The Darlings Supper Club offers a fusion of Asian cuisine but the dishes offered still stay close to it’s roots. The balance and execution of the dishes were generally excellent, complemented perfectly with a dipping sauce or salad. These latter elements were crucial to keeping the dish in check, the perfect balance of acidity, sweet, sour or spicy helped compliment or counteract any richness or strong flavours. A few of the dishes were over salted which was disappointing. While I enjoyed the food and the service, if you’re going to set up shop in Northbridge you’re going toe to toe with all the other Asian restaurants. Darlings Supper Club matched them on flavour, but failed miserably on price. A yum cha restaurant a few blocks away would not charge $10 for 4 prawn dumplings. A typical nasi goreng wouldn’t push $14, half the price of Darlings version, albeit with roast duck, at $28. Darlings is not your typical Asian restaurant, it’s proposition is different but I felt the pricing is on the high side for comparable dishes available close by at other Northbridge restaurants. The total bill was just under $150, just under $100 after the voucher.
I visited to try the burgers after prior visits where I enjoyed the ribs. I ordered the Old School Cheese burger. I also got some onion rings which were not rings, looked more like soft shell crab, but were tasty. The American cheese in the burger shines through but is dominated by the sourness of the mustard. The sesame seed bun was tasty though cold, as were the contents of the burger which were luke warm at best. The beef patty was pink and a bit raw in places, lacking seasoning and flavour. I found the burger rather underwhelming and would recommend the gourmet burger joints like Grill’d or Jus Burgers as a better alternative. Come here for the ribs, especially the baby backed pork ribs.
Recipe Restaurant offers patrons Persian cuisine, particularly skewered meats, but they also have pasta and risotto dishes, plus seafood and burgers for the Western palette. Overlooking Langley Park and the beautiful Swan River, one can enjoy a plate packed with food for the highish price tag. We ordered chicken, beef and lamb skewered meats to share amongst ourselves but while they were tender, they were quite bland, lacking spice, or flavour from whatever the meats were skewered over (e.g. grill or coals). Maybe the skewered meats are cooked just like in Persia, but I was expecting far more flavour. The loose grained rice is nice, the barbecued chilli packs some heat, the grilled tomatoes help cool your mouth as too the Shirazi salad. The entree of roasted eggplant was nice with delicious Turkish bread and the Persian style profiteroles with sweetened cream were good but I prefer the French variety. For my palette, I want far more flavour and Recipe didn’t deliver on that front.
Sushi offers high quality Japanese fine dining in a lovely setting with excellent service. I really enjoyed the quality and flavour of the food, but felt that the serving size was not commensurate with the price for several dishes. With the Dimmi $50 voucher, it made the dinner closer to value for money. We started off with the chef’s selection of sashimi which is really delicious with a dab of wasabi and soy sauce to kick the night off. I also enjoyed the assorted tempura but prefer a thicker crunchier batter but the juicy prawns were perfectly cooked and full of flavour. The melt in your mouth light golden brown coloured crab balls mixed in that interesting sauce was also delicious. I also particularly liked the flavour of the grill that was imparted into the succulent duck breast with a flavoursome sauce. We also tried the chicken, prawn and Jamon, and beef tongue skewers which were really delicious with the accompanying sauces. And finally, we had the nigiri sushi to round out the mains. For dessert, the dessert platter offers just about every dessert on the menu in a smaller serve which allows you to try each one. They’re all really delicious with the highlight being Sushia’s signature dish, the tofu cheesecake. The mango sorbet, chocolate cubes, and chocolate fondant also rate a special mention. Delicious.
The cuisine of foreign countries in Australia isn’t always a true representation which is a shame. After my recent trip to Vietnam, I headed to Mama Tran for some Vietnamese flavours and ordered a range of dishes. The chicken wing was a bit unusual with the sugar, the prawn fritters had a nice spiced batter but were ok. The banh mi was well packed full of tender slices of pork, carrot, cucumber, coriander and a sweet sauce, but lacked the punch I was expecting in flavour and the bread roll is not like the soft light French baguettes. The flat rice noodles in a sweet sauce was a little unusual but the acid of the lemon counteracted this. I liked the minced beef and flavoursome braised pork, but the dish as a whole was rather underwhelming and lacking punch and the freshness that is associated with Vietnamese cuisine.
Festival India Indian Restaurant presents diners with a lovely interior decorated in North Indian designs, reflecting the cuisine, north Indian. We were well looked after by the friendly waitstaff and there’s plenty of dishes to choose from, including some which you don’t normally see on the menu of your typical Indian restaurant. However, while service was excellent, the kitchen was very slow to deliver. The butter chicken wasn’t representative of a typical butter chicken, lacking the tomato base and sweetness, but offering a cashew based creamy curry which was delicious. The goat curry contained slightly chewy meat despite coming off the bone easily but was over spiced, negatively affecting the flavour. The fish grilled in banana leaf fell short of it’s potential as the spice mix was too intense. A toned down version would seep into the tender fish and deliver a flavoursome dish. On a bright note, I really loved the huge pooris which puffed up strongly and were soft and crispy.
As I haven’t visited the actual venue itself, I’m not sure if this is your full blown restaurant or your neighbourhood gem which you pop down for the odd takeaway. Either way, the flavours of the food seemed to be lacking and was kind of disappointing compared to your typical Thai place. The mixed entree is a nice item on the menu providing variety. The curry puff was delicious, and so too the other items. The mains were a let down with the Kway Tiew Khee Mao presenting a very subtle flavour, the green curry was creamy and rich but lacked the flavour typical of a good green curry, and the Masaman curry needed greater intensity in flavour and a little bit more sweetness. The serving sizes of the two curries were on the small side and required more curry. For the price, I thought it didn’t represent the greatest value and for a takeaway, you can do better.
A delicious lunchtime visit to Pleased To Meet You presented me with several dishes all different from one another, but all packing plenty of flavour. I particularly liked the pulled pork bun slider and the duck taco, like the slider, has a delicious sauce. The beef tongue was yum and the Navajo fried bread was really different. On reflection, for $36 I got the variety but it’s a bit pricey. The idea, like many restaurants, is you order lots of plates to share. While I was happy I could order a few dishes and not be stuck with large servings such that you can only order a dish or too, the small serving portions make it really small to share. I guess each person would get a bite if you had to divide among 4. For one person it’s perfect. It would take a little more effort preparing smaller versions that larger serves but it works out to be bit expensive. Having said that, the 4 dishes left me full and I was more than satisfied with the flavours of the well crafted dishes.
Based on the comments from Urbanspoon, a visit to Embassy Bar is a good choice if you want some true American fare. The much talked about ribs is what I ordered but I found them really underwhelming. A lot of gristle and inedible stuff on the ribs, while the pork meat didn’t come off the bone easily. The marinade on the ribs was pretty good but it needs to increase it’s intensity in flavour. The cornbread is delicious, a lovely corn flavour with just that hint of sweetness. The green beans were a little crispy for my liking and would have preferred further cooking. It’s good value at $20 considering the serving, but an improvement on the cooking and cut of ribs would make this dish fantastic.
Unfortunately a changed menu left me with little choice to the dish I really wanted. That said, there’s lots of choice on the menu, it’s just that since I don’t like eggs, there wasn’t an item on the menu that I really wanted. I chose the smoked salmon on toast and received a decent amount of smoked salmon which isn’t cheap. With a lovely horseradish, some greens and dill on top of a lovely thick piece of toast, it was a good meal. I liked the fresh grapefruit juice but thought the $27 bill was rather steep (I realise there’s probably a surcharge for the ANZAC Day holiday). Obviously a highly popular place.