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

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 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

 

 

The Silver Spoon : Vic Park

Life is like a musical and I often find myself mimicking Olivia Newton John by walking to the beat of my own theme tune (minus the leather and John Travolta) depending on what I’m doing. I feel it is only human to sing Sadie the cleaning lady while vacuuming (it’s a rare sight) or humming mission impossible while covertly obtaining my 3rd Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. My day leading up to attending dinner at The Silver Spoon in Vic Park consisted of Ugly Kid Joe warbling Cats in the Cradle in my mind “The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon….” The more that I sung it, the less the chorus lyrics started to make sense and I could only hope that the 6 plate degustation menu ($70 p/head or $100 with matching wines)  wouldn’t leave me scratching my head more.

I was first to arrive and sat at the table feeling like I was the loner kid at school needing to eat their lunch in the toilet. Once the remainder of the clan turned up service was prompt serving water and champagne immediately. The food promptly followed with the paper menus being left at the table for the diner’s to refer to while eating each course. I liked this idea probably because my goldfish memory doesn’t allow me to retain all the components of a dish after being told once by the wait staff. (Probably why I eat the food rather than serve it).

First off the rank in the ‘tour de food’ was Amuse Bouche ( For the unpretentious among us Amuse Bouche means “a small bite sized offering from the chef to get the taste buds tingling”) For tonight’s degustation it was a carrot coriander soup served in a Demitasse Cup (Espresso cup ….2nd tick in the pretentious column). It was a nice start but I don’t go to restaurants to order soup, so my mind moved on quickly to looking at what was coming next that being seared scallops, black pudding, cauliflower pomegranate & mint (gf).

Seared scallops, black pudding, cauliflower pomegranate & mint (gf)

Based on the fact that I embrace my inner nerd I will not lie and admit that I ride on the vampire loving bandwagon E.g. Vampire diaries and  True blood (Twilight not so much).  Despite this nerdy addiction when faced with getting my ‘vampire on’ and eating congealed dried blood in sausage I tend to lose my appetite. One of my biggest pet hates however are people who say they don’t like something before trying it. These people can usually be found eating at overseas McDonald’s rather than trying the local delicacies (Yes I am judging you). By pushing the black pudding to side and not tasting it I felt that I would have to hate myself. Not wanting to have a low self-esteem I channeled my inner Edward (lame Twilight reference) and shoved that little slice of black pudding into my mouth.  Chew, chew, chew, chew mmmmmmm interesting enough there was no need to reach for my napkin and expell the mouthful. The combination of the perfectly seared scallops with the cauliflower puree and pomegranate, off set the strong taste of the black pudding to make a nice dish.

Pheasant & ham hock terrine, tomato chutney, piccalilli & cucumber (gf) was up next. Not being one to leave food by having a plate removed from me with food still on it, usually means I felt it was a waste of calories which could be better spent on something far more delicious. This dish left me underwhelmed with the flavours of the tomato chutney and piccalilli overpowering the meat itself. I also felt that the consistency of the terrine was quite fatty and didn’t make for an enjoyable eating experience. By not having a photo of this plate may also be a clear indication that I wanted to remove this course from my memory.

Grilled King snapper, shellfish & Israeli couscous, crackling & rouille (gf)

The standout dish for the night was the Grilled King snapper, shellfish & Israeli couscous, crackling & rouille (gf). Although I enjoy degustation and the food journey it takes you on, I could have ordered this as a main meal and been exceptionally happy. The fish flaked and pulled apart with ease and was beautifully complimented by the rouille, which I was mopping up with every mouthful of the fish. Use of the Israeli cous cous provided a different texture in the dish  creating a ‘risotto’ like base.

Slow cooked pork belly, carrot & honey, broccolini, king prawns & masterstock (gf)(n)

After being on such a high from the fish anything that followed was going to have to be good to impress even further. This was not the case with the slow cooked pork belly, carrot & honey, broccolini, king prawns & masterstock (gf)(n) being a huge disappointment for me . Nothing brings me more joy (sad but true) then biting into a crispy tasty piece of pork crackling. Just chewing on that pig fat brings back memories of Christmas and family roast night. All that I am saying is that to  serve a piece of pork belly with soft skin and no crackling in sight is sinful, reprehensible and in my opinion criminal. The inclusion of pork crackling would have been an excellent touch as the textures in the dish were one-dimensional. That’s all I have to say on this matter (The Fat Cow is now stepping off her soap box and moving on).

