New Normal, Subiaco

IMG_9572Subi is on the up – home again to some of Perth’s best restaurants. LuLu La Delizia was recently named Australia’s number one pasta restaurant and another to add to this list of must-try Subiaco dining spots is New Normal.IMG_9604

The new bar and kitchen, found in the Simon Chugg heritage building, is a place to share grazing plates with friends over some carefully selected local wines. There are long communal tables with vases of native flora, cosy booths draped with art deco style light fittings and high stools at the bar.IMG_9600

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Odyssea – City Beach

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

Securing a table at the uber-popular Odyssea is difficult. I had to forget dining on a weekend, which were fully booked for two weeks. Plan B, an early weeknight dinner, was the easiest option.IMG_2505

Odyssea is one of Perth’s rare absolute beachfront restaurants. We are welcomed into the airy coastal restaurant and taken out to a table on the expansive decked veranda, overlooking the park and ocean. Our waiter is pleasant – though a little green. On his second visit to our table he offers us water. After a quite a wait, I resort to ushering a waitress over to bring us a carafe of tap water.IMG_2511

The bottled wines on the extensive wine list are sorted under headings like “structured with a bit of fruit”, “delicate and light” and “zesty and crispy”. I choose a Swinney Tirra Lirra white riesling pinot gris gewürztraminer, which apart from being quite the mouthful, is an enjoyable fruity drop.IMG_2523

Colourful language comes from the boisterous table next to us. We’re not precious, though there’s a time and a place – 5.30pm on a Monday is not it. We try to ignore them as we tuck into our entrees.IMG_2510

I’ve observed a trend in several Perth restaurants covering their food in leafy greens. I literally had to dig through the mound of rocket to find the prosciutto di Parma, goat’s curd and pickled figs, $16, hiding underneath. Figs are pretty, they should be the star attraction on the plate. The porky prosciutto works well with the spicy balsamic pickled figs. It’s a tasty starter.IMG_2514

Chef enjoys the WA beer battered snapper, $18. Three soft tortillas are served on a plank, with perfectly crisp battered fish on a chipotle aioli, topped with watercress and preserved lemon.IMG_2513

Little Chef also savours a generous kids portion of fish and chips, $10.IMG_2516

The rowdy table is still at it. Six year old Little Chef pipes up “those people are saying naughty words”. Chef politely asks them to tone it down, which is met with al lot of eye rolling and they carry on.

What takes the cake is, sitting at the table are hospitality workers and a prominent Perth Chef-Restauranteur. I bet they don’t carry on like that in their own restaurants. They are certainly not a reflection on Odyssea’s other diners – who appear happy and well behaved.

On request, a waiter happily moves us. Though quieter, we’re disappointed to leave our plum spot on the balcony. It is shaping up to be a spectacular pink sunset. The indoor dining room has great views, though unfortunately we are sat at the table by the bar, behind frosted glass.IMG_2552

Chef has high hopes for the grain fed Harvey Beef scotch fillet, $39. It’s 300g of flavoursome meaty goodness. Served perfectly medium-rare and nicely charred with a béarnaise sauce and a healthy red quinoa and watercress salad.IMG_2525

I relish the tender Korean spiced pork belly, $31, full of smoky Asian BBQ flavour. Topped with a fresh salad of cucumber kimchi, coriander and blood plums, it’s a cracking main.Pork Belly

The sunset is stunning – I pop out onto the balcony to have a proper look. When I return, our peanut butter parfait, $12 is sitting on the table. It’s a dessert of rich, nutty flavours, smooth dark chocolate and a crisp peanut brittle nougatine.Parfait

We ask for the bill and wait a couple of minutes. Little Chef and I leave Chef to settle the bill and go for a walk to the viewing spot above the surf club. When we return, Chef is still patiently waiting at the table. In the end we go up to the waiters station and pay there.

