It Just Has To Be Delicious

top perth

Fine Dining:
Twenty Seats, Highgate (romantic, amazing degustation)
Hearth at the Ritz Carlton, Elizabeth Quay (great views)
The Boatshed, South Perth (great food and amazing city views)
Fleur, Perth CBD (great degustation – next level umami)
Nobu, Crown (next level Japanese food)
Andly Private Kitchen (You pay a fixed price and get the best dishes of the day)

Smart-Casual Dinners
Duende, Leederville (great tapas)
Neho Asian Tapas, Victoria Park (quirky and fun)
Hunter and Barrel, Whitfords (good ribs)
Bivouac, Northbridge (great Middle Eastern options)
The Beach House, Jindalee (crab scramble excellent for brunch, cool dinner menu)
Pappagallo, Leederville (awesome pizza)

Casual and yummy:
Scents of Siam, Joondalup (amazing roti, mussaman curry, fish specials, great front of house from Dan)
OEC Sushi, Joondalup (everything is amazing)
Shou Japanese Cafe, Greenwood (wonderful value Bento boxes and great sashimi)
Katsuya, Joondalup (great katsu chicken curry and good sashimi)
Bunn Mee, Leederville (several wonderful authentic dishes from Masterchef’s Jenny)
Sun Kwong, Whitfords Mall (great noodle soups and fried kway teow)
Shehnai, Currambine (the best curries in Perth)
Kallaroo’s Curry House, Kallaroo (good curry)

Brunch and Brekkie
F5 Cafe, Belmont (great nasi goreng)
Miller and Baker, Northbridge (fab bread and pastries)
Chinta, North Perth (a zen oasis with quality innovative food)
The Little Pantry, Shenton Park (everything is lovely)
The Shorehouse, Swanbourne (crab omelette is a must)
May Street Larder, East Fremantle (good for allergies)
Sayers, Leederville (consistently serves great quality dishes, good menu choices)
Pixel, Leederville (wonderful breakfast options, beautiful presentation)
tbsp, Bayswater (Korean cafe serving great brekkie and a superb kim-cheese burger)
Good Things, Mosman Park (nice breakfast options in leafy surroundings)
Moore and Moore, Fremantle (wonderful menu in an art gallery)
Propeller, North Fremantle (middle eastern bold flavours)
Duck Duck Bruce, Fremantle (inventive dishes with an Asian twist, fun atmosphere)
Bread in Common, Fremantle (quality food, made with love)
Gordon Street Garage, West Perth (brilliant brekkies, crab omelette is amazing)
Forklore, West Leederville (great brunch options)

Best Gelato and Desserts
Gusto, Leederville (sublime gelato, has several dairy free and gluten free options)
The Milk Barrel, Hillarys (tiramisu gelato is amazing)
Le Papillon, Joondalup (wonderful cakes)
Bites by D, Mount Hawthorn (amazing cakes)

Best Afternoon Tea
Bites by D, Mount Hawthorn
Treasury Lounge at the Como, Perth CBD
Pan Pacific, Perth CBD

Best Dairy Free Selection
Bib and Tucker, North Fremantle
Pearfect Pantry, Herdsman
May Street Larder, East Fremantle
The Little Pantry, Shenton Park
Tartine Cafe, Trinity Arcade
F5 Cafe, Belvidere St, Belmont
Chakra, Inglewood

Marumo, Nedlands

Marumo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Marumo is a restaurant that is incredibly hard to get a booking for. Open just 4 days per week, Tuesday to Friday, one sitting and only 24 covers. I have been trying for three years, logging in at 10am when the bookings open, and paging through the calendar, hoping to get a reservation – usually they are all gone in 2 minutes. Luckily though, I finally managed to get a table for two on my partner’s birthday, and could not wait to try this mystery establishment. There’s even an urban myth that it’s not real, but it certainly is real, and sits right on Stirling Highway in the Chelsea Village complex. There’s plentiful parking at the back, and as you walk in you realise that this is a stylish intimate space, and something truly special.

It’s BYO, but as my partner has been very unwell lately we decided to skip the alcohol and sample the bottomless green tea that is supplied with the meal. He still wasn’t feeling anywhere near his best, but managed to last the three hour sitting, mainly encouraged by the delicious selection of dishes and the fact that it was his birthday. The menu is a 7 course omakase which means that the dishes are selected by the chef, and currently $85 per head which is good value for the quality.

We started with an amuse bouche of marinated squid salad, which was fresh and tender and a perfect option to tickle the tastebuds.

Next came edamame with fish roe. If you have had edamame before you would probably be expecting the whole beans where you bite them to squeeze the beans out of the pod, and leave the pod behind. This was completely different – the beans were mashed into croquettes and fried with a crispy lace topping and fish roe – again perfectly executed.

Followed by Fremantle octopus ochazuke, a wonderful octopus and slaw mini salad accompanied by rice and corn in a superbly rich and fragrant green tea broth. We were advised to eat the octopus first and the rice and broth second.

After this we were served Margaret River Yearling beef – excellent quality beef with sweet potato noodles and lotus root.

Then the chef’s selection of sashimi, coral trout, salmon and hamachi – fresh, great quality, excellent wasabi. A very enjoyable trio of fish.

Next came one of the standout dishes (they were all amazing – so this was a superbly amazing dish) – the chef’s sushi – prawn inside the roll, and salmon and tobiko on top. I love the way the tobiko pops and adds a real level of umami to the whole dish. We were advised to eat each piece whole rather than bite it, which we did, and all of the flavours together were just perfect.

Then we had a palate cleanser. I would not have expected to say that a palate cleanser was a standout dish, but this was incredible. Yuzu and orange gave it a sherbety zinginess that I have never experienced before – wow I could have happily had a few more portions of this magic.

Then another standout dish, duck with mushroom, truffled carrot and pickled cucumber. The duck skin was beautifully crispy, the mushroom incredibly rich, and the carrot divine. I am not usually a big truffle fan but the truffle wasn’t too much and brought an earthiness to the whole dish.

Then all too soon, the last dish arrived nashi pear with shio koji ice cream and a pear meringue. The ice cream had a caramel flavour, the pear was sweet and perfumed, and the meringue just beautifully made. A memorable end to a memorable meal.

It didn’t feel like we were there for three hours, the servings were very well paced, and the sizes of the portions were just right. The hostess asked us which dishes we liked the best which was a nice touch and she said that she was looking forward to seeing us again. I will definitely be online again as soon as the next bookings are released, because I can’t wait to return. Marumo is a very special experience, and if you get the chance, you should definitely go.

Last Visit – August 2022

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Tarka Dhal

Dhal is one of my favourite dishes. Although I usually like it as a side dish with curries, it’s lovely on it’s own or with rice or a heap of rotis or naans – perfect Indian comfort food. The recipe is pretty easy – if you want to make it really special, don’t leave out the tarka at the end – it’s worth the effort to really enhance the flavour.

Ingredients

1 cup of red lentils (rinsed)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed (or finely chopped)
2-3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon groundnut or vegetable oil
Approx 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
Half a teaspoon tamarind pulp or a squeeze of lemon

For the tarka:

Half a teaspoon of black mustard seeds
Half a teaspoon cumins seeds
1 dried chilli
6 curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida (optional)

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions, garlic and ginger and stir. Leave to cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the turmeric, stir, cook for another minute.
  3. Add the lentils and mix well so they are coated with the oniony mixture. Just cover the lentils with water. They will absorb the water so don’t add too much at this stage, you can top it up as the lentils cook if the consistency seems too thick.
  4. Cook the lentils for approx. 15-20 minutes (depends on the type of lentils, quick cook lentils will not take so long). Check them every few minutes to make sure that there is enough water. I like them to be saucy but not too runny, a kind of slurry consistency. Some prefer a thick porridge consistency, and others prefer them thin and runny, so cook them the way that you like. Taste them as you go, when they start to soften nicely, you can think about making the vagaar.
  5. For the tarka, heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, stir them and when they start to pop add the cumin, dried chilli and curry leaves – be careful – they can spatter. Give them all a quick stir for about 20 seconds. Add them to the lentils and stir in.
  6. Add a pinch of asafoetida if using (this helps with flatulence, but also enhances the flavour).
  7. Add garam masala.
  8. Add the salt and tamarind (or lemon juice) – just a little first and then taste the dhal, then add the rest if needed.
  9. You can also garnish with some coriander leaves. Dhal freezes well.

To those who know me, it’s no secret that Petite Mort used to be my favourite Perth fine dining restaurant, and I was lucky enough to be there on the closing night in December 2021. Chef Todd Stuart has now opened a new intimate restaurant in Highgate, which unsurprisingly has twenty seats. He has retained his charismatic wait staff Remy and Adrian (although Adrian will be leaving soon to start a new venture in Pemberton), and Todd’s lovely partner Sue also joins in, presenting the dishes to diners with knowledge