Crowne Plaza Hotel Perth

IMG_5274From the moment we pulled up at Crowne Plaza Hotel and handed our keys to Concierge to valet park the car, we felt relaxed. With limited time, a family staycation with just 25 minutes travel required, suited us down to the ground.IMG_5331

The four and a half star hotel is right on the edge of Perth’s CBD, with many attractions just a short stroll or free bus ride away. Crowne Plaza Hotel is found on Langley Park, opposite the Swan River. IMG_5511

Check in was very quick and by the time we’d headed up to the 10th floor in the lift, our bags were already waiting for us in the room. We opted for a Premium River View Room (with a trundle bed for Little Chef), so we could enjoy a river facing balcony. Large family rooms are also available, which have two queen beds and larger en-suites. Before we headed out to explore the rest of the hotel, East Perth and track down some food, we had a good look around our lovely room. IMG_5139 Continue reading

Straits Cafe – Rendezvous Hotel Scarborough

IMG_2260Rendezvous Scarborough and Chef go way back. Back when he was a 4th year apprentice – probably about 2002, he was “Executive Chef” for one night in the Rendezvous kitchen – leading a brigade of HGT apprentice chefs to cook a banquet feast at the HGT annual ball. That year the ball was held at Rendezvous (or “Ob City”). We stayed the night, and had a swim in the rooftop pool. It was nice, but starting to look a bit tired.

Fast forward 12 years and Rendezvous is all shiny and new. Its muti-million dollar refurb over the past couple of years has injected new life into the 1980s hotel. Scarborough as a whole is enjoying a resurgence, with a new café or bar opening every other week and the City of Stirling starting a much needed upgrade to the beachfront in a matter of weeks. In another year or two Scarborough should be back to it’s bustling heyday.

3I was kindly invited to the winter menu launch at the Straits Cafe. I’d been to Rendezvous for my work Christmas party last year and was keen to see more of the impressive make over. We met in one of the stunning 25th floor suites for canapés, oysters and espresso martinis. The view, by night, from the top floor was stunning.

We then headed back down to Straits Café (formerly The Pines). It has a contemporary feel with floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the Indian Ocean. It would be a stunning venue for a sunset dinner. We met a fellow Perth blogger Kristy – the “Queen of Bad timing”. It was great to finally meet her and have a natter about food with her and her partner Jeremy. You should check out her wonderful blog at www.queenofbadtiming.com

IMG_2265We had some moreish Truffle Popcorn to nibble on whilst we looked over the menu. Executive Chef, Wendelin Ulrich (formerly of PCEC) welcomed us and explained that the winter menu was made up of simple comfort food, with earthy flavours.

For entrée we had;

IMG_2268Chorizo croquettes ($16) with a spiced cauliflower puree and crispy sweet potato Chef thought these were flavoursome – the smokiness of the chorizo enhanced the flavour of the cauliflower.

1Twice cooked free range pork belly ($23) seared scallops, honey & cinnamon infused pumpkin (gf) The pork was cooked perfectly and I just love the combination of belly and scallop. The honey and cinnamon pumpkin was a wonderful warming flavour – perfect for a winter menu.

2Roast duck breast ($39) grilled asparagus, pangrattato, kipfler, shallot and agrumes dressing The duck was succulent and I loved the batons of kipfler.

IMG_2284Oven roasted lamb rump ($37) served with soufflé potato, seasonal baby vegetables & jus Chef enjoyed this meaty dish. The lamb was very juicy.

After our lovely dinner, feeling rather full, we went to the lobby bar for some srumtious mini desserts and nightcaps.

IMG_2299los acones origin dark chocolate fondant ($15) vanilla bean ice cream & coffee sauce

IMG_2298mandarin & coconut mascarpone cream ($16) meringue, candied orange & citrus gel (g/f)

The Rendezvous is an absolute knock out. Hardly recognisable from a few years ago. It would be great to treat yourself to a date night or overnight stay.

Chef and I would like to thank Natasha, Wendelin, Matthew and their teams for a wonderful night.

2014 /15 ENTERTAINMENT BOOK DISCOUNTS

* 25% off with gold card

 

Straits Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bistro 38 – Joondalup Resort

IMG_1086Bistro 38 @ Joondalup Resort on Urbanspoon If you’re not familiar with Joondalup Resort you may think that Bistro 38 is just for hotel guests and golfers. Not true! Absolutely anybody can dine there and enjoy its relaxing holiday vibe. I really love sitting by the pool on a sunny afternoon with some drinks and nibbles. Nothing quite beats a cocktail in a jar! I attended a bloggers menu tasting at Bistro 38 recently and the new menu is one of the very best I’ve experienced there over the past few years.

Erick, head chef of Bistro 38, has an impressive CV of hip Perth eateries. He used to work at Balthazar, Duende and Andaluz – some of the best tapas restaurants in Perth. He hails from El Salvador in South America. His menu is bursting with share plates. If you are eating there with friends I’d suggest that you share a few plates as an entrée, before you get stuck into the mains. There’s quite a choice, here’s what we tried… Salt and Pepper Squid ($12) & Soft shell crab, wakame, wasabi mayo ($14)IMG_1088Chicken and duck liver pate, brioche, fig & fennel relish ($10)IMG_1095 Gorgonzola & manuka honey ($12)

My favourite was the soft shell crab. Oh my, it was SO delicious. Admittedly, I’d never actually had soft shell crab before, which I couldn’t quite believe. I had to pause a moment to check that the other people on our table were eating the WHOLE tempura battered crab, shell and all, which they were. Pheeww! The pate was also spot on. The gorgonzola pana cotta was something a bit different, which I enjoyed too. Then we tried some of the dishes that feature on the mains menu… Beef cheek cooked in red wine and tomato sugo, polenta ($32)IMG_1100   Lamb Cutlets, grilled witlof, radicchio, lemon ($35) & Ricotta gnocchi, wild mushrooms, chestnut and parmesan ($30)IMG_1097 Steak house fries ($10) – with extra, béarnaise sauce. Because you just HAVE to have chips in Béarnaise sauce!

The stand out for me was the gnocchi. It was a very tasty dish. The gnocchi was so soft and fresh, coupled with the earthiness of the mushrooms, made it absolutely delicious. It’s a shame I was starting to feel so full, as I wanted to eat so much more of it! The beef cheeks just melted and lamb was also well cooked. Everyone around the table was struggling to find some tummy space. We all said we’d have a nibble of dessert, after one bite we would be well and truly full. Then we saw the tower of desserts – which featured tasters of items on the dessert menu. Usually I’m not too much of a sweets person, but these were scrumptious deserts, made by the resort’s pasty chef extraordinaire Charlie. I loved the choc raspberry parfait the best. Though the Mojito lime cake (with coconut panna cotta) and the rhubarb vanilla crème brulee, were also very nice. IMG_1103 IMG_1107 The “feature” cheese changes by the week. If the Jackson’s Track cheese is available when you go, you must try it! A whole wheel of the cheese is baked and is wonderfully goo-ey. That is served with crackers and roasted plums and pears. It was to die for.IMG_1109 Thanks to , Head Chef Eric and Restaurant Manager (and fabulous cocktail maker) Bianca for a wonderful lunch. IMG_1101   Disclaimer – at the time of dining my husband was the Executive Sous Chef at Joondalup Resort  If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me where Chef worked, I’d be a rich lady! As my blog has evolved, I’ve become far more aware of the need for transparency than I initially was. I’m happy to tell you that Chef worked at this resort for a few years, till November 2014. If you’d like to take my praise of the resort and it’s poolside restaurant Bistro 38 with a pinch of salt, then that is totally up to you. Also, we used to dine there before he was employed by the resort. If you still think I’m biased, just remember that 98% of the time I am blogging about other excellent places in Perth. I still stand by the fact that if I don’t like it, I don’t blog about it.

Poolside Bar & Grill – Crown Metropol Perth

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Poolside Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

I just adore Crown Perth. When I cast my mind back a few years, before all of the major refurbishments, it blows me away at just what an awesome multi-venue we now have. I’ve been to just about all the restaurants, but one thing I always wanted to try out was the beautiful Vegas-style pool area. We usually walk past it when we visit Crown and I’d be awfully jealous of the people in there, lounging around with a cocktail in hand. I had assumed it was only for hotel guests and selected members, which is partially true. The only other way to gain entry to this exclusive pool is to get a pass.

20140306_134935I spotted a promotion recently, to get a day pass for the pool area, if you dined at certain Crown restaurants. This was only on for a limited time, so I absolutely jumped at the chance! The singer and I lunched at Modo Mio, then a couple of weeks later we booked in to have an afternoon by the pool. I was so excited!!

I had to book our swim in advance, so I was hoping for a hot day. The afternoon we visited turned out to be a 35 degree scorcher – perfect pool weather! The Singer was running late, so I went to “bags” a nice spot in the shade. It wasn’t that busy, so there were plenty of sun loungers around. The enticing day beds can be reserved for $60 per day. The Enclave, a private pool area with 6 state of the art cabanas (inc TVs!) can be reserved from $165 per day per cabana.

20140306_155608I visited the Poolside Bar & Grill, which was very laid back and had lots of pool and foosball tables. I ordered some drinks and food from the summery menu to be brought to our sun loungers.

20140306_132644I had a yummy freshly squeezed juice “Water Cleanser” Watermelon, lemon, ginger & mint $10

20140306_131428We also had a few pool-side nibbles. Very fresh and tasty Vietnamese spring rolls, served with a hoi sin and coriander dipping sauce ($14)

20140306_133649We also shared some Mexican Beef Quesadillas ($23) They were stuffed with pulled beef brisket, cheese, black bean, jalapeño peppers, onion, tomato, capsicum, chipotle lime sour cream, roasted corn salsa $23 The food was nice, cooked to a good “pub food” standard.

20140306_135246It was so relaxing. Lazing by the pool made me feel like I was on holiday and I’d only been at work a couple of hours before. Intermittently we’d hop into the pool and swim across to the bar, then wade back to our loungers with a plastic glass of iced water in hand. Who needs to walk around the pool when you can swim through it!? I laid down on the lounger in the pool and closed my eyes – I nearly fell asleep! The only other time I feel that relaxed is if I have a massage at a day spa. This was just as good.

UntitledI was wowed by the amazing pool area, which is only missing is a swim up bar. With the future addition of the Crown Towers pool area – who knows what that may bring? It has two water slides (which we sadly found out is just for kids – bummer), a Jacuzzi and a shallow kiddie area too. The area caters well for kids, but there wasn’t  very many children around, so it was pretty peaceful and chilled. Summer has finished and the last of the warm, pool weather will be over soon, but you can be sure that IF and when Crown Perth run that lunch & pool promo again – I will be there every week!!

*If you visit on a pass and are not staying at the hotel – please note there are no locker facilities, but pool towels are provided.20140306_155454