Health Freak Cafe: Subiaco

After a brief hiatus solely due to a serious bout of chronic laziness, The Fat Cow has returned to grazing Perth pastures and more surprisingly has passed on the hot chips for a healthier alternative.

Don’t be fooled this mentality isn’t permanent and resembles most people who are extremely healthy for the morning period prior to morphing into sugar monster’s come 3pm. Spurred on by my morning feelings of healthiness I ran………..no drove to the happening health cafe, Health Freak situated in Subiaco.

Health Freak Cafe details:

Opening Hours 
Monday – Friday   7am – 4.00pm

Saturday – Sunday 8am – 3pm

Monday – Saturday breakfast  is served  till 11.30am

Sunday – All Day Breakfast till 2pm.

Address: Cnr Alvan St & Railway Road Subiaco

Phone: 9380 6008

Tapping into the raw, vegan, vegetarian & gluten-free market you can be assured that all people will be catered for, including the rabbit food eaters right through to the ‘unless there’s meat there is nothing to eat’ diners.

Health Freak’s menu can be found at their website:

http://www.healthfreakcafe.com.au/menu/breakfast/

If you are concerned about your health and looking for a place where you know exactly what you are eating, than this is the place for you. All items listed on the menu give you a comprehensive breakdown of calories and protein etc giving you some idea of what you are putting into your body. Given that majority of the items on their menu are quite healthy, one doesn’t mind knowing the calorie content. This option probably shouldn’t be introduced to all restaurants, as ignorance is sometimes bliss and I don’t need someone confirming that the cookies and cream cheesecake isn’t a ‘healthy option’ (despite having the word cheese in it).

Being a creature of habit I rarely stray from a mushroom/egg combination or muesli, but for the sake of living life on the edge and attempting to build a six-pack I opted for the power protein pancakes topped with banana and a berry sauce.

Pancakes topped with banana and berries

Pancakes topped with banana and berries

It’s no secret that people are addicted to sugar and fat because it tastes so damn good, and despite people’s best efforts it is pretty rare to find a healthy mud cake that is head and shoulders above the fully fledged fat mud cake. The Health Freak Cafe gives it a good go and succeeds somewhat in making healthy meals which don’t sacrifice taste. Although I would like to say the pancakes were to die for, honestly they probably weren’t as enjoyable other pancakes I have had previously lathered in maple syrup and even ice-cream. What I did enjoy however was that I walked away (rather than rolling) knowing that I hadn’t consumed my entire daily intake of calories in one mouthful and was still satisfied while enjoying the meal.

If you don’t go out very often and you are looking for a ‘treat’ breakfast/lunch then I would imagine you may be left wanting if you head to Health Freak. If you are concerned about your weight, craving something fresh and natural, regularly treat your body as a temple and looking for a place which you don’t feel guilty after eating then Health Freak is just the ticket!

It’s an enjoyable cafe in a convenient location and caters to a currently in vogue healthy living market. It’s reasonably priced and worth bypassing your bacon and egg mcmuffin to see if you are happy to become a health freak.

Positives: Healthy and transparent menu options and prompt service.

Negatives: Not a ‘treat’ cafe, limited seating and bland decor.

Final score: 3/5

Health Freak Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Fat Cow in Peru

Buenos dias Amigo’s and Amiga’s!

The Fat Cow has become semi cultured and has found herself venturing from the pastures of Perth all the way to Peru, South America.

Although many of you may not be able to enjoy the culinary delights with which I am going to share with you today, I am sure that many of you will not be too disappointed about that (please read on to see why).

I am one who wholly believes in the saying ‘when in Rome’, and while in a different country I think it only polite to taste local delicacies.

This motto often works out well in places like Italy or France, where local delicacies include culinary delights like olives, pizza or croissants. You can only imagine my horror and concern when announced that Peru’s favourite dish is Cuy, translation = Guinea Pig.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen that furry, cuddly and somewhat adorable pet that you owned as a wee person, actually gets served up on a plate over here. Traditionally it is usually served whole (head included) and one must devour in the carnivorous fashion of eating it with your hands.

With the mentality of the guy from Man v Food, I put to the back of my mind that I had to eat my childhood pet and ventured to a recommended Peruvian restaurant (Inka Grill) in Cuzco. Aiming to check off all the local dishes we ordered the entrée of Trout and Mushroom Ceviche and a main of Cuy (Guinea Pig) with roasted potatoes to share. Considered a delicacy over here, the Cuy was the most expensive item on the menu, and I had concerns that I would be playing 60 soles for one mouthful of food.

To calm the nerves prior to my pet tasting, I further got into the Peruvian spirit by ordering the local drink called a Pisco Sour. This was delicious and although initially tasting highly alcoholic I soon settled into it. The flavour resembled Tequila but was mixed with citrus and egg white which took away the typical burning that usually comes with Tequila. After trying many local drinks in different countries E.g. Raki in Turkey (liquorice in a cup) it was nice to actually find a drink which was palatable.

Pisco Sour

The dishes arrived at the table and I was happy to see that the guinea pig had been separated and there was no sign of a head. I was doubting my ability to eat such a thing if it was in fact looking at me. The ceviche was nicely presented and came with a side of corn, regularly sold and eaten here.

We started on the ceviche to get into the swing of things and although the city of Lima is best known for its ceviche, it seemed Cusco did it pretty well also. The citrus base flavoured the trout well, and was an enjoyable and light dish, of generous entree portion size to start off the evening.

Mushroom and Trout Ceviche

Next was the Guinea Pig and with a deep breath I took my first bite. Despite being a little less meaty and slightly chewier, Guinea Pig tastes like CHICKEN.

Cuy (Guinea Pig) with roast potato

All was going well and I was considering my second piece of Cuy until the piece I selected had some unappetising kidneys attached. Based on this disturbing turn of events, the fact it was expensive and tasted like chicken, I have decided to end my Cuy adventures in favour of returning to eating plain old chicken.

The fateful piece of Guinea Pig with kidneys attached

In other exciting culinary adventures I was also able to try Alpaca. For some reason this seemed a little less daunting than Guinea Pig perhaps because I never had one in the back yard. The Alpaca was also enjoyable, tasting slightly sweeter and lighter to Australian Beef.

Alpaca stirfry

I assure you even though I have eaten Guinea Pig and Alpaca, Peru still has animals left in existence, evident after our visit to the markets.

I always enjoy visiting different countries markets as it gives you an idea of what you should be trying and eating. All I can say however is that after visiting Cuzco markets I have now turned Vegetarian. Filled with countless isles of fresh fruit and juicing bays, we were off to a promising start but things soon changed after mindlessly walking into the meat section.

Call me a prude but I firmly believe that meat and fish when out in the open should be kept on ice and fly free. Strolling through the meat aisles, the Peruvian people obviously don’t share these sentiments and all cuts of meat were laid out in the sun for the taking. I soon realised how wasteful we were in Australia with cuts including brain, hooves, intestine, cow nose, tongue all being available for purchase at a good price. Although we do have kitchen facilities at the hostel, buying dinner seemed like the easier option then knocking up a quick brain and tongue stew.

Cow nose and brain

It has been a gastronomic experience to say the least and I am glad to report that I have no food poisoning based on the above tastings. I look forward to the next part of the journey in Bolivia and have my fingers crossed that their local delicacy lies somewhere between chocolate cake and pie.

Adios

Love The Fat Cow x

Source Foods Cafe: Highgate

It’s a word in a foodies vocabulary as repugnant as diet. Starting with a B and ending with a T, some may think I am referring to the word ‘bloat’. Although highly unpleasant, this foodie phenomenon is something I embrace and comes with the overeating territory. The dreaded B word I speak of and is currently putting a pickle in the works is ….BUDGET.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had ‘my last supper’ at Perth’s fine dining restaurants. The time has now come for me to become financially responsible, and scope out Perth’s cheap eats to save some money for the impending holiday. I am determined to find places which keep both my belly and wallet full, yet still enjoy great quality food. Although I enjoyed Nando’s chips and chicken (with peri peri sauce) the other night, I will try my best to avoid blogging and reviewing ‘fast food’ joints. We all know how delicious big macs or fried chicken can be, especially late on a saturday night.

In an attempt to find low-cost but great tasting restaurants, I perused the Urbanspoon website for inspiration. As luck would have it Source Foods in Highgate caught my eye, hearing many recent positive reviews primarily for their organic all day breakfast and enjoyable lunches.  As luck would have it however, Source Foods opens its doors for 1 night a week; that being Friday burger night!

Source Foods Cafe

Phone: 08 6468 7100

289 Beaufort Street, Perth WA 6000

http://www.sourcefoods.com.au

Burgers aka food of the gods, would have to be high on the list of my favourite foods. As a kid my favourite meal was a ‘salad sandwich’ (sad, sad child) and obviously as I have  become older and developed mature tastebuds I have upgraded from a salad sandwich to a burger. The combination of fresh bread, succulent meat, topped with fresh salad and melted cheese, elicits a creepy drool out of one side of my mouth. Mentioning the above ingredients makes it seem like anyone can make a burger, but from my experience there some seriously inept burger artists.

Source Foods wasn’t the case though. Looking through the menu it was clear to see that everything was produced locally and freshly sourced. I opted for the El Scorcho Burger - Organic Dandaragan beef pattie with tomato, fried onion, lettuce, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream and chilli jam ($15). My fellow burger buyer went for the Harrisa Steak Burger- Organic steak, tomato, fried onion, lettuce, feta cheese and minted yoghurt  ($16). Ordering these meat filled burgers ensured we would not be welcome at any ‘vegetarians r us’ conferences in the near future.

I was disappointed to find that our burgers did not come with the staple side of chips. Burgers and chips are like peas and carrots, and in my opinion one should not be served on a plate without the other. Like many places these days, Source Foods had them as a side order, which we quickly invested in to share ($5.50). Topped with texan seasoning the chips we ok, and enough to share between 3 people. As you may have noticed I tend to favour hand cut chips (nice and chunky) these however were shoestring fries, so they didn’t particularly win me over. Although the chips were ordered to be part of the meal, they arrived well in advance of our burgers. This in the end was a saviour, with the burgers taking a significant amount of time to present themselves despite being relatively quite in the restaurant. A few chips later and I had managed to curtail any cannibalistic tendencies I was starting to have due to insane hunger.

Shoestring fries with texan seasoning

Eventually the burgers arrived and looked very appetising (probably a lot to do with being hungry). The bread was fresh and the burger well stacked with the listed ingredients. It wasn’t exactly good ‘date’ food. Streams of sour cream and beef juice ran distasetfully down my arm, but when in the presence of great friends I didn’t care and simply licked it up. The pattie was tasty and best of all the combination of jalapeno and chilli jam added the ‘El Scorcho’ spice promised on the menu. No complaints were voiced by my happy burger companions, although water was being consumed at a rapid rate by my friend eating the steak harrisa burger. *She learnt harrisa was spicy that night.

El Scorcho Burger

I was very satisfied by the completion of my burger and it was nice not having an oil slick sitting at the back of my throat, so often experienced when eating crummy burgers.  Not only was I left happy, but my bank account was definitely happier than previous Friday nights.

Positives: Fresh produce, organic, great range of burgers (meat, veto, gluten-free)

Negatives: Long wait, separate order show strings fries and sparse environment.

Overall: 3/5. This is a great burger joint which is worth a Friday night visit, even before going for drinks across the road at The Brisbane. I would be interested in heading back to try it all day breakfast, as I feel the ‘organic’ ingredients lend itself well to the menu.

Love The Fat Cow x

Note: Apologies for the average photos. I am currently living back in the 1800′s with an extra old nokia phone after ‘misplacing’ my HTC. In 3 months time I may even upgrade to an iPhone 5!

Source Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Precinct: Vic Park

I referred to my latest venture to The Precinct: Vic Park as ‘the last supper’. Don’t assume I am no longer wining and dining due to becoming calorie conscience and taking up meal replacement shakes (let’s be frank, a shake isn’t a shake if ice-cream is absent). It’s something far more sinister going by the name of a BUDGET!

Only six tiny letters which already is causing havoc and placing strain on maintaining my social life and sugar levels. I have however, come to the realisation that holidays cost money and if I’m to be able to afford wining and dining in South and North America then I need to make some serious changes to my ‘foodie’ spending patterns. In order to honour this budget I am set to employ a ‘less is best’ attitude and sample Perth’s cheap eateries rather than venturing to the alluring and pricey gastronomic havens E.g. Amuse, Halo, Balthazaar.

This newly acquired and well honed skill of scoping out quality cheap eats may pay dividends in the US when attempting to locate quality cheap Texan bbq ribs, roadside burgers, southern soul food and the odd can of string cheese.

As I mentioned previously this therefore was my ‘last supper’ of moderately priced food and I was hoping that it would be a positive experience leaving me semi-happy to commence the budget venture. The suggestion of The Precinct provided by my fellow diner fit the bill for our mid-week dinner date.

The Precinct 

834 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park

(08) 9355 2880

http://theprecinctvicpark.com.au

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 7:30am – midnight

Sat 8:00am – midnight

Sun8:00am – 10pm

Bookings available, walk-ins welcome

Settling back with a glass of the featured Howard Park Cab Sav at a rather expensive $13 p/glass it was hard to ignore the trendy and warehouse vibe that had been created. Exposed brick, dim lighting and wine lining the walls certainly made this bar/restaurant somewhere you would be keen to venture to for Friday night nibbles and drinks before a quick trek into the closely located CBD. Sound boards on the roof assist in keeping the noise to a minimum, a great move in a minimalistic and exposed environment.

It is easy to see why this relatively new restaurant has become a favourite in the otherwise underutilised Albany Hwy cafe strip. Although business seemed favourable I believe they could increase business 10 fold by simply changing their door. My favourite past time of people watching came to the forefront that evening with potential customers struggling to work the complex bi fold sliding doors. Pushing from the end marked with an arrow may seem logical but waitstaff were often scurrying to the door to operate the complex entry system. I’m not sure if this was their way of ensuring customers were greeted by front of house but if so its an effective ploy.

Table service was efficient and prompt. It was nice to finally see some great service in Perth with the wait staff cleaning our table, taking drink and food orders without having to be hunted down. Although it wasn’t particularly busy, it seemed like the kind of establishment that would run smoothly even on a hectic night.

We ordered almost immediately preventing any cannibalistic tendencies that may have reared its ugly head had we become too hungry. The menu is available online for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a substantial wine list. Although all items looked appetising, it was a small menu with a larger range of share plates/tapas than mains. In order to cover all bases we ordered 1 main and 2 tapas dishes for consumption which was enough for 3 people. The main was the gnocchi, pulled pork, almonds & silver beet ($23) while the two tapas dishes included the ever loved hand cut chips ($9.5) and walnut, rocket, white bean dip, tortilla crisps (gf/v) ($9).

Much like the interior the food presentation was clean yet appetising. The white bean dip was enjoyable and a great starter to the meal being light and fresh on the palate. A drizzle of olive oil or slightly more seasoning would have been preferable with the main ingredients of rocket and white bean needing some ‘oooomph’ in the flavour department.

White bean dip and tortilla chips

The age-old debate of soggy v crispy chips cropped up yet again with the much anticipated arrival of the hand cut chips. I am firmly in the ‘soggy/soft’ chip camp stemming from my youth of visiting country Chicken Treat specialising in day old soggy chips. The hand cut chips were right up my alley being slightly soft but not to the point that those on the crispy bandwagon would be disgusted. Seasoned well and at a sizeable proportion, I was happy with choosing this item off the menu. It was served with a side of chilli sauce but much to my surprise this wasn’t used by any of us, indicating the quality of the chips individually.

Hand cut chips

The last main was equally enjoyable. The almond and silver beet sauce lining the plate was topped with perfectly cooked pulled pork creating an interesting take on a ‘gnocchi’ meal. The almond and silver beet sauce was delicious and was mopped up with the pork and gnocchi stopping short of actually licking the plate clean, disappointingly frowned upon in public areas.

Pulled pork and gnocchi

Based on the design, food and wine list,I enjoyed my last supper at The Precinct and I have no hesitations in saying that I will be back after cessation of my ‘budget period’.

Positives: Cool decor, relaxed atmosphere, good service and ideal location.

Negatives: Complex door, limited main choice and some more seasoning for the dip required.

Overall: 3.5/5 

Next post is my 1st ‘cheap eat Perth’ post with Source Foods:Highgate being in the spotlight with their Friday night organic burgers.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Precinct on Urbanspoon

Ootong & Lincoln: Fremantle

I’ve been sucking back on my inhaler for about half an hour now. This is a necessary activity based on my anxiety currently sky rocketing, buoyed by the statement I am about to make.

I love Perth!

And just to really show just how much I adore my city, I would say that I love Perth like a fat man loves being caught in sizzler after hours.

Poor Perth has been dealt a bad wrap across the years being labelled dull, boring and stuck in the 18th century. Call me beige but the slow/relaxed lifestyle is exactly what I enjoy about Perth, probably appealing to my sometimes lazy tendencies. I have however come to realise that these are sentiments  not shared by many of my co-workers, who have emulated Dora the Explorer and come across from the eastern states. Hearing gripes about Perth on such a regular basis, I have managed to collaborate a comprehensive list of Perth woes.

Top 10 first world problems of living in Perth

  1. Perth driver’s inability to merge. Despite the ‘zipper one for one formula’ working across a multitude of states in Australia, Perth drivers having created their own system based on Darwinism – Only the strongest and most impatient survive.
  2. Lack of public transport. Stand of Murray St on a Saturday and you will realise you have more opportunity of sleeping with Brad Pitt  vs hailing a taxi down.
  3. No crispy crème doughnuts, Starbuck’s or 7/11. This problem is further highlights on dates 11/7 or 7/11 when shop 7/11 has free slushy days nowhere to be seen in Perth.
  4. Isolation. It is somewhat concerning when you pay more to get the Broome (our own state) vs Bali (international)
  5. Cashed up bogan’s. Compliments of the mining boom Perth has seen a bogan boom leaving the women of Perth exposed to a quality selection of foul-mouthed, beer swilling, bearded men. Sorry boys but having money doesn’t completely compensate for being an animal.
  6. Finding out Master Chef and The Voice results via Social Media before it actually screens. Perth is already too isolated to restrict our access to Facebook and Twitter in lead up to show finales.
  7. Having to flick past 10 stories about football before reading real news. Since when is Ben Cousins new tattoo more important then global news?
  8. Cost of living. Nothing says independence like moving out of home into a share house of 6 on a diet of potato simply to afford the rent. (Blame extends to cashed up bogans)
  9. No extended trading hours and no daylight savings. End of story.
  10. And finally the biggest complaint of all……….TAKEAWAY COFFEE costing over $4.00!!

Many of these gripes I can understand and appreciate. I’m the first one to agree that 5 pages on Ben Cousins is excessive and being exposed to toothless miners who haven’t seen a woman in a long time doesn’t make for a good Saturday night. Being patriot of the state however I have made it my personal mission to change the minds around me about Perth.

No extended trading hours?? Well I say, so what! No shops open on a Sunday morning allows me to validate going out for breakfast as there is nothing else to do. I urge all those watching paint dry at home to get on board. This particular Sunday morning we ventured into Fremantle to a longtime favourite (which I haven’t blogged about) Ootong and Lincoln. Located out of Fremantle you wouldn’t really stumble upon in it while meandering through the shops. I happened to stop in initially after another favourite breakfast spot Aubergine(up the road) was packed.

$3 takeaway coffee

A large spacious cafe allows for couples and groups to find a seat relatively easily both indoors or outdoors. The interior is old school retro filled with some mean trikes and old jars (globes inserted) dangling from the ceiling providing light. 2 serving areas have been set up with a main counter taking seated customer orders while the other doing takeaways. This works well eliminating queues and people standing around the food counter waiting for their takeaways.

Interior of Ootong & Lincoln

Looking through the menu it was hard not to opt for the Chai buttermilk pancakes with honey cream lime ($16) or the Mushroom, feta, tomato, rocket, basil pesto toast ($17.50) which we had previously and thoroughly enjoyed.  Living life on the edge (like a real rock stars) we deviated from what we knew and ordered the Baked egg, tomato, spiced red pepper and humus toast ($16.50) and Smoked salmon, poached egg, avocado on rye with a side of bacon ($19.50). Drinks included a soy iced chai and fresh orange juice followed by a takeaway long black.

Ordering up at the counter I couldn’t help but eyeball the cake and lunch cabinet making note that I needed to return on a lunch or cake run. In a less than obvious way I took a quick snapshot to give you all an idea of what culinary delights O&L might offer should you make your way to the cafe.

Lunch munches

As the plate of baked eggs was placed in front of me I knew I had done the right thing by trying a new dish. The smell of the fresh ripped bread looking ripe for the dunking got the saliva glands working. My love of carbs was reaffirmed during this breakfast with the homemade bread being served slightly toasted with a drizzle of olive oil perfect for mopping up the runny eggs and tomato juices lining the base of the serving pan. The baked eggs oozed upon first cut and the mix of the humus, tomato and red pepper made for a tasty and slightly spicy bonanza.

Baked eggs with crusty bread

Although the salmon avocado didn’t look as impressive as the baked eggs with its presentation it delivered with the traditional flavours of salmon, avocado and cream cheese coming together nicely. The eggs appeared slightly overcooked and the bacon a little thin for my liking but the generous serving of salmon seemed to be the primary focus of enjoyment for my fellow grazer being left till the end to enjoy in its own glory.

Salmon and avocado

For all those complaining about the cost of coffee however here is something that will cool your heels. Takeaway quality coffee available here for $3!! Not only was it an enjoyable coffee it was regular to large in size, and the barista double cupped my long black avoiding a trip to the burns unit for my fragile hands.

Yes, Perth might have it’s downfalls but with places like Ootong & Lincoln providing quality breakfast with affordable coffee on a slow sunny Sunday I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Positives: Good portion sizes, cheap coffee, retro vibe and richly flavoured foods.

Negatives: Slightly over poached eggs, thin bacon rashers and lack of parking spaces forcing poor illegal parallel parking.

Overall scores: 3.5 /5. Well worth a visit to Freo town for this hip cafe.

Ootong & Lincoln on Urbanspoon

Gusto Food: South Perth

Poppers explode expelling colourful streamers amidst a puff of smoke. The words HAPPY BIRTHDAY spill from mouths across the room. Champagne glasses raise in unison before being sucked dry. Excitement has filled the air, yet all I hear is a loud tick-tock coming from my biological clock located somewhere between my uterus and forgetful mind.

It’s my birthday and friends have gathered to celebrate my 25th year of winning the race to my Mother’s egg (bless my competitive nature). Although it is a nice occasion to eat food and drink wine, I know I am having a quarter life crisis. I am not for one minute saying that being 25 years of age is old, but if one reflects on the 25 – 30 years of age period it seems to be a time when your meant to get your merde (french swear word) together.

Examples include:

1. Getting married or engaged. (Bonus points if he is good-looking, rich and not a complete douche bag.)

3. Landed a killer job preferably in your area of study, thus not regretting the copious amounts of money spent on a university education

4. Moved out of parents ‘granny flat’ and bought a house. 2 year grace period for Perth citizens is applicable due to over priced and poorly located housing.

5. Learnt to appreciate red wine, coffee, gin and blue cheese over passion pop, hot chocolate, smirnoff ice and cheese sticks.

Sadly, as I mused over this list my early headway of learning to like coffee and red wine at age 20 has come to a complete standstill. I am now leading the charge to usurp the crazy cat lady throne, failing to accomplish many of these items on the checklist. Fortunately for my mental well-being, with just one trip to Gusto Food: South Perth, I was able to pull myself out of this quarter life crisis slump. (No regrettable red convertible purchase necessary)

Located on the previously underperforming  Angelo St coffee strip,  Gusto Food is relatively narrow therefore being a tight squeeze for 7 women and a baby. Without much of an option to go elsewhere we made it work and ordered at the counter. The coffee was served promptly and although I wouldn’t go back for the coffee alone it was palatable. Before long gentle murmurs of ooohhhing and aaahhhing swept across the table. Some may have throught it would be over my friends baby, and although she is cute it was the sight of the food being placed in front of us that elicited such sounds.

The cinnamon toast, bacon, banana, maple & berries,honeycomb, ice-cream ($16.50) looked fit to serve the cast of survivor 3 times over. The cinnamon toast was thick allowing for the berry and maple syrup to be happily soaked up and eaten. The vast array of sweet and savoury ingredients was probably overkill and the old ‘less is more’ proverb was applicable to this dish. Although both diners looked unsure on how to approach eating the cinnamon mountain, this was quickly overcome and shared thus reducing the food envy spilling across the table.

Cinnamon toast, bacon, banana, maple & berries,honeycomb, ice-cream ($16.50)

Breakfast or dessert? Cinnamon toast, bacon, banana, maple & berries,honeycomb, ice-cream ($16.50)

The housemade crumpets, berry compote, peanut gravel & double cream ($13.50) was also ordered and although the serving wasn’t as generous as the cinnamon toast, it made up for it in flavour. Being an avid believer that peanut butter could solve most of the worlds problems and really is the next best thing since sliced bread, I wanted to sneak out back and find where Gusto was hiding the sensational peanut gravel. The crumpets were light and fluffy and made for an interesting menu item showing Gusto’s creativity.

Housemade crumpets, berry compote, peanut gravel & double cream ($13.50)

Housemade crumpets, berry compote, peanut gravel & double cream ($13.50)

With many of the items being ‘sweets’ orientated I opted for a more savoury approach with the provincial poached egg, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, hollandaise on toast ($17.50). Although it wasn’t the prettiest of plates resembling babies reflux on toast, it was extremely tasty. The poached egg with long time favourite foods mushroom and avocado made a good base for this meal. The hollandaise sauce was enjoyable but due to a heavy hand, it left me feeling a bit unwell due to the heaviness/creaminess (Some would suggest I practice portion control, but to these people I laugh in their healthy faces).

Provincial poached egg, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, hollandaise on toast

Provincial poached egg, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, hollandaise on toast

So how do eggs, mushrooms, cinnamon toast and peanut gravel manage to pull someone out of a quarter life crisis? Despite not ‘having my act together’, maturing definitely has its advantages (clarity being bought on by peanut gravel). Call me old and boring but I enjoy the fact that I can now experience the following on a regular basis:

1. Being able to maximise my Sunday by going out with friends at 9am in the morning vs remaining in the foetal position for half a day with a severe hangover.

2. Actually hearing what my friend has to say compared to lip reading and assuming the rest (a common night club occurence).

3. Being able to buy food for your friends baby, which in the end you can inevitably eat yourself as the baby isn’t on solids or could possibly be allergic to nuts

4. Having money to afford such glorious food compared to the student staple of me-goreng or 2 minute noodles.

So cheers to becoming a golden oldie and Gusto cafe. It’s great to  no longer hang my head in shame when a North of the River citizen questions the South’s culinary ability.

Positives: Good portions sizes for a reasonable price, great location, mouth-watering cake cabinet.

Negatives: Average coffee, slightly overly creamy provincial eggs and limited space for a popular place.

Score: 3/5

Love The Fat Cow x

Gusto Food on Urbanspoon

The Attic: Fremantle

The Attic: A special place reserved for unwanted family members prone to social inappropriateness and bringing shame to the family name.

On the odd occasion Mum and Dad take pity on me, and let me descend from the lofty room I have come to spend a significant amount of time in. On these rare occasions I make a point of taking full advantage of obtaining food, sunlight and making awkward conversation with those around me. Although wanting to capitalise on being set loose on the public, I am a creature of habit and last Sunday was quick to return to “The Attic”…….just in someone elses Fremantle property.

The Attic

16 Bannister St, Fremantle

08 9385 6248

Open: Tuesday – Saturday 7am – 4pm

Sunday 8am – 4pm

Located just off the main strip of Fremantle my fellow diner (AKA: Arancini Balls) would be forgiven for thinking I was taking him into the ghettos of Fremantle to quietly dispose of him.  Full of relief and with all his organs still intact the door to The Attic appeared in the brick building. Arancini and I scurried inside to be welcomed by a front counter full of sumptuous freshly baked goods and the glorious Sunday smell of coffee beans. With the seating being located upstairs we grabbed a menu to order straight away, therefore minimising the need to climb the steps twice. Some may say this is lazy, I just claim that we were being energy-efficient.

The menu was extensive with a wide range of unique dishes suitable for a range of different palates. In true Perth style the service at The Attic was not up to scratch with the waitress appearing to have sucked on sour lemons all morning. There is only so many times someone can rudely ask “Are you finally ready to order or have you finally made up your mind?” Before I want to throw the menu at their sarcastic face.  Last time I checked body language isn’t a foreign concept and surely a trained waitress would understand, that if I am still looking at the menu with a semi-dumbstruck look on my face then I am clearly not ready to give her my order.

With the laser beams from the waitress’ eyes  boring into my soul I hastily settled on the toasted Quesadilla filled with black beans, goats cheese, fried egg, white sauce and avocado while Arancini ordered the Breakfast Panini with bacon, fried egg and homemade relish. For drinks we ordered a long black ($3.80) and fresh apple/pear juice ($6). Roughly coming to about $15 – $20 p/person.

With the order placed we trudged up the stairs in disgraceful fashion admiring the local artist’s photographs lining the walls. Inclusion of the exhibition was a nice touch reminding me of Moore & Moore’s blend of food and arts. The upstairs look was very vintage with retro arm chairs and low coffee tables filling to room. Unfortunately due to lack of space there is only one main dining table, which you would need to snare if you had more than 4 people. We managed to snare the end 2 seats on this table (I would have hated to have seen us attempt to bring food to mouth off the low coffee tables.)

Vintage arm chairs upstairs at The Attic

Vintage arm chairs upstairs at The Attic

Next up was a quick game of guess the fashion style. An entertaining moment where one turns to Sunday’s STM fashion page and attempts to guess what 3 words best describes the poser’s fashion. Inevitably every person has a fun, unique, sophisticated, edgy or chic style. It will be a great day when someone admits that their style is outdated, bought on sale or the only clothing item without a stain.

Our food came out and presentation was clean and simple but still appetising. Although typically a poached egg girl the fried egg on top of the quesadilla was cooked to perfection and went well with the dish. The flavour of the eggs and goats cheese mixed well with the black beans providing the bulk of the dish. The hint of jalapeno’s gave it a slight kick of heat and tied the meal together. The white sauce tasted nice but with the avocado and goats cheese providing enough creaminess, it was something that could have been left to the side. Arancini’s Breakfast Panini was a generous serving and I have no doubt most people wouldn’t be left hungry after it. The simple breakfast flavours of egg, bacon and spinach classically went together but the home-made relish made it all that more memorable.

Breakfast Panini with egg, bacon and homemade relish

Quesadilla with fried egg, black beans, goats cheese, white sauce and avocado

Quesadilla with fried egg, black beans, goats cheese, white sauce and avocado

The long black coffee ($3.80) was probably one of the best coffee’s I’ve had in a while but the same couldn’t be said for the fresh juice. Although having delicious flavour it was let down by being served room temperature. Juice needs to be refreshing especially when you have gone to the hard work of freshly squeezing it, a couple of ice blocks or a cold glass would have gone a long way.

Positives: Pleasant food, vintage decor and smooth coffee.

Negatives: Waitress who had sucked on way too many lemons and hot/luke warm juice.

Score: 3/5.

As much as it pains me to pay a compliment to Victoria, this place has a Melbourne cafe vibe with its vintage nature. It serves well executed and tasty dishes for a reasonable price and a timely fashion. Perhaps with a little more vitamin D and less hours spent locked away in The Attic, this place may get a warmer staff member greeting it’s customers.
The Attic Fremantle on Urbanspoon

The Classroom: North Perth

Reflecting on my school report despite my best efforts I have never been a straight A grade student. Easily distracted by others in class and busy masterminding plans on how to be excused from Economics, I guess I was never destined for greatness in The Classroom environment…until now!

The Classroom

http://www.theclassroom.com.au/

1 / 356 Charles St, North Perth WA 6006

Tues to Fri – 4pm to late

Sat to Sun – 11am to late

Mon (private classes)

Ph: 08 9444 7729

No bookings taken

This Classroom specialises in the only subject that I could get an A in – Home ECONOMICS (minus the sewing). The setup is intriguing with retro tin lunch boxes, old wood desks and seats, blackboards and hand paintings clearly demonstrating that this is a well thought out ‘themed’ restaurant/bar. Like many of the newbies to the North Perth Bar, I spent a good 10 minutes discussing which items I rocked back in the day realising that I was shamelessly white and nerdy.

Unfortunately there is a no booking policy and by the time we arrived it was evident that we had hit “peak hour traffic” in restaurant terms. With limited seating  it is clear why there is a no booking policy in place, but does make it difficult to organise a group of friends to have dinner running the risk of waiting a period of time to find a large enough table.

I have now realised I have restaurant rage issues, after a fellow diner parked her rear on a seat/table that I had clearly stalked and scoped out. Refusing accept my move on notice in the form of daggers and one raised eyebrow, I scanned the room to see if there was a punishment cane available – lucky for her weapons were not kept on the premises and she lived to steal more tables another day (sorry Perth). Fortunately enough after another 20 minutes of making people feel uncomfortable by breathing heavily over their shoulders a table magically became available.

The three of us nestled around the school desk but instead of writing lines we perused the drinks list. The menu had been creatively stuck into a small school notebook which was another nice touch in setting the school scene. One of my fellow diners who demanded she go by the alias ‘Black Betty’, thought that I had taken my critiquing to a whole new level by bringing my own notebook with the menu stuck in it. I think she may have been relieved to find out I wasn’t that anal about my reviewing hobby.

The drinks menu was comprehensive and it was clear The Classroom is trying to build a reputation for both quality food and cocktails. In hope that someone may have thought I was talented in Chemistry, I selected a cocktail from the science menu aptly named The Bunsen after Burner ($20) with Chairman’s Spiced Rum, bunsen-burned bananas, fresh pressed lime, maple syrup, smoky bitters. The delicious aroma of the caramelising banana permeated the bar throughout the night and certainly smelt better than the usual waft of burning hair often a result of playing with Bunsen Burners. It was a tough decision opting for The After Bunsen Burner with  the  LNO2 Espresso Martini ($22) with fresh pressed Darkstar Espresso, The Classrooms Espresso mix, liquid nitrogen, mascarpone sherry foam and shaved chocolate also looking appetising.

The Bunsen after Burner

The Bunsen after Burner with Chairmans Spiced Rum, bunsen-burned bananas, fresh pressed lime, maple syrup, smoky bitters

Next on the agenda ordering food. Perusing the menu attached to a clipboard, we marked (with the good ol 2b pencil) which items we wanted before handing it to the teacher (waitress). Black Betty opted for the Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing ($16), while Smeagle’s carnivorous side got the better of him with selecting the 4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges ($17 small or $32 large). I couldn’t go past the Hand-cut crinkle chips, sumac dusting & chipotle aioli ($8) and Pork sausage rolls with fennel & apple, apricot chutney ($14) . Shortly after ordering my cocktail arrived served in a cute jam jar and smelling delicious. The quality spiced rum flavour was highly evident but nicely balanced by the sweetness of the maple syrup and bananas. The creativity and flavours featured in this cocktail won me over, and I would be more than happy to go back for pre-drinks with the girls despite being highly priced.

The Classroom order form

The Classroom order form with 2B pencil

The tuckshop lady must have worked hard as the food buzzer vibrated across the table in no time resulting in Smeagle and I sauntering through the crowd to the canteen to pick up our tea. I didn’t mind this self-service idea but logistically due to the large amount of people standing around the bar, for the non-trained waiter the journey from the canteen holding multiple plates is a perilous one. One can only imagine what would have happened if someone knocked my chips? Furthermore imagine if it was the lady who stole my table. Excuse the pun but I would have literally been spitting chips (Dad joke). The self-serve style restaurant also posed a few more problems with table service. Unfortunately for us we were sitting at a table that had not been cleared or cleaned from the last group sitting there making it sufficiently awkward for space once our food arrived. We weren’t the only ones with a table next door following suit and dropping a glass upon trying to clear their own table. Being a new restaurant this may just be teething problems, but self-service doesn’t mean a customer should be without table service all together. End of gripe!

Top marks go to the hand cut chips which proved to be highly addictive and enjoyable with the dusting of sumac over the top, something which I hadn’t seen done with chips before. Served in the old yellow chip bucket with generously cut thick chips, I could have devoured another bucket to myself (without even having to add more salt!). Due to Black Betty being a crispy chip lover and myself a soggy, we a had a great chip eating partnership worked out.

Hand-cut crinkle chips, sumac dusting & chipotle aioli

Hand-cut crinkle chips,sumac dusting & chipotle aioli

Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing

Szechuan pepper squid,compressed watermelon,nam-jim dressing

Smeagle was focusing on the ribs being a regular Tony Roma rib eater. Although stating they were good, he felt they didn’t pull of the bone as cleanly as he liked and were also fairly fatty. The rib I had pulled away nicely almost falling off the bone but I have to agree the fat to meat ratio was a bit out of kilter, which can sometimes happen with short ribs. The dipping sauce and side of barbecued pineapple was a plus, even for me who prefers fresh over cooked pineapple.

The pork sausage rolls were enjoyable with the apple and fennel sauce complementing the pork. In my opinion pork and fennel are like peas and carrots and is a classic flavour combination which should never be scoffed at. The pastry casing was nicely cooked with some crunch on the outside, something different to the usual soggy Mrs Mac’s sausage roll. Finally we move onto the Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing which caused some debate among the diners. The squid was well cooked avoiding any chewiness that sometimes arises with overcooked squid. The Szechuan flavour of the squid was also spot on, but the pairing of it with watermelon for me did not work. Eating each item separately was ok (with the watermelon cleansing the palate between the squid) but having a combined mouthful of the squid and watermelon made it became a wet dish taking away from the outer-crispyness of the squid. I am not sure which way it was designed to be eaten but either way Smeagle was in favour of the combination finding it quite refreshing.

4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges

4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges

The total came out to around $40 each including a drink which wasn’t bad for the quality of food and cocktails made. On a night out this may have come to a bit more, as I have no doubt that more cocktails and hand cut chips would be ordered. The vibe of The Classroom was inspiring and I am glad that North Perth finally has somewhere decent to eat. With my brother living just around the corner it will be nice to have a local restaurant vs having to drive into Leederville for a quality meal.

Positives: Interior decor, cocktail list and themed concept which Perth is yet to really see.

Negatives: Limited table service and no cane to hand out suitable punishment to rude diners.

Overall: 3.5/5. I love the concept and can see this place has great potential, already getting a good response from the locals. Hopefully after another month of being open they can solve a few of the table service problems which would see them take the bar to the next level.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Classroom on Urbanspoon

 

Il Lido Italian Canteen: Cottesloe

Abstract art: a product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

-Al Capp-

The Scenario: It’s Saturday afternoon and my bottom is firmly grooved into the couch with a trashy movie playing in the background…….sound familiar?? Yes it was another Saturday afternoon that could have easily progressed into another night of  being too lazy to make an effort to venture from the depths of my bat cave. I don’t know if someone put something in my drink or there was magic in the air but tonight was different, and in some random twist of fate I transformed from a Walmart bogan into a real person.

So what could prompt me to find such motivation? The answer lies in two beautiful little words……….. Il Lido’s.

Il Lido Italian Canteen
88 Marine Pde
Cottesloe 6011
(08) 9286 1111

Open: Monday – Sunday

Breakfast, lunch and dinner available.

Bookings recommended

The literal translation (from all my years of speaking fluent Italian aka just adding an O onto the end of any word) of Il Lido’s is ‘the beach’, which is very logical with the restaurant being located directly across from Cottesloe beach. This logical naming unfortunately did not seem to carry across to Sculptures by The Sea exhibit located close by. In an attempt to be cultured, artistic and deep we ventured to the exhibition for some extended musing and toffee nosed discussion. Although I appreciated many of the sculptures, many left me perplexed purely from the strange names assigned to each piece. Clarification as to why a steel Rooster would be named Freedom, would be greatly appreciated. Why not be like Il Lido’s or one of the funnier artistic works (screwing by the sea – see photo) and call it what it is? Life would be so much simpler.

 A rooster named Freedom

A rooster named Freedom

Screwing by the Sea

Screwing by the Sea

Enough about sculptures I am clearly better suited to understanding food. You will see in the right hand column that I have Il Lido’s listed as one of the top dining places in Perth and that’s for good reason. I have been several times now for lunch and dinner, and not once have I had a bad experience or had any recommendee’s come back disappointed.

I attempted to break the mould and select a new dish to try, despite knowing how good some of my previous meals had been E.g. Pappardelle (pasta) beef cheek ragu. There were a range of options ranging from share plates ($14-$18), to light dishes ($20-$30) and finally main meals E.g. meat, risotto and pasta ($28-$38).  I ordered off the light menu selecting the lamb cutlets served with quinoa (pronounced Kin-wa), goats cheese, egg-plant, raisins and cauliflower. Venturing from what I knew and loved took some will power, with cauliflower not being the most appealing ingredient. My fellow grazer ordered the scotch steak on ciabatta bread with pesto, goats cheese and tomato perhaps influenced by my incessant chatter about the dish and another diners recommendation.

Lamb cutlets with quinoa

Lamb cutlets with quinoa

Service was good being provided with water and food/wine menus immediately. For fellow avid wine drinkers this is a place for you with an extensive list of imported Italian wines and local wines to choose from. Prices for wine range from $40 right through to well over $200. Based on financial circumstances we opted for the well priced Italian Wine Barone di Valforte. This decision was made not by asking for a recommendation (which would be the sensible thing to do) but rather through the impartial action of shutting the eyes and pointing. Some real wine lovers would explain that the wine was very palatable with undertones of berries and perfect tannins. Not being well-informed in this area, I’m just going to go with the fact that it tasted damn good and help wasn’t required to finish the bottle.

Barone di Valforte

Barone di Valforte

Our meals came out at the same time (tick) and were presented nicely (2nd tick) . Cutting into my lamb cutlets it was obvious they had been well rested and cooked to perfection being slightly pink in the middle. The quinoa was well seasoned with the side of goats cheese stopping it from being a potentially dry dish. The small florets of cauliflower were tasty and at no stage did I feel like I was eating Nan’s meat and three veg. Eyeing off my fellow grazers meal it was clear that it was equally satisfying with the meal being finished with the statement, “That’s possibly the best meal I have had” – a big statement for a dish that is essentially an open steak sandwich.

Scotch Steak on Ciabatta

Scotch Steak on Ciabatta

Although dessert looked great we passed on the option, concerned that we would need the Tonka Truck sculpture to remove us  from the premises and get us home. I did however manage to sneak a taste of a friends citrus tiramisu who also happened to be dining there at the same time. Although I love coffee I’m not a huge traditional tiramisu fan, so the citrus twist worked well for me. It probably had a touch too much cream without enough lime zest to really enjoy. More zest would have given the dessert the “zing” which I expect when ordering a citrus dessert.

My ride home

My ride home

Positives: Consistency, decor/vibe, imported wine list and perfectly pink lamb.

Negatives: Slightly disappointing dessert and loud setting.  Oh and in true Perth style not being able to get a taxi from Cottesloe on St Patrick’s day!

Score: 4/5. A moderately priced restaurant serving up fantastic food time and time again.

Next up a review of The Attic – Fremantle

Love The Fat Cow x

Il Lido Italian Canteen on Urbanspoon

 

 

Lemon Station: Cottesloe

-  You can’t go to the movies alone, that is the epitome of sadness - 

Quote from my Mother.

At this moment I came to think about all the things I do alone and how I may portray the look of someone socially inept or slightly stalkerish to those sitting near me. As I pondered over this statement, I came to acknowledge that there is a definite feeling about what is socially appropriate to do in a group vs on your own.

After being told that going to the movies alone was social suicide, it made me wonder where dining alone sat on the “nigel no-friends appropriateness scale”. Although it’s a sad state of affairs to sit at home alone with your t.v dinner flanked by a half empty bottle of red (probably watching Patrick Swayze lift baby out of the water), it is socially acceptable as your not projecting your sadness onto the general public.

I however strongly believe that dining alone is an activity that one should be able to do solo, without being banished to the land of pity by surrounding couples. To see if I was the only one to share this notion I consulted search engine Google which came back with some interesting insights. From what I could gather it’s  fine to eat alone as long as you look like you seem busy or important.

Suitable suggestions to remedy the dining alone ‘uncomfortabelness’ include:

1. Be bookish and read a magazine or the paper.

2. Eavesdrop on other’s conversation nearby

3. Befriend your blackberry, android or iphone

Personally after reading these suggestions I would be more concerned about the person cocking their ear towards your general direction or a person pretending to talk on the phone to Mr Nobody vs the lone diner simply enjoying their meal. Chances are they are dining alone not because they have debatable social skills or a serious case of halitosis, but rather the food is 10 times better than the mouldy cheese toastie waiting at home, or they would rather have no company over bad company.

Feeling ok about eating alone I can now move onto sharing my solitary experience at Lemon Station in Cottesloe.

Lemon Station
7 Station Street, Cottesloe
Tel: 08 9284 3808

http://www.lemoncafes.com.au/UserFiles/lemonstation.pdf

Opening Times:

Mon-Fri: 6.30am – 3.30pm
Sat: 7.00am – 3.30pm
Sun: 7.30am – 1.00pm

After a busy morning of physical exercise it is a regular phenomena that I feel justified to ‘treat’ myself to breakfast. On today’s occasion I had a craving for bircher muesli. Some people would be hating on me right now for ordering bircher, but being a bircher lover I have found that creating a memorable bircher muesli is an achievement and NO, I CAN’T MAKE IT AT HOME!

I entered the cafe without too many strange looks, and took my seat at a bar table to peruse the menu which had been clearly written up to the side of the cash register. As the long drive to Cottesloe had built up my bircher cravings little time was required to make a choice. I placed an order of apple bircher muesli with vanilla poached strawberries, honeyed yoghurt and toasted hazelnuts ($13.5)  with a long black.

Other menu items included:

Parmesan & spring onion potato cake w/ pancetta crisps, poached egg, citrus crème fraiche & wild rocket ($16)

Bacon & fried egg sandwich w/ homemade tomato relish & greens ($13), Spanish Omelette w/ roasted cherry tomatoes, green onion, basil pesto & feta ($15)  (gf/v) add chorizo ($3).

I scanned the newspaper while waiting – suggestion 1 of how to eat alone and not feel uncomfortable. Fortunately for those around me, I have the hearing of an 80-year-old jack hammer operator and couldn’t eavesdrop on interesting conversation (suggestion 2). A positive of dining alone is that food arrives quickly (perhaps it’s quick to cook or they want you to leave) which gave me good reason to fold away the paper and look busy eating. Presentation was simple yet the vibrant poached strawberry’s made it look appetising. The serving size was in proportion to the cost of the dish, and didn’t leave me contemplating eating the cold baked beans waiting for me at home.

Long Black Coffee - The Morning Hit

The creaminess and softness of the honeyed yoghurt and poached strawberries was nicely offset by the cruchiness of the toasted hazelnuts. Every mouthful I took was enjoyable and the  creepy smile plastered across my face started to make the children weep. Served in square bowl with a round spoon posed some engineering difficulties towards the end of the bowl. Showing marked difficulties in scooping up the last of the bircher with a little hard work and discipline I conquered the bowl, with my parents not doubt being proud of the persistence I displayed.

Apple Bircher muesli w/ vanilla poached strawberries, honey yoghurt & toasted hazelnuts

Apple Bircher muesli w/ vanilla poached strawberries, honey yoghurt & toasted hazelnuts

It’s a big call which I am happy to put out there until convinced otherwise, but Lemon’s bircher muesli is one of the best in Perth closely followed by Blend Cafe (Melville). This is a small cafe which serves up some tasty food for a good price. They are not re-inventing the wheel with their menu but what they produce is of high quality.

Final verdict: 3.5/5

Positives: Friendly service, nothing over $20 for breakfast, located close to Cottesloe beach.

Negatives: Basic decor and a simple breakfast menu.

To finish things off I have come to the conclusion that despite my Mother’s grave concerns about my social wellbeing, I rather enjoy a breakfast date with myself. I am however drawing the line at eating solo in a fine dining restaurant – I don’t want the wait staff betting on how long I will wait before my date turns up.

Love The Fat Cow x

Lemon Station Cafe on Urbanspoon