Paper Avenue – Joondalup

Brand spanking new Paper Avenue has just opened in Joondalup. I went along to a sneak peek brunch this morning, ahead of the cafe’s official opening at noon today. So this is a super fresh review!20170904_104820

Paper Avenue is an incredibly welcome addition to Joondalup. Apart from the wonderful Gipsy Boy, nothing here really fills me with excitement and I have longed for Joondalup to become more of an indi food destination. It has so much potential, beyond the chain cafes of Lakeside. Paper Avenue is everything I look for in a café – a mod fit-out, great coffee ethos, a nicely put together (and trendy) brunch menu, friendly service and a bit of soul too.IMG_9697

The light and bright café is graced by a beautiful mural by local artist Peter Ryan. I’ve followed him for a while on social media and love his creations. As a side note, Peter has also got involved in the painted rock craze and Little Chef treasures one of his rocks that we found in a local park. IMG_9700

The peeps at Paper Avenue are serious about their coffee. The impressive La Marzocco machine is custom made, there’s cold drip on offer and the coffee is Locale from Victoria.IMG_9755

There’s some different drinks on offer on their menu too, something other than your on-trend matcha and beetroot lattes. Cha Cha tea’s “Strawberry Swoon” pink tea latte is made of strawberry, hibiscus, rose hips, apple and orange. They look pretty as a picture too. Their “Apple Kiss” smells like apple pie! IMG_9712

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Maison Saint-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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Mason & Bird – Kalamunda

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Mason & Bird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The sleepy Perth Hills village of Kalamunda has had an exciting arrival! Mason and Bird, found next to the Kalamunda Library, is café GOLD.

There are loads of good brunch cafes, though few that are truly great. What makes a great brunch for me is food that is cooked and presented in a “cheffy” kind of way. The brunch spots that genuinely get me giddy, like Harvest Espresso and Tuckshop , can do much better than a simple fry up on a Saturday morning – they have exciting food.

The team behind Mason and Bird have some excellent experience between them. Brad Johnston is the former Head Chef from Print Hall. Matt Nguyen and Jacklyn Noel are former Managers from Rockpool. The interior is modern and in keeping with the bush setting, filled with lots of beautiful timber furniture. The bustling café can get quite noisy, but on a warmer day more people may be tempted to sit in the outside areas.

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PIC CREDIT – Rebecca Mansell for BROARDSHEET

 

I popped along to check out Mason and Bird with my parents. They’d already been there once and absolutely raved about it. There is an all day brunch menu, as well as lunch options. I hear that there are plans in the works to open for dinners in the future too.

The coffee is by local Perth roasters “Little Owl”. My parents both agreed it’s a good roast. I ordered an organic beetroot latte – yes really! I’d seen it on social media and was curious what it tasted like. I was pleasantly surprised. It had a smooth beetroot flavour, as well as a hint of ginger. I’m not sure I’d make it my regular cuppa, but it was nice for a healthy change.IMG_3803

I picked from the brunch menu. I’d been eyeing up the braised pulled beef and poached eggs, but decided on the paleo savoury waffles, $17. They sounded healthy and delicious! Fluffy Waffles are topped with mushrooms, wilted greens and two perfectly poached eggs. I just had to add a side of crisp speck bacon (from fab local butcher Sebastians) for an extra $8. Sprinkled with spiced nuts and seeds and a few dollops of romesco sauce. It’s a wonderfully satisfying dish.IMG_3820

Having had a pasta dish last time, my parents decided to share two of their delicious house made pasta dishes again. The gnocchi, $22, was sublime. The soft-as-marshmallow morsels were pan roasted with cauliflower and almonds and finished with a creamy white balsamic sauce. A very tasty dish indeed.IMG_3804

The braised lamb, $24, was rich with flavour and melted in the mouth. The strands of pappardelle were cooked perfectly al dente and folded with sautéed mushrooms and spinach, finished with a mound of shaved parmesan.IMG_3807

As if that wasn’t enough, my parents also ordered the “hand cut chippies”, $7. The bowl of chips was generous. I said “I’ll just have one”, but that turned into rather a lot more. Whoops! The house made ketchup (Chef’s secret recipe) was so much tastier than your average tomato sauce. There’s also gourmet toasties, salads and burgers on the menu.IMG_3811

I don’t need an excuse for visiting my parents up in the hills, but I think we need to have another trip to Mason and Bird very soon. It’s a wonderful eatery that has excellent, well priced food and comes HIGHLY recommended!IMG_3826

And why not make a day of it? Kalamunda Farmers Market is on every Sunday morning or check out the wineries in the nearby Bickley Valley (like Plume Estate, Hainault and Fairbrossen) after a hearty brunch at Mason and Bird!IMG_3825

 

Brewed Awakening – Clarkson

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Brewed Awakening Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

2016 has been a fresh start for me. Back in January I left my accounts job of 11 years and started a whole new career in Digital Marketing. It’s far better aligned to my love of the online world and I’m relishing the challenges it brings! It’s also been quite the novelty going from being stuck in the middle of a Welshpool industrial estate, miles from the nearest decent lunch bar, to a buzzing retail hub – although Clarkson is mainly filled with chain takeaways.IMG_1703

In the same week that I started my new job, a little café opened up right next to Clarkson library. Brewed Awakening caught my eye, as above all, I love a good pun. The café is a family run business and primarily a patisserie, with loads of sweet treats baked by their Pasty Chef each day. There are a few savoury items also available.IMG_1707

On this day I stopped a little longer to savour a vanilla cupcake, with solid chocolate spoon sitting on top of the buttery icing and a hot pot of chai tea for one.IMG_1702

I’ve since gone back for a morning coffee and take away hot chocolates too. The Baristas use the best Lindt chocolate, so it’s a little pricey, but totally scrumptious. Brewed Awakening is a great addition to Clarkson and handy if you’re at the library or Ocean Keys.IMG_1721

 

Litte Sisto – Doubleview

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

Our trip to Little Sisto was spur of the moment to say the least. We’d actually planned on visiting a favourite of mine, Sushi Wawa, but it was closed on this weekday lunchtime. I had to get my thinking cap on quick smart to find a worthy Plan B in the area. I’d wanted to try Little Sisto for ages, so we drove over to Doubleview with our fingers crossed that the little café wasn’t shut too!

Luck was smiling on us. We found Little Sisto open and it was positively bustling! Luckily we f0und a table inside (there is also a small courtyard out the back). My Mum and I both ordered a very healthy sounding green bowl each.While we were waiting for our late lunch, we enjoyed an excellent Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee and a fresh juice.20151203_131626

The green bowls arrived and boy were they packed full! Leafy salad greens, roasted pumpkin, soft cheese, almonds, quinoa, ribbons of zucchini and smashed avocado were drizzled with a delicious citrus dressing. A perfectly poached egg sat on top, it’s golden yolk oozing out.

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I don’t tend to choose the healthy option much, but based on this bowl of deliciousness, I think I may consider it more often! Little Sisto is a friendly suburban café that has outstanding coffee, a healthy take on much of their menu and good vibes. Next time I go there it won’t be my plan B!20151203_134427

 

 

Roma Republic – Craigie

IMG_1833Roma Republic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hipsters in Craigie? It sounds like a pretty farfetched concept – but it appears to be true. Chef grew up in this unassuming spot in the Perth northern suburbs. Once the only thing to get remotely excited about in Craigie was the old bowling alley. Now there’s a new reason – Roma Republic.IMG_1830

Craigie residents will be rejoicing that they have somewhere to get a decent coffee from. It was evident when we stopped there for breakfast a few weeks ago that this café is a welcome addition – there was a very steady stream of people coming in for takeaways.

It has all the right ingredients – that retro industrial feel, blokes with shaggy beards and a hip brekkie menu. I chose a strawberry, watermelon, apple, lime and mint smoothie, $7.50 from the drinks menu – it was as lush as it sounds!IMG_1831

I must have been having food guilt that morning as I chose a relatively healthy honey roasted granola with poached pear, $12. The serve was generous and the granola nicely toasted, with lots of tasty bits. On the side were milk and Greek yogurt.IMG_1837

Chef picked his favourite breakfast staple from the menu – eggs benedict, with bacon $16. The two perfectly poached eggs were served on English muffins with wilted spinach and chef just had to have a side of sausages too. He gave his brekkie the thumbs up.IMG_1843

And Little Chef had the same as Daddy – minus the snags.IMG_1834

Our breakfast was enjoyable, the food was tasty, nothing game-changing, but hearty home cooked style fayre. The atmosphere at Roma Republic is casual and the prices very reasonable. Nice to see Craigie going up in the world!IMG_1849

 

HopsScotch – Roleystone {CLOSED}

IMG_0634HopsScotch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Little Chef, my parents and I took a drive to Roleystone in the Perth Hills. Along Brookton Highway we found a quaint little cottage café, HopsScotch, to stop for a spot of lunch.IMG_0630

