{NEW OPENING} Island Market, Trigg

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Just a few years ago, Perth was lacking in quality dining venues by the beach. Now we are positively spoilt for choice! Up and down the coast are restaurants worth booking a table at, where the food is as fine as the view. Think Odyssea, Bib and Tucker, Shorehouse and now there’s a newbie to add to the list – Island Market.

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Behind the menu of Mid-Eastern eats are two excellent Chefs. Head Chef Sonny de Ocampo (Formerly from Apple Daily), and one of Perth’s very best Chef’s David Coomer (Pata Negra, Fuyu, Star Anise), who acts as their consult chef.

Brunch at Island Market

On my first visit (yes, there’s been a few already!) we arrived  mid morning for brunch. The interior of what was briefly “Kailis Trigg Beach” has had an upgrade. Now the dining room has a younger, more on-trend feel than it’s earlier Hamptons chic incarnation. The slick white dining room has splashes of baby pink everywhere. Chairs, neon signs, flooring, plant pots, even pink lights in the ladies bathroom…

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The eatery is bathed in natural light from the huge windows, giving diners a picture postcard view over the white dunes of Trigg Beach. We had a window table and I have to admit I was very distracted by the ocean, and it took me a while to focus on the menu and place an order!

Five senses coffee, one of my favourites, is the blend of choice at Island Market.

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The brekkie menu has all your brunch favourites with a Levantine-inspired twist. Think Israeli smashed avocado, Persian omelette, Blended strawberry and banana bowl with chia coconut pudding and much more.

I picked an old favourite, Shakshuka ($17). Two delicious free range eggs are surrounded by a wonderfully rich tomato sauce and creamy labne. Pita is usually served on the side, but I chose the GF option. Gluten free bread isn’t as exciting as their pita, but hey, the GF bread was still tasty dipped into the ooey gooey eggs – yummo!

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Chef loved his breakfast pide ($17), which is a sort of Turkish stuffed pizza. Inside is meaty Turkish sausage and peppers – topped with crumbled haloumi and a perfectly runny egg. He also ordered some crispy bacon on the side. 

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Little Chef, who had already eaten breakfast, had a house baked orange and cinnamon morning bun from the well stocked cabinet of sweet treats.  Continue reading

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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Oakover Grounds – Swan Valley

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Oakover Grounds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I love the vibe at wineries and breweries in the Margaret River area. They’re often geared towards families and I’d always hoped that the Swan Valley would follow suit with some quality family friendly venues, closer to home. Last year my prayers were answered with the fab Mandoon Estate. I’ve been hearing good things about the Oakover Winery’s transformation into kid friendly Oakover Grounds and so we headed there for lunch to check it out.IMG_2924

The winery is in a lovely setting, on a little lake and surrounded by rolling lawns. We were there for lunch, celebrating my birthday with Chef’s brother O (The Pasty Chef) and his lovely bride-to -be Kristie. It was a cool Autumn weekend, but sill pleasant enough to sit outside on the veranda.IMG_2914

I should have been sampling the Oakover wines, but coffee was calling my name. Oakover Grounds is also home to FiORi coffee, which is roasted fresh on site.IMG_2889

The menu is a good mix of casual favourites – share plates, burgers, salad and more. O and I are both pork-addicts so we both had our beady eyes on the fennel salted pork crackle with sidekick cider gel, $10. The plate was brimming with jaw cracking goodness!IMG_2893

Chef picked the organic beef burger, $26. Topped with tomato relish, bacon, cheese, lettuce, pickle and mayo, with a generous bowl of chips on the side. It was all washed down with a local craft beer. Oakover Grounds have a small selection of boutique beers on tap. IMG_2898

O and I both chose the special of house made gnocchi with pulled beef and mushrooms. Wow, that was a stunning dish and something I was not expecting! The pillowy soft gnocchi was amongst the best I’ve had and complimented  by the rich meaty sauce. I could have happily licked the plate clean. If it was a permanent fixture on the menu I’d be back in a heartbeat.IMG_2900

Kristy enjoyed the Clarence River school prawns, $13. The crisp prawns are eaten whole, served on a bed of creamy tartar sauce and grilled lemon on the side. It would also be a great dish to share.IMG_2895

Little Chef scoffed his kids cheese burger, $12. The slider style burger  was made up of a beef pattie, tomato relish and cheese and chips on the side.IMG_2890

Afterwards, Little Chef was keen to have a ride on the peddle boats. They are free to use. It was good fun and worked off a little bit of lunch! IMG_2906

Keen Fishermen Chef and O were excited to hear the lake is stocked with fish. Rods are free to use and if you catch anything then you can take it home for dinner, at $16 per fish. The boys caught 5 Barramundi in just 15 mins, they were stoked!! IMG_2929

Fish for dinner! IMG_2930

New Head Chef Bec McConnell has banged the pans at some fine Swan Valley establishments, including Sandleford Winery. We enjoyed her food and will certainly be back for more!

Oh and if you need any more reasons to dine at Oakover…

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Sauma – Northbridge

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

Found in Northbridge, opposite the brass Monkey, Sauma has a menu with a modern-Indian twist – think butter chicken pies, wagyu samosas and finger-licking sweet tamarind lamb ribs. My Dad is a big fan of curry, so when I found Sauma was on my list of restaurants to explore for Eat Drink Perth I invited my parents along for lunch. Sauma is not your typical Indian restaurant, it’s brimming with light and feels very fresh and modern- just like the food!IMG_2125

What struck me immediately was the excellent service. It was warm, efficient and totally on the ball. I accidentally knocked a knife off the table and the waitress who was a good 10 meters away, noticed and quickly replaced it with a fresh one. Very attentive. No wonder the Michelin assessors use that trick! I started with a Sunshine juice, $7. It is a tasty combo of fresh orange, carrot, apple, ginger and lemon juice.IMG_2133

We all loved the cheese nann bread, $6, especially Little Chef. It was so fresh, brimming with soft cheese and herbs.IMG_2147

The lamb ribs, $16, are twice cooked – adding to the tenderness of the meat. Flavoured with sweet tamarind, chili, mint and coriander they are absolutely mouth-watering. There will be a fight over the last rib! The onion bhajis, $13 have a modern twist -they are beer battered. I love an onion bhaji and these are very good. They’re garnished what I think is a vibrant pickled yellow pepper, which are very tasty too.IMG_2137 (2)

The roast beetroot and potato salad, $17 doesn’t last long! It is full of flavour and. Hiding underneath the veg are lashings of house cured Bombay gin and fennel salmon.It is unmistakably Indian, with strong cumin flavours and finished with a tandoori mayo – but so fresh and modern too.IMG_2151

Another Indian dish with a twist is the butter chicken pie, $9. The golden flaky pastry is spot on and the tasty filling is brimming with meat. The salad, which so easily could be an afterthought, has a zesty coriander dressing drizzled on. IMG_2144

We all relish the spicy mountain style goat curry, $26. The tender meat is cooked on the bone in a sauce of ginger, turmeric, chili, tomato and beetroot.IMG_2153

Sauma is a must-stop for lovers of Indian food. The vibrant restaurant is fantastic for groups, with it’s long tables, as well as for couples. I though Sauma is a great find and we highly recommend it!IMG_2158

EAT DRINK PERTH 2016

During Eat Drink Perth, Sauma has a special Indian street cart menu. Share an Indian street food feast with your sweetheart – cheese naan, tandoori salmon and chicken, a house plate to share, jackfruit curry and slow cooked lamb saag. Finish on a sweet note with a traditional Indian desert – creamy mango kulfi (ice cream).

 

Timber Café – Harrisdale

IMG_1434Timber Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m the first to admit that I’m totally clueless when it comes to dining in the southern suburbs. In my stomping grounds of Joondalup, the inner city areas of Perth, my “golden triangle” Post Newspaper region in the western suburbs, the Swan Valley and Perth Hills – I definitely have my finger on the foodie pulse. If I take a trip over the Narrows Bridge – I don’t have a bloody clue! I suppose that comes part and parcel with just how huge Perth’s sprawl has become.

A couple of my besties live SOR and I do love a catch up with them over a meal – finding a gem that’s close to them is a bonus. Last year I found a firm favourite – Rustico Tapas in Rockingham – I’m still looking forward to another visit there.

When catching up with the lovely Nays recently, we decided on brunch at a hot new café in the Canning Vale area. We met at Timber Café in Harrisdale, where we enjoyed a couple of juices and a natter, whilst we waited for our food.IMG_1424

The cafe has a rustic chic vibe, with a cool mural on the wall – just like something you’d find in Leederville or Mt Lawley. Though it’s right smack in the middle of suburbia. In my opinion there should be way more quality places like this in the outer areas of Perth, as frankly not everyone can be bothered to drive to the city!IMG_1423

Nays had the avocado bruschetta, $15. Though there wasn’t an abundance of avocado, it was still tasty and mixed with a corn and quinoa salad. There was also a poached egg sitting on top of the fresh sourdough and grape tomatoes and sharp radish on the side. Nays enjoyed her dish – especially as it didn’t come with a runny egg. A gooey egg is my idea of heaven, but not for Nays, the chef was more than happy to serve her egg “well done”.IMG_1426

I ordered the mushrooms on toast, $17.50. It was a medley of five types of mushrooms, which are absolutely mouth-watering as they’re sautéed in a herb chilli butter. The yummy morsels of mushroom are served on fresh sourdough with creamy goats curd, wild rocket, a sprinkling of dukkah and a runny soft poached egg. A fab dish!IMG_1430

All in all we both loved the chilled atmosphere and yummy food at Timber and if I lived in the Southern River/Harrisdale area I’d be stoked to have Timber as my local café.IMG_1435

 

Five Bar – Mount Lawley

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Five Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
{Quick Bite}

Drinks at Five is something that I often think about, but don’t do nearly enough!  Five Bar in Mount Lawley is a Beaufort Street staple. Personally, I like to go there when it’s not too busy, when I can easily grab a spot on one of the comfy sofas.IMG_0792

I was meeting a fellow foodie there, Grace and though it was mid-week I REALLY fancied a cider. Knowing that Five has a great range, I let the friendly barman pick it for me – it was a cracker! Apart from totally loving the stripy label, the Australian Endless Pear cider was light and not too sweet. I’d have it again for sure.

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For lunch I enjoyed the more-ish mushrooms on toast. I love the use of different mushrooms – especially the enokis. The tasty dish is enough on it’s own or easy to share. Most of Five’s menu can be shared.IMG_0786

Five Bar is a great spot for drinks and has good food. I always find the barmen there particularly friendly too. I really like the chilled out, unpretentious vibe and even after a stress-y work day like this one – I always leave feeling relaxed.

And a top tip – Jerry Fraser the KING of oysters is at Five bar a couple of times week! I love Jerry to bits and he is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to these yummy little morsels. He also spends time shucking at Five Bar’s sister venue Lot 20 in Northbridge. Check out their FB page for updates.Untitledohaaa

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

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

 

Health Freak Café – Joondalup {CLOSED}

IMG_8425 Health Freak Cafe on Urbanspoon

I get food guilt ALL THE TIME. Though I try to eat healthily as much as possible, the glutton within usually wins out. I mean, in my mind, no one wants to read about a salad. What really gets me dribbling is a succulent piece of pork belly topped with crispy cracking… This is my problem! Tasty food is usually not that great for the waistline. After all, as the Chef’s saying goes “fat is flavour”. Though it would seem this is not a rule – as I found out at the newly opened Health Freak Café in Joondalup.IMG_8408 A whole page of their menu is dedicated to juices and drinks. Protein shakes, weight loss juices, detox juices, super food smoothies and many more. I chose the “Heart Beet”, a concoction of carrot, orange, beetroot & lemon juice ($8). It came hipster-style in a jar and was really tasty and with no lumpy bits. Little Chef enjoyed a strawberry smoothie.IMG_8418 I’d just missed the brunch cut off, which was a shame, as I had a hankering for some poached eggs. There was a similar dish on the lunch menu – the Zucchini Fritters Stack ($21.10). Other dishes on the lunch menu include veggie cakes, chicken salad, wraps and raw treats too. Its a pretty dish, layered with fresh smoked salmon. The crisp fritters were full of shredded veg – tasty, but needed a little more seasoning. That all sat upon a mound of rocket and roasted cherry tomatoes – finished with a generous serve of lemon dill aoli. All in all a good lunch and only 206 calories – each menu item lists the calorie count.IMG_8427 The light and airy café has a cool rustic fit out. It’s also great to see more and more places dining options opening in Joondalup.IMG_8415 Health Freak Café are taking over the northern suburbs! You can also find them in Subi and Scarborough. At Health Freak, you can be sure every choice is a healthy one and pretty much guilt free!IMG_8431 Health Freak Cafe on Urbanspoon Health Freak Cafe on Urbanspoon Health Freak Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

The Shipping Lane – North Fremantle {CLOSED}

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The Shipping Lane on Urbanspoon

Chef and I got the hot tip about a brand new restaurant that opened in North Fremantle recently. The Shipping Lane is named after its spectacular view across Gage Roads. On this clear sunny day we could see many ships sailing the lanes on the Indian Ocean.IMG_7638

On the surface The Shipping Lane looks like your everyday coastal café. If you venture inside, you will find out that it is much more than that. In addition to the regular kitchen, there is also a “raw” sushi kitchen, out of which some amazing sushi and sashimi creations are made. You can sit to the sushi kitchen bar and watch your meal being made by the chefs.

The interior is light and bright with a seaside vibe and a big nod to its location near to the Fremantle docks. There are murals of the port inside and a big shipping container feature on another wall. There are lots of seating options, high tables, dining tables and some comfortable lounges – you can also dine alfresco, overlooking the stunning sandy dunes of Leighton Beach.IMG_7674

On this day we are lunching. The brunch menu runs from 8am to 3pm daily. The cheery waiter seats us by the window, swiftly delivering us water and menus. The brunch menu is full of mainly breakfast style dishes, with a couple of burgers and buns thrown in for good measure. I order from the sushi menu.

We order some drinks. The Shipping Lane is currently “sailing without a liquor licence” so BYO is encouraged. I start with a Rainbow Juice served in a jar – a tasty and healthy concoction of beetroot, apple and ginger. Chef sips on his hot coffee. They roast their own coffee at The Shipping Lane. The Juniper blend is used, which makes for a rich and well flavoured coffee. If you’re in a rush, you can also grab a takeaway coffee and bagel from the Shipping Lane’s providore. The providore sells many other food staples and the daily newspaper – handy for the residents living in the apartments above. GetAttachment1

The succulent Wagu burger ($23) tickles chef’s tastebuds. It is jam packed with bacon, affumicata, onion jam, salad greens and tomato. In a mini frying basket are crisp hand cut cups with a side of aioli. The burger bursts with delicious flavours, from the smokiness of the affumicata cheese, to the tangy house made BBQ sauce.IMG_7656

An unexpected crackling noise is coming from my Salmon Aburi ($15) as the waiter brings it to our table. My dish is not only topped with black fish roe – it is also garnished with popping candy! The torched salmon belly is absolutely sensational. The fish is marinated with delicious teriyaki flavours and sits atop a small mound of rice. The different textures, including the popping, work really well together. I love the dish. I could have easily eaten another plateful. IMG_7648

There’s some fantastic Asian fusion coming out of the kitchen. It comes as no surprise that Head Chef Luke Lee has also worked at Nobu. The sushi “spider rolls” ($23) are stuffed with soft shell crab, julienned apple, cucumber and lettuce. The plating of the eight rolls is funky – garnished with some vibrant edible flowers. The dish tastes as fresh as it looks. The finely sliced apple compliments the seafood flavours well.IMG_7664

I’ve encountered a few questioning looks when taking food photos with my big camera lens. A new one on me was our waiter jumping into the frame to photobomb my sushi photo! Our waiter was charming and was full of friendly banter. The service at the Shipping Lane was excellent.IMG_7675

There’s not many places in Perth where you can get top notch sushi without being at a Japanese restaurant. At The Shipping Lane, you get the best of both worlds, a modern Australian menu, coupled with some mouth-watering Japanese delights.IMG_7677

At a glance

■ The Shipping Lane

4/1 Freeman Loop

North Fremantle

Phone 9468 7362

■ Opening times

7 days – 7am till late

■ Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Australian & Japanese

■ wine – BYO

■ Chef – Luke Lee

■ Owners – various

■ feel – coastal chic

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost – brunch $9 – $27

sushi $15 – $23

dinner – $31 – $37

■ all in all – a cool new

coastal venue. Excellent

Japanese dishes.

Great service.

**First Published in the Post Newspaper**