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Showing posts with label East Perth eatery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Perth eatery. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bites: An Organic Brunch @ Perth City Farm Café, Perth City.

Perth City Farm has long been an iconic example of inner-city biodiversity with its other half, the City Farm Café fronting their organic produce using a farm-to-table approach.  Its sitting is a mix of covered and open air dining, both equally enticing on a cool morning’s day.  But when it comes to eating, it is all about the food.  So lets get eating!

Some of the stuff we ordered that day includes XL’s Pain Perdu or French Toast with maple syrup, crème fraiche, and caramelized bananas ($16.50).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat is a good French Toast? For me, its all about a well-dipped soaked toast that has beautiful charred edges.  The end product should be moist and fluffy with a golden brown color.  City Farm delivers exactly that.  Cutting through the bread you could still see a very eggy inside that looks a little runny.  Soak up all that syrup sauce and its so good by itself.  My biggest critique about this dish were the caramelized banana.  It was a rather typical accompaniment but unfortunately it was not typical good.  The banana lacked the ripeness I desired and the caramelization fell short of spectacular.  I was looking for a caramelized banana that was mushy on the inside but could still hold its shape while carrying a whiff of buttery scent.  All the joys of a perfectly caramelized banana but there was none.


Fishman had not fish today and ended up with the Brekkie Burger which was a toasted bun with runny egg, cheddar and bacon ($12.50)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe said it was OK but lacked quantity on a place. Perhaps a serve of chips on the side for a couple of dollars more would make this a pretty good meal.  As is, it would not keep anyone filled past lunch.


For myself, I decided to keep it simple and ordered one of their most popular dishes there.  The Aged Cheddar and Chive Eggs with Bread ($16).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt had layers of good silky texture and it was creamy through each bite.  However. I did not quite get the excitement of the bitey cheddar as I savored the egg.  I was expecting more to go with my buttered toast but there was hardly enough Cheddar to complement the dish as a “Aged Cheddar and Chive Egg”. As for the addition of the chives, the flavors were quite subtle and compliment the dish well.  Yay or Nay?  Well, to be honest it was OK, but definitely not the explosion of “WOW” I was expecting.  Above average at best.


The drinks at City Farm Café are very well priced.  I do not drink coffee but I think the espresso starts at $2.50 or so.  Others would have cost no more than $4.  As for the food, it was a mixed bag.  Most were good while the rest were OK.  The food was safe and rather traditional.  It was a breakfast that is not here to complicate things.  There was no foam, no pork belly, no dehydrated anything but it was quite pleasant.   But considering the birth of so many new eateries around, this level of skill is hardly commendable.  Nonetheless, when you put your fingers together to count all the good things this place brings to an urban jungle like Perth, its value grow by folds.  A lovely sitting area, recyclable cutleries, and organic goodies planted by our very own Perth-ians  puts City Farm Café in a league of its own.



City Farm Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bites: Blackbird @ East Perth

I recently visited Blackbird in East Perth after scoring a half price booking through Dimmi which advertised via Urbanspoon Promos.  It was pretty sweet to be honest.  Not very often do you get such value especially with  European restaurants which are usually pricey in Perth.  At Blackbird, the ambience felt romantic with its cozy environment enhanced by the dimly lit dining area. 

To fill the growling tummies, we ordered Mini baguette and beurre de paris @  $2 each.  Crusty warm baguette is always desirable especially on night when you go in really hungry and slightly cold.  This was on such occasion with the butter melting on  the warm bread :)!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot the best serve of bread and butter but a delicious one ;)!

We called a few starters which included the Pan fried squid, chorizo, black olives, aubergine caviar.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile Jimmy boy could not recognize all the elements in there, the slippery aubergine caviar was a give away along with the chorizo which has that slight chewiness but at the same time, an unmistakable aroma.  Squid were just little bits which were cook spot on.  It was a nice little starter IMHO.

Little darling ordered something a little more healthy.  She had the roasted nectarine, bocconcini and rocket salad. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerfectly caramelized nectarines with fresh chewy bocconcini and a simple balsamic dressing.  Tempted by its rustic appearance the little darling enjoyed it.  It was something she would order again.  I found this dish quite appealing to me too.  The key here was its simplicity and the good pairing of flavors!

For mains, my sis and Jimmy boy ordered the pappardelle with a cured meat cream sauce (might be pancetta).
Again, the key approach taken by Blackbird is simplicity.  There was little distracting dish.  It was a simple pappardelle dish with the cured meats very finely chopped. This infused the beautiful smoky aroma into a rich creamy sauce.  Combined together with the silky pappardelle and it was a hearty dish all by itself.  What buggered us a bit was the duration the pasta was cooked for.  It felt a little overdone.  A friend J who came here last year felt the same thing too.  Perhaps this is Blackbirds preferred pasta consistency.

