Unwined – Subicao – 1st / 2nd of November

IMG_7580From the people that brought us City Wine (at the Urban Orchard) and Sunset Wine (Scarborough) – Unwined is on in Subiaco right now! We visited the wine and food festival this afternoon – it’s on till 6pm tonight (Sat) and 11am till 6pm tomorrow (Sunday 2nd of Nov).

Unwined is found at Market Square Park – right next to Subi Oval. There’s lots of shady seating for enjoying a glass of vino and some good food and excellent live music.

It features some boutique vineyards from many wine regions of WA – Margaret River, Ferguson Valley and the Swan Valley to name a just few; 3drops, Cowaramup & Clown Fish Wines, Fermoy Estate, Oakover Wines & Fiori Coffee, Nannup Ridge Wines, Sittella Winery, Howling Wolves Wines, House of Cards Wine and many many more.

There’s something for everyone – wine classes and cooking demos (by Chloe & Kelly from the 2014 My Kitchen Rules) and also some food related stands; The Truffle & Wine Co, Pukara Estate Oils & Vinegar, Chillin’ Out in WA, Hampshire on Eighth etcIMG_7577

I do enjoy a vino of two; everything from a sweet Rose,’ to a fruity SSB, a nice smooth Shiraz or pinot noir. Since it was a beautiful warm day, I felt like tasting a few rose style of wines.

I stopped off at the Howling Wolves stand for a chat and to try their summery Cabernato wine. It’s excellent chilled and if you add a bit of mint and line, also a great mojito style drink. I really liked it as it’s super smooth. IMG_7542

I really enjoyed the House of Cards Rose, it was excellent. That cellar door is located on Caves Road, Margret River (next to Gabriel Chocolate). I will be stopping by next time we’re in Margs!IMG_2065

Happs is one of my all time fave wineries – I HAVE to stop there every time I’m in the South West. Though I’ve had it a million times, I just couldn’t go past a drop of Fuchsia. Also they do a preservative free red and white, which helps lessen my wine headaches! IMG_7596

Of course you can’t have a glass of wine without food – there are some excellent choices and a few food trucks; Miss Tartufo, Braised Bros, Ole Paella, Miam Miam a bite of France and lots more.IMG_7545

IMG_7547Little Chef (it’s free entry for kids) and I shared a fab meat tasting plate from the Tapas Queens. There were chorizo, croquettes, grilled beef and chicken skewers, grilled veggies, bread, cheese, nuts – the works! It was absolutely delicious. IMG_7549

Nays had a Moroccan chicken tagine with cous cous and bread – which was really yummy too. IMG_7558

There were lots of people sat on picnic rugs, enjoying the stunning weather and there was a really good vibe. Entry is $27 which includes all wine tastings and a tasting glass.IMG_7568

More info at http://www.wineandfood.com.au/unwined.html#!unwinedwa/cfvg

 

C Restaurant – Perth CBD

IMG_7444For Chef and I the C Restaurant evokes thoughts of special occasions, romantic proposals and intimate dinners for two. Saying that, neither of us had actually been, so when we received an invitation (a subsidised meal, not free) to dine at C – we eagerly accepted. It’s a totally unique venue in Perth’s CBD.

IMG_7414We headed into the city mid-week. We parked in the convenient underground car park at St Martin’s Tower and hopped into the lift, eagerly pressing the button to the 33rd floor! Our booking was for 6pm, as I was keen to see the view both in the day and by night.

IMG_7435As the lift doors slid open, we were warmly greeted by the staff. The contemporary restaurant is stylish and classy with white linen tablecloths and tea lights – perfect for a romantic dinner for two! We were seated at the window. It’s no surprise that the view is amazing! It’s from a totally different perspective than we’d normally have on our beautiful city. I’m always in awe of the Perth skyline when we see it from Kings Park or the South Perth foreshore, but at C restaurant you’re right there, amongst all the shiny skyscrapers.

New Image2Chef had to keep telling me to concentrate on the menu – he wanted to order! I could barely keep my eyes off the view and was pointing out all the landmarks. We started our meal with a northerly outlook – we could see NIB Stadium, Forrest Place and its “cactus” art, the Aviary rooftop bar, Perth Arena, the Horseshoe bridge, the State Theatre and much of Northbridge.

IMG_7466We were dining from the four course mid-week dinner menu ($99 pp). We nibbled on a little bread, creamed salted butter and Chittering Valley evoo ($7) whilst we enjoyed the view. If you’re not familiar with C, it’s a revolving restaurant – a first for us! A complete rotation of the floor takes 90 minutes. So you don’t miss out on a thing. The floor moves slowly, but fast enough for you to see it move.

New Image1For first course I chose the Huon Valley Tasmanian salmon tartare with pickled beet, horseradish cream, salmon caviar, fresh orange and garnished with dill. The salmon was very fresh and tasty. It was a light dish, a great way to start dinner.

New Image3Chef had the exquisitely plated goat cheese panna cotta with vinegar glazed beetroot, blood orange, golden beetroot, apple jelly and roasted pecan nuts. It was pretty as a picture. Having a cheese panna cotta was quite different and it was creamy and very smooth. Chef really savoured this dish.

IMG_7456By now, we’d made our way around to Adelaide Terrace – looking east. Dusk was falling and the neon lights on the Perth city council building were putting on a great show for us.

IMG_7469For second course Chef enjoyed the ‘36 hour cooked’ pork belly with a celeriac purée, apple & rhubarb chutney, chorizo crumb and a calvados jus. It was an excellent piece of pork belly – there was hardly any fat on it. The skin was perfectly crackled. A cracking dish!

IMG_7471I thought the slow braised spring lamb shoulder roulade was full of flavour. On the side was a minted garden pea purée, parmesan custard, cumin foam and Serrano ham crisp.

IMG_7458Now we were looking south towards the Swan River – it was a fantastic vantage point to have a view of the Elizabeth Quay development. I can’t wait for it to be finished – adding another dimension and yet more restaurants to Perth.

IMG_7477For third course I enjoyed char-grilled pitch Black Angus beef tenderloin with pumpkin textures, grilled pickling onion, braised beef cheeks roulade and wasabi beef jus. The beef was perfectly cooked and had a fabulous smoky flavour.

IMG_7473The Char-grilled Wagyu beef sirloin was tender and had that buttery flavour synonymous with quality Wagyu. with spinach & potato gratin, braised beef cheeks roulade, shallot purée and persillade d’escargot, spring vegetables (additional $28). Cheeky Chef gave me a “mushroom” to try – I should have noticed his wicked grin! Good job I like snails!

New ImageBy now it was night and we enjoyed the twinkling lights of the office towers on St Georges Terrace.

IMG_7485For dessert my pick was the milk chocolate and passion fruit tart topped with hibiscus whipped ganache and a raspberry sorbet. Very tasty and not too heavy.

IMG_7487Chef was in a chocoholic’s dream with and ooey-gooey chocolate fondant, vanilla Ice Cream, caramelized poached pear. He scoffed the lot and looked tempted to lick the plate. I was enjoying my dessert so much I forgot to take the money shot – when Chef cut into the pudding and the fondant flows out! Whoopsie :)

IMG_7418All in all we both enjoyed our first trip to C Restaurant. The service was friendly and attentive. The view was to die for and one-of-a kind. The food was, honestly, better than we had expected.

We try to remain impartial when dining FOC or with a big discount. We concluded we would have been happy to pay for that meal, which, with extras would have come to about $250. It’s something that all Perth-lovers should try at least once. It’s a great place to take visitors to Perth too. C Restaurant actually won a Gold Plate Award for “Best Tourist Restaurant” this week! Congrats!!

I’d absolutely return to C Restaurant. I do think it’s a venue perfect for an extra special occasion. I’d love to dine there on Australia Day – wouldn’t that be spectacular! Our friendly waiter was telling us all about it – sounds amazing.

Thank you to Caitlin for organising and to the C Restaurant’s team for a memorable night!

**The C Restaurant is also in the 2014/15 Entertainment book**

C Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Samsons Paddock – Mosman Park

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Samsons Paddock on Urbanspoon

My father-in-law, who is also a chef, has a rule – never dine at a brand new restaurant. He recommends giving any new restaurant a good couple of months to iron out the creases and really hit their stride. Despite this, Chef and I dine at newbie “Samsons Paddock” in Mosman Park when it was still finding its feet. It has been open a mere six weeks. We were there to review it for the Post newspaper – something that I absolutely relish.IMG_7370

We’re warmly greeted and given a choice of places to sit, the dining room, outside or in the bar. We choose the long wooden communal table in the bar area. The exposed brick walls and the hanging industrial light fittings look great and there is a real warmth about the space. That warmth is also extended to the outdoor courtyard, where there are red-brick fireplaces and lots of seating scattered with funky, bright cushions. There is blues-y music in the background, which gives the bar a southern American vibe. The interior has that rustic look that so many places do now – but since Sampson’s Paddock is steeped in history – it really works. IMG_7366

In the early 1840s, Lionel Samson purchased the land where the bar now stands for a princely sum of 10 pounds. He farmed the land, the locals nicknamed it “Samson’s Paddock”. It was perfectly positioned on the Fremantle to Perth route – so the entrepreneurial Samson turned Samson’s Paddock into a popular watering hole for both horseman and horse.

IMG_7367The menu is like a novel! It comes in the form of a book. Chapter one is an interesting history of the building. In chapter two, you’ll find the menu, which is designed to share. Chapter three is an extensive and still evolving drinks menu. Sampson’s has a good selection of mainly local wine, including some premium wines available by the glass. There is also an excellent collection of whiskies.IMG_7403

We choose chicken & almond albondigas ($17) from the small plates menu. The chicken meatballs are extremely fragrant. They are sitting in a little dish of Catalan sorfito – a deliciously rich Spanish tomato and onion sauce. Though tasty, I am put-off by finding tiny pieces of cartilage in each ball. It’s a shame, as otherwise it’s great dish – but that stops us from finishing it off.IMG_7382

The char grilled porterhouse tasting board ($59), is fit for any carnivore, with a whopping four different types of steak. The tasting notes advise you to eat the steaks in a particular order – veal, then the grain fed steak, the grass fed and finally the wagu beef. We taste each piece au natural, then add some zesty gremolata to the next piece to see the difference in taste. The veal is tender. There’s a noticeable difference between the grain and grass fed cuts, the grass fed being much stronger in flavour. Of course the wagu is top notch – with a wonderful buttery flavour. On the side are roast veg and hand cut chips. We relish every morsel.IMG_7381

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the stuffed calamari ($25) is chewy, but the calamari tubes are not as tender as I would have hoped. The spinach stuffing is spot on, as is the mouth-watering combination of creamy blue cheese sauce with mushroom grits.IMG_7377

The saffron panna cotta ($15) is wibbly-wobbly perfection. A big dollop of scrumptious hazelnut ganache sits on top, finished with raspberry jelly. A delectable dessert!IMG_7393

Chef thinks he has died and gone to chocolate heaven as he devours the Mississippi mud pie ($15). A slice of incredibly dense pie is garnished with strawberries and a creamy anglaise, which has a subtle flavour of rosemary.IMG_7389

Though the food isn’t finely tuned yet – the excellent venue makes up for its shortcomings. IMG_7402

Whether you visit Samsons Paddock for share food and drinks or pre-drinks before heading somewhere else for dinner – it is well worth a visit. The restaurant and bar is a welcome addition to the leafy Glyde Street – which is fast becoming a western suburbs foodie destination – also home of the excellent Suburban Table and FUKU Okamese restaurants.IMG_7405

Rustico Tapas & Bar – Rockingham

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Rústico Tapas & Bar on Urbanspoon

Rustico Tapas and Bar is on the Rockingham foreshore. I had a little look about before finding Rustico. There were lots of families enjoying the shady playgrounds dotted along the beachside park. The beach was gorgeous too, I was tempted to feel the white sand beneath my toes, but I had a lunch date! IMG_7498

I was meeting two of my besties Mrs C and Mrs H at Rustico Tapas for lunch. I was a tad early, so got chatting to one of the friendly waitresses, who was very welcoming and excited about yet another gold plate nomination. Rustico has won a wall full of awards. The restaurant first came to my attention when Rob Broadfield gave it a rave review. Since then, it’s been on my must try list. IMG_7529

The interior of Rustico is of course rustic! It had a Spanish vibe with colourful feature lights and artwork. I was one of the first to arrive, but in no time the entire restaurant was full to bursting – this is a very popular spotIMG_7504

My two lovely friends are also mammas to be, so that was taken into consideration when picking our share dishes and drinks. We all opted for mocktails, picking a couple of virgin Mojitos and a fruity Barcelona Sunrise ($10). IMG_7507

We started lunch with a dish of more-ish mixed marinated olives ($9). IMG_7508

The salad ($15) of pear, rocket, parmesan and candied walnuts was a delicious combination. It was coated in a seeded mustard dressing. We all devoured the generous portion. IMG_7511

The pork belly ($23) was scrumptious. A collective “mmmm” was heard, as we took the first bite. It was extremely tender and packed full of porky flavour. The crackle was spot on too. The pork was accompanied by apple puree and a sticky pedro ximinez – a Spanish grape variety used to make a sweet dark sherry. We’re all big fans of pork belly and there was some discussion as to who should be lucky enough to eat the last piece!IMG_7512

The barramundi dish ($24) was also excellent and perfectly cooked – the fish moist and flaky with a perfectly crisp skin. It sat on a bed of sauce vierge (olive oil, lemon, diced tomato and basil) and creamed leek. IMG_7514

The nero paella ($28) was sensational. The rice and everything in it (like chorizo) was jet black, coated in squid ink. It was very tasty and topped with squid and scallops.IMG_7516

By this time we were felling full, but decided to be a little naughty and share some churros ($14). The Spanish doughnuts were perfectly cooked. Crisp on the outside, a little gooey in the middle and came with two dipping sauces – a white choc butterscotch and dark chocolate. Devine! IMG_7521

We all absolutely loved the food at Rustico. It was top notch produce, cooked exceedingly well. We all left with full bellies and for $49pp (food and drinks) I thought it was great value. The service is also excellent – friendly and knowledgeable – you get the impression the staff really love working there. For me, it was a 160km round trip there and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Most definitely worth the trip – if you live nearby I am SO jealous!

We were sat near the kitchen and each time a dish got popped up on the pass I would have serious plate envy! I will return to try out more of the delicious looking food – next time I’ll make sure I’m not driving, so I can enjoy some sangria too!

Good luck to Rustico in the gold plates this week! Whether they retain their gold plate or not – Rustico Tapas is an absolute winner anyway!

Check out more at http://www.rusticotapas.com.auIMG_7505

 

Homestead Brewery at Mandoon Estate – Swan Valley

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Homestead Brewery on Urbanspoon Mandoon Estate on Urbanspoon

For years I’ve rattled on about not having a really uber-cool venue in the Swan Valley like you’d find in the Margaret River region. We’ve enjoyed countless holidays down south at places like Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Colonial and many more. They are all state of the art, modern buildings and cater very well for families. I heard months ago that Mandoon, a small family run estate, were expanding and had been keeping my eye on the building progress – it opened in mid-September.

