Pinchos – Leederville

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The sights and smells of Spain are bursting out of Pinchos, a small tapas bar in Leederville. A huge paella dish simmers away at the door, smelling rich and enticing, inviting me inside. Walking into the bar I had a strong feeling of Dejavu – it used to be a favourite of mine – Snags and Sons. Now owner, Justin Bell (also of Jus Burgers), has transformed it into a little piece of Spain where you can eat “Small bites to large plates and everything in between”.IMG_8674

Being a Perth food blogger does have it’s perks – I was invited by the lovely people at Pinchos for lunch. I still pay for far more meals out of my own pocket than I’m invited to – so when I’m lucky enough to get an invite, I see it as a little treat for all my hard work writing! I’d yet to visit Pinchos, so it was a perfect opportunity to check it out.IMG_8655

Pinchos means “to pierce/spike”. The pinchos are traditionally served in bars in Northern Spain – tasty bite-sized snacks which are typically served on skewers. Pinchos is licensed and their drinks – a wide range of beer, wine and spirits – are mainly sourced from Spain.

I chose to have the Menu Del Dia – which seems like outstanding value at $15. It’s available Monday to Friday. You can choose one pinchos, one Tapa and a salad that is accompanied by fresh bread. Check it out – yum!IMG_8664

To start, I had “Pintxo Choriso con miel” which translates as sausage, honey and cheese on a stick. It’s one of the cheapest morsels on the menu at just $2 each. I enjoyed the saltiness of the chorizo with the sweet honey. It was a delicious combination that got my tastebuds wanting more.IMG_8666

From the salad menu I choose the Remolacha y Garbanzos -$9. The bowl was brimming with beetroot, chickpeas, yogurt, apple, fennel, radish, honey and dukkah. It was a different salad combo to anything I’d had before, and I really enjoyed it. The crispness of the apple, fennel and radish was really refreshing. IMG_8667

After smelling the “Street Paella” wafting in, I just had to try that too! The Spanish staple was spot on, rice perfectly cooked with a generous amount of chorizo.IMG_8659

There are so many delicious looking things on the Tapas menu. Which small plate to choose?! There’s croquettes, meatballs, marinated prawns, salted cod and so much more. What a dilemma. In the end I (unsurprisingly) went for the pork belly. Chicharrones ($8) is a plate of deep fried pork belly, dusted in cumin. The deliciously crisp pork belly was tender and moist in the middle. So simple, SO GOOD!IMG_8670

Thanks Pinchos for the opportunity to try your delicious food!! Perfect to share over a bottle of cava with friends.IMG_8677

 

Ocean Spice Café – Cottesloe

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Ocean Spice Cafe on Urbanspoon

I’m constantly looking for new places to dine. Truthfully, it’s a bit of an obsession – part and parcel of being a Perth food blogger! The web is a never ending source of restaurant news and new openings in Perth. Sites such as Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor can be a bit of a mixed bag though and I tend to take them with a large pinch of salt. The “urban-trippers” can get a little carried away on their imaginary soapbox, ranting and raving about disappointing meals and awful service. On the other hand, when I find a restaurant with an unblemished record and nothing but praise online, I take it as an excellent sign. One such place is a casual Asian restaurant, Ocean Spice Café, which has been open just a few months – to rave reviews.IMG_8554

Ocean Spice Café is on Eric Street, right next to the Ocean Beach Hotel. It’s modern, airy and has sea views if you can secure a table next to the large open window. We dine at 6pm on a Tuesday night and already the place is bustling with people and take away orders.IMG_8558

We are very warmly welcomed by the owner Maria. Ocean Spice café isn’t licenced, so Chef dashes to the neighbouring OBH for a bottle of white. There are soft drinks on offer, as well as such Vietnamese delicacies as “Sinh To Bo” an avocado milkshake, for the more adventurous.

There’s a lot of choice on the menu for meat eaters and plenty of vegetarian options too. To start, Chef and I chose a few entrees. We have Little Chef in tow. It is the notoriously fussy five year old’s first dalliance with Asian food. The four vegetarian curry puffs, $8.90 brimming with potato and peas are only mildly spicy and to our surprise Little Chef tucks into them. The pork spring rolls, $7.90 are deliciously crisp too.IMG_8561

Many years ago my yard stick for satay sticks was set impossibly high during a trip to the Satay Club at Clarke Quay in Singapore. Never before had we tasted such delicious morsels of nutty meat and sadly, never again since. Our chicken satay sticks, $8.90 at Ocean Spice Café are very tasty, but fall short of our impossibly high benchmark for satay sticks. They are missing something – perhaps the smokiness of being cooked on a chargrill.IMG_8566

I choose a chicken cashew nut stir fry, $18.90, also available with beef or pork. The thinly sliced chicken is perfectly sautéed and oh so tender. It is packed full of fresh, crisp vegetables; snow peas, capsicum and spring onions all covered in soy sauce and sesame oil – absolutely delicious!IMG_8573

Next, we devour a pile of crispy roast duck, $21.90, which sits atop a mound of crunchy noodles. The duck is moist on the inside and is smothered with a lip-smacking sweet plum sauce.IMG_8568

Chef enjoys his favourite staple Thai dish of Chicken Pad Thai, $18.90. He practically demolishes the traditional street food dish of soft stir fried noodles, perfectly cooked chicken, fried egg, tofu, bean sprouts, garlic and chives.IMG_8572

The khong wan menu, which translates as “sweet things”, looks tempting. Feeling rather full, the three of us decide to share the kow neow manung with ice cream, $10.90. The traditional dessert of sticky rice with succulent fresh mango, sesame seeds and coconut milk with a generous serve of ice cream is the perfect end to our meal.IMG_8580

The busy café offers outstanding value for money and is incredibly popular – even Mark Barretta from Channel Seven’s Sunrise was spotted dining there recently! We noticed many of the other diners seemed to be regulars – Ocean Spice Cafe seems to have filled a much needed niche in Cottesloe.

*First published in the Post newspaper*

At a glance

■ Ocean Spice Café

2/1 Eric Street, Cottesloe

Phone 9383 3303

■ Opening times

Tuesday to Friday

5pm to 9pm

Saturday & Sunday

11am to 9pm

■ Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 3

value for money 4

■ style – Thai & Vietnamese

■ wine – byo

■ Chef – Pop Samasorn

■ Owner – Marie Grace

■ feel – Casual and unpretentious

■ wheelchair access – small

step at entrance

■ cost –

Entrée – $7.90 to $8.90

Mains – $11.90 to $21.90

Dessert – $8.90 to $10.90

■ all in all – well priced and

well cooked food with a

warm welcome from Marie.

Mary Street Bakery – Highgate

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I’ve said it before – my brunch “to eat” list is as long as my arm and gets longer by the day. Somewhere that’s been on my wish list for far too long is Mary Street Bakery, opposite The Queens, on bustling Beaufort Street. Recently, Chef and I had dropped Little Chef at school, on his first day of Year One. Feeling impulsive we decided to treat ourselves to a child free brunch, now that the summer holidays were over (hooray!!). Our brunch was childfree, but not quiet. The Mary Street Bakery is a busy spot and quite noisy when full.IMG_8458

We grabbed some drinks while we looked over the menu. Chef enjoyed his coffee. At Mary Street bakery they have Pound Coffee – which we both rate at one of the very best roasts in Perth. I had an organic, cold pressed “red juice” from The Juicist.IMG_8457

I just had to order “The Talbot” $24. Thought I’m not usually a fan of black pudding, I was prepared to brave it, in the name of pork belly! I’m pretty much obsessed with pork belly and when I spotted it on the brunch menu my eyes almost popped out of my head. The scotch egg is a favourite picnic food from my pommie childhood – an egg is encased in sausage meat and them crumbed and fried. I’d never had a runny scotch egg before and it was egg-selent (oh dear!). It was seriously good. The green tomato relish was grand and I even surprised myself and enjoyed the black pudding, something my Dad loves, but could never tempt me to try – the thought of a “blood pudding” didn’t excited me, but I really enjoyed MSB’s version.IMG_8463

Chef, ever the predictable diner, chose the steak sambo $19. It was a gourmet version of the pub food classic and wedged in-between fresh thick cut slices of bread was perfectly cooked rump, fried onion, aioli and lettuce. Chef decided to pimp it up a bit (though it didn’t really need it) and also ordered a side of bacon for $5. Chef was impressed, and soon wolfed it down.IMG_8461

And true to it’s name – up at Mary Street Bakery’s counter there are organic artisan breads and baked goods a plenty – pies, sausage rolls, cakes and pastries. Though I didn’t treat myself this time, I’ll have to go back for a sweet treat soon! We were both impressed with the well cooked food, top quality drinks choices and friendly service.IMG_8470

 

Distrykt Coffee – Beldon

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I randomly stumbled across Distrykt Coffee when it had been open just a few days – I saw a sign when I was driving along Marmion Avenue and just had to check it out. It’s tucked away in the northern suburbs in Beldon. Since it’s not too far out of my way, I’ve returned for their tasty milkshakes and food.district1

Our first visit was a refreshment stop, as we’d just had breakfast. Chef enjoyed the Kinky Lizard coffee, I had a healthy shake packed with ginger and beetroot and Little Chef enjoyed his favourite – a ham and cheese croissant.IMG_8285

The café is teeny tiny – there’s also room underneath a big shady awning, if you want to eat alfresco. It’s also very dog friendly too, with a water bowl for your furry friends.IMG_8298

On another visit to Distrykt I had a “Monkey Business” smoothie -the blended banana, yogurt, cinnamon and nutmeg was really tasty. To eat, I had a Tandoori chicken breast, fresh greens and mango chutney sandwich – it was quite a different filling and I really enjoyed it. distryct

Lea who owns Distrykt is very friendly and lets you know just what you’re eating. She’s very passionate about her food and uses top quality ingredients, which I could tell, as its so tasty. As well as sandwiches, there are bagels, freshly baked slices, and raw treats and lots more too. Support local and make sure you check it out! IMG_8300

 

 

Brekkie at Flinderz & The Giants come to Perth!

What a wonderful morning Little Chef and I had today! We dropped Chef at work (at Flinderz​ in Hillarys), and thought we’d stop for breakfast, so I FINALLY got to eat the Quinoa granola &  banana panna cotta that I’ve been dreaming about for months! It was as scrumptious as it looks. Thanks Chef!IMG_8605

Then Little Chef and I headed into the city and waited (very patiently) for the giants to wake up – they were snoring very loudly! The Giants are in our beautiful city for the opening of the Perth International Arts Festival – it was truly a once in a lifetime event to watch them walk the streets of Perth.giants11

Some didgeridoo music started playing at 10am, getting louder and louder till the little girl giant and her uncle (the diver) started stirring and awoke to find hundreds of thousands of people staring at them in absolute awe! They had a move about – the girl dancing in the air to music and the diver having his helmet put on. Then they walked, with help from the dozens of men and their ropes, around Langley Park. It was absolutely magic.giants2

I had been in two minds about going, mostly worried about parking and the crowds, but it was an absolute breeze. I’m so glad we did it. The diver was immense an very impressive. Little Chef was so excited, something this five year old will remember for a long time. It felt like we were part of something very very special and Perth is so privileged to get a visit from these two. The parade ended with the giants leaving – getting on a boat down the Swan River and a big blast of tickertape into the perfect blue sky. It was absolutely mesmerising! Amongst the tickertape were postcards, which we caught few of and will be great keepsakes. They are actually postcards from School children to ANZAC soldiers that served in Gallipoli – some who made it and some that sadly did not. It was very touching.giants

The atmosphere was wonderful – everyone was so friendly and chatty. Well done Perth!

Gusto Food – South Perth

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I’d heard that it’s not uncommon to find queues outside Gusto Food on the weekend. The little Angelo Street café is very popular – I’ve been ooo-ing and arr-ing over instagram pics of their tasty wares for months. Finally, with Little Chef in tow, we made it to South Perth. I was on a mission to try their delicious looking homemade crumpets and I was prepared to queue for them! Luckily, there was a table free inside, so we sat down straight away and waited for Nays, one of my besties. There was no need to look at the menu – I knew exactly what I wanted!!IMG_8447

The girls behind the counter are friendly and the coffee at Gusto is hot and smooth, we were off to a good start! I really liked the artwork that was hanging around the café too.IMG_8449

Little Chef was eying up the sweet treats in the cabinet. He opted for the freshly baked red velvet cake and soon he was wolfing down a generous slice – along with his favourite drink – a baby chino.IMG_8435

Nays enjoyed the goats cheese scrambled eggs $20.50. The mountain of cheesy eggs is topped with a grilled tomato, quinoa crunch  and sat on a couple of slices of fresh chiabatta. There is a basil and pinenut pesto on the side.IMG_8439

Now for the house made crumpets – served with a little jar full of poached pears and berries, a peanut gravel and what I would like to call a “smoosh” of yogurt around the plate.  Chef is shacking his head at me – it’s a “smear”. Whatever the term – the dish is absolutely sensational and great value at $16.50. The crumpets weren’t exactly as I’d imagined (I’ve only ever had the golden crumpets before!), they weren’t full of holes but they were fluffy, delicious and much better than store-bought crumpets. The peanut gravel was really tasty and it is up there with my all time favourite brunch dishes.IMG_8445

Was it as good as I had imagined? Well, when I build something up in my head, sometimes it’s an impossible standard to live up to. These crumpets were just as scrumptious as they’d looked on social media – in fact, EVEN BETTER! Something else I’d spied on social media was Gusto’s homemade doughnuts. They looked fresh and fluffy – and massive! I just HAD to buy one for LC and I to share later on. They were delish – give me one of those over Krispy Kreme any day of the week!IMG_8451

Gusto Food is a fairly unassuming looking café from the outside, but there’s something special things going on in their kitchen! The breakfast menu is available till 11.30am. A little gem which is definitely worth a visit.IMG_8455

Cocina Bandito @140 William – Perth CBD

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Our beautiful city of Perth continues to surprise me with the quality of new bars and restaurants. There’s been no let up in openings, it still seems like there’s a hip new place opening weekly. I headed into the city to one such opening – Cocina Bandito – a pop up bar at the 140 William precinct. Cocina Bandito is expected to be around for two or three months, it’s by the people behind the Classroom Bar.IMG_8502

The Cuban bar is absolutely popping with colour and personality. It reminds me a little of a food truck, the way the kitchen and servery is set up. This is good news as I’ve been dreaming of eating a cubano since watching the movie “Chef”.IMG_8521

There were latin beats, good vibes and ice cold cocktails – I couldn’t go past a summery mojito – a favourite of mine. This minty mojito was spot on!IMG_8505 IMG_8514

The Tortilla chips with guacamole got our taste buds warmed up, and you can’t get more street food than serving it on a street sign!IMG_8507

The menu is small, but perfectly formed. We got to try most of it – the deep fried morsels of Cuban rice were to die for! I can admit I had more than one…IMG_8518

I was WAY too chicken to try the “Death sauce” – super spicy salsa served in a pistol! Thanks Mel (Take me to foodie heaven) for being my lovely hand model! IMG_8513

I was so happy to get my mitts on a “Bay of Pigs” traditional Cubano Roast pork belly sandwich. Oh my goodness – this was absolutely scrumptious! Layers of ham and cheese were draped over the pork belly with pickles adding zing and lashings of mustard too. Wow – I was really impressed and made a mental note to come back for a large Cubano very soon!  IMG_8522

The pop up bar isn’t here for long – so make sure you visit before they say adios! Thanks to Caitlin and Zara for another fab event and the Kitchen Bandits – my first Cuban experience was absolutely delicious.IMG_8497

Viva Havana!IMG_8520