Our City Staycation at Holiday Inn Perth CBD

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I think the Holiday Inn has to be one of the best Perth hotels for a family stay in the city. Not only was the four and a half star hotel recently refurbished and is incredibly modern, it is also slap bang in the heart of the CBD, opposite the Central Park building on Hay Street, close to the pedestrian shopping malls, cafes and attractions.

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Chef, Little Chef and I were excited about our Holiday Inn staycation. I was there on assignment for Buggybuddys, Perth’s top kids website, who I also write for. We didn’t have time to travel anywhere for a break, so discovering our own city was a great alternative and we jumped at the opportunity to check out the Holiday Inn.

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We pulled our car up in the driveway at the side of the hotel, which is really convenient if you want to take advantage of their valet parking. We entered the lobby and were promptly checked in by the welcoming ladies at the front desk. Particular attention was paid to Little Chef, who was given an activity pack and told that there would be a special surprise if he completed the book, so he was totally on a mission to finish it!

Our Rooms

HolInnFamPic Credit: Holiday Inn Perth

We grabbed our overnight bags and electronic key and excitedly headed to our Family Room on the seventh floor. The Family Room features a massive king sized bed in the main area, which faces a large 48” flat-screen TV, perfect for lying in bed and watching a movie!

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There’s an adjoining separate bedroom (which we were stoked about!) with a further two single beds and a 32” flat-screen TV. There’s also a desk – where Little Chef quickly set to work on his activity book. It kept him entertained for ages!

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Zephyr Restaurant, North Beach

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Zephyr Mediterranean Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I hadn’t heard of North Beach restaurant Zephyr, who kindly asked us in for dinner, so I asked my friend Google a little about them. What I found was a Gold Plate winning restaurant that has many positive reviews online and a very loyal local following in the Perth northern beaches.

Zephyr’s website describes it’s self as an Italian restaurant. So when I arrived I was expecting to see pasta and pizza on the menu… you won’t find that at Zephyr. It’s a European restaurant, which has “Mediterranean style” dishes on the menu.

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We dined on a rainy Wednesday, the restaurant had a lively atmosphere, with tables of people happily chatting and enjoying tunes played by Pablo the Spanish guitarist in the enclosed alfresco area. I enjoyed a bit of music with my fruity drink!

For main, Chef chose the Harvey beef fillet ($39). Cooked nicely medium rare, it was topped with a plump field mushroom, truffle salt, shaved parmesan and a red wine sauce. He also picked a side of chunky roasted rosemary and garlic potato chips.

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I picked the pork belly ($36) as it’s one of my favourite cuts of meat. The pork was served with creamy mash, scallops and a house made spicy kim chi. Julienned snow peas were perfectly cooked. Unfortunately the crackling wasn’t crisp, but the rest of the belly meat was moist and flavoursome.

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Honey Crème – Perth CBD

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Honey Creme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Perth’s love of ice cream and gelato just keeps on growing! Korean favourite “Honey Creme” is taking over the world and their very first Australian outlet has opened up in Perth’s CBD. Honey Crème, found on Barrack Street between the Hay and Murray Street Malls, is a soft serve lover’s paradise. While having a wander around the shops, Little Chef and I popped in to see what all the fuss is about.

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Honey Crème’s signature honeycomb flavour is unmistakably popular, though Little Chef had one of their special flavours in his sights. You’ll also find delicious (and wacky) flavours like bacon and chocolate, organic cotton candy, popcorn, cereal milk(?!), churros, tiramisu and macarons. If you’re feeling fancy, get a milkshake topped with organic cotton candy – the kids will love it.

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Little Chef devoured the scrumptious “Milo Reo” ice cream, a milo/oreo combo topped with a sugar cracker. He loved it, saying it was incredibly creamy and sweet. Their soft serve is made with premium fresh local milk and then sweetened with organic local honeycomb.

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It certainly beats a 50 cent cone, but priced from $5.50 they’re not as budget friendly! Essentially Honey Crème is a takeaway, but the tiny store does have two or three small tables inside if you prefer to sit and eat your ice cream.

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No matter which flavour you decide on, all of Honey Creme’s creations look just as good as they taste.

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Urban Bowl, Perth CBD

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Urban Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hiding amongst the city skyscrapers, you’ll find a modern Vietnamese café. Lunch-y things like rice paper rolls, noodle salads, noodle soup bowls and Vietnamese baguette rolls are on the menu – with a focus on flavour and value.

Owner and Head Chef Che Tam Nguyen is influenced by many trends and cuisines – from the dude food he used to cook in his delicious Butty’s Food Truck, the modern Australian cuisine he used to plate up as part of the Australian Culinary team and now his popular Vietnamese Urban Bowl eatery, just off St Georges Terrace in the CBD.

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Tam invited me in for a spot of lunch. The last time that I worked in the city was 2004, so I relished the opportunity to walk down the bustling terrace at noon. I really miss having the city’s takeaway and lunch spots right at my finger tips! Continue reading

Maison Staint-Honore, Swan Valley

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Maison Saint-Honoré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s a truth bomb… for years I’ve been guilty of pronouncing the word “macaron” wrong! It’s “mac-a-ron” not “mac-a-roon” (coconut biscuit). Silly me…

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I had a #girlboss catch up with a couple of lovely ladies in the Swan Valley, coffee and notepads at the ready. I work from home now, freelancing with writing and social media, and these networking and “pep-talk” meetings are invaluable for sharing ideas and encouraging each other. Working on your own can be incredibly lonely!

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Park and Vine, City Beach

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Park & Vine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

City Beach eatery, Park and Vine, is found at the popular Empire Village shopping and dining precinct. The casual diner was opened by local Paulette Contessi last year, as a spot that locals would feel comfortable to ‘hang out’ at with some drinks and share food. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we dine there on a midweek evening with our son, “Little Chef”. A waitress warmly greets us and we have the pick of the tables in the spacious restaurant which overlooks leafy Beecroft Park.

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The modern Australian style menu is made up of share dishes and mains like an “old skool” burger, fish n chips and pasta. A children’s menu is full of good quality kid’s favourites. The family friendly restaurant has colouring in for the kids, giant jenga and board games – making meal times more engaging for kids and adults alike. The small wine list is made up of drops mainly from Australia and New Zealand. I enjoy a glass of NZ Satyr Sileni Pinot Gris which is full of stone fruit notes.

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Before we order, the waitress advises us that the dish I am eyeing up, gnocchi with blistered tomatoes, is unavailable. Disappointing, though I am happy enough to pick the rosemary and garlic lamb rack with roast chat potato instead, as that sounds equally as mouth-watering. A few minutes after placing our orders another waitress returns, advising the lamb is also off the menu, due to supplier issues. Chef totally gets that. I choose fillet steak for my plan C. I’m not usually a steak eater when I dine out, but my menu choices are dwindling. We’re charged the price of the rack of lamb ($38), for the steak as way of compensation, which is a welcome gesture. In no time our share dishes arrive and I bite into the lightly battered salt and pepper squid ($15), my heart sinks a little, as I discover it’s chewy. It takes extra effort from my choppers to chew through the tentacles.

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Chef enjoys three fish tacos ($16) doused in a tasty chipotle sauce. We agree more care should have been taken over the chunky mango salsa, with large pieces of red onion throughout.

Fish Tacos

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You Plate It

After a busy day working I often lose track of time. Suddenly 5pm arrives and I start panicking! What’s for dinner?!

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Perth small business “You Plate It” have made home cooking easy and enjoyable with their tasty recipes.

I had an email land in my inbox from the guys behind You Plate It – who deliver boxes of fresh local ingredients, along with recipes, so you can easily prepare a delicious meal in your kitchen. I was really keen to try out their concept and add a bit of excitement to our dinnertimes.

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How You Plate It works…

Delivery day are on Sundays, when everything we needed to prepare two delicious meals was delivered (for free!) right to our door. We were out at the time, but that’s ok, each box is insulated and has an ice pack inside, keeping the meat and veg very cold and fresh. The box is brimming with fresh produce, as well as recipe cards that include easy, step-by-step instructions and photos. The ingredients for each dish are packed in separate bags, so you just pop the bags in your fridge until you’re ready to cook it up a few days later.

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The ingredients are sourced from local WA farmers and family owned businesses, ensuring the freshest, highest quality produce available. You Plate It hand pick the ingredients, which are portioned, ready for adding to your recipe. As they say “Less mess. Less mistakes. Less waste.” Most of the You Plate It meals can be prepared in 35 minutes or less.

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Cooking With You Plate It

Cooking with You Plate It really appealed to me.

I’d love to tell you that I’m a domestic goddess, who has an exciting meal on the table each night. Nope. In our house we generally rotate between the same five or six meals – chicken salad, tacos, fish wraps, chicken curry, spaghetti bolognaise – you get the idea.

I don’t cook these dishes day in, day out because I love them (though I suppose they’re alright) I cook them because they’re quick, easy, healthy and Little Chef will eat them with minimum fuss. They don’t excite me. I choose “safe” dishes for the sake of a quiet dinner time without whining! I want to enjoy our family dinner time together, not have a battle at the dinner table.

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Choosing recipes from their website was so easy, everything sounded so delicious and not too difficult to cook.

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So what did I cook?

Dinner one, was balsamic pork medallions.IMG_8735

There’s not a lot of steps involved, I’m no Chef and I found the meal really easy to put together.

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The balsamic dressing, with capers and lemon really made it. I do admit I asked Chef to plate it up for me, as he would do a much better job!

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This had to be the favourite out of the two dinners, mainly because the crisp potato hash isn’t something I would usually cook. It was a big hit with all of us, especially the tasty pork fillet.

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Dinner two was a beef stir fry. This dish was so easy, as most of the veg was pre chopped.

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The step by step instructions are simple to follow.

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The meat isn’t your usual pre sliced stir fry beef, like you get at the supermarket. Here you‘re supplied with a juicy rump steak to slice up, ensuring a quality meal. We were really impressed with the quality of all the seasonal local produce, the meat in particular.

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And in no time we had a delicious tender beef stir fry, teaming with fresh veg and Asian flavours.

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Cooking with You Plate It made me realise that I don’t really mind cooking. What I don’t enjoy is thinking of what to cook each night and the monotony of cooking the same meals over and over again. You Plate It’s nutritionally balanced dishes change each week, so there’s always new tried and tested recipes that you’re guaranteed to love.

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What you’ll get out of You Plate It…

The boys really enjoyed our taste of You Plate It and I’d definitely recommend that you try it, they certainly take the hard yards out of meal preparation!

o   It takes the thinking out of meal planning.

o   Less time spent grocery shopping.

o   Preparation is a breeze with ingredients already portioned out – no wastage!

o   Hassle free cooking, with an easy to follow step by step method with pictures.

o   The feeling of organisation!

o   Experiment with a variety of cuisines and foods you haven’t tried before.

o   and best of all… bring back a little fun into your kitchen.

Thanks to the You Plate It team for letting us try your very tasty dinners!

To place an order or for more information on You Plate It, check out their website.

Find out if you live in their delivery area here… https://youplateit.com.au/delivery-areas