Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Red Teapot, Northbridge

Its walls and logos are red.  The Chinese are famous for the origin of and their enjoyment tea.  Combined, we get Red Teapot - a Chinese restaurant the owners suitably named that is popular most nights of the week.

Situated on the quieter Northern end of William Street in Northbridge, Red Teapot is a typical sized Chinese eatery in Northbridge that specialises in Cantonese food.  Seating can be a little cramped to fit in about 30 people, and given its popularity I would suggest reserving a table ahead.

The menu at Red Teapot is quite extensive for the size of the restaurant, with many Chinese Cantonese dishes on offer from meat, seafood, vegetarian, as well as entrees and soups, all cooked in a variety of methods and sauces giving much choice for your meal.  However, like most Chinese restaurants, many of the dishes are best shared with people so you can have and share a variety of dishes.

Service is pretty typical of Chinese restaurants, but I found the level of English to be good and some of the staff in particular are very friendly and helpful, even when they are full house.

Honey and pepper pork rib  $13.90

I find when I see this on the menu there is something that tends to draw me to it.  Perhaps it’s the non-fat-trimmed pork that is battered and deep fried?  Sounds bad, but it tastes good if you like that sort of thing.

Though deep fried in batter, the pork rib didn’t appear to have been heavily battered - and thus didn’t seem excessively oily considering it was battered and deep fried.  The pork ribs were subsequently stir fried with onion and champignon mushrooms in a sweet honey and peppery sauce.  Whilst the overall taste was quite mild as opposed to overpowering in sauce flavours, the thick sauce did make every piece strong in the honey and pepper flavour.

Prosperous fragrant chicken - $17.90

This popular and recommended dish consists of half a deep fried chicken served with a vinegary sweet sauce that had added garlic, spring onion, and chilli.

The chicken was fried just enough to cook it through without getting too dry, and the skin was still lightly crispy.  The sauce added a savoury tangy flavour to the chicken that wasn't heavy, but definitely flavoursome.

Fried fish in chilli soy sauce  $17.90

Yet another deep fried dish, the fish was also battered and deep fried then served on a plate that had a decent layer of chilli soy sauce.  The sauce was only mild in chilli taste, and tasted like a toned-down-in-salt-soy-sauce based but still amply flavoured chilli soy sauce.  The fish was pretty standard battered and deep fried fish, but dipping it into the sauce made the batter get a bit soggy but also added additional taste to the otherwise relatively plain fried fish.  Personally, I quite enjoyed the combination of the deep fried fish with the mild flavours of the chilli soy sauce.

Mixed vegetables and tofu claypot - $12.90

Sometimes with these meals, you feel compelled to order a dish that is largely if not exclusively vegetables.  I suppose it sometimes makes me feel better that I’m getting some greens.

This particular vegetarian dish contained a mixture of tofu with mushrooms, carrots, Chinese green vegetables, and baby corn cooked in a light garlicky sauce that added large amounts of flavour to what would otherwise be a bland dish.  As a vegetarian dish this was cooked till the vegetables were soft but not overcooked, but I felt like it had a fair bit of oil for my liking – somewhat taking off the edge for me for what should be a “healthier” dish.

The tofu and vegetables were also presented and served in a metal “claypot”.

Chicken and mushroom claypot - $14.90

Served in another metal “claypot” dish, the chicken claypot consisted of bite size pieces of boneless chicken, Chinese sausage, sliced Chinese shiitake and other mushrooms, decoratively cut carrots, baby corn, onion, ginger, spring onions, and finely chopped garlic.

Cooked in the claypot, the savoury sauce had a hint of sweetness and garlic flavour.  Thanks to the sauce, this was a very tasty dish though perhaps a tad salty for my liking.  The skinless chicken pieces were tender and not dry, and the whole dish seemed to have flavour from the cooking technique infusing the sauce evenly throughout.

Squid tentacles with chilli and garlic - $10.90

Squid tentacles fried and tossed into chilli and garlic (and salt).  Need I say more?

Green apple iced tea  $3.50

Red Teapot offers a few “flavoured” drinks.  This particular drink had a sweet green apple taste that is common in syrup made drinks (which includes bubble tea).  However, I found this drink was not heavy on the sugar syrup, which to me was good.

In summary, Red Teapot sits well above your local run-down Chinese restaurant in terms of Chinese cuisine and offers a mix of your typical Chinese dishes as well as some more traditional Cantonese food.

Points to note:  Dine in or takeaway, if you want to ensure you get a seat on any night, you’re best off making a reservation.  BYO and cash only.  There is also 10% off all takeaway orders, as well as early birds who finish dinner before 7pm

Go for:  Good Chinese food - with all your usuals plus more.

Red Teapot
413 William Street
(08) 9228 1981

Trading Hours
Monday to Saturday - Lunch and Dinner

Red Teapot on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Get Fresh! (The Aussie Bite photos in The West Australian Newspaper)

If you're like me, you enjoy eating, talking, and reading about food.  Reading books, like my recently acquired Peter Gilmore's Quay, as well as reading articles, reviews and blogs filled with inviting pictures whets my tastebuds.

Every Thursday, the West Australian Newspaper brings us the Fresh liftout which is dedicated to food.  In the liftout, you can find food reviews, recipes, and photos of all of the above.  Personally, I find some of the articles inspire me to try out new things, or else make me hungry looking at delicious photos of food...  For better or worse.

The Fresh liftout from a few of weeks ago was a special "Perth's Best" edition.  This edition was filled with articles outlining the "best" of Perth such as best overall restaurants, degustation restaurants, low-key Japanese, late-night eats, degustation, coffee-cake places, and WA wines under $25.  I enjoyed this great unique edition that showcased a lot of highlights from good ol' Perth that you could keep as a reference.  As expected, the "Perth Best" edition also contained a lot of mouthwatering photos, and I was lucky enough to have a couple of images from this blog printed as part of its "Low-Key Japanese" article.

All this talk of food is making me hungry.  Time to eat some food.

In the meantime, if you're like me and enjoy reading up on food and restaurants and looking at some nice photos to go with it, you might like to grab a copy of Fresh in Thursday's West for a bit of a squiz.

Fresh Excerpt, 18 November 2010 - Courtesy of West Australian Newspapers

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Took Bae Kee Restaurant, Perth

If you ask a Korean who has spent a bit of time in Perth, chances are that Took Bae Kee will be on their list of Korean restaurants they recommend.  Situated on the east side of Perth near some other Korean establishments (next to a small Korean grocer and across from a haircut joint), this statement is even more true when you go inside.

Took Bae Kee is a casual restaurant that can get quite busy given it's quite small inside.  The decor is simple, but it's relatively clean and cosy for an eat-and-go Asian food establishment.  Service-wise, the wait staff seem to all be Korean and provide a decent service for the casual restaurant environment.

The menu contains a variety of Korean dishes from soups, to meat dishes, to rice dishes, and vegetarian dishes written in Korean and translated in English.  Prices vary mainly from around $10-15 for most main meal dishes.  Given Koreans can eat spicy, you might need to consider whether the dishes are edible for those with weaker stomachs – I know I struggle with very spicy food.

Bulgogi Bibimbap - $13

Bibimbap means mixed rice, or otherwise generally a bowl filled with rice and other ingredients that you mix together before you eat.

Took Bae Kee’s Bibimbap was a bowl that had rice topped with shredded cucumber, bean sprouts, carrot, shiitake mushroom, and sesame seed.  The Bibimbap is also served with a separate dish of “gochuchang” which is a chilli pepper paste that adds flavour.  However, notably the Bibimbap was missing a fried egg which I usually see in Bibimbaps.

The Bulgogi beef was soy flavoured barbecued sliced beef and was mildly tasty for a barbecued beef.  Together with the addition of the different ingredients, the combination makes this dish kind of nice to eat if not pretty simple.

The Bulgogi was (as it’s meant to be) dry even when adding the gochuchang sauce, and had a bit of a sweet and slightly oily overall feel.  I think this dish would have been much better with the optional extra fried egg which would have added to the taste and the texture of the overall mixed dish (and the Koreans I have asked seem to think the fried egg is a must).  However, this is Korean food cooked by Koreans and recommended by Koreans so who am I to question this?

Took Bae Kee also sells Dorset Bibimbaps which are meant to come in a heated stone bowl, but in actual fact the one I had came in a metallic one.  I recall my previous occasion of eating the Dorset Bibimbap to be good and I enjoyed that – but that one came with a fried egg.  Note to self – make sure it has a fried egg.

Soondoboo Jjeegae - $11

This dish was in the soup section of the menu and described as a hot and spicy soup with tofu and seasonal vegetables.  The seasonal vegetables included a lot of Chinese cabbage.

With noticeable chilli throughout, this dish was pretty spicy though if you can handle it and like things spicy I’m told it’s not bad.  The only thing is that you have to be careful when eating this dish as it can leave red marks on you and all over your lips.  This is also probably not a very summery dish.

Soy Beef Bulgogi  - $13

Remembering that Koreans can eat very spicy foods, I opted for the soy flavoured beef on a hot plate rather than the spicy chilli beef version.  Whilst this may have been the safer option, I am not convinced that the dish was the better tasting one.

The soy flavoured beef came on a sizzling plate and to me was a bit like a stir fry of beef with vegetables such as onion, carrot and cucumber.  The beef had a more sweet than salt flavour to it and was a pretty average beef dish for my liking.  However, that probably helps make the dish healthier and we are in a recommended casual Korean restaurant here.

As a main course, the beef was accompanied by a bowl of steamed rice in the “normal” stainless steel bowl.

The Korean side dishes served with main course meals

In summary, Took Bae Kee is a great little Korean restaurant that lets you have a taste of Korean food whilst dining with other Koreans.  If you like Korean food, I’m told this place is a must.

Points to note: Given its size and popularity, you may have to line up for a table during peak times.  You can also complete your Korean journey by going to the next door supermarket – they even have Korean ice creams.

Go for: Good Korean cuisine, recommended by Koreans.

Took Bae Kee Restaurant
Shop 6, 542 Hay Street
(08) 9225 4557

Trading Hours
Monday to Sunday – Lunch and dinner

Took Begi Restaurant on Urbanspoon