Yocal – Fremantle

IMG_1064Yocal on Urbanspoon
The strangest reason I’ve had for visiting a café has to be because it starts with the letter Y. Recently, I was on a mission to finish my A-Z of Perth and Yocal fitted the bill perfectly. I also love any reason to travel down to Fremantle, as I wish I visited south of the river more often. Chef and I are certainly not locals to Yocal, but it was worth the trip. We found the eclectic little cottage on Collie Street – just across from the cinemas.IMG_1071

We stepped through the little blue gate and into the café, which is full of up cycled furniture. I’d wanted to sit in the leafy little courtyard, but it was a very busy mid-week morning, so we found a spare table inside by the window.IMG_1056

We sat on mismatched stools at the tall bench, made of an old wrought iron bed and what appeared to be a fridge door with a sheet of glass on top. What a clever idea – it looked really cool. Sun poured in through the window as we enjoyed our pick me up drinks; a double shot flat white for Chef and a bright green juice for me. Chef has a “you don’t win friends with salad” approach to most things and he turned his nose up at my juice – a concoction of spinach, coconut water, chia seed and much more… I really enjoyed it and I felt like I was being uber healthy to boot.IMG_1059

Potato latke w spinach, roquette, pemberton smaoked trout, 2 poached eggs and hollandaise sauce $18IMG_1062

I really enjoyed the whole dish, from the flaked trout to the crispy latke – though I would have loved it if they were a bit more generous with the trout serving.

Billy’s Big Breakfast: Herbed mushrooms, grilled tomato, pork & fennel chippolatas, bacon, eggs (your way) and toast $20IMG_1061

Chef enjoyed it, but he thought that there needed some beans or relish on the plate, to add some moisture to the dish.IMG_1066

The bustling café is very Freo. The staff are cheerful and looked like they love working there. It’s a good spot for coffee, just off the beaten track from the busy cappuccino strip. If you live in the area, you most definitely should become a local at Yocal!IMG_1074

Bistro 38 – Joondalup Resort

IMG_1086Bistro 38 @ Joondalup Resort on Urbanspoon
If you’re not familiar with Joondalup Resort you may think that Bistro 38 is just for hotel guests and golfers. Not true! Absolutely anybody can dine there and enjoy its relaxing holiday vibe. I really love sitting by the pool on a sunny afternoon with some drinks and nibbles. Nothing quite beats a cocktail in a jar! I attended a bloggers menu tasting at Bistro 38 recently and the new menu is one of the very best I’ve experienced there over the past few years.IMG_1075

Erick, head chef of Bistro 38, has an impressive CV of hip Perth eateries. He used to work at Balthazar, Duende and Andaluz – some of the best tapas restaurants in Perth. He hails from El Salvador in South America. His menu is bursting with share plates. If you are eating there with friends I’d suggest that you share a few plates as an entrée, before you get stuck into the mains. There’s quite a choice, here’s what we tried…

Salt and Pepper Squid ($12) & Soft shell crab, wakame, wasabi mayo ($14)IMG_1088Chicken and duck liver pate, brioche, fig & fennel relish ($10)IMG_1095
Gorgonzola & manuka honey ($12)IMG_1090

My favourite was the soft shell crab. Oh my, it was SO delicious. Admittedly, I’d never actually had soft shell crab before, which I couldn’t quite believe. I had to pause a moment to check that the other people on our table were eating the WHOLE tempura battered crab, shell and all, which they were. Pheeww! The pate was also spot on. The gorgonzola pana cotta was something a bit different, which I enjoyed too.

Then we tried some of the dishes that feature on the mains menu…

Beef cheek cooked in red wine and tomato sugo, polenta ($32)IMG_1100
 
Lamb Cutlets, grilled witlof, radicchio, lemon ($35) & Ricotta gnocchi, wild mushrooms, chestnut and parmesan ($30)IMG_1097

Steak house fries ($10) – with extra, béarnaise sauce. Because you just HAVE to have chips in Béarnaise sauce!IMG_1102

The stand out for me was the gnocchi. It was a very tasty dish. The gnocchi was so soft and fresh, coupled with the earthiness of the mushrooms, made it absolutely delicious. It’s a shame I was starting to feel so full, as I wanted to eat so much more of it! The beef cheeks just melted and lamb was also well cooked.

Everyone around the table was struggling to find some tummy space. We all said we’d have a nibble of dessert, after one bite we would be well and truly full. Then we saw the tower of desserts – which featured tasters of items on the dessert menu. Usually I’m not too much of a sweets person, but these were scrumptious deserts, made by the resort’s pasty chef extraordinaire Charlie. I loved the choc raspberry parfait the best. Though the Mojito lime cake (with coconut panna cotta) and the rhubarb vanilla crème brulee, were also very nice. IMG_1103 IMG_1107

The “feature” cheese changes by the week. If the Jackson’s Track cheese is available when you go, you must try it! A whole wheel of the cheese is baked and is wonderfully goo-ey. That is served with crackers and roasted plums and pears. It was to die for.IMG_1109

Thanks to Executive Chef Phil, Head Chef Eric, Food & Beverage Manager Russel and Restaurant Manager (and fabulous cocktail maker) Bianca for a wonderful lunch. IMG_1101

 

Disclaimer – My husband is a chef at Joondalup Resort 

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me where Chef worked, I’d be a rich lady! Well I’ve actually mentioned before that he works at Joondalup Resort, but if you didn’t read that post last year, then you’d still be none the wiser. As my blog has evolved, I’ve become far more aware of the need for transparency than I initially was. I’m happy to tell you that Chef works at this lovely resort in Perth’s northern suburbs. If you’d like to take my praise of the resort and it’s poolside restaurant Bistro 38 with a pinch of salt, then that is totally up to you.

Please be aware that we got married at Joondalup Resort in 2006 – a full 4 years before Chef started working there. Also, we used to dine there before he was employed by the resort. If you still think I’m biased, just remember that 98% of the time I am blogging about other excellent places in Perth. I still stand by the fact that if I don’t like it, I don’t blog about it.

A – Z of Perth Dining (Part Two)

Merrywell – Crown Perth

This shrine to dude food is an excellent gastropub. The Mac n Cheese bites are more-ish. The chicken wing dish that has a creamy blue cheese dip is not good for the waistline either, but when it tastes that good who cares!!IMG_0603

Honourable mention to Mrs S in Maylands – a cute and quirky little café with excellent food. I loved the Man-which

Nobu – Crown Perth

Nobu is another excellent Crown Perth addition. We recently went here for the teppenyaki. We enjoyed our first Nobu experience and would love to return to try the al la carte menu too.

Ootong & Lincoln – South Freo

One of my all-time favourite brunch dishes is at this great café in South Freo. Squid Chorizo Salad with a side of herbed cornbread. Look out for the zebra mural by local artist Anya Brock – I absolutely love it!O

Print Hall – Perth CBD

One of our absolute favourite venues. We’ve been here too many times to mention. Whether you’re up on the roof having a cocktail at Bob’s Bar, sharing Asian street food at Apple Daily or enjoying something delicious from the Print Hall menu – it’s all excellent. We love sitting at the oyster bar having a chat with Jerry – his oysters are outstanding.DSC06821s

The Queens – Highgate

It’s always a good stop for a casual pre-dinner pint.

Rose and Crown – Guildford

This historic hotel has good pub food and it has to be my favourite leafy beer garden in Perth.

Suburban Table – Mosman Park

The venue for my first newspaper review will always be quite special. I thought the menu, though small, was perfectly formed and the food was ever so tasty.

Honourable mention to the Stables Bar (Perth CBD). It’s an excellent place for cocktails and nibbles with friends.SS

Typika – Claremont

A bustling café that has quickly established it’s self as a Claremont staple. It’s a top spot for brunching and lunching.

Honourable Mention to ToastFace Grillah (Perth CBD) – the gritty alleyway cheese toasty shop! Love it.IMG_1035

Urban orchard (Bar POP) – Northbridge

Whether it’s during the Fringe Festival or whatever, this summer pop up bar at Perth’s Cultural Centre has a view to die for and a great atmosphere.

Voyage Kitchen – Sorrento

We’ve been to Voyage Kitchen a few times and really enjoy it’d fresh beach-y atmosphere with food to match. It’s great for brekkie, lunch, dinner and a simple coffee and cake.

Wild Fig – Scarborough

This Scarborough café ticked all the boxes, including the “quirky” box. The décor features fake grass wallpaper and light features made from tins of food and tea cups!

Xarcuteria – Claremont

This Spanish Deli is run by celebrated WA chef David Coomer (of Star Anise and Pata Negra). We were there for a “Pork Belly Roll” ($12). We found a great picnic spot on the Cottesloe foreshore to devour them. That was one of those “life is good moments”.CYMERA_20130722_170810

Yocal – Fremantle

We visited this Fremantle Café just last week. It’s a great spot for brunch and a coffee. I loved the up-cycled décor. Stay tuned for the blog post!

Zambrero – Hillary’s, Joondalup, Scarborough etc

A casual Mexican takeaway sweeping Perth – Chef and I are a bit obsessed with their lamb burritos!

So there you go – that’s my pick of the A-Z of Perth. There’s some casual spots, some fine dining and everything in-between. It was a bit too easy for me to come up with. I only had to purposely visit Yocal so I had a “Y” to blog about! Technically I haven’t blogged about the Queens, but I have been there many many times over the years. It was the only “Q” I could think of – If you know of any others please let me know for next year!

The Biggest Morning Tea – 22nd May

I was kindly invited along to the launch of the WA Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea last week. It is a truly wonderful cause. A cause that’s very close to my own heart having lost family members and friends to this terrible illness.

Herb, Anna and Sam. Pic: Cancer council WA.

The launch was held at Perth Zoo. Iron Chef Herb Faust and Junior Masterchef judge Anna Gare were on hand to cook up a delightful morning tea and cavort with Tricia the elephant. Anna whipped up a cake for morning tea and Herb cooked his delicious Thai Chicken Bites. The recipe, along with many other celebrity chef recipes can be found on the biggest morning tea website.

Pic: Cancer council WA.

Pic: Cancer council WA.

http://www.biggestmorningtea.com.au/help-for-hosts/recipes/herbs-thai-chicken-bites

I will be attending the Biggest Morning tea at my workplace. At work we participate every year and dedicate the fundraising to one of our former colleagues; a beautiful lady who sadly developed  a melanoma and passed away in her early thirties.

The official day of the Biggest morning teas is Thursday May 22nd, but you are most welcome to host a morning tea to raise awareness and funds at anytime that suits you in May or June. They can be organised at the office, home, school etc. It’s a great excuse to grab your friends and hold a beautiful high tea or a simple catch up over coffee and bikkies – whatever takes your fancy!

More information can be found at http://www.biggestmorningtea.com.au/

Pic: Cancer Council WA

Pic: Cancer Council WA

Food Photography – my favourite photos.

IMG_9367Something that goes hand in hand with food writing is food photography. I think without the colour and story telling that a picture provides, blogging would be a bill dull. It’s terribly cliché, but so very true, that a picture tells a thousand words. I really love taking photos too. I started out using the camera on my Samsung Galaxy, which served me fairly well, as luckily camera phones are good quality these days. Chef had been talking about getting a DSLR camera, for photographing his food, for a few years. A few months into the blog, I could see the merits of investing in a good bit of equipment. So we chose a Canon 700D.Untitledgrilld

It’s taken me a little while to get used to it. It’s not as inconspicuous as whipping out my mobile and at first I was a little uncomfortable, thinking I was drawing attention to myself. I didn’t feel comfortable using it when Chef and I went to dinner at Amuse. I didn’t think it would be good manners at an expensive restaurant to start clicking away with a beeping camera. But that’s just me, I probably could turn off the beeps if I knew how! Poor Chef has learnt that he must wait to be told he can eat, till I have a good shot of his food! I do photograph my own dish last, it’s only fair. The chunky DLSR is part of a bloggers uniform and I won’t go dining without it. Wether I remember to pop the SD card in is another matter… Chef just rolls his eyes now, I’ve done that a few times! Whoops!IMG_0285aa

When I attended the Eat Drink Blog conference last year, I picked up some good tips from the photography session. It also cracked me up that whenever there was attractive food around, a scrum of bloggers would gather, clicking away with there DSLRs! I felt at home. I really love the photo I took at the Mushroom Farm on Day two of the conference.Untitledcmmmmmmm

I really love to eat out during daylight hours, as it obviously brings better lighting conditions. So this has also brought more eye rolls from Chef, as I’ll say something daft like “It’s raining today, let’s go to Bib and Tucker on a sunny day”. The things we bloggers do for a good beach shot…IMG_9696

A few people have remarked that I have a good eye for photography. I just put it down to dumb luck, as I feel there are a lot of things I still need to learn about how to use our camera to its full potential. Looking to the future, I hope to do a food photography class soon.IMG_8793

I love to use Instagram. Last week I added yet another social media platform – Pinterest. Now, I’m still a Pinetrest newbie, so I don’t really know what I’m doing! If you’re on Pinterest be sure to follow me on there too – I’ll be adding my very favourite photos.

LINK>> http://www.pinterest.com/chefswifeperth/Untitled

Here are a few of my favourite pics from the last year and you’ll notice that they’re not all of food. Wether it’s edible or a beautiful part of WA, I just love a good photo :)IMG_0112 IMG_9807aUntitledzIMG_9857

A-Z of Perth Dining (part 1)

Inadvertently, in the last 12 months I have pretty much visited the entire alphabet of Perth!!

About a month ago, when thinking about ideas for the blogs 1st birthday, I wondered if I could cover the alphabet with where we’ve dined at over the year. I found that I only needed to visit somewhere with the letters Q and Y. I found a few letters difficult to pick a favourite, so there are quite a few honourable mentions! We really are spoiled for dining choices at the moment in Perth.

This isn’t a definitive Perth list, just a pick of the best places I have visited as a food blogger;

Amuse – East Perth

We had a memorable wedding anniversary dinner at Amuse. The degustation is one of the very best in the west. It is the perfect restaurant for a special occasion.A

So many restaurants worth an A+ !!  I’d say Apple Daily Bar & Eating House was a very close second – it’s one of Chef’s faves.

And honourable mentions to Ace Pizza and Aravina Estate Winery

Beluga – Claremont 

We loved each and every dish that we had sent to us on the “trust the Chef” menu. The chic restaurant owned by Andrew Embley and Dean Cox is a favourite of ours.

Honourable Mention to Bib & Tucker

The Cabin Small Bar – Mount Hawthorn

This was a recent find and we loved the whole shebang – food, drinks and vibe. The roasted duck wings and Espresso Martini Cocktails were top notch.

Honourable Mentions to Cottesloe Beach Hotel (Beach Club) and Core Cider House

Duende – Leederville

A Leederville stalwart, with excellent tapas, wine list and a fab atmosphere too.

El Publico – Highgate The best Mexican around, by award winning Chef Sam Ward. The lamb belly tacos are lush :) 2013-04-16 20.20.39

Honourable mention to Eagle Bay Brewing Co – Nr Dunsbourgh A must stop for any trip to the south west. Good pub food and very family friendly.

Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki – Mosman Park

This boutique teppanyaki bar is excellent. The chefs are highly skilled and their “tricks” are fun to watch. Not just a dinner, an experience!

The Goose – Busselton

A view to die for, overlooking Busselton Jetty and Geographe Bay.IMG_9833

An special mention for Great British Chippy for bringing real pommie chips to Perth!

Hippo Creek – Hillarys Boat Harbour

A must for meat lovers! Very tasty steaks.

Il lido Italian Canteen – Cottesloe

Great spot for a coastal brunch, overlooking Cottesloe Beach.

Jamie’s Italian – Perth CBD

I’ve been there twice & Mr Oliver doesn’t disappoint. Excellent value for money and family friendly.

Honourable mention to Joondalup Resort, a relaxing spot for nibbles and drinks by the pool.

Kettle Cafe – Lathlain

A lovely hidden cafe in Lathlain. They serve excellent coffee and a delicious all day brunch menu.

Little Creatures Brewery – Fremantle

A Freo icon not only famed for it’s excellent Beer. The menu features fantastic pizzas and share food. The shady beer garden and huge sandpit make it great for families.20131113_134219

Part two M – Z will be coming soon :)

Happy 1st Birthday to my lil blog!!

What a year it has been…

My first post was on April 7th 2013, recommending the newly opened Jamie’s Italian. Since then, the blog has changed and evolved such a lot. I quickly changed my writing style, though I can still dribble on, originally I wrote lots more for each post. I’ve also come a long way with photography (though there’s a long way to go!). From my nervous beginnings – thinking that only 5 people would “like” my FB page to hitting 1000+ likers – I was very surprised! In October I had a re-branding to a shiny and bright new logo. That made me feel much more professional hehe

From month to month my little blog grew into something I’m immensely proud of. It’s also something I never thought I’d be doing. I’m so glad I gave it a go. I’m pleased as punch that I’ve found something I really love. Chef has enjoyed being dragged along to many meals out, even if he has to wait to eat, while I take pics of his food! There are several highlights from the year. Meeting many fellow bloggers from all around Australia, at the Eat Drink Blog Conference, in November was a fantastic experience. More recently, I was tickled pink when I saw my name in print – when my first monthly review in the Post Newspaper was published. That was a definite “tear in the eye” moment!

UntitlededbBut it’s not all been a success… I gave up on the “52 recipes in 52 weeks challenge”. After completing the first 3 weeks I came down with terrible toothache and had to have my wisdom teeth out. I didn’t feel much like eating or cooking for a couple of weeks. The challenge I had set myself, to use my piles of recipes to cook something new each week, lost even more momentum when a few weeks later I had a bad case of food poisoning. Add in fussy eater Little Chef and the new addition of my newspaper reviews, it was just not happening for me. I apologise if you were following that post, perhaps I’ll revisit it in another form in the future.

Screenshot_2014-04-07-15-47-10Chef’s had a very busy year at work. Though that kept him from competing in the Dubai International, he was very proud to represent his country again when the Australian Culinary Team won gold in Pattaya, Thailand.

I want to thank you all for your kind words, likes and comments. On those days when I have writers block, it spurs me on! As lots of you will know, being a working mummy, with a 4 year old who still likes to get up in the night and a husband that works very long hours – it’s hard to get everything done and keep motivated sometimes. It’s encouraging and humbling when someone takes the time to send me a lovely message or email. It absolutely makes my day.

suburban_table-write-upI’m very excited for what the next 12 months has in store. I can’t even begin to imagine where I’ll be at when it’s The Chef Wife’s 2nd birthday. There are many more new restaurants, cafes and bars that we are planning to go to. My “to eat list” is so long, I’ve had to create an excel spread sheet!! In just a few months we are travelling to the UK, so I will be blogging about everything from pork pies, country pubs, fish n chips to a few Michelin starred restaurants and a certain Mr Blumenthal. Little Chef is more excited about visiting Lego Land than all that though!

The blog has far exceeded anything I had imagined – If I could give each and every one of you a hug I really would! Thank you very much! I hope you’ve been enjoying the posts as much as I enjoy creating them :)

Here’s to another year of discovering great food and drinks in Perth!

Cheers, the Chefs Wife, Amanda xxx

PS This week I have a few special posts up my sleeve to celebrate my first milestone.