NEW Vines Mini Golf & Kid Friendly Swan Valley Eats

The newly opened Vines Mini Golf course at The Vines Resort is very impressive. This stunningly landscaped miniature golf course has wine barrels, tractors and lots of timber, giving it a real Swan Valley feel.

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The course has been designed for both adults and children to enjoy. And the three of us do love a family game of mini golf! Everybody tees off from the same point, but depending on your own choice, you can aim towards the blue or red flags – designed to give you a slightly different experience if you play more than once.

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Each hole has its own individual challenges – sand traps, slopes and hills, bridges, tunnels and water features. There are streams meandering past many of the holes. We lost a couple of balls in there… whoops!

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All the holes were fun and each had its own individual challenge. There’s a hole with two tunnels, taking the balls down to a lower level, that was a big hit with Little Chef. He was stoked that he got TWO holes in one too!

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Unlike traditional golf at The Vines, there’s no strict dress code, though everyone must have footwear on at all times and you cannot wear high heels on the course. There’s no shade and the average play time is about 1 hour, so remember to slip, slop slap!

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When we played, we were lucky to get a sneak peek before the course opened to the public. They were still making a few finishing touches, including a fun “winner’s podium”, just to make it a little more competitive – everybody wants to be on the top step and get mini golf bragging rights!

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Vines Mini Golf is a “hole” lot of fun! We enjoyed the challenges of trying to keep the ball out of the water and of course, Little Chef beat me. I’ll be challenging to a re-match very soon. We will definitely go back there again. It’s loads of fun for the whole family – no experience necessary!

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8 Swan Valley Kid-Friendly Eats

And while you’re in the Swan Valley, how about you try one of these kid-friendly spots?

Oakover Grounds – this winery has excellent casual food in a beautiful setting on a lake. There’s free peddle boats and fishing too! If you’re lucky enough to catch a fish (like us) you can pay for it and cook it up at home! Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, loads of space for them to run around, peddle boats and fishing.

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Taylors Art and Coffee House – my favourite Swan Valley brunch spot. There’s fluffy pancakes, great coffee and other scrumptious creations. Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, casual vibe and a sandpit in the back courtyard.

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The Hen – The Hen has bucket loads of character, for a new spot. The rustic, country vibe works well in the Swan Valley and we enjoyed a tasty lunch there last year. Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, and loads of space for them to run around – balls and frisbees available.

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Maison St Honore – this macaron factory is a fantastic spot for a sweet treat and coffee. There’s a few savoury items available too and I did spy a brunch menu, so I’ll have to “investigate” that further! Read my blog here.

For Kids: scrumptious treats, loads of lawn and a playground.

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Westfield Whitford City Dining Hub

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This morning the eagerly awaited new piazza and Event Cinemas has opened at Westfield Whitford City Shopping Centre. The foodie hub promises to make Whitfords an entertainment and dining spot, not just a place for shopping. I headed down with what felt like the entire Perth NoR population to check out just what’s on offer.

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The space is lush and green. The restaurants and cafes are in a U shape around the central space, which has a small stage for live entertainment, lots of alfresco dining and some sculptures, which will double as a place for children to play and explore.

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There’s lots of variety with the food vendors. I found mainly casual spots that are also family friendly and many different cuisines. Here’s what you can expect to find…

Whitfords Brewing Co – with one of the longest bars in WA and a rooftop terrace, this spot will soon become a Northern Suburbs favourite. I know Chef is chomping at the bit to have a pint and some eats here. From the Beerland, who are behind the Northbridge Brewing Co.

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East Village NY – this all day diner has a New York vibe.

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Eat House – another NYC ‘Deli & Grill’ with an Italian twist. The menu changes daily and you’ll find things like gourmet sandwiches and

Max Brenner Chocolate  – chocoholics will LOVE Max Brenner, an international chocolate café.

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Guzman Y Gomez – a Tex-Mex casual eatery where burritos, nachos, taco, quesadillas and more are found on the menu.

Miss Chows – this chic Asian specialises in dumplings and other mod-Asian delights. Best of all, no MSG!

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Gami – serving mouth-watering Korean fried chicken. Man I wish there was a GF version!

Bombay Talkies (coming soon) – this sounds amazing! Here you’ll find vibrant Indian-inspired takeaway street food.

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Bangkok Brothers – a popular Northbridge spot, this bar and casual Thai eatery looks delicious.

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Jersey Jack Gelato – now we don’t have to drive allll the way to Como to enjoy Jersey Jack and their crazy gelato cones!

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Dough Pizza (coming soon) – another Northbridge favourite, serving traditional Italian wood fired pizzas.

Grill’d Bugers – a firm family favourite. We love their gourmet burgers!

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Hunter Barrel – coal roasted meats by the peeps behind Ribs n Burgers. The interior looks really sleek and I’m looking forward to dining there.

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Event Cinemas – finally, we don’t have to treck to Innaloo for Gold class! Event Cinemas are found upstairs. There’s brand new cinemas and VMax too. The candy bar is impressive, with a choc top fridge, soda bar and loads of pick n mix lollies.

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There’s so much at the Whitfords piazza to discover and it’s a brilliant place for lunch with the family before a movie at Event Cinemas or even a cheeky date night.

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I’m planning on dining at several of these spots – so stay tuned!

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The Packing Shed, Bickley Valley

The Bickley Valley area of the Perth Hills is fast becoming a must go weekend destination. There’s wineries, cafes, mini golf and the popular Core Cider House. To me, the spot nestled just behind Kalamunda is a far prettier drive than the Swan Valley, with its native bushland, winding roads and green rolling hills covered in vineyards and orchards, giving it a real country feel.IMG_9659

The Packing Shed opened up earlier this year. Found at one of Bickley Valley’s vineyards, Lawnbrook Estate, the rustic eatery is a peaceful spot for brunch or lunch all year round.IMG_9668

We’ve previously been there on a sunny day and sat on the patio with a glass of wine.IMG_6679

Little Chef loved to run around on the expansive lawns.IMG_9653

This time we visited for brunch, we spent a winter’s morning sitting inside, by the roaring log fire.IMG_9661

The staff are always welcoming and friendly. The coffee is very good too.IMG_9624

The brunch cut off is 11.30am, but there are a few breakfast dishes that make it onto the lunch menu for late-risers. My top brekkie pick has to be the shakshouka. It’s one of my all-time favourite brunch dishes and the Packing Shed’s version of eggs baked in a spicy Moroccan tomato sauce is very tasty and the fresh bread is perfect for dunking! IMG_6691

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Tony Romas, Perth CBD

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Tony Roma's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When staying in the City, Chef, Little Chef and I enjoyed a family dinner at Tony Romas, a short stroll up Hay Street from our hotel. It’s a family friendly, international chain restaurant that specialises in ribs. I’m obsessed with ribs and I’d been craving Tony Roma’s ribs for a quite some time. It had been a few years since our last visit there – would it still be as good as I remembered?

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We were easily seated without a booking as it was early on a Sunday night. It’s a large restaurant with plenty of tables and some cosy booths too. I knew exactly what I wanted (ribs!). Ordering was a breeze; I just had to choose two sides with to go with my ribs. There’s’ a good choice; Corn on the cob, Wild rice, chips, broccoli, coleslaw, baked potato – I chose a roasted potato and slaw. Little Chef had a good choice of several dishes on the kids menu.

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Just after we placed our order. We were given a complimentary sliced baguette and garlic butter. The butter melted on the warmed bread, it was a nice touch. Continue reading

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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Solo Pasta – Mount Lawley

Solo Pasta is the new kid on the Beaufort Street strip. It’s not your traditional Italian pasta joint at all. It brings to the dinner table a fresh and fun new concept of ordering “pasta by the metre”. I’d never really put that much thought into how much pasta, in length, that I ate! At Solo Pasta, their standard sized patsa dishes come in three metre serves, which is the average amount a person eats, if they laid out their pasta end to end!

The three of us were kindly invited to dinner at Solo Pasta by David Caro, one of its owners. He enthusiastically explained how the idea behind the new restaurant works and it sounded intriguing. The dining room is light and bright, overlooking the bustling Beaufort Street.

The menu is made up of share plates and pasta dishes, which are ordered in three steps.

  1. First you choose your type of pasta – classic, beetroot or spinach.
  2. Next choose your length of pasta, we chose the standard three metres. For those of us with big appetites, you have the option of adding extra pasta to your bowl for $4.50 per metre. Kids serves are two metres.
  3. Then you choose your sauce. There are options of tomato based sauces (like meatballs, bolognaise, chorizo and chilli and more), cream based (like carbonara, mushroom and more) and olive oil/jus based sauces.

To begin Chef and I shared the tender and tasty lemon pepper calamari, $14, served with aioli and a wedge of lemon.

There’s no kids menu at Solo Pasta. Children get to pick their pasta dish from the whole menu. They simply receive a smaller pasta serve of two metres. For $13 children also receive a soft drink and vanilla ice cream along with the pasta.

Little Chef chose the spaghetti and meatball dish, though he was also tempted by the chorizo pasta too. He absolutely loved his super long pasta, served in thick, flat strips. It was topped with the pork and kale meatballs and parmigiana reggiano. I loved that there was kale in his meatballs and he didn’t even notice!  Many of Solo Pasta’s dishes have hidden veggies and their beetroot and spinach pastas are packed with nutrients too.

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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.

Mia Cucina – Hillarys

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Mia Cucina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
As a Perth food blogger, I get a lot of people telling me about their new finds, old favourites and hidden gems they discover. I’d been told by a few separate people that I must try Mia Cucina at Hillarys Boat Harbour. It’s found on the northern side, near the boat ramps and has a stunning view over the harbour.

We dined with a group of our friends. Little Chef was also in tow, as was the beautiful baby Grace, it’s family friendly and has plenty of space for prams. We had a front row seat of the beautiful sunset – I’d definitely recommend booking a table right on the window.IMG_0671

As we were all starving and feeling gluttonous we decided to have entrees and mains. Chef chose the Calamari ($17). He enjoyed the tender calamari, which was lightly fried with a touch of chilli. It’s served with a crisp salad garnish and tartare sauce for dipping.IMG_0675

I’d been told to try the arancini, $17, so I ordered the traditional Italian risotto balls. These are filled with pork mince, prime beef, mozzarella cheese & peas and coated with crisp golden breadcrumbs. I liked these, though I think they could have done with a little more seasoning.IMG_0672

I experienced a little food envy as Mrs C tucked into her baked goat’s cheese, $18. The ooey-gooey cheese was baked with honey, apple and rosemary, with toasted Turkish bread on the side for dipping. IMG_0674

For main I had the beef cheek triangoli, $28. The hand-made ravioli triangles are filled with tender braised beef cheeks, nutmeg and parmesan. They are then pan-fried with white wine, prosciutto, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes and finished with truffle oil.  It promised so much and looked hearty and delicious. Unfortunately, as I ate the dish I discovered that their chef had been too heavy handed with the truffle oil and it completely overpowered all the flavours. A shame, as all the other components were spot on (though taste-wise it was hard to tell!). This comes in main and entrée size and I wish I’d chosen the smaller size – not only as I found the flavours too rich, but it was also a very filling dish.IMG_0679

Chef, ever the meat lover devoured the di carne pizza, $25.  It was topped with cacciatore sausage, prosciutto, shaved ham & bacon, fresh tomato, red onion & mozzarella. Mr H really enjoyed his pollo (chicken) pizza too.IMG_0678

All in all, I liked Mia Cucina, though it didn’t wow me. The simple meals are reasonably priced and the café is in a beautiful location. I think on this occasion I didn’t get very lucky with my own menu choices, as everyone else on our table enjoyed their meals.

LOVE Italian food? Check out my other blogs on Italian restaurants in Perth!

Il Lido – Cottesloe

Bravos – Vic Park

Café Avellino – Wanneroo

Jamie’s Italian – Perth CBD

What’s your favourite Italian spot in Perth?

 

The Shorehouse – Swanborne

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The Shorehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Shorehouse opened just a month ago, so I expect a short wait to be seated. This popular new dining spot is owned by the people from buzzed about inner city venues – The Trustee, BeaufortLocal and Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting. There are two distinct areas at The Shorehouse – the chic restaurant and the outside deck, shaded with yellow and white stripped umbrellas.IMG_1183

Once we are at the front of the queue a waitress motions for us to follow her. She stops to talk to another waiter and wanders off. We’re left standing in the middle of the restaurant – not knowing where to go! A minute later the waitress re-appears, taking us to a table on the outside deck. Whilst the deck looks very inviting, I had specifically booked for the restaurant – as the full menu isn’t available outside. Eventually, we are seated at the correct table. No menu appears in the first ten minutes. An eagle eyed waitress notices, apologizes profusely and swiftly provides us with menus and takes our drinks order. From here on in the service is flawless – almost.IMG_1170

I dined at this Swanbourne venue’s previous incarnation – The Naked Fig. It’s gone from a dark, bohemian café to a light and open Hamptons style restaurant – totally reflective of its beautiful coastal view. The dining room’s centerpiece is an antique copper bath which is where the wine is chilled in ice. The wait staff look like they’ve stepped straight out of the GAP – dressed in trendy cottons and denim aprons. A note to the ladies – be careful that your heels don’t get stuck in the decked flooring!IMG_1182

The wine list of mainly Australian and French drops is extensive – with 50 whites and 50 reds on offer. I feel like a glass of red wine – though the weather is too warm for me. I pick a Tomfoolery Rose, which feels much more like a chilled red – I love its crisp flavors. There are other excellent drink choices – craft beers, ciders and bespoke cocktails.

The kitchen is led by Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year, Head Chef Oliver Gould. The menu, features a lot of seafood as well as grilled meats from the “Josper”, a Spanish BBQ oven. The Shorehouse’s menu has a sophisticated feel and it’s certainly not the place for a casual burger or pizza.

I enjoy an entrée from the “small house” small plates menu, which can double as share food. A summery salad of ripe heirloom tomatoes, $24.50, sugar cured fresh kingfish, watermelon, watercress and basil has sweet and sour flavours.IMG_1165

Sweetcorn and manchego croquettes, 12.50, are wonderfully crisp on the outside and positively goo-ey on the inside.IMG_1155

Little Chef chooses the grilled fish and chips, $19, which includes a drink and dessert. Initially I think that $19 is quite steep for a kids meal and the portion isn’t huge – though I think that’s more of an optical illusion, as a regular plate is used to serve it on. Little Chef wolfs down the meal and absolutely loves the fish fillets – which are super fresh and clearly very good quality. He asks, ‘when are we coming here again for dinner’, high praise from this 6 year old indeed.IMG_1161

Cooking at 400 degrees in a Josper keeps meat juicy, whilst adding touch of charcoal for added smoky flavour. I choose the slow cooked pork belly, $36.50, with sweet and sour shallots, peach and mustard seeds. The pork is deliciously moist and it is a beautifully plated dish.pork belly

Chef’s Harvey scotch fillet, $43.50, is topped with grilled eggplant, kipfler potatoes, taleggio and anchovies. Whilst it is a tasty piece of meat, oozing with smoky flavours, Chef questions the hefty price tag – he’s had better steaks.IMG_1175

As we watch the pink sunset over the ocean our dessert arrives. We admire the sweet creations, then realise we have no cutlery! Eventually, Chef devours the white chocolate sponge, $16.50, with different textures of mango cream, banana and almond milk ice cream.white choc sponge

A rosemary pannacotta, $16.50, with tart passionfruit sorbet and coconut crumble, is a tasty way to end my meal.IMG_1186

We enjoy The Shorehouse, which is styled as “casual beachside dining” and whilst the vibe is very chilled, the food is far from casual.IMG_1144

At a glance

■ The Shorehouse

278 Marine Parade

Swanbourne

Phone 08 9286 4050

■ Opening times

7 Days

7am till late

■ Rating

food 4

service 3

ambience 4

value for money 3

■ style – Modern Australian

■ wine – Large list, lots of

“iconic drops”

■ Chef – Oliver Gould

■ Owner – Scott Taylor

■ feel – beachside chic

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Small – $3.50 to $29.50

Big – $32.50 to $125.50

Dessert – $14.50 to $25.50

■ all in all – stunning restaurant

with a menu to match. Excellent

drinks. Service is a little patchy.