The Left Bank, East Freo

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The Left Bank Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A top spot for lunch on a sunny day is the historic Left Bank, found right on the Swan River in East Freo. We grabbed a table out the front, overlooking the river and its amazing views to the traffic bridges, Fremantle port and beyond.

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At the iconic pub, there’s seating in the conservatory, in the popular leafy courtyard and out the front too.

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I had called earlier, to make a booking, as I know the Left Bank can get really busy, but found that they have a walk in policy. That was fine with us. The Left Bank offers a big menu full of all the pub food favourites.

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Once seated, Chef went over to the bar and ordered our drinks and food. He enjoyed a pint with his view.

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I treated myself to a cheeky mojito. Not long after we ordered, the food arrived promptly.

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There’s a few gluten free options, I chose the grilled Barramundi served with kipfler potatoes, chorizo, kale and a capsicum vinegar ($32). The barramundi was perfectly cooked.

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Chef tucked into the huuuuuge “Wharfies Burger” packed with a beef patty, Monterey Jack cheese, mustard, pickles, battered onion rings, salad, aioli in a toasted pretzel bun ($24).

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As if all that wasn’t enough, Chef upgraded, adding bacon and egg to his burger. The runny yolk was oozing out, making it look even more delicious!

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Little Chef chose the kids cheeseburger and chips ($10) There’s also fish n chips, pizza and mac and cheese for the little ones, who also get a free activity pack to keep them out of mischief! The Left Bank has a kids night each and every Tuesday too. There’s arts and crafts, toys and face painting. Kids also eat free with every main meal purchased.

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It’s a beautiful spot to spend a couple of hours under the pine trees, gazing at the river over a lazy lunch and a couple of drinkies!

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The Left Bank is located at 15 Riverside Road, East Fremantle. Find out more on their website. 

We dined as guests of the Left Bank.

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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

The Henley Brook – Swan Valley

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The Henley Brook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
The Henley Brook is an exciting addition to the Swan Valley. It’s been open a few months, but it took me a while to get a booking at the immensely popular venue, affectionately known as “The Hen”. The staff were really accommodating, though The Hen was almost fully booked, squeezing us into an early lunch spot at 11am. We could have the table for an hour and a half, which luckily was plenty of time.IMG_3733

The Hen has bucket loads of character, for a new place. The rustic, country vibe works well in the Swan Valley. The cosy bar has many local beers on offer (Mash, Feral, Hop Hog and Homestead), as well as other WA craft beers and ciders. IMG_3736

We met my parents there for a birthday lunch and scored a table right next to the open fire, which was crackling away. Our friendly waiter was prompt and helpful. We tried to be organised for once and got our order in quick, so we had plenty of time to enjoy our food.

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I was very pleased with my choice – slow cooked pork belly, $32. It looked a treat, adorned with a spiral of crispy crackling. The belly itself fell apart at the touch of my fork. It was so moist and tasty. Underneath, was a truffle mash, fresh beans and a field mushroom gravy. Love it!IMG_3747

The Hen House chicken parmy, $26, got the thumbs up from Chef. His pub favourite was topped with smoked ham, semidried tomato fondue, melted smoked cheese and served with fries and salad. IMG_3745

The Beef and stout pie special ($21.50) looked good and my Mum enjoyed it, though she did also say the filling was very rich. It was brimming with beef, spinach and veg and came with a side of chips to soak up the gravy.IMG_3755

My Dad really enjoyed a tasty steak. It was a hearty dish that came with a pumpkin tart and sautéed Brussel sprouts that he loved (yes really!).IMG_3742

There’s a wood fired pizza oven out the back and The Hen’s pizza menu has a good selection of toppings. Little Chef chose a kids Hawaiian pizza and quickly scoffed the lot.    IMG_3739

There’s a lot of seating outside under the veranda. The popular spot also has picnic rugs and crates on the grass. There’s a huge grassed area, so kids have plenty of room to run and it’s great for a ball game too. IMG_3759

We all really enjoyed our lunch at The Hen. It’s a great addition to the Swan Valley.  We absolutely plan to go back, next time I’ll book a couple of weeks in advance to secure a table for a longer stay!IMG_3761

The Ashby Bar and Bistro

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Click to add a blog post for The Ashby on Zomato

Chef and I built our house in the outer northern Perth suburbs in 2006. When we signed up for our block with the developers, there were grand plans of shopping centres, schools and pubs in the area. It took years for most of that to actually be realised and 9 years later we are finally seeing our two local pubs being opened. The Ashby Bar and Bistro has just opened and in another few weeks we should see The Duke open in Carramar.IMG_9554 We can walk to The Ashby (and stumble home), so in it’s first weekend of opening we were there more than once for dinner. Arriving at the massive bar we were impressed by how modern, light and airy it felt. There’s an outside courtyard and bar, large bistro and a sports bar (with TAB and pool tables) is next door.IMG_9559 It has a really nice fit out. It seems like everywhere new has the on-trend “rustic” or “industrial” look. The Ashby is a little different. It still is a little rustic, with it’s white washed dining tables and exposed brick walls, but it’s beautiful blue tiles on the bar and colourful print in the bistro give it a crisp Latin vibe.IMG_9558 The service for the most part on our two visits was helpful and friendly. It was a little shaky in patches, mostly on product knowledge and speed, but Chef and I were happy to give the benefit of the doubt. I really feel with brand new venues you should give a little leeway, as the teething problems haven’t had time to be sorted out. It seemed like the entire population of Ashby, Tapping and Carramar had descended on the pub too – it was crazy busy with everyone having a sticky beak of their long-awaited new local.IMG_9490 Chef and I shared the pulled lamb shoulder tortillas for entrée. We liked them so much we ordered them again on visit #2. The slow braised lamb shoulder was tender and full of flavour, the chickpeas adding a little crunch – it was also accompanied by lettuce and tzatziki yogurt. IMG_9470 Our friends, Mr & Mrs H, are oyster aficionados and chose to share the oyster taste plate. The fresh oysters came with a range of toppings – chilli orange crispy caper lemon and herb crust, bourbon Kilpatrick, natural, and a shallot vinaigrette. The oysters got a thumbs up from them.IMG_9472 Chez and Krist both had a creamy clam and pasta dish. It was so incredibly creamy it looked like a chowder. IMG_9479 The grilled chorizo salad ($20) looked good. It was also brimming with red onion, chickpeas, semi-dried tomato, pickled zucchini and wild rocket with a chilli lemon dressing drizzled on top. Chickpeas are on many of the bistro’s dishes, which left us wondering if The Ashby has shares in a chickpea farm?! hehe IMG_9474I chose the Curry plate ($26). It consisted of two curries of the day, a sweet mango chutney, house naan, pappadums and coconut rice. It was very filling and it was only after I’d finished and declared myself very full that I realised I didn’t get any nann bread – no biggie. It was tasty and I enjoyed it.IMG_9483 Overall the food was good. Sure it’s pub food, but cooked to a good standard. Chef and I enjoyed our meals there – Chef’s only gripe was he wished his Parmigiana was bigger.IMG_9489 Alas, our babysitting curfew was up when the espresso martinis came out – so we didn’t get the verdict on those, but we’ll be back again (and again). We took Little Chef the second time, but considering there’s a lot of young family’s in the area, there’s nothing for kids to do – so we made sure the I pad was fully charged!  Little Chef enjoyed the kids food, which was made from quality ingredients. IMG_9481 There’s a good drinks selection – I loved my French rose and Chef was super excited to see his favourite tipple – Colonial Kölsch – is on tap! We’re pretty impressed with The Ashby and stoked that this is our new local. Cheers 🙂IMG_9488

   

Driftwood Food Co – Mullaloo

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Driftwood Food Co on Urbanspoon

With new venues opening left right and centre – it’s nice to revisit an old haunt. Chef and I hadn’t been down to the Mullaloo Beach Hotel for quite some years. I had eaten here many many times before –  long before my days as a Perth food blogger. About eight years ago, not long after it opened, Chef worked there. We’d been asked along to a spur of the moment lunch, by The Pastry Chef (Chef’s little brother) one sunny Saturday. I suggested that we checked out the MBH, as I’d heard that the Panorama restaurant and it’s menu had recently had a big makeover.

It’s now named “Driftwood Food Co” – a rustic but modern coastal themed restaurant. It is refreshed and much more casual than it’s predecessor. It was a stunning day and I was glad to see the Pastry Chef and his lovely girlfriend K were already sitting out on the balcony. You can’t beat that view over the Indian Ocean.IMG_9210

There’s not table service, drinks and food are ordered at the bar. The menu consists of “share it” and “don’t share it” styles of food. Here’s some of what we ate…

I absolutely love the skewered chicken & Indonesian style peanut sauce ($17) from the “share it” menu. Head Chef Rob was handed this delicious satay recipe from a street food chef in Bali. I was hoping that would mean that the sauce was authentic-tasting and it most certainly was! It’s a great little share dish and there’s some also flatbread to mop up the remaining sauce – nice touch.IMG_9199

The tender 5 spiced squid ($16) was tasty and served with a garlic and chive aioli.IMG_9187

The Pastry Chef enjoyed his Fish Tacos ($14) on a flour tortilla, with tomato salsa, sour cream and jalapeños.IMG_9191

K had a wild mushroom linguine ($24). A selection of mushrooms, including enoki, was simply flavoured with white truffle oil, parmesan and fresh thyme.IMG_9189

The rack of lamb ($33) is also a winner – served with sautéed rocket, sundried tomato puree and a shiraz jus.IMG_9197

Little chef was also well catered for with pencils, colouring sheets and a decent kids menu.

We all enjoyed revisiting the MBH and enjoyed the vibe at the Driftwood Food Co. We arrived at 1pm and we were still there after 5 – we were seriously considering staying for dinner too! It is certainly a top spot for whiling away a few hours on a sunny afternoon.IMG_9218

Find out more at: www.driftwoodfoodco.com.au

Scarborough Beach Bar

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Scarborough Beach Bar on Urbanspoon

Lately I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern appearing in our family dining, being that it’s usually somewhere Chef can enjoy a wood fired pizza and an ice cold beer! Ahh the simple things… So when he suggests that we go to Three Sheets AGAIN – I suggested that we try somewhere different – and the new Scarborough Beach Bar sprang to my mind. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for sitting on the balcony at the upstairs bar and watching the waves roll in.IMG_8704

The interior of the bar is light and airy, with a bit of a nautical, coastal theme. There’s plenty of spots to sit, we opted for the high bar tables.IMG_8699

There’s no table service, so orders are placed at the well stocked bar – Chef was impressed with their huge range of beers and drinks.IMG_8702

Poor me, always the driver, had a pre made juice. It was an interesting and tasty mix of apple, peach, orange, mango, blackberry, elderflower, grape seed and green tea.IMG_8701

The menu is typical of a modern pub with share food and gourmet pizzas to choose from. I was feeling like a “bit of this and that” so chose a couple a smaller dishes. The super tender salt and pepper calamari ($17) with a spicy chipotle aioli was a hit.IMG_8723

I also chose the potato skins three ways ($19, GF) thinking that it wouldn’t be a massive serve – I was wrong! There were six potato skins stuffed full of pulled pork, smoked bacon with sour cream n chives and also tomato and red onion salsa. I enjoyed the fillings, though the pulled pork was quite soggy. I love a pork dish and this unfortunately, fell short on my pork-o-meter.IMG_8720

Chef chose the Farmhouse pizza ($18/$26). It is available in two sizes, Chef opted for the larger size, which he struggled with. The kitchen is very generous with toppings and the pizza was smothered in eye fillet, sliced bratwurst, bacon, diced chicken, Spanish onion, roasted capsicum and cheddar – all on a bbq base. He liked his pizza, the base was nicely crisp, but he said he’d order the smaller version in future. His eyes were definitely too big for his belly on this occasion!IMG_8713

There weren’t a lot of kids around – mostly only children like Little Chef. He was well catered for with a good kids menu and he wolfed down his hotdog and chips. IMG_8711

All in all Scarborough Beach Bar is a great casual venue, where the food is mostly good and reasonably priced. The Scarborough beachfront is far more upmarket these days with new bars and restaurants opening left right and centre. With more additions to come it’s fast becoming the place to be. And who can argue with a view like this…IMG_8744IMG_8747IMG_8746

 

The Brown Fox – West Perth {CLOSED}

A decade ago this West Perth bar was a haunt of mine, for after-work drinks on a Friday. Back then it was a decadent place, called The Onyx Bar. In fact, before Onyx, it was called CY O’Connors and I remember having a few cheeky long Friday lunches there with my workmates at Gwalia. In 2011 it had a complete re-vamp and became The Brown Fox. It’s not a plush and swanky bar now –though that’s not to say it doesn’t have a luxurious feel to it. Its cosy pub-style charm is mixed with chandeliers and pressed tin ceilings.

Friday night drinks at The Brown Fox are still as popular as ever. There’s a merry atmosphere of workers celebrating the start of the weekend and live music. We enjoy the bluesy tones of a certain singer Eve B – who has backing vocals on Nicki Minaj’s last album to her credit. She’s found at the Brown Fox on Friday nights, accompanied by accomplished musicians (Simon Paparo the night we visited) – at the moment her partner in crime is life-long friend Jeff Mann.

We arrive and as the sign at the door suggests we “wait to be seated”. After a minute or two it soon becomes apparent that no one is going to greet us – Chef and I decide to sit in the floral carpeted dining area, in a booth. We’re a bit confused whether there is table service or not, so we order drinks at the bar and grab some menus. Quick as a flash, a waiter arrives to take our food order, but we need more time.

The menu is typical of a suburban pub – BLT, fish and chips, steak sarnies and the like. Chef and I choose a charcuterie board ($34) to start with. Out comes a wooden board brimming with smoked chicken, chorizo, prosciutto, olives, marinated capsicum, candied nuts, blue cheese, smoked cheddar and toasted ciabatta.

Before the charcuterie board has time to be devoured, the waiter brings us our mains, with apologies for the quick arrival. I ponder that the service is generally very quick – much like the brown fox in the typing exercise back in our school days; “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”.

Though we didn’t get an explanation for the rush, Chef explains that this occasionally happens when part of an order is missed and something gets added on – thus throwing the timings out. In this case, we think perhaps they didn’t treat the charcuterie plate as an entrée – since at The Brown Fox the menu reads “Share Food” and “Mains”. The dining room isn’t full, so it’s safe to say they aren’t purposely hurrying us.

I’m looking for some comfort food on this cool autumn night. The Lamb shanks ($28) are cooked in a deeply rich tomato and red wine sauce – it is the perfect choice. The tender shanks are accompanied by some well-cooked seasonal veg and garlic mash – which is ever so creamy.

Chef choses the rib eye steak ($36) with beef jus, seasonal vegetables and a ginormous potato cake on the side. The equally large rib eye is cooked perfectly medium-rare and is a tasty bit of meat. Chef thinks the thyme-loaded potato cake is delicious.

The wine list is mostly local, with a few SA and NZ wines added for good measure. I choose the Lazy Dog Cider, which is made in the on-site cidery, from Sundowner and Pink Lady apples. Owners, Greg and Ant, are very enthusiastic about their brew. They hold a monthly Cider Club at the Brown Fox.

All in all we enjoy the Brown Fox for what it is – pub food with style.