The Shipping Lane – North Fremantle

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The Shipping Lane on Urbanspoon

Chef and I got the hot tip about a brand new restaurant that opened in North Fremantle recently. The Shipping Lane is named after its spectacular view across Gage Roads. On this clear sunny day we could see many ships sailing the lanes on the Indian Ocean.IMG_7638

On the surface The Shipping Lane looks like your everyday coastal café. If you venture inside, you will find out that it is much more than that. In addition to the regular kitchen, there is also a “raw” sushi kitchen, out of which some amazing sushi and sashimi creations are made. You can sit to the sushi kitchen bar and watch your meal being made by the chefs.

The interior is light and bright with a seaside vibe and a big nod to its location near to the Fremantle docks. There are murals of the port inside and a big shipping container feature on another wall. There are lots of seating options, high tables, dining tables and some comfortable lounges – you can also dine alfresco, overlooking the stunning sandy dunes of Leighton Beach.IMG_7674

On this day we are lunching. The brunch menu runs from 8am to 3pm daily. The cheery waiter seats us by the window, swiftly delivering us water and menus. The brunch menu is full of mainly breakfast style dishes, with a couple of burgers and buns thrown in for good measure. I order from the sushi menu.

We order some drinks. The Shipping Lane is currently “sailing without a liquor licence” so BYO is encouraged. I start with a Rainbow Juice served in a jar – a tasty and healthy concoction of beetroot, apple and ginger. Chef sips on his hot coffee. They roast their own coffee at The Shipping Lane. The Juniper blend is used, which makes for a rich and well flavoured coffee. If you’re in a rush, you can also grab a takeaway coffee and bagel from the Shipping Lane’s providore. The providore sells many other food staples and the daily newspaper – handy for the residents living in the apartments above. GetAttachment1

The succulent Wagu burger ($23) tickles chef’s tastebuds. It is jam packed with bacon, affumicata, onion jam, salad greens and tomato. In a mini frying basket are crisp hand cut cups with a side of aioli. The burger bursts with delicious flavours, from the smokiness of the affumicata cheese, to the tangy house made BBQ sauce.IMG_7656

An unexpected crackling noise is coming from my Salmon Aburi ($15) as the waiter brings it to our table. My dish is not only topped with black fish roe – it is also garnished with popping candy! The torched salmon belly is absolutely sensational. The fish is marinated with delicious teriyaki flavours and sits atop a small mound of rice. The different textures, including the popping, work really well together. I love the dish. I could have easily eaten another plateful. IMG_7648

There’s some fantastic Asian fusion coming out of the kitchen. It comes as no surprise that Head Chef Luke Lee has also worked at Nobu. The sushi “spider rolls” ($23) are stuffed with soft shell crab, julienned apple, cucumber and lettuce. The plating of the eight rolls is funky – garnished with some vibrant edible flowers. The dish tastes as fresh as it looks. The finely sliced apple compliments the seafood flavours well.IMG_7664

I’ve encountered a few questioning looks when taking food photos with my big camera lens. A new one on me was our waiter jumping into the frame to photobomb my sushi photo! Our waiter was charming and was full of friendly banter. The service at the Shipping Lane was excellent.IMG_7675

There’s not many places in Perth where you can get top notch sushi without being at a Japanese restaurant. At The Shipping Lane, you get the best of both worlds, a modern Australian menu, coupled with some mouth-watering Japanese delights.IMG_7677

At a glance

■ The Shipping Lane

4/1 Freeman Loop

North Fremantle

Phone 9468 7362

■ Opening times

7 days – 7am till late

■ Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Australian & Japanese

■ wine – BYO

■ Chef – Luke Lee

■ Owners – various

■ feel – coastal chic

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost – brunch $9 – $27

sushi $15 – $23

dinner – $31 – $37

■ all in all – a cool new

coastal venue. Excellent

Japanese dishes.

Great service.

**First Published in the Post Newspaper**

Flinderz – Hillarys

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If you’re wondering where Flinderz is, it’s right in the heart of ocean side suburb Hillarys. The casual restaurant has been open less than a year and it’s still shiny and new. By day it’s a chilled spot for brunch and lunch. By night, it’s time for something a bit special – especially on oysters and bubbles night (Thurs).

I like to be as transparent as possible to my loyal foodies – so I’m going to say straight up – Flinderz is where Chef is working! He loved being Exec Sous at Joondalup Resort with all his heart, but he was more than ready to finally (officially) take on his own kitchen after many years of being ”number two”.  He is super excited about his new role.

For now, I’ll give you a teaser of a delectable chocolate mousse with salted caramel that Chef has put on the new dessert menu. A new brunch menu is coming in a couple of weeks and a new dinner menu soon after. Give him a couple of weeks to settle in and pop Flinderz on YOUR “to eat at” list! :)

“Heston Magic” at The Hinds Head, Bray

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The Fat Duck, Bray

If you ask our five year old who Heston is – he’ll tell you all about him. Little Chef knows that he makes bacon and egg ice-cream and he made a giant lunchbox full of fantastical treats at Legoland. He may even tell you that Mr Blumenthal is his favourite chef –if daddy isn’t within earshot! Since our holiday to England in August, Little Chef lights up every time he sees Heston on TV and tells anyone who’ll listen he’s eaten at Heston’s restaurant – where he got to taste some “Heston Magic”… IMG_6009a Chef and I first heard of Heston Blumenthal in about 2004, when we lived in the UK. It was before he got really popular – but he was making big waves in the culinary world with molecular gastronomy. It had been on our bucket list to eat at the Fat Duck, in Bray, but with Little Chef in tow that wasn’t really going to work – so we opted to go for Heston’s more family friendly gastro pub next door, The Hinds Head. We were also dining with my lovely cousin H and her family.IMG_6015 The Michelin starred Hinds Head is a historical 15th century pub. Think low beams and wood everywhere! It felt like a proper village local. You can even pop in for a pint and bar snack – Scotch egg anyone?IMG_6020 We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were surprised at just how welcome and at ease the staff made us feel. We’ve dined at many Michelin starred restaurants and most of them you get quite stuffy and sometimes even snooty silver service from the wait staff. The waitresses and waiters at the Hinds Head were very professional – but in a warm way.IMG_6025 One waitress in particular kept up a hilarious banter with the kids, which was just lovely and made us all relax. She whisked the boys away for a few moments to let them poke their heads around the kitchen door and see the chef’s cooking their dinner. We thought that was a wonderful idea, sitting in a lovely restaurant sometimes it’s easy to forget there are many people busily cooking to create a wonderful meal for you! The boys were also kept entertained with pencils and an activity sheet that turned into a chef’s hat! You’ll notice from the food pictures that the dishes look very simple. It can be a bit misleading, especially when you’d probably expect something with all the bells and whistles on coming from one of Heston’s kitchens. It is a much different style to the Fat Duck. The produce used is still of an exceptional quality. The classic British food at the Hinds Head is done exceedingly well. For “starter” Chef loved the fresh raw highland estate venison, with a carro and horseradish puree and shallot dressing (£10.50)IMG_6028 - Copy I chose the Smoked Guinea Fowl and Foie Gras Terrine (£9.95). The silky terrine was absolutely mouth-watering and complimented with a side of apple chutney. Loved it!IMG_6032 - Copy Cousin H had beetroot and goat curd with cider poached pear and pumpkin seeds (£8.75). The plating of this dish was beautiful and she really enjoyed it.IMG_6029 - Copy Chef, ever the carnivore, chose the Hereford prime rib eye, (£33.95) for his main. It was the most expensive item on the menu, but Chef absolutely raved about the very tasty piece of meat – worth every penny. He drizzled the bone marrow sauce over it and soaked up all the meaty-ness with a side of French fries.IMG_6037 - Copy There’s not much in life I love more than a slow cooked egg! When our waitress brought out my empty plate she said ”there’s your dinner” with a wink. Shortly afterwards, my wild mushroom macaroni (£17.95) followed, the extra plate was to spoon my macaroni onto. The hen’s egg was deliciously runny and I really relished the earthy and cheesy flavours. Delish!IMG_6035 - Copy Banana and custard quaking Pudding (£7.95). We’re avid Heston watchers and we know he loves his historical food. Chef jumped at the chance to try the quaking pudding and he wasn’t disappointed!IMG_6041 - Copy It was the perfect end to my brilliant meal – I had a Cherry Bakewell with yoghurt Ice cream (£7.95). The Bakewell was spot on. The yogurt ice-cream was quite different and worked really well with the nutty flavours.IMG_6047 Little Chef had a bowl of ice cream and the waitress sprinkled some “Heston’s Magic” over it – which is actually chocolate popping candy! His little face was priceless!IMG_6045a - Copy It was an incredibly special experience to dine as a family at the Hinds Head and one that we’ll never forget. We even got our menu signed by the talented kitchen team. The food was superb, in an understated British way – we thought it was really well priced too. The service was absolutely wonderful – easily the best we’ve ever had, by a Berkshire country mile. We all certainly experienced a bit of Heston Magic and hopefully it wasn’t the last time! Outstanding. ** Heston Blumenthal is appearing at this weekend’s Gourmet Escape in Margaret River, Western Australia**

Hainault Vineyard and Cafe

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My regular readers will know that I adore the Perth Hills – I was born there and spent much of my life in the Kalamunda area. I’m slowly working my way around the many boutique venues in the Bickley Valley Wine region – last weekend we visited Hainault Vineyard and Café with my parents.IMG_7791

Hainault is in the middle of the Bickley jarrah forests, near to the old Perth Observatory. It’s a small family run vineyard, which was established about 35 years ago. The staff are very friendly and welcoming – and the winery dogs are too!IMG_7757

The veranda and decking areas overlook the vineyards below – a stunning view. It would be easy to while away a few hours here over a bottle of wine.IMG_7759

I was driving, so I had a glass of the Carmel Juice Company’s Apple Juice. It is a clear juice, with just a hint of green and tasted so smooth. None of the acidic taste you get with supermarket bought juices. I loved it. The juice is locally produced, handcrafted just up the road, from the Giumelli’s orchards.IMG_7765 IMG_7788

The food available is a “home cooked” style – don’t expect 5* food – it is a tiny family run winery after all. On the menu you’ll find soup, tarts, salad, freshly baked cakes etc. As well as weekend lunches, the café is also open for morning and afternoon teas.

We shared the Vineyard Platter. It serves two people and is reasonably priced at $40 - I’ve paid $55 for something similar in the Swan Valley. It was absolutely brimming with food! Everything was really fresh and tasty.

* Cheeses – Wattle Valley Brie and Old Cheddar Cheese Company Cheddar

* Meats – free range coppa and prosciutto

* Antipasti – Thai style olives, sun-dried tomatoes, homemade olive tapenade and sundried tomato and cashew pate, salad and fresh fruit too. It was served with a warm Lawley’s Bakery Cape Seed Cob Loaf – which was really fresh and tasty too.IMG_7772

Mum and I shared a dessert. We really shouldn’t have, but it sounded so tempting! The Figs are soaked in Hainault Ruby Port, which has a fruity, jam flavour and is served with vanilla ice-cream ($8). It tastes as lush as it sounds!IMG_7783

At the cellar door you’ll find Rose, Merlot, Cabernet, Semillon, Sparkling Pinot Noir Brut, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer to taste. My mum loved the dessert so much, she treated herself to a bottle of the 2012 Ruby Cabernet ($24).IMG_7790

Hainault is a charming little winery and a must stop on a tour of the Bickley Valley vineyards.IMG_7797

Northbridge Brewing Co.

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Northbridge Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Though we didn’t stop for food – I thought I’d share the photos we took when we popped to the new Northbridge Brewing Company. The three level Brewery, Bar and Restaurant overlooks the green inner city space of Northbridge Piazza. IMG_7064

NBC has been seven years in the making and is a breath of fresh air to Northbridge, which is experiencing an exciting resurgence of new bars and restaurants. It has a modern industrial feel, with timber salvaged from the Perry Lakes Stadium giving the bar lots of character. IMG_7066

At the NBC, bespoke craft beers are brewed onsite by Master Brewer Ken Arrowsmith. On tap they have a Wheat Beer, Pale Ale, Larger and also a Mild coming soon. Chef tried the larger and thought it was a very well made pint – similar to a Stella Artois or Grolsch. IMG_7057

We sat outside, next to the piazza, there’s a very relaxed vibe about the place. We liked it a lot. I’m sure we’ll be back to check out the food – any excuse for another cheeky drink! NBC is open 7 days, 8am till late – as they’re also open for breakfast. IMG_7065

 

V Burger Bar – Floreat

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Chef and I don’t always crave extravagant food – sometimes something casual appeals to us even more. After a 12 hour shift in the kitchen, plating up sous vide meats, foams, jus and this and that – Chef especially wants food that is deliciously uncomplicated.

We found ourselves at V Burger in Floreat on a night when neither of us wanted to cook at home. It’s at Floreat Forum shopping centre – opposite “The Boulevard” pub. It overlooks a leafy courtyard, you can dine alfresco or inside.IMG_7618

The service was very warm and friendly. Watching the open kitchen it looked like everything was running like clockwork. To start, we nibble on panko crumbed mushrooms ($8), which were heavenly. The crumbed button mushrooms are served with a wickedly creamy blue cheese sauce. So scrumptious!IMG_7605

I chose my burger from the newly launched brioche menu. Though the bread is far from healthy (brioche contains sugar and lots of butter) for me, it makes the perfectly flavoured burger bun. The Piggy Back ($14.50) is packed full of off the bone pork ribs, homemade bbq sauce, jalapenos, coleslaw & onion rings. It’s not as tall as Chef’s monstrous burger, but there is still plenty of burger! I’ve had may a burger in my time and I’m going to go out on a limb to say this is my favourite of all! I’m a sucker for ribs and this was spot on. The slaw wasn’t an afterthought and was really crunchy, creamy and tasty – I’d happily eat that on it’s own.IMG_7614

Chef chose the Crispy Crisp burger ($12.50) In between the Turkish buns was a prime beef patty, a tower of crispy battered onion rings, mixed gourmet lettuce, tomato, aioli & relish. Chef also chose to add bacon, cheese and chorizo for an extra charge. It went down a treat and Chef was very impressed. He reckoned it was up there with the best burgers he’d eaten.IMG_7611

Little Chef wolfed down a Mini Fish & Chips ($9.50) A perfect kids sized portion of crumbed fish fillets, served with chips & tartare sauce. Outside V Burger there is a small playground, which would suit kids that are of a toddler age.IMG_7602

Salads are also available, for those people who are a bit more health conscious. There’s also Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for those who aren’t! We just couldn’t say no to some freshly baked chocolate brownies to finish off our dinner. Yummo!IMG_7616

Chef and I have long been big fans of Grilld burgers, we also like Jus and Missy Moos. This was our first trip to V Burger and we did agree that V Burger has raised the bar very high for us – I think we’ve found a new favourite!! Check it out – you’ll thank us for it. V Burger certainly puts the “EAT” into Floreat! It is also found in East Vic Park.

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BLK Espresso – Perth CBD

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Blk Espresso on Urbanspoon
BLK Espresso, a cool little coffee shop, opened recently in the city on the lower level of Carillon Arcade. We were drawn to it by the striking hand drawn mural and cool moving wall art – that tells the story of how coffee is made. IMG_7629

The friendly guys behind the counter – Andrew and Luke – have many years in hospitality between them. Chef ordered his usual – a double shot flat white and I had a chai latte. The coffee was excellent – a great way to start a morning of shopping. The roast the boys at BLK use is from Rubra Coffee. It’s specifically made for BLK and is a blend of coffee beans sourced from Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.IMG_7624

Food is available too at BLK Espresso – whether you fancy something for breakfast, lunch or a sweet treat. The bacon and egg sarnie on brioche looked delicious, as did the peanut butter choc brownies! IMG_7632Chef enjoyed his coffee, so ordered another to take away.IMG_7634

BLK is right next to the back entrance of Topshop, near to the Carillon food court. Topshop was my favourite place to shop when I was in my early twenties and living in the UK. It opened to a lot of fanfare last week on the Murray Street Mall and the new Zara, another favourite of mine – is right next door. IMG_7620

BLK is perfect for a pre shopping caffeine hit! I hear the iced latte is great too, so I’ll be sure to try that next time!IMG_7623