Basq, Currambine

It was my parents wedding anniversary recently. Usually, I don’t celebrate it with them (I think wedding anniversaries are a couples thing), but today was an EXTRA special day… I had been plotting a surprise!

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One of my sisters (who lives in England) had let me in on her exciting news. She is coming to Perth for a holiday with her kids this December. I’m completely giddy with excitement, particularly as they have never made the big trip to Australia and my parents were going to be over the moon to hear the news! It’s been years since we saw them. So, I’d planned a Skype call after lunch, so my sister could tell them face to face!

Anyway, to our lunch!…

Being a special occasion, we picked Basq in Currambine, one of the best dining spots in our area. The modern European restaurant has a stylishly modern fit out and a buzzing atmosphere. It’s a very light and airy place, with high ceilings and huge open windows.

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Styled as “tapas”, the menu has small share plates, as well as more substantial options for those who don’t like to share their food. The drinks menu at Basq will suit all tastes and there’s always room for a cheeky cocktail or two…

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Hermosa Cantina – Wembley

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

Hermosa Cantina, found on Cambridge Street, is run by the same team behind the popular North Beach brunch spot, Tropico. We pop by for dinner to see if the Spanish inspired restaurant is worthy of the same buzz its sister venue has created.

It’s an impromptu dinner, we walk in off the street with Little Chef in tow. The modern Spanish eatery is not too full, so we have the pick of the tables and head toward a cosy booth. The light filled dining room has terracotta tones and busy Spanish tiles. We sit at a distressed table, which was previously a door.IMG_3149

A bubbly waiter takes our drink order. There is a varied drinks menu which has a focus on local and Spanish wines. I choose a fruity Spanish Muga rose, a garnacha tempranillo blend, at $45 a bottle.IMG_3088

The first of our shared small plates arrives full of crisp cauliflower cheese and morcilla croquets, $6 each, which are absolutely more-ish.croquettes

The gooey interior is oozing with cheese, mashed potato and Spanish pork sausage, with a tiny squeezie bottle of red pepper ketchup on the side. We have to restrain ourselves in ordering another round, they’re so good.IMG_3099

Another tasty dish “pan con” mushrooms (mushrooms with bread), $5 each, are topped with creamy goats cheese.Mushrooms

We nibble on sliced longaniza sausage, $10. Its mildly spicy with smoky paprika notes. I relish the accompanying green tomato salsa (pun intended!), which compliments the Spanish style salami.IMG_3093

It’s rare to find a restaurant that doesn’t cater for children, fine dining spots being an exception. There is no kids menu at Hermosa, luckily Little Chef is happy enough with a beef slider, $9. Though I’m not too sure if all children would appreciate the patty being cooked medium rare, as adults would. The brioche bun is dripping with mojo rojo – a salsa made of peppers and smoked almonds. The juicy patty is topped with melted sheep’s cheese and pickled zucchini. It’s a posh slider indeed!IMG_3112

We order two scallops, $8 each, topped with tomato and a chorizo crumble. They are presented on half shells and a tad on the small side. The kitchen pre-empt this and we are served four scallops. A welcome gesture and good to see that they are pro-actively wanting to please their customers.IMG_3106

Our meal is a tale of two waiters. The first waiter is friendly, engaging and descriptive with exactly what components we have on our plates. The second waiter simply brings our main meals over and adds he hopes we enjoy our meals, which is fine, but I am left wondering what is in the sauce pot next to my paella, as it isn’t listed on the menu. The service also becomes slower after our bigger plates come out.

Feeling like something more substantial, we relish the free range duck and beetroot paella, $37. It’s a hearty dish with shredded duck throughout, topped with more duck, duck fat migas (breadcrumbs) and baby beetroot leaves. I later discover the sauce is a rich jus of beetroot juice and duck stock.paella

Where is our Wagyu, I wonder? I find it hiding under a mound of crispy kale. I expect a lot from a 6 score wagu steak, $42. This piece of meat was perfectly pink, though I’ve had much tastier steaks. I don’t think rump cap is generally the most flavoursome cut of meat and I would have preferred to see a sirloin on that dish.IMG_3125

On the side are smoked baby potatoes with lashings of decadent beef fat butter.IMG_3121

We really don’t have the room – but we also can’t say no to the choc churros, $14. The three of us polish off a pot of chocolate mousse, white chocolate mint and chopped areo bar – a heavenly combination. A shooter of crème de meth is on the side for dipping. The chocolate churros, though tasty, aren’t as fluffy and fresh as I’d hoped.IMG_3142

Overall, we like Hermosa and it’s slow paced, casual vibe of Spain. The service and the food are generally good and the dishes are well-cooked too. Those croquettes… Olé!IMG_3100

{First published in the Post newspaper }

At a glance

■ Hermosa Cantina

353 Cambridge Street

Wembley

Phone 9387 6448

■ Opening times

Wed – Fri – 10.30am to late

Sat – 7am till late

Sun – 7am to 10pm

■ Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

■ style – Spanish

■ wine – A decent sized wine

list made of mainly local

and Spanish drops.

■ Chef – George Fowler

■ Owners – George Fowler & Garry Kemp

■ feel – casual Spanish cool

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost

Snacks – $5 to $19

Larger plates – $9 to $42

Dessert – $14

■ all in all – a laid back cantina with good vibes and tasty food. Drop in

for a glass of vino and nibbles or a have a feast fit for a king.

Pata Negra – Nedlands {CLOSED}

Snapper
Pata Negra Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

David Coomer is one of Western Australia’s most celebrated chefs – with a reputation for sourcing top local produce and never compromising on quality. For years his iconic fine diner, Star Anise, was the place to go for an unforgettable meal.

His Spanish tapas restaurant Pata Negra feels like a small bar straight out of Catalonia – black walls, warm lighting, rustic furniture and charming mismatched glassware. There is a courtyard out the back, strewn with lanterns, a wonderful space to dine on a warm summers evening.IMG_0680

The wine list has an undeniably Spanish influence, with Tempranillo being a prominent choice. We select a bottle of smooth Pinot Noir ($85) from the small Dexter winery on the Mornington Peninsular.

The menu of share plates reads; Tapas, The Earth (Vegetarian), The Sea (Seafood), The Land (Meat), The Dairy (Cheese) and more – with four options under each food category. I feel a little overwhelmed at what to pick – there are so many tasty possibilities! Our waitress suggests we choose the “Vamos a darle de Comer” menu, which roughly translates as “we are going to give food”. For $86 per person, the kitchen sends out a random selection of dishes to our table.

Little bowls of mixed olives and spiced almonds, from the tapas menu, gets our tastebuds started. Next is xarcuteria (charcuterie) and we enjoy a platter of mouth-watering cured meats serrano, chorizo and fennel salami.IMG_0685

A chicken liver pate, with a layer of madiera jelly, has a depth of flavour so often lacking in pates. We spread it thickly onto sliced crusty sourdough and relish every morsel.IMG_0683

From “the sea” we try Arroz negro – a rice dish similar to seafood paella. The al dente rice, flavoured with squid ink, is served with a generous dolop of allioli – the Spanish alternative to aioli. We mix the creamy allioli into the paella and add a squeeze of lemon juice. This tasty dish is one of Pata Negra’s mainstays and I can see why – the cuttlefish is tender and the black rice has a perfectly thin crisp layer on the base.IMG_0688

The gold band snapper ceviche, with smooth avocado, cucumber and dainty little radishes work well together to make a fresh and flavoursome dish – with a punch of summery citrus tang.IMG_0686

We are served a cracking fennel dish, from “The earth”. It is served with garden-fresh broad beans. The flavours of the dish are well balanced with salty anchovy, creamy pecorino cheese and sweet basil.IMG_0696

The wood roasted asparagus, served with a more-ish romesco sauce, is deliciously simple. David Coomer also runs Xarcuteria deli in Claremont and this romesco sauce took me back to the time Chef and I enjoyed some scrumptious take away pork belly rolls and eating them on the Cottesloe foreshore.IMG_0692

From “The land” we devour the Rangers Valley skirt steak, served with kohlrabi, a horseradish cream and hot sauce. I’m so glad that we chose the “trust the chef” menu, as I probably wouldn’t have picked this dish. Skirt steak is one of those cuts of meat which is inexpensive and full of flavour – but often not cooked correctly. Here, it is so tender, it melts in the mouth. Perfection. The kohlrabi, similar to a turnip, is an interesting addition to the dish.Skirt Steak

We finish our dinner with scrumptious cinnamon doughnuts, house made ice-cream flavoured with Spanish sherry Pedro Ximenez, topped with plump raisins.IMG_0702

With new restaurants continuously opening in Perth, it is so easy to get swept up in the buzz and excitement and forget a little about the existing Perth kitchens that are doing an exceptional job. For us, Pata Negra is THE tapas spot in Perth.IMG_0704

** Originally printed in the Post Newspaper **

At a glance

■ Pata Negra

26 Stirling Highway

Nedlands

Phone 08 9389 5517

■ Opening times

Tuesday to Saturday

6pm to Midnight

Friday Lunch noon to 3pm

■ Rating

food 5

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

■ style – Spanish Tapas

■ wine –Spanish inspired

wine list. BYOW cellar

night Wednesdays

■ Chef – David Coomer

■ Owners – David Coomer

■ feel – intimate and relaxed

■ wheelchair access – no

■ cost

Small Plates- $6.50 to $35

Larger plates – $17.50 to $37.50

Dessert – $16 to $24

■ all in all – Delicious food –

perfectly balanced flavours,

interesting produce and

spot-on technique. Attentive

service and fab venue.

Pinchos – Leederville

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Pinchos on Urbanspoon

The sights and smells of Spain are bursting out of Pinchos, a small tapas bar in Leederville. A huge paella dish simmers away at the door, smelling rich and enticing, inviting me inside. Walking into the bar I had a strong feeling of Dejavu – it used to be a favourite of mine – Snags and Sons. Now owner, Justin Bell (also of Jus Burgers), has transformed it into a little piece of Spain where you can eat “Small bites to large plates and everything in between”.IMG_8674

Being a Perth food blogger does have it’s perks – I was invited by the lovely people at Pinchos for lunch. I still pay for far more meals out of my own pocket than I’m invited to – so when I’m lucky enough to get an invite, I see it as a little treat for all my hard work writing! I’d yet to visit Pinchos, so it was a perfect opportunity to check it out.IMG_8655

Pinchos means “to pierce/spike”. The pinchos are traditionally served in bars in Northern Spain – tasty bite-sized snacks which are typically served on skewers. Pinchos is licensed and their drinks – a wide range of beer, wine and spirits – are mainly sourced from Spain.

I chose to have the Menu Del Dia – which seems like outstanding value at $15. It’s available Monday to Friday. You can choose one pinchos, one Tapa and a salad that is accompanied by fresh bread. Check it out – yum!IMG_8664

To start, I had “Pintxo Choriso con miel” which translates as sausage, honey and cheese on a stick. It’s one of the cheapest morsels on the menu at just $2 each. I enjoyed the saltiness of the chorizo with the sweet honey. It was a delicious combination that got my tastebuds wanting more.IMG_8666

From the salad menu I choose the Remolacha y Garbanzos -$9. The bowl was brimming with beetroot, chickpeas, yogurt, apple, fennel, radish, honey and dukkah. It was a different salad combo to anything I’d had before, and I really enjoyed it. The crispness of the apple, fennel and radish was really refreshing. IMG_8667

After smelling the “Street Paella” wafting in, I just had to try that too! The Spanish staple was spot on, rice perfectly cooked with a generous amount of chorizo.IMG_8659

There are so many delicious looking things on the Tapas menu. Which small plate to choose?! There’s croquettes, meatballs, marinated prawns, salted cod and so much more. What a dilemma. In the end I (unsurprisingly) went for the pork belly. Chicharrones ($8) is a plate of deep fried pork belly, dusted in cumin. The deliciously crisp pork belly was tender and moist in the middle. So simple, SO GOOD!IMG_8670

Thanks Pinchos for the opportunity to try your delicious food!! Perfect to share over a bottle of cava with friends.IMG_8677

 

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

 

3 Sheets – Hillarys Boat Harbour

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3 Sheets on Urbanspoon

Its new years day 2015 – being a public holiday many places in Perth are shut – so we decide to head down to Hillary’s Boat Harbour which was guaranteed to be open. The popular coastal spot was absolutely heaving with people. Some were strolling along the boardwalks, some picnicking on the lush grassed areas or swimming at the safe kiddies beach. We were there to check out a newly opened restaurant – 3 sheets. It has a cool fit out, with lots of long tables, perfect for groups. IMG_8166

3 Sheets was rumoured to be a “Little Creatures” style of brewery, before it opened. Whilst that didn’t turn out to be strictly true – it is similar in terms of the cool vibe, casual share food and focus on draft craft beers. Chef found his favourite beer on the menu – Colonials’ Kolsch ($11 a pint). Every time we go to Margaret River we come back with a “growler” of the stuff!! Chef was stoked. Also on draft are other WA favourites; Feral, Nail, Gage Road, Matso and Eagle Bay beers.  I chose a nutella and banana shake – something I wouldn’t usually pick, but I just couldn’t go past the nutella! IMG_8134

The service was mostly efficient. We hardly waited any time at all for our meals.  Being a “share venue” the food comes out as it is made. I had to ask after my milkshake, which seemed to be taking a while. Chef was well into his second pint by the time it arrived. Apparently they were training new staff – so I didn’t mind too much – it is a new restaurant after all. IMG_8151

We shared the salt and pepper squid ($12). The thinly sliced squid was tender and light. The squid was complimented by a tasty piri piri sauce that had a nice kick to it. IMG_8136

Chef enjoyed a club pizza ($22). The wood fired pizza was topped with ham, bacon, pepperoni, chorizo and chicken. He thought it was delicious and the base was spot on.IMG_8150

From the tapas menu I had the beef short ribs ($10), which were tender and tasty with a sticky BBQ sauce. I also chose a pear and rocket salad ($12) from the “big plates” menu. I’m quite partial to the combo of rocket, pear, walnuts, parmesan and this salad, dressed with cider vinegar was a winner. IMG_8148

3 Sheets is a family friendly venue, the kids menu has lots of choice for the little ones. Little chef chose a hot dog and frites ($10). The chips were really fluffy and crisp, quite rustic too with the skin still left on. IMG_8137

We were far from being “3 sheets to the wind” when we left, but we all certainly had very full tummies. The small dessert menu looks really delicious, with some pommie favourites “sticky toffee pudding and “knickerbocker glory” on there. Maybe next time!

Chef loves nothing more than a pizza and pint on his days off. He’s definitely found a top spot for a boys lunch with a view! IMG_8168

 

 

 

 

Samsons Paddock – Mosman Park

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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