Chocolate tart, burnt meringue, raspberry cloud, raspberry compote

If you love at San Churro’s and can polish off a block of Cadbury’s chocolate by yourself in one sitting then this is the dessert for you. The two small squares of chocolate tart were smooth, rich and full of chocolate goodness. For me eating both of the chocolate squares was a little intense despite having the meringue and compote there to offset the intense nature of the tarts. For the 1st time in my life I showed some discipline and only ate half the dessert leaving me happy rather then resembling Georgie Porgie. Looking around the table it was clear the dark chocolate lovers were in a happy place, indicated by the scrapping of spoons and contemplations of licking the plates clean.The raspberry clouds were reminiscent of our childhood days of eating cloud lollies at 10 cents a pop. After an up and down menu this dish was an enjoyable way to end the evening.

Although there were a few dishes that left me underwhelmed and disappointed, the Chocolate Tart and King Fish made me happy to have visited this restaurant.  Althoug the food may not be as well executed in comparison to well-known degustation restaurants E.g. Amuse and Halo, it is defiantly more affordable for those on a smaller budget wanting to have a degustation experience.

Negatives: Long tables were not a great environment for large groups, no crackling with the pork belly and  fatty terrine with overpower condiments.

Positives: Attentive wait staff, prompt service of food, exquisite king fish  & gluten-free friendly menu.

Overall: 2.5/5. A pleasant well priced experience which requires some tweaking. As it states on its website it is a casual dining experience in a sophisticated environment.

Love The Fat Cow xo

The Silver Spoon Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

The Sake Bar Restaurant : Northbridge

The cold shudder is an instantaneous reaction that I can not stop when I hear the word ‘Northbridge’. Such negative connotations and bodily reactions arise through ones own fault, stemming from my ‘young and the restless’ teenage days. Hazy memories include:

1. The glare of the sun after emerging from the ‘classy’ Paramount at 5am smelling like redbull.

2.Colourful characters playing instruments at 1:30am with a small flock of drunken teens dancing to the beat of the drum.

3.The sound of bad karaoke music spilling from neon palaces.

Such connotations does not make Northbridge an inviting place for me to venture and dredge up repressed memories. Unfortunately for me, Northbridge has become a haven for great cuisine resulting in my greedy stomach being able to bully my cynical head into visiting the Sake Bar Restaurant. I spied this Japanese restaurant earlier in the week while having coffee at Frisk Espresso, which serves great coffee for all those caffeine addicts out there.

Sake Bar Restaurant

Phone: (08) 9328 3380

71 Francis St, Northbridge WA 6003

Fully Licensed

Open Lunch and Dinner Tuesday – Sunday.

I parked at the opposite end of Francis St in the State Library carpark, with no intention of popping in for further learning. I donned my knife proof vest and like a ninja in the night scurried down Francis St. While bounding from building to building I was taking mental notes of not only suspicious characters but also other busy restaurants such as Dragon Palace across the road from Sake Bar for further visits.

NOTICE: THOSE THAT ARE COOL PLEASE TURN AWAY NOW as I am going to tap into my nerdy roots to describe my entrance to the Sake Bar. For those of you that enjoy children’s movies,  it was like walking through a magical cupboard into the Japanese version of Narnia. Unfortunately Aslan the Lion was on the other side but the waitress was more than inviting and escorted me to my private table.

Along with quality food, a restaurant/cafe interior design and vibe is what excites me and makes me want to return. The Sakes Bar interior design and layout was impressive and definantly made me feel very cultural! I have to admit I was jealous that by only having 1 friend at the time ( I assure you I do have more) meant we were seated at a table and not in a funky booth fit for 6 six people or a private room able to accommodate over 10 guests.

I jinxed myself by tweeting that I was looking forward to tempura zucchini flowers because sure enough they were out of stock – damn that Murphy and his law. To drown my sorrows I promptly ordered a sake cocktail to numb the pain. Some would say sake tastes like warmed up cat’s urine. Not being fortunate enough to know what that tastes like I usually liken sake to warmed up vodka and don’t enjoy it at all. That statement now no longer applies with the cocktails (featured below) Blushing Geisha and Cherry Blossom Tini being refreshingly tasty. At $19 a pop I was glad they delivered on presentation and flavour.

Cherry Blossom Tini (Left) and Blushing Geisha (Right)

Cherry Blossom Tini (Left) and Blushing Geisha (Right)

So onto the real reason why you go to restaurant’s ……. the food! We opted for a  number of the entrée dishes to minimise decision-making and taste more. Dishes ordered included:

1. Crispy Sushi – $16.00

Crispy Sushi

2. Aburi Sushi – $ 19.00

Aburi Sushi

3. Gyoza – $9.00

Gyoza

4. Tori Karage – $10.00

5. Miso Soup – $4.50

The seared Aburi Sushi was amazing, with the fish tasting fresh and nicely seasoned with my friend salt. The Gyoza’s was my favourite dish with the Gyoza’s not being sticky or gluggy which often happens. They were full of strong flavours and certainly had you returning for more. I was fortunate enough to get the last one! Never having had fried sushi I didn’t know what to expect and felt it would be something that I wouldn’t enjoy.  This was not the case with only the rice being gently fried and the sushi on top being fresh, giving the dish nice texture and crunch. It almost felt like eating a little hash brown sushi combo (a weird yet wonderful creation).  I also enjoyed the Tori Karage but it was the accompanying wasabi mayo which made the dish.

We didn’t have dessert as I am yet to find an  Asian dessert which I am particularly taken with. I am too attached to ice-cream, pudding and cake to enjoy desserts based primarily on fruit or rice. As a wise man by the name of Homer Simpson once said “You don’t make friends with salad”, and I am pretty sure this applies to fruit also. The overall bill came to $50 each which would have been substantially cheaper had we shown self-control and not drunk. (Where’s is the fun in that though?)

Walking back to the car the karaoke music of the Dragon Palace filled the air and I was struck by the fact I was still in Northbridge and feeling ok about returning despite our past indifferences. Will someone please slap me should they see me detouring from The Sake Bar to the Mustang or Paramount upon my next visit.

Overall

Positives: Loved the interior architecture, quality service, tasty cocktails and moreish food.

Negatives: No tempura zucchini flowers in stock and my bout of envy against people with more than 1 friend sitting in a booth.

Rating: 4.5/5

Strongly recommended for those that love Japanese and enjoy the full dining experience.

Love “The Fat Cow” x

 
Sake Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Imp Cafe : East Vic Park

According to my research the definition of the word ‘Imp’ means: A small devil or small mischievous child.

 

As one is able to do on Wikipedia I am tempted to alter the word  ‘Imp’  to meaning: A ridiculously small food portion.

 

I have been to Imp Cafe previously for breakfast a few times and quite enjoyed their bircher muesli and Fiori coffee. I was however interested in seeing what their nighttime tapas menu had to offer. With the cafe being conveniently located from my humble abode and being BYO, I was keen to see if The Imp could become a regular grazing pasture when the mood for Tapas struck.

The Imp Cafe

863 Albany Hwy, East Vic Park

Phone: (08) 9361 2600

Open Mon – Sun (7am till 10pm)

BYO wine (Bottle shop 4 doors down)

http://www.theimp.com.au/

Not being able to book and knowing that the cafe itself is very small, our group of 5 (university chums) arrived at 6pm in order to ‘shotgun’ a table. Fortunately we nabbed a  table in prime location AKA next to the cake display. While we waited for our late 6th member to arrive we poured the red ($3 corkage p/head) and started campaigning for whichever plate took our fancy.

In the past I have clearly shared my notion of ‘what’s yours is mine’ when it comes to dining out. With this in mind one would think that I would adore Tapas, to which I respond with a “negative ghost rider”. My aversion to going out for tapas stems from the fact that after taking all costs into account it can wind up being expensive. This is mainly due to the fact that you have to purchase a  kebab with the lot on the way home because you are still starving. Not wanting to end my night with a kebab in hand and garlic sauce over my face, we surveyed the waitress as to how much we would require for 6 people. Her answer…… ‘ 1 plate each’. Putting my non-existent maths skills to use, 6 people meant that 6 plates would be required to avoid the kebab ghost run.