IMG_7299As we drove down the long driveway, the large Mandoon building loomed over its vineyards. It’s reminiscent of the immense Duckstein Brewery on Caves Road. We were there for a spot of lunch and though it was midweek it was pretty busy, being the school holidays and a beautiful sunny day.IMG_7307

Mandoon is home to a cellar door, function centre, fine dining restaurant and a microbrewery – Homestead Brewery was our first stop. You can drink and dine inside the brewery, which is shiny and new. It’s a lovely view from the decking overlooking the vineyards. IMG_7352

We opted to sit “out the back” in the shady beer garden. There are loads of picnic benches and its right next to the shaded playground – which was a big hit with Little Chef. There were a few soccer and crickets games being played on the expansive, lush lawns. It had a lovely family atmosphere.IMG_7325

Michael Hartnell is Mandoon’s Executive Chef. The globe-trotting chef has worked in restaurants in London and on the prestigious 5th Avenue, New York City. Most recently he worked at renowned Eureka 89, Melbourne. Michael has gained a reputation for innovative dishes – the degustation menu for Mandoon’s fine dining restaurant looks divine.IMG_7346

We ordered our food inside at the bar. Chef had a pint of the “Kaisers Choice” a German style beer. Normally he’d go for a larger, but that’s not available just yet. Within 15 mins or so our food arrived. It looked delicious!IMG_7312

I chose the pulled pork tacos ($25), though I did think the pork was a bit “wet” and had juice running down my arm! The apple and fennel slaw was creamy and though I wasn’t 100% sold on the flavour of the pork (which I’d put down to personal taste), I did like the tacos.IMG_7331

Both Chef and Little Chef had pizzas. Little chef had a Margarita ($10) from the little people meal’s menu, which has a choice of four kids favourites.

Chef thought the confit lamb pizza ($24) was excellent. The thin and fresh base was also topped with red onion, feta and a mint yogurt.IMG_7333

On the weekends the beer garden bar opens and you can also order spit roasted meat rolls with salad for $15 from the deli.IMG_7344

We really enjoyed our first visit to Mandoon Estate and the Homestead Brewery. This is just what the Swan Valley has been missing. We absolutely love Mandoon and can’t wait to return – though I am torn between the dego menu at the beautiful fine dining restaurant or the roast meat roll!! What’s a chef’s wife to do?!IMG_7361 IMG_7355

Harvest Espresso – Vic Park

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Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon

I have wanted to try Harvest Espresso for a long time. One thing or another has kept me away – it felt like I’d never get there. Finally though I did! I met K, one of my high school mates there.  He’s a chef too, so I was interested to see what he thought of this super popular Vic Park cafe.

IMG_7246We found the little café next to the Vic Park Hotel. The teeny tiny room was very busy for a weekday lunch – though I doubt it could seat more than 30 covers. We were happy to wait a few minutes for a table and in no time we were seated in the window.

I looked over the menu, all the food seemed to fit into the all day brunch category – so it was right up my alley! I spied a great looking mushroom dish on the next table. I figured it must be good, as all six people on the table were eating it! We ordered at the counter.

IMG_7237I’m a bit partial to a chai latte. I picked an iced choc chai from the extensive coffee list. It was pretty dam good.

There was a warm atmosphere in the small café – the only thing I could fault was the constant tap, tap, tap of the chef’s knives chopping away in the kitchen. But given the size of the place, it couldn’t be helped. A plus to the kitchen only being meters away was that all the amazing cooking smalls wafted our way!

They say you eat with your eyes first, well things were looking very tasty indeed!! The plating for both dishes was pretty as a picture.

IMG_7240Chef K was very pleased with his choice of salt cod fritters ($22.50). They sat on a bed of fluffy scrambled eggs garnished with an apple witlof salad, nori, fennel, sour crème. And since it’s such an attractive dish, here’s another pic…IMG_7241

IMG_7242I chose the gourmet mixed mushrooms ($19.50). Two slow poached eggs oozed through the mushrooms sautéed in a tarragon sauce, crunchy croutons and pea shoots. Toasted rye was on the side – perfect for soaking up the delicious creamy sauce. The scrumptious dish was garnished with nasturtiums – edible flowers.

The consensus was that we’d had a very tasty feed! We’d absolutely visit Harvest Espresso again.IMG_7253

 

West End Deli – Leederville

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West End Deli on Urbanspoon

I’ll whinge about being married to a chef sometimes. I’ll have my own little pity party about never getting to see him, as he works such awful, unsociable hours. A silver lining to this is that Chef and I do have a weekday off together. We go out for a coffee and lunch, just the two of us, whilst Little Chef is at school. Just for a few hours we can forget the worries of the world and wether our son is eating his vegetables and sitting nicely.

I’d love to say that Chef and I have frequented West End Deli for years. It’s the kind of place that makes me wish we lived in Perth’s inner suburbs. However, this is our very first visit to the popular dining spot.IMG_6903

West End Deli, on the corner of a quiet suburban Leederville street, has a rich food history. It has been home to a butchers, general store, café and Greek deli in the last 80 years. Chef-Owner Justin Peters, formerly Head Chef at Duende and Il lido, opened West End Deli in 2008 with his wife Christine.IMG_6907

We’re greeted with a smile and seated at a table by the window. Luckily for us, a few tables are saved for walk-ins. Today we are feeling spontaneous (or really rather unorganised) and hadn’t booked. I would definitely recommended booking, it’s a busy place. The surroundings are eclectic, with a rustic vibe. A light fitting made of chairs looks cool, as does a very distressed looking feature wall, with the paint almost peeling off.IMG_6912

The service is friendly and knowledgeable. I take the waitresses’ recommendation and order the ribs. I have the strawberry and watermelon “juice of the day” which is sweet and refreshing. It’s a bustling place and we nibble on some olives and a freshly baked baguette whilst waiting for our mains to arrive.IMG_6909

I rate the scrumptious spiced lamb ribs ($24) amongst the best I’ve ever had. Though there is something so very satisfying about diving into a plate of ribs with your bare hands and getting covered in sticky sauce – this rib meat is so tender, it falls off the bone with barely a touch of my fork. That’s a much more ladylike way to eat anyway! The lamb is positively mouth-watering. The meat is so full of flavour. Each and every mouthful a fragrant hit of cumin and star anise. I enjoy the paper thin zucchini, radish and mint salad, which is a medley of sweet and peppery flavours. A chimchurri sauce is on the side.IMG_6919

I overhear the man on the next table having some food envy and eyeing off my delish dish – he orders the ribs too.

As Chef eats his pork sandwich, he is quiet. Almost unnaturally so. I start to worry. Does he like his lunch? It takes until almost the last morsel of his open sandwich has been consumed for him to say “that was the absolute best pork sandwich I’ve ever had!” I’ve been holding my breath in anticipation. I exhale a big sigh of relief. I’ve enjoyed my lunch so much, I’d want it to be a unanimous decision that West End Deli gets the big thumbs up.

I gingerly ask for a bite. He doesn’t want to part with a single crumb. For “tasting purposes” Chef begrudgingly lets me share in the pork-fest. I have to agree with him, it is a superb sarnie. The pork is cured in sugar, then cooked sous vide for 14 hours, resulting in a moist and tender piece of meat. It is topped with a sweet pear, caraway and fennel relish which has a kick of ginger. That all sits upon a bed of greens, atop a toasted baguette ($23).IMG_6915

Bearing in mind that Chef is a little old school, not really a hipster type, West End Deli really resonates with him. He can see the excellent technique in the cooking of the dishes. It’s not your typical suburban café by any means, more of a neighbourhood bistro, but yet it is still well priced and relaxed. Chef thinks the coffee is top notch too and grabs another “for the road”. IMG_6911

West End Deli is open breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef and I are both very keen to try their offerings for the other meals of the day, seeing that we relished their lunch menu so much. This was certainly the first visit of many.IMG_6923

At a glance

■ West End Deli

95 Carr Street

Leederville

Phone 9328 3605

■ Opening times

Breakfast & Lunch

Tues to Sun, 7am to 3pm

Dinner Wed to Sat from 6pm

■ Rating out of 10

food 8.5

service 9

ambience 8

value for money 8

■ style – Bistro

■ wine – BYO

■ Chef – Justin Peters

■ Owners – Christine and Justin Peters

■ feel – cool café by day,

sophisticated bistro by night

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost – brunch $7 – $28

Dinner – $23 entrée

$33 main / $18 dessert

■ all in all – delishious

food – cooked well with

great technique and seasonal

produce. Fab coffee too.