Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Pearfect Pantry, Wembley

The Pearfect Pantry Wembley, review, blog, photos
More and more, I find myself having breakfast or coffee at a cafe on one of Perth's thriving cafe strips.  Their abundance offers up a fair amount of choice and many seem to always be packed, most likely a reflection of quality of the establishment's food, service and atmosphere.  Whilst many of the well known breakfast/lunch cafes are in trendy or hip areas, on the odd occasion you find a little gem in some of the most unsuspecting places.

The Pearfect Pantry is located in one of the oddest locations I've seen.  From the main street, you drive till you come across various portable signs along the side of the road that indicate where The Pearfect Pantry is - only the arrows point to what appears to be inwards and in between a block of units.  As you follow that arrow, you walk past a small communal laundry shed till you get to The Pearfect Pantry that looks like another building adjacent to the complex of units.

The Pearfect Pantry is open for breakfast and lunch.  The breakfast menu is printed on a simple A4 sheet and includes light to heavier meals, sweet to savoury, and porridge to eggs on toast.  Within those selections there are gluten free options, gluten free bread, vegetarian and vegan options, and some different meals like Mexican scrambled tofu burrito.  Then to finish off your meal (or just to enjoy with a tea or coffee), on display is a variety of home made cakes.

From what I could tell from what was on offer, The Pearfect Pantry puts an emphasis on local and fresh produce - something I'm fond of.  An example was the fruit juices being derived from 100% Australian fruit, and not from concentrate.  Also, the coffees are made with Yahava beans - organic and roasted down South.  Teas are also blended in Australia by Tea Tonic with an emphasis on the herbal variety.

Corn and potato cakes - $19.50

With smoked salmon, poached egg, spinach, and tpp's tomato relish.

The corn and potato cakes looked like slices of bread.  However, biting into them you soon realised it wasn't "just" bread.  The cakes had a slight puffy crunchiness to it that you expect of popped corn.  Taste-wise though, the corn and potato cakes were mild in taste, without being heavy or seasoned much.

The poached eggs were a little overcooked for my liking, with only a semi-runny centre (unless it cooked more whilst it was being served and during the photo taking process).

The sauce was like a hollandaise sauce - very creamy, slightly acidic (I could have done with a little more acidity) and an egg taste.  The hollandaise sauce added a nice flavour to the otherwise relatively dry dish (mainly the cakes) but was quite rich and generous making the whole meal seem a little heavy.

Avocado, fresh tomato on toasted olive pane di casa - $15

With prosciutto, herb roasted mushroom and tomato, brie and fresh basil.

This was a lighter meal compared to the corn and potato cakes.  The main flavours to the meal came from the fresh tomato, avocado and fetta on top of the toast.  There was also a sauce drizzled over the dish which was a slightly sour and creamy herb sauce.  The lack of any meat, fish and egg in this dish made this seem lighter than it actually was.

Cappuccino - $3.80

Keeping with the theme of local, the coffee beans used are Yahava (often known for their organic blends).

The coffee was smooth and relatively creamy and had a good strength to it unlike some other Yahava brewed coffee outlets I have tasted.

We liked: The fresh and local feel to the food and drinks; good variety

We didn't like: Perhaps it's just me, but the tucked away location that is adjacent to a block of flats and behind a laundry room seemed a little odd at best; I didn't notice any effective air conditioning for hot days.

Other things to note: Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options available; look for the signs, and head into what seems like a block of flats past a laundry shed to get to this tucked away establishment.

The Pearfect Pantry
49 Herdsman Parade
(08) 9284 1710

Trading Hours
Monday to Friday: 7am - 4pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8:30am to 2:30pm

Pearfect Pantry on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cantina 663, Mount Lawley

Cantina 663 Beaufort Street Mount Lawley review, photos and blog 
Cantina 663 is one of those canteens (or cafes) that I heard mentioned quite a bit.  I heard mainly very positive comments, and I had been meaning to try it for a while.  Finally, I managed to secure myself a lunch there and see for myself what all the fuss was about.

If you don't know already, Cantina 663 is one of the cafes on the Beaufort Street cafe strip.  It's open pretty much for breakfast, lunch and dinner (except Sunday dinner)  and has corresponding menus to each meal of the day.  You can book for lunch and dinner, whilst breakfast is first come first served - and Cantina 663 with its reputation can get really busy.

Cantina 663 state that their menu is inspired by what's in season, and they use local and organic ingredients where possible.  This gives Cantina 663 a modest menu, but one that still has a decent choice with lighter entree or tapas dishes along with more main sized ones.  To top this off, Cantina 663 is licensed and has a wine list they say reflects the varietal diversity of Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Duck liver parfait - $15

The duck liver parfait was served with crusty toasted bread and a sweet caramelised onion jam  The parfait itself was silky smooth with a relatively mild taste that made this parfait enjoyable and better than a lot of other parfaits I have tried.

Pan fried gnocchi - $22

The best gnocchi I've ever had was in Lake Como at the one-woman establishment "Mama Rosa".  Eating Mama Rosa's freshly made-on-the-day gnocchi that melted in the mouth like no gnocchi before it, this set the standard for me.  But alas Mama Rosa isn't in Perth and I've yet to find gnocchi that I think is as good.

Ordering Cantina's pan fried gnocchi, the waiter said "the gnocchi is really good."  The gnocchi in fact was really good - pan fried with a medium crust, a lightly coarse texture, and melted in the mouth without any rubbery feel.

The gnocchi was served with zucchini, beans, salsa verde and a roast garlic marscarpone giving a good Mediterranean taste.

Unfortunately, still not as good as Mama Rosa for me though.

Peperonata - $15

The peperonata had a couple of poached eggs, capsicum and yoghurt.

Whilst I didn't try the peperonata, I was told it was a light meal and nice.  The poached eggs looked really good, with runny centres that I'm sure would be the same in the breakfast menu.

Cappuccino - $3.80

Short mac (traditional) - $3.80

I thought the coffee at Cantina 663 was pretty good.  The beans produced a blend of bitter and sour in the short mac that blended into the milky Cappuccino quite well.

We liked: Great light meals that show that they care about the food they serve; friendly service.

We didn't like: Sometimes it can be hard to get a table.

Other things to note: You can book ahead for lunch and dinner; they serve alcohol.

Cantina 663
Astor Arcade
663 Beaufort Street
Mount Lawley WA 6050
(08) 9370 4883

Trading Hours
Breakfast: 8am to 11:30am (7 days)
Lunch: 12 noon to 3pm (7 days)
Dinner: 6pm to late (Monday to Saturday)

Cantina 663 on Urbanspoon