Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sayers Sister, Northbridge

As you're recovering from the big Christmas feeds and festive drinks, or even if you're just rising up early or late in the morning and your stomach is rumbling, you'll probably crave a good cooked breakfast and maybe catch up with a mate whilst you're at it.

Spawning from the cafe strips and ever-increasingly so in the quiet suburbs are little gems waiting to be found, and already well and truly discovered by the locals.

Sayers Sister is located in the quiet end of Lake Street (i.e. in the suburban area, away from the pubs and clubs) near the small restaurant/cafe corner that also is home to other well-known establishments such as Nine Fine Food and Nahm Thai.  The quiet yet central location means there is plenty of nearby street parking, and a relaxing al fresco area not ruined by bustling traffic.

The breakfast menu at Sayers Sister is a little like its "brother" - start with your simple muesli and eggs n toast breakfasts and build on it with gourmet offerings that aren't shy of a bit of creativity.  Prices start from below $10 for your simple breakfasts (such as toast) or for the substantial breakfasts into the high teens and even twenties but is I guess not unusual for Perth these days.  On top of your breakfast menu is the drinks menu, specialising in many of your favourite coffees and teas, pre-packaged drinks as well as the odd fresh juices.

Like many cafes that offer a good breakfast, Sayers Sister has both indoor and al fresco dining.  Whilst the interior is nicely decked out, almost elegantly, with quaint tables and chair lined up neatly around the walls as well as bar seating in the middle; the al fresco dining is set amongst the quiet end of Lake Street making it quite pleasant - not scenic, but at least without excessive car fumes to ruin your breakfast meal.

Full Breakfast - $22

The full breakfast was Sayers Sister's version of a gluttonous breakfast feed.  Like many breakfasts, it started with eggs (poached, scrambled or fried) served alongside two pieces of very crusty bread.  The bread was toasted so crusty it made a mess around the plate and table with crumbs flying just about everywhere as I cut into it.

Served with the eggs on toast were potato cake, 3 beans, grilled tomato, balsamic mushroom, chorizo sausage and bacon.  Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the poached eggs I had runny and delicious.

The potato cake was like baked with sliced potato and peas, lightly seasoned and the potato and peas soft - in fact the peas seemed a little dead and colourless.  The potato cake was topped with a mushroom that didn't really have much of a strong balsamic taste.

On  the other side of the plate were some slices of Italian sausage that were quite (chilli) hot sitting on top of a few slices of non-crispy bacon.

Lastly, in a bowl were the three beans swimming in a tomato chutney like sauce and topped with grilled tomatoes.

Overall I found the full breakfast to be filling (without being excessive), well cooked, and to be sufficiently unique to be worth a try.

Potato rosti - $19.50

My first impression of a potato rosti for $19.50 was "that's expensive!".

However, this was no ordinary potato rosti.

The potato rosti was like a baked cake, the roasted potato assembled into a dense but not too heavy cake and lightly seasoned.  The overall taste wasn't far from your normal potato rosti, but less sloppy and damp.  Given the volume of the slice, it was pleasantly filling.

Served with the potato rosti was bramley apple and thyme chutney (which was quite light it didn't overpower anything on the plate), runny-yolk poached eggs, bacon and rocket leaf.

Overall, you could say this was like a full breakfast meal, minus the bread, and supersize the potato rosti.

Cappuccino - $3.80

Sayers Sister uses a Five Senses blend of coffee made of 60% Brazil Ipanema - Tree Dried Natural, and 40% Bali - Begus Sekali - Washed Coffee.  The result is a smooth and decent strength coffee

We liked: Well prepared and thought out food; the breakfasts didn't feel greasy nor excessively salty; nicely decked out interior

We didn't like: High prices for breakfast; I'm going to say it, horrible peas - though I don't generally like peas :)

Other things of note: Vegetarian options available; catering available (on request); ample street parking around; indoor and al fresco dining on an otherwise quiet street; busy times will mean waiting in lines.

Sayers Sister
236 Lake Street
(08) 9227 7506

Trading Hours
Monday to Saturday: Breakfast - 7am to 11:30am; Lunch - 11:30am to 2:30pm (5pm close)
Sunday: Breakfast - 7am to 2pm; Lunch - 11:30am to 3pm (5pm close)

Sayers Sister  on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hobart Deli, North Perth

It's time to go out for breakfast again in the warm and sunny lead up to Christmas.  I'm finding those poached eggs on toast too hard to pass on, and whilst one of my friends says going out for breakfast can make you feel bad because you can make a decent breakfast easily at home, it is a great and happy way to start the day.  Breakfast out is made even better when you find places that do something a little different, a little bit special.

So here we are today at Hobart Deli.

Hobart Deli is located in an otherwise quiet area of North Perth, at the corner of Auckland Street and Hobart Street (of course!).  Its location means there is ample street parking around, as well as a fair amount of al fresco dining overlooking a suburb and park (as opposed to lots of traffic).  Inside there is an open kitchen and tables that can be a bit cramped when they're busy - cozy perhaps.

Foodwise, Hobart Deli has a breakfast menu that runs till noon - breakfasts range from your simpler toast and muesli selections, through to a variety of cooked dishes, eggs on toast and a full breakfast.  Prices start from below $10 for your simple uncooked breakfasts and go upwards of $20 for decent cooked breakfasts.  Of course, there is also coffee and tea as well as a selection of juices to round off your breakfast experience.

Aside from breakfast, there is presumably a lunch menu (though I haven't tried lunch at Hobart Deli yet), a display fridge with items such as quiches and gourmet croissants, and a nice selection of home-made cakes and cookies on the counter top.

Homemade cornbread with smoked salmon - $19.90

This cornbread stack had a base of two thin cornbread slices that looked like pikelets but with added corn.  The cornbread was lightly sweet and further sweetened and textured with the mixed-in corn, thought they did still seem a bit like corn pikelets in taste and texture.

The cornbread was layered with extra corn kernels, light and raw green leafy vegetables, slices of smoked salmon, and topped with a poached egg that was cooked perfectly - egg yolk oozing.  To dress the stack there was a lime and dill cream adding flavour and acidity, but keeping it light.

This was overall a delicious light meal, a combination of sweet and savoury and acidic tastes, but if you're hungry this alone isn't likely going to satisfy you.

The Playground - $24.90

This breakfast had a couple of poached eggs, spinach, roast tomato, mushroom ragu, bratwurst, bacon, potato rosti and butter.

Like the cornbread meal above, the poached eggs were cooked perfectly and runny - they just looked neater in this meal.

All the other elements in the meal helped give this dish a satisfying "full breakfast" feel, but with Hobart Deli's gourmet twist - the tomatoes were roasted, the mushrooms cooked ragu style, and a mildly seasoned potato rosti making the dish filled with great flavours for breakfast.  At $24.90 though, the price might be a little steep for some.

Croissant - $8.90

Being in the display fridge, the croissant was reheated in the oven before being served.  This croissant was filled with hand sliced ham, a nice touch compared to the processed variety, as well as brie cheese - overall making this ham n cheese toast feel and taste special.

The croissant itself was sweet, but a tad dry and crumbly - it was later in the afternoon (after starting to play Ingress on Android and trying to fill up the XM bar, but I digress!) so a combination of it being in the display fridge all day followed by reheating in the oven may have caused this.  If it wasn't for this, I would think this gourmet style croissant was surprisingly delicious for what it was.

Apple Sicilian cake - $6.50

This Apple Sicilian cake came recommended by the waitstaff, and was a great cake that would go well with tea (or just as fine without).

The cake was quite sweet, filled with soft slices of apple and sultanas, and dusted with icing.  The cake was also very moist, and the texture was a little dense from all that moisture and fruit.  Also, on the side was a bit of lightly whipped cream.

Overall, a great cake that was neither heavy nor too light.


We liked: Good variety of gourmet breakfasts; ingredients seem fresh and meals well made; good range of delicious home-made cakes.

We didn't like: A little on the pricier side of breakfast; it can be a little cramped inside; service can seem a little indifferent at times

Other things to note: There is a breakfast menu, lunch menu, as well as cakes and items in the fridge such as quiches and croissants; Ample street parking; good split of inside and al fresco tables

Hobart Deli
45 Hobart Street
(08) 9444 8686

Trading Hours
Breakfast and Lunch - 7 days a week (kitchen closes at 2:30pm)

Hobart Deli on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Swish n Chips, Mount Lawley

For a quick, greasy meal I sometimes don't mind myself a bit of fish n chips - with the "bit" being just enough before I start to feel bloated.  Though I also like a good seafood basket with quality seafood (even though it gets deep fried!).

Swish n Chips, a fish n chip shop that's quite well known in the Mount Lawley area, is located right next to the heart of the Beaufort Street cafe strip, near the corner of Beaufort and Walcott Streets.  Like many fish n chip shops, Swish n Chips specialise in take away but if you want a night out there are quite a few tables available to dine in.  Not fine dining, but simple casual dining.

The menu at Swish n Chips reads like many of those other fish n chip shops starting with the obvious fish n chips, seafood baskets, and other snacks like squid rings, prawn cutlets and scallops; but adds a few other not-so-fish-n-chip-shop-like "gourmet" offerings like teriyaki fish, pizzas and chilli mussels.  To help bridge the gap of "gourmet", the fish n chips are available in a number of preparations including crumbed, peri-peri and lemon-pepper.

However if you'd rather cook your seafood yourself, Swish n Chips has a fresh seafood section where you can buy your own raw seafood.  Suffice to say, Swish n Chips has most of your seafood needs covered.

Grilled Seafood basket - $14.90

The seafood basket had a piece of fish, a prawn, 3 scallops, 3 calamari rings, 2 green lip mussels and a decent portion of chips.  Salt and vinegar was provided at the counter.

The fish and calamari rings were lightly dusted in flour and cooked so they weren't anywhere near as oily as traditional battered and fried seafood.  The fish was firm yet tender, and the calamari was tender but still had a membrane on the inner wall that made the squid hard to chew bites off without stretching the membrane a fair amount first.  Not pleasant, but still edible.

The mussels were a tad on the dry and hard side; whilst the single small prawn that was deep fried through so you could eat the shell was a bit disappointing reminding me of the cheap prawns you get at hotel buffets and seeming a bit overcooked not to mention not cleaned of its gut.

Lastly, seafood wise, the seared scallops were cooked right though to the centre but still tender to eat.  The scallops also had a flavoured film on each side of which I'm not sure whether it was an intended coating or the result of it picking up flavours from the grill-pan.  Either way, it added flavour.

The chips were quite ordinary - perhaps after being taken away and left in the bag for a while on the trip home many were soggy and hardly anything to write home about.

Squid cup - $5.50

This snack sized dish was six of your common squid rings in a cup with a bit of a twist.

The squid rings were heavily crumbed with a decent amount of salt and black pepper seasoning and deep fried.  Crunchy and generously seasoned, the tender calamari was a delicious squid ring treat.  I quite enjoyed these with the full seasoned flavour and crunch.

Tartare sauce

This small tub of tartare sauce is available to add some creamy goodness to your seafood.  It has that creamy slightly acidic taste mixed in with herbs.

We liked: The variety of options available; the fresh seafood section as an option

We didn't like: Some of the seafood used in the seafood basket wasn't so appealing; we didn't think the fish n chips was as good as some of the other gourmet places around

Other things to note:  They have a fresh seafood market section where you can buy raw seafood; dine in or take away; you can call to order in advance.

Swish n Chips
Shop 5/71 Walcott Street
Mount Lawley WA
(08) 9227 8132

Trading Hours
Monday to Friday - Lunch: 11:30am to 2:30pm; Dinner: 4:30pm to 8:20pm
Saturday and Sunday - 11:30am to 8:20pm

Swish 'n' Chips on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Balthazar, Perth

Set in the heart of the Perth CBD, catering for business clientele through to cosy romantic dinners, Balthazar brings intimate mood dining with very dimly-lit warm lighting in a classy bistro like setting that is decorated with wine racks.  The ambience can make for a cozy romantic dinner, or otherwise is popular amongst the lavish business lunch crowd - made even more attractive by its extensive wine list.

The menu at Balthazar looks simple, but between the share dishes at the front and the course-based menu there is a decent choice in different types of dishes.  However, of particular note is the wine list that is not only very impressive with a huge international selection but is backed up by the visible collections of wine eye-catchingly displayed in about every direction you look.

The service from the waitstaff at the tables were very friendly and helpful - perhaps too helpful as they would ask if everything was ok every now and then whilst we were engaged in conversation.  However, what spoilt the excellent service for us was one particular staff member who manned the front desk who spoke with a condescending tone and was overall unfriendly both when we arrived and left.  Pity.

Cured pork belly, garden peas, honey, balsamic - $20

This pork belly entree was tender and soft all the way through.  Being cured, the pork belly was notably salty but not excessively.  Complementing the salt content was a sweet and vinegary honey and balsamic, making a combination of great flavours that weren't overdone into this entree.

Served with the pork belly was peas done three ways.  Starting with the most "normal" were fresh young peas served cold, the peas themselves only containing a  hint of the harsher "floury" taste and texture present in stock standard peas.  Second up was a pea sorbet - cold, smooth and only very lightly seasoned.  Lastly was a foam that added its fluffy texture along with a mild pea taste.

Lamb ribs, black garlic, chilli, mint $19

This lamb ribs dish was on the sharing plates menu, but (for me) good enough for entree.

In comparison to the pork belly dish, the lamb ribs dish was prepared with less finesse but with more intense flavours.

The lamb ribs, on the bone and untrimmed of fat, was highly seasoned with salt, herbs, garlic, and a hint of chilli.  This meaty dish packed a lot of flavour bursting into the mouth, its tender meat that melted away from the bone completely infused with the marinade, and some of the outer layer of the lamb fat grilled crispy.

Complimentary palate cleanser

Between the entree and main course, this small palate cleanser was served in a mini cocktail glass.  Inside the cocktail glass was a sorbet of lemon, its acidity outdone by added sugary sweetness.  The palate cleanser was refreshing and a nice way to break up the savoury entree and main courses.

Aged sirloin, beef shin croquette, spinach, horseradish - $45

Looking quite spectacular on this large slate-like dish was this aged sirloin dish.

The sirloin, which almost oddly cut into wedges that combined didn't appear to be a full steak and wasn't a huge serving for $45, was a well aged and full-meat-flavour meat steak.  The steak was cooked, almost charred on the exterior giving an almost surprising light crunch, whilst the meat itself was tender but not quite melt in the mouth but felt like a decent piece of chunky beef steak.

Accompanying the sirloin was an assortment of flavour and texture adding components - including some lightly cooked spinach, a soft-beef shin and crunchy exterior beef croquette, a sprinkling of well seasoned and salted breadcrumbs, and only a mild hint of horseradish.

 Duck breast, chardonnay smoked leg, tokaji, house mustard - $44

Thie tender duck dish had a pink and moist inside, and an every so slight crunch to the skin.  The duck itself was nicely seasoned with a fair helping of salt but overall it retained a great duck flavour that reminded me of roast duck.

Tying into the centrepiece duck were the light alcoholic infused elements of the chardonnay smoked leg, tokaji, and then a helping of seeded mustard.

Pork, jamon, black pudding, scallops, cherry, radish - $42

On this large slate like dish was an interesting combination of flavours and textures.

Starting off with the meat side of things, the pork came in the form of a crunchy skinned meaty sausage, with a very smooth and consistent pork filling without the sausage-like overly greasy and fatty aftertaste.  Nonetheless, it was deliciously seasoned and didn't taste like any ordinary sausage.  However, for a "pork" dish, there was only two relatively small pieces of sausage that didn't seem to add up to one sausage.

Also on the deliciously fat and salt seasoned side was the rich black pudding that also seemed quite meaty.  Complimenting the meat were tender scallops, cooked rare and thus soft and tender, but probably a little more rare than I like.

Accompanying the meat and seafood elements on the dish were some sweet cooked cherries going very well with the pork, and some salt and herb seasoned breadcrumbs.  Finally, adding extra texture was crunchy deep fried pork skin - different to a roast crackling and a little more like a crisp.

Roasted duck fat potatoes, carrot, rosemary - $12

This side dish started off with some firm chunks of potatoes that had been infused with duck fat.  Whilst the duck fat gave the potatoes extra flavour, the potatoes were not heavily seasoned and when eaten with some of the saltier elements of the main dishes seemed a little bland in comparison (but probably for the better).

Also in this side dish were tender baby carrots, and the whole dish had been roasted topped with a bit of rosemary.

Chocolate, strawberry mousse

This dessert was an intense chocolate and sweet strawberry infused mousse - rich with the chocolate and fruity sweet with the strawberry.  It was silky smooth and rather decadent and served with extra strawberry and a strawberry coulis.

Ricotta cake - $19

This rich sounding dessert started off with a moist ricotta cake, the ricotta flavour being very prominent even when combined with the sugar to balance it out.  Despite being heavy with ricotta flavour, the cake itself wasn't too dense or heavy.

The ricotta cake was topped with a rich, smooth chocolate ice cream.

Coconut pannacotta - $19

The coconut pannacotta was dual layered.  On the base was a coconut jelly, and sitting on top was the smooth pannacotta.  Though not as sweet as the other desserts, the pannacotta was topped with a thin layer of acidity that was subtle as to compliment the pannacotta.

Accompanying the pannacotta was a black sesame crisp. silky smooth mint ice cream, an almond flavoured quenelle that had a texture like a soft chunky pudding (i'm not sure if the almost gluggy like texture did a lot for me), and ginger flavoured crumbs.

We liked:  Excellent presentation and decor; warm cosy ambience, dishes that were made with effort; very friendly and helpful table waitstaff that seemed to always have a smile, excellent winelist and our bottle of wine was fantastic.

We didn't like: A few meal oddities and we had enough of the many dishes that used "foam" by the end of the night; a condescending toned and unfriendly front desk waitstaff.

Other things to note: The meals aren't huge, so you probably won't survive on just a main; there's a huge wine list; if you have poor eyesight, you may need a torch or something to read the menu in the very low light setting

6 The Esplanade
(08) 9421 1206

Trading Hours
Lunch - Monday to Friday
Dinner - Monday to Saturday

Balthazar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Endless Delight Chinese Restaurant, Perth (Northbridge)

Sweet and sour pork?  Lemon chicken?  Special fried rice?  These are some of the local Chinese restaurant dishes I knew of when growing up.  As we (or maybe just I) got more cultured, the variety of options across opened up including more choices for Chinese - which perhaps shows the large choice of dishes available that sit under the "Chinese cuisine" banner - and in particular I'm thinking of Dim Sum and roast duck and pork right now - yum!

However, sitting in the Northbridge side of Perth is a Szechuan Chinese restaurant that goes by the "interesting" name of Endless Delight Chinese Restaurant.  Aside from the name, the Chinese restaurant is quite simple inside and able to cater for tables for 2 (or solo) through to those big round tables with a Lazy Susan.  Endless Delight Chinese Restaurant specialises in Szechuan cuisine.

Upon being seated, Endless Delight has two menus (at least at lunch time).  The menus are written in Chinese and English but when I say English some dishes may be in English just phonetically - eg the "Yu Xing" Pork Set below.  However, somewhat helpful is that one of the menus has pictures of some of the dishes in it, and the waitstaff will help you to the best they can upon request.  However, the service can be lukewarm and cold - I've experienced quiet but somewhat helpful upon request through to almost indifference to you being there.

Getting down to the food, the menu is supposed to be authentic Szechuan Chinese cuisine.  The dishes encompass a range of choices: dry dishes versus sauce and soup dishes; vegetarian to meat; chicken through to beef and pork and "other" different selections; and a variety of sauces and styles from stir fried to steamed and mild to spicy.  The dishes are intended to be Asian style share dishes, but at lunch you can get lunch specials designed for one person at a lunch-meal price (e.g. around $10-$15).

Yummy Chicken Set - $13 (lunch special)

With a name like "yummy chicken" I had to give this meal a try.  This set came with what seemed like half a tender boiled chicken, surrounded by a whole lot of sauce.  The chicken itself was cooked quite nicely being tender and somewhat moist, not quite to the extent of some Hainanese chicken rices out there, but at least not dry.

The sauce, of course, is what really makes this dish.  The base of sauce was largely a soy based sauce but had different flavours running through it - from what I could taste there seemed to be a fair amount of chilli, and some sweetness and garlic flavours.  Also noticeable was a fair amount of oil on top of the sauce which was quite unavoidable when dipping in the chicken.

Topping the chicken was a mix of spring onions and crushed peanuts, and of course this chicken dish was served with steamed rice.

Yu Xing Pork Set - $10 (lunch special)

This lunch set was a plate of steamed rice accompanied by a pork stir fry.  The stir fry itself had thin slices of pork accompanied by a variety of vegetables including capsicum, carrot, onion, and a crunchy black fungus.  Notably, not only did the vegetables provide texture against the soft tender pork slices but the crunchy black fungus added even more texture in the form of a crunch that was quite a welcome addition to this dish.

The thick sauce used to stir fry the pork was all of salty mixed with a moderate vinegar like acidity and light sweetness.  The stir fry was also not lacking oil, it's shiny glaze coming off the dish and giving off a slightly oily taste in the mouth.

Overall, although the ingredients and flavour was a little unique (generally in a good way) for me, this is for those of you who want a "typical" stir fry dish.

Pan Flat Dumplings - $10 (lunch special)

When this dish was ordered, I thought it would be a pretty standard pork dumpling dish.  However, when it came I was surprised it was served upside down.  It looked like the dumplings had been steamed in a pan with a very thin edible starchy base that became attached to the bottom of each dumpling, linking them all.

Apart from the different presentation, the dumplings were quite standard.  They were filled with pork and chives, seasoned with a good amount of salt, steamed, then served with Chinese vinegar for dipping.  The dumplings seemed well made and tasted quite good, though they didn't seem that fresh - and we noticed them carrying frozen dumplings to the kitchen (understandable that they would freeze the dumplings, though a little unfortunate).

We liked: Some good flavours in the dishes; Szechuan cuisine, different to "local" Chinese.

We didn't like: Some dishes may not be so fresh; not knowing what some of the dishes are by name; the tea wasn't to our liking at all - bitter and harsh black tea.

Other things to note: There are cheaper lunch specials; BYO.

Endless Delight
145 Newcastle Street
(08) 9228 9778

Endless Delight Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 4, 2012

33 Degrees South Cafe, North Perth

Visiting the South West region of Western Australia is often associated with casual long weekends, laid back culture, local produce and a visit to the wineries to name a few.

If you live close to or otherwise visit North Perth, you'll probably have noticed the increasing amount of cafes popping up around, many of which specialise in laid back brunches and a good range of coffee and tea.  Combining a little bit of North Perth's coffee culture with the laid-back culture and produce of the South West is 33 Degrees South Cafe, situated at the corner of Fitzgerald and Forrest Streets.

33 Degrees South Cafe gets its name from the region down south that lies at that degree of latitude and encompasses places such as the infamous Margaret River region.  It is a casual cafe with a simple casual layout made cozy with a few decorative aspects such as tables with "33 degrees" enamelled on and produce from the South West (mainly Margaret River) on display for purchase.

The menu at 33 Degrees South Cafe is simple but contains a lot of home style meals, from your "big breakfast" through to eggs on toast, muesli and onto nachos and quesadilla for lunch or even sandwiches and quiches that are on display.  Supplementing all those choices is a selection of cakes for the sweet tooth, and of course coffee and tea.

For better or worse, the service is a little different at 33 Degrees South.  On an average day, many of the staff don't exactly seem very friendly or attentive, not that they are unfriendly but seemingly more just indifferent.  However, regulars might be able to get a quick smile and hello.

33's Big One - $20.50

This "big" breakfast comes with all the trimmings - bacon, eggs, toast, fried tomato, sausage, mushrooms, potato gratin, spinach and rocket in addition to slices of bread with curls of butter and tomato salsa.  When I first starting eating their breakfasts, there was enough food to fill me for breakfast and lunch.  However over time I found the breakfasts to get a little less filling such that it's now just a decently big breakfast as opposed to overload.

Compared to some of the other breakfasts on offer around the area, this breakfast is pretty good value in terms of quantity.  

Over the multiple breakfasts I've had here, each of the elements can vary on each visit.  However, generally the bacon is sizzled short of crunchy, and poached eggs can be overcooked at times but if you order scrambled it tends to be rich and creamy.  The potato rosti can vary a bit too, but generally it's moderately seasoned with firm but soft (i.e. not crunchy) potato.

It may not be the most gourmet or inspired breakfast around but it does have a homely feel to it and can be quite hearty and almost gluttonous.

Nachos with Chicken

The nachos was pretty much standard fare with corn chips and cheese, a serving of sour cream, and had its own guacamole and topped with a couple of jalapeƱos.

The whole dish had been heated just prior to serving, with the plate being hot to touch and the waiter using a cloth to hold the dish.  Serving size was decent for a single serving, of corn chips were well mixed with the just-melted cheese and lean chicken pieces (at additional cost).  The guacamole was home made with a relatively chunky texture and a fresh taste to it.

Quesadilla with Chicken

The quesadilla was made with thin flour tortillas (almost as thin as a crepe) filled with cheese and chicken.  The tortillas were light, thin and had a bit of an egg taste to it.  The cheese and chicken were similar to that provided in the nachos above, with the cheese melted and the chicken lean and thinly sliced and evenly laid out through the quesadilla.  The quesadilla was cut into quarters and placed onto the plate.

The quesadilla was served with some guacamole, vinegar dressed diced tomato and onion, sour cream and some gourmet lettuce salad.


33 Degrees South advertise the use of Toby Estate’s Arabica Beans.

You can get most coffees in cup or mug sizes with the latter costing 50 cents more.

We liked: Home cooked style food and quantity; brings a bit of the South West to Perth

We didn't like: The variations in quality of meals; inconsistent service attitude

Other things to note: Free Wifi; Facing a busy Fitzgerald Street can make the limited al fresco dining a little unpleasant

33 Degrees South
410 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth WA 6006
(08) 9227 0964

Trading Hours
Tuesday to Friday 7:00am to 3:30pm
Saturday: 8am to 3:30pm
Sunday: 8am to 2pm

v33 Degrees South on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 25, 2012

S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe

For a while now, friends and family have been telling me to try out S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe in Northbridge - "The food is good" and "It's just like in Thailand"!  Due to my heavy schedule, I can be a bit slow to try out places sometimes but as of today I can say I've been to S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe a few times and been satisfied each time (but left with a burning mouth on a couple of occasions).

S & T Thai, located on William Street, has quite a simple set up.  The typical Northbridge rectangular layout is filled with move-to-join square dining tables and the decor isn't fancy but kept simple, light and bright.  Suffice to say it's not fancy but it's clean.

The menu at S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe is unsurprisingly filled with a lot of Thai dishes, giving a lot of choice.  With many meat and seafood options available, the menu spans from soup dishes to curries, rice dishes to noodle dishes, and everything from entrees such as fish cakes through to sweet Thai desserts.  To wash it all down, there's a drinks menu that includes different beverages such as coconut juice and special fruit juices.

Green Thai Curry Set (beef) - $12.50

The green Thai curry normally starts at $14.50, with steamed rice charged separately at $4.  However this special set, which is intended to serve one rather than be a share dish, was $12.50.

The green curry was delicious and the sauce was full of flavour.  Whilst the level of heat was relatively normal, perhaps a little more than what's generally considered mild, the sauce itself had depth of flavour from the curry spices, a moderate level of creaminess, and a sweet undertone differentiating it from many green Thai curries.  Though saying that, I was struggling with the heat a bit towards the end of this dish.

In terms of the beef used in this dish, it perhaps could have been cut better as some of the pieces were stuck together - that is, not fully separated so a few slices were stuck together still.  Also, the beef itself seemed a little on the tougher side and drier side so I found myself scooping it up with sauce.

Adding its slightly crunchy texture to the dish, sliced bamboo shoots also featured prominently alongside the beef in this dish.

Larb Set (beef) - $15.50

The larb set was a single serve of a meat (in this case beef) salad served with sticky rice.

The minced beef was made with a dressing that had mostly an acidic taste.  With the herbs and onion throughout, the salad was slightly crunchy and combined with the sauce made the meat salad considerably light and refreshing.

Different to plain steamed rice, this dish was served with rice that was sticky such that it clumped together (though it was perhaps a tad dry) and the starchiness offered a good counterbalance to the acidity and textures of the salad.

Gai Yang and Som Tum Set - $17.50

This set consisted of BBQ chicken with papaya salad and sticky rice.

The centrepiece, at least for me, of the dish was the BBQ chicken.  Large strips of tender and moist chicken had been marinated and barbecued in a flavoursome red sauce that was a sticky sweet and salty sauce.  The sauce, which (for those of you who have had it) tasted similar to the Chinese char siu BBQ pork but not quite as sweet.  Suffice to say that the sauce had infused itself in the chicken enough to not leave the chicken boring.

Accompanying the BBQ chicken was a sweet chilli sauce that had an extra chilli taste - that is, it was quite spicy and made me struggle!

On the opposite end of the dish stood the papaya salad in a bowl.  The salad, which consisted largely of julienned green papaya, was dressed with a sauce that had acidic flavours mixed with red chilli, a light sweetness and salty fish sauce flavour.  The balance of flavours of the dressing, not dominated by any component, worked great with the tartness of the green papaya though the level of red chilli took a bit of getting used to.  On top of the salad were crushed peanuts and dried fish.  Though you have options to top the salad such as squid or prawn, the wait staff recommended I tried the peanut and dried fish version of the papaya salad as it was the normal version of the salad.

The dish also came with some sticky rice that was a tad dry and clumped together quite a bit, and a sliced section of raw cabbage.

Overall this was a pretty big meal for one that I didn't finish (but at least I ate all the chicken).

Guay Teaw Tom Yum (Chicken) - $10.90

This tom yum noodle soup could be served either in a soup or dry, and with pork or chicken.  Further, the noodle options were either rice noodle (s, m or l) or egg noodle.

Apart from choosing the small or thin rice noodles, this Tom Yum came with sliced meat, minced meat, meat ball, liver sliced fish cake and peanuts.  The different components and textures of each of the ingredients made this quite a distinct tom yum, and at the core of the tom yum soup (the soup base) a great depth of flavour was present with saltiness and sourness balanced by a heavy hot chilli flavour.

Again, if you can't eat spicy you might struggle with this dish.

We liked: Good flavours in the sauces; reasonable prices for Thai.

We didn't like: The "mild" versions are still too spicy for the not so initiated;

Other things to note: If you can't eat spicy food, you're probably best to avoid eating here; not licensed.

S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe
Shop 3, 349 William Street
(08) 9328 8877

Trading Hours
7 days a week - 11am to 9pm

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

During winter, I tend to find myself eating heavier or heartier meals.  Roasts, steaks, casseroles, tagines, soups - they all warm the insides on those cold winter nights.  Sushi on the other hand isn't something I tend to eat a lot of but as anything from a quick snack to a light-feeling but special meal can equally whet the appetite and send the stomach grumbling.

The great thing about sushi is that it seems ever evolving and versatile: from the quick snack of a hand roll through to a full exquisite and immaculately presented traditional assorted sushi; and from the pure raw fish sushi or California rolls through to soft shell crab rolls or other newer interesting combinations I had never heard of before.  Suffice to say there is a huge variety available, and that choice got bigger with the arrival of Aisuru Sushi in Northbridge boasting a large menu of sushi rolls with names like Black Velvet and Sunset Boulevard.

Located at the corner of William and James Streets in Northbridge, Aisuru Sushi offers indoor table dining, indoor dining at the long bar benches that border the kitchen, and al fresco dining.  Though there are a fair amount of tables for the size of restaurant, larger groups may find it more difficult to get a table without a wait and a bit of luck joining of tables.  Did I mention that the kitchen is open and the best vantage points are along the bar benches?

As you'd expect, Aisuru Sushi specialises in sushi but to be different offers a modern take with many sushi combinations I hadn't seen before in a rather extensive sushi roll list.  Sushi dishes are available in small and main sizes, the former with four pieces and the latter with eight pieces.  Aside from the sushi are some lunch sets with typical Japanese dishes such as teriyaki and katsu, as well as some entrees and desserts.

Spider Roll - $19.50 (Main size)

This sushi dish was described in the menu as: Fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, and lettuce, wrapped in nori and shari.  Topped with black sesame seeds and drizzled with wasabi mayonnaise.

To begin with, all the sushi rolls generally seemed to be freshly rolled using fresh ingredients, had lightly seasoned rice with a mild sweet and vinegary flavour, and each piece held relatively well.  Each were placed on a white rectangular plate that, even though it was modern, seemed a little boring and basic as far as sushi presentation is concerned.

Of the different sushi I tried in my meal, my favourite was the Spider Roll.

The Spider Roll started with light-batter coated and deep fried soft shell crab that was crunchy like a tempura batter, added in some cucumber and gourmet lettuce leaves, was inversely wrapped in the sushi rice and seaweed, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and had a fair amount of creamy Japanese mayonnaise.  The crunch and freshness of the soft shell crab was the highlight that stood out in each piece of sushi and was further enhanced with the creamy Japanese mayonnaise.

Tank Roll - $22.50

This sushi dish was described in the menu as: Topped with sliced wagyu beef, sliced red onions, and sprinkled with togarashi flakes.  Cream cheese and cucumber inside and wrapped in nori seaweed and shari sushi rice.  Drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise and eel sauce.

I'm not sure why this was called "Tank Roll", but the centrepiece wagyu beef  in the sushi gave the perception of something substantial.  The wagyu beef itself was thinly sliced and cooked rare, with the particularly rare bits in each sushi being a little chewy but otherwise being tender and having a fresh wagyu beef taste.

Also prominent in this dish was the chunk of cream cheese, its smooth and creamy cheese taste standing out in each piece of sushi and at times nearly dominating some mouthfuls.

The overall sushi was then flavoured with the usual acidity and sweetness of the sushi rice, along with the creamy Japanese mayonnaise and additional sweetness of the sauce.

Magic Mushroom Roll - $15.50 (Main size)

This sushi dish was described in the menu as: Pan fried enoki mushroom and avocado wrapped in nori and shari. Topped with seasoned sliced button mushroom.  Mixed mesclun salad on the side with Japanese salad dressing.

With a name like "Magic Mushroom" I was expecting big things from this sushi roll.

The underlying note of this vegetarian sushi was the lightly cooked enoki mushrooms along with the fresh and ripe avocado.  The fresh raw sliced button mushroom on top of the sushi also featured prominently with its raw taste negatively impacting the taste of this sushi for my tastebuds.

Suffice to say this was to me the most bland of the sushi I had in this meal, but probably the healthiest.

We liked: The apparent freshness of the ingredients and dishes; some different sushi combinations to keep things interesting.

We didn't like: The relative prices of the dishes; perhaps too simplified furnishings and decor to be a fancy upmarket sushi restaurant.

Things of note: Caters for vegetarians and vegans

Aisuru Sushi
208 William Street
(08) 9328 8578

Trading Hours
Lunch - Tuesday to Saturday - 12 noon to 2:30pm
Dinner - Thursday - 6pm to 9:30pm
Dinner - Friday to Saturday - 6pm to 10pm

Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon