New Normal, Subiaco

IMG_9572Subi is on the up – home again to some of Perth’s best restaurants. LuLu La Delizia was recently named Australia’s number one pasta restaurant and another to add to this list of must-try Subiaco dining spots is New Normal.IMG_9604

The new bar and kitchen, found in the Simon Chugg heritage building, is a place to share grazing plates with friends over some carefully selected local wines. There are long communal tables with vases of native flora, cosy booths draped with art deco style light fittings and high stools at the bar.IMG_9600

Continue reading

Mayfair Lane – West Perth

IMG_2160Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Mayfair Lane is a British pub, but not as we know it. The West Perth venue is not similar to other theme bars, with their faux Tudor façades and twee interiors. Mayfair Lane oozes cool Britannia.

We reviewed this venue, then known as The Brown Fox, a few years ago. It was adequate and did everything it said on the box. With the addition of new owners Chris and Foni Pollitt, and a new Head Chef, everything has been stepped up a few notches.

Gone is the dingy interior, now there’s welcoming subtle blue/grey hues and chandeliers to lighten up the bar. The dining room is elegant. If you’re after something more casual, sit on a high table near the bar or outside on the veranda along with the West Perth office workers.IMG_4815

Foni, along with her husband Chris, have spent many years in hospitality all around the world. Their very different experiences bring a lot to this gastro pub. Foni has had a polished, silver service career in high end restaurants as a Maître’D, as well as opening many gastropubs in the UK and Canada. Chris ran some of the hippest bars in East London. Head Chef, Shannon Wilson has rattled his pans all around the world, including at Necker Island for Sir Richard Branson, no less.

As we arrive for lunch, there doesn’t seem to be any wait staff on the floor. We seat ourselves on the veranda and find menus, unsure if table service is on offer. It is and after our wait person arrives, the service is on the ball. At Mayfair Lane you can dine on traditional pub fayre, like bangers and mash or choose something a little fancy, like their lamb assiette. I’m here for one of their signature dishes, the steak tartare, which some have said is the best in Perth.IMG_2178

The extensive wine list is a little bit special. Foni, is somewhat of a Sommelier extraordinaire. The certified wine educator has created what is arguably the best wine list of any pub in Perth. There’s a large choice of by the glass wines and I pick a French rose, feeling confident that it will be a cracker. The pale rose Château Les Crostes Cinsault Grenache is indeed a tasty drop.IMG_4746

I start with the famed steak tartare, $22, which is always a good measure of a kitchen. Ultra-fresh raw steak is bound together with herbs, shallots and a spiced mayo then topped with a gooey, soft-boiled quail’s egg.  I scoop at the delicious tartare with the house made game crisps. It’s spot on.IMG_4771

At $21, the three pan-fried scallops are a touch on the pricey side. Served with a creamy pommes purée, vanilla tomato compote and a verjuice jus, this light dish has well balanced, punchy flavours.IMG_4763 Continue reading

Lot Twenty – Northbridge

IMG_7990

Lot Twenty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lot Twenty is a favourite Northbridge bar of mine, but I don’t go there nearly enough. It’s from the guys behind Five Bar. One of my lovely friends, Reeva (from blog “Proudly South African In Perth” ) and I enjoyed a spur of the moment dinner there recently. We’d been at a foodie event in the city, though our tummies were still rumbling, so we snuck out in search of more food!  I was hoping Jerry Fraser – Oyster shocker extraordinaire – was there. He now divides his time between Lot Twenty and Five Bar (Beaufort Street, Highgate).IMG_7987

The small bar is in a renovated old building right next to Perth Cultural Centre  which brings in a mix of people – students, hipsters and office workers. It has a cool vibe, excellent drinks and a large outdoor courtyard.IMG_3799

It was Jerry’s night at Lot Twenty (He’s there Wednesdays and Fridays) and as always, his oysters were super fresh and spot on!LOT20

Reeva and I also shared gnocchi, croquettes and salad. The cheesy provolone gnocchi was so light and fluffy. It was a wonderful winter dish. The cauliflower and cheese croquettes, $11, were moreish and the house made tomato sauce delivered a spicy kick.  IMG_3797

We both really enjoyed the wombok salad, $10. The crisp wombok and red cabbage was joined with fresh mint, coriander, toasted peanuts and an Asian vinaigrette. IMG_3795

We were both really impressed by the food at Lot Twenty. It was so convenient to grab a bite to eat there. The staff are always very helpful and it was handy to have a split billing option when we paid, which for the small feast we had was great value for money. I’ll be back again! I’m still thinking about that gnocchi…

Bad Apples Bar – Ardross

IMG_3614

Bad Apples Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’d been kindly invited to Bad Apples Bar in Ardross, near Applecross. I don’t venture south of the river too much, so I was excited to visit a bar that I’d heard great things about on the Perth foodie grapevine.  I met one of my oldest friends there – Miss G “The Dancer” who has appearing in two Beyoncé videos to her credit. I wish I had a claim to fame like that!!

IMG_3617Bad Apples is a chic bar worthy of Bey herself. There’s a classy lounge area, high tables near the bar (with AFL for the footy fans) and the outside alfresco area too. Miss G and I met there to have a casual weekend lunch catch-up over a drink or two.IMG_3618

Bad Apples has a well thought out drinks list. I can’t go past a pretty drink and the cocktail list at Bad Apples is full of them! The vanilla and passionfruit martini is scrumptious. I also love a good pun and like the sound of the “Tequila Mockingbird” (hehe). There’s also a good selection of craft beer, spirits and then there’s the wines…IMG_3581

The wine list is brimming with Australian labels with a few European drops thrown in for good measure. At Bad Apples, they were the one of the first in Perth to offer a unique Enomatic Wine System. It’s a sort of wine vending  machine that allows people to enjoy the premium wines that would usually only be available by the bottle, “by the glass”. The machine keeps the open bottles fresh and at the correct temperature. IMG_3584

With the help of our friendly waiter, we choose a few dishes from the share menu to try. The menu is a mix of international cuisines and bar snack favourites like the hand cut potato chips, $10. The piping hot chips are ever so crisp and well seasoned. We relish the seeded mustard aoli which is really great for dunking!IMG_3596 

The broccolini, $10, is a big hit with these two green loving girls. It was perfectly cooked and tossed in a little chilli oil to give it a nice kick and finished with a little grated manchego cheese.IMG_3598

The pork belly dish is comes highly recommended. Three pieces of crisp pork belly, $18, are deliciously fudgy and have that crunchy crackle that I’m always craving. The flavoursome meat is drizzled with a sweet caramel miso sauce and topped with a pickled ginger salsa. The flavours work together very nicely in this Japanese inspired dish.IMG_3587

The two wagu beef sliders, $16, are tasty morsels. Bursting with fresh salad, a BBQ chipotle sauce and mozzarella – they go down a treat.IMG_3591

The shredded duck tacos are also a great share dish, $16 for three. The duck meat has that deliciously rich game-y flavour. The soft tacos are stuffed with fresh greens, a sweet pineapple salsa and chipotle sauce.IMG_3604

Also on the menu are gourmet pizzas and more substantial main dishes if you’re feeling extra hungry. For us, it was time for dessert! The spiced rum chocolate tart, $13, was to die for! A generous slice of chocolate tart is topped with a creamy citrus mascarpone and a nut praline. We cut through the scrumptious tart with spoons, the pastry is spot on and the chocolate not too sweet, but enough to give you that coco fix. A decadent way to end a yummy lunch.IMG_3612

Bad Apples is one of those neighbourhood bars that everyone wishes they lived within walking distance to. It’s a big hit with the Applecross locals. The cosy bar has a great atmosphere and hosts weekly quiz nights, as well as live music.IMG_3622

Thanks to the Bad Apples team for having us for a delicious lunch. We genuinely enjoyed their mix of international cuisines and will absolutely be back.IMG_3621

 

 

Bars Of The State Buildings – Perth CBD

IMG_2196
You’ll never go thirsty  at the State Buildings. Chef and I started off at the Treasury Lounge Bar, which is part of the COMO Hotel. The bar runs right along Cathedral Ave and is a chic and classy spot with superb “white glove” service. It’s the perfect spot to have a cheeky pre-drink if you’re all dressed up and heading to dinner at Wildflower or Post – think fine champagnes,  the very best West Australian sparkling wines, exquisite canapés and freshly shucked oysters – there’s no better excuse to get your best cocktail dress on!IMG_2195On this day, Chef and I were looking for something a little more casual. So we ventured onto the Barrack Street side of the building, to Petition Beer Corner.IMG_2241_Fotor

Petition Beer Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Craft Beer has been on trend for a few years now and Perth has been crying out for a dedicated craft beer bar. If you’re a craft beer aficionado, this is your mecca. There is so much choice and so many craft beers on tap!IMG_2208

I’ll hold my hands up – I’m not a beer drinker at all. Chef on the other hand gets rather excited to discover a new brew, so Petition Beer Corner was right up his alley. It’s laid back and I liked the vibe. We didn’t catch his name, but the “beer guy” with curly hair was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, going out of his way to help Chef pick a draught beer that was just right for his taste. IMG_2204

And Chef’s pick – the Red Ale! There are lots of West Australian and international beers on tap. On one of our trips to Petition Beer Corner we were going to be eating next door at Petition Kitchen and Chef was able to take his unfinished beer through to the restaurant and also top order the tap beers from there. The Beer Corner has a more casual menu.IMG_2197_Fotor

And finally…

If you’re after a bit of fun, check out Halford Bar. The décor in the basement bar, underneath the Como Hotel is kitsch, with velvet chairs and colourful lights – I felt like I was in the 1950s. It is a classy little joint though and becoming very well known for its excellent cocktails. I absolutely loved the “Coconut Blossom” which is a soft, fruity mix of sake, elderflower liqueur, coconut water and yuzu juice. It’s so pretty too!IMG_2269_Fotor

You’ll never be stuck for a quality drink at the State Buildings. I hear Long Chim and Wildflower both have an excellent drink selection too – I can’t wait to try them! IMG_2376_Fotor

 

Five Bar – Mount Lawley

IMG_0793

Five Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
{Quick Bite}

Drinks at Five is something that I often think about, but don’t do nearly enough!  Five Bar in Mount Lawley is a Beaufort Street staple. Personally, I like to go there when it’s not too busy, when I can easily grab a spot on one of the comfy sofas.IMG_0792

I was meeting a fellow foodie there, Grace and though it was mid-week I REALLY fancied a cider. Knowing that Five has a great range, I let the friendly barman pick it for me – it was a cracker! Apart from totally loving the stripy label, the Australian Endless Pear cider was light and not too sweet. I’d have it again for sure.

IMG_0791

For lunch I enjoyed the more-ish mushrooms on toast. I love the use of different mushrooms – especially the enokis. The tasty dish is enough on it’s own or easy to share. Most of Five’s menu can be shared.IMG_0786

Five Bar is a great spot for drinks and has good food. I always find the barmen there particularly friendly too. I really like the chilled out, unpretentious vibe and even after a stress-y work day like this one – I always leave feeling relaxed.

And a top tip – Jerry Fraser the KING of oysters is at Five bar a couple of times week! I love Jerry to bits and he is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to these yummy little morsels. He also spends time shucking at Five Bar’s sister venue Lot 20 in Northbridge. Check out their FB page for updates.Untitledohaaa

Stix Bar & Restaurant – Burswood {CLOSED}

IMG_1258
Stix Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
One of my beautiful friends, Miss G, had returned from Melbourne after a whopping 8 years away. It felt like I hadn’t seen her in forever. So when I got an invite from owner Kate Ayris to dine at the new Stix Bar and Restaurant, it seemed like the perfect spot for a welcome home cocktail and dinner, overlooking our beautiful home city. New Image1

You haven’t heard of Stix?! It opened just a few months ago, in an area of Burswood a little off the beaten track. It’s hardly in the sticks though (hehe) – it is found a short walk from Crown – at the base of a swanky apartment building.

Stix has a wonderful view over the Swan River to the Perth city skyline, so I purposely booked an early dinner, so we could enjoy the sunset.

The kitchen is run by Head Chef Francois Morabito who was also once Head Chef at Paris’ two-star Michelin restaurant La Vieille Fontaine. In Perth, I have previously enjoyed his food at Bistro Des Artistes, in Subiaco.IMG_1259

It’s a chic venue, perfect for a pre show or pre dinner drink. A cocktail felt like a fitting choice – the French Martini was absolutely delish and may just be my new favourite!

IMG_1270

Miss G chose a nice drop of prosecco.

IMG_1266

Kate asked us if we’d like to choose from the menu or to opt for the degustation ($80pp). In the interests of seeing as much as Chef Francois’s menu as possible – the dego made sense and everyone knows I DO enjoy a dego! At Stix, the menu has a lot of French elements, but it also has a very international feel – with Asian, Spanish and many more influences.IMG_1298

We start our feast with three spreads. A smoked tomato butter, whipped pork and a red radish butter were presented beautifully. I particularly savour the whipped pork – of course! Also on the board are organic olives, sourced locally from Moore River and delicate parmesan tuiles, we had freshly baked bread on the side.IMG_1275

The Jamon, draped on delicious tomato bread, is mouth-watering. The Spanish ham has been aged for a whopping 30-months and is full of flavour.IMG_1288

The Carnarvon pink snapper tartare, served with passion fruit and Pemberton finger lime, is as lovely as it looks. The salmon is so fresh and complimented by the sweet and tangy fruity flavours.IMG_1281

Thinly sliced seared beef tataki is very tasty, marinated in rice wine, ginger and chilli. It suddenly dawns on me how fussy G is with food – as I glance over at Miss G and she appears to be enjoying it too. Phew!IMG_1292

Next up is the crispy crust salmon, wrapped in a thin pastry crust, tasty vegetable ratatouille and roasted asparagus. The salmon was a touch overcooked for my liking, but I like it nonetheless and really enjoy the crisp pastry.IMG_1295

A perfectly cooked Peking-style duck breast is brimming with authentic Asian flavours. I love hoisin sauce, which is tossed through the wok fried vegetables.IMG_1302

Onto the sweets and a bowl of fresh strawberries and a refreshing basil sorbet really hits the spot.IMG_1305

There is also a cheese course, but we are really struggling at this point and advise our waiter that we sadly have no room – I’m sure it is very tasty! So instead we finish on the penultimate course – a scrumptious rhubarb éclair.IMG_1309

Thank you to Kate, Francois and their teams for having us for dinner at Stix Bar and Restaurant. We really enjoyed it and I’d absolutely recommend that you try Stix too. It has a warm atmosphere, luxurious interior, great food – full of flavour and technique, decedent drinks and million dollar view.IMG_1310

The Duke – Carramar

IMG_9650

Click to add a blog post for The Duke on Zomato

Waiting 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

The Ashby Bar and Bistro

IMG_9563

Click to add a blog post for The Ashby on Zomato

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

   

Subiaco Hotel – Subiaco

IMG_9322

Subiaco Hotel on Urbanspoon

The Subiaco Hotel has sat proud on the corner of Hay Street and Rokeby road for over 115 years. The grand old lady, affectionately known to many as “The Subi”, has recently undergone a dramatic makeover. My bet is that it cost much more than the 4500 pounds it originally cost to build the Subiaco Hotel in the 1800s.

Dining RoomAt the Subiaco Hotel you can enjoy a glass of Dom Perignon with your bangers and mash. Depending on what tickles your fancy, you can enjoy high end pub grub or something a little swankier.

Chef, Little Chef and I arrive for an early dinner. We are warmly greeted and seated at a table with a crisp linen tablecloth in the classy brasserie, next to the now enclosed courtyard. We don’t want to compromise on venue or quality of food too much for the sake of choosing somewhere “child friendly”. To our delight not only does the Subiaco Hotel have a children’s menu and colouring-in to keep Little Chef amused – the staff are also very friendly, engaging him in conversation and making us all feel welcome.

IMG_9329The Subiaco Hotel has an extensive wine list – though there isn’t a lot available by the glass. I love the French 2013 Château La Gordonne Grenache, at $9.50 a glass. The rosé isn’t overwhelmingly sweet and has a smooth strawberry aftertaste.

IMG_9338For entrée I enjoy the BBQ’d quail, $18. Whilst the quail is petite – the entrée as a whole is a generous serve. The succulent quail sits upon a pumpkin puree, sautéed oyster mushrooms and is finished with an acidic Chinese black vinegar sauce and deep fried crispy pork crackling.

IMG_9336As Chef eats the “blow torched” hiramusa fillet, $18, it’s apparent that it’s over cooked. This is disappointing, as it’s best served just cooked and it is an excellent fish for sashimi. The warm wasabi noodle salad contains a very spicy kick. The noodles are tossed in chilli, as well as having three very liberal serves of wasabi – a softer wasabi aoli would have been more fitting on this dish.

WhitingThe tender school whiting fillets, $36, are very tasty. They are served with a salsa of sweet corn, tomato and coriander – which bursts with freshness. The charred asparagus is cooked perfectly and delicious slice of pressed potato finishes the dish well.

IMG_9344The BBQ’d New York strip, $38, is nicely cooked medium rare. The steak is covered in lettuce leaves and lashings of spicy Asian sauce which overpowers the dish. It is accompanied by a kim chi apple salad and noodles.

IMG_9355Desserts arrive and my sticky date pudding, $14.50, is as moist as I’d hoped. Double cream, as well as vanilla bean ice cream, is heaped on top. It is a warming, satisfying end to my meal, though there is too much of the sweet sticky date sauce for my liking.

chocolate savarinChef devours the chocolate savarin, $15. The savarin shape is made with a slightly bitter valrhona chocolate mousse – complimented with salted caramel, honeycomb and chocolate bubbles on the side.

IMG_9327Whilst the food suffers from a few technical errors, it is explained by the kitchen being in a transitional mode at the moment. The long standing Head Chef Brad Burton recently departed and a new Head Chef is due to start soon. Just like the renovated building and surrounds, the Subiaco Hotel’s food is classy pub fayre. The prices are reasonable – you can indeed live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget at The Subi.IMG_9324

**First Published in the Post newspaper**

At a glance

■ The Subiaco Hotel

465 Hay Street

Subiaco

Phone 9381 3069

■ Opening times

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: 7am – 12pm

Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 7am – 1am

Sunday: 7am – 12pm

■ Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Modern Australian

■ wine – extensive list, mostly

available by the bottle.

■ Chef – to be announced

■ Owner – Judy & Michael Monaghan

■ feel – sophisticated, yet relaxed.

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Entree – $14 – $18

Mains – $20 – $38.5

Dessert – $14- $15

■ all in all – Friendly service, excellent

drinks list & pleasant surrounds.

Food needs some tweaking.