Around the table, we also had a few people order the beef risotto.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt this point it was very clear what Blackbird tries to do.  Their cooking retains all the flavors of the key ingredients.  Hence, their products were more subtle in seasoning but relied heavily on the aroma of the ingredients along with its natural sweetness.  I found the risotto to be well-cooked with the flavors of the beef, red wine and parmesan present.  Salt though, felt lacking.  I would definitely have more salt on there.

My main was the seafood chowder.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a decent serve of fish, mussels, and prawns, it was every seafood lovers joy.  First point for the rustic presentation, and the second for the ability of the chef to cook all the seafood perfectly.  Dislikes though were the lack of salt once more.  But no worries, I could easily shake some onto my dish.

By the time we finished our mains, we were all filled!  Blackbird for half price is a great it.  But things like the seafood chowder costs $38 without discount, hence it might be a little too expensive as that would not fill anyone up just by itself.  I think the risotto was $36 and the pappardelle was around $29.  All of which is typical in Perth.  I would definitely consider a return but with so many around, Blackbird might find itself in steep competition against other places.

Blackbird on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bites: Amuse Re-visited @ East Perth

The last time the little darling and I came to Amuse, we were treated to a degustation like none other were the simplest of ingredients were turned into something extraordinary.  Hoping to relive our beautiful experience with our friends, we decided to have our last gathering for the year at Amuse.
Considering how much praises I had for them in my last visit, I will not dwell too much on each dish served but instead mentioned the high and lows for the night.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA “snack” of cured meat was not even half as satisfying as the bone marrow tubes the little darling and I had before.  It was rather unfortunate that the cured meat did not benefit from the curing as is did not pack the natural flavors that usually mellows with the meat but this still carried a porky stench.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet potato crisps with sour cream was probably one of the nicer snacks along with the crackers topped with rosemary powder and edible flowers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATasmanian trout with dill and mustard on top of a thin layer of crisp was not as good as my previous visit because the crisp had turned soggy at the bottom.

Appetizers:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACeviche of blue ridge marron, poached marron claw, compressed melons and cucumber.  This for me was an appetizer not worthy of the Amuse household.  Its mediocre ceviche was served lukewarm making it feel as if the marrons have started turning bad.  Definitely a low especially when my friend got mild food poisoning later that morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAsparagus, green and white was a showcase of how one can do so much with so little.  Beautiful white asparagus was poached in pecorino oil while the green asparagus was shaved with its harder outer layer turned into ash and sprinkled on top pecorino cream.  To finish off was an asparagus soup which was delish.  This dish was not one of strong taste but rather a subtle sweetness of the asparagus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The obligatory half boiled runny egg served smoking in a jar.   Inside was a serve of egg, mushrooms, pine nuts and salty treat of crisp chicken skin. Slurps!!  This dish was voted the top “HOT” dish in Australia which was on par with a dish produced by Quay in Sydney!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEgg, mushroom and pine nuts!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACuttlefish, pork and nettles.  This for me was one of the best dishes we had that night surpassing the mediocre cuttlefish dish I had in my first visit at Amuse! This beautifully composed dish was cooked spot on, topped with spicy crisps and sat on top of a salsa Verde which had more than 25 ingredients including chopped sausages.  It was delicious.  I enjoyed every bit of this dish as it was just the perfect pairing of ingredients although some might argue that the salsa Verde was a little too salty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Rabbit, carrot and buttermilk sounds like the perfect Bugs Bunny story but this fell a little short of my expectations.  I loved the bit of the rabbit wrapped in silver beet cooked sous vide as it was super soft and tender but the other rabbit strip loin felt like corned meat and was really salty.  Perhaps it was meant to be corned but I must have missed that part of the description.

Our final savory course for the night was called the Duck, sweet corn and buckwheat.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
But for me, the best bit of the night would have to be the duck course which was absolutely spot on in terms of cooking.  The duck was perfectly cooked I can guarantee, while the buckwheat provided a textural element with the grilled corn providing an earthy yet very delicious flavor when paired up with the gamey meat!!  Broccoletti though, felt as if it was there because mom says greens are good for you.

Palette cleanserOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrape fruit, lychee and Thai basil. 

Desserts:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJersey cream, berries and rhubarb!  In an attempt to re-make a typical ice cream, Amuse has whipped up chill cream making it extremely light without losing it creaminess before topping the lot with rhubarb!  Put in a small jar on the side is a small compote consisting of grilled strawberries, crystallized blood orange and berries making this dessert delicious!   The fruits were a mix of sweet ripened ones and sour berries which provided different levels of sweetness in this dessert. I like this quite a fair bit despite its simplicity!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur final dessert course before the petit fours is a course of chocolate, wattle and honey comb.  But do not be fooled, the chocolate here is no conventional chocolate but instead been served in a form of jelly.  While some might consider that special, I have never taken a liking to having my chocolate in the form of a jelly as there is no sense of creaminess in doing so.  All you get is a mild bitterness in it.  Other component were nice with a little liquid nitrogen play in freezing the ice cream so that it melts in your mouth.  But the unfortunate story is the bit where the little ice cream bits still take a little too long reach that state of creaminess and very often it is down your throat before it happens.  For me, this could have been a lot better.

After the sweet finish, we were serve complimentary tea and treatsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPineapple jubes, sugared berries and half dipped tangerines were a very poor ending to the night.  Not really sure is this the intention of Amuse but the execution of the start and end was really poor.  For me, if Amuse was a person, the his/her image is totally tarnished.  The start and the end if really all that counts where outcome matters.  For me, Amuse has failed in this aspect.  The half dipped tangerine felt like Koko Black rip offs while the jubes have not improved from when I had it before.  Even the berries looked childishly prepared.  

Coming from a place like Amuse and a degustation menu which had increase in price, I certainly expected more from the kitchen.  On the bright side, the middle courses have certainly improved.  The cuttlefish was a shining start along with the perfectly prepared duck.   Unfortunately, the only saving grace were the savory menu.  The dessert bits were a tad of disappointment which quickly escalated to a large disappointment with the chocolate course. 

Was this a failure by the kitchen?  For me, I would like to think not as every degustation is an experiment.  However, my friend have a different dining definition and for him, a degustation is where the chef’s skills and imagination should be stretched to the limit.   If you have the definition of the latter, my dining at Amuse which totaled to over a $1000 tonight was by means a failure which only have a 6.5/11 approval for which a point was given to dishes I liked and 0.5 points where applicable.  For a meal that cost $130 per person, one would definitely have expected more.

Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bites: Restaurant Amuse @ Perth

A special occasion demands a special venue.  While it is nothing new for little darling, I did want us to have a good night.  With countless of praise from bloggers and food critics alike, there seemed no better place than Amuse.   Often renowned as one of the best if not the best in Western Australia, I booked well ahead of time to ensure we both had a place for our anniversary.  The decor of Amuse is minimalistic with art pieces showcasing symmetry and it all seems very textural from where I sat.  Was this a sign of things to come that night?  Multi-dimensional food with significant textural elements fit for heaven? I wonder.
Simple sitting!

As this was our anniversary I told myself not to be that geek with the camera but realise that I have the little darling with me. A few dishes I have missed out due to poor lighting and I did not take more than 1 shot of each course. But that was alright, the night was one to remember!

Drinks for two!  We decided to leave the menu a secret until we finally gave up waiting in anticipation after 6-8 courses.

Ocean Trout with Honey Mustard.  Good first impressions creates lasting ones and this was here to say.  This was an enjoyable yet fairly straightforward snack which can be applauded for so many reasons.  One in particular was the honey mustard where subtleness of the mustard gave a really good taste to the fish while the sweetness of the honey was just spot on!  Well toned flavours for this one.  The crisp gave it a nice crunchy too!

Potato Crisps were really good but I did not quite get the dollop or something.  I think the waitress mentioned brine or something something?  I remember that it was salty and sweet. Not bad!
Two other snack that were served was the Oat crisps and Prosciutto piped with Bone Marrow.  The oat crisp was nice but the snack with Bone Marrow was even better.  Darling and I were pretty sceptical at first but oh boy we were wrong.  The meat used to encase that lovely bone marrow was so nice!  So was the bone marrow itself.  Felt creamy and really tasty!

After the snacks came the bread with a really nice spread which I think was butter and solidified olive oil!  Basically really good in-house crusty bread where you have both wholemeal and white.  Free flow for the whole night.  Neither of the condiments were salted as the bread was already salty.  I have to say, I love my bread fresh.  That smell and the satisfaction of pulling it apart is gorgeous.  Saying this, I rarely eat bread, but when I do, I love it!

King Fish, Nashi Pear and Tea Tree.  This was the first proper course.  I hate sashimi.  But this was wow! No seriously, wow!  The fish was so fresh it was hard to hate.  Nashi pear slices really paired well with that fish.  Good thinking in the kitchen.  Tea tree hmm how does it even taste?  Not quite sure whether the crowd was necessary but as it is, the pear and the king fish was kickass! Nonetheless, I cannot say that having the tea tree did any harm.  Thumbs up!

Manjimup Truffle and Risotto was an additional course which I added on. No regrets.  Truffles really went well with that delicious risotto.  Definitely could have more risotto to bring everything together.  The flavours here were really  good. But was I liked most was the fact that it had that smokiness in it as if it was smoked or cooked in some bacon or something. So good!  It was also cooked to the extent of creaminess and silkiness that Masterchef judges always want. So this for me a thumbs up! 
After that came the all time catchy half-cooked egg in a jar course with enoki and hickory smoke. DAMN it was good.  I really enjoyed it.  Did not feel like it was something difficult to make but WoW! I do have a theory of how the hickory smoke is captured in the jar but some things are better left unknown.  The eggs and mushroom really felt like a modern reinterpretation of a Chawan Mushi crossed with an Onsen egg. Flavours were significantly Asian but had that Western flair.  Do I even know what I am talking about @@? Probably not.  Still suffering from after effects.
Also, there was the marron course served with guacamole on a thin layer of crisp with lemon dip.  I have had many marrons over the past few months. This one did not disappoint but neither was I wow-ed.   Good stuff but not “blow me away”.

Duck with red and gold beetroot on chestnut puree.  Perfectly cooked with a pinkish middle, these little morsel was of perfectly executed.  However though, it felt a little too small to feel the perfection of a duck breast. But the pairing with beetroot and chestnut was good. From the earthy feeling of the beetroot to the sweetness of the chestnut.  The combination was spot on.  There was also a textural component which brought a nice crunch to the whole dish!

Lamb three ways – diced, fillet, and pulled with chickpea was another dish that felt special.  Textural spectacular was here.  Two almost melt in your mouth lamb and a slightly chewy yet tender tongue finished with a creamy  chickpea names the reasons for the “wows”. The taste albeit slightly blend was really celebrated the flavour of the meat which I did enjoy.

Parpadelle with Sear Scallops and shaved Octopus.  This was one of the dishes that I was really looking forward to that night.   I started the dish with the parpadelle and some of the vegetables with a slice of the cuttlefish with some sauce.  And I really felt disappointed. The taste was blend. Really blend.  Another dive into the dish did not taste until different.  All until I popped that juicy scallop into my mouth and BAM it was a score.  While one could not fault with the scallop, I did not enjoy any of the other elements which followed.

Finishing the mains, we moved onto the the dessert dish where we started with a dehydrated mandarin slice and long pepper.  Just in time to prep us for our dessert course :)!

The first one up that night was a Hazelnut Sorbet with Lemon Curd and Pear with crushed nuts.
Upon my first glance, I was left wondering where was the lemon curd.  Apparently unsuspectingly shaped into long string.  Hazelnut sorbet was silky smooth like how ice creams should be.  Controlled sweetness with good flavours made this dessert every bit delectable.  The foamy pear element was another applauded creation that night.  It was foamy slightly sticky .. are there even words to describe it?  Crunchy hazelnut with all these other texture and once again, textural brilliance by the amazing crew at Amuse!

The final dessert that night was a game of balance and creation.
Passionfruit Meringue two ways with bitter chocolate mousse, sticky toffee, white chocolate and to finish, a sprinkle of salty caramel.  Passionfruit flavour was strong and so was the sweetness from the white chocolate, but the intensity of the bitter chocolate was spot on.  And like how many have mentioned before, a little sweetness can really bring the chocolate to another level.  The fragrant salty caramel was just so good!   Could have had seconds!

To finish the night was petite fours and hot drinks.  Darling and I were too full for drinks but we gladly picked on the little desserts.
I found the chocolate mediocre but the rest pretty good! Unfortunately the jubes did not leave me on a high note.  Previous dining at Le’Atelier de Joel Robuchon had me drooling for their berry jubes.  They had aced the consistency, and the fruitiness.  Amuse version of the fruit jubes was fruity but it was just soft through.  A little bit more of chewiness would have really made it perfect!  Then comes my favourite of the petite fours, the jam doughnuts which felt like a reminiscence of my holidays to Melbourne in my university days.  Was its that fluffiness of the pastry or that well proportioned jam and pastry, or perhaps both?  Having it warm fresh out of the kitchen was that added bonus. Delectable!!

I could summarise all that I have said once again.  But with the word good, yummy and all those words representing delicious so overused, I believe the contents have summed itself up.  High and lows were eminent but did I enjoy Amuse? Yes, I did.  The hosts were perfectly. Attentive in every sense and always prepared to help, what more can be asked of the crew?  Judging the food it was cleverly put together and despite the simplicity of some, sometimes less is more.  Amuse @ Amused. 

Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon