Sapore Espresso Bar – Belmont

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Sapore Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon
It’s not very often I escape the confines of my busy workplace – an office in the middle of an industrial estate. It is a foodie’s worst nightmare! One lunchtime recently I was craving some tasty, healthy food – something the greasy lunch bar on the corner has no concept of. So I drove five minutes down the road and came across Sapore, which opened this year. It’s just outside Belmont Forum shopping centre.New Image

The hip espresso bar has the kind of vibe that a café in Leederville or Mount Lawley would have. I love the vintage / rustic look. There’s not really anything else like it in the area – Belmont really needed a quality coffee hangout like this.

I popped in for a take away lunch and latte. I instantly wished I had more time on my hands to stay awhile and look over the menu. Sapore has excellent coffee – Fiori from the Swan Valley. The fridge cabinet brimming with fresh, home-style food.7

The arancini rice ball is cheesy and delicious, with a crispy outer shell of deep fried breadcrumbs. The salad – beans, fetta, olive and roasted pumpkin fits my “healthy” needs perfectly. I got change out of a $10 note too, which was a plus!3

Sapore is a very welcome addition to Belmont, if I lived in the area it would be a fab local. The staff are really friendly too.  I’m looking forward to a return visit so I can really check out the lunch menu. I hear they also do a good breakfast.

Savour, flavour, taste… That is the translation of the Italian word “Sapore”. And what a tasty little Espresso Bar it is!9

Sushi Wawa – Innaloo

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Sushi Wawa on Urbanspoon 

After a mid-morning trip to Ikea – Chef and I decide to skip the meatballs and head to the newly opened Sushi Wawa, right next door. As we enter, we are greeted by a cheerful and lively “Irasshaimase”, by many of the staff, which is a traditional Japanese welcome. IMG_2228

The restaurant is so well branded you could be excused for thinking you’d walked into a nation-wide restaurant chain. Sushi Wawa is not a chain – in fact it is even named in honour of WA! It’s decked out in its signature bold orange and images of “Bob” their cartoon sumo wrestler. The feel of the restaurant is fresh and funky – which is exactly what Sushi Wawa aims to be. 1

The rectangular open kitchen is slap-bang in the middle of the light and bustling restaurant. The train moves around it. We watch the chefs busily making the 110 varieties of sushi, sashimi, and hot and cold dishes available on the menu. The Sushi Wawa kitchen team is run by Head Chef Hiroaki Fujioka, an accomplished Japanese Chef, formerly of Nobu Perth.IMG_2223

 The sushi train is an impressive 62 meters long – thought to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. We sit in a cosy booth. The sushi train runs past the end of the table. Neither of us have experienced a proper sushi train before and we are a little mesmerised. We sip some warm Miso Soup ($3), while we watch sushi and other Japanese treats pass by our table. New Image2

Chef and I start lunch buy trying a few plates, fresh off the train. We don’t recognise a lot of the dishes, so we begin with a “safe” option – a sushi roll filled with Chicken Katsu ($4.20). We agree they’re very crisp and tasty. We quickly reach for plate two.

The Soft Shell Crab sushi roll ($5.60) is totally lush. I’m a big fan of soft shell crab. This sushi felt decadent, the rice covered in salmon roe which shone like tiny jewels. IMG_2203

One of Sushi Wawa’s original creations, The COB ($4.90) is a sushi roll filled with cream cheese, onion and beetroot. The homage to Australia’s love of beetroot is a random combination. I think it really works and the COB becomes a fast favourite of mine. I grab another plate! IMG_2189

Then we start getting really adventurous, trying the Takoyaki ($4.20). On the plate are 4 little deep fried balls, filled with octopus, pickled ginger and spring onion. We weren’t too keen on those, the diced octopus was a little chewy.New Image3

IMG_2220After we’d amassed a pile of colourful plates, we decide to try something a little more substantial. Chef chooses the Wagyu Beef Don ($20) He tucks into his bowl of wagu and rice – for the price he thinks it’s very good value. IMG_2202

I have my old favourite – Salmon Teriyaki, salad and rice ($22). The main meals are very fresh and tasty. IMG_2216

Sushi Wawa is family friendly, as long as your children like Japanese food. There is a kid’s zone, with a TV and play area. It is also open for dinner and offers BYO – I think a nice bottle of SSB would go down a treat with some fresh sushi next time we visit! New Image4

UK Road Trip – The Lake District, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Causeway Coast)

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Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – Northern Ireland

At the very beginning of our 5 week trip, we decided that since we had very limited time and a to-do list as long as your arm, we had to make every day count. We crammed as much as we could into a five day road and air trip over four countries. Visiting many interesting and delicious places along the way – including servos with Krispy Kreme machines – dangerous!20140708_114110
We started from our base in Sheffield, England, We drove our hire car (the “Chelsea Tractor” Land Rover) up the A1 and west through the Yorkshire Dales to our first stop. The Yorkshire Dales are stunning – lots of hills and valleys covered with farmland – made famous round the world by TV series such as James Herriot, Heartbeat and even Postman Pat!IMG_2743

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Bike on Hillside – Hawes, Yorkshire Dales

Chef was super excited, as just two days before, the Tour de France had passed through the dales. It was a real thrill for him to be driving the route of Stage One. The bunting was still out in the villages and there was a festive atmosphere in the market towns. We even spotted a huge bike on the side of a mountain!
A few hours later we came to the first destination – The Lake District. This is a very popular holiday spot in England’s North West, as it’s filled with beautiful scenery, lots of culture and so many things to do. To Chef’s delight, I’d booked our two night stay in a country pub. It was in the village of Hawkshead. Somewhere I’d holidayed as a child many times. All roads in and out are very narrow, so there were some very hairy moments when we met busses and trucks coming the other way, nearly ending up in a hedge full of brambles.

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Peter?! Hill Top Farm

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Hill Top Farm

Beatrix Potter, the author of Peter Rabbit and many other beloved children’s tales, lived in the Lake District. The National Trust has preserved her house, Hilltop Farm, which we visited. Before entering the house, to the delight of our son, we saw bunnies hopping in a meadow. He was calling “Peter” out to them, to see which one looked – so cute! One of the guides in the house took Little Chef to one side and read him parts of the book “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers”. It quickly transformed what was just a dark old house to a very magical place to him. She showed Little Chef the chimney place where Tom Kitten got stuck and the rat hole where Samuel Whiskers lived. His eyes were wide with wonder – oh to be five years old again!!

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Wray Castle

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World Of Beatrix Potter

We also visited Wray Castle, Windermere, The World of Beatrix Potter and Grizedale Forrest – where we went on a Gruffalo hunt.
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Our Accommodation – The Quaint “Queens Head” gastro pub. Hawkshead, Lake District

Back at our pub, the Queens Head, we had some fabulous food. The 17th century inn is regarded as the best in the village by many of the locals (there are 4 pubs in Hawkshead). We had some excellent breakfasts and dinners at the gastro pub. The dining room had a cosy feel – with low ceilings and wooden beams, it was brimming with character.

IMG_2830The pick of the bunch was a slow-cooked lakeland pork belly dish, with creamed mash, roasted root, pickle jus (£15.95) that Chef really enjoyed and Little Chef loved the local specialty of sticky toffee pudding (£6.50). Our room and en suite were lovely too and we thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Queens Head.IMG_2833

We drove up to Scotland the next morning and after a couple hours, we found ourselves at the venue of the Commonwealth Game’s opening ceremony – Celtic Park. We then took a trip through the cosmopolitan city of Glasgow and to the gorgeous old Central Train station.

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Magnus the Viking – Largs, Scotland

We took a short train ride to the lovely holiday town of Largs – on the west coast. We were there to catch up with Chef’s Aunty C and Uncle W. We were made very welcome and had a lovely time with Aunty and Uncle. They treated Little Chef to fairground rides and numerous ice creams! We even met a giant Viking called Magnus – Largs has a rich Viking history.

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We all had a lovely dinner together at the appropriately named “Scotts” – at the Largs harbour. We sat in a booth in the stylish restaurant. Scotts overlooks the Firth of Clyde and as Chef noticed – some VERY expensive boats! Our pick of the dishes were an entrée of pan friend king scallops and pork belly was a well-cooked dish (£7.45). It came with pomegranates and cauliflower puree. 20140710_182136

For main, I REALLY should have tried the Scottish delicacy of “Haggis with Neeps and Tatties” (Turnips and potatoes), but I totally chickened out. I regretted it a bit, but after eating out for four days solid, all I really wanted was something light, healthy and fresh. The Asian sirloin salad with a hot and sour dressing (£12.95) fitted the bill nicely.20140710_184214On the penultimate day we flew from Glasgow to Belfast. The fight took a whole 25 minutes! Once in Belfast we picked up our slick Audi hire car and Chef drove us west through the Northern Irish country side.

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Giants Causeway – Northern Ireland

The roads were some of the bumpiest we’d encountered so far, we felt like we were on an hour long rollercoaster! Soon enough we crossed the border into the Republic of Ireland. We stayed in a lovely town, full of little shops and bars. Chef isn’t usually a Guinness drinker, but he agrees that it somehow tastes much different in Ireland, so he had a couple of pints of the black stuff.
IMG_3207After a nights rest, in our County Donegal Hotel, we drove back to Belfast. This time taking a route through Derry/Londonderry and along the magnificent Northern Irish coastline. We stopped at the world heritage site, the Giants Causeway along the way. The unique volcanic rock formation was every bit as stunning as we thought it would be.

 

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Irish Stew at Ballintoy Harbour – Northern Ireland

We also stopped at a few filming locations for our favourite TV show – Game of Thrones (which I’ll cover in a future post). We carried on through small fishing villages, pausing for a traditional Irish Stew (lamb/mutton, with potatoes, carrot and onion) and champ (mash with spring onion) lunch.

IMG_3365Eventually we ended up back in Belfast. I loved the stunning building that houses the titanic museum. In stark contrast to this, we also found ourselves in East Belfast – which I found very interesting, not having any Irish heritage of my own. The ends of the terrace houses were covered in murals, depicting images from the past conflict in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a country of many facets – through it was a flying visit, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Home before the postcards!

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Hello – We’re back :)  (and home before the postcards!)

 
I hope you’re all well. I feel like it’s been an age since I sat down and wrote a blog post!  We’ve been back from our hols for a few days. Now I’ve unpacked and got through the mountain of washing – it’s time to get back to blogging!

 
I had set out to post a weekly roundup of our holiday, but we were so much busier than expected. I’d forgotten how great it is to have light summer nights till 10pm, so we were literally “on the go” the whole time (and hanging out in many beer gardens!). IMG_4034
I managed to find a Wi-Fi spot a few times in the UK, but in all honesty I relished being “off the grid”. I simply enjoyed being offline and in the moment with Chef and Little Chef. As the partner of a  hospitality worker, quality family time is something incredibly rare and very special. To have had five weeks together was wonderful.

 
I have lots of adventures from our trip to share over the next month or two. I took a whopping 4000 photos, so it’s taking me quite some time to cull these down and pick the best – but it’s something to do whilst I get over this horrendous jet lag!

 

Many more Perth food recommendations coming soon too.

 

A xx

Tour de France 2014 – Grand Depart

IMG_2496I’ve sat through many years of the Tour De France on TV. Chef gets really into it, almost to the point of sitting on the sofa with his bike helmet on. And so, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that our trip to the UK just happened to be at the same time the Tour De France was in England this year. Admittedly, I was looking forward to see it live and in person. IMG_2490

The people of Yorkshire were out in force to watch the Grand Depart. Stage Two of the tour de France peddled its way from Harrogate, through the beautiful countryside of the Pennine hills to the finish line in the city of Sheffield. IMG_2482

After a 5 mile walk from the car park on the outskirts of Sheffield, Chef found a good spot to watch the cyclists make their way through the village of High Bradfield. There was a carnival atmosphere – yellow bikes and bunting everywhere. Before the competitors came through, there was a parade too.IMG_2552

On stage two there were some challenging category graded climbs. It’s crazy to see how fast these riders go – it’s so much faster than it looks on television. The pure speed of the cyclists going down a hill is amazing. Chef got a good spot – watching the riders coming into the village on a downhill bend and then after they’d whizzed by, a steep uphill climb.

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The stats for the cote de Bradfield;IMG_2515

10470607_761693573882128_3552737804984825264_nThe Le tour Yorkshire was a massive success, with a fantastic turnout. There’s now talk of it becoming a yearly event, as Yorkshire is considered a hub for road riders in the UK.

 

Back in Blighty at last!!

IMG_2434Just shy of a decade away from the UK (9 years and 10 months), we arrived at Birmingham International Airport, for a holiday in England. Driving to my cousins Derbyshire home, I marvelled at the fact it was almost 9pm and still broad daylight!! I love long summer nights in the UK and we will be able to get so much more out of our holiday with more daylight hours. Driving though the Midlands, I also couldn’t believe how brilliantly green and lush everything was.

IMG_2407I view myself as a bit of a Pom. I was born in Perth, Western Australia – but with English parents we would yo-yo back and forth to Blighty a few times through my childhood. I have lived in Yorkshire four times in my life – a few years here and there adding up to about 10 years.

When Chef and I had been seeing each other for a couple of years, we did an 18 month working holiday over in England too. Chef loved it and I loved showing him my family and friends from my “other life”.

IMG_3275We’ve reminisced for years about returning and we have finally made it. This time we’re sharing our other life with Little Chef and he is loving every moment of his first overseas trip.

I have a pommie to-do list as long as my arm. Places to visit, food to eat… My Mum has warned me that I will return to Perth 10kgs heavier after too many fish and chip suppers!! Join us on our trip around the UK, we’re visiting many places for lots of fun and food! IMG_2326

Straits Cafe – Rendezvous Hotel Scarborough

IMG_2260Rendezvous Scarborough and Chef go way back. Back when he was a 4th year apprentice – probably about 2002, he was “Executive Chef” for one night in the Rendezvous kitchen – leading a brigade of HGT apprentice chefs to cook a banquet feast at the HGT annual ball. That year the ball was held at Rendezvous (or “Ob City”). We stayed the night, and had a swim in the rooftop pool. It was nice, but starting to look a bit tired.

Fast forward 12 years and Rendezvous is all shiny and new. Its muti-million dollar refurb over the past couple of years has injected new life into the 1980s hotel. Scarborough as a whole is enjoying a resurgence, with a new café or bar opening every other week and the City of Stirling starting a much needed upgrade to the beachfront in a matter of weeks. In another year or two Scarborough should be back to it’s bustling heyday.

3I was kindly invited to the winter menu launch at the Straits Cafe. I’d been to Rendezvous for my work Christmas party last year and was keen to see more of the impressive make over. We met in one of the stunning 25th floor suites for canapés, oysters and espresso martinis. The view, by night, from the top floor was stunning.

We then headed back down to Straits Café (formerly The Pines). It has a contemporary feel with floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the Indian Ocean. It would be a stunning venue for a sunset dinner. We met a fellow Perth blogger Kristy – the “Queen of Bad timing”. It was great to finally meet her and have a natter about food with her and her partner Jeremy. You should check out her wonderful blog at http://www.queenofbadtiming.com

IMG_2265We had some moreish Truffle Popcorn to nibble on whilst we looked over the menu. Executive Chef, Wendelin Ulrich (formerly of PCEC) welcomed us and explained that the winter menu was made up of simple comfort food, with earthy flavours.

For entrée we had;

IMG_2268Chorizo croquettes ($16) with a spiced cauliflower puree and crispy sweet potato Chef thought these were flavoursome – the smokiness of the chorizo enhanced the flavour of the cauliflower.

1Twice cooked free range pork belly ($23) seared scallops, honey & cinnamon infused pumpkin (gf) The pork was cooked perfectly and I just love the combination of belly and scallop. The honey and cinnamon pumpkin was a wonderful warming flavour – perfect for a winter menu.

2Roast duck breast ($39) grilled asparagus, pangrattato, kipfler, shallot and agrumes dressing The duck was succulent and I loved the batons of kipfler.

IMG_2284Oven roasted lamb rump ($37) served with soufflé potato, seasonal baby vegetables & jus Chef enjoyed this meaty dish. The lamb was very juicy.

After our lovely dinner, feeling rather full, we went to the lobby bar for some srumtious mini desserts and nightcaps.

IMG_2299los acones origin dark chocolate fondant ($15) vanilla bean ice cream & coffee sauce

IMG_2298mandarin & coconut mascarpone cream ($16) meringue, candied orange & citrus gel (g/f)

The Rendezvous is an absolute knock out. Hardly recognisable from a few years ago. It would be great to treat yourself to a date night or overnight stay.

Chef and I would like to thank Natasha, Wendelin, Matthew and their teams for a wonderful night.

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