Taste Budds Cooking Classes

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Taste Budds Cooking Studio, run by Chef Sophie Budd, is found in Highgate. Sophie has previously worked for popular British Chefs Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver. Predominantly, the cooking studio offers cooking classes for adults, catering, long table dinners, and during the school holidays Sophie runs her extremely popular cooking classes for children.

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Little Chef was invited along for the “hands on” class for eight to twelve year olds. Considering he’s from a family of three Chefs, he doesn’t have many kitchen skills (whoops!). Hospitality is a hard industry to work in and we don’t want to push him into it! Saying that, being able to cook is an important life skill and it’s high time he learned how to peel a spud!

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The class is run by Sophie, with help from Chef Brendon. The main focus of these classes is food preparation skills. Sophie’s passion for cooking is infectious. She’s really great with the kids in the class (usually about 12). Everybody warmed to her instantly and she managed to keep a friendly but authoritative rein on the class. Continue reading

Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, Freo

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Manuka Woodfire Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A chilly winters evening begs for a wood fire. We find a cosy little eatery in Fremantle that fits the bill perfectly. Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, on High Street, serves hearty comfort food cooked exclusively in its wood fire oven.

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Head Chef Kenny McHardy is a champion of West Australian produce. It’s showcased in his ever changing menu which is currently full of winter goodies including roasted beets and truffles. I can sniff out a truffle as well as any truffle dog, so I am pleased to see that they’re currently being featured at Manuka – we’re in the thick of truffle season after all. They’re sourced from a boutique truffle orchard in Manjimup, run by none other than Chef David Coomer (Star Anise, Pata Negra).

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The intimate restaurant oozes Freo with its limestone feature walls. A friendly waiter presents us with a small, though well chosen, drinks menu that features WA wines, beers, ciders and spirits. We enjoy a velvety smooth pinot noir from Mount Barker winery Mount Trio. The drop has cherry aromas and is a great match for slow cooked red meats.

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The popular spot is soon full with customers and the open kitchen is a hive of activity. In saying that, it’s not a noisy restaurant and we’re happy we don’t have to shout over the table as we order our meals. The menu is made up of share plates and gourmet pizzas.
We choose the “Chef’s Menu” at $55 per person. This includes seven dishes from the menu, with the addition of the fresh truffles for an extra cost of $20 per table. Money well spent in my opinion! Along with our wine, we devour roasted olives, which are served warm. The roasting process gives them a softer texture and slightly milder flavour.

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The deliciously spiced flat bread is served with Cooladerra Farm olive oil from Frankland River. The simple bread, freshly baked to order, arrives hot and fluffy from the wood fire. We tear at the bread and dip chunks into the luscious smoked eggplant babaganoush, lapping up every morsel.

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The wait staff are very knowledgeable about the produce used and tell us a little about each dish as it’s served. Next, we share organic feta from Over The Moon Organics, a small Albany dairy farm where the farmers milk the cows and make the cheese. The creamy cheese is delicious drizzled with honey and a scattering of walnuts.

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Little Chef tucks into a smoked beef chorizo pizza ($21) topped with olives, capsicum, spring onion and feta. We sneak a slice and discover that the base is as fluffy and light as the flat bread.

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The first of our meat dishes, Manuka’s award winning charred chicken thigh, is incredibly moist and full of smoky flavours. On the side is pickled red cabbage and a moreish miso sauce.

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The wood roasted beetroot is insanely good. I’m a beetroot fan. I love it on burgers and in salads. Roasting this winter vegetable takes it to a whole other level of flavour. Glistening pomegranate pearls, shaved truffle and a smoked labne make this a decedent veggie dish indeed.

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The beef shin, slow roasted for sixteen hours, is gelatinous, smoky and rich. Served with baby roast potatoes and shavings of parmesan and truffle, adding an earthy flavour. It’s good, honest food and absolutely mouth-watering.

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We finish with little bowls of deconstructed lime cheesecake. Sprinkled with roasted white chocolate and laced with juicy chunks of persimmon, it’s a zesty and light dessert to end our tasty feast.

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Chef Kenny owns Manuka, along with his wife Jody, who runs the front of house. The kitchen team use the simple cooking method of the wood fire, which really allows the top quality produce to shine. The menu at Manuka changes by the day, depending on the local ingredients that are available, so you’re always able to try something new.

Chef and I are impressed by Manuka Woodfire Kitchen’s punchy flavours and beautifully cooked food. We would happily return for more of their warm hospitality by the wood fire.

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** First published in the Post Newspaper

At a glance

■ Manuka Woodfire Kitchen
134 High Street
Fremantle
Phone 9335 3527

■ Opening times
Tuesday to Sunday
5pm till 9pm

■ Rating
food 4
service 4
ambience 4
value for money 5

■ style – Wood-fired cuisine

■ wine – small list of wines from
all around Western Australia.

■ Head Chef – Kenny McHardy

■ Owners – Kenny and
Jody McHardy

■ feel – warm and inviting

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost
Share $7 – $38
Pizza $17 – $21
Dessert $12

■ all in all – Manuka serves
delicious soul-warming
dishes straight from it’s
wood fire. Bookings are
essential.

{NEW OPENING} Lot One Kitchen Hillarys

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Lot One Kitchen  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This one’s HOT off the press! This morning we brunched at Lot One Kitchen, a brand new eatery in the northern suburbs, which has really hit the ground running!

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We popped by for a late brunch. So late, that Little Chef preferred to eat something for lunch. The new restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner has had a beautiful fit out. There’s lots of tables and a cosy nook with sofas too. I love it’s use of tanned leather and stunning light fixtures.

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The service was good, but a little green. I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, being so new! The roast used at Lot One Kitchen is Di Bella. Chef was happy with his flat white and even grabbed a take away on our way out.

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Feeling a cold coming on, I chose a “beet it” beetroot and ginger juice.

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Little Chef had a chocolate milkshake treat. Continue reading

Tony Romas, Perth CBD

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Tony Roma's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When staying in the City, Chef, Little Chef and I enjoyed a family dinner at Tony Romas, a short stroll up Hay Street from our hotel. It’s a family friendly, international chain restaurant that specialises in ribs. I’m obsessed with ribs and I’d been craving Tony Roma’s ribs for a quite some time. It had been a few years since our last visit there – would it still be as good as I remembered?

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We were easily seated without a booking as it was early on a Sunday night. It’s a large restaurant with plenty of tables and some cosy booths too. I knew exactly what I wanted (ribs!). Ordering was a breeze; I just had to choose two sides with to go with my ribs. There’s’ a good choice; Corn on the cob, Wild rice, chips, broccoli, coleslaw, baked potato – I chose a roasted potato and slaw. Little Chef had a good choice of several dishes on the kids menu.

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Just after we placed our order. We were given a complimentary sliced baguette and garlic butter. The butter melted on the warmed bread, it was a nice touch. Continue reading

Health Freak Café, Kings Park

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Health Freak Cafe, Kings Park  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

From as far back as high school I’ve had a bit of a “funny tummy”. Without giving you TMI (too much info), it’s often uncomfortable and very bloaty. My love of food has put me in denial about a possible food intolerance for 20 years. I knew it wasn’t as catastrophic as being coeliac, but little by little I came to the realisation that I needed to get to the, ahem, bottom of the issue.

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So after a load of blood tests and ‘scopeis earlier this year, it turns out that I have a mild gluten intolerance and possibly an intolerance to some other foods (I suspect apple and onion). My GP advised me that I needed to go on a strict low FODMAP elimination diet for about 6 weeks, which I’ve now completed (thank goodness!). FODMAPs are basically short chain carbohydrates that are poorly digested. They include some fructose, monosaccharides, and sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol. So there was a lot I couldn’t eat – even common foods like garlic and mushrooms!

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Cutting out some of these foods has made me feel a whole lot better, though it’s been a nightmare eating out. I now have a new-found appreciation for a well labelled menu. If I see lots of “GF” options it makes me so happy. One spot in particular has been a godsend – Health Freak Café, who have a menu that even caters for FODMAPers! There’s lots of dishes labelled “FOG”, free from onion and garlic. Continue reading

Varsity Bar, Nedlands

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Varsity Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Varsity Bar is quite the popular burger joint. The American themed bar, with huge mural of the “stars and stripes”, was heaving on a Sunday lunchtime. Tables full of punters devouring burgers, $5 pint cans of PBR American beer and Pyrex jugs filled to the brim with creamy milkshakes.

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The bar is found on the ground level of Broadway Shopping Centre, a hop skip and jump from UWA, giving Varsity a student bar feel, though there were plenty of “cough” older people chowing down on their burgers there too.

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The crowd at Varsity is pretty lively. It’s not a quiet bar. There’s sports on big screens, pool tables, ping pong and more.

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With Little Chef being an only child, we tend to think of where we’d like to go to eat and hope that there’s a kids menu, rather than take him somewhere geared at kids with an indoor playground and average food. Varsity isn’t a bar you’d immediately think of taking kids to, though there were quite a few families when we visited. I think its fine for older kids, like 8 year old Little Chef. There’s a kids menu so it ticked that box for us.
Little Chef picked the cheeseburger and fries ($10), which he devoured in next to no time.IMG_8937

Continue reading

CAT Bus Adventures in Perth With Kids

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Public transport can be a real novelty for kids, who spend much of their time travelling in Mum or Dad’s car. Young children will delight in a train ride or trip on a bus. The Perth CAT busses are a quick and easy way of getting around the city, when little legs get weary or just to see a bit more of what the CBD and Northbridge have to offer.

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Jump on and off the free CAT (Central Area Transit) busses at their dedicated stops all around Perth. Kids can answer their own “When will the bus be here?” question by pressing the big button and having the voice tell them how many minutes away the next CAT is. The busses are also pram friendly and have priority seating.

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There are four coloured CAT BUS routes, zig zagging around the city from West Perth to East Perth and Northbridge. Grab a map from the bus ports, train stations or tourism information stand in Forrest Place and get exploring the attractions, parks and eateries of the city of Perth!

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Here’s my guide to the best bus stops to hop on and off with your family in Perth.

BLUE CAT ROUTE

STOP 1 – Elizabeth Quay Bus Station

If you’re planning a day exploring the city by CAT bus, you may even arrive here by bus or train. The Elizabeth Quay Bus Station is just over the road from the Quay itself. The brilliant Elizabeth Quay is a great place for a ride on the Venetian Carousel, game of mini golf, a scoop of delish Gusto Gelato or casual bite to eat at V Burger.

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STOP 2 – Barrack Square

There’s loads to do at Barrack Square! This stop is also the best for the south side of Elizabeth Quay. Opposite the CAT Stop is the famous Perth Bell Tower, cafes and ferry stops for exploring the Swan River. Stroll over the Elizabeth Quay bridge and check out the excellent playground! Continue reading