Rose & Crown – Guildford

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Rose & Crown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rose and Crown Hotel, on leafy Swan Street in Guildford, is a stunning heritage building. It is the second oldest operating pub in Australia. The grand old building, which is over 175 years old, has been restored beautifully.IMG_6129

We’ve visited the historic hotel many times over the years. It’s somewhere we like to have long lunches, drinks with friends and take overseas guests to. We just love any excuse for a bite to eat in the shady beer garden.IMG_6126

The Rose and Crown is also lovely on a cold winter’s day. We’ve often stopped by on a chilly day and eaten indoors, by the roaring fire. I cannot rave enough about the beer garden. If you’ve never been, do yourself a favour and go and have a lazy afternoon in the sun dappled garden.IMG_6125

On this day I was meeting my parents on my birthday. We wanted to meet somewhere near the Swan Valley that had good food, but was casual enough for kids. We sat in the beer garden with a glass of wine, while Little Chef busily chatted and coloured in.IMG_6096

We enjoyed a delicious lunch. My Dad loved his masterstock pork belly ($36). A generous slab of flavoursome pork belly is served with tender grilled Freo octopus, a herb salad, crispy pork scratching and an apple gel.IMG_6103

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Mundaring Weir Hotel – Perth Hills

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Mundaring Weir Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As a kid growing up in the Perth Hills, I went on many a Sunday drive to Mundaring Weir – it usually would end with a cone from an ice cream truck at the dam or a trip to the Mundaring Weir Hotel. Now with Little Chef, it was a case of history repeating itself some decades later, as we stopped at the historic hotel for a bite to eat.

The Mundaring Weir Hotel, just a two minute drive from the Mundaring Weir dam wall, has huge gardens and an amphitheatre where they stage regular concerts by popular artists like Kacey Chambers, Kate Cebrano and more. We walked through the historic hotel which is over 110 years old. The upstairs bar is full of antiques, which caught Little Chef’s interest. He’s never seen a gramophone before.

The hotel’s café is found downstairs, at the back of the building and there are loads of shady decks and verandas dotted around it in an eclectic fashion. It can be a bit of a maze. We ordered our food at the café and about 15 minutes later our buzzer went off for us to collect our lunch.

Both my Dad and Chef chose a steak sandwich, $21, to enjoy with a cold pint of beer. They gave it the thumbs up. A scotch fillet steak with onion jam, cheddar cheese, beetroot, rocket and BBQ sauce was served between two slices of Turkish bread with a serve of extra chunky beer battered chips.

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The Duke – Carramar

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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

Samsons Paddock – Mosman Park

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My father-in-law, who is also a chef, has a rule – never dine at a brand new restaurant. He recommends giving any new restaurant a good couple of months to iron out the creases and really hit their stride. Despite this, Chef and I dine at newbie “Samsons Paddock” in Mosman Park when it was still finding its feet. It has been open a mere six weeks. We were there to review it for the Post newspaper – something that I absolutely relish.IMG_7370

We’re warmly greeted and given a choice of places to sit, the dining room, outside or in the bar. We choose the long wooden communal table in the bar area. The exposed brick walls and the hanging industrial light fittings look great and there is a real warmth about the space. That warmth is also extended to the outdoor courtyard, where there are red-brick fireplaces and lots of seating scattered with funky, bright cushions. There is blues-y music in the background, which gives the bar a southern American vibe. The interior has that rustic look that so many places do now – but since Sampson’s Paddock is steeped in history – it really works. IMG_7366

In the early 1840s, Lionel Samson purchased the land where the bar now stands for a princely sum of 10 pounds. He farmed the land, the locals nicknamed it “Samson’s Paddock”. It was perfectly positioned on the Fremantle to Perth route – so the entrepreneurial Samson turned Samson’s Paddock into a popular watering hole for both horseman and horse.

IMG_7367The menu is like a novel! It comes in the form of a book. Chapter one is an interesting history of the building. In chapter two, you’ll find the menu, which is designed to share. Chapter three is an extensive and still evolving drinks menu. Sampson’s has a good selection of mainly local wine, including some premium wines available by the glass. There is also an excellent collection of whiskies.IMG_7403

We choose chicken & almond albondigas ($17) from the small plates menu. The chicken meatballs are extremely fragrant. They are sitting in a little dish of Catalan sorfito – a deliciously rich Spanish tomato and onion sauce. Though tasty, I am put-off by finding tiny pieces of cartilage in each ball. It’s a shame, as otherwise it’s great dish – but that stops us from finishing it off.IMG_7382

The char grilled porterhouse tasting board ($59), is fit for any carnivore, with a whopping four different types of steak. The tasting notes advise you to eat the steaks in a particular order – veal, then the grain fed steak, the grass fed and finally the wagu beef. We taste each piece au natural, then add some zesty gremolata to the next piece to see the difference in taste. The veal is tender. There’s a noticeable difference between the grain and grass fed cuts, the grass fed being much stronger in flavour. Of course the wagu is top notch – with a wonderful buttery flavour. On the side are roast veg and hand cut chips. We relish every morsel.IMG_7381

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the stuffed calamari ($25) is chewy, but the calamari tubes are not as tender as I would have hoped. The spinach stuffing is spot on, as is the mouth-watering combination of creamy blue cheese sauce with mushroom grits.IMG_7377

The saffron panna cotta ($15) is wibbly-wobbly perfection. A big dollop of scrumptious hazelnut ganache sits on top, finished with raspberry jelly. A delectable dessert!IMG_7393

Chef thinks he has died and gone to chocolate heaven as he devours the Mississippi mud pie ($15). A slice of incredibly dense pie is garnished with strawberries and a creamy anglaise, which has a subtle flavour of rosemary.IMG_7389

Though the food isn’t finely tuned yet – the excellent venue makes up for its shortcomings. IMG_7402

Whether you visit Samsons Paddock for share food and drinks or pre-drinks before heading somewhere else for dinner – it is well worth a visit. The restaurant and bar is a welcome addition to the leafy Glyde Street – which is fast becoming a western suburbs foodie destination – also home of the excellent Suburban Table and FUKU Okamese restaurants.IMG_7405

Homestead Brewery at Mandoon Estate – Swan Valley

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For years I’ve rattled on about not having a really uber-cool venue in the Swan Valley like you’d find in the Margaret River region. We’ve enjoyed countless holidays down south at places like Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Colonial and many more. They are all state of the art, modern buildings and cater very well for families. I heard months ago that Mandoon, a small family run estate, were expanding and had been keeping my eye on the building progress – it opened in mid-September.

IMG_7299As we drove down the long driveway, the large Mandoon building loomed over its vineyards. It’s reminiscent of the immense Duckstein Brewery on Caves Road. We were there for a spot of lunch and though it was midweek it was pretty busy, being the school holidays and a beautiful sunny day.IMG_7307

Mandoon is home to a cellar door, function centre, fine dining restaurant and a microbrewery – Homestead Brewery was our first stop. You can drink and dine inside the brewery, which is shiny and new. It’s a lovely view from the decking overlooking the vineyards. IMG_7352

We opted to sit “out the back” in the shady beer garden. There are loads of picnic benches and its right next to the shaded playground – which was a big hit with Little Chef. There were a few soccer and crickets games being played on the expansive, lush lawns. It had a lovely family atmosphere.IMG_7325

Michael Hartnell is Mandoon’s Executive Chef. The globe-trotting chef has worked in restaurants in London and on the prestigious 5th Avenue, New York City. Most recently he worked at renowned Eureka 89, Melbourne. Michael has gained a reputation for innovative dishes – the degustation menu for Mandoon’s fine dining restaurant looks divine.IMG_7346

We ordered our food inside at the bar. Chef had a pint of the “Kaisers Choice” a German style beer. Normally he’d go for a larger, but that’s not available just yet. Within 15 mins or so our food arrived. It looked delicious!IMG_7312

I chose the pulled pork tacos ($25), though I did think the pork was a bit “wet” and had juice running down my arm! The apple and fennel slaw was creamy and though I wasn’t 100% sold on the flavour of the pork (which I’d put down to personal taste), I did like the tacos.IMG_7331

Both Chef and Little Chef had pizzas. Little chef had a Margarita ($10) from the little people meal’s menu, which has a choice of four kids favourites.

Chef thought the confit lamb pizza ($24) was excellent. The thin and fresh base was also topped with red onion, feta and a mint yogurt.IMG_7333

On the weekends the beer garden bar opens and you can also order spit roasted meat rolls with salad for $15 from the deli.IMG_7344

We really enjoyed our first visit to Mandoon Estate and the Homestead Brewery. This is just what the Swan Valley has been missing. We absolutely love Mandoon and can’t wait to return – though I am torn between the dego menu at the beautiful fine dining restaurant or the roast meat roll!! What’s a chef’s wife to do?!IMG_7361 IMG_7355

Home before the postcards!

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Hello – We’re back 🙂  (and home before the postcards!)

 
I hope you’re all well. I feel like it’s been an age since I sat down and wrote a blog post!  We’ve been back from our hols for a few days. Now I’ve unpacked and got through the mountain of washing – it’s time to get back to blogging!

 
I had set out to post a weekly roundup of our holiday, but we were so much busier than expected. I’d forgotten how great it is to have light summer nights till 10pm, so we were literally “on the go” the whole time (and hanging out in many beer gardens!). IMG_4034
I managed to find a Wi-Fi spot a few times in the UK, but in all honesty I relished being “off the grid”. I simply enjoyed being offline and in the moment with Chef and Little Chef. As the partner of a  hospitality worker, quality family time is something incredibly rare and very special. To have had five weeks together was wonderful.

 
I have lots of adventures from our trip to share over the next month or two. I took a whopping 4000 photos, so it’s taking me quite some time to cull these down and pick the best – but it’s something to do whilst I get over this horrendous jet lag!

 

Many more Perth food recommendations coming soon too.

 

A xx

Little Creatures Brewery

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Little Creatures Brewery on Urbanspoon

For years, when visiting Fremantle for the day, the ONLY thing we ate was Fish & Chips. In recent times, we’ve both got a bit disillusioned with the same old deep fried food, we’d been eating every time we went to the Fishing Boat Harbour – so we looked just a little further afield – in Freo there’s plenty to choose from. We’ve found a new favourite; Little Creatures Brewery.

20131113_143010On arrival, we found a table indoors. We were with our parents and UK cousins. It was too noisy for the oldies inside; the venue essentially is a big shed. I think it used to be the crocodile farm years ago.

So we found a great big table out the back in the beer garden, under a tree. It’s a fab spot and overlooks the harbour and the replica of the Duyfken ship. Little chef and his cousins were as happy as Larry; there’s a large shaded sandpit in the beer garden. Little Creatures caters very well for our own little creatures!!20131113_132006

At Little Creatures, on the menu are mostly share plates (big & small) and wood fired pizzas. We had;

IMG_9806Sweet and buttery corn cobs ($8)

UntitledlcGrilled prawn skewers with an almond romesco sauce ($24)

20131113_134219Prawn, Coriander & shitake mushroom woodfired pizza ($24) I really loved this, it was a little different and the flavours really worked. They were very generous with the juicy big prawns too 🙂

IMG_9810Harrissa spiced lamb, melanzane & feta woodfired pizza ($23)

We enjoyed all the food; it’s perfect to share with friends. The craft beer, brewed on site, is also why people go. It was a hit with all the men – in particular “Rogers” and the “Pilsner”. Little Creatures is a very family friendly brewery. It always has a fantastic atmosphere. It’s a Fremantle treasure and somewhere that we will visit on many a sunny afternoon in Freo.