Our City Staycation at Holiday Inn Perth CBD

IMG_6653

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.

IMG_6448

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.

IMG_6630

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!

Our Rooms

HolInnFamPic 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!

IMG_6416

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!

IMG_6421

Continue reading

Café Moka, Mandurah

IMG_7497

Cafe Moka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

To me, there’s not much sweeter than finding a gem of a brunch spot. Mandurah locals are lucky to have the waterside Café Moka on their doorstep. Found at Dolphin Quay, the bustling café overlooks the marina, which is a lovely backdrop for my Mothers Day breakfast. It’s part of our May weekend staycation in Mandurah, and we’d been invited to enjoy a tasty brekkie there by Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation, who have expert local knowledge for the perfect brunch spot for my foodie family.IMG_7519

Chef and I ordered a couple of flat whites ($4.50). The Toby’s Estate roast really hit the spot! And being Mothers Day I also got given a rose – what a lovely gesture!IMG_7492

Continue reading

Mayfair Lane – West Perth

IMG_2160Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Mayfair Lane is a British pub, but not as we know it. The West Perth venue is not similar to other theme bars, with their faux Tudor façades and twee interiors. Mayfair Lane oozes cool Britannia.

We reviewed this venue, then known as The Brown Fox, a few years ago. It was adequate and did everything it said on the box. With the addition of new owners Chris and Foni Pollitt, and a new Head Chef, everything has been stepped up a few notches.

Gone is the dingy interior, now there’s welcoming subtle blue/grey hues and chandeliers to lighten up the bar. The dining room is elegant. If you’re after something more casual, sit on a high table near the bar or outside on the veranda along with the West Perth office workers.IMG_4815

Foni, along with her husband Chris, have spent many years in hospitality all around the world. Their very different experiences bring a lot to this gastro pub. Foni has had a polished, silver service career in high end restaurants as a Maître’D, as well as opening many gastropubs in the UK and Canada. Chris ran some of the hippest bars in East London. Head Chef, Shannon Wilson has rattled his pans all around the world, including at Necker Island for Sir Richard Branson, no less.

As we arrive for lunch, there doesn’t seem to be any wait staff on the floor. We seat ourselves on the veranda and find menus, unsure if table service is on offer. It is and after our wait person arrives, the service is on the ball. At Mayfair Lane you can dine on traditional pub fayre, like bangers and mash or choose something a little fancy, like their lamb assiette. I’m here for one of their signature dishes, the steak tartare, which some have said is the best in Perth.IMG_2178

The extensive wine list is a little bit special. Foni, is somewhat of a Sommelier extraordinaire. The certified wine educator has created what is arguably the best wine list of any pub in Perth. There’s a large choice of by the glass wines and I pick a French rose, feeling confident that it will be a cracker. The pale rose Château Les Crostes Cinsault Grenache is indeed a tasty drop.IMG_4746

I start with the famed steak tartare, $22, which is always a good measure of a kitchen. Ultra-fresh raw steak is bound together with herbs, shallots and a spiced mayo then topped with a gooey, soft-boiled quail’s egg.  I scoop at the delicious tartare with the house made game crisps. It’s spot on.IMG_4771

At $21, the three pan-fried scallops are a touch on the pricey side. Served with a creamy pommes purée, vanilla tomato compote and a verjuice jus, this light dish has well balanced, punchy flavours.IMG_4763 Continue reading

Hamptons – City Beach

img_3128

Hamptons City Beach  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Hamptons is a coastal playground for New York’s wealthy, famous and glamorous. The new restaurant Hamptons City Beach emulates this and offers Perth dinners a sumptuous offering of a bar and restaurant, overlooking the Indian Ocean.img_3124

Having dined at Hampton’s neighbour Odyssea earlier this year, Chef and I are keen to see what the newest City Beach addition has brought to this popular coastal dining strip. Would it be a similar offering of quality modern Australian cuisine by the ocean or something entirely different?img_3089

The large venue is divided into the plush “Bubble Lounge” and bar area with cosy booths by the kitchen’s pass. Then there is the expansive light filled dining room, with crisp white furniture, that overlooks the ocean.  There is plenty of alfresco dining with a sheltered outside courtyard and a balcony overlooking the beach too.img_3123

We sit at our table by the window in the restaurant. It’s a stunning view over the white sands to the iconic City Beach lifeguard tower. We’ve chosen an early dinner, to enjoy the sunset, though the sun gets a little glary. The wine list is well stocked with a little bit of everything and I pick an on-trend French rose. The glass of Chateau Clarettes is easy to drink and has subtle strawberry flavours.img_3095

We order from the menu, which has a fine selection of local seafood and meats, with the mains divided into “lighter bites” and “more substantial” dishes. The service is attentive, pleasant and surprisingly polished for such a new venue.img_3088

Chef relishes his textural salmon tartare, $24 and enthusiastically urges me to take a bite. I scoop up the plump fresh salmon and avocado with a shard of crisp nori. The Japanese inspired dish is complemented by a squid ink mayonnaise and with each mouthful there’s a different flavour combination.img_3097

I start my dinner with another summery dish, sticky and sweet braised Linley Valley pork belly, $20. The moist belly meat almost falls apart with a poke of my fork and the coriander and pineapple compliments it with fresh, clean flavours.img_3103

The children’s menu is brave, offering meatballs with zucchini noodles, zucchini lasagne, steak and more. When we dine out with Little Chef, we want it to be a relaxed affair, no nagging him to eat his greens. Though we do value the importance of being offered more than nuggets and chips. He chooses the battered fish fillet $13, served with fries and fennel salad. He gobbles down the top quality fish, but turns his little nose up at the sweet potato fries. This seven year old doesn’t appreciate their addition to the fancy kids menu. It may please older children, though if Hamptons want to please their mini diners, I’d keep it simple.img_3100

The Black Angus scotch fillet 300g, topped with melted truffle butter and accompanied by potato mash, creamed spinach, a crisp asparagus salad and a beetroot vinaigrette is a hearty dish. Is it worth the $52 price tag? The delectable produce is top notch, though we agree it would be better priced around $45.img_3106

Feeling festive I choose the half lobster tail, $42, for my main. For me, lobster is always a decedent dish to enjoy during the holiday season. The rich crustacean meat, which is oozing with garlic butter, is absolutely delicious and the shell is empty in no time. The tail is accompanied by roasted vine tomatoes and a sweet tomato salad with potato crisps.lobster

For dessert, we share a beautifully plated chocolate caramel tart, $14. The tasty tart is smooth and rich, deliciously complimented by a generous scoop of raspberry sorbet, which sits upon a scattering of chocolate popping soil.choc-tart

So it begs the question, is Hamptons much different to Odyssea? What we find is a more formal dining experience which is closer to the sand and for that it’s a tad more expensive. Generally, the prices are on the higher side, though there are cheaper options for the budget conscious. The food is executed with technique, finesse and excellent flavour. There is some serious talent in the kitchen. The addition of Hamptons to the other quality eateries make City Beach the place to be this summer.img_3131

At a glance

Hamptons City Beach

179 Challenger Parade

City Beach

Phone 08 9385 9588

Opening times

7am till late

7 days a week

Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

style Modern Australian,

specialising in seafood

wine an extensive wine list

designed for all tastes and budgets.

Chef – Jonny Peacham

Owners – Fiona and Marcel Slobe

feel – Sophisticated, yet approachable.

wheelchair access yes

cost

Entrée – $7 to $38

Main $25 to $52

Desert $10 to $14

all in all – top notch food and drink

offerings served in a beautiful,

contemporary venue. Casual elegance

by the sea for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Odyssea – City Beach

img_0982 Odyssea Beach Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Earlier this year Chef and I dined at Odyssea, enjoying a very tasty dinner with a sublime pink sunset. So when I received an invite in the post from Odyssea to check out their new brunch menu, featuring CharCol Springs eggs, I jumped at the chance to enjoy that stunning view over the Indian Ocean once more. Here’s that beautiful sunset by the way…img_2552

Odyssea are proud to use local West Australian produce and the star of many of their breakfast dishes are pastured eggs from CharCol Springs in Manjimup. The CharCol Springs hens roam around on chemical free pastures pecking on bugs and lots of greens. I can tell you the eggs are really tasty, you can definitely tell they are laid by happy chickens! I’ve cooked them myself, after I received some CharCol Springs eggs as part of the breakfast invitation – what a cute idea.20161107_110149

I made it down to Odyssea for a 7.3oam breakfast, one of the perks of now being a #girlboss is that I can enjoy a lazy breakfast if I like, no having to rush off to work. Nice one! A group of Perth Food Bloggers and Instagram influencers sat in the dining room on a tall, long table with owner Eleanor Hupfer. It’s an ultra mod, light and airy space.img_2511

I had barely stepped through the door when a very efficient waiter asked me what drink I would like to order. I was a little desperate for my morning coffee, so I really appreciated that! My Fiori coffee arrived in no time. Looking over their new morning menu, there are so many tasty sounding dishes – many of the other foodies at the table were gravitating toward the meaty pulled lamb dish and I was no different.img_0968

Before breakfast arrived we indulged in some Peach Bellinis. I’m not usually one for boozy brunches, but I’m also not one to say no to a bit of fizz. These were absolutely scrummy!img_0978

I couldn’t go past the lamb shoulder hash, $22. I wasn’t sure if it would be too heavy for brekkie. Though it’s a filling dish, I found it fairly light. The crisp pulled lamb is served with sautéed courgette, pea and coriander. A CharCol Springs fried egg is served sunny side up and there’s a delicious harissa hollandaise on the side. I was so pleased with my choice and very impressed! img_0989

Here’s some of the other breakfast dishes enjoyed on our table from the new menu:

A healthy option is the gluten free granola, $14. Served with a rhubarb yogurt parfait and poached pear.img_0993

A tasty vego dish is the baked eggs, $18. Served with braised spinach, spiced yogurt, fried chickpeas and flatbread.img_0990

The prosciutto di parma, $18, looked tasty. Accompanied with a radicchio jam, blue cheese mascarpone and toasted sourdough, topped with a 65 degree poached CharCol Springs egg.img_1004

A dish I’d really like to try is the Torbay asparagus, $22. I couldn’t believe just how thick the asparagus was. Served with cured salmon, fennel, goat’s curd, soft boiled egg and sourdough toast. This is a beautiful, summery brunch dish.img_1003

Odyssea’s owner Eleanor, was keen for us to sample the house ginger bread, $16. I couldn’t resist having a bite of this pretty breakfast dish. The spiced gingerbread is absolutely scrumptious and served with whipped ricotta and fresh strawberries. A must try dish for sweet tooths. img_1007

Odyssea is a wonderful spot for a summery brunch whilst watching the waves roll in. With a great selection of house made pastries and breakfast offerings, delicious drinks and beachside dining – it really doesn’t get much better than this! img_1014

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Detail and the Odyssea team for organising a wonderful breakfast featuring freshly laid eggs by the girls at CharCol Springs, Manjimup.img_1011

Wildflower – Perth CBD

img_0633

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

Wildflower sits proudly in the rooftop of COMO The Treasury Hotel, giving stunning views over Perth’s CBD to St George’s Cathedral, Council House and glimpses of the river. At the helm is Executive Chef, Jed Gerrard. This fine West Australian Chef has worked for Tetsuya Wakuda as well as in Michelin-starred restaurants around Europe.

We are greeted at the fourth floor restaurant’s lift and shown to our table besides the glass wall. The contemporary restaurant is bathed in sunlight as we are essentially sitting in a steel and glass box. The interior has an elegant feel, with warm green and grey tones. We have the option of enjoying a five course tasting menu or dining a la carte.img_0627

Wildflower’s dishes are inspired by the six Noongar seasons. Chef and I are dining during Djilba, which is the season of conception, when native flowers like the lemon myrtle and wattle come into bloom. Sustainable local produce is the star on the “farm to plate” and forager-driven menu.

From their extensive wine list, Wildflower’s Sommelier recommends a wonderfully smooth drop from the Barossa, the Kalleske ‘Moppa’ Shiraz.img_0591

We begin our degustation with beautiful appetisers on a plate adorned with Geraldton Wax flowers, bark and a Banksia nut. I pop a tiny taco-like morsel into my mouth which is filled with cured emu.img_0579

We break a small loaf of house baked bread made with caraway, fennel and wattle seeds. Chef chastises me for spreading the warm bread with overly generous amounts of whipped butter, topped with macadamia shavings – it’s so moreish!img_0582

An exquisitely plated dish of Shark Bay saucer scallops are served with theatre. Before we eat, our waiter spoons a subtle eucalyptus snow onto the side, which creates dramatic icy clouds. The raw scallops are served with sour grass, chunks of green strawberries and a sprinkling of vibrant red strawberry dust– giving it layers of sweet and sour flavours.img_0583

Delicately flavoured cured Southwest rainbow trout is served with river greens, salted radish, chive and preserved finger lime butter. The perfectly in tune flavours and textures sing on the plate. I notice my fork has a food dried to the handle and ask the waiter for a replacement. He starts to ask me if it was already like that, but thinks better of it. A Michelin inspector may drop a fork on the floor, but I’m not in the habit of tripping up unsuspecting waiters with dirty cutlery. It’s a small blemish on a polished and attentive service from our waiters.img_0587

The dry aged Wagin duck dish is like a West Australian version of duck a l’orange. The tasty duck with orange is served perfectly pink with tart quandongs preserved in vinegar.img_0589

Another impressive dish is the moist dorper lamb, which melts in my mouth. It’s topped with a blackened Cipollini onion, broad beans and thinly sliced turnips that are preserved in peppermint tree vinegar. A dollop of creamy set sheep’s milk is on the side.img_0599

A palette cleanser of mint oil, rhubarb gel, fresh baby peas and snow pea ice is far more interesting than a traditional scoop of sorbet. We enjoy it, though the tart rhubarb overpowers the other flavours.img_0602

For dessert, local chocolatiers Bahen & Co provide the base for a scrumptious chocolate mousse. Salt from Lake Deborah is used in the sweet salted caramel.img_0607

We finish our delicious degustation with a couple of pretty petit fours, a whisky jelly and chocolate truffle.img_0625

Wildflower is a wonderful celebration of West Australian produce. It’s a perfect spot for a special occasion or wining and dining interstate and overseas guests, giving them a true Western Australian experience. It’s Wildflower season all year round in the city!img_0585

 At a glance

Wildflower

1 Cathedral Ave

Perth

Phone 08 6168 7780

Opening times

Lunch – Tuesday to Friday 12-3pm

Dinner – Tuesday to Saturday 6pm till late

Rating

food 5

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

style Modern Australian fine dining

wine An extensive wine list with

an impressive selection of reserves.

Some good drops available by the glass.

Chef Jed Gerrard

Owner – COMO Group

feel modern elegance

wheelchair access yes

cost

Entrée $32 – $35

Main $36 – $49

Desert $22 – $29

5 Course Tasting Menu – $145pp

all in all A stunning restaurant

with true West Australian flair. Menu

inspired by indigenous seasons, using local

organic produce. An exquisite experience.

Crust Gourmet Pizza – Mt Lawley

IMG_3905

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m a big fan of pizza. For me, you can put almost any combination of food on a thin pastry base and it makes it all the more appealing. Pizza is casual, comfort food and I can’t get enough. When we order Crust pizza, Crust in Joondalup is our regular store, but on this occasion we headed into Crust in Mount Lawley for pizza. We were invited down by the owner and fellow food blogger Michelle, aka Foodie Cravings, to check out some of the new items on their menu.IMG_3880

Crust Mount Lawley is found opposite the Astor Theatre, just around the corner from Beaufort Street. If you want to enjoy your pizza fresh out of the oven, like we did, there is seating inside and outside. To begin, I picked the lamb ribs, $13.50, from the starters menu. The Mediterranean spiced ribs are tender and served with fresh herbs and lemon. You’ll have to excuse my rubbish photo, but you get the idea 😉IMG_3897

I really enjoyed the chicken cordon bleu pizza, $24. It’s topped with house cooked chicken, pancetta rotoli that is stuffed with double brie, sweet caramelised onions and fresh asparagus on a tomato sauce base, garnished with Dijon mustard, which gives it a nice little kick. A very tasty combination of flavours!IMG_3887

Poor Little Chef has just got over a bout of chicken pox, so he’s a bit off eating chicken at the moment! For him, we bought the “Meat Deluxe”, $21. This pizza is a carnivore’s delight topped with smoked ham, spicy pepperoni, Italian sausage, chicken breast fillets (shhhh don’t tell Little Chef!), house cooked ground beef and crisp bacon on a BBQ sauce base. The pizza is covered in melted mozzarella cheese. It went down a treat with the boys and there wasn’t even any left overs for breakfast! heheIMG_3886

Crust is also BYO, so you can bring your favourite bottle of Vino or beer and there is no corkage. Chef enjoyed a couple of Italian beers with his pizza.IMG_3893

To finish, we devoured four hot sticky cinnamon buns, $12. The crisp pastry is house cooked, rolled and filled with a sticky n sweet walnut and cinnamon sauce. The little buns are topped with a swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing. Delicious!IMG_3903

We enjoyed our super casual Friday night dinner at Crust. Thanks to Michelle, Andria and the Crust team for having us 🙂IMG_3904