Indian cuisine is something I LOVE. Sadly, for the best part of a decade, we’ve not enjoyed dining at Indian restaurants like we used to – which is down to a certain Little Chef. We had a win recently with our fussy eater. He suddenly decided he liked butter chicken. I could have wept with happiness!
When an invite to Beaufort Street newbie, Chakra, landed in my inbox I jumped at the chance to try it out, especially when I learned that it’s child friendly. We could have our biryani and eat it too!
We were welcomed into the stylish dining room, adorned with Indian lanterns and plush red and gold, by our hosts Sonia and Kumar. Chakra is very inviting and a lot more on trend than your average suburban Indian eatery. Chakra is best described as a modern Indian. In the words of Sonia it’s “Indian-ish”. Whilst the methods of cooking and recipes remain authentic, the modern presentation freshens it up and gives the food a fresh breath of life.
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was that the room was full of exotic, aromatic flavours .While we looked over the menus, Little Chef was kept occupied with some colouring in. He did a good job!
Sonia and Kumar took us through the menu and said they’d send out a selection of entrees and mains for us to try. First came the beef cones. These are a fresh take on traditional beef samosas, are filled with meat, sautéed onion and tomato. Chef tells me the carom seed flavoured cone is absolutely delicious and Little Chef scoffed the other. I love it when he’s feeling adventurous!
I loved the seared scallop dish, served on a bed of roasted capsicum and tomato chutney, with Nigella seeds (DF,GF). The scallops were deliciously plump and complimented by the flavoursome chutney. Continue reading
This one’s HOT off the press! This morning we brunched at Lot One Kitchen, a brand new eatery in the northern suburbs, which has really hit the ground running!
We popped by for a late brunch. So late, that Little Chef preferred to eat something for lunch. The new restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner has had a beautiful fit out. There’s lots of tables and a cosy nook with sofas too. I love it’s use of tanned leather and stunning light fixtures.
The service was good, but a little green. I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, being so new! The roast used at Lot One Kitchen is Di Bella. Chef was happy with his flat white and even grabbed a take away on our way out.
Feeling a cold coming on, I chose a “beet it” beetroot and ginger juice.
Little Chef had a chocolate milkshake treat. Continue reading
From as far back as high school I’ve had a bit of a “funny tummy”. Without giving you TMI (too much info), it’s often uncomfortable and very bloaty. My love of food has put me in denial about a possible food intolerance for 20 years. I knew it wasn’t as catastrophic as being coeliac, but little by little I came to the realisation that I needed to get to the, ahem, bottom of the issue.
So after a load of blood tests and ‘scopeis earlier this year, it turns out that I have a mild gluten intolerance and possibly an intolerance to some other foods (I suspect apple and onion). My GP advised me that I needed to go on a strict low FODMAP elimination diet for about 6 weeks, which I’ve now completed (thank goodness!). FODMAPs are basically short chain carbohydrates that are poorly digested. They include some fructose, monosaccharides, and sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol. So there was a lot I couldn’t eat – even common foods like garlic and mushrooms!
Cutting out some of these foods has made me feel a whole lot better, though it’s been a nightmare eating out. I now have a new-found appreciation for a well labelled menu. If I see lots of “GF” options it makes me so happy. One spot in particular has been a godsend – Health Freak Café, who have a menu that even caters for FODMAPers! There’s lots of dishes labelled “FOG”, free from onion and garlic. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
Public transport can be a real novelty for kids, who spend much of their time travelling in Mum or Dad’s car. Young children will delight in a train ride or trip on a bus. The Perth CAT busses are a quick and easy way of getting around the city, when little legs get weary or just to see a bit more of what the CBD and Northbridge have to offer.
Jump on and off the free CAT (Central Area Transit) busses at their dedicated stops all around Perth. Kids can answer their own “When will the bus be here?” question by pressing the big button and having the voice tell them how many minutes away the next CAT is. The busses are also pram friendly and have priority seating.
There are four coloured CAT BUS routes, zig zagging around the city from West Perth to East Perth and Northbridge. Grab a map from the bus ports, train stations or tourism information stand in Forrest Place and get exploring the attractions, parks and eateries of the city of Perth!
Here’s my guide to the best bus stops to hop on and off with your family in Perth.
BLUE CAT ROUTE
STOP 1 – Elizabeth Quay Bus Station
If you’re planning a day exploring the city by CAT bus, you may even arrive here by bus or train. The Elizabeth Quay Bus Station is just over the road from the Quay itself. The brilliant Elizabeth Quay is a great place for a ride on the Venetian Carousel, game of mini golf, a scoop of delish Gusto Gelato or casual bite to eat at V Burger.
STOP 2 – Barrack Square
There’s loads to do at Barrack Square! This stop is also the best for the south side of Elizabeth Quay. Opposite the CAT Stop is the famous Perth Bell Tower, cafes and ferry stops for exploring the Swan River. Stroll over the Elizabeth Quay bridge and check out the excellent playground! Continue reading
I think the Holiday Inn has to be one of the best Perth hotels for a family stay in the city. Not only was the four and a half star hotel recently refurbished and is incredibly modern, it is also slap bang in the heart of the CBD, opposite the Central Park building on Hay Street, close to the pedestrian shopping malls, cafes and attractions.
Chef, Little Chef and I were excited about our Holiday Inn staycation. I was there on assignment for Buggybuddys, Perth’s top kids website, who I also write for. We didn’t have time to travel anywhere for a break, so discovering our own city was a great alternative and we jumped at the opportunity to check out the Holiday Inn.
We pulled our car up in the driveway at the side of the hotel, which is really convenient if you want to take advantage of their valet parking. We entered the lobby and were promptly checked in by the welcoming ladies at the front desk. Particular attention was paid to Little Chef, who was given an activity pack and told that there would be a special surprise if he completed the book, so he was totally on a mission to finish it!
Pic Credit: Holiday Inn Perth
We grabbed our overnight bags and electronic key and excitedly headed to our Family Room on the seventh floor. The Family Room features a massive king sized bed in the main area, which faces a large 48” flat-screen TV, perfect for lying in bed and watching a movie!
There’s an adjoining separate bedroom (which we were stoked about!) with a further two single beds and a 32” flat-screen TV. There’s also a desk – where Little Chef quickly set to work on his activity book. It kept him entertained for ages!
I hadn’t heard of North Beach restaurant Zephyr, who kindly asked us in for dinner, so I asked my friend Google a little about them. What I found was a Gold Plate winning restaurant that has many positive reviews online and a very loyal local following in the Perth northern beaches.
Zephyr’s website describes it’s self as an Italian restaurant. So when I arrived I was expecting to see pasta and pizza on the menu… you won’t find that at Zephyr. It’s a European restaurant, which has “Mediterranean style” dishes on the menu.
We dined on a rainy Wednesday, the restaurant had a lively atmosphere, with tables of people happily chatting and enjoying tunes played by Pablo the Spanish guitarist in the enclosed alfresco area. I enjoyed a bit of music with my fruity drink!
For main, Chef chose the Harvey beef fillet ($39). Cooked nicely medium rare, it was topped with a plump field mushroom, truffle salt, shaved parmesan and a red wine sauce. He also picked a side of chunky roasted rosemary and garlic potato chips.
I picked the pork belly ($36) as it’s one of my favourite cuts of meat. The pork was served with creamy mash, scallops and a house made spicy kim chi. Julienned snow peas were perfectly cooked. Unfortunately the crackling wasn’t crisp, but the rest of the belly meat was moist and flavoursome.