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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Market & Co – Crown Perth

Market & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Little Chef and I have been to some exciting family events at Crown in the last couple of months. Both times, we’ve had plans to have a pre-show bite at one of my favourites, The Merrywell – both times it’s been far too busy to get a table. Our go to “Plan B” is Market and Co, which is found opposite The Merrywell, at the Crown Promenade Hotel.

To be honest, the first time we ate there I wasn’t sure how good the food would be, but we were pleasantly surprised. We sat in the bar area and choose from the tapas menu, which was perfect for what we were after – a few share plates to nibble on.

The kids menu is packed full of all the usual favourites. All kid’s meals are $12.90. Little Chef chose the Hawaiian pizza, which he said was very tasty and had a thin crust.

On our first visit, before Santa’s Magical Kingdom, my Mum and I had quite a feast to get stuck into! We had grilled Turkish bread, $14, which was nicely toasted and served with olive oil, balsamic and a fresh capsicum dip.

The pulled pork soft tacos, $15, were absolutely delicious. The meaty tacos were brimming with lime slaw, chipotle mayonnaise and guacamole. We both really loved those.

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Burger Hut – Wanneroo

The Burger Hut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
We found ourselves at Burger Hut recently for a quick and easy dinner. It’s a spot we’d driven past many times on Wanneroo Road and always meant to try. Finally, we stopped at the casual, suburban eatery on a night when neither of us wanted to cook at home.

At Burger Hut you can dine inside the small diner or alfresco and there were a lot of people dropping in for takeaways too. The service is friendly and patient, as we decided which burgers to choose from the large menu which also features steak burgers, chicken burgers, Asian pork burgers, veggie burgers and more on the burger menu

Chef chose the “Double bacon deluxe”, $14.90. It’s a massive burger, brimming with bacon, TWO beef patties, cheese, pineapple, lettuce and BBQ sauce. All burgers are served with a small side salad and a basket of chips, making it a very hearty meal. 

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The Shore Café – Alkimos

img_0555The Shore Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Driving up Marmion Avenue, north of Butler, Perth’s urban sprawl seems to go on forever. We went for a drive around the new estates, as they have some fantastic playgrounds for Little Chef. We stumbled upon a new café at the Shorehaven Estate, in Alkimos, The Shore Café. The interior is quite cosy, with just 6 tables, but I can see it would be a wonderful place to dine alfresco in warmer weather. The café also has a small bar licence and is open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

The Shore Café sits in the sandy white dunes, much like a mirage. The mural covered eatery is right on the beach front, so has a beaut view of the ocean. We spotted the remains of the rusted Alkimos shipwreck, after which the suburb is named, poking out of the sea. The ship has a very interesting history including murders and buckets of bad luck – some say that it is haunted.img_0556

For lunch, Chef chose the Shore burger, $24. A thick and juicy beef Pattie is absolutely covered with melted cheese. The burger, which has to be held together by a knife, is brimming with bacon, beetroot relish, onion jam, aioli, lettuce, tomato and salad. There’s a side of chunky chips on the side.img_0546

I chose something a little more brunch-y. The wild mushrooms, $22. The mushrooms on toast/eggs benny hybrid hit the spot. Different varieties of mushrooms, along with wilted spinach sit on buttered toast. That’s all topped with a couple of perfectly runny poached eggs and creamy hollandaise, finished with truffle oil and shavings of pecorino cheese. I could definitely taste the truffle oil and its use was spot on. A few more drops and it would have been overpowering.img_0551

Little Chef chose a ham and pineapple pizza from the chiller cabinet, which he gave the thumbs up. The Shore Café has a good kids menu which includes “make your own tacos”. There’s a climbing frame next to the café for the kids to play on and loads of grassed areas.img_0544

With thousands of new homes in this area, inevitably there are thousands of residents, though so far the locals don’t have many dining options, other than taking a drive to Mindarie or Yanchep. Thankfully for them, the Shore Café is a little oasis in the outer northern suburbs. We’d definitely return if we’re ever out that way again.

V Burger – Elizabeth Quay

IMG_3685V Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m a big fan of V Burger – we often visit their Floreat outlet. When I heard they had opened up a kiosk at Elizabeth Quay, Little Chef and I dropped by for a bite to eat, after we’d seen the Scooby Doo Live show at PCEC. The kiosk is found at the city end of the quay, near to the water playground and ferry terminal. The seating is outside, with most tables undercover.

For my lunch, I chose the “Blue Mushy” ($16) from the gourmet burger menu. A grilled prime beef patty is topped with mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onion and a house made aioli. Blue cheese oozes out of the burger. I liked the flavour combination, I’m a fan of blue cheese. The beef was moist and tasty, the salad crisp. Though as I got to the end of the burger the richness of the blue cheese did get a little overpowering. I do prefer a softer bun to Turkish bread too. IMG_3690

Of course, never one to stick to the rules, Little Chef decided he didn’t want a burger. Luckily for finicky kids (and adults) there are fish and chips also on the menu. Little Chef had a mini portion ($10). He loved these, they were fresh and good quality.IMG_3688

Though I didn’t love it as much as my previous V Burgers, I’d put that down to my choice of burger. I do prefer brioche over Turkish bread. V Burger is a great option for a casual family meal at Elizabeth Quay. We went for a stroll over the bridge after and play at the playground. Little Chef even had enough room for some Gusto Gelato! IMG_3694

Little Way – Nedlands

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Little Way Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Walking along the Swan River, past the boats bobbing up and down on peaceful Matilda Bay, it’s easy to forget that we’re so very close to the hustle and bustle of the city. Just up the road, there’s a new addition to the ever expanding Nedlands dining scene. Little Way is a casual eatery, open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. We booked our table for a leisurely midday meal.IMG_3543

Little Way is tucked into an old building that’s filled with character. There’s a nice flow to the neutral dining room, bar and outdoor area. The leafy courtyard would be wonderful on a warm Summers morning or for a sunny Sunday sesh with a glass of Pimms or two. On this rainy winters day, we’re happy to sit in a cosy little nook inside.IMG_3563

Little Way is a lot of things rolled into a neat little package. The early morning crowd love it for brunch and a coffee. By night it transforms into a trendy bar, where you don’t need a meal to order a drink. The wine list offers mainly West Australian labels, with a few Europeans thrown in for good measure.  The rest of the drinks menu is made up of interesting spirits, local craft beers and cocktails.IMG_3574

I need a caffeine pick me up, so I order a flat white, which passes my “no sugar test” with flying colours. I only feel the need to add sugar to burnt, bitter coffees and this coffee, roasted locally by Loaded Coffee in Nedlands, is spot on.IMG_3526

Our waitress promptly brings us menus and water. The lunch menu is perfect for people who want it all, with a mix of brunch dishes and some of their dinner offerings too. To begin, we share a few small plates. The grilled chorizo, $14, with a good squeeze of fresh lemon is moreish.IMG_3533

Next up, we choose the crisp sweet potato, tomato and spinach arancini, $10 for three pieces. I think there is a tad too much potato – I like more rice in my arancini. But they’re tasty morsels, especially dipped in the harissa mayo and topped with creamy lemon ricotta.IMG_3532

The sweet potato, tomato and spinach arancini are perfectly bite sized!IMG_3542

The delicately crumbed squid rings, $14, melt in the mouth. On the side is a lime, mint and avocado mayonnaise. It is a subtlety flavoured creamy dipping sauce, which could do with a touch more lime for an added punch of citrus.IMG_3537

We sit back and enjoy the bustling atmosphere. Soon our mains arrive and I am wowed by the slow cooked lamb shoulder, $28. A very generous serve of moist pulled lamb sits on a mound of green olive tabouleh and Israeli cous cous. The dish is bursting with middle eastern flavours and finished with pistachios, mint, preserved lemon and yogurt.lamb shoulder

Chef chooses the Angus burger, $23. The juicy beef patty is topped with bacon, caramelised onion and smoked tomato relish. Melted Swiss cheese oozes out of the brioche bun. Little Chef chooses the kids burger for $12. The burgers are both served with a side of rosemary salted chips, which are quite possibly the chunkiest chips I have seen. They’re a big hit with the boys and boy are we full!IMG_3546

The Carlins don’t say no to pudding – so for “research purposes” we share a dessert. The chocolate brownie, $12, is deliciously fudgy. Topped with a cherry compote, fresh strawberries, toasted almonds and a vanilla bean ice cream it ticks all our boxes.Brownie

For the most part the service is friendly and engaging. The only thing that lets it down is that none of the three wait staff that visit our table replenish our first empty water jug or ask us if we’d like to order another drink.IMG_3523

The menu is full of the usual culprits, though each dish is cooked well. Little Way is the proverbial little gem. A neighbourhood eatery fit for families, groups of friends or a casual date night. We like Little Way in a BIG way!

** First published in the Post Newspaper**

At a glance

Little Way

161 Broadway

Nedlands

Phone 08 9386 3639

Opening times

Tues – Sun

7.30am till late

Rating

food 4

service 3

ambience 4

value for money 3

style – casual Australian/Mediterranean

wine –mostly local wines, with

a few NZ and European drops too.

Chef – Alex Lim

Owner – Michael Walker

feel – inviting & cosy. Great fitout

and a fab courtyard for fine days.

wheelchair access – yes

cost

Small – $6.50 – $15

Mains – $19 – $40

Dessert – $10 – $26

all in all –  lively eatery

with a tasty menu to suit

most tastes. Service is patchy.

Excellent local coffee.

A Day On Rottnest Island

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Pinky Beach, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

I’d only been to Rottnest twice before, in my early 20s and it was high time Chef and I introduced Little Chef to the little jewel in the Indian Ocean that is Rotto. So close to Perth, but far away enough to feel relaxed and  detached from day-to-day life.IMG_2653

 

 

We’ve had our Pommie cousins staying with us and thought a day trip to Rotto would be a fun and different outing. We were excited to play tourist too. Setting off early, to make the most of our day, we arrived at our ferry just after 7am. Our ferry crossing from Hillarys Boat Harbour took about 40 mins and was very smooth.

IMG_2728Our first port of call after arriving at the main area of the island, Thompson Bay, was the Rottnest Bakery. There were  sorts of baked goodies on offer and Chef chowed down on a bacon and cheese pie for brekkie. Little Chef wolfed down a sausage roll and I chose a blueberry muffin. I suspect it was yesterday’s muffin as it wasn’t particularly fresh, which was a shame. I’d hoped it was just hot of the oven.IMG_2600

I’d ordered a coffee too, but the coffee machine was being serviced, so I headed to “The Lane” opposite and what a fab find that was! Great coffee. The little café has a gourmet hotdog menu, so I made a mental note to come back for lunch.20160329_090010

Little Chef was keen to meet a furry Quokka and we saw loads of them! The friendly little guys, only found on Rottnest Island, are so sweet and don’t seem fazed by people at all.IMG_2714

Topped up with caffeine, we headed to the bike hire shop. Pedal power is the most popular form of transport on Rottnest, which adds to the laid back pace. We were planning to ride about 3kms along the north coast of the island to find some beautiful beaches. First, we stopped at the Wadjemup lighthouse and realised that we were a long way from Perth!IMG_2609

We spent most of the day beach hopping. First, we rode to the furthest point we were planning on visiting –  stunning Little Parakeet Bay. We planned on a bit of snorkelling, sandcastle building, paddling and then to mosey our way back to Thompson Bay on our bikes. Though there were a few hills, it was a fairly easy ride, especially with stunning views like this along the way.

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Little Parakeet Bay – Rottnest Island, Western Australia

We stopped at Geordie Bay, Fay’s Bay and Pinky Beach too. Each beach perfectly white and the turquoise ocean a million shades of blue. Little Chef loved it and said the sand was soft like sherbet.IMG_2605
The Lane Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

By the time we made it back to Thomson’s Bay and dropped off our bikes, we still had time for a late lunch. We visited my little discovery from earlier – The Lane. Chef had worked up quite an appetite and tucked into the spicy Tarantino inspired “Reservoir Dog”, $10. These are not served like traditional hot dogs, but a curled Portuguese sausage is served burger style. Chef’s organic snag was topped with jalapeno harissa, sliced tomato, mesculin leaves, cheddar mayo and fried onions. He loved it! Little Chef scoffed his “Pup Dog”. It got two big thumbs up from him.IMG_2688

I’d been eyeing up the “Mongrel Dog” or “Downward Dog” (I do love a good pun hehe), but the lady who was in charge tempted me with the special of the day the “Sheep Dog”. It was every bit as fresh and tasty as she’d described – with tender and juicy slow cooked lamb shoulder, cooked in rosemary, garlic, cayenne pepper and sumac. Topped with creamy coleslaw and served on a fresh roll baked by Lawley’s Bakery – it was top dog for sure!IMG_2695

Simmos Ice creamery, the Dunsborough favourite, was right next door. We figured it would be rude not to… We’d done a lot of exercise after all! Bubble-gum, choc mint and cookies and cream were the favourite scoops.IMG_2704

We all loved our day at Rottnest – despite being a tad saddle sore from our bike ride! This was the third time I’d been across to Rotto for a day trip and each time I come to love it a little more. I left feeling relaxed and like I’d gotten away from it all – albeit briefly. I’d love to stay longer and really discover more of Rottnest – its history, the southern end (which I’ve never visited) and the restaurants too. With a few planned accommodation developments, it makes me excited for an extended stay in a year or two. Though if Little Chef has his way we’ll be back much sooner, which is fine with us. See you soon Rotto!20160329_125616