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

Yabba Dabba – Dalkeith

Pork salad

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With a name like Yabba Dabba we aren’t quite sure what to expect from this café on leafy Waratah Avenue in Nedlands. Is it a theme café, perhaps a little retro like the 60s cartoon The Flintstones – from which Fred’s exclamation of “Yabba Dabba Doo” is most famous? Are we in for a caveman style meat-fest? What we find is a pleasant suburban café, with retro-industrial features and a smooth, groovy 1960’s music soundtrack in the background.IMG_9906

We are warmly greeted and seated. The menu is sizeable. There’s something for everyone – salad, pizza, modern Australian favourites, pasta and share food too if you feel like grazing.

The wine list is small, though there are some interesting drops on there from WA and further afield. I choose a crisp Chenin Blanc from the Swan Valley. There is also a BYO option (wine only), if you prefer to sip on something from your own cellar.IMG_9935

Chef and I share the Yabba Taste Plate, $29 for two people. The board is brimming with scrumptious morsels to try – plump little Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish, humongous local prawns served with spiced polenta and more. The pumpkin and silver beet empanada really hits the spot with a deliciously more-ish chimichurri sauce. We both absolutely relish the fresh cornbread, complimented perfectly by a wildflower honey butter. The only thing on the plate that doesn’t work are the lamb chipolatas with mint and feta – as we cut into them, we realise to our dismay that they are undercooked.IMG_9916

We leave the sausages almost untouched. The waitress notices and enquires if there is something wrong and we point out the pink middles. After speaking with the chef, she lets us know that the sausages are cooked sous vide, in a water bath. This suggests that the meat protein should have been set all the way through (it isn’t) and they should have also been heated fully – unfortunately they are still cold in the middle.IMG_9915

The Peking duck pizza, $25.50, is mouth-watering. Topped with barbequed duck, peppered zucchini, mixed peppers, spring onion and fried shallots – it’s a tasty pizza indeed. The Hoi Sin sauce gives it a sweet, plumy finish.Duck Pizza

A pork belly and scallop salad, $26, sounds light and interesting. The tender pork belly is pressed into cubes, crumbed and fried. The Japanese fusion salad is accompanied by a plump giant scallop, sweet potato puree, citrus segments, toasted sesame and nori salad.IMG_9928

Children don’t often get much choice when dining out – met with the usual suspects of fish fingers, chicken nuggets, Hawaiian pizza and spaghetti bolognaise. At Yabba Dabba they cater for the little ones really well – giving them a whopping nine menu choices. Little Chef was beside himself at not being faced with fish and chips for the umpteenth time! He chose the well sized meat lovers pizza, $14. It is no surprise then that the restaurant has many young families dining there.IMG_9913

Dessert seems promising. The menu reads “white chocolate mousse with rustleberry foam and rose fairy floss”. What I receive tastes delicious – but doesn’t deliver what is promised. The mousse is a buttery texture. To me, it isn’t what a mousse encapsulates at all – something airy and light. The berry “foam” is actually more jelly-like. I enjoy the tangy rustleberry, which is a hybrid of a blackberry and raspberry.IMG_9944

Overall we enjoy the food, which is full of flavours from all around the globe. Its let down by a few technical errors from the kitchen. Our waitress does not charge for some of our drinks, as we aren’t 100% happy with the sausages, which is a fine gesture. The service is on the ball and we’d certainly return.IMG_9948

** First published in The Post Newspaper**

At a glance

■ Yabba Dabba

101 Waratah Ave

Dalkeith

Phone 9386 7744

■ Opening times

Tues to Sun

7am till Late

■ Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

■ style – Modern Australian

■ wine –small wine list – BYO

Wine is also available.

■ Chef – Haedyn Woollaston

■ Owners – Matthew & Peter Hayes

■ feel – Casual & unpretentious

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Entree – $7 to $55

Mains – $18 to $36

Dessert – $9 to $16.50

■ all in all – A cool, modern

venue with attentive service

and tasty food.

The Shipping Lane – North Fremantle {CLOSED}

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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**

Wild Duck – Nedlands {CLOSED}

Wild Duck restaurant was an Albany favourite for over six years, winning many accolades and awards. In 2012, with nothing much left to accomplish in the great southern, the Chef-owners Andrew Holmes and Clinton Maclou upped sticks and moved their restaurant to Nedlands.

 

On arrival, we are greeted and seated in a small dining room, one of three intimate spaces at Wild Duck. It’s a modern restaurant, with quirky little duck statues and warm timber furnishings. Wild Duck is Modern Australian – fine dining, in it’s food style and very well regarded for its degustation menu. Chef and I opt to dine a la carte. The service is friendly, but off to a shaky start – it’s some time till we get a food menu and the first drink I order never appears.

 

We look over the menu and the entrée “Dam Buster” ($25) catches my eye. Soon Chef and I are holidaying where the original dam busters (a World War Two plane operation) practiced their secret missions – The Derwent Reservoir in England’s Peak District. So choosing that was a no-brainer.

 

Wild Duck 1The “Dam Buster” arrives with theatre. As the domed cloche is lifted off the plate, it releases fragrant spirals of smoke. The delicious smoked seafood chowder is held back by the dam wall – fish mouse piped along the plate. Perfectly cooked scallops and prawns are on the side. I can see why this is one of Wild Duck’s most popular dishes – it’s rarely off the menu.

 

Chef enjoys the charcuterie plate ($29). It’s brimming with small goods. A smear of chicken liver parfait, pork loin with confit pork, prosciutto and pork jelly.

New Image2We have a delightful mid-course dish. It’s a roasted potato consume, with a quenelle of potato and a drop of cream. We really enjoy this, it’s excellent and quite different. It tastes just like roasted potato skins.

The wine list is extensive – a mix of Australasian and European wines. Chef chooses a fab little red from the Heathcoat region in Victoria – renowned for producing premium Shiraz. The Archer Eagle Eye Shiraz ($84 for bottle) is wonderfully smooth. Despite the initial hiccup, the service is very good.

 

I enjoy Pork Belly ($39) for main (also with steamed pork bun, a sweet corn puree, grilled polenta and crisp apple salad. The pork is slow cooked for 16 hours; the skin is perfectly crackled. There’s a multitude of different textures on this dish, that work so well together. It’s a beautiful dish and I’m a bit miffed that the camera didn’t like the mood lighting very much. These pics don’t do the artful and precise plating any justice.

 

wild duck 3Chef tucks into the Beef Duo ($38) of braised beef and sous vide fillet is so tender. It is accompanied by veg and a parsnip and blue cheese sauce. Chef thinks the sauce was a good change from having a jus and it didn’t overpower the flavour of the meat.

 

wild duck 4For dessert, we share a Basil Crème ($16). The green crème is topped with a crumbled balsamic meringue and sweet tomato sorbet. Its the most unusual dessert I’ve ever had – perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea! Though the flavours are all sweet, it is essentially a Greek salad of sorts. We enjoy it, as a change from a traditional dessert, though my tastebuds are left a little confused. It is a challenging dish. It’s great to see these chefs are thinking outside the box.

 

Andrew and Clinton’s innovative food is a delight. It excites Chef and I. The technique and execution of the dishes are superb. The kitchen is also backed up by some fine young talent. James Cole-Bowen is on the Australian junior culinary team. Wild Duck is a perfect spot for a special occasion or date night – I’m hoping to visit again for sure!