Driving up the gravel track, flanked with tall trees, I felt at home. As an ex-hillbilly I do miss the fresh smell of gumtrees and the sound of Kookaburras laughing away. Walking down little pathways to get from the car park to the café its clear that there is more to HopsScotch than simply being a café in the bush. There’s a lot to explore – after lunch of course! A tip – take your flats/walking shoes. I came in my heels (straight from work) and they didn’t fare too well on the gravel paths.IMG_0624

The property has been taken over by new owners in recent years and the cottage fully renovated. There is plenty of cosy seating inside by the fireplace and out under the enclosed verandas too. IMG_0607

The lunch menu is made up of small dishes (perfect for sharing), salads and something a bit more substantial – there are also sandwiches and sweet treats in the cabinet. Their hot drink selection are T2 teas and the Essenza coffee blend. As I placed our order at the counter, I spied a familiar face in the kitchen, Chef Sebastian Sindermann. He is the new Head Chef at HopsScotch. It was such a surprise and so lovey to see him. Chef used to work with him at the Duxton Hotel, in a time well before I was the Chef’s Wife! It must have been almost a decade since I saw him last. My, how time flies!

I felt like something light, so I picked the avocado bruschetta ($10.50) from the small plates part of the menu. Topped with fresh avocado, tomato, onion, feta and pesto it was very tasty and with 3 pieces easy to share too.IMG_0615

My Mum enjoyed the battered barramundi with fries and house made tartare sauce ($25). IMG_0612

My Dad is quite a carnivore, though he’s always had a thing for roasted vegetables, particularly eggplant. He loved the veggie stack ($16.50) of eggplant, zucchini, capsicum and sweet potato – finished with tomato relish and a chive sour crème.IMG_0610

With the promise of a play on the playground, Little Chef wolfed down his kids meal of house made crumbed barramundi and fries $10, which includes a drink.IMG_0611

There is extensive gardens to explore as well as a fully fenced modern playground.IMG_0632

The grounds at HopsScotch are charming. Just when you think you’ve seen it all you turn another corner and discover something new!IMG_0623

There are lots of surprises too – which the kids love!IMG_0626IMG_0628

There are many pieces of art scattered throughout the gardens and some of it is also for sale.

We thought the Modern Australian café style food was tasty, fresh and well priced. Little Chef would have liked a little more time to explore, so I’m sure we’ll be back again soon. What a gem!IMG_0625

Holly Raye’s – Bassendean

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Holly Raye's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Though newbie Holly Raye’s is tucked down an unassuming Bassendean side street – you won’t be able to miss it with the stunning dog mural by my favourite artist – Anya Brock. You can see some of her beautiful work at Ootong & Lincoln in Freo too. But anyhoo – I’m digressing here. I was lunching with some of my favourites Kim and Kez. Kez had mentioned to me recently that a friend of her’s, Holly, had opened a new café. I was very keen to try it – especially when I found out that Holly’s mum is in the kitchen – she used to work at the fabulous Sherbet cake and bake shop.IMG_0737

The café is fairly small inside and with two prams in tow, we opted to sit at a table out on the pathway. First, we ordered drinks. As a big fan of chai, I went for the creamy chocolate chai, which made a really nice change and it felt a little bit decedent.IMG_0747

We were sat at our table for a good 20 minutes or so before the cups and plates of the previous customer were cleared – but meh – no biggie. It was quite obvious the waitresses are new and they were run off their feet. I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, given that Holly Rayes has only been open a few weeks.

The menu is an all day breakfast type – which suited us all just fine. I chose the Karri smoked bacon, with free range egg, sharp aged cheddar and tomato relish on a buttery brioche bun, $18. To my delight, the egg was runny *fist-pump*. It’s a tasty dish and the sweet relish really married all the ingredients together well. IMG_0749

Kim chose her staple brunch dish – Eggs benedict, $20. Holly’s version came with lashings of meaty pulled pork and hollandaise sauce. I’m not alone in my love for a runny egg – Kim confessed that she feels a little bit sad if she orders an egg dish and the yolk is hard boiled. I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! We’re happy to report that these eggs were perfectly gooey. IMG_0748

The use of mismatched retro plates is cute and these plates really reminded me of my childhood in the 80’s!! Kez enjoyed the super fresh breakfast guacamole with black beans and jalapeño cornbread, $18. She also ordered a side of potato hash, $4, which looked scrummy.IMG_0750

The girls treated themselves to some freshly baked sweet treats. As tempting a they looked – I’m TRYING to be good. An impossible mission for a food blogger and frankly, no one wants to read about a salad – though please do correct me if you do!IMG_0752

All in all I really enjoyed my first trip to Holly Raye’s. The food is well cooked and very tasty. It’s priced well too. I’m sure the service will catch up to the good standard once the new wait staff have found their feet.IMG_0742

 

Elevated Grounds – Kalamunda

IMG_0296Elevated Grounds Coffeehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kalamunda is turning into quite the coffee spot! First opened Haynes Street Larder, then it’s sister café Jack and Jill appeared – now there is another opening on the Haynes Street Strip – Elevated Grounds.IMG_0300

You can find the bright and cheery café housed in what was formally “La Paris Brest”. The staff are very friendly and welcoming. Dining is al fresco or in the café – we opt to sit inside, where it’s a little quieter.IMG_0290

I really enjoyed a proper chai tea. I loved how it was served on a board and I poured the tea infused milk into the mug myself, sprinkling the chai spices ontop. I was happy to taste the tea was piping hot too, which is rare.

IMG_0293The menu is basically an all day breakfast menu. For something a little more lunch-y there is quiche, salad, sandwiches and more in the chiller cabinet – as well as cakes! My mum chooses two pancakes ($11) topped with blueberries and dusted with icing sugar. On the menu you can choose if you have a stack of 2, 3, 4, or 5 pancakes and there are several different toppings to pick from – naughty and nice.

IMG_0299I predictably chose the “pulled pork benedict” and was a little gutted when I was told that the kitchen had run out. Instead, I opt for the smoked salmon version ($16.50). First to the eggs! Were they perfectly cooked? The first poke of my knife didn’t reveal any runny yolk and my heart sank a little more – the second egg though WAS runny and the poached egg oozed with golden yolk.  The eggs and salmon sat upon a bed of wilted spinach and super fresh thickly sliced bread. The dish fits the bill, though I still crave that porky-ness that marries so well with the creamy hollandaise sauce.

Kids are catered for and there are mini picnic tables in the kiddies toy corner. Little Chef picks a simple cheese toastie for his lunch, which he scoffs in no time. Elevated Grounds is also friendly for your furry friends.

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While it’s a pleasant café and the staff are very helpful,  I think the kitchen is yet to hit their stride with the food. The café has been open just a few months. Elevated Grounds has priced the food well and it’s more of a home style of cooking than gourmet, but still tasty!IMG_0304

Hylin – West Leederville

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Note to self… under no circumstances go to a crazy popular brunch spot when ravenously hungry. I made this error on a crisp Saturday morning – thinking it was a fab idea to check out Hylin – a new-ish café, opposite the train line in West Leederville. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to queue for a few minutes – and Ren, Little Chef and I did just that…IMG_9416

We sat on the bench, waiting for my name to be called off the list, happily chatting away. Ren mentioned that our supposed 15 min wait had turned into over 30 mins and on further investigation it turned out that there had been someone else moonlighting as “Amanda” and stole out table! Completely no fault of Hylin and our friendly waiter was very apologetic.

IMG_9398We ordered a couple of drinks and a cronut for Little Chef. The croissant-addict was quick to agree to being my guinea pig once he found out that a cronut is a doughnut-croissant hybrid. A couple of years ago when Cronuts first came onto the Aussie food scene only a handful of bakeries in WA had made them. I tried a cronut at Prague Bakery at Kingsley Village Shopping Centre  but wasn’t too impressed, as it was over cooked and frankly shouldn’t have been sold. LC’s cronut was the perfect specimen – light, fluffy and filled with salted caramel.

IMG_9403Little Chef also loved his babycino – which got two thumbs up for extra marshmallows!

IMG_9407Ren had a Micrology Roasters coffee and I ordered a freshly made juice. I’d not had the combo of strawberry, melon, mint and pineapple before and boy was it good!strawb pinapp melon mint

By the time our food arrived I almost inhaled it! I had smoked bacon and roasted field mushroom on ciabatta ($16.50). I also added a poached egg on the side. The dish was cooked well, was very tasty and served with a rocket and corn salad. The crushed pea smear was delicious too.IMG_9410

Since it was pretty much lunch time, Ren chose the open street tacos ($14.50). Soft flour tortillas were stuffed full of Cajun chicken breast, slaw and a mango salsa on the side. Though Ren said the tacos were tasty, she was a bit sceptical that the dish was worth the 1.5hour wait (from arrival at the café to the dish arriving on our table).IMG_9414

All in all Hylin is a good café, I’d certainly return – though I think I’ll wait till the hype dies down a bit!IMG_9424IMG_9418