Recommendation: Recommend


Core Cider House - Chilli Chocolate Macquis

Core Cider House – 28 Dec 2016

Just 30ish minutes from the city, there are various wineries dotted in the Perth hills region of Carmel, Pickering Brook and Bickley, a hidden gem of sorts, compared to the well known Swan Valley region. The drive here is like passing through the countryside, peaceful and tranquil. The walk to the cider house is picturesque, with a large grassed area to throw down a picnic blanket and sip on an alcoholic beverage or two while the kids run wild. There’s plenty of outdoor seating seating to enjoy your drinks from the bar, or you can venture upstairs to the semi open outdoor setting where there is lots to choose from on the menu which utilises the stone fruit grown on the premises or makes use of the ciders brewed on site.

I started off with the kangaroo carpaccio which was delicious. The dish is perfectly paired with sweet potato for a touch of sweetness, creaminess from the whipped feta, and crunch from the candied macadamias which also provide a different touch of sweetness. For mains I chose the seared duck breast which was perfectly cooked with just a tad amount of pink in the centre. The duck was enjoyed with some slightly sweet pickled red cabbage, but the sour apple reduction and grilled stone fruit helped balance each other out. For dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed the very generous slice of spiced apple pie. The spices employed lift the pie to a new level, particularly the addition of chilli for some bite. The ice cream is delicious and I did have a taste of the other desserts, a chilli chocolate marquis and a sour apple brûlée, which were both delicious.

The scenery is beautiful and relaxing, and the venue is just like that too. The weather was beautiful and the place was packed out (best to book). Despite that, the service was friendly and everyone was well looked after. Lots of people were enjoying the ciders brewed on site and also the food on offer. Core Cider House also runs a little farmers market on the weekend where fresh fruit, preserves, and ice cream are available. The venue also hosts tours, events (check out their New Years Eve offering), and is also the ideal venue for private functions or weddings.


Holmes and Co - Corn Fritter, Poached Egg

Holmes and Co – 23 Dec 2016

Located down the lane ways where Wolf Lane is close by, this casual cafe has plenty of seating outside which is perfect for enjoying the morning sun and breakfast. There’s lots to choose from, centring around poached eggs. I chose the Holmes Stack, comprising of a corn fritter, smashed avo, poached egg and a choice of bacon or smoked salmon (I chose smoked salmon). Once you cut into the poached egg it has a nice runny yolk. With the avocado, smoked salmon, dukkah, greens and a dash of hot sauce for some pep, this was a tasty breakfast. I also really enjoyed the chai latte which was delicious.


Cloud Gelato - Italian Sweets Cabinet

Cloud Gelato – 16 Dec 2016

I was on my way home and walking though London Court on Friday night when my eye was drawn to the Italian sweets in the display cabinet and stopped me in my tracks. I approached for a closer look and decided on getting some cannoli and an eclair. Once I walked in I was also taken by the gelato. Only been operating for 5 months, a wide range of handmade artisan style gelato, sorbets, natural frozen yogurt and premium sweets including their honoured silician cannoli is available. They also serve a thick waffle to encase gelato dubbed the “cloud waffle”, no ordinary cone.

With several gelato flavours to choose from, I asked for a taste of the coffee and ferrero gelato and I was sold. I happily enjoyed a cup of that. Yum! Still waiting for the bus so I decided to tuck into the Sicilian cannoli. Mmm, the cannoli filing is rich and delicious, a soft but crunchy shell encasing the filling is just as it should be. It’s certainly one of the best cannoli I’ve eaten in Perth. I also got an eclair which I ate the next day. Lovely light choux pastry filled with a light chocolate custard that isn’t too sweet, possibly needs a little more sweetness if anything, but the chocolate on the outside provides that extra bit of chocolate and sweetness.


Meat and Bun - Dark Knight and Smokey Fries

Meet and Bun – 14 Dec 2016

Situated in the food court on the lower level of Trinity Arcade, Meet and Bun serves fresh made burgers to order. I had read there is quite a queue for lunch so got there a little early and ordered the Dark Knight with Smokey Fries. I wasn’t too impressed that several people behind me had there names called out before mine to collect their orders at the counter. After eventually getting my order, I sat down to enjoy. I tucked into the fries first. They’re pretty good though need more seasoning and a little less paprika as it leaves a slightly raw taste. The dark knight is a burger with a charcoal bun encasing crispy fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and slaw. The succulent chicken breast is coated in a crunchy batter, the cheese is gooey, and there’s a slight salty tone thanks to the bacon. To add some freshness the slaw does the job. It’s a solid burger packed with ingredients, filling, lots to keep you interested, though it didn’t wow. Still, if you needed a burger then this is a good place to stop by.


The Flour Factory - Beef Ribs

The Flour Factory – 12 Dec 2016

Since transforming from the Venn Bar, I haven’t yet made a visit to The Flour Factory despite being right next door to where I work. The former flour mill has been transformed into an intriguing space spanning 3 levels and includes a large bar area as well as offering dining. Offering a range of tapas style dishes, if you can’t decide what to get, just go with the feed me menu.


Manise Cafe - Ayam Bakar Manise

Manise Cafe – 5 Dec 2016

Located at the far end of William Street in Northbridge, Manise Cafe has a home style feel, a warm welcoming environment with good honest Indonesian cuisine. The dishes don’t cost much but the serves are smaller as a result which means you can order more dishes and get a variety of flavours. I started with es cendol, the coconut milk and palm sugar syrup drink with pandan jelly which was pretty tasty and refreshing. Foodwise, we started with ayam baker manise which presented very tender chicken with slight crunch and a delicious sweet but muted sauce. This was really enjoyable. We also got kondro bakar kecap, the meat from the ribs was removed from the bone and are oh so tender and flavoursome. Yum! Can’t go past gado gado, the steamed vegetable dish topped with a creamy satay sauce. The delicious creamy peanut sauce certainly livens up the steamed veggies and is a popular Indonesian snack. Easy to see why. We also got ikar bakar manise, a whole fish containing tender flesh coated in a lovely marinade and enhanced by the refreshing tomato and onion mix. Enjoyed with steamed rice, you start to fill up with all the variety and the different flavours of the sweet soy sauce and sweet sambal mix.


Prego Restaurant - Gnocchi

Prego Restaurant – 19 Nov 2016

One of my work colleagues had recommended I visit Prego which has been on my list for a long time so I finally made it here. Booking is essential, since we walked in on a Saturday evening, the restaurant filled up very quickly. Prego Restaurant is located on the Cambridge Street side with floor to ceiling glass windows creating an inviting, classy, yet unpretentious atmosphere as soon as you walk in. The wait staff who attended to us throughout the night were really friendly which is refreshing, particularly at a fine dining establishment.

Before the meal began, a complimentary plate of falafel was served. The menu here is Italian but has a very strong Mediterranean influence as can be seen with this dish and others that followed. The falafel are full of flavour and not too intense with a crunchy crumbed outer enjoyed with the refreshing Mediterranean salad.

For entree I had the gnocchi but have never seen it served in a seafood broth. Still very plump and juicy potato parcels, they took on the form of a dumpling enjoyed with the delicious flavoursome seafood broth. I really enjoyed the tender mussels and super tender calamari. A really interesting and impressive dish. I also had a small taste of the other entrees, a tasty juicy Moreton Bay bug with tender eggplant, and a perfectly cooked tender juicy chicken liver. I’m not a fan of liver but it depends on the form. Foie gras is amazing and I also like chicken liver pate. Chicken livers done in this form are not to my liking, but I enjoyed the taste I had and glad I didn’t have a plate of this as the liver is rich.

For mains, I chose one of the specials: a duo of slow roasted lamb and wood fired spatchcock. The lamb simply cut like butter, such was it’s tenderness. Lacking a touch of seasoning, the lamb oozed flavour and was thoroughly enjoyed. The spatchcock was also tender and particularly enjoyed with the Mediterranean influenced yoghurt mixture and the accompanying cous cous salad with pomegranates and eggplant. These were tasty and refreshing elements to liven the palate and create a go-between to the meats of the dish. I also had small tastes of the other mains ordered – a juicy tender delicious duck, and juicy delicious prawns and snapper. To add some more veggies to the meal, we also ordered a side of spinach which was suitably sautéed in lots of garlic and butter for bags of flavour. Really tasty.

There’s always room for dessert though I was pretty full at this point. I was really keen to try Prego’s version of kunafe after first discovering this amazing creation at Chee Tayeb. The version here is a little different, tasty but I preferred Chee Tayeb’s version. A hot mini pan of sizzling haloumi cheese covered with the shredded filo is presented before the waiter pours some of the spiced sugar syrup over and around the sizzling cheese. Gooey melted cheese with a touch of sweetness and crunch of pistachios is an excellent way to finish off the meal. Really tasty but way too full. I also had small tastes of the other desserts ordered, a delicious sorbet and a spoonful of a very strong coffee flavoured and slightly heavy tiramisu. A lovely place to celebrate any occasion with quality crafted meals with a different flavour profile to what one typically expects of an Italian restaurant, though this difference makes it unique and one to enjoy.


Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar - Wok Tossed King Prawns & Mussels

Melbourne: Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar – 12 Nov 2016

For my second night in Melbourne, one of my ex-colleagues recommended a visit to Lucy Liu’s which is an Asian fusion type restaurant. Located down Oliver Lane, the place is packed but I manage to score a table and are seated at one of the high benches overlooking the restaurant. There are hooks underneath the bench, perfect for hanging my bags after a day of shopping. The interior is very chic, covered in criss cross wood formations, yet there is plenty of buzz and is another venue with lots of atmosphere. Turn over the placemat to reveal the menu, there’s plenty to choose from and I seek the guidance of the waitstaff.

I start with a fresh betel leaf. Yummy and hands on way to roll up the betel leaf and consume the lovely tuna and roe. It’s light and refreshing and the perfect start to the meal. I’m a real fan of bao so the crispy pork bun was an easy choice. The soft bun encases crispy pork and contains a lovely sauce to amplify the flavour. The crunch of the pork is distinctive, although a little chewy at times, contrasting against the soft bao which melts in your mouth. Enhanced with some lovely Asian ingredients and the kewpie mayo, each bite is delicious.

For something more substantial, I opted for the wok tossed king prawns and mussels. I didn’t expect to get such a large hearty bowl though. t love the delicious flavoursome XO influenced broth, the succulent mussels, juicy prawns, crispy prawn heads, and the minced beef. The Chinese doughnuts are a distinctive food item throughout many parts of Asia and are perfect for sopping up broth as is the case here. Once soaked, the doughnut takes on the flavour of the broth which is simply yum. So full, I continue walking around Melbourne to walk off my full belly.


Gazi Restaurant - Loukoumades

Melbourne: Gazi Restaurant – 11 Nov 2016

One of my ex-work colleagues told me about this place so upon landing, my first point of call is a visit to George Calombaris’s Gazi Restaurant. Seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen, it was interesting watching the kitchen in operation. There are hooks underneath the bench to hang your jacket or bags which is perfect as it’s a bit cold outside but the heat of the kitchen warms everyone up. The atmosphere is buzzing, plenty of people crammed in but with sufficient space to enjoy conversation and waitstaff rush around to cater for the hungry hords. Despite that, there is no compromise on the excellent service provided throughout the night. There’s plenty of choice from the menu which makes it hard to decide. I asked the waitstaff for some recommendations and chose a number of dishes, though, with the rotisserie in front of me, I rather fancied some dish that incorporated some of those delicious meats. I heard there is the option for takeaway but I’m here in Melbourne for the weekend.

I started with the miso eggplant dip which presents super smooth eggplant dip evoking a strong but well controlled eggplant flavour that is just delightful. Dipping the warm soft puffy Pita into the dip is a delicious and an enjoyable experience.

Next I went with the saganaki cheese – I love cheese so was interested to see what this dish would serve up. Melted cheese on a sizzling hot plate with a golden brown crust and a cumquat citrus sauce. The citrus seems unusual at first, a sweet sensation but it balances against the richness of the cheese, particularly the slight touch of acidity. Yum!!!

I had to grab a mini souvlaki, or souvalkia and opted for the duck version. There’s lots of succulent juicy duck with an Asian inspired fusion. The duck is delicious, though a tad oversalted. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the dish, the soft Pita and the ingredients it held. I think the Hoison is overshadowed by the mayo to an extent.

Finally, I had to squeeze in dessert and chose loukoumades, Greek doughnuts. Oh wow! What a finish to the meal. Crunchy on the outside, soft and spongy on the inside. Drizzled with honey for sweetness with a touch of nutella to add a chocolate hint, these are to be savoured. I also like the strong Greek coffee flavoured ice cream. Wouldn’t mind more of that. Really full, glad to have some variety and really enjoyed the flavours and experience of this venue. So typically Melbourne, nothing that Perth offers comes close.


Copper Chimney - Mixed Platter

Copper Chimney – 6 Nov 2016

I’d heard from people Copper Chimney was an excellent Indian restaurant so I finally made a visit. It’s a casual open space tastefully decorated to reflect the Indian culture. There’s heaps of choice on the menu, including the specials, so you’re spoilt for choice. We got a mixed platter to start which proved to be quite filling but offering lots of variety and tasty treats. The tandoor imparted flavour is evident in the tandoori chicken and bharah kebab. The samosa is delicious, as too, the paneer and mint chutney to pour over the salad. They also offer 3 thalis, we got the meat version and I had a taste of some of the items which were pretty good. We shared other dishes like the masala dosa, a huge thin crispy pancake encasing a delicious spiced potato mix. Plenty of extra dosa to dip into the tasty curries and condiments. We also got the kangaroo vindaloo which packed some bite, was reasonably tender and the curry flavour hid the gaminess to quite an extent. Certainly not chilli hot but the heat built and was hot but bearable. Pretty stuffed with all the food, we shared a dessert. I had a small taste of the pistachio kulfi, the Indian ice cream was tasty. I also popped across the road to grab some cannoli at Patisserie La Vaspa, given my sweet tooth, and enjoyed this as a very late afternoon snack. I also got some biriyani to takeaway and ate that for lunch the following day. Flavoursome and packed full of chunks of goat. The service, flavours, venue, and menu choice is excellent and certainly a solid choice for Indian fare if you live around Freo.