The Local Shack – Lakeside Joondalup

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Local Shack on Urbanspoon

The Local Shack is found in the CBD and at Scarborough Beach – last week it also opened at Lakeside Joondalup – which is has had its fair share of new food venues open lately and there’s still more to come! Chef and I popped there for breakfast and a coffee. The roast they use is a local blend, which we both enjoyed.IMG_9166

The interior of the Local Shack is decked out in corrugated iron and surfing murals. It certainly has a rustic beach shack feel and sitting there we didn’t even feel like we were in a shopping centre. Some tables have games like connect four, draughts and jenga which is a bit of good fun too.IMG_9174

From the all day breakfast menu I chose the smashed avocado ($13). Fresh avocado was spread onto sourdough, topped with crumbled goats cheese and a side of ploughman’s pickle. I added two eggs for an extra $3. Our friendly waiter told us that the eggs were sous vide (cooked in a water bath at about 63 degrees for a couple of hours). Great I thought, I love a sous vide egg – it is perfectly poached and runny. Unfortunately, the eggs didn’t quite live up to my expectations, as they came out pretty much cold. The rest of the dish was good, though I would have liked a bit more avocado too – actual chucks rather than a smear. The ploughmans pickle was tasty and gave the dish some punch. IMG_9172

Chef chose the “Benedict by Shack” ($15) with a side of bacon for an extra $4. Eggs benedict is Chef’s favourite breakfast staple and though this dish had elements he liked – sous vide eggs and fresh sourdough, he found the eggs too cold for his liking. He also wishes that the kitchen was more generous with the hollandaise sauce – not just zig-zagging it across the eggs.IMG_9169

All in all we like the vibe of the Local Shack. The service was friendly and informative. The food was generally good, but we’d have liked the portions to be more generous – without our sides we would have left a little hungry. The Local Shack has been open barley a week, so once the kitchen team have settled in, we’ll be back to sample their burgers and pizzas for sure!IMG_9177

The Standard – Bar, Kitchen & Garden Northbridge

View from Deck
The Standard on Urbanspoon

Perth has exploded with small bars and hip dining spots. I meet a friend, Renee, at one of the newest and most-buzzed about venues – The Standard Bar, Kitchen and Garden – in bustling Northbridge.

Arriving at The Standard, with its retro-industrial fit out, we are met with some surprisingly delicious smells. Freshly baked bread isn’t something I’d usually associate with a bar – but this is a bar with a reputation for exceptional food. We are warmly greeted by our waitress and request a table in the garden area. There are vibrant murals and greenery in what would otherwise be a concrete jungle.Interior

There’s a second bar outside – housed in a shipping container. We head upstairs to the top of the container and grab a sort-after table on the deck, for a stunning view of the city skyline. The Standard is sophisticated, yet relaxed. Polished, yet gritty.IMG_9077

There is a wide range of international wines on the drinks menu. I ask our waitress if they happen to have any preservative free wine. Without missing a beat, she suggests the Jamsheed “Le Blanc Plonk”, a Gewürztraminer / Riesling blend from South Australia. It is ordered by the bottle ($48), though she is happy to open it, just for a glass. It is a fruity drop and thankfully I don’t have the preservative-induced wine headache the next day.IMG_9061

The menu is mostly made up of dishes to share. With no item costing over $27 it is very well priced. In no time our food arrives. We smell our garlic clams ($19) before we set eyes on them. The fragrant clams are tender – poached in a sauce of cider, whole garlic cloves, cream and chives which is mopped up with the fresh sourdough we smelled earlier.Garlic Clams

A tasty fish burger, made from blue groper and fresh prawns ($21) is on a buttery brioche bun – the best type of burger bun in my opinion! There are sweet potato crisps and minty peas on the side.IMG_9065

The lamb belly is my favourite dish. It is a mouth-watering cut of meat, nicely fatty and so flavoursome. The accompanying sweet and sour eggplant salad is almost identical to the crisp eggplant salad ($18) we ordered. If we’d have realised that, we would have forgone the individual salad for another dish.IMG_9073

It’s quite a spread!Everything!

The sun sets and we enjoy a beautiful view of the city lights by night. The light is fading fast and I quickly order our desserts, so I can get a half decent shot of them! Oh the silly things we bloggers do! hahaIMG_9079

The delightful desserts are full of theatre. The rich dark chocolate ganache ($14) is paired with scrumptious toasted coconut fudge. It tastes just like a Bounty chocolate bar. A spiced rum is sprayed as a fine fragrant mist over the dessert, which gives a hint of rum with every bite.

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The panna cotta ($14), served in a stemless wine glass, is dotted with vanilla bean specks. It is topped with sweet and tangy red berries. Our waitress pours a strawberry liqueur over the berries, then the glass is topped up with house made lemonade from an old school soda siphon which creates a unique cocktail-dessert fusion.IMG_9083New Imagem

The Standard is an excellent place for a drink before catching a show at the nearby State Theatre Centre. A pre/post show menu is available. Head Chef Chase Webber has created a menu with innovative and exciting food. It is also deceptively simple, with a lot of technique involved. There is certainly nothing standard about The StandardIMG_9051

**First published in the Post newspaper**

At a glance

■ The Standard

28 Roe Street

Northbridge

Phone 9228 1331

■ Opening times

Mon – Thur 4pm – 12am

Fri & Sat     12pm – 12am

Sunday       12pm – 10pm

■ Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Modern Australian

■ wine – well thought out list,

with an international feel.

■ Chef – Chase Webber

■ Owner – John Parker

■ feel – sophisticated, yet relaxed

and unpretentious.

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost –

Plates – $4 – $27

Dessert – $12 – $14

■ all in all – well cooked food,

excellent drinks list knowledgeable

staff – a quirky hang out with

views to die for.

 

{Quick Bite} Jack and Jill – Kalamunda

IMG_9137Jack & Jill on Urbanspoon

As the nursery rhyme goes… Jack and Jill went up the hill and “up the hill” is where you’ll find this café – on the main street in Kalamunda.

We were up in the Perth Hills visiting family, as well as having a wander around the Kalamunda Farmers Market on this Sunday morning. After a wedding the night before at the stunning Core Cider House – Chef and I were both in need of coffee!IMG_9134

We were heading out to lunch, so we didn’t eat on this occasion, though the cafe’s booths and tables were brimming with people enjoying brunch.IMG_9136

A tray of cupcakes caught Little Chef’s Eye. The maple bacon cupcakes caught mine – shame I’d just had a fry-up at my parents house! Little Chef chose the Oreo topped cupcake – which he practically inhaled!IMG_9126

The coffee, local roast Crema coffee, was very good.IMG_9127

Kalamunda is fast becoming a mini mecca for coffee shop lovers – its great to see more independent places popping up now!IMG_9138

 

Driftwood Food Co – Mullaloo

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Driftwood Food Co on Urbanspoon

With new venues opening left right and centre – it’s nice to revisit an old haunt. Chef and I hadn’t been down to the Mullaloo Beach Hotel for quite some years. I had eaten here many many times before –  long before my days as a Perth food blogger. About eight years ago, not long after it opened, Chef worked there. We’d been asked along to a spur of the moment lunch, by The Pastry Chef (Chef’s little brother) one sunny Saturday. I suggested that we checked out the MBH, as I’d heard that the Panorama restaurant and it’s menu had recently had a big makeover.

It’s now named “Driftwood Food Co” – a rustic but modern coastal themed restaurant. It is refreshed and much more casual than it’s predecessor. It was a stunning day and I was glad to see the Pastry Chef and his lovely girlfriend K were already sitting out on the balcony. You can’t beat that view over the Indian Ocean.IMG_9210

There’s not table service, drinks and food are ordered at the bar. The menu consists of “share it” and “don’t share it” styles of food. Here’s some of what we ate…

I absolutely love the skewered chicken & Indonesian style peanut sauce ($17) from the “share it” menu. Head Chef Rob was handed this delicious satay recipe from a street food chef in Bali. I was hoping that would mean that the sauce was authentic-tasting and it most certainly was! It’s a great little share dish and there’s some also flatbread to mop up the remaining sauce – nice touch.IMG_9199

The tender 5 spiced squid ($16) was tasty and served with a garlic and chive aioli.IMG_9187

The Pastry Chef enjoyed his Fish Tacos ($14) on a flour tortilla, with tomato salsa, sour cream and jalapeños.IMG_9191

K had a wild mushroom linguine ($24). A selection of mushrooms, including enoki, was simply flavoured with white truffle oil, parmesan and fresh thyme.IMG_9189

The rack of lamb ($33) is also a winner – served with sautéed rocket, sundried tomato puree and a shiraz jus.IMG_9197

Little chef was also well catered for with pencils, colouring sheets and a decent kids menu.

We all enjoyed revisiting the MBH and enjoyed the vibe at the Driftwood Food Co. We arrived at 1pm and we were still there after 5 – we were seriously considering staying for dinner too! It is certainly a top spot for whiling away a few hours on a sunny afternoon.IMG_9218

Find out more at: http://www.driftwoodfoodco.com.au

Tropico – North Beach

IMG_8545 Tropico on Urbanspoon

Just a block from West Coast Highway, you’ll find the buzzing café Tropico – where it’s not unusual to have to wait for a table. Chef and I waited about 20 minutes on a Friday brunch, which we didn’t mind too much, since we’d expected it. The interior has a cool, coastal vibe about it. There’s a tall communal table, but we opted to sit in the corner, where it is a tad quieter. There is also an outdoor veranda with plenty of seating.IMG_8540 At Tropico they use the Will and Co roast – a coffee from Bondi. Chef thought his flat white was pretty darn good and I loved the ceramic cups it came in.IMG_8526

I love a juice and ordered the “punch love”. The cold press juice is a concoction of pineapple, granny smith apple, kale, lemon and ginger. It was a little too punch-y, there was far too much ginger in it, to the point my throat felt like it was burning!

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I chose the wood roasted mushrooms ($22). Two perfectly poached eggs sat upon a bowl of roasted mushrooms, which were tasty, but a tad watery for my liking. The Basil pesto gave the mushrooms some oomph and I relished mopping up the runny yolk with the fresh artisan sourdough.IMG_8537 Chef, feeling extremely hungry, chose the full breakfast ($24). He had two eggs “any way” – he chose fried sunny side up. He also had sausage, which was a touch dry, house made beans, tomato, bacon, mushrooms – plus a generous side of bacon and another $5 for a very tasty potato hash. It was an expensive brekkie and Chef didn’t enjoy every component – but all in all he liked it. IMG_8534 Whilst we didn’t exactly “go troppo” over Tropico, I think that was more about chance and my menu choices, since so many other people seem too love it so much. The service was friendly, they have top notch coffee and the food was mainly good. I’d definitely go back – it’s great to see quality cafes coming to the northern suburbs.

Bravo’s – Vic Park

IMG_8975 Bravo's on Urbanspoon When I was fresh out of high school, my buddies and I would go out to dinner on the Vic Park café strip – usually at Bella Rosa, Christina’s, Sebastian’s or any other cheap n cheerful Italian restaurant we could find. In the 15 years since, I’ve graduated from that kind of Italian and without wanting to sound like a total food snob *cringe*  I do want more from my restaurants these days. For me, Bravo’s ticks all the boxes. An inviting, modern dining room. Friendly service – our waiter was a hoot and very helpful. And food that’s about QUALITY over quantity.

On this night, my old high school mates were getting together for a girls dinner – most of us enjoying a quiet night out away from our kids (and partners!). Bravo’s is a busy restaurant and hugely popular, so it has a very lively and loud atmosphere. Hearing someone at the other end of the table was difficult.

We decided to bypass filling entrées and go straight to mains…

IMG_8977Myl enjoyed a Pescatora Plate ($42.50). The whopping plate was brimming with tender salt and pepper calamari, grilled barramundi, sizzling garlic prawns, bread and a side salad. It was expensive, but Myl justified the extra cost, as she’s no longer drinking wine, since she has a baby on the way :) :)

IMG_8980I absolutely adored my pork belly dish ($38.50) The confit pork belly was so tender I hardly even needed a knife. The spinach was fresh and the mash potato wonderfully creamy. It was finished with a maple butter, apple and my favourite – perfectly crispy crackling! Fab dish.

IMG_8984Ren had the Fettuchine marinara ($29.50). She enjoyed the dish –  commenting there was a BIG kick of chilli and the napoletana sauce was really tasty. There could have been a bit more of the locally sourced seafood in the dish though.

IMG_8985Alysia had the BBQ pollo pizza ($25.50). It was topped with chicken, bacon, mushroom, red onion, mozzarella and  bbq sauce and smelled very tasty!

Sure some of the dishes might be on the pricy side, but when it’s good food, I don’t begrudge paying a little extra. I think there’s enough range on the menu to cover all budgets. The general consensus was that we all enjoyed our first trip to Bravo’s and that another girls dinner is on the cards soon.

*Bravo’s is also in the 2014/15 entertainment book*

Stones and Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland

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Pic Credit: Amanda Killen

Chef and I are both a little obsessed with the TV show Game of Thrones. A few episodes into season one, I was totally hooked. The strong plot line of treachery and scandal and interwoven characters gets better and better with each episode.IMG_3279

When we discovered that 75% of the medieval fantasy series is filmed in Northern Ireland, where we planning to stop on our holiday last year, we HAD to pay a visit to some of the filming locations. For centuries giants and dragons have been part of Northern Irish legend, so it’s very fitting that much of the show is filmed there. The beautiful landscapes of Northern Ireland are ideal for the barren and unforgiving lands of Northern Westeros. The perfect place to crack out my “You know nothing Jon Snow” impression!IMG_3271 We happened to be visiting the world heritage site, The Giants Causeway – a couple of the locations are very close to that area. The unique volcanic rock formation was every bit as stunning as we thought it would be. Though the Giant’s Causeway itself isn’t used in Game of Thrones, the ocean and area around it has been used for shots of The Stormlands. The Glens of Antrim and their isolated rugged landscapes have been used as parts of the Dothraki Sea.20140712_121349 Dragonstone – Downhill Beach

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Pic © 2015 Caught on Set

Standing on a cliff top above Downhill Beach is the Mussenden Temple in County Londonderry. This location was used to film the scene in season two when Stannis and Melisandre were burning the old gods on the beach in “Dragonstone”. It’s a dramatic setting and lovely beach too, though the water is a bit chilly!IMG_3186 Iron Islands – Ballintoy Harbour We drove on, past a town called Castlerock – inspiration for Castery Rock perhaps? The picturesque Ballintoy Harbour is where Theon Greyjoy returned to his true home – the Iron Islands. He also met his sister Yara here in “Pyke”.IMG_3297

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© [2014] Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc

We stopped for a bite to eat in a quaint little café right on the harbour wall. We enjoyed an authentic Irish stew made with mutton, potatoes, carrot and onion with champ (mash with spring onion) on the side.IMG_3319

Stormlands – Carrick-a-Rede

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© [2014] Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc

Our next destination was Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. It’s an iconic crossing, not for the faint hearted – that connects the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island. It’s not used in Game of Thrones, though the magnificent headland has provided a backdrop for many scenes.IMG_3347 It was pretty amazing to see “Westeros” in person. The drive along the Northern Irish coast is considered one of the best in the world and I’d have to agree. We zipped around the country roads in our Audi hire car and had a wonderful drive back to Belfast, which took about an hour. In Belfast, we passed the Titanic Studios, where the interior set scenes are filmed. It was a hive of activity as filming of season five has just started (July 2014).IMG_3363 IMG_3361Northern Ireland is a country of many facets and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the stunning building that houses the titanic museum. Game of Thrones is bringing a new generation of tourists to Northern Ireland. There are guided GoT coach tours and even an archery experience. We were wondering what to do with ourselves till the next season airs in 2015, we were happy that our holiday to Northern Ireland helped to fill the void! Find out more at; http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones/