Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blackbird Restaurant, East Perth

Blackbird Restaurant East Perth review, photos and blog
Strolling along the serene East Perth redevelopment I noticed the whole range of eateries beckoning me to come in and enjoy their treats.  However, I got a recommendation (Thanks Mans!) to try Blackbird Restaurant - and boy did it not disappoint.

Blackbird Restaurant isn't a big venue, but it does have indoor as well as al fresco seating with a view of the East Perth waterfront.  The restaurant fits in to the modern waterfront redevelopment and offers a fine dining experience in a casual atmosphere.  The atmosphere is enhanced further by waitstaff that on the night we went were friendly and helpful, and not at all arrogant or of the "backpacker" variety.

The menu is a constantly changing menu, which as far as main courses are concerned, generally contains a few meat dishes, a fish dish, and a vegetarian dish.  Prices of mains generally range in the mid 20s to mid 30s.  Blackbird Restaurant is also licensed but offers Cellar Night Tuesdays where you can bring your own bottles of wine.

Amuse bouche - gnocchi

After ordering our dishes, we were advised that we would be receiving an amuse bouche for the night - a piece of gnocchi.  Whilst I wouldn't normally think of gnocchi as an appetiser to excite the tastebuds before a meal, it was a good piece of salted gnocchi - pan fried and like a light pillow that kind of melted in the mouth.

Black angus sirloin - $36

On the menu, this dish was described as "Black Angus Sirloin" without the word "steak" - perhaps a negative confirmation that I shouldn't expect a 250g+ slab of steak.  However, for a beef dish, it was attractively presented.

Ordered medium rare, the Black Angus Sirloin was cooked perfectly.  Served sliced on the plate, the browned exterior encased a pink medium rare interior.  Seasoned with noticeable salt, the slices of black angus sirloin really let the quality of the black angus shine through with melts-like-butter tenderness.

The steak was serviced with a bearnaise sauce, lightly battered and fried enoki, and crunchy triple cooked chips.

Gold band snapper - $37

The gold band snapper was served with beans, salsa and brussel sprouts.

Like the Angus sirloin, the fish was also cooked perfectly and seasoned with salt.  Having been cooked to the point where it was just cooked, the fish was tender and almost juicy.

The fish came with vegetables (such as beans and brussel sprouts) which were all lightly cooked, retaining a light crunch and a still vibrant colour.  Also on the plate was a light salsa, half a soft boiled egg and potatoes.

A well executed fish dish, though I still preferred the Black Angur Sirloin dish above.

Date creme brulee - $16

This creme brulee was very creamy, like it had been made with a thick or whipping cream, with the centre having a thick cream like texture as opposed to being closer to a more solid custard.  It was nicely balanced in sweetness so that it wasn't like candy, though the sweetness was sent soaring with the soft dates planted at the bottom of the creme brulee.

The caramelised sugar topping was great with a hard and crunchy texture.

We liked: Very well made food with good flavours and combinations; friendly and helpful service.

We didn't like: Given it's located right up against a man made water body, insects can be an issue at night (but Blackbird Restaurant uses deterrents); not a big menu, but normal for a restaurant of this size and what they do make they seem to do it well.

Other things to note:  Look at their website for special events such as Tuesday bring your own bottle of wine

Blackbird Restaurant
4/10 Eastbrook Tce (Lakeside)
East Perth WA 
(08) 9225 7880

Trading Hours
Lunch: Wed to Fri, and Sun - from Noon
Dinner: Tues to Sun - from 6pm

Blackbird Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sake House, Applecross

Sake House Applecross reviews, photos and blogs
When I'm not sure what I want to eat, but want variety, Japanese izakaya (tapas) style dining quite often does the trick.  Those small almost tasting size dishes let you share and try different dishes with your fellow diners, though requires a bit of sharing out or fighting over the more popular ones on the table.

On this occasion, we made our way to Sake House in Applecross for some izakaya dining but ended up finding that many of their dishes were a little larger than small sharing dishes.  However, price wise the dishes weren't exactly cheap either but many were reasonable for the size of servings.  We ended up being very satisfied with some pretty decent servings of generally good tasting food.

The interior of Sake House is nicely decked out with large wood tables and chairs, and is quite spacious and modern.  However, I have the feeling that the interior hadn't been properly thought out with a cold atmosphere with relatively bright white lighting (as well as the viewable portion of the staff only area appearing to be quite messy.

The menu of Sake House reflects the izakaya style of dining (i.e. Japanese style eating where you order lots of little dishes to share).  Many favourites such as beef tataki, chicken teriyaki, karaage (coated and deep fried meat), tempura, sushi and sashimi were on the menu along with some other more unusual selections such as butterfly prawns.  However, overall the menu wasn't exactly inspiring and tended towards the usual Japanese dishes.

Beef tataki - $20

Beef tataki is typically thin slices of a good cut of beef cooked rare and served with a ponzu sauce (and often garlic, sping onion and ginger).  In comparison, this beef tataki of medium thickness seemed overcooked (like a puzzling well-done), with no part appearing rare and the entire slice being cooked through.

The beef was seasoned with spices including a noticeable amount of salt and pepper.  Whilst it was overcooked, the beef had a lot of marbelisation running through it helping to make it nearly melt in your mouth (which it probably would have been if it was cooked rare).  The beef was served on a place surrounded by a lot of light ponzu sauce.

Compared to other beef tataki I have had, apart from the quality of the beef, this dish seemed a little disappointing.

Beef teppanyaki - $26

This beef teppanyaki (a type of grilled on a hot iron plate beef dish) was apparently made with grade 7 wagyu.  It was seared teppanyaki style such that it was medium rare and tender (no doubt being grade 7 wagyu helped make this dish).  Again, the beef was seasoned, and served with a light side sauce.  Whilst the beef was served lightly seasoned it was quite simple in terms of flavours allowing the beef to shine through.

The beef teppanyaki was served with onion and garlic chips.

Karaage chicken - $12

The karaage chicken (a deep fried chicken dish) was tender - not dry, but not moist either.  The coating wasn't a common lightly crunchy batter, but still nicely coated with starch before frying.

The chicken pieces marinated giving the dish a bit more flavour and overall this wasn't a bad deep fried lightly coated chicken dish.

The karaage chicken came served with the usual Japanese mayonnaise (though for some reason this mayonnaise was off white) which helped add more flavour.

Sushi moriawase - $22 (large)

This large sushi moriawase set had three types of sushi - a pretty typical california roll (this one had crab meat, egg, avocado and cucumber), a reverse california roll (pretty much the same but the seaweed is on the inside, and in this case avocado slices and flying fish roe/tobiko were placed on top), and a salmon and avocado roll.

On the surface, the sushi looked decently made.  However, biting into the sushi the rice was a little stale - dry and hard, but still edible.  A little disappointing as this made the sushi seem unfresh.

Mixed seafood tempura - $26

This mixed seafood tempura (a deep fried dish with a very light batter) had prawns, fish, and a nice surprise - soft shell crab.

The tempura batter was light and crunchy, giving quite a nice feel that balanced the seafood.
The prawns were long, but thin and overall not a huge size but perhaps a tad overcooked.  The fish was tender and almost fell apart, whilst the soft shell crab crunchy and a nice addition that I hadn't seen in a mixed seafood tempura plate before.

We liked: Despite the different approach to Japanese food, which offered their own versions of some popular Japanese dishes, the resulting tastes of many dishes were pretty good

We didn't like: The sushi we had wasn't fresh; the restaurant atmosphere is a bit directionless and messy

Other things to note: Licensed; takeaway available

Sake House
Unit 3/4
3 Kearns Crescent
(08) 9364 8887

Trading Hours
Lunch - 11am to 2:30pm, Wednesday to Saturday
Dinner - 6pm to 9:30pm, Wednesday to Sunday

Sake House on Urbanspoon