With a few forgetful moments by the wait staff and the disruptive table next to us, our experience of Odyssea is quite disjointed. If you take the table move out of the equation, overall we’re happy with our dinner at Odyssea, where the view doesn’t overshadow the well-cooked menu full of foodie favourites and some surprises too.IMG_2558

At a glance

■ Odyssea

187 Challenger Parade

City Beach

Phone 9385 7979

■ Opening times

7 days – 7am till late

■ Rating

food 4

service 3

ambience 3

value for money 4

■ style – Modern Australian

■ wine – An extensive wine

list brimming with local

and international labels

■ Chef – Alan Spagnolo

■ Owner – Fabio Hupfer

■ feel – coastal chic

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Entree – $3 to $23

Mains – $23 to $39

Dessert – $12 to $26

■ all in all – a stunning venue with

view to match. Reasonably priced

menu. Well-cooked and delicious food.

Post – Perth CBD

Post

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

The Eat Drink Perth food festival is being held in the city now – until April 23rd. Food lovers are spoiled for choice with progressive dinners, special degustations, masterclasses, foodie tours and more. When contemplating a visit to the stunning State Buildings for this month’s newspaper review, I was struck with a choice of which restaurant at the newly renovated city venue to dine at – Petition, Long Chim, Wildflower or Post? It was a no-brainer. I’d review Post for the Post Newspaper!IMG_2376_Fotor

Found in the historical heart of the city – the old GPO – Post restaurant resides in what used to be the franking room of the post office. We are greeted and seated in the minimalist dining room. There is an indoor tree and vaulted ceilings, making the bright and inviting space feel more like an outside courtyard.IMG_2245

Chef has met me at Post fresh from finishing a 12 hour shift and is in great need of a cold beer. Post feels like more of a wine-drinking establishment, though looking around, beer seems to be the choice of drink for many others in the room. There are bottled boutique beers available, which are poured into long stemmed beer glasses. I’ve never seen a beer look so fancy!IMG_2386

While craft beer is very on trend, Post has an interesting international wine list. It’s the kind of restaurant where enjoying a chilled $475 bottle of Dom Perignon would not be out of place. I choose a French rose from the drinks menu, which unfortunately isn’t available. Instead, I opt for a glass of the local Pemberley rose, $10, which still fits the bill nicely.IMG_2387

As well as the main menu, there is a wellness “Shambhala Cuisine” menu. There are six dishes on this clean and raw organic menu, perfect for those on a health kick that are not wanting to stray from their clean eating diets.

We order our meals with the knowledgeable waitress and nibble on some freshly baked bread while we wait. In no time, our food arrives and Chef admires his kingfish entrée, $24. Cured hiramasa kingfish with a subtle chardonnay dressing and sesame cream is hiding under thin disks of sweet, crisp apple and sharp daikon. It’s has well balanced flavour and is a beautifully plated dish.IMG_2389_

Pork belly, $26, is cooked twice which results in a crisp slice of meat, topped with two plump Shark Bay prawns. There is a dollop of a sweet blood plum sauce on the plate which marries the meat and seafood flawlessly. The dish is finished with crunchy fennel and finger lime. Whilst the fat to meat ratio on the pork belly is a little lopsided for my liking, it is a fatty cut of meat after all.IMG_2393

Meat is the hero in both our main dishes. Chef’s Rangers Valley beef, $44, is served with deep fried broccolini and a spinach puree. The tasty steak cuts as easily as the café de Paris butter that is melted on top of it.IMG_2396

My Arkady lamb dish, $39, is deliciously tender and sits upon a smear of eggplant puree, with crisp cavolo nero kale and a Spanish piperade jus – made of sautéed green peppers, onion and tomatoes.lamb

We order a side of chips, $12, and I’m disappointed that we’re served seasoned skinny fries. I would have much preferred chunky chips to dip in the lush malt vinegar aioli.IMG_2403

Whilst we don’t feel rushed, service is efficient and our meals come out promptly. I’m aware that our table is booked for a later sitting at the popular Post. Though who knows what time the second sitting is, as Post is open till 2am daily!

