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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bites: A Classic Indonesian Favourite @ Manise Cafe, Northbridge.

This reputable Indonesian eatery has been crafting up delicious home-cooked Indonesian food for as long as I can remember.  From its Chicken Menado specials to the daily staple the Ayam Rica Rica, this place is as good as a classic Indonesian restaurant gets.  While I come here often, I have only brought my camera here once in 2010 so it was time for a re-visit.

Soup Kondro
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This beef soup is absolutely amazing.  From the moment it hits the table you get the smell of the aromatic fried scallions slowly settling into the beef broth.  The thick chunks of tender beef is another stellar attribute of this dish.  Pair it with a bowl of rice and some burning hot sambal (free on the table) for a great time.

Kangkung Belachan.
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Stir fried morning glory with shrimp paste is a classic Malaysian/Indonesian/Singaporean favourite. What is there not to like when fresh crunchy vegetables are cooked with a lip smacking sauce made from sauteed chilli and prawn paste.

Ayam Manise
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This well fried chicken is topped with Kecap Manis, an Indonesian Sticky Sweet Soy.  Like how the Americans have Sticky Ribs, the Indonesians have Ayam Kecap Manis.  I reckon the sauce its a little too sweet for my liking, but there is nothing a little sambal cannot fix!  Not to be forgotten is the fried chicken that was already tasty by itself!

Ati Rica Rica
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People's first impressions of animal innards are "eww".  But with nose to tail, no waste advocates and other hipsters alike, these dishes are getting most respected.  And as always. well-prepared innards are simply amazing.  Its odourless, taste like meat and the remaining merits are based on the chefs capabilities.  This deep fried liver dish is a on and off special from Manise.  The giblets were super flavourful and lovely even by itself.  Almost tasted like fried chicken!  The sauce on top of it is none other than Manise's famous Rica Rica sauce.  This spice mix is simply irresistible.  Sweet, salty, fragrant and slightly sour, this sauce be used for anything.  Chicken, beef, or seafood.  Even tofu!  Also note that everyone makes Rica Rica sauce slightly different but I like the one Manise Cafe does the best in Perth!

Manise Cafe has not disappointed me before and it continues to impress.  Its food is consistent, truly affordable and most importantly good!  The menu is pretty dynamic too with its staples available throughout the weekdays and several interesting specials brought to life over the weekend.  If you are craving for some Indonesian, definitely give Manise Cafe a try.

WenY
Manise Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bites: Sensational Hummus @ The Hummus Club, Northbridge.

If you are not yet attracted by the neon lights from the Hummus Club on William Street, then perhaps some smooth and creamy hummus might change that.  Judging from the social sentiment, this crowd-funded eatery has more substance than hype.  And I love hummus and middle eastern cuisine, so I was super keen to see what it was all about.  Coming in at 6pm on a Thursday the Hummus Club was packed out, but it did not take more than 20 minutes to get seated. The venue's combination of alfresco and covered dining allowed to restaurant be really nice, cool and airy.  More importantly, it is a much welcomed addition to the William St. strip!

To kick of the meal, the obligatory hummus with the addition of mushrooms.
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If you do not yet know what hummus is, or like me think that Hummus originated from Lebanon/Turkey, then this is a Wiki-fact for you!  Hummus is a chickpea dish that originated from Levantine and Egypt.  While most perceive Hummus to be "easy", I can tell you it is not.  The balance between the acidity and creaminess is key to making a hummus that keeps people wanting more!   I reckon the Hummus club did exceptionally well.  The addition of mushrooms was a random decision by me and I personally think it was a bad one because it did not give any added satisfaction.  It was just "there"  if you get what I mean.  There is nothing wrong with a good, minimalistic hummus.  In fact, the hummus in its most basic form would have been enjoyable enough!

To get the protein going, we called a serve of the Zaatar Fried Chicken and Lamb Kofta.
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The chicken wings came out looking like herbed crusted nuggets and boy, I really enjoyed them.   In fact, I think the herb crust was an absolutely genius idea because not only goes it give you a crunchy flavour bomb on the outside, but it also serves to preserve the juicy chicken flesh during frying.  The chicken was served with some garlic tasting paste called a Toum that is super tasty.  I reckon this was a winner although my sister was not the biggest fan.

