Chophouse – Perth CBD


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Chef and I literally blow in through the front door of Chophouse, from the blustery wind tunnel that is St Georges Terrace. The two story restaurant is a warm haven – full of hearty, meaty smells on a cold winter’s day in the city.IMG_9674

Chophouse, a Sydney based restaurant which has recently opened their second eatery in Perth, is right next to the revamped Cloisters food arcade, in the heart of the CBD.IMG_9677

We’re seated upstairs in the cosy dining room, which has the feel of a bygone time. Downstairs is a bar area and an outside deck which will be perfect for a cheeky after work drink in warmer months.interior

The pleasant service is off to a shaky start, which can be wholly blamed on technology – the iPad isn’t playing ball, so it’s back to the old pen and paper to take our order. Our friendly waiter brings us a selection of freshly baked breads to nibble on – I like the multigrain sourdough.IMG_9652

The wine drinkers are well catered for with an extensive list which has many local, interstate and international wines available from places as far away as Lebanon. Boutique beer is very on-trend and there is also worthy selection of local craft beers, including Eagle Bay and Young Henry.IMG_9663

Chophouse is described as an Australian version of a New York steakhouse. Whilst it’s not in-your-face American, there’s a few subtle nods to its influence on the menu. Chef has a hankering for some dude food and the mac and cheese bombs ($18.90) fit the bill perfectly. Macaroni cheese, made with three cheeses, is crumbed, deep fried and served with a Napolitana sauce, delicious!IMG_9653

I devour the Yellowfin Tuna entrée ($24.50). The exceptionally fresh fish is seared and sits upon a scrumptious avocado and wasabi puree – a tasty combination that should be used more often in my opinion. It is topped with crunchy kohlrabi – a vegetable from the cabbage family.tuna

For main, we eye off the colossal chophouse tomahawk, which has been dry aged for 4-6 weeks. At $10 a kilogram, it would cost about $170 – my bet is that it’s worth splashing out on.

I choose a more conservative beef short rib ($36). The deliciously tender piece of meat practically slides of the bone with a gentle poke from my knife. It is glazed with a sweet and tangy house made barbecue sauce.IMG_9659

The beef fillet ($54.90), served on the bone, is perfectly cooked medium rare and full of flavour – as aged meat should be. Served with a chutney and jus, there is also a choice of accompanying sauces.IMG_9657

As with many upmarket steakhouses, at Chophouse you need to order side dishes, which turns it into quite an expensive meal for two. We share garlic and herb seasonal greens ($9.20), the shoestring fries ($9) and a piping hot cauliflower gratin ($12.90) arrives a few minutes later. It is made with a Gruyère and parmesan béchamel and finished with sourdough crumbs.IMG_9662

With very little room to spare, Chef and I share dessert. We are so glad that we do, as it’s a cracker! The popcorn brittle semifreddo is as good as any dessert gets. A fluffy layer of marshmallow tops the silky semifreddo, which sits on a layer of sponge cake. The popcorn and honeycomb brittle, and a smear of salted caramel sauce give crunch and a salty kick to the dish.semmifreddo

For such a new restaurant, Chophouse has certainly hit the ground running. It is pricy, though the seasonal produce is top notch and cooked to a very high standard. If you are mad about meat you won’t be disappointed with Chophouse.

**First published in the Post newspaper**

At a glance

■ Chophouse

200 St Georges Tce


Phone 1300 246 748

■ Opening times

Mon -Fri 12pm – 12am

Saturday 6pm- 12am

■ Rating

food 4

service 3

ambience 4

value for money 3

■ style – Steakhouse

■ wine – extensive list, many WA,

Interstate and International wines.

■ Chef – Scott Alfonso

■ Owner – Keystone Group

■ feel – Warm, rustic/industrial interior

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Entree – $18.90 to $38.90

Mains – $19.90 to $170

Dessert – $6 to $12.90

■ all in all – Friendly service

& marvellous meats. Excellent

desserts certainly not an afterthought.

One for the carnivores!

The Duke – Carramar

IMG_9650Waiting for a local pub in the Perth northern suburbs is a bit like waiting for a bus. You wait for ages (in this case 9 years!) then two come along at once! The Duke, like The Ashby Bar & Bistro, is long awaited pub in our area. It opened officially on Monday, though we got the hot tip and went there on Sunday for a cheeky pint. My Dad, a proud Yorkshireman, was very pleased to see that a couple of his favourite tipples Old Speckled Hen and Newcastle Brown Ale are on tap. There’s a good range of beers and a decent wine list too.

IMG_9680It is a different pub to The Ashby. Though modern, it has a more traditional British feel to it, which no doubt is a nod to the many British ex-pats that live in the Carramar/Tapping area. It’s smaller than The Ashby and has a warm feel to it – we sat by the fire as the rain poured outside – and it felt very cosy!IMG_9696At The Duke there is the main bar, dining room, sports bar (with TAB, pool table and huuuuge TV screen) and a few outdoor courtyards – which will be nice in the warmer months!

We were seated in the dining room (which was full before 6pm) and ordered a spot of dinner. The menu is brimming with  typical pub fayre and has some British classics on there – a Ploughman’s platter, Steak & stout pie, Scotch eggs, pork scratching’s, lamb hot pot and much much more.

IMG_9685My Mum and Dad both enjoyed their beer battered fish and chips ($23). The fish was tasty and flaky in a crisp golden batter. The rustic-looking chips (skin on) are double fried and there’s a side of mushy peas and tatare sauce.

IMG_9688Chef said his thin crust beef pizza ($21) hit the spot. It was topped with salted rump, chili, artichoke and smoky BBQ sauce.

New Image1I just had an entrée as I was still full from going out for a big lunch in the city (I know – food blogger problems…lol). I enjoyed the pulled beef brisket tacos ($14). The soft shell tacos were lightly toasted and the tender beef sat upon a bed of lettuce, tomato and cheese and topped with sour cream and chilli. It was a good little snack.

Little Chef was also well catered for with a kids menu and colouring pack.

My parents also squeezed in a sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Which got the thumbs up.IMG_9693

First impressions were positive – we all enjoyed our food, which was well priced and the staff were all friendly and helpful with our questions. We’ll absolutely be back for more good times at The Duke!IMG_9698

{Quick Bite} Crooked Spire – Midland

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If you live in the Midland area there’s a new coffee joint in town.IMG_9395LYahava coffee, which is a local favourite of mine, is available at Crooked Spire. The make a pretty good smoothie tooIMG_9382There’s no menu – check out the chiller cabinet for what’s available daily. I had a vegetable toastie, full of mushrooms, cheese and spinach, which was very tasty and piping hot.IMG_9387Then I treated myself to a scrumptious raw chocolate nut slice.IMG_9389The Crooked Spire is a large warehouse style space which is great to hang out with mates and mummies – I was there with some friends with kids – there’s so much space it’s great for prams – no having to navigate around crowded tables.  There’s a kids corner for toddlers too.IMG_9393Crooked Spire is a welcome addition to Midland and makes a change from the usual franchise coffee shops!IMG_9394

Apprentice of the Year 2015

IMG_9594Today was the Western Australian Apprentice of the Year hot kitchen competition held at the West Coast Institute, Joondalup.

The field of 1st, 2nd, 3rd year apprentices and commercial cooks were from some of Perth’s leading restaurants, (Co Op Dining, Bib & Tucker, The Subiaco Hotel etc) which is fantastic to see hospitality businesses investing in their youth. The kitchens were abuzz from 9am to 1.30pm with the chefs each creating a three course menu for the judges to critique. They had limited ingredients to work with.

The many judges from all around Western Australia included Stephen Clarke of Clarkes of North Beach and Andy Mann, Executive Chef of Domain Stadium/WACA  (and my Chef was also judging too!). They were impressed by the overall standard. Here’s a few of the many many dishes that caught my eye…IMG_9593IMG_9591IMG_9592

Patrick O’Brien the President of the Australian Culinary Federation (WA) announced the winners.IMG_9595

The winners are;

1st year Linh Khanh Tran (Tropico North Beach)

2nd year Mark Johnson (Co Op Dining)

3rd year Brody Young-Steedman (Co Op Dining)

Commercial cooks Kuo Cheng LinIMG_9597

Congrats to all the winners and their employers! Head Chef Kiren Mainwaring must be doing a tremendous job with the young talent in his kitchen as Co Op Dining had two winning chefs.

If you’re interested in cooking comps, make sure you check out the upcoming Oceanafest hot Kitchen Comp at PCEC. Oceanafest has been running since 1997 and is regarded as Australia’s premier hot kitchen cooking competition. It’s on the 5th to 7th of July, open to the general public and free to attend. The national culinary teams from Thailand, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia will be competing as well as local teams and individual chefs. It’s a bi -annual event – here’s my round up of Oceanafest from 2013.

See you there!

The Ashby Bar and Bistro


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Chef and I built our house in the outer northern Perth suburbs in 2006. When we signed up for our block with the developers, there were grand plans of shopping centres, schools and pubs in the area. It took years for most of that to actually be realised and 9 years later we are finally seeing our two local pubs being opened. The Ashby Bar and Bistro has just opened and in another few weeks we should see The Duke open in Carramar.IMG_9554 We can walk to The Ashby (and stumble home), so in it’s first weekend of opening we were there more than once for dinner. Arriving at the massive bar we were impressed by how modern, light and airy it felt. There’s an outside courtyard and bar, large bistro and a sports bar (with TAB and pool tables) is next door.IMG_9559 It has a really nice fit out. It seems like everywhere new has the on-trend “rustic” or “industrial” look. The Ashby is a little different. It still is a little rustic, with it’s white washed dining tables and exposed brick walls, but it’s beautiful blue tiles on the bar and colourful print in the bistro give it a crisp Latin vibe.IMG_9558 The service for the most part on our two visits was helpful and friendly. It was a little shaky in patches, mostly on product knowledge and speed, but Chef and I were happy to give the benefit of the doubt. I really feel with brand new venues you should give a little leeway, as the teething problems haven’t had time to be sorted out. It seemed like the entire population of Ashby, Tapping and Carramar had descended on the pub too – it was crazy busy with everyone having a sticky beak of their long-awaited new local.IMG_9490 Chef and I shared the pulled lamb shoulder tortillas for entrée. We liked them so much we ordered them again on visit #2. The slow braised lamb shoulder was tender and full of flavour, the chickpeas adding a little crunch – it was also accompanied by lettuce and tzatziki yogurt. IMG_9470 Our friends, Mr & Mrs H, are oyster aficionados and chose to share the oyster taste plate. The fresh oysters came with a range of toppings – chilli orange crispy caper lemon and herb crust, bourbon Kilpatrick, natural, and a shallot vinaigrette. The oysters got a thumbs up from them.IMG_9472 Chez and Krist both had a creamy clam and pasta dish. It was so incredibly creamy it looked like a chowder. IMG_9479 The grilled chorizo salad ($20) looked good. It was also brimming with red onion, chickpeas, semi-dried tomato, pickled zucchini and wild rocket with a chilli lemon dressing drizzled on top. Chickpeas are on many of the bistro’s dishes, which left us wondering if The Ashby has shares in a chickpea farm?! hehe IMG_9474I chose the Curry plate ($26). It consisted of two curries of the day, a sweet mango chutney, house naan, pappadums and coconut rice. It was very filling and it was only after I’d finished and declared myself very full that I realised I didn’t get any nann bread – no biggie. It was tasty and I enjoyed it.IMG_9483 Overall the food was good. Sure it’s pub food, but cooked to a good standard. Chef and I enjoyed our meals there – Chef’s only gripe was he wished his Parmigiana was bigger.IMG_9489 Alas, our babysitting curfew was up when the espresso martinis came out – so we didn’t get the verdict on those, but we’ll be back again (and again). We took Little Chef the second time, but considering there’s a lot of young family’s in the area, there’s nothing for kids to do – so we made sure the I pad was fully charged!  Little Chef enjoyed the kids food, which was made from quality ingredients. IMG_9481 There’s a good drinks selection – I loved my French rose and Chef was super excited to see his favourite tipple – Colonial Kölsch – is on tap! We’re pretty impressed with The Ashby and stoked that this is our new local. Cheers :)IMG_9488


Pancakes at Carillon


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Pancakes at Carillon had been around for years. To some it’s a Perth institution. I’d never been and The Pastry Chef (Chef’s little brother) had asked us along for breakfast there – he’d been a few times and enjoyed it (though I think he must make pretty good pancakes himself!).IMG_9468

We sat down and enjoyed a few coffees whist we waited for our indulgent breakfast to arrive!

Chef had a man-sized appetite and chose the WORKS BREAKFAST ($19.50)  This massive brekkie consists of fluffy buttermilk Pancakes, topped with a generous serve of whipped butter. On the side were three grilled breakfast chipolatas, bacon, a grilled tomato, two free range eggs (how you like) and crisp hash browns. Also included is a glass of juice.IMG_9454

Not one for sweets so early in the morning, I opted for the brunch-y sounding ASPARAGUS CREPES ($20.50). Fresh asparagus spears were served on top of thin, delicate homemade Crepes that are filled with a fresh cheese and asparagus sauce with hollandaise draped over the top. The side salad was really tasty and fresh too, not just an after thought. I have to say it’s the first time I’ve had salad for breakfast!IMG_9459

Little Chef’s eyes almost popped out of his head when his pancakes arrived…. the CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN ($6.90) was a fluffy buttermilk pancake, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle of chocolate sauce and sprinkled with tons of 100’s and 1000’s. I can assure you that this kind of breakfast isn’t a regular occurrence!IMG_9457

We all enjoyed our pancakes, they were as light and fluffy as I’d hoped. I got a case of food envy seeing everyone drizzle their pancake stacks with Maple syrup, so next time I think I’ll go for something sweet!

Coco Cubano – Joondalup

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The redevelopment at Lakeside Joondalup just keeps giving and giving! We were lucky enough to be one of the very first customers at Coco Cubano after I spotted it opening up on Friday afternoon.

As we walked in I was immediately struck by the very impressive fit-out. It’s a fab looking café-bar and a very welcome addition to Joondalup – it would be a great pre/post cinema spot on date night!IMG_9504

The welcoming staff let me know that it is a soft opening of sorts – as the liquor licence is still pending approval. So whilst you can’t enjoy a mojito yet – you can enjoy Coco Cubano’s food, coffee and warm hospitality.

For the opening there are $1 coffees and hot chocolates. Since it was well after my lunch-time coffee cut off – Little Chef and I both opted for the hot chocolate. It was certainty no standard powdered hot chocolate. Here they use melted Cuban coverture chocolate and creamy milk – which makes for a velvety hot chocolate. One of the best I’ve had! The service is on the ball – the waiter ordered Little Chef’s hot chockie to not be piping hot. I loved the detail of the fancy spoons too, like something your Nanna would collect on holiday! Cute.IMG_9507

It’s little touches like that that make Coco Cubano a little different from your regular franchise. The eclectic collection of nick naks on the bookshelves and fire place make it feel very homely too. Western Australia’s first Coco Cubano does breakfast daily till 11.30, have tapas and regular meals too.IMG_9519

I had a hankering for a Cuban sandwich. I really enjoyed the tempory pop up Cocina Bandito and absolutely loved it’s colourful Cuban vibe. Unfortunately there isn’t a traditional Cuban sandwich on the menu, so instead I tried The Cubano Club. In between two slices of parmesan crusted sourdough toast was slow cooked marinated pulled pork, crispy bacon, pickles and a punchy kick of mustard. That was very tasty and the pulled pork was spot on.IMG_9513 

I got a couple of sides too, I ummed and arred about ordering the Plantain Chips and I was glad I did get to try them. Plantain is a savoury banana of sorts. Here it is double fried and served with homemade guacamole and sour cream. The plantain doesn’t have a strong flavour, but it was pleasant enough and something new to try.IMG_9515

We also devoured some Sweet Potato Wedges which were tasty and seasoned with paprika salt – I just wish there were more of them!IMG_9509

The dessert menu looked tempting – with churros, waffles and more – something to try next time!

We got a very warm welcome at Coco Cubano and enjoyed checking it out – we’ll be back soon.IMG_9523