After vigorous campaigning and casting our votes the selection included:

Lamb backstrap, cous cous, stone fruit, mint & yoghurt …………. 26.0

Beef shin, charred spring onions & sticky soy sauce (g) ………….. 18.5

Crispy pork belly with cinnamon sugar, sweet potato, apple & currants .. 13.0

Spiced hand cut potatoes with aioli (v) …………………………………. 9.0

Venison chorizo, lemon & parsley (g) ……………………………………. 9.5

Duck & fig frittata bites, rocket & truffle oil (g) ……………………… 15.0

After ordering we were informed that our 6th member had gone AWOL and therefore would not be joining us. Secretly I smiled inside knowing that there would be no chance of going hungry, as we were sharing 6 plates between the 5 of us!! Happy days.

Service was relatively prompt but I would have hated to have seen my face when the plates were placed in front of me. I think it would have resembled the look of a two-year old realising she had received a book and embroided handkerchiefs for Christmas vs the My Little Pony, that she had been hankering for all year. I was particularly concerned about how we would go about sharing the crispy pork belly between 5 of us when there were only 2 portions about the size of a dice sitting on the oversized plate.

Crispy pork belly with cinnamon sugar, sweet potato, apple & currants

Feeling a little deflated I hoped that by slowy gnawing on each piece I would not only be amazed by the flavours but feel satisfied. Unfortunately this really wasn’t the case with the crispy pork belly not being particularly crispy and the hand cut potatoes resembling Napoleon Dynamite’s potato tots. The duck and fig frittata bites was probably the biggest let down, with the flavours of the duck and fig not coming through resulting in it tasting very bland.

Spiced hand cut potatoes with aioli (v)

The venison chorizo however was addictive and the dash of lemon gave it a nice fresh taste. I also enjoyed the lamb backstrap which was nicely accompanied with the cous cous and mint yoghurt, and was an appropriate serving size for 6 people.

Although we could have ordered more, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be good service and logical to inform diners that more than one pork belly dish should be ordered if there is only 2 pieces with 6 people sitting at the table????’

As the cake display had been making eyes at me all night, I decided to not order more tapas and fill up on sugary goodness. There was a large selection of desserts including brownies, crumble, sticky date pudding and carrot cake to name a few. Being slightly overcast I was in the mood for sticky date ($5.50) with a side of vanilla ice-cream ($2). The presentation of the pudding was cute (being served in a coffee cup) and the generous side serving of vanilla ice-cream was not in keeping with The Imp name. The pudding was enjoyable, but could have done with more sticky date sauce (really just sugar and butter…yum) making the cake more ‘moist’ (probably the most common word used when talking cake). Fortunately with the combination of the cake and red wine I felt full despite the main event barely touching the sides.

Sticky date pudding with a side of vanilla icecream

Positives: BYO wine, venison chorizo, generous with the ice-cream and a pleasant setting.

Negatives: ‘Imp size’ portions, bland duck frittata and another black mark against going out for Tapas.

Overall: Sorry but this Tapas didn’t win me over so I am giving it a 2/5. I am however happy to return for breakfast based on good past experiences.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Imp on Urbanspoon

Rockpool Bar & Grill : Burswood

If you had one final meal would you choose a plate of savouries or sweets?

This was the ‘first world problem’ that my friend and I mused over with the assistance of a bottle of red the other night.

Cheesecake over crispy pork belly? Slowly roasted beef cheek over warm chocolate fondant’s? ……. You can clearly see it is a hard decision.

Past history suggests all my best ideas and notions can be found at the bottom of red wine bottles and this specific night was no exception.

The place to solve this ‘problem’………. Rockpool Bar and Grill (A Neil Perry restaurant) It was agreed research via taste testing at one of Perth’s most recently discussed and acclaimed fine dining restaurants would help in the decision-making process.

Seeing I had been wanting to go to Rockpool since it’s opening, I took it upon myself to organise this crusade with a group of 10 friends in tow. Booking was relatively difficult considering the time of year and having a large party, so we settled on a 7pm booking on a Wednesday night. In hind sight going out on a ‘school’ night served us well making us practice self-restraint when it came to ordering cocktails.

Rockpool Bar and Grill

Great Eastern Hwy (Burswood Entertainment Complex)
Burswood, WA 6100

Phone: 08 6252 1900

http://www.rockpool.com/rockpool-bar-and-grill-perth/

As I walked up the long passage flanked with pictures of seafood and glass cases of fresh meat, I felt as if I was about to encounter a true gastronomic experience. We were immediately greeted by a number of staff and escorted to our table. Although it was a big restaurant,it’s arrangement with partitioning and mood lighting made it warm and inviting. Being a lover of anything with carbohydrates, I was pleased to find complimentary crusty warm bread waiting patiently for me to devour. As girls do cocktails were ordered at about $18 per drink. Although a little pricey each cocktail was enjoyable in particular the margaritas with charcoal(yes, what santa fills your sack with)salt. If you are a wine person then you will be impressed by the 62 page wine list, which we also dabbled with.

In the spirit of the research entree’s were bypassed to ensure a) we could afford to pay the bill and b) ensure we could fit a savoury main and sweet dessert in. Being indecisive once again the waitress was a great help in suggesting a variety of ‘well loved’ dishes. After being disappointed that they had run out of the popular crispy pork belly, I opted for the Mishima chuck braised in dark lager and onions with potato gnocchi and silver beet ($49). Sides of roast pumpkin and sweet potato with burnt butter and garlic yoghurt ($12) and roasted parsnips and eschallots with swiss chard and ginger ($12) were ordered to share. With one of the girls ordering the Mt Barker char grilled free range chicken ($39) we knew the wait for mains would take 50 minutes to come out as indicated by the extensive menu. Due to good company, drinks and bread this was not a problem, and no one got hurt by a mob of disgruntled hungry women.

The meals arrived together and looked visually appealing. The portion sizes for the meat and fish were substantial, especially with the sides. Surprisingly the pasta serves looked limited however I was assured by my fellow grazers that this was not the case. My meat was top-notch pulling apart with ease. I did add a little more seasoning aka salt, but I will openly admit that this is a bad habit of mine ,which I am yet to successfully give up. As the sound of silence filled the air, I realised that good food was the only way to stop a group of ten girls from incessant talking. Savoury dishes were off to a good start and sweets would have to be of a high standard to make my decision swing that way.

Macaroon Icecream Sandwich

Although tempted by the peanut butter caramel chocolate tart with milk ice-cream ($23), I decided to opt for the hazelnut macaroon sandwich filled with banana ice-cream ($14) (probably influenced by my one true love being a Peters ice-cream giant sandwich). Others opted for the ice cream filled profiterole’s ($16) and the red velvet cupcake with marshmallow icing ($6.50). After such a good main expectations were high, which was perhaps a reason why I was slightly disappointed with the desserts. The macaroon itself was cooked well with a crunch to the outside and soft middle but the flavour combination of hazelnut with banana ice-cream didn’t work for me personally. Mixed reviews were given about the profiterole’s with some wishing for the custard to come back, while others loved the ice-cream and chocolate filling. Most disappointing however was the red velvet cupcake with the marshmallow icing which lacked in flavour and certainly didn’t have the ‘wow factor’ that a restaurant of this calibre and cost usually offer. On the upside, the icing to cupcake-base ratio was great (more icing than base, which I love). With my sister-in-law making officially the worlds best cupcakes (check out her blog top the cupcake’ -http://topthecupcake.blogspot.com/) it may have been an unfair comparison.

Ice-cream filled profiterole’s and red velvet cupcake.

So there it is folks based on extensive research at Rockpool, I have come to conclude that savory mains might be the plate of choice should I ever face the ‘one last meal dilemma’. Until that point in time, I have taken a personal oath to continue to eat both savoury and sweet dishes, to establish validity and reliability in the above statement.

Positives: Excellent customer service and wine/food knowledge by the staff, great variety in food and wine list, great atmosphere and complimentary crusty bread.

Negatives: Some financial planning required prior to the visit, no pork belly left and slightly disappointing dessert menu.

Overall it was a fun, tasty and memorable experience. Although I won’t be rushing back for another meal, I certainly won’t object if anyone wishes to take me to dinner here (hint hint).

Rating: 4/5

Love The Fat Cow x.

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon