Don’t Come Here on a First Date! Old Faithful Bar & BBQ…

OLD FAITHFUL, 86 KING STREET PERTH

Old Faithful 01
Don’t come here on a first date was the first thing I thought of when I looked over at Gavin tucking into his dinner, really embracing the suggestion on the menu to “enjoy the traditions of American BBQ by digging in with your hands and scooping with your breads…”

Old Faithful officially opened today after a soft opening during the weekend, the specialty being slow-cooked smoked meats.  The idea is that you get a menu when you are seated, and then order at the food counter when you are ready.  All the meat is ready to go, you order your sides and receive the food instantly on a big metal tray, designed to share.

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The meat is sold per 100 grams which makes it easy and inexpensive to try a selection.  We chose lamb leg, beef brisket, pig middles, as well as a house made beef and pork sausage.  All meats come with a slice of bread and shaved onion, we also added sides of coleslaw and beans.

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The meat had a deliciously strong smoky flavour,  but the beef and the lamb did taste a bit similar, and the lamb leg was a wee bit dry, but I think it was near the end of the batch because when I went up for round two there was only ribs available.  The coleslaw was the perfect, (and to me – essential) accompaniment to the smoky meat, cool, crunchy and ever so slightly sweet.

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beef brisket, lamb leg, pig middles

The locally sourced meats are smoked in-house and cooked at very low temperatures for up to 24 hours to ensure maximum flavour.  All rubs and sauces are also made in-house.  We were eyeing up more meat so I went up to grab some beef ribs, but in addition to the beef, I somehow obtained pig ribs and another helping of slaw!  The pork ribs were pink, a bit like bacon, nice to have a nibble on, but the beef ribs were hands down favourite meat of the night.  Huge chunks of juicy meat, with enough fat to keep it moist, and all the meat instantly fell clean off the bone – yum!

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Another nice, casual eatery in the city with stand out great service, busier than expected (or people hungrier than expected!) which meant they had run out of their snacks.  So I will be popping in for a pint again shortly so I can try the smoked devilled eggs, the pork crackle and of course, chunks of crispy pig face!


Dinner Thursday 22 May 2014

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The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle…

THE RAW KITCHEN, 181A HIGH STREET, FREMANTLE

The Raw Kitchen 01
No dairy, no sugar, no gluten, no meat – just fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains.  A diverse range of people have been raving about the Raw Kitchen – from my female boss who is in her fifties to the other end of the spectrum, a 19 year old male work colleague (a meat-loving South African at that!)  I think the general consensus being that healthy food can be tasty.

The Raw Kitchen 02
The menu consists of mainly raw food items, as well as a few warm dishes such as the curry.  There is an extensive and interesting smoothie list – all dairy and sugar free.  We did not have dessert on this occasion (too full!) but there is raw dairy free ice cream, nine different flavours on the menu from lemon green tea to salted caramel.  Handmade raw chocolates also feature.

The space, a converted warehouse, is huge and includes a yoga studio and a cute little shop at the front of the building which sells raw food cookbooks and a selection of products such as the amazing kale chips!  The Raw Kitchen also hosts raw food workshops and vintage market events are coming soon.

I do not order smoothies often because they take up too much “space for food” but the list was too good to resist.  I ordered a King Hit - cacao, chilli, banana, agave, almond milk and Brenda ordered the Mango Lassi - mango, lemon juice, vanilla bean, agave, ice, almond milk.  Brenda’s was refreshing, while mine started slightly sweet but had a subtle chilli finish, just the right hit of chilli without being overpowering.  Even the way the smoothies were consumed was virtuous – through an environmentally-friendly, reusable metal straw!
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We could not stop snacking on the kale chips.  Stated on the menu as a raw item so they must have been dehydrated, not baked – the chips were coated with cashew, sesame, lemon and spices.  The first thing I did when I got home was google some kale chip recipes for some flavour combination ideas – these would be great to serve when friends come over for wine so more calories can be drunk!

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The Malaysian Yellow Coconut Curry contained local tempeh, broccoli, spring onion, sugar snap peas, sweet potato, crispy shallots, lime chilli and coriander.  Tempeh is similar to tofu but made by fermenting soybeans instead of curdling soy milk with a coagulant; slighter higher in calories – but with more fibre and protein than tofu.  The curry was served with quinoa and had good fresh flavours and a decent level of heat.  The tempeh had a sweet, slightly earthy taste and the quinoa was great for soaking up all the sauce.

The Raw Kitchen 05
The Raw Nachos are a clever, healthy spin on a typically very unhealthy dish.  Dehydrated hand-cut corn chips served with walnut refried ‘beans’, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole and cashew sour ‘cream’.  The nachos being a raw dish, cannot contain cooked beans, the refried ‘beans’ contained walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and seeds.  The cashew cream is made by blending cashews in a thermomix.

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This was a very inspirational dining experience for me.  I have yet to attempt a raw dish in my own kitchen, but I have been busy checking out websites and recipes and hope one day to at least serve my own kale chips (with wine!)  Many people are pleasantly surprised after dining here – it takes a bit more effort, but healthy food can taste good!

Lunch – 14 May 2014


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Toastface Grillah on Grand Lane…

TOASTFACE GRILLAH, GRAND LANE, CNR WELLINGTON & BARRICK STREETS, PERTH

02 Toastface
Even the name, a clever twist on Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah is an attention grabber.  Tucked down a quiet laneway in the city, Toastface comprises of a cute little dilapidated brick courtyard  surrounded with impressive graffiti and is the kind of place that you would not have found in Perth five years ago.  If I had friends visiting from perhaps New York or London, I would take them here to show them that Perth does have cool places to hang out and have a coffee!
01 Toastface
What I loved so much about New York when I visited in 2012 was the role that food played – there were so many great restaurants (and people eating in them at any time of the day and night) to the point where eateries could specialise in a particular item of food such as mac and cheese, lobster rolls, porchetta; unlike any other city I had ever been to.  So I like the fact that Toastface only sells toasted sandwiches – eight different varieties of them.
03 Toastface
We ordered a Notorious B.A.G and a Danny Zucho to share, with a couple of flat whites and a fresh cloudy apple juice for Gav.  The B, A. and G being bacon, apple and gouda also had a small amount of white onion.  Very simple and traditional flavours, the onion giving it an old school taste of the cheese and onion toasties Mum made us as children.  A tasty toasted sandwich, but I was glad that I tried it first because the Danny Zucho definitely took things to the next level!

I think I went “oooh” when I bit in to my marinated zucchini, brie and jamon serrano toasty.  Brie was oozing everywhere and I was trying to pinpoint one particular flavour in the toasty that was a bit of point of difference to your standard ham and cheese.  The zucchini had been marinated in garlic and Chinese five spice, and was sliced super fine so it did not have that sogginess that zucchini can sometimes have.
04  Toastface
The steady stream of people coming in just for a takeaway coffee in the short time we were there was proof of the coffee quality.

Toastface Grillah is open every day except Sunday and if you want to chill and read the paper whilst getting a simple fix of cheesy goodness, you should definitely pay a visit!

Lunch – Monday 10 March 2014


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Little Bao!

LITTLE BAO, G/F, 66 STAUNTON STREET, CENTRAL, HONG KONG
Little Bao 01
Little Bao started off as a little food stand in the Island East Markets – when we went on a freezing cold, wet February evening, we had to wait an hour and a half for a table in this small, 20-seater restaurant, thankfully there are plenty of bars in the vicinity to drink up an appetite!

Executive chef May Chow describes Little Bao as an American diner with a modern Asian twist.  The concept of a bao comes from the Taiwanese gua bao, a little, white steamed bun, traditionally filled with braised pork belly.  Kind of like a Chinese burger.

We started with Short-Rib Pan-Fried Dumpling: slow braised organic OBE beef short rib, celeriac coleslaw.
Little Bao 02
YUM!!  These were amazing.  Definitely not traditional, the dumplings were full of juicy, slow-cooked Australian beef and the celeriac slaw had a strong sesame flavour, which went fantastic with the rich meat.  I still think about these dumplings now!

Followed by LB Fries: roasted tomato sambal, kewpie mayo, cilantro.
Little Bao 04
There was an interesting tasting sweet, sticky substance on the fries which I later found out was mirin caramel made with sweet sake to coat the fries. The perfect salty and sweet combination.  The sambal and kewpie mayonnaise came on the side, a cute little yin-yang swirl.

On the waiter’s recommendation I had a bao from the specials board, the Spicy Fried Chicken Bao, which came with garlic chilli black bean mayo and scallion coleslaw.  I am glad a took the recommendation, this bao was incredible.  The fluffy steamed buns were perfect, punchy flavours, meat moist; full of flavour.  Gav also had a chicken bao to start the bao tasting - he selected the one off the menu which came with a black vinegar glaze, szechuan mayo and napa cabbage coleslaw.

Little Bao 03
We probably should have quit while we still felt comfortable but the *No Bao Cutting* on the menu made us order two more baos; this time  the signature Pork Belly Bao, which comes with leek & shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing and hoisin ketchup.  You really can’t beat slow-braised pork belly, but we really didn’t need anymore food, the rich meat tipping me over the edge!

Little Bao 05
The baos were both delicious, but I think the fried chicken bao was my favourite, a pleasant surprise as I presumed I would prefer the pork belly.  There was definitely no room for a sweet ending!  A deep fried bao served with green tea ice cream and condensed milk – a shame as I have read that they are amazing – next time!

Everything from the clever neon-pink branding, to the service and of course the food was fantastic.  It was worth the wait!

Dinner – Saturday 8 February 2014

Pleased to Meet You…

PLEASED TO MEET YOU, 38 ROE STREET, NORTHBRIDGE

I get very excited every time a new restaurant pops up within walking distance from our house.  I had been checking out the construction work each morning, and figured out that 38 Roe Street must be the venue for Clint Nolan’s newest venture.  Harvest was a favourite of mine before it closed down late last year, at least we now have La Cholita and Who’s Your Mumma.  A new speakeasy bar behind Pleased to Meet You is also due to open in the next few months.

Pleased to Meet You 01
We were seated and then our waitress explained that the menu was up on the wall and that you ordered up at the bar.  It was my shout for dinner on this particular evening – but Gav went up to order our food and was told that you had to pay as you go – so ended up forking the bill!  He didn’t want to yell out to his girlfriend to bring over her credit card!  It was quiet when we were there so it didn’t really effect us, but if the place was busy and I had to line up and queue to order that second round of duck tacos – I would maybe decide against it.  The service was fantastic, but I would much rather be able to set up a tab and pay at the end.

Coconut Ceviche came out first.  The fish used was red emperor and the ceviche had a thai flavour – in coconut milk with coriander – there was a substantial amount of liquid.  I did enjoy the dish, but it was quite heavy for ceviche – I prefer it to be really clean and fresh-tasting.  My least favourite dish of the night, but definitely still enjoyable!

Pleased to Meet You 02
The slight lack of excitement I got from our first dish quickly disappeared when the Duck Taco, Corn Salsa came out – YUM!  These were so good that we had to order another round after all our dishes came out.  The tortillas were delicious – either made on premise or perhaps down the road at La Cholita?!  The duck was juicy and flavoursome, the corn had been char-grilled to make a nice salsa.  This dish inspired my own version the following weekend!

Pleased to Meet You 03
Pulled Pork Sliders were next.  These currently feature on quite a number of menus around town and I nearly always order them.  Please to Meet You’s version came on a toasted brioche bun with pickled red cabbage, coriander and some kind of barbeque sauce.  They were lovely, but when the same dish features in numerous bars and restaurants, you do tend to compare – and I can’t stop thinking about the sliders we had at Morries Anytime recently (which were double the price mind you).  The sliders were very tasty though and I would definitely order again.

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Next to the bar is a rotisserie spit which serves up Coal Roasted Suckling Pig.  There was not a lot of pork left and the coals were only lit whilst we were there, so I think I will have to go back and try the suckling pig when a new beast is over the coals and there is plenty of crackling.  Our meat was lovely and tender, but not overly tasty, definitely not the smoky taste that you usually get with coal-roasted meat.  The smell coming out of the venue when I walked past a few days later was insanely mouthwatering though – so will pop in for a pint and some pork again soon!  The presentation was great, gorgeous blue and white dish – the chimichurri sauce served in a cute branded paper cup.

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A couple of Grilled SA Oysters with Garlic came out next.  Nice fresh oysters, the flavour was quite rich though, happy with just one or two.

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I had a Coco Loco  - a cocktail made with coconut infused cachaca, cherry, ginger and agave.  Gav had a lovely glass of Malbec.

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It was definitely a toss up between the duck tacos and Raw Beef San Choy Bau for dish of the night.   The dressing was a mixture of the hot Thai chilli sauce sriracha with a bit of mayo and finely chopped cornichons – it was so good!  The raw beef was melt in the mouth, such a fresh summery dish – topped off with crumbled corn chips to give a bit of texture.

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When you write a food blog and there is a dish on the menu called Ice Cream Nachos - of course you have to order it!

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When it arrived at the table we tried to figure it all out.  It of course was a sweet dish with ice cream, there were definitely corn chips in there – but that can’t be cheese!  One of the knowledgeable wait staff explained that the “cheese” was slithers of mango and the “salsa” was made out of berries and mint – very clever!  It’s not something I would order again in a hurry (I prefer vanilla with ready salted!) but for pure novelty factor it’s a must!
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We really enjoyed our experience at Pleased to Meet You, a great addition to our neighbourhood.  The staff and service was great, loved the food – if I have to be picky, table service is so much better for the customer!   I just didn’t like having to get the credit card out every time I wanted to order more food or another glass of wine.

Dinner – Thursday 2 January 2014

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Bread in Common…

BREAD IN COMMON, 43 PAKENHAM STREET, FREMANTLE

01 Bread in Common

Bread in Common, a clever combination of restaurant, bar and bakery is Nic Trimboli’s latest project and second for 2013, only eight months after the opening of Gordon St Garage.  The industrial-look fit out in a converted warehouse is all exposed beams, original brick work and dangling light bulbs – simply stunning.

02 Bread in Common

The restaurant is based on communal dining featuring big long wooden tables, a lot like Trimboli’s Il Lido in Cottesloe.  There are two different menus, a brunch menu from 10:00 am and dinner menu from 5:00 pm.  The brunch menu is mostly share plates with a cured meat section and a few toasted sandwiches – and of course breads with a selection of oils and spreads.  There is not really any breakfast items except toasted fruit bread, anchovy toast with egg yolk and mouse traps.  It was very un-kiwi of me to have to google what a mouse trap was – the New Zealand version of cheese on toast, usually served with egg and bacon, I must ask my mother!

03 Bread in Common

Just as our waitress left the table we realised that we had not ordered the star attraction – bread!  So we had to call her back over!  We added common loaf with some Preston Grove olive oil and whipped pork-pistachio, fennel to our order.  The bread knowledge comes from partner Gotthard Bauer from Yallingup Woodfired Bakery.  The bread is baked in wood-fired ovens made of volcanic rock, using ancient recipes and traditional methods.

05 Bread in Common

Asparagus, egg, sugar snap peas, quinoa, pecorino was beautiful, definitely my favourite dish of the day.  Such a fresh, summery dish, with the added bonus of being pretty healthy!  The egg was still warm and runny which gave a bit of moisture to the dish, sticking pleasantly to the quinoa and there was just enough sharp pecorino to flavour the dish without making it heavy.

06 Bread in Common

Coppa, chargrilled cos, peach, olive crumb offered another pleasant meatless surprise – cos lettuce charred on a grill tastes amazing!  I am not always a fan of fruit in a savoury dish, but the peach worked great with salty coppa and textural olive crumb.

07 Bread in Common

Duck fat roasted potatoes, rosemary, ketchup were cooked well, but in hindsight, did not overly go with the other dishes we had ordered.  Still great to nibble on  though.

08 Bread in Common

Lamb ribs, mint, chilli, black garlic – the meat was lovely and juicy with a hint of smokiness to it, but the sauce reminded me of that disgusting supermarket mint sauce that we poured all over lamb roasts and chops back in the 80′s!  The sauce looked dull on the plate and was  quite over powering which was a shame because the meat was cooked so well and spoke for itself, it did not need to be smothered in a strong mint sauce.

09 Bread in Common

Definitely worth a return trip, the menu is very seasonal so it will be great to head back in Autumn when the weather cools down.

04 Bread in Common

Lunch Monday 30 December 2013

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