Naked Apple Cider House, Karragullen

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The Perth Hills are alive, with the sound of… CIDER!! The brand spanking new Naked Apple Cider House has opened. The cidery is found in Karragullen, which is found in between Pickering Brook and Roleystone. Naked Apple Cider has been around for a while, I’ve tried it at many food and cider festivals. Now they have opened their very own venue! As well as cider, there are also Bickley Valley Brewery’s beers on tap.

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This spot in the bush, formerly Hopscotch café, has a gorgeous rustic charm. Sit outside on the deck, on the patio or inside the cosy cottage.

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Head Chef Sebastian Sindermann is an old workmate of Chef’s. They used to work together at the Duxton Hotel, in a time well before I was Chef’s wife. Knowing that the already popular venue was fully booked for lunch, we popped along for a Sunday breakfast to check it out.

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The lunch menu is made up of things easy to share like pork belly sliders, and more substantial dishes like steak sandwiches and the German pork knuckle – there are also sweet treats in the cabinet. On the hot drink selection are T2 teas and Essenza coffee.

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I enjoyed the Feta Scrambled Eggs ($15), with smashed avo, wonderfully crisp bacon and blistered tomatoes. This dish is usually served with walnut toast, but I opted for gluten free toast.

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The very filling Breakfast Panini ($14) is brimming with smashed avo, tomato chutney, fresh rocket, crispy bacon and fried eggs.

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The Eggs Benedict ($15) was also a hit, with bacon, rocket, blistered tomatoes, poached eggs and creamy hollandaise on an English muffin. Continue reading

Billie H, Claremont

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Billie H. Supper Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Found opposite the behemoth Claremont Quarter, sits a cute little building, covered in lush foliage. Cosy wine bar, Billie H, has oodles of soul… and I’m not just talking about its jazzy soundtrack.

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From the striking gramophone light feature, to a wall decorated in vinyl album covers, this place oozes old school cool. I bring my Dad along for lunch and, being a vinyl collector and music enthusiast, he certainly appreciates these little details.

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At Billie H you can sit inside the contemporary dining room, laze in the leafy courtyard or perch on a high stool and soak up the bustling atmosphere at the bar. From there we see the all-female kitchen team, headed by Chef Alia Glorie, cooking up a storm in the open kitchen. A female Head Chef is no new thing, but many more of these talented women are getting the attention and accolades that they deserve, for simply being brilliant Chefs.

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With jazz legends like Sam Cooke and the bistro’s namesake Billie Holiday crooning in the background, we look over the menu, rubbing our hands with glee. There are many delicious dishes to pick from, from small bites to larger plates and it’s really up to you how you tackle them – to share or not to share.

Service is friendly and on the ball. We order a carrot dish from the small plates, expecting they will arrive first. Our intuitive waitress asks if we’d like them to come out with our main meaty dishes, as it’s a brilliant side dish too. A grand idea!

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The wine list is diverse, with a decent choice of European drops, as well as many local WA wines. Dad chooses a cracker of a wine, a Margaret River red from Deep Woods Estate. The earthy nebbiolo has red fruit notes. My French le Trois rosé, has a dry finish, which will match our food choices of seafood, pork and duck nicely.

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First up, we spread a lusciously smoky eggplant, mirin and sesame dip ($14) on crisp golden crostini.

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The simple carpaccio of fish ($19) is a menu staple at Billie H. Whatever their fishmonger has fresh that morning is what they’ll use. Today’s fish is silky gold band snapper, cooked in the citric acid of lemon. The juices, along with a little mustard, oil and chives are soaked up with freshly baked bread.

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Seared Wagin duck breast ($34), is perfectly pink. On the side is a celery fricassee, drizzled in a meaty poultry stock. Alia calls her plating style “pretty ugly”, though her creations all look mouth-watering to me. A champion of seasonality, she cooks simple and uncomplicated, allowing produce to shine without fussy foams and soils.

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For us, the dish of the day has to be the incredibly tasty braised pork cheek ($29). Slightly charred, moist jowl meat marries effortlessly with the creamy apricot reduction and sharp, fresh fennel. Intense flavours that are totally swoon-worthy.

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The rainbow carrot dish ($19) is a winner, and thanks to our waitress’s suggestion, a perfect side to our meaty mains. This humble vegetable dish is bursting with flavours and colour. Roasted and pickled carrots are topped with crunchy puy lentils and finished with a sweet sherry glaze.

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Swell, Mullaloo Beach

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There’s a new café in the northern Suburbs! Swell, which opened just a few months ago, sure has a swell view of Mullaloo Beach. Found at the Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club, it has stunning uninterrupted views over the beach and Indian Ocean. At the entry there’s a deck for casual alfresco dining. Dogs are welcome in this area too.

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The modern interior has natural basket-like light features, crisp timber furniture, and bold blue walls, giving it a coastal vibe.

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It’s fresh, airy and a little bit chic, while still maintaining a casual feel.

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And there’s a wraparound balcony out the back, where you’re so close to the beach you can almost touch the white sand. Continue reading

Due Jolly Winery, Pickering Brook

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Due Jolly Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve found yet another gem in the Perth Hills. Due Jolly Winery, is wedged in between Core Cider House and La Fattoria. It’s well worth popping into for a yummy food platter over a glass or two of their wines.

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The little vineyard has a cellar door and lovely decked area, overlooking their lush green orchards. It really is a beaut spot and has that Mediterranean vibe, that I get from a lot of the Hills wineries. Due Jolly means “Two Jokers” in Italian. A lot of the Pickering Brook locals are Italian in heritage, I should know, I went to Lesmurdie Senior High School with loads of Pickers peeps.

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There’s a very nice range of wines available at Due Jolly to buy and try at the Cellar Door. Rob, Due Jolly’s friendly Wine Maker was on hand to guide us through the wines. From a fruity Vermentino to a dry Chardonnay and lovely Shiraz. We ordered a couple of glasses of wine to go with our platter and they were only $5 per glass! If you’re skipper or just not into wine, there’s coffee and tea available too.

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The enormous platter is great value at $45. It’s brimming with three cheeses, pickled veg, salami, a delicious terrine, dips, fruit, chutney, a veggie frittata, nuts, crackers, plus a fresh ciabatta loaf. Perfect for sharing on the deck. Due Jolly can get busy at times, so it’s best to call ahead to book a platter.

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Char Char, Fremantle

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Char Char Bull Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Fishing Boat Harbour in Fremantle has long been a port of call for fresh fish n’ chips. I’d often wondered what popular eatery Char Char Bull offered, but we never quite resisted that golden-fried fish from its neighbours.

Now known as Char Char, the recently refurbished restaurant and bar is just as fresh as the fish next door. It’s probably more accurate to say re-built than refurbished, as the entire restaurant had been completely gutted. The new lounge bar area is perfect for a cheeky pre-dinner drink or two. They’ve done a tremendous job.

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The modern dining room is bathed in light and enjoys views over the harbour. Our table on the window is a top spot for a little people-watching and we spy some kids fishing off the boardwalk, as well as gazing in amazement at boaties docking their yacht into a very tight space.

Service is efficient, despite the restaurant being full to the brim by 7pm. The dining room’s acoustics cope well. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere doesn’t become too noisy, whilst still maintaining a certain intimateness.

The extensive drinks menu features a vintage wine selection, lots of aperitifs to choose from and a fun cocktail list too. I’d like to see more drops available by the glass. My Willow Bridge “Rosa De Slana” Tempranillo Rose, from the Ferguson Valley, is dry for a rose. Knowing steak is in store for him, Chef chooses a full bodied Barossa shiraz, from the Torbreck vineyard.

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We start with some share plates. Crisp croquettes ($13.50) are filled with pork cheek, smoked cheddar and spinach. The moreish morsels are delicious, dunked creamy lemon aioli.

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Thinly sliced lime cured local kingfish ($21) is one of many gluten free options on the menu. It’s a delicate dish that is bursting with the flavours of hot wasabi cream, crisp green apple, parsley oil, sharp red radish and black sesame, which all marry together perfectly.

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Moist pork belly ($19) is faultlessly cooked and served with pickled onion, crumbs of morcilla sausage, preserved lemon cauliflower and crispy sage. Service doesn’t feel rushed, though we don’t have to wait long till our mains arrive.

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Chef chooses a man-sized ($55) 500g rib-eye, served on the bone for added flavour. The hand selected West Australian steak is cut from the rib-section and we’re told it has a good deal of fat marbling – fat is flavour after all. This nicely charred and rested steak is brimming with flavours. Chef lashes on copious amounts of creamy béarnaise sauce. Grill dishes are also accompanied by Char Char’s popular buttermilk mash, which is a little sour, but oh so tasty.

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Dutch Trading Company, Vic Park

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Dutch Trading Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Found at the city end of the Albany Highway strip is Dutch Trading Co. It’s a hip hang out for craft beer lovers and good news… it’s also family friendly! I was meeting some of my friends for a casual catch up, with kids in tow. As soon as I stepped inside the bar I knew I’d been here before, in a past (kid-free) life, back in the day when it was known as Manhattans. Chef was doing his apprenticeship at the Hyatt and this was a after work hang out, just over the Causeway.

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Here is where I should insert snippets of knowledge about craft beer… except I have none. I made a mental note to bring Chef back here, as he’d really be able to appreciate a beer lovin’ spot like this. Continue reading

Bayside Kitchen, Crawley

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I was so impressed with a pre-Christmas lunch catch up at Bayside Kitchen, I just had to go back again. I get so bogged down in new openings in Perth, always having somewhere new to try is both a blessing and a curse. For me, it means that I’ll really love a place, but still never quite manage to find the time to go back there. So when I discovered riverside gem Bayside Kitchen, I thought it would be a perfect spot to take my sister and her family for brunch, who were visiting Australia for the very first time over the New Year.

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Brunch isn’t big where my family is from in Yorkshire. So I had to take them to a beautiful brunching spot while they were visiting Perth and introduce them to the wonder that is smashed avo! Found on the backs of the Swan River, Bayside Kitchen at Matilda Bay has picture postcard views of boats and swans on the clear blue water.

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The coffee at Bayside Kitchen is good… very good!

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My mum and sister enjoyed a summery Aperol Spritz with their lunch. Their menu runs all day, so some of us chose brekkie dishes, while others went for more lunch-y options.

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Smashed avocado with green peas, Danish feta and mint, $19.50, sits upon toasted ciabatta bread along with rocket, tomatoes, and crisp asparagus. All topped with a gloriously runny poached egg. I found this dish delicious on my first visit and my nephew was most impressed with his first smashed avo experience too!

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Mosmans, Mosman Park

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Mosmans Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I say this every year – I can’t believe how fast 2017 has whizzed by. The last 12 months have been full of even more new restaurant openings than I’ve had hot dinners. For my last review of the year, I thought I’d visit a western suburbs favourite, that for me encapsulates summer and Christmas – feasting on seafood, by the water’s edge.

Mosmans sits above the calm waters of Mosman Bay and from our table by the window, we look over the Swan River to yachts and sleepy pelicans perched on the jetty. The classic, understated dining room doesn’t distract from the river views.

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The jetty has been around in one form or another for over a century, the restaurant for 30 years. First known as Meads, a popular haunt for ‘WA inc’ characters, the former Smith’s Boatshed became Mosmans in 2009.

A mix of local and international drops make up the wine list and there’s no need to splash out on an extravagant bottle, as premium wines are available by the glass from the Enomatic Wine Preservation System. A smooth Harewood Estate pinot noir is Chef’s tipple of choice.

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I opt for a summery berry martini, to get me into that festive spirit.

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For entrée we decide to have it all. Seafood platters are very popular at Mosman’s and the hot seafood share plate ($89) is a perfect size for two or three. We enjoy crisp market fish tacos in corn tortillas, with a fresh tomato & avocado salsa and mild jalapeño sour cream. Seared scallops, sitting plump on a bed of wakame seaweed, are perfectly cooked. I get no hint of spicy Cajun flavours from the Cajun prawn skewers, but the grilled cuttlefish is silky smooth and today’s grilled market fresh fish, Goldband Snapper, is buttery soft.

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Basq, Currambine

It was my parents wedding anniversary recently. Usually, I don’t celebrate it with them (I think wedding anniversaries are a couples thing), but today was an EXTRA special day… I had been plotting a surprise!

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One of my sisters (who lives in England) had let me in on her exciting news. She is coming to Perth for a holiday with her kids this December. I’m completely giddy with excitement, particularly as they have never made the big trip to Australia and my parents were going to be over the moon to hear the news! It’s been years since we saw them. So, I’d planned a Skype call after lunch, so my sister could tell them face to face!

Anyway, to our lunch!…

Being a special occasion, we picked Basq in Currambine, one of the best dining spots in our area. The modern European restaurant has a stylishly modern fit out and a buzzing atmosphere. It’s a very light and airy place, with high ceilings and huge open windows.

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Styled as “tapas”, the menu has small share plates, as well as more substantial options for those who don’t like to share their food. The drinks menu at Basq will suit all tastes and there’s always room for a cheeky cocktail or two…

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The Resident, Nedlands

The Resident is the new kid on the Hampden Street block. The venue, previously known as the Byrneleigh Hotel, has moved into Nedlands with a fresh new look.

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The stark interior of white walls, soaring ceilings and crisp white furniture is softened by the use of light woods and fresh flowers. Outside there’s a courtyard dominated by a large boab tree.

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By day, this neighbourhood bar enjoys a café feel. Locals can get their smashed avo fix at The Little Resident” – the café space that flows into the bar. By night, the venue has a buzzing pub feel and a DJ spins the tunes at their popular Sunday sessions.

We sit at a high table, looking over the small, yet interesting wine list of six whites, six reds and bubbles. The wine offering rotates regularly and has a focus on natural, certified organic drops. I find the vegan Geyer Muscat of Alexandria, a very easy drinking wine, with exotic notes. There’s a selection of local beers, spirits and cocktails too.

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The menu is described as “casual Italian”, though we don’t immediately get the Mediterranean feels, since pizza and risotto feature so heavily on all bar menus. At The Resident you’ll also find burgers and ribs, thought the menu is by no means typical pub fare – there are no parmis here! Instead you’ll find food for the health conscious. There’s a fresh mix of local produce, lighter options and more gluten free dishes than you can poke a stick at. Continue reading