UPDATE Great British Chippy – Currumbine

20140904_172900

Great British Chippy on Urbanspoon

For British ex-pats in Perth, the Great British Chippy in Currambine is like an oasis in a sea of frozen chips.

If you have been to the Great British Chippy, the chances are that you encountered it’s teething problems first hand. The first authentic pommie chip shop in WA has been open about a year now. Their frying range was brought over from “Chumly Warners”, Queensland’s answer to “Harry Ramsden’s”. The second hand range didn’t prove to be very efficient, which lead to enormous queues.

GBC was shut for a month long refurbishment in July – incredible since it hadn’t yet been open a year. A brand new range has now been imported and installed from the UK. The shop’s new layout gives better organization too. You can sit on benches whilst waiting for your order. There’s also a small dining area – in case you don’t want to wait till you get home to eat. We ate in, whilst the cod and chips were still piping hot.

The verdict from the new range… the fish and chips are great! The thick, flaky cod was moist and coated in a crisp golden batter. The delicious chips are perfectly imperfect – all different shapes and sizes. Our sides of chip shop curry sauce and mushy peas were spot on too. I’d love to try the scampi – a fave of mine. We’ll be back for sure. I may even try a deep fried Mars Bar – for “research” of course! My recommendation is that you take advantage of the new seating at GBC and eat in. Nothing can compare to fish fresh out of the fryer.20140904_174021

With our English holiday and copious amounts of fish and chip suppers still fresh in our minds – this is certainly authentic British fare at GBC and even better than some of the chippy’s we visited in England.

Chef and I had craved pommie fish and chips for the best part of a decade. We certainly made the most of being in the UK recently, with many trips down to the local chippy. Because, quite frankly, there’s nowt like a bit of North Sea Cod.

For the most part the fish and chips in England were just as we remembered.

Tony's Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

IMG_4320The best of the lot was a recommendation from my very own Dad. He considers himself somewhat of a chippy connoisseur and during his trip back home to Yorkshire in 2013 he made many lunchtime trips to Tony’s – widely regarded to be Sheffield’s best fish n chips. Chef and I made a special trip to Tony’s, in Mosborough and the traditional fish and chips were excellent. There was a queue out the door, but they food was well worth waiting for. The fish and chips there been cooked to a “secret” recipe for over 100 years.IMG_4324

Urban Bowl – Perth CBD

IMG_6924

Urban Bowl on Urbanspoon
If you loved the Butty’s Food Truck, you’re already a fan of Chef Che Tam Nguyen’s delicious creations. The Butty’s brand is having a hiatus for now to make way for his new venture in the Perth CBD. Hiding amongst the city skyscrapers, you’ll find Urban Bowl, a modern Vietnamese café. Lunch-y things like rice paper rolls, salad and Vietnamese baguette rolls are on the menu.IMG_6937

I tried the Vietnamese beef salad ($10). It was super fresh, which is the thing I love most about Vietnamese cuisine. It was loaded with mint. The sous vide cooked beef was so tender. I’ve always been a little obsessed with spring rolls and these two were perfectly crisp on the outside and bursting with tasty veg.IMG_6928

At Urban Bowl you can also grab an Urban Cup of coffee or their own house blend tea. I had a cup of pineapple and chamomile, which I’d never tried before. The tea was sweet and smooth, I loved it. IMG_6930

Urban Bowl has had a “soft opening” while they apply the finishing touches to the café. A full menu will be on offer in the next week or two – with additions of soup etc IMG_6935

It’s a great little café. A hop, skip and jump from St Georges Terrace – perfect for popping out of the office to grab a very very tasty lunch!IMG_6941

 

Matisse Beach Club

IMG_6834

Matisse Beach Club on Urbanspoon

I had been curious about Matisse Beach Club, which opened earlier this year on the Scarborough beachfront. It sounded decadent and chic – like a beach club in Miami or San Tropez.IMG_6831

Matisse has caused quite a stir already – I had heard a couple of things on the grapevine like the food wasn’t too flash and that the average age was pretty young, so I hadn’t rushed out to pay a visit. To be fair though, winter is not the time of year that one would think to visit a beach club!IMG_6835

I got invited to a dinner by Matisse’s management and looked forward to the opportunity to check it out for myself and forge my own opinion.

The last time Chef and I had been at this venue it was “The Lookout” nightclub and we were on one of our first dates. Fast forward about 12 years and there was not a sticky floor in sight – thank goodness! Mattisse is fresh, light and airy. The colour scheme has big splashes of colour which pop against the white. It looks fantastic.IMG_6840

Some people have been whinging about the plastic glasses at the beach club. I don’t see what the issue is – they’re not exactly disposable, frat party cups. To be honest they don’t even look bad. Check out my pretty cocktail below. Who’d even think it was in a plastic cup?! There IS a reason behind the plastic glasses and with two pools and many pairs of bare feet, glass is not a good option.IMG_6860

Scarborough has been dogged by a bad reputation over the years. Matisse uses a state of the art security system to keep the troublemakers out. IDs are scanned on arrival, which is linked to police databases. The average age for men and women is about 29/30 years, so my assumption it was full of 18yr olds was unfounded too – and that’s nothing against 18yr olds – but it makes me feel like a Nanna!IMG_6847

We started the night with lush Mai Tai cocktails ($18) and canapés by the pool. The pool is only 30cms deep – perfect for sitting in with a cocktail in hand. The colourful, neon cabanas can be hired. I loved the spicy chicken drumettes, with blue cheese dip – delicious!IMG_6855

We then went through to the dining room, where colourful dining booths mirrored the cabanas.030914_Matisse_176

A large seafood platter ($70) was brought out for a shared entrée. It was brimming with barramundi, salmon, crab cakes, scallops, oysters, prawns, muscles plus salad, slaw and super chunky chips. We were also treated to pizzas and salads, which both feature on Matisse’s menu of light, share food.IMG_6870

We enjoyed sampling several dishes from the menu. I enjoyed the duck with a walnut and goats cheese salad ($32). I thought the food was very lunch-y and relished the club sandwich ($24), something I’d not eaten in a long time. IMG_6875IMG_6874IMG_6867

At $22 – $26 the pizzas were priced reasonably – the prawn pizza was scrumptious. BTW… it’s half price pizza on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Mattise, owned by the Reid family who are also behind the Breakwater at Hillary’s, will have a busy summer season on their hands. It’s a stunning venue for some drinks and nibbles with friends. Matisse is more laid back than it appears – mirrored by the casual food on the menu. You can even go in barefoot off the beach – shoes are optional before 8pm. Matisse hasn’t been open during hot weather yet, so hasn’t quite had it’s day in the sun. The beach club is something totally unique in WA and will be a big hit in summer.

Thank you to Sean, Michela and the Matisse team for a wonderful night.IMG_6832

 

 

 

Eagle Falls Spur Steak and Grill – Drovers, Wanneroo

New Image2

Eagle Falls Spur Steak and Grill on Urbanspoon

I have a confession to make… though Spur is an international chain restaurant, I had never heard of it, let alone been in one. We have a couple of Spurs in WA – the existing franchises are both “south of the river”. The South African owned steak house has opened this week in our stomping ground – the Drovers complex on Wanneroo Road, near Carramar.

When I visit a restaurant that is only a few days old, like Spur, I like to give it the benefit of the doubt. All the staff are new and still learning the ropes – there can be teething troubles. At Spur all they were guilty of was being eager to take our order and our plates and glasses, which is nothing really that bad at all. The wait staff were all very friendly and helpful.

The building that never quite reached its full potential as “3 Leaves restaurant” and “Drovers Café” has had a fantastic a fantastic fit out. The theming is around American Indians – think tepees, feathers and that sort of thing. The huge restaurant, which seats 300+, looks great.

J and I were caught up for a coffee and light lunch before the school run.Untitledho

I think the proof in the pudding will really be how good their steaks and ribs are. Being lunchtime I wasn’t feeling up to a big slab of meat, so chose a Caesar salad – reasonably priced at $14.95. It was all I’d want from a Caesar salad. Everything was crisp and it was a decent portion size.

untitled11J enjoyed a generous plate of nachos with all the accompaniments $15.95 with beef n beans for an added $2.95.

If you have children they will have a ball at Spur! There is a large fenced off kids area, which they will love. That is due to open tomorrow (Thurs 4th Sept). The kids menu is well priced and kids even eat free on Monday and Tuesdays.

I enjoyed my first Spur experience. It’s a warm, casual family restaurant and well-priced to boot. A certain steak loving chef will be making sure I take him next time I visit!New Image3

Fairbrossen Estate – Carmel, Perth Hills

untitled

Fairbrossen Estate on Urbanspoon

A few months back, Chef and I visited a few vineyards in the Perth Hills, for the Bickley Harvest Festival. I’d made a mental note to return to Fairbrossen as it looked like a wonderful spot for a Sunday afternoon with my mum. The cellar door and café overlook the boutique vineyard and wishing well. We were lucky to get a table in the cafe, I’d defiantly recommend booking, as it was very busy.IMG_1508

We were there for some afternoon tea. Mum had a Devonshire tea, two super fresh scones with home-made jam and cream. I had a deliciously moist cake made from Carnarvon bananas. We shared a pot of tea for two.IMG_6801

If you’re after something a bit more substantial they also have steak sandwiches, homemade pies and humongous share platters on the menu. A share platter full of all sorts of delicious morsels was on the next table – I had a really bad case of food envy after spotting that!

The Fairbrossen café caters well for the little ones too. As well as children’s options on the menu – there’s a corner full of toys and books. Little Chef was very happy with that and he made some new mates whist we had a pester-free chat.IMG_6799

Next time I’ll have to head back to the cellar door – there is some very nice wine at Fairbrossen, to suit all tastes. From sparkling, rose, shiraz, tempranillo etc etc  The family run winery also has a vineyard in Margaret River where they have cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay vines.IMG_1504

“I’m fair Brosen” means “full to bursting” and we certainly were after sweets and copious amounts of tea! Fairbrossen is a lovely spot in the Perth Hills. From the warm welcome, to the home-style food, to the freshly picked flowers on each table – it’s a taste of the country just 25 minutes from the city.

 

IMG_1529

Haynes Street Larder – Kalamunda

New Image
Haynes Street Larder on Urbanspoon

Over the last few years, many councils in Perth have deregulated and relaxed a lot of licences in the hospitality industry. From that “common sense attitude” we’ve seen wonderful small bars and other new businesses really thrive and make our communities much more vibrant.

I really like to support our local businesses, so it really pains me when the little guys are still being stomped on by some local governments with endless red tape, bureaucracy and regulations. An example of this happening is the Haynes Street Larder – a lovely coffee shop on the main street in Kalamunda. They’ve been open for about five months. Due to a misunderstanding, the wrong licence was given, so they are unable to make their own food on the premises. Everything at the Haynes St Larder is pre made by other businesses. They’re not even allowed to cold press their own juices… for now at least.IMG_6767

Kalamunda has a few cafes, but they are either favourites of retirees or chain coffee shops. Not that there’s anything wrong with either I hasten to add – they just might not be your cup of tea (pardon the pun!). A funky, allergy friendly café with fresh healthy food is something Kalamunda really needs. A few coffee shops on the main street have shut recently, so you’d think the Shire of Kalamunda would be encouraging new business in the area. The tone I get from people that live in the area is the Kalamunda Shire is pretty out of touch with what their rate payers want and has been for a very long time.IMG_6769

I popped into the Haynes Street Larder for a takeaway juice and some morning tea snacks to take to my parents’ house. I almost missed it, as there’s no sign out the front – look out for the stripy canopy! For now, the peeps at Haynes Street Larder are focusing on sourcing food from local artisan suppliers. The raw treats come from Molly’s Picnic, the bottled juices from the Swan Valley’s “World’s healthiest Juice Co”. The “Rainbow” juice I chose was one of my favourite combos – carrot, apple, beetroot and lemon.

I purchased a couple of Choc mint spirulina slices – which contain ingredients that help cleanse the mind and body to fight off stress and body fatigue. Spirulina is a nutrient rich salt water plant. The slice was pretty indulgent for health food – I felt like I was eating an aero bar! Delish. I also got a couple of ginger slices, but there’s no pic of them as they got squished in the bag! Whoops…IMG_6775

The locals tell me the coffee is great at Haynes Street Larder and I’d love to enjoy a nice brunch or lunch there in the future. The menu is “coming soon” – I’m really keen to see what they can do in their own kitchen, hopefully we all will find out very very soon!

 IMG_6771

Bistro des Artistes – Subiaco

IMG_6721

Bistro des Artistes on Urbanspoon

Chef and I had a fleeting experience with Parisian bistros on a French mini break. We loved their bustling vibe and the excellent, inexpensive food. The only thing that was lacking was the service. Every waiter we encountered in Paris gave us a hefty serve of attitude with “le boeuf”. Maybe it was our fault for being bumbling tourists?

Bistro des Artistes, in Subiaco, is quintessentially Parisian, but here the wait staff are very welcoming. The bustling bistro has a casual atmosphere, with jaunty accordion music in the background. As we’re taken to our table, I spot fresh baguettes, and to our delight we’re soon given a basket of the crusty bread.

New Image1

Chef and I are dining on a busy Friday lunchtime. Two courses is $45, or you can push the boat out and enjoy three courses for $50. This pricing shows what French bistro dining is all about – modest food, at modest prices.

Bistro des Artistes, which opened in 2012, is the creation of celebrated French chefs, Alain Fabregues and Emmanuel Mollois. Emmanuel left early this year to pursue his own catering business. Alain’s iconic hills fine diner, The Loose Box, closed its doors last year.

 

IMG_6710Chef choses a French pinot noir from the wine list, which is made up of a very good selection of French and Australian wines.

For entrée, Chef chooses the crispy pigs trotter. The glutinous meat is crumbed and fried. It is served with a cauliflower “semolina” – finely shredded raw cauliflower. Served alone, it is a bland companion to the tasty trotters. They are also accompanied by an organic Quark dip. Quark is a curd cheese and this too is plain and under seasoned.IMG_6714

Though the Croque-Monsieur is essentially a ham and cheese toasted sandwich typically made with a bechemal sauce, I am keen to try something that is a staple on Parisian bistro menus. This version, usually called a Croque-Madame, is topped with a poached egg. As it is truffle season, I add truffle, for an extra charge of $10. I love the addition of this pungent, earthy flavour; it makes the Croque Monsieur feel decadent. The crisp, butteryness of the toast, the oozing egg yolk and the generous shavings of truffle, is a really great way to start lunch.IMG_6715

Chef couldn’t get enough of his main – Lamb belly cooked two ways. Firstly the lamb is confit with rosemary and then grilled till deliciously crisp. The moreish lamb is served along with finely sliced, Alsatian braised root vegetables and a lamb jus. Alsace is a prominent cooking and wine region in North Eastern France, renowned for its rustic style of cuisine with strong German influences. This is wonderfully hearty comfort food on a cool winter’s day.IMG_6726

My main is a seafood lover’s delight; a large quenelle of creamed crimson snapper and local prawns. The rich quenelle is poached to perfection – it has a light and fluffy mousse-like texture. It is served with brocollini and a crab bisque, which is well seasoned and has a great depth of flavour. The dish is absolutely spot-on.IMG_6729

For dessert we just have to share a vanilla crème brulee. It makes just the right cracking noise when I tap the caramel with my spoon! Perfect.IMG_6731

Bistro des Artistes has a certain je ne sais quoi. We enjoy the robust French cuisine and friendly service. Our little piece of Paris on Hay Street.