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Showing posts with label Modern Australian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Modern Australian. Show all posts

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bites: Happy Brunching @ Cherry & Grapes, West Perth.

Cherry and Grapes recently joined the brunch scene in Perth played host to my first morning brunch after finishing onsite I was pumped and the easy parking made it better! After a quick scan through the menu,I was thoroughly pleased to know that non-coffee drinkers are well-taken care off. 

I started off with a Matcha Latte. Green must be good for healthy right? lol.

The Matcha latte was pretty good with a generous layer of froth! Would have liked a stronger hit of matcha but I realised that the Matcha amount was probably right but it needed a little more whisking to make sure all the Match powder was dissolved! And did I mention how good the latte art was?  It is top notch at Cherry and Grapes! 

With over 15 people there were way too many dishes for me to go around snapping photos! So I stuck to getting a few popular choices!

Queen Z’s Truffle Burger.
Featuring a house made patty, tangy relish, and truffle aioli, this burger looked ready for a model shoot alright! Sandwiched between two nicely browned buns, this burger looked the real deal and tasted good too.  Who is to forget the hand cut chips made in house!  Best thing about these chips are the crunchy edges and fluffy insides! Filled with potato flavours unlike the powdery packed ones!  Note: pure beef aficionados with a stronger preference for bovine heaven in its original state (basic salt and pepper), you might find the addition of herbs be a little overpowering!

Cake by the Ocean.
This was another interesting dish by the folks at Cherry and Grapes with a cod filled croquette taking the centre stage. Topped with hollandaise a sprinkle of what appears to be Paprika my friends thought it was good and flavoursome!  I liked how there was more acidity in the dish beyond the hollandaise with the addition of the gherkin and caper salsa! That was a nice touch.

Lamb Shank with crushed potatoes and grilled peppers.
Every week, the restaurant puts a special out for their diners and this week its the slow braised lamb shank.  I got the last one for the week and it was a damn good feed.  Tender braised shrank meat was fall-off the bone good.  Then comes the sauce that is herby, rich and full of flavour with a whiff of wine! It was the perfect sauce for the carbs on the plate.

Easy weekend parking and great drinks are only part of the enjoyment at Cherry and Grapes bring.  With lots to offer in their menu along with weekly specials keep things interesting, I have to say it was a memorable brunch with good company! Sure there were hits and misses like the over seasoned burger patty but for a place that has opened just a few weeks ago, I expect a lot more to come from the good folks at Cherry and Grapes! 


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bites: Picturesque Vineyard Dining @ Millbrook Winery, Jarrahdale.

WA is filled with quality vineyards but little did I know that hidden amongst the plains South East of Perth is a boutique winery called Millbrook Winery.  If the wineries in Swan Valley have become a weekend norm, then a trip to Millbrook Winery might just do the trick!  Only problem? It located in Jarrahdale which is a lot further if you live near the city. So was the 1 hour drive worth it?

The drive to Jarrahdale was a little far but the views were pleasant once I got off the freeway.  Just mile and miles of pleasant greenery and rolls of hay!

The vineyard?  Even better.  The vineyard was simply spectacular with its restaurant positioned by the lake surrounded by the rolling hills!  But enough about how nice this place was, time to get on to the food!  That afternoon we had the set menu as we had a large group of 10.   For $79, it was quite a lot that we got. 

To get us started, we were served some crusty bread, and liver pate.

Bread felt really ordinary, but honest and humbly good.  Not spectacular but still pleasant to taste.

The luxury of having Pate is not something that site serves.  While my friends were apprehensive about the richness of the dish, I enjoyed every bit of it.  Smeared on the little crostini and topped with the perfectly caramelised onions, it was heaven on taste! Delicious!!

Following that, we were served a trio of appetisers to share:

They were pretty decent! We had the fish wrapped in grape leaf, chickpea hash and duck rillettes! 

Over all, the appetisers were nice! But I struggled with the fish a little as it was a little fishy for my liking.  On the other hand, the rillettes were pretty yums but I found it a waste of the duck flesh because they were not moist and juicy but a little dry! So, the surprising favourite on the table that day was the chickpea hash!  One friend even commented jokingly that it was like “Vegetarian luncheon meat!”.  True enough I reckon.  Put some of the cheese on top and oh my! Yummy!

We could choose our mains and enough said we ordered pretty much everything on the menu!  This was Jim's Fish of the day from Exmouth with smashed peas.

Sauerkraut, pork, apple, rejected potatoes.  

A cheesy Risotto!

Lamb chop with white anchovies and bean salad.

Honestly?  I did not get to taste everything.  In fact, I was so busy talking that afternoon that I did not even get a photo of my dish haha.  In saying that, the general feel about the dishes that afternoon ranged anywhere from average to good.  Mine was the Vegan Gnocchi (not pictured) and it was decent.  But I reckon Mason & Bird does it better :P.  I tried some of the pork and hey it was pretty good!  A very simple and humble dish that was not extravagant but simple and enjoyable. With tender pork, crispy crackling and perfectly cooked potatoes what more could you ask for right?

Moving on to the desserts, we had a choice of three dessert of which two I had pictures for:

The nut strudel with white chocolate & ginger ice cream:

This was surprisingly good! I found the strudel a little sweet on its own but when paired with the ginger ice cream, there was a surprising chemistry between the nutty strudel, lightly pungent ginger and the cool ice cream!

Mascarpone parfait, berries, crostoli.

Berries and ice cream.  What could go wrong right?  Generally, the chances of going wrong is pretty rare so it was safe to say that I was not disappointed in anyway.  My complements was how the Mascarpone had this slight cheesiness but it did not overpower the purpose of the dish as a dessert.  Instead, it was this lingering cheesiness that balances nicely with the acidity of the berries and sugar content on the plate.  But could it have been better? I reckon it could.  First things first, serving temperature.  Something as delicate as the mascarpone parfait could have been served a little more elegantly at a better temperature where it was on the brink of melting rather than frozen cold.   Who do I reckon did it better?  Well, Relae of Copenhagen!  Maybe its time for me to get bags packed and start travelling hey?!

Millbrook Vineyard played host to an enjoyable afternoon with some good friends.  The could not be a cooler spot to have lunch than Millbrook Vineyard.  The vineyards food is over all, above average compared tot he usual fare. But if you come here looking for molecular degustation, this might not be the right place.  Instead, look for good, humble, and honest cooking with wines and views to match.  Would I do another 1 hour drive?  Perhaps I would!

Millbrook Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Friday, September 9, 2016

Bites: Gorgeous Pastas @ Mason & Bird, Kalamunda.

Mason & Bird, Kalamunda opened its doors to the public a month or two ago and word has been going around that the venue is nothing less than impressive.  I was super keen to try it out and it was safe to say that Mason & Bird did not disappoint.  The large group of us ordered pretty much the whole menu and I got to visually feast on everything (only because the table was too long and my short limbs could not stretch that far!)

To get the morning started were a round of hot drinks:

I am the biggest fan of Matcha Latte ever since I was in Seoul many years back.  That first taste of this milky-sweet-grassy drink has kept me coming back.  Unfortunately this was my biggest dislike at Mason & Bird.  The matcha just did not hit my palate with the grassy-sweet scent I was expecting.  If anything it was a little sedentary and gritty.  The milk also felt too thin and not creamy at all. Hmmm…?

Pan Roasted Gnocchi

Fortunately, the dry spell ended with the drinks.  This gnocchi dish was simply perfect.  Fluffy, light, delicate pillows of pasta were cooked sensationally.  The crust on from the pan frying worked wonders and the gnocchi was just so tasty on its own.  The cauliflower, cheese and almonds were such a treat.  I’m surprised that this whole dish was vegetarian really!  

Braised lamb Pappardelle

My order of braised lamb Pappardelle was the right dish for this gloomy-with-a-chance-of-rain kind of weather.  After all, that is what a heart braise is for no?  The lamb here was super tender and required 0 effort to bite into. Mushrooms were super plum after having soak up all the juices of the braise.  While I really enjoyed the whole dish, both my friend and I felt like they could have rolled the Pappardelle another layer thinner.  Despite saying that, perhaps the chef just liked his pasta sheets to carry an extra bite!

The hidden crowd pleaser:

Hand cut, kitchen chippies right from the kitchen.  I love them so much.  One can immediately tell the difference between chips right out of the bag and one that is made in-house.  You get so much more potato flavours from the ones made in-house at Mason & Bird.  The down side for some though is that the chips when made at home are rarely crispy across the tuber.  But its the joy of having crispy edges that makes the moment worth while.  Enjoyable!

We had many more dishes hit the table that day but I did not get to try everything.  I believe most of us were pretty damn satisfied with the food at Mason & Bird.  The main stars were none other than their pastas! (Their home-cooked chips get a special mention too!)  Do note that the pasta sizes are a little small or just right.  So if you are a big eater, definitely get the side of chips.  Lastly, the bit which I felt most let down by were the Matcha Latte and Apple Pie Shake.  It was really cool sounding on paper but in the mouth just OK.

Mason & Bird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bites: A New Brunch Opening @ Nic and Kolo, Applecross

Nic & Kolo is a new establishment in the Applecross Cafe strip.  It opened its door to the public 2 weeks ago and a quick tag from fellow foodie Nini @ Ninifoodielicious means my next brunch venue was sorted.  Coming in, the service was a tad slow as they were clearly understaffed.  But hey, all new cafes have this issue right?  We eventually sat ourselves down and instantly, the interior was admirable.  The layout was very clean and at the entrance was a very blingy counter.

Mocha for Bel & Tea for me:

My tea was right from the shopping aisles so no dramas on my side.  Bel enjoyed her coffee which dispel any concerns for the curious diners.  

The menu came a little later and had the usual suspects.  A few savoury choices and sweet one to seal the meal.  Bel ordered the Shrooms, with Horseradish Créme, and Eggs on Toast.

A simple people-pleaser kind of dish.  The thing about simple is that every element has to be executed spot on which leaves it very exposed to errors.  But no dramas here.  Bel was pleased with the tender shrooms!  Her only comment?  It is very hard to eat when everything is stacked on the toast. Definitely a first world problem haha.

As I had something savoury earlier on at home, I decided to go for Nic & Kolo’s buttermilk pancake.  The Buttermilk Pancake with Slab Bacon, and Caramel Créme.  

For me, the dish looked damn good.  The thick slabs of bacon were smokey and meaty in each bite without an overbearing saltiness.  The caramel had a beautiful nuttiness to it which help bring the pancake breakfast together.   But where the pancake was meant to be a pancake, was where I felt let down the most.  When someone offers me pancakes it immediately springs to mind; light, fluffy, evenly browned and with the use of buttermilk a lovely aroma when it hits the table.  While I definitely did get a whiff of buttery fragrant, it fell short on the rest of my preferences.  My pancake was cooked unevenly so one side was cooked well while the thicker half was undercooked, wet.  One the outside, the pancake had more browning that I would have liked.  More crisp than a nice fluffy top.  Then again, all the Instagram post are showing the same!?  Intentional? I wonder.

The thing about new openings are that they can be bit of a curved ball.  You can never quite predict the outcome of a meal.   But with new cafes, it was something I expected anyways.  Over all, the food here had a clear and concise concept with the qualities to reach the level it wants to be at.  Perhaps a few more weeks of fine tuning at site before Nic & Kolo reaches that mark but it is looking very promising.  I guess Cioccolato Espresso has finally got a challenger on the Applecross Cafe strip.

Nic and Kolo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bites: Re-evaluating my favourite degustation @ Petite Mort, Shenton Park.

When I last visited Petite Mort, I loved it. The food was good and course after course I was consistently vowed by their presentation and composition.  Last week, I returned with my tongue a little keener, fussier, and meaner after my escapades in Singapore and Cambodia.  Was I still impressed by Petite Mort’s offering?

To understand where Petite Mort has evolved over the last couple of months, I decided to re-visit their degustation menu.

To start, was Petite Mort’s ever so buttery Brioche and another Sun dried tomato pastry.

Onion Thyme Veloute, Ham Hock w/ Manjimup Truffles

I pondered on whether the truffles were worth adding to this course.  But when the waitress said that these were the best in W.A., I decided to go with it.  It came out so fragrant that I was impressed by the smell itself.  But when the smooth Veloute was poured in, it felt as though the impact of the truffles were no longer as apparent.  Was it the right combination?


Cured Salmon, Cuttlefish & Ponzu, Wasabi Sorbet, Yuzu Jelly.

This was a reminiscence of my last visit.  But this time around, the cured salmon provided a more buttery finish to the course.

Pork Belly, Pig Head, Slaw, Apple

A pork belly slow-cooked for 37 hours before being seared, a cheek meat shaped as a cube and minute fried to crisp and condiments as you know it.   Topped with a crisp crackling, this dish is everything you thought you knew, but you did not know.   There are hidden inspirations from a British classic as well as a German one in this course.  The slaw was a sauerkraut to pair with the very tender, fatty and crisp cheek.  A good re-interpretation of the Pork Knuckle and Sauerkraut.  Meanwhile, the apple jelly paired perfectly with the meaty pork belly to reveal a meal of Pork Chops and Apples.

Chicken, Rocket, Porcini, Cassoulet

Sous vide chicken roulade with a sensational plating.

My main consisted of a beef flank, crisp shallots and the tastiest potato gratin.  Sensational.  So good that I forgot the picture! Lol.

Death By Chocolate 

My choice of dessert was similar to the one I had before.  The satisfaction was no less than when I first had it.  Petite Mort’s Death by Chocolate is every bit as delicious as it needed to be.  With all the textures, it was something that triumph Jaan’s Chocolate dessert with no questions asked.  It was that good.

Soufflè, Yuzu, Custard, Yoghurt

XL’s choice of dessert.  A show of amazing alchemy and precision cooking.  I still re-call the moment the waitress poured that vial of yuzu custard and the whole Soufflé rose.  Sensational.

The degustation ended on a sweet note with the Petite Fours

The meal at Petite Mort was exactly as I remembered it to be with each course satisfying all my senses.  To be impressed twice shows that  Petite Mort made several strong refinements which were especially impactful.  The buttery salmon was one of them.  But it was the intricate thought of the Pork which impressed me the most.  After my dinner at Petite Mort, I was happy yet I could not help but wonder whether Petite Mort has played it a little too safe.  Was Petite Mort on the same level to complete with International Chefs from Jaan, Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon or Sepia?

First Visit to Petite Mort

Click to add a blog post for Petite Mort on Zomato

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bites: The best Salmon and Mandarin Pudding @ Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

Harvest Espresso has changed its menu to respect the produce in season and the winter style of dining.  Their approach is the perfect way of dining where everything is ripe, and full of flavour. New on its menu was a hearty braised beef, a crispy skin salmon and a decadent orange dessert. 

Last winter, they served a beef dish that was slightly underwhelming i.e. the beef pie that did not really tickle my fancy.  But how about this Winter's slow braised cheeks with celeriac puree, PX and remoulade salad?  To start, it was a very hearty combination on the plate complimented by a sensational plating which gave it a hint of sophistication.  Love the contrast of the shiny dark-ish brisket and the remoulade salad at the top!

In essence, the braised beef could have easily be the best winter dish but there were a few slip ups starting with the tougher than expected beef cheek indicating that more braising time was required.  I liked the sauce but found it needing more inspiration beyond the rich PX flavour.  I wanted a sauce combining perfectly caramelised root vegetables and some other element of sweetness to drive the dish home as the PX sauce had a noticeably bitter note to it.  The beef cheeks were nice but it was no heaven.

The next dish was the Crispy Salmon Fillet with braised leeks, butter lettuce jus, toasted buckwheat, and Hon Shimeji mushrooms.

Another dish which reaped the benefits of the slow cooking process.  This was the best fish dish Harvest Espresso has ever served to me.  It was the perfect fish dish with the salmon skin perfectly crispy.  Add the plump and juicy mushrooms along with the buttery melt-in-your-mouth leeks and I was in heaven.  A dish like this is a dish that does not want to make you put your fork and knife down.  Just eat eat eat and eat!!  How can one forget the finer details of leak ash which was a nice touch which gave a hint of smokiness.  It was very mild though!  Probably due to subdued sensations attributed to the winter chill!

The classic mushroom omelette is a dish that never grows old with the season.

Its creamy centre, and generous ingredients make it an all time staple.  Noms!

The sweet ending of the meal is none other than Harvest Espresso’s steamed Mandarin Pudding. Harvest Espresso's Mandarin Pudding has made its way across the whole Instagram for the period I was away at work.

Thankfully, it lived up to the hype with the bright orange sponge coming out super light and fragrant.  Its accompaniment of toasted muesli, jelly, subtle coconut cream and earl grey crumble was a combination where you get all these little flavours working together to give texture, flavour and fragrance.  This was an absolute stunner of a dish.  This Mandarin Pudding from Harvest Espresso was loved by all.  Smashing!!

No conclusion needed here.  All you need to do is visit Harvest Espresso this weekend!

Click to add a blog post for Harvest Espresso on Zomato

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bites: French Toast Decadence @ Sixteen Ounces , Victoria Park.

Home is where the heart belongs they say.  I have been living in Rivervale for over 4 years now and my affection for Victoria Park is never ending.  From the impromptu pop ups on Leonard street to the innovative Harvest Espresso and the ever so precious dinner places like the Prophet and A Spicy Affair, this suburb has got to be one of the finest in Perth.  During my short brake, I finally took the effort to bring my camera and my parents to my newest muse, Sixteen Ounces.

I have been to Sixteen Ounces several times now and their signature Brioche French Toast with Caramelised Bananas and Smoke Bacon with a generous drizzle of salted caramel is a must to share around the table.
The smell of butter is unmistakable once this beauty comes out from the kitchen.  This mini tower of three Brioche was just super sexy and hits all the right notes in my mouth.  Fluffy Brioche French toast, super sweet bananas and salty bacon.  To finish was a fine balancing act in a close to perfect salted caramel.  I was sold.  For some reason though, it felt as though it was missing a notch of nuttiness in it preparation.  Maybe its just my slow winter taste buds!  Be warned, its a little too heavy for one so it’s better shared as a dessert for all!

My other breakfast was the pulled beef, pan fried potatoes and corn kernels served with poached eggs.
This dish felt like a humble farm styled breakfast that packs great flavours.  Pan fried tuber slices, buttered kernels and a sensational pulled beef that felt more like a classic Italian Ragu. Cutting the poached eggs, its gooey yolk brought everything together.  In essence, it was a beautiful mess.  I sure wished they gave more pulled beef! This dish was yummy!

My breakfast with my parents that morning had some interesting elements on the plate.  Each were equally impressive and nothing felt too “try-hard”.  The elements in each dish were simple but they complement each other well.  It was great meal in all honesty.  Do note that the prices at Sixteen Ounces are relatively cheaper than its counter parts but its serve is not the largest too! Very similar to Hylin on Railway Parade.

Click to add a blog post for Sixteen Ounces on Zomato

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bites: The Perfect Schnitzel breakfast @ Mary Street Bakery, Highgate

When Mary Street Bakery first opened, and if you had ask me whether it was one of my top breakfast destinations, it would have been an outright no.  Trying their bakery goods, I was barely impressed by Mary Street Bakery’s cold-dense doughnuts, and mediocre tarts.  But this time around, Mary Street Bakery has found their grounding.

To start was the salted caramel doughnut and a pistachio-rose water doughnut.
Of the two, it was the Pistachio-Rose Water doughnut that came out tops.  It was the waitress’s favourite and ours too.  It appealed in all the right spots thanks to its fluffy texture, unique flavour and fragrance.  Meanwhile, we decided to try another salted caramel doughnut as we really like our salted caramel.  Unfortunately it did not satisfy our palate as much as the other.  Felt like another case of substance abuse and a “just because” everyone else is making salted caramel doughnuts case.

YH’s choice of breakfast was the Old English bacon sandwich with fried egg and HP Sauce served with a side of extra mushrooms.
The simplicity of such a dish is astounding yet the satisfaction from it can be significant if executed right.  Thick cut bacon, smoked HP sauce and the perfect fried egg.  Just when everything has clicked in place, the most unexpected disappointment kicked in.  The bread.  YH commented how he had to bite so hard it was impossible to eat.  Instead of taking a bite, he was tearing the sandwich to half and his teeth would soon start to ache.  To a certain extent he must have felt as though the sandwich came with free dental service when the crust started flossing his teeth. On the bright side, once the crust was peeled off, it was really enjoyable!  You get the runny yolk, crispy bacon and sweet shrooms all working together. 

My choice for breakfast that morning was the Pork Schnitzel on a base of creamed corn served with Kimchee and Egg.
I simply loved it.  Over the past few brunches, I have had a few dishes that sported creamed corn such as the one in Hylin but Mary Street Bakery pulled it off the best.  Its pairing was sensational and the chemistry was just right.  Crispy pork Schnitzel, earthy yet ripe corn puree and the fermented Kimchee.  All in all, simply immaculate.  It worked, it really did.  I had no criticism whatsoever.  The size was right, the flavours where there and damn it was lovely.  For $20?  Take my money!

The brunch at Mary Street Bakery certaintly had its hits and misses.  Like all experiences, you only remember the peaks and troughs but rarely the “OKs”.  Today, I will be walking away with the peaks.  From my perfect Pistachio-Rose water doughnut to the sensational Schnitzel, I was a happy kid by the time the meal ended.  So for this visit to Mary Street Bakery, a definite thumbs up.

Click to add a blog post for Mary Street Bakery on Zomato

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