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

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Boston Brewery, Denmark (Part 2)

 

img_1981Boston Brewery @ Willoughby Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One of the things I love about the south west is it’s abundance of great family friendly dining options. So when we were discovering Denmark for the first time, I had my fingers crossed that we’d find a few gems that everyone in our family could enjoy. Warren, our host at Misty Valley Country Cottages, suggested that we tried Boston Brewery. It’s a place he enjoys and he recommends it to all the families staying at his farm too.img_1987

Boston Brewery is part of the Willoughby Park Winery. I didn’t have a chance to check out their wines at the cellar door, but it’s on my to do list for next time. The award winning Willoughby Park wines have received a five star rating from James Halliday and a whopping 91 points for it’s popular Chardonnay.img_1371

As soon as we arrived, Chef made a bee-line for the bar. Boston brewery’s range of beers are brewed on site. There’s a larger, German style wheat beer, English style IPA, rye pale ale, brown ale and stout. They make an alcoholic ginger beer too. Another one I need to try next time!img_1395

Inside, there’s a huge dining hall with a kiddie corner and open fire, for those chilly Denmark nights.img_1397

The spring weather was glorious when we visited, so we headed outside to the huge lawned beer garden, dotted with picnic tables. There’s often live music playing on the outdoor stage too. The playground, set in a large sandpit, is large enough to keep the kids entertained while you have a cheeky late afternoon drink and some food.img_1390

The first time we went along for dinner I was feeling like something light, so I enjoyed a couple of share plates. The lemon myrtle salt and pepper squid ($15) were crisp and tender. The nicely seasoned morsels were delicious dipped in the lemon aioli.img_1386

I would make the 450 km drive to Denmark again JUST for these local chestnut fed pork and blue swimmer crab spring rolls ($14). I can’t tell you how delicious these massive spring rolls are, brimming with a generous amount of moist pork meat, crab and dipped in a spicy namh jim dressing. A must try!img_1380

Chef enjoyed his wood fired pizza ($22). It’s perfect pub grub to accompany a cold beer. The tomato base is topped with Italian sausage, mozzarella, Kalamata olives and fresh chilli.img_1378

The lure of the playground, coupled with a tasty dinner of burger, chunky chips and a good side salad meant that Little Chef wolfed down his cheese burger ($12).img_1976

Since we were so impressed by the family friendly atmosphere and good food at the microbrewery, we returned more than once. On the second time we dined at Boston Brewery, the stand out dish was my twice cooked Linley valley pork belly ($32). The pork belly, cooked in master stock, had a wonderful depth of flavour. The accompanying veg was really tasty – roasted kifler potatoes, Dutch carrots, plump snowpeas, cauliflower puree and a Willoughby Park Red Wine jus.img_1979

Boston Brewery is definitely somewhere we’d return – not just to top up Chef’s growler with their excellent craft beer! The food has more finesse than your typical pub grub. You can really tell they use quality, local ingredients too. It’s very easy to loose a few hours relaxing in the beer garden, overlooking the vines.img_1985

Read Part 3 of our trip to Denmark here… Discovering Delicious Denmark All about the attractions we visited in the Denmark area.

Bars Of The State Buildings – Perth CBD

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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

 

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

3 Sheets – Hillarys Boat Harbour

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3 Sheets on Urbanspoon

Its new years day 2015 – being a public holiday many places in Perth are shut – so we decide to head down to Hillary’s Boat Harbour which was guaranteed to be open. The popular coastal spot was absolutely heaving with people. Some were strolling along the boardwalks, some picnicking on the lush grassed areas or swimming at the safe kiddies beach. We were there to check out a newly opened restaurant – 3 sheets. It has a cool fit out, with lots of long tables, perfect for groups. IMG_8166

3 Sheets was rumoured to be a “Little Creatures” style of brewery, before it opened. Whilst that didn’t turn out to be strictly true – it is similar in terms of the cool vibe, casual share food and focus on draft craft beers. Chef found his favourite beer on the menu – Colonials’ Kolsch ($11 a pint). Every time we go to Margaret River we come back with a “growler” of the stuff!! Chef was stoked. Also on draft are other WA favourites; Feral, Nail, Gage Road, Matso and Eagle Bay beers.  I chose a nutella and banana shake – something I wouldn’t usually pick, but I just couldn’t go past the nutella! IMG_8134

The service was mostly efficient. We hardly waited any time at all for our meals.  Being a “share venue” the food comes out as it is made. I had to ask after my milkshake, which seemed to be taking a while. Chef was well into his second pint by the time it arrived. Apparently they were training new staff – so I didn’t mind too much – it is a new restaurant after all. IMG_8151

We shared the salt and pepper squid ($12). The thinly sliced squid was tender and light. The squid was complimented by a tasty piri piri sauce that had a nice kick to it. IMG_8136

Chef enjoyed a club pizza ($22). The wood fired pizza was topped with ham, bacon, pepperoni, chorizo and chicken. He thought it was delicious and the base was spot on.IMG_8150

From the tapas menu I had the beef short ribs ($10), which were tender and tasty with a sticky BBQ sauce. I also chose a pear and rocket salad ($12) from the “big plates” menu. I’m quite partial to the combo of rocket, pear, walnuts, parmesan and this salad, dressed with cider vinegar was a winner. IMG_8148

3 Sheets is a family friendly venue, the kids menu has lots of choice for the little ones. Little chef chose a hot dog and frites ($10). The chips were really fluffy and crisp, quite rustic too with the skin still left on. IMG_8137

We were far from being “3 sheets to the wind” when we left, but we all certainly had very full tummies. The small dessert menu looks really delicious, with some pommie favourites “sticky toffee pudding and “knickerbocker glory” on there. Maybe next time!

Chef loves nothing more than a pizza and pint on his days off. He’s definitely found a top spot for a boys lunch with a view! IMG_8168

 

 

 

 

Northbridge Brewing Co.

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Northbridge Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Though we didn’t stop for food – I thought I’d share the photos we took when we popped to the new Northbridge Brewing Company. The three level Brewery, Bar and Restaurant overlooks the green inner city space of Northbridge Piazza. IMG_7064

NBC has been seven years in the making and is a breath of fresh air to Northbridge, which is experiencing an exciting resurgence of new bars and restaurants. It has a modern industrial feel, with timber salvaged from the Perry Lakes Stadium giving the bar lots of character. IMG_7066

At the NBC, bespoke craft beers are brewed onsite by Master Brewer Ken Arrowsmith. On tap they have a Wheat Beer, Pale Ale, Larger and also a Mild coming soon. Chef tried the larger and thought it was a very well made pint – similar to a Stella Artois or Grolsch. IMG_7057

We sat outside, next to the piazza, there’s a very relaxed vibe about the place. We liked it a lot. I’m sure we’ll be back to check out the food – any excuse for another cheeky drink! NBC is open 7 days, 8am till late – as they’re also open for breakfast. IMG_7065

 

Homestead Brewery at Mandoon Estate – Swan Valley

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Homestead Brewery on Urbanspoon Mandoon Estate on Urbanspoon

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

Indian Ocean Brewing Co – Mindarie Marina

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Indian Ocean Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

My life pre-blogging / food writing was a lot more laid back! Now it’s all about newspaper deadlines, replying to tons of emails and also my self-imposed blog deadlines. Admittedly though, sometimes the wheels fall off and I totally forget that I met some friends for lunch and took some food pics on my phone, then come across them months later. Whoopsie!

One such outing was a casual dinner at the Indian Ocean Brewing Company, at Mindarie Keys. The night we dined was well into autumn, but we encountered an unseasonably warm night, perfect for sitting outside by the marina and enjoying the beautiful pink sunset.IMG_1017

We like the vibe at the Indian Ocean Brewing Co – they often have live music on the weekend. It’s a modern venue and the vista over the Indian Ocean is to die for.IMG_1006

Chef is into his craft beers and he really rates the brews at the Indi. His personal favourite is the Larger. They also brew a pale ale, pilsner, a cider and many more on site.IMG_1014

The stone baked Sicilian pizzas are great – Chef often comes down here with his mates for a pizza and pint. On this occasion, Chef had a Carne de Carnivore. Topped with Cacciatore, prosciutto, char-grilled chicken, tomato, onions, pimento & mozzarella, on a thin and crispy base ($24).IMG_1040

Essentially the Indi is a microbrewery with pub food; parmi, fish n chips, burgers etc. Nothing too fancy, but generally well cooked. There is also a large share food menu.

We love the Indian Ocean Brewing Co for the amazing view, which gives us that “Perth-fect” feeling every time we gaze at it, when go there for a drink. It makes us feel very lucky that we live in this pretty part of the world.IMG_1053

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.

Eagle Bay Brewing Co

IMG_0294Eagle Bay Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

First impressions are so important – in all aspects of life.

On a trip to WA’s south west, in 2011, we happened upon the newly opened Eagle Bay Brewing Co. We had already had lunch that day, but popped to EBB for a drink. Unfortunately at that time, you weren’t able to be served alcohol without a meal there, as they had a very limited liquor licence. We were disappointed as it looked lovely. We’d just sat down and our 2 year old had stated to play on the playground. He was pretty upset that we were leaving so suddenly. The lady in charge gave him a little toy crocodile, which cheered him up and stopped the floods of tears. It was a simple gesture, but one I never forgot and I always had in mind that we’d come back here again.IMG_0317

UntitledebFast forward two and a half years… We were in the South West with our English cousins. They were visiting Perth for 2 weeks. They enjoyed brilliant weather for most of the time – except this one day. The gloomy drizzle that blankets Britain had popped over to say “hiya”. We sat overlooking the beer garden and we could appreciate, that on a sunny day, we would have a spectacular view. To be fair, even in the gloom the view was pretty nice! Eagle Bay Brewing Co is surrounded by a working sheep and cattle property (Run by farmer John). His children, Nick, Astrid and Adrian, run the EBB Co.IMG_0310

The menu is pretty simple, but the food is tasty and well executed. We ate;

Italian Sausage, Mushroom, Spinach and Fontina Cheese ($24)Untitledpebb

Friend sweet corn bread, black bean salsa and guacamole ($20)Untitledee

Beer Battered Fish n Chips ($28)ebbc

Beef burger with bacon, cheddar, garlic mayo, beetroot, tomato, lettuce & fries ($22)Untitledebbcb

IMG_0316We enjoyed Eagle Bay Brewing a lot. The men among us really loved the beer too! There is a large sandpit for the kids and they can have a kick about on the grassed area or a wander around the flower and veggie patch. The outlook is stunning, rain, hail or shine. IMG_0313