Lamb Kofta.
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Meatballs made from lean lamb mince with good amount of spice in it.  When I think meatballs I do not usually think healthy.  But when the Hummus Club puts Lamb Kofta with yoghurt, some refreshing sumac/red onion salad, it tasted pretty damn healthy!  The combination of the spices, pungent onions and a cool yoghurt really complemented each other well.  If not for an ice cream binge during the 15 minute wait for a seat, I would have finished everything.  There was also a honey like dressing that was used to top the meatballs and boy were they good!

We also ordered the Batata to go with the meat.  These crunchy potato gems came topped with spiced salted and a Toum.  I cannot described how delicious these were, so definitely order them! If only I had not eaten all that ice cream earlier haha.  The Hummus Club was an amazing venue that night.  I left the venue feeling not quite as excited as I arrived probably due to the guilt of coming here will a belly filled with ice cream ha  ha.  But if anything, the Hummus Club definitely exceeded my expectations for a newcomer.  The price was what I would expect from a Perth diner.  The basic hummus though felt a little pricey at $14 and some might even argue that the Zaatar Fried Chicken could have had at least 6 on the plate but hey, Perth is not the cheapest for eating out!

WenY
The Hummus Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bites: A Bowl of Miso Goodness @ Ramen Samurai, Victoria Park

There is something strangely pleasing about Ramen. Perhaps its the way the full flavoured broth bring warmth or how, the thick wavy noodles are simply made for slurping!  And who is going to forget the melt in your mouth chashu and the seasoned egg with a runny centre.  With ramen shops coming up all around town, the competition is no longer a 3 way battle between the popular Nao Ramen, Dosukoi Ramen and Arigataya Ramen.  With Ramen Lab, Oishi Ramen and now Ramen Samurai in the equation, things are a little different.  Two weeks ago I headed to Ramen Samurai  in Victoria Park during their soft opening.  Unlike most Ramen places, Ramen Samurai is not housed in a small dingy hole in a wall kind of shop.  Instead, it has a generous eating space with chefs keen to prep up a meal!

I had a  choice 4 Ramen broths during Ramen Samurai's soft opening.  They were the Miso, Spicy Miso, Kimchi and Curry Ramen.  After having a good meal of Tonkatsu at Ramen Lab just days earlier, I decided to go for the Miso Ramen, $15.  
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The assemble from the top is rather typical with the addition of corn kernels which are not my favourite.  In saying that, they could have been cheeky and leave it out.  I think Nao Ramen charges $1.50 for corn!  Ramen Samurai’s handmade noodles are wavy and has a nice bite to it.  The soup is super rich with a very prominent miso flavour in it.  For those who do not take Miso too often, it might actually be a little overpowering and a tad gritty too.  Still a good bowl of broth.  The Chashu at Ramen Samurai was lovely!  In fact, I think it deserves 1 point better as the skin had a more melt in your mouth touch, though not the best I had.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.  So when eating Ramen, eat Gyoza too!
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This was very typical Gyoza.  I mean what was I expecting right?  Ramen Samurai’s Gyoza is nicely charred on one side with the top kept perfectly white and slightly translucent.  While it taste good, I wanted a bit more filling in them as the Gyozas felt a little “skinny”.  So to me it did not deliver that burst of porky goodness in one bite that I like!


In evaluating the enjoyment I had, the Miso Ramen’s broth delivered the kick I wanted.  Its strong Miso flavour was slightly nutty but sweet at the same time.  The sodium level was just right and it was nice!   The egg was runny, but felt a little lacking?  Maybe Soy?  The egg did not have that balance between the Soy and Mirin.   My meal at Ramen Samurai was nothing short of satisfactory.  But was it a whole new level of ramen goodness?  Perhaps this deserves a revisit! Delivering final judgement during Ramen Samurai’s soft opening would be too harsh.

See my other ramen post below :)!


WenY
Ramen Samurai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bites: Tender Chicken Satay Goodness @ MyRasa, Manning.

Are you a Malaysian feeling a little homesick or a person who simply loves Malaysian food?  Well there is another place in town where you get that sorted.  Located in Manning, MyRasa opened a couple months back and with good reviews of the place, I was super keen to try it out. MyRasa’s interior is bright, spacious, and modern.  More importantly, the greeting was friendly.  Sitting down, I already knew what I was here for!  Satay and Nasi Lemak.  

.. and that is exactly what I ordered!
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The Satay Chicken.

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Super yummy.  Tender, flavourful and skilfully grilled.  Its accompaniments of rice cakes, onions and cucumber were yummy!  Then we also have MyRasa’s Satay sauce which provided a peanut laden kick that was super rich.  MyRasa’s Satay Chicken is pretty much everything you’d want and expect in a satay!  Where Malaysia is different is that usually you’ll get little bits of chicken fat that is a little charred/crispy and just bursts in flavour when bitten into hoho.  I guess this was the healthy version ;)

The Nasi Lemak:
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A quick scan of the plate and it was all there.  The crispy anchovies, fried peanuts, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber and sambal.  The rice portion was seriously generous too!  I really enjoyed the sambal.  SautĂ©ed perfectly, the sambal at MyRasa was more than just chilli! There were heaps of other stuff in there that gave it an amazing flavour.  Just as the going was getting great, the Nasi Lemak hit a hump in two areas. The rice on the inside of the mound was very wet for some reason and felt overcooked.  And I ran out of sambal haha.  They definitely need to fill up that little sauce bowl with sambal!  Next time I will ask for more! 

My Nasi Lemak came with a Spiced Fried Chicken commonly called Ayam Rempah in Malaysia.  
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The chicken also cooked spot on and I really enjoyed it. While it was good, it came to mind as I was driving home that MyRasa could make it even better if they had more of the Spiced Batter fried up and topped the chicken with it.  The way Malaysia does it! 

Sister’s Beef Rendang was fork tender and no chewing effort required there! 
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The over all experience at MyRasa was satisfactory.  The Chicken Satay for me was the star of the night among the food we ordered.  Its smokey turmeric and lemongrass flavours were just spot on!  Nasi Lemak could have definitely been a hit if not for the technicalities faced halfway through.  Price-wise, you get what you pay for.  The serving of the Nasi Lemak not cheapest but its size is humungous and two plates could easily have fed three.  Just do not forget to ask for more Sambal!

WenY
MyRasa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bites: the Classic Hakata Ramen @ Ramen Lab, Mount Lawley

When something new opens in Perth, there is very little secret behind it in this small city.  When Ramen Lab opened its doors to the public a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to get in.  After all, there is plenty of space for more ramen in Perth.

Coming in hungry beyond words can describe, it was safe to say I ordered my heart out.  To start, a single serve of their Bao filled with cabbage slaw, and pork belly with a drizzle of spicy Aioli.
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Clearly, each of these little buns were made with love.   The bao itself was light and fully. The starts though were its top notch fillings and spicy Aioli tasted a lot better than what I remember Sriracha Mayo tasted!  I particularly enjoyed the thinly sliced pork belly that had a slight charred smokiness to it. Did not looked smoked or anything though! 

Takoyaki
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Octopus balls topped with a Worcestershire based concoction, spicy Aioli, Bonito flakes, and Nori.  First thing that comes to mind when I ordered these is that it must have came right out of the bag! So there was little to dislike.  For sure it could have been a little bit more delicate but what do you expect right?  Very few people make their own these days.  Overall, these were pretty nice since I really enjoyed their spicy Aioli!

My pick of the Ramen bunch was Ramen Lab’s Classic Hakata.  This style of ramen is my all time favourite where an honest broth is given the punch of black garlic oil! This was no different as the bowl looked super inviting.
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Looking at the noodles used for the Tonkotsu, you can immediately tell that the guys at Ramen Lab had done their homework because they paired their rich Tonkotsu broth with thin noodles instead of using the typical wavy noodle!  That’s like rule no.1 in the Ramen Book.  Then comes the other elements which were all very nicely done.  The egg was a class act, along with the spring onion and fungus.   Then comes the lovely pork belly which was tasted similar to the one in the Bao which isn't a bad thing considering how good it was!   While the Classic Hakata was good, I felt that there were areas where Ramen Lab could definitely improve!  First things first, the Menma or Bamboo Shoots needed a little more marinate because it still had a very strong flavour to it.  Secondly, the black garlic oil.  I love my garlic and the black garlic oil was way too little!  Lastly the soup by itself was lovely but with the noodles I think it could do with a little more salt.  The flavour was good but something felt lacking towards the end.

As noodles in soup continue to dominate the eating scene in Perth along with the craze for American BBQ and Fried Chicken, it must be wary.  Because if logic has it that a good bowl of ramen is like a trip to Heaven, then the converse must also true that a terrible bowl of ramen is a one way ticket to Hell.   Thankfully, Ramen Lab delivered better than expected because the lacklustre reviews prior to me coming were a tad concerning.  Sure there could be improvements but there was little to dislike.  Over all, it still was a solid delivery.  Oh yes, and I eat A LOT.  I would have definitely needed an extra serve of noodles if not for the sides I ordered.   A free serve of extra noodles would be good considering a bowl here starts at $15!  Would also note that the staff at Ramen Lab were extremely courteous as they made sure I got the best from the piping bowl of noodles by telling me to mix it properly and to not eat the strong flavoured Takoyaki and Ramen at the same time!

Check out my other Ramen posts:



WenY

Ramen Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bites: Crazy About Dumplings @ Authentic Bites Dumpling House.

Coming home from site there was a sudden craving for dumplings, so my sister’s suggestion to go to Authentic Bites Dumpling House in Northbridge was timely.  This little shop has queues building up early even before the doors open which I found to be very Melbourne-esque where all popular dumpling houses had long queues.  But hey lets skip the queue talk and get inside.
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The dining area is small but the turnover here is relatively quick.  The menu is pretty straightforward with a few of our favourite appetisers making a surprise appearance.  To start was a serve of drunken chicken and lightly pickled cucumbers
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Drunken Chicken:
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Both, were amazing especially the chicken which had the fragrant of the wine coating the smooth chicken flesh.  Its flavour was very mild and what was even more surprising was how the cold chicken tasted more fresh than heavy.  Then comes the tangy cucumbers marinated in a little chilli, salt, sugar and some Szechuan pepper corn.  Light numbing but superbly flavourful. It was a table favourite least to say!

The  Shanghai Dumpling we ordered were a mixture Pork and Crab.
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While I would normally go for the normal pork dumplings after a mediocre experience at Shanghai Street Dumpling in Melbourne, the lure of the briny crab flavour paired with the juicy pork was hard to resist.  Fortunately, Authentic Bites did not disappoint.  The flavours were great and I really enjoyed it then.  Except for the fact that I went to Singapore and had an even more amazing Shanghai Dumpling where the skin was really thin.  No one likes thick dumpling skin!! Especially when steamed :P!

We also had some noodles! The Braised Beef Noodle soup.
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The braised beef itself was no doubt on part with some of the best braised beef in town and I was over all very impressed.  What disappointed me was the broth which I felt could have been more beefy.  It was very mild so I decided to enhance its flavours with some soy and chilli oil.  Over all,  not too bad but nothing to rave about!

We also had the famous the pot stickers filled with a morrish mix of spicy kimchee and juicy pork.  Unfortunately I did a terrible job of getting a picture so there will be none.  The dumplings themselves were very similar to the ones you’d get elsewhere but with a special crispy finish to bottom.  It was really yums.  I mean who would complain when they get more crispy bits right?  Authentic Bites Dumpling House serves some serious dumplings but even better appetisers.   Their noodles? Hmmm those were ok but I would not come back for them.  Dumplings?  Definitely.  Dad though has his preference set for the more dainty Cantonese style dumplings served at yamaha.  So this is not on his list!


WenY

Authentic Bites Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bites: Amazing Confectionaries @ Bites by D, Mount Hawthorn.

While a delightful high tea would have been an afternoon too dainty for me, some amazing looking cakes and some friends would make a good afternoon tea.  In this occasion my ex-colleagues and  I decided to visit Bites by D, a boutique bakery stocked with premium looking confectionaries.  Scanning the counter, the attention to detail on the cakes were sensation.  Everything looked so perfect!

From Left to Right: the Fresh Berry Tart, Summer Delight and Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart
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The products from Bite by D were superb.  Glorious to see but even better to taste.  The Summer Delight for example looks deceivingly similar to the famous Watermelon cake from Blackstar Pastry in Sydney but is nothing like that at all.  In fact, I reckon the Summer Delight packs a better, more refreshing flavour that is not only more fruity in taste but more interesting in texture.  I really enjoyed the mix of berry favoured jelly and the tart lemony scent in the luscious cream at the top!  The berry tart was OK but my second favourite on the plate was the Salted Caramel Tart!

From Left to Right: the Opera Cake and Winter Delight
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On this other plate, we ordered another two different pastries and I reckon we got a tie this round. The Winter Delight was very similar in approach to the Summer Delight with the addition of the chocolate which brought a sense of nuttiness and warmth to the plate.  The Opera cake on the other hand, is full on indulgence without an overbearing sweetness.  Lots of melting moment as I savoured each bite.  Quite a rare moment considering how I keep telling people that I am not a sweet tooth!

Bites by D is definitely a new favourite of mine.  While the likes of Chu Bakery, La Belle Sweets and Choux Cafe were really good, I felt that l enjoyed the cakes at Bites by D more. In saying that though, whenever Bites by D is hosting a high tea the environment is quite full on with no noise containment whatsoever.  So if you are a group of 4 sitting near the group of 20 people having high tea, you might feel a little outnumbered and rightfully so.  Even then, where pastries matters Bites by D came tops!

WenY
Bites By D Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bites: Matcha Croissants @ La Belle Sweets, Victoria Park

Most pastries aren’t really my kind of thing but Matcha is. When I heard that a new patisserie in town was serving Matcha filled croissant, I was super keen.  Best of all its not too far from where I live.  La Belle Sweets in Lathlain recently opened their door to the public and the social media has covered them pretty well.  From catchy Pokemon cakes to delicious looking pastries, La Belle Sweets has it all.  

Sitting places are extremely limited which made it feel like a takeaway place.  Fortunately, we got a spot and that was nice!  Between the us, we got coffee and some pastries to share. 
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The pastry chef’s skills is unquestionable with the layers of the croissants defined so very clearly.  Buttery, flakey and super fresh.  Everything one the table was pretty decent!  However, I felt like there could be more Matcha cream in the croissant as it was not much!  I guess sometimes there is an expectation in life that when you open something like that and the Matcha just bowls you over haha.  This was probably just nice.  La Belle Sweets’ Matcha cream itself is sensational.  Strong flavoured, not to sweet with that strong kick of grassy Matcha note.  Just what I wanted!
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My morning at La Belle Sweets was rather short but it was time well spent.   The pastries we had that morning were several of the many that La Belle Sweets pump out of the oven.  My over all experience was unquestionably positive. In saying that note that I am not a sweets person.  So if you are a sweet tooth you might be in quite some trouble!

WenY
La Belle Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bites: A Malaysian Kopitiam Experience @ Lepak Kopitiam, Bateman

Lepak Kopitiam, is a Malaysian hawker that’s been operating in Bateman for the last year or so.  Heard off many times but never been, I was definitely keen to find out what this little suburban eatery had to offer.  Even better, the whole family was here this time so we ordered a pretty comprehensive spread!

For drinks, an all time favourite Teh C.
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Served in a classic Kopitiam cup, the froth on top is just right and the taste yummy.  The flavour of the tea is slightly mild but no complains.  If you are wondering, the “C” in Teh C comes from the use of Carnation Evaporated Milk used in making the beverage!

Belacan Wings
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Chicken wings are a guaranteed crowd pleaser.  The ones at Lepak Kopitiam, came looking super crispy with a delicious shrimp fragrance.   By itself, the wings felt a little too salty from the briny fragrance of the Belacan or Shrimp Paste, but if you dunk the wings into the accompanying Sweet Chilli, it actually was pretty good!

Nasi Lemak
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Nasi Lemak makes another appearance on my blog again and I just cannot get enough of this Malaysian staple.  Fragrant coconut rice, paired with chicken curry, fiery sambal, crunchy anchovies, cucumber and a hard-boiled egg. Its essentially life in a plate.  You get something that has texture, taste, smell and is visually pleasing.  How did the one at Lepak Kopitiam, fare?  I reckon it everything was pretty good!  The rice though was a tad too wet.  But once, I had let is rest and release some of its steam, it was just right!  Sambal was really tasty too with heaps of anchovies in mine!  Would not mind having some Nasi Lemak from Lepak Kopitiam, now!

Singapore Fried Bee Hoon
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Described as the “real Singapore” fried bee hoon made my heart chuckle as there seems to be an expectation in Australia that the Singaporean fried bee hoon is fried with curry powder!  This one came without and it was pretty decent.  Loaded with eggs, Chinese sausages, fish cakes and bean sprouts, this was pretty good!

Malaysian Curry Laksa
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Dad ordered the Malaysian Curry Laksa. While I did not try any of it, dad said that it was not too their liking.  From the picture the soup looked pretty “lemak” or rich thanks to addition of coconut milk.  But dad preferred the topping of Yong Tau Foo rather than the BBQ Pork. So he will be sticking to his usual order the next time!

Char Kuey Teow
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Another Malaysian favourite that’s often mentioned but rarely perfected.  Few criteria come together to make a good Char Kuey Teow.  The wok fried flavours, consistency of the noodles, and seasoning.  At Lepak Kopitiam, the noodles were of the right texture but I like my Kuey Teow a bit more fried where you get little clumps of Kuey Teow sticking with the eggs so that in each bite you get that Umami bomb.  While that was a matter of preference, it was the wok-fried flavours that were underwhelming and the lacked of balance in the seasoning that made it OK only. 

Lepak Kopitiam serves pretty decent hawker fare and was a nice spot especially if you leave nearby! It is safe to say that there is almost no restaurant that has satisfied me 100%.  Several places comes close to hitting the excellent 95% mark while most is a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.  Lepak Kopitiam was indifferent from this aspect except for the bit where it was really affordable by Australian standards.  My Nasi Lemak from Lepak Kopitiam was $10.  By comparisons, a Nasi Lemak is easily $14 outside!  What I liked that afternoon were the Belacan wings, Nasi Lemak and the Singapore Fried Noodles.  The OKs were the Curry Laksa. My dislikes were the Char Kuey Teow and another Claypot Yee Mee that was not pictured above!  Would I come back?  For the Nasi Lemak and chicken wings? Definitely yes!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bites: A Quick bite of Mushrooms @ Sapore, Belmont

A soon to be busy Sunday means I was going to need a quick place for breakfast.  Enough said, Perth has plenty of brunch spots to choose from but I was going to go out of my way for a feed.  This led me to Sapore, a neighbourhood staple that caught my eyes awhile back with its popular Mushroom Bruschetta gracing the social media.

Wild Mushroom Bruschetta.
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If you see the picture and are thinking “where the hell are the mushrooms?”, so did I.  But first mouth in and it all made sense.  Amazingly juicy shrooms with that rich and aromatic truffle notes.  Then comes the tart goats cheese that was super creamy was slightly oozy from the heat of the shrooms.  So simple yet so much to like!

The quick breakfast at Sapore was pretty satisfying!  However, at first glance the menu is quite sedentary.  Saw a few things here and there which bore resemblance to the general brunch scene in Perth.  In saying that though, its the execution which makes a difference and that for me is why I enjoyed my Mushroom Bruschetta at Sapore that day.  In fact,  I am actually considering a return as  I have seen other things that I would like to try.  Even the hot chocolate there looks to be top notch with addition of Nutella!

WenY
Sapore Espresso Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bites: A Heart Bowl of Ramen @ Oceans Ramen and Donburi Bar, Northbridge

My stay in Perth was probably my last Winter experience this winter and no way was I going to go without having a bowl delicious ramen.  For this, I headed to Oceans Ramen on Roe Street in Northbridge.  From being a popular take-away in Fremantle to a humble lunch bar underneath my old office Hatch, Oceans have gone form strength to strength before finally occupying the old site of Arigataya Ramen as Oceans Ramen!

The reviews of Oceans Ramen has been less than impressive but I was still keener than ever to try!    Two ramen made their appearance that day.  The first being the Original Ramen with a Shoyu or Soy base.  Sadly, this does not come with a soy egg.  So without even hesitating, the Onsen Egg was added. 
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Flavour wise it was pretty damn good.  It was not as salty as the ones you get from Nao or Dosukoi Ramen but still rich in that mild sweetness of the soy. Or maybe there was mirin? lol.  Still I only tried a bit and so my comments are hardly valid. 

Kogashi Ninniku Ramen was my pick for lunch.
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Tempted by that uber black topping, I ordered the Kogashi Ninniku Ramen also known as the burned garlic ramen.  While I am more familiar with grounded black garlic, I was open to having this Kogashi style ramen.  This type of ramen is typically finished with a lard flambĂ©.  Not this time thought.  Otherwise the smoke detector would have rung!!! It was just simple ramen topped with black garlic oil.  Even then, it had the most fragrant flavours just sipping from the heart bowl of soup. Char Shu was amazingly tender and was of a similar standards to Dosukoi/Nao.  But what I liked even more at Oceans Ramen was that they serve raw minced garlic on every table.  I added a scoop and it was a massive flavour bomb that could kill every Vampire!  But why garlic I wondered?  So I googled and ended up watching a video online and apparently its quite a norm in Tokyo to have garlic on standby especially at the Ramen stands in the markets!  No explanations but perhaps it helps add flavour and reduce the porky-ness?  Thats only my two cents though!

I have probably said this a hundred times now but seriously, what is better than slurping ramen on a cool Monday afternoon?  While I was not blown off my socks or whatsoever, Oceans Ramen was an enjoyable experience for me.  The noodles were wavy, chewy with a nice bite that held the delicious broth nicely.  I also absolutely enjoyed the addition of the black garlic oil that brings back memories of the Hakata style ramen topped with black garlic oil which I enjoyed heaps.  Over all, nice!

Check out my other Ramen posts:


WenY
Oceans Ramen and Donburi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bites: Of Crepes, Fried Chicken and Crispy Pork Belly @ Layup, Northbridge

The North end of Northbridge is getting a little busier than being just “Chinatown” with new hipster joints establishing themselves on all corners of the hood. Among them is Layup, one of the places making more noise with its killer brunch menu and industrial themed fit-out.
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The morning was hard to start at 8am, but a wake up call from some good juice mix and the good friend caffeine made the rising sun a little more bearable.
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Watermelon and Strawberry Juice.

After placing our orders, the kitchen started getting busy and it was not long till the smell of heated oil whiffed through the dining area.  First out the door was the Spiced Fried Chicken, Pork Crackle, watermelon and mint salad, red bean aioli.
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The crispy chicken, and crunchy crackling was a highlight but this brunch dish was a heavyweight contender.  Even the watermelon could not bring salvation as my colleague barely made it over the finishing line.  The crispy chicken was alright, but a bit more spices would have definitely made it more palatable as the red bean aioli did not pack a garlicky punch which I felt was needed to help finish the fried goods on the plate.

Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Miso Caramel, Beetroot gel, Chargrilled Asparagus
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The size of the Pork Belly is made small on the picture.  In reality though, there are 3 slabs of protein staring at you asking to be eaten.  Enough said, the Pork Belly was cooked decent.  Sure the skin did not crackle as much as the one for the fried chicken did but it was edible.  Miso Caramel was good but I reckon the balance could have been a tad more miso and less sugar.  Over all, it was good especially. I felt that the asparagus was cooked so very well too!

Crepe, Wagyu Bresaola, Mushroom, Charred Asparagus, Fried Quail Egg, Gruyere Garlic Butter
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If you need flavour, the savoury crepe might be your best friend.  The savoury crepe was probably the finest tasting savoury dish that morning. Its thin crepe was lovely especially in that rich, and creamy gruyere garlic butter sauce which complemented the bresaola.  Even more tasty were the mushrooms which were plump from soaking up the sauce.  The slight hump in enjoying the dish though, was the sodium level.  A couple of bites if shared amongst a village would have made me beg for more.  But an entire dish like that to myself?  I’d probably be dead begging on the floor for water.  Definitely a dish to share.

Chia seed pudding, honey toasted granola, poached pear.
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Someone tried to be healthy and that was where it ended for me. I do not go out to eat healthy stuff.  Period.  :P!  In hindsight, it was pretty colourful.

Crepe, Hazelnut Praline, Chocolate sauce, Coconut Ice Cream.
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The sweet crepe was one to love.  Again, the execution of the crepe was perfect.  What I liked was how the nutty hazelnut praline went together with the chocolate sauce and to top it off was the coconut ice cream which seemed to elevate the flavours of the chocolate without making it sickening.  This to me felt like perfect alchemy.  Watch out salt!  Coconut pair with chocolate just as well.

Brioche Doughnut Balls, salted caramel, orange zest chantilly cream
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The final dessert to share was something I looked forward too.  I mean who would not?  Put words like Brioche and Doughnut together for an immediate drool moment.  So perhaps it was hype that killed the dish.  Like how a cronut is neither a doughnut or a croissant, this was neither a brioche or a doughnut.  Why so?  First, it was not as buttery as a brioche and two, it was nowhere near as fluffy as the doughnut I expect.  In fact, if anything it felt a little short/crumbly like the “old school” doughnut served at tbsp.  Was it a bad dish this one?  Nope.  Was it my favourite?  Nope.  It was palatable!

The breakfast we had at Layup brought us through the entire day till dinner.  Even by then I still felt a little full.  Breakfast at Layup is definitely interesting especially when you consider how bold their menu are.  To mention  a few the Fried chicken, Crispy Pork Belly, Sweet Crepe w/ Ice Cream, and Karaage Burger.  Taste wise if I had to put a number, Layup would come in as a solid 6.5.  It was nice and for many part interesting but for many part the finish or execution has space for improvements!

WenY
Layup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato