Ads

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bites: Balinese Breakfast @ Gooseberries Cafe, Kensington

After about 4 brunches in a week, I thought it was time to up the game and to have something different.  Instagram is an awesome platform for discoveries though pictures are typically deceiving and from there, I found the Gooseberries Cafe in Kensington which is a short 5 minute drive from my place.  Viola~! 

The cafe is situated near the school making weekday parking a breeze.  The converted home has several dining areas but I took a sit in the dining area which felt very nice and airy.  To start, a citrusy lemon curd tart.  
Pint in size but packs a zesty punch.  The curd was a little stiff but nothing unexpected considering it came right out of the fridge.  In saying that, the flavours were spot on.

My choice of brunch today was the Balinese breakfast. Tender grilled chicken skewer, and a fried egg on a bowl of fried rice.  On the side were condiments to pair consisting of some kecap manis, pickled chilli and the obligatory sambal.  

But did it really meet the mark?  In terms of putting the staple rice in a bowl with chicken and rice I think it did pretty well.  A little too much carrot for my liking but the rice was fried well.  
The same cannot be said about the condiments.  On the outside they are the different but with they did not meet my requirements.  The kicap manis out of the bottle was fine by all means but the pickled chilli lacked acidity.  But most disappointing was the sambal.  It lacked the ripeness from the long sautéing which usually results in a robust chilli puree with the hints of tamarind, and prawn paste. It was a little sweet too which means all three condiments was on the sweet side. 

In a nut shell, I did not walk out of Gooseberry Cafe as pumped as when I walked in.  Nonetheless, it served a solid breakfast and I was satisfied.  A few tweaks here and there will probably allow the dish to reach higher marks but it is definitely a very good try.  

Gooseberries Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bites: Quality Japanese @ Kiri, Shenton Park

Kiri has been on my wish list for awhile now.  From the pictures of luscious tempura aubergine topped with miso to their Teriyaki splendours, I was sold very early on but was held back by a time constraint.  Eventually I would pay a visit and that finally happened last week.   In the day, Kiri serves a delicious take away from the cafe side and at night it serves customers fine Japanese cuisine from both the restaurant and cafe side.  

To start, we ordered the Creamy Prawn Croquettes.
These golden brown lovelies were beyond the normal croquettes. For me, the creamy prawns encapsulated in a thin and crisp potato case were a highlight from usual croquettes filled with nothing but carbs!  Little lashings of chilli mayonnaise completed the course.

The mountain of Kara-age.
A honest and humble favourite is preserved in its classic form. Deep fried to perfection, it came out burning hot before being served on a smear of tonkatsu sauce with a wedge of lemon and ponzu.

Crispy squid salad.
A surprise favourite and a definite crowd pleaser.  The tempura battered squid were light and crisp. But it was the amazing pairing with a refreshing salad dressed in sesame sauce that made this dish a hit. 

Dengaku Miso or Aubergine topped with miso.
One advice.  Do not bite straight into these little morsels the moment it hits the table!  Its 100 degree centre is likely to burn your palate and that dollop of Miso with a salty hit is not going to help either.  The famous Kiri dish is a little over-hyped IMHO.  Bland by itself but overly salty with the Miso, I did not really like it.  I think there ought to be better balance and refinement in the miso.  Also, I’m thinking of grilled aubergines instead of fried.  Might just be me though :P!

To share among the table we called a serve of Teriyaki Salmon and Teriyaki Chicken with two rice to share.

Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki Chicken
The Teriyaki dishes at Kiri are one of the best in town.  The sweetness is balanced well with the saltiness of the soy and you can tell that the chefs in the kitchen did not come out of YouTube academy like some other places in town.  The chicken was tossed in the sauce well and its crisp edges tell the story of a good frying, but perhaps a tad more reduction in the sauce would allow for a better coat.  All in all, a faultless Teriyaki.  But then comes the price tag.  At $25 for Chicken Teriyaki, the serving size was OK but it did not come with rice which was another $3.50.  The Salmon on the other hand was another well-cooked dish but my pocket felt a little reluctant for $32 without rice again. 

Seated in the cafe side (by will) due to the low availability of seat in the main dining room also means being shrouded in cooking fumes at no less a dining cost.  One tip, having the door open is a quick fix!  The food here was really quite nice but the bill, not so much.  Its delicious Teriyaki is comparable to my favourite one in Kanta but at a much higher price tag.  A Chicken Teriyaki is $14 w/ rice in Kanta whilst in Kiri it was $30.  But considering the demographics of high income earners in the leafy suburb of Shenton Park, it is no surprise that the food in Kiri is priced that way.  However, for the same price one will definitely be tempted to go for the Omakase in Bonsai or Halu/Satsuki and maybe even for a 3 course at Nine Fine Food.  In saying that if prices are not of the essence, you will find yourself pleased with the basic yet necessary offerings that Kiri serves up with decent quality and great authenticity!

Kiri Japanese on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bites: Brunch-ing @ Hylin, Leederville

Hylin is a suburban cafe situated on the corner of Rail Way Parade and Abbotsford Street in West Leederville.  Hylin caught my attention with its unconventional take on the daily breakfast, all of it documented on TakeMeToFoodieHeaven's blog.  In my week off, I visited Hylin and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their offerings.  

Obligatory drinks to start was a pot of green tea for myself and for my sister, a skinny latte.  Whilst the latte was good, the same cannot be said for the green tea.  It tasted weird as.  Neither was it grassy, or sweet, just painfully bitter for some odd reason!

But that did not dampen my spirits because once I saw my breakfast of chorizo, asparagus and creamed corn ($16.50) hit the table, I was sold.
Despite looking a little withered, the asparagus were cooked well with the fibrous layers removed and it was cooked to the middle just right.  The salty and moderately spicy chorizo paired with the creamed corn sensationally.  Putting a bit of everything in your mouth, you get that bitey chorizo giving you a salty-spiced hit that is complemented by the super smooth sweetcorn puree!  It was yums!

My sister’s choice of breakfasts was the field mushrooms on thick cut bacon served with guacamole and crumbled ricotta on toast ($16.50). Another yummy meal that was high in protein and low on carbs.  Its as thought we were doing some sort of paleo morning diet that morning haha.
The smoky bacon felt as though it were thinner slices of salted minute steak cooked on a grill.  Add cuts of it to the juicy mushrooms and slightly tangy ricotta, damn it was a joy to eat.  The bacon by itself though, is a little salty as one would expect.

Hylin is a good breakfast spot close not far from where I leave and it did not disappoint me in anyway(besides that terrible pot of tea of course!).  The venue is airy so the ever present morning crowd was not a bother thanks to it large open windows.  Add that Hylin's decent prices and you will find yourself very satisfied with a trip here.  However, the bread serve of one which bucks the trend of the usual two slices might leave some walking away hungry.  But as I was only keen for the good stuff rather than stacking up on the boring bread, it was just right!

Hylin on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bites: Autumn's Harvest @ Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

The temperature is cool, and the weather has been slightly gloomy as of late.  But thankfully with the passing of Summer and the coming of Autumn, the trusty crew of Harvest Espresso has changed their menu once again to suit the season.  At 8am on a long weekend morning, their dedication to serve is unwavering with the cafe already half-crowded.  And by 9 a massive line had already formed as Harvest Espresso was one of the few places in town to open.

But queues are the least of my concerns, as I was already seated and enjoying small sips of Harvest Espresso's grassy sweet Macha latte. A first love in Seoul that took 3 years to hit town.   Just minutes later, my breakfast was served.  Grilled squid, grilled morcila, and bruschetta salad served on toast smeared with chicken liver pate.  I know most people would cringe at the idea of having chicken liver, blood sausages and grilled squid for breakfast. 
Putting the norm of having boring Hollandaise and eggs for breakfast aside, one begins to appreciate food beyond the norms. At Harvest Espresso, this dish is about the ripe colours of the season paired with a whiff of incredible chargrilled flavours.  My first bite of the chicken liver pate on toast was absolutely spectacular. Imagine buttery goodness, and spot on seasoning with a subtle brandy flavour.  Then comes the perfectly cooked black pudding pairing with the sweet & acidic bruschetta tossed with plenty of seasoned shallots. Sensational.   I liked every element on the plate and everything worked really really well together.  

Next one up was my sister’s dish of crisp potato rosti topped with shredded snow peas, smoked cod, Onsen egg, and anchovy infused cream sauce served with a drizzle of herbed oil.
The potato rosti at Harvest has always been a highlight thanks to its generous seasoning, and great cooking which ensures a crisp finish.   Each mouthful of the 2015 Autumn “fish” course  was filled with freshness thanks to the shredded snow peas which sat generously between the cod and the potato rosti providing each mouthful with a taste that mellowed in with the salty anchovy cream.  It was yummy although I never quite bought the idea of having fish for breakfast :P!

Harvest Espresso is a place for seeking refuge in the chilly Autumn mornings.  The food is comforting, rich and over all just really interesting.  Its new creations are more than just cosmetic upgrades and goes significantly beyond the marginal improvement act played by most.  Its like a new generation of thought every season.  Kudos.


Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bites: Sushi with a Modern Touch @ The Modern Eatery: House of Aburi Sushi, Fremantle

Sushi is a dish for all.  Regardless of status or culture, the love for sushi is global.  But with sushi places all over the town opening their doors to the gullible, how much actually serve substance on a plate?  I would have to say very few.  Guided by my curious foodie friend Jordan and review of my fellow Perth blogger the Ministry of Gluttony , I travelled a little further beyond my comfort zone to the city of Fremantle to the Modern Eatery: House of Aburi Sushi.  

The Modern Eatery’s decor as it’s name suggests is simple, modern with the bar counter sporting a clean neat line from start to finish.  The look is almost contemporary without the necessary clutter of the furniture.  Then comes the menu which offers a decent range of sushis with most offering the option to have it done as a normal nigiri finished as is or aburi.  The appetiser for the night was the Creamy Crab Croquettes.
Creamy Crab Croquettes ($7) - Simply fried, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside finished with a drizzling of chilli mayonnaise.  The flavour of crab was present but did not carry a biteable piece of crab flesh.  Regardless, this was one the best Croquettes in town for $7. As a matter of fact, it was probably the best appetiser one could get for $7.

Signature Combo ($20) tells a lot about the concept the Modern Eatery tries to apply to their sushi.  The concept of aburi is to “blow torch” the sushi prior to serving.  In the Signature Combo we have the salmon, tuna and scallop along side 2 pieces of pressed salmon and prawn nigiri topped with their special aburi sauce.
The basic salmon, tuna and scallops were extremely fresh with no questions asked.  The flavours were good with the little toppings to finish.  But I really question the benefits of having them torched.  From past experience, only the fattest parts of the fish are normally blow torched so as to enhance the fatty layers in the fish often resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth feel that is serenaded by a smokey aroma.  At the Modern Eatery the Aburi noticeably produced a more tender finish but lacked the smokiness.

Then comes Modern Eatery’s pressed Salmon and Prawn Nigiri topped with the Signature Aburi sauce.  Looking at it, I felt impressed, with it simple appearance finished with the little grilled marks.  Very nice!  Taste wise it was even better thanks to the Aburi sauce.  It was slightly smokey, creamy and zesty all in one which complemented the seasoning and lightness of the sushi rice.

Itachou Nigiri Combo ($20) is a Signature dish for people who are not a big fan Aburi and want their sushi left “untouched”.
Everything on the plate was impeccably fresh.  From the bright red tuna to the squid, it was all bloody good.  Even the little tuna rolls were phenomenal.  Jordan and I despite using the word fresh so many times, still could not help but repeat it again over and over.  Not to mention, he loved the Unagi Nigiri which had the largest Unagi slice ever.

After going through the classics, our stomachs felt like it still had space to go the extra distance and so we decided to try some of their Craft Roll which employs their kitchen’s modern touches to the classic sushi dish. My choice was the Kamikaze Roll ($12).
Each bite here was to the joy of confusion.  There were so many things to like in this roll.  You had the crispy tempura prawn, the sweetness of the shredded crab meat, decadent Aburi sauce and the list goes one.  With so much happening in the little roll I was enjoying it it but did not know why.  One thing for sure though was that it took an expert hands to wrap that big roll without squeezing the rice flat.  Even the ever popular Mr Munchies in Mount Lawley is known for overly pressing their rice resulting in a gluggy finish.

Fry Me to the Moon was Jordan choice and it was a good call.  I had a very bad experience before in another restaurant where the fried sushi literally absorbed all the oil and tasted absolutely disgusting.  But this one at the Modern Eatery is far from that.  It was yummy!
Biggest like factor?  The perfect frying means the cream cheese was brought just below melting point with a crisp outer.  Coat with the chilli mayo & sweet soy on the plate and enjoy.

The perfect sushi to me is all about acing the rice, and ingredients whilst finishing it off with an “X” factor.  As trivial as it sounds, experts will tell you that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. At the Modern Eatery: House of Aburi Sushi the rice is delicious, the ingredients extremely fresh and environment really nice for chomping down decadent sushi.  Their Aburi sauce is also worth mentioning thanks to its sparing use unlike other places that drench their sushi in sauces.    Oh and the price for this meal? A very decent $78 including a pot of green tea.


The Modern Eatery on Urbanspoon