I finish on a sweet and somewhat healthy note. Usually dessert fills me with guilt – this dessert from the “Shambhala” menu is as nutritional and natural as one can get. The vibrant, yet simple cacao mousse, $16, is listed on the menu as “clean” for those following a gluten-free, vegan or sugar free diet. It’s served with fresh berries, pistachios and some edible snapdragons for a big splash of colour.IMG_2413

Chef does indulge and tucks into the chocolate cremeux, $18. The rich mousse-like chocolate cream sits upon a sponge base. It has a deep, nutty aftertaste and is finished with caramelised hazelnuts and milk ice-cream.cremeux

And the sweets don’t end there. When we request our bill, a plate of two flavour packed salted caramel truffles arrive along with it. The truffles are made on site by Sue Lewis, a chocolatier that sells her goodies at her store downstairs.IMG_2416

Post is a wonderful addition to the city’s dining scene and it offers oodles of class and superbly cooked food without a drop of pretention.

** Published in the Post Newspaper March 2016 **

At a glance

■ Post

1 Cathedral Ave

Perth

Phone 6168 7780

■ Opening times

7 days – 8am till 2am

■ Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

■ style – Modern Australian bistro

■ wine – interesting local and

international wine list

■ Chef – Kim Brennan

■ Owner – The COMO Group

■ feel – simple chic

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Entree – $22 to $28

Mains – $32 to $44

Dessert – $16 to $24

■ all in all – beautiful venue,

with well cooked and delicious

bistro style food. Great for a

date night.

Subiaco Hotel – Subiaco

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Subiaco Hotel on Urbanspoon

The Subiaco Hotel has sat proud on the corner of Hay Street and Rokeby road for over 115 years. The grand old lady, affectionately known to many as “The Subi”, has recently undergone a dramatic makeover. My bet is that it cost much more than the 4500 pounds it originally cost to build the Subiaco Hotel in the 1800s.

Dining RoomAt the Subiaco Hotel you can enjoy a glass of Dom Perignon with your bangers and mash. Depending on what tickles your fancy, you can enjoy high end pub grub or something a little swankier.

Chef, Little Chef and I arrive for an early dinner. We are warmly greeted and seated at a table with a crisp linen tablecloth in the classy brasserie, next to the now enclosed courtyard. We don’t want to compromise on venue or quality of food too much for the sake of choosing somewhere “child friendly”. To our delight not only does the Subiaco Hotel have a children’s menu and colouring-in to keep Little Chef amused – the staff are also very friendly, engaging him in conversation and making us all feel welcome.

IMG_9329The Subiaco Hotel has an extensive wine list – though there isn’t a lot available by the glass. I love the French 2013 Château La Gordonne Grenache, at $9.50 a glass. The rosé isn’t overwhelmingly sweet and has a smooth strawberry aftertaste.

IMG_9338For entrée I enjoy the BBQ’d quail, $18. Whilst the quail is petite – the entrée as a whole is a generous serve. The succulent quail sits upon a pumpkin puree, sautéed oyster mushrooms and is finished with an acidic Chinese black vinegar sauce and deep fried crispy pork crackling.

IMG_9336As Chef eats the “blow torched” hiramusa fillet, $18, it’s apparent that it’s over cooked. This is disappointing, as it’s best served just cooked and it is an excellent fish for sashimi. The warm wasabi noodle salad contains a very spicy kick. The noodles are tossed in chilli, as well as having three very liberal serves of wasabi – a softer wasabi aoli would have been more fitting on this dish.

WhitingThe tender school whiting fillets, $36, are very tasty. They are served with a salsa of sweet corn, tomato and coriander – which bursts with freshness. The charred asparagus is cooked perfectly and delicious slice of pressed potato finishes the dish well.

IMG_9344The BBQ’d New York strip, $38, is nicely cooked medium rare. The steak is covered in lettuce leaves and lashings of spicy Asian sauce which overpowers the dish. It is accompanied by a kim chi apple salad and noodles.

IMG_9355Desserts arrive and my sticky date pudding, $14.50, is as moist as I’d hoped. Double cream, as well as vanilla bean ice cream, is heaped on top. It is a warming, satisfying end to my meal, though there is too much of the sweet sticky date sauce for my liking.

chocolate savarinChef devours the chocolate savarin, $15. The savarin shape is made with a slightly bitter valrhona chocolate mousse – complimented with salted caramel, honeycomb and chocolate bubbles on the side.

IMG_9327Whilst the food suffers from a few technical errors, it is explained by the kitchen being in a transitional mode at the moment. The long standing Head Chef Brad Burton recently departed and a new Head Chef is due to start soon. Just like the renovated building and surrounds, the Subiaco Hotel’s food is classy pub fayre. The prices are reasonable – you can indeed live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget at The Subi.IMG_9324

**First Published in the Post newspaper**

At a glance

■ The Subiaco Hotel

465 Hay Street

Subiaco

Phone 9381 3069

■ Opening times

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: 7am – 12pm

Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 7am – 1am

Sunday: 7am – 12pm

■ Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Modern Australian

■ wine – extensive list, mostly

available by the bottle.

■ Chef – to be announced

■ Owner – Judy & Michael Monaghan

■ feel – sophisticated, yet relaxed.

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Entree – $14 – $18

Mains – $20 – $38.5

Dessert – $14- $15

■ all in all – Friendly service, excellent

drinks list & pleasant surrounds.

Food needs some tweaking.

Bravo’s – Vic Park

IMG_8975 Bravo's on Urbanspoon When I was fresh out of high school, my buddies and I would go out to dinner on the Vic Park café strip – usually at Bella Rosa, Christina’s, Sebastian’s or any other cheap n cheerful Italian restaurant we could find. In the 15 years since, I’ve graduated from that kind of Italian and without wanting to sound like a total food snob *cringe*  I do want more from my restaurants these days. For me, Bravo’s ticks all the boxes. An inviting, modern dining room. Friendly service – our waiter was a hoot and very helpful. And food that’s about QUALITY over quantity.

On this night, my old high school mates were getting together for a girls dinner – most of us enjoying a quiet night out away from our kids (and partners!). Bravo’s is a busy restaurant and hugely popular, so it has a very lively and loud atmosphere. Hearing someone at the other end of the table was difficult.

We decided to bypass filling entrées and go straight to mains…

IMG_8977Myl enjoyed a Pescatora Plate ($42.50). The whopping plate was brimming with tender salt and pepper calamari, grilled barramundi, sizzling garlic prawns, bread and a side salad. It was expensive, but Myl justified the extra cost, as she’s no longer drinking wine, since she has a baby on the way 🙂 🙂

IMG_8980I absolutely adored my pork belly dish ($38.50) The confit pork belly was so tender I hardly even needed a knife. The spinach was fresh and the mash potato wonderfully creamy. It was finished with a maple butter, apple and my favourite – perfectly crispy crackling! Fab dish.

IMG_8984Ren had the Fettuchine marinara ($29.50). She enjoyed the dish –  commenting there was a BIG kick of chilli and the napoletana sauce was really tasty. There could have been a bit more of the locally sourced seafood in the dish though.

IMG_8985Alysia had the BBQ pollo pizza ($25.50). It was topped with chicken, bacon, mushroom, red onion, mozzarella and  bbq sauce and smelled very tasty!

Sure some of the dishes might be on the pricy side, but when it’s good food, I don’t begrudge paying a little extra. I think there’s enough range on the menu to cover all budgets. The general consensus was that we all enjoyed our first trip to Bravo’s and that another girls dinner is on the cards soon.

*Bravo’s is also in the 2014/15 entertainment book*

Meeka – Subiaco

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Meeka Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Meeka’s friendly service begins when we make our booking over the phone. We had settled on an early dinner, though Chef couldn’t quite decide on a time “6pm, no 6.30pm… ummm” Chef stumbles. Owner Faye replies – quick as a flash – “How about we meet in the middle – let’s make it 6.15”. Perfect. Faye also enquired if we’d dined at Meeka before and if we needed directions. Very friendly and happy to please – it set the tone for the evening’s service.IMG_8835

We arrive at 6.15pm precisely and are warmly welcomed by Faye at a beautifully carved Moroccan door in the restaurant’s entrance. We are seated at the window, overlooking leafy Rokeby Road. It’s our very first visit here and I’m not entirely sure what to expect. I had been imagining that we would step into a tented room, decked out like a colourful Casablanca souk. What we actually find is a modern, crisp and neutral restaurant – with a splash of Moroccan decoration. Meeka is a classy little place and reflects the style of food perfectly – modern Australian cuisine, with a Middle Eastern twist.IMG_8837

Meeka’s Head Chef, Leah Clarke, also happens to be Faye’s daughter. The mother-daughter team have together won a bevy of awards and accolades including “Wine List of the year”. Their wine list is seriously impressive, each vintage handpicked to complement Meeka’s menu. Chef chooses a glass of Friends of Punch Pinot Noir (NZ). Much of the drinks menu is scoured from Europe. I try a sweet French apple aperitif – it is exquisite and very smooth.

We share a mezze plate ($32) from the specials board. We devour the delicious harissa yogurt marinated chicken, served on ornate metal skewers. The tender chicken skewers are perfectly complimented by the delicately flavoured coriander and coconut sauce. The dainty pork neck pies are full of flavour and encased in flaky pastry. Black garlic labneh, a slightly sour cheese made from strained yogurt, is on the side. We relish the chargrilled corn and sweet potato croquettes.IMG_8842

We both choose a tajine, which is essentially a Moroccan stew, cooked and served in a colourful earthenware dish. There are options other than the hearty tajine dishes – also on the mains menu are braised ribs, lamb cutlets, gnocchi and much more – all with their own Moroccan flavour.IMG_8846

The aromas of cumin, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg waft from my lamb tagine ($38) as soon as the lid is lifted by our waiter. It is simply mouth-watering. Top quality Dorper lamb is used, which is very tender. The dish is full of texture from chickpeas, zucchini and crunchy harrissa spiced almonds. Prunes give the already delicious lamb an even deeper sweetness. The lamb tajine is served with a generous side of creamy hummus yogurt.IMG_8851

The tagines are designed to share, but Chef is not happy to part with a morsel of his main. After much persuasion he lets me try his dish and I soon realise why he wants to keep it all to himself! The wagyu beef tagine ($42) is absolutely sensational. The slow braised wagyu beef cheek simply falls apart at the merest touch of a fork. It is so buttery and tender. The beef is accompanied by saffron potatoes, mint preserved lemon yoghurt, pickled radish, sumac onions and fresh herbs. All the tajines are served with a side of Israeli couscous or quinoa for those with a gluten free diet.IMG_8850

It seems a crime not to look at the dessert menu, after such an enjoyable meal. I simply cannot say no to the Turkish delight stuffed doughnuts ($16). The fluffy little doughnuts – oozing with Turkish delight – are dusted in chocolate sugar and drizzled with a spiced chocolate sauce. On the side is creamy homemade pistachio ice cream. It is full of oodles of chopped nuts, which add a touch of crunch to the silky smooth ice cream. The sweet pistachio Persian fairy floss takes me back to my childhood. What an absolutely scrumptious dessert!IMG_8863

Chef manages to squeeze in a scoop of house made ice cream and candy floss too.IMG_8858

We are seriously impressed by Meeka Restaurant. The service, food, wine and casual, yet classy atmosphere is almost flawless and has the attention and care of a family run business.IMG_8867

**First published in the Post newspaper**

At a glance

■ Meeka Restaurant

361 Rockeby Road

Subiaco WA

Phone 9381 1800

■ Opening times

Tuesday – Saturday

6pm till late

■ Rating

food 4

service 5

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Modern Australian

with a Moroccan twist

■ wine – award winning wine list

with an international feel.

■ Chef – Leah Clarke

■ Owner – Faye Clarke

■ feel – inviting, modern and classy

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost –

Entrée – $14 – $38

Mains – $30 – $42

Dessert – $7.80 – $38

■ all in all – absolutely delicious

Moroccan inspired dishes. Excellent

Service. Equally great for groups

or an intimate date night.

The Precinct – Vic Park

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The Precinct on Urbanspoon

The Precinct has been on my “to eat at” list for far too long. You have to bear in mind that the list is in fact an excel spreadsheet – so it’s taking us quite some time to visit everywhere! I was lunching with the lovely Kez n Kim – who between them are Gluten Free, Dairy Free and both pregnant! I was lucky we came to a restaurant that is so friendly towards dietary requirements. They also cater well for vegetarians. IMG_8240

The laid back spot on Albany Highway is a casual café by day and by night it takes on more of a late night wine bar vibe. We sat towards the back, by the open kitchen, where many scrumptious smells were wafting out – making us very hungry indeed! Our waitress was friendly and helpful with the details of the dishes. IMG_8214

We sipped on freshly squeezed juices and a particularly good drop of homemade traditional lemonade, as we looked over the share food menu.

IMG_8215We started our lunch nibbling on a bowl of pork crackling (gf), $6.50. It’s hard to find anyone that’s not a little addicted to these salty morsels of porkiness. Soon to follow were the zucchini fritters (gf/v), $18. We relished dipping the crunchy fritters into the stripes of beetroot puree and minted yoghurt.IMG_8217

Next to the table was a big bowl of greens -broccoli, snow peas, kale, green beans (gf/v/vegan), $15. The veg was seasoned well and lightly cooked. Admittedly, It wasn’t my most favourite dish of the day – but I do like my veg and did feel super healthy for having well over my daily quota of chlorophyll! IMG_8220

The green pepper meatballs were delicious! Usually they are served medium rare, but for my preggo friends, the chefs were happy to make sure they were fully cooked. The plump meatballs sat upon a bed of a rich tomato sugo and a coriander salsa (gf), $18. IMG_8222

My favourite of all the share plates was the barramundi. It was cooked to perfection and served with snow peas, warm orange and cider vinaigrette (gf), $34. IMG_8218

To finish we had something sweet – the girls loved their dessert, though the menu has changed since our visit – so unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly what it is. IMG_8223

I had a peanut butter cheesecake, scattered with chocolate crackles and a berry sauce! Take it from me it was a tasty as it looks. IMG_8237

All in all we enjoyed The Precinct. The food was good and well presented. The service was spot on and we liked the vibe. Share food is always a winner for me and I have no doubt that I’ll be back – just when I get through a few more places on my list!IMG_8250

 

Samsons Paddock – Mosman Park

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Samsons Paddock on Urbanspoon

My father-in-law, who is also a chef, has a rule – never dine at a brand new restaurant. He recommends giving any new restaurant a good couple of months to iron out the creases and really hit their stride. Despite this, Chef and I dine at newbie “Samsons Paddock” in Mosman Park when it was still finding its feet. It has been open a mere six weeks. We were there to review it for the Post newspaper – something that I absolutely relish.IMG_7370

We’re warmly greeted and given a choice of places to sit, the dining room, outside or in the bar. We choose the long wooden communal table in the bar area. The exposed brick walls and the hanging industrial light fittings look great and there is a real warmth about the space. That warmth is also extended to the outdoor courtyard, where there are red-brick fireplaces and lots of seating scattered with funky, bright cushions. There is blues-y music in the background, which gives the bar a southern American vibe. The interior has that rustic look that so many places do now – but since Sampson’s Paddock is steeped in history – it really works. IMG_7366

In the early 1840s, Lionel Samson purchased the land where the bar now stands for a princely sum of 10 pounds. He farmed the land, the locals nicknamed it “Samson’s Paddock”. It was perfectly positioned on the Fremantle to Perth route – so the entrepreneurial Samson turned Samson’s Paddock into a popular watering hole for both horseman and horse.

IMG_7367The menu is like a novel! It comes in the form of a book. Chapter one is an interesting history of the building. In chapter two, you’ll find the menu, which is designed to share. Chapter three is an extensive and still evolving drinks menu. Sampson’s has a good selection of mainly local wine, including some premium wines available by the glass. There is also an excellent collection of whiskies.IMG_7403

We choose chicken & almond albondigas ($17) from the small plates menu. The chicken meatballs are extremely fragrant. They are sitting in a little dish of Catalan sorfito – a deliciously rich Spanish tomato and onion sauce. Though tasty, I am put-off by finding tiny pieces of cartilage in each ball. It’s a shame, as otherwise it’s great dish – but that stops us from finishing it off.IMG_7382

The char grilled porterhouse tasting board ($59), is fit for any carnivore, with a whopping four different types of steak. The tasting notes advise you to eat the steaks in a particular order – veal, then the grain fed steak, the grass fed and finally the wagu beef. We taste each piece au natural, then add some zesty gremolata to the next piece to see the difference in taste. The veal is tender. There’s a noticeable difference between the grain and grass fed cuts, the grass fed being much stronger in flavour. Of course the wagu is top notch – with a wonderful buttery flavour. On the side are roast veg and hand cut chips. We relish every morsel.IMG_7381

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the stuffed calamari ($25) is chewy, but the calamari tubes are not as tender as I would have hoped. The spinach stuffing is spot on, as is the mouth-watering combination of creamy blue cheese sauce with mushroom grits.IMG_7377

The saffron panna cotta ($15) is wibbly-wobbly perfection. A big dollop of scrumptious hazelnut ganache sits on top, finished with raspberry jelly. A delectable dessert!IMG_7393

Chef thinks he has died and gone to chocolate heaven as he devours the Mississippi mud pie ($15). A slice of incredibly dense pie is garnished with strawberries and a creamy anglaise, which has a subtle flavour of rosemary.IMG_7389

Though the food isn’t finely tuned yet – the excellent venue makes up for its shortcomings. IMG_7402

Whether you visit Samsons Paddock for share food and drinks or pre-drinks before heading somewhere else for dinner – it is well worth a visit. The restaurant and bar is a welcome addition to the leafy Glyde Street – which is fast becoming a western suburbs foodie destination – also home of the excellent Suburban Table and FUKU Okamese restaurants.IMG_7405

West End Deli – Leederville

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West End Deli on Urbanspoon

I’ll whinge about being married to a chef sometimes. I’ll have my own little pity party about never getting to see him, as he works such awful, unsociable hours. A silver lining to this is that Chef and I do have a weekday off together. We go out for a coffee and lunch, just the two of us, whilst Little Chef is at school. Just for a few hours we can forget the worries of the world and whether our son is eating his vegetables and sitting nicely.

I’d love to say that Chef and I have frequented West End Deli for years. It’s the kind of place that makes me wish we lived in Perth’s inner suburbs. However, this is our very first visit to the popular dining spot.IMG_6903

West End Deli, on the corner of a quiet suburban Leederville street, has a rich food history. It has been home to a butchers, general store, café and Greek deli in the last 80 years. Chef-Owner Justin Peters, formerly Head Chef at Duende and Il lido, opened West End Deli in 2008 with his wife Christine.IMG_6907

We’re greeted with a smile and seated at a table by the window. Luckily for us, a few tables are saved for walk-ins. Today we are feeling spontaneous (or really rather unorganised) and hadn’t booked. I would definitely recommended booking, it’s a busy place. The surroundings are eclectic, with a rustic vibe. A light fitting made of chairs looks cool, as does a very distressed looking feature wall, with the paint almost peeling off.IMG_6912

The service is friendly and knowledgeable. I take the waitresses’ recommendation and order the ribs. I have the strawberry and watermelon “juice of the day” which is sweet and refreshing. It’s a bustling place and we nibble on some olives and a freshly baked baguette whilst waiting for our mains to arrive.IMG_6909

I rate the scrumptious spiced lamb ribs ($24) amongst the best I’ve ever had. Though there is something so very satisfying about diving into a plate of ribs with your bare hands and getting covered in sticky sauce – this rib meat is so tender, it falls off the bone with barely a touch of my fork. That’s a much more ladylike way to eat anyway! The lamb is positively mouth-watering. The meat is so full of flavour. Each and every mouthful a fragrant hit of cumin and star anise. I enjoy the paper thin zucchini, radish and mint salad, which is a medley of sweet and peppery flavours. A chimchurri sauce is on the side.IMG_6919

I overhear the man on the next table having some food envy and eyeing off my delish dish – he orders the ribs too.

As Chef eats his pork sandwich, he is quiet. Almost unnaturally so. I start to worry. Does he like his lunch? It takes until almost the last morsel of his open sandwich has been consumed for him to say “that was the absolute best pork sandwich I’ve ever had!” I’ve been holding my breath in anticipation. I exhale a big sigh of relief. I’ve enjoyed my lunch so much, I’d want it to be a unanimous decision that West End Deli gets the big thumbs up.

I gingerly ask for a bite. He doesn’t want to part with a single crumb. For “tasting purposes” Chef begrudgingly lets me share in the pork-fest. I have to agree with him, it is a superb sarnie. The pork is cured in sugar, then cooked sous vide for 14 hours, resulting in a moist and tender piece of meat. It is topped with a sweet pear, caraway and fennel relish which has a kick of ginger. That all sits upon a bed of greens, atop a toasted baguette ($23).IMG_6915

Bearing in mind that Chef is a little old school, not really a hipster type, West End Deli really resonates with him. He can see the excellent technique in the cooking of the dishes. It’s not your typical suburban café by any means, more of a neighbourhood bistro, but yet it is still well priced and relaxed. Chef thinks the coffee is top notch too and grabs another “for the road”. IMG_6911

West End Deli is open breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef and I are both very keen to try their offerings for the other meals of the day, seeing that we relished their lunch menu so much. This was certainly the first visit of many.IMG_6923

At a glance

■ West End Deli

95 Carr Street

Leederville

Phone 9328 3605

■ Opening times

Breakfast & Lunch

Tues to Sun, 7am to 3pm

Dinner Wed to Sat from 6pm

■ Rating out of 10

food 8.5

service 9

ambience 8

value for money 8

■ style – Bistro

■ wine – BYO

■ Chef – Justin Peters

■ Owners – Christine and Justin Peters

■ feel – cool café by day,

sophisticated bistro by night

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost – brunch $7 – $28

Dinner – $23 entrée

$33 main / $18 dessert

■ all in all – delishious

food – cooked well with

great technique and seasonal

produce. Fab coffee too.

Eagle Falls Spur Steak and Grill – Drovers, Wanneroo

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Eagle Falls Spur Steak and Grill on Urbanspoon

I have a confession to make… though Spur is an international chain restaurant, I had never heard of it, let alone been in one. We have a couple of Spurs in WA – the existing franchises are both “south of the river”. The South African owned steak house has opened this week in our stomping ground – the Drovers complex on Wanneroo Road, near Carramar.

When I visit a restaurant that is only a few days old, like Spur, I like to give it the benefit of the doubt. All the staff are new and still learning the ropes – there can be teething troubles. At Spur all they were guilty of was being eager to take our order and our plates and glasses, which is nothing really that bad at all. The wait staff were all very friendly and helpful.

The building that never quite reached its full potential as “3 Leaves restaurant” and “Drovers Café” has had a fantastic a fantastic fit out. The theming is around American Indians – think tepees, feathers and that sort of thing. The huge restaurant, which seats 300+, looks great.

J and I were caught up for a coffee and light lunch before the school run.

I think the proof in the pudding will really be how good their steaks and ribs are. Being lunchtime I wasn’t feeling up to a big slab of meat, so chose a Caesar salad – reasonably priced at $14.95. It was simple. Everything was crisp, I thought the quality of the bacon and the parmesan cheese could have been better – but for the price it was a decent portion size.Untitledkkk

J ate a generous plate of nachos with all the accompaniments $15.95 with beef n beans for an added $2.95.untitled1

If you have children they will enjoy the playground at Spur. There is a large fenced off kids area. That is due to open tomorrow (Thurs 4th Sept). The kids menu is well priced and kids even eat free on Monday and Tuesdays.

Spur is a casual family restaurant. Whilst the food isn’t spectacular – probably in the same vein as Hogs Breath Café – If you enjoy that, you should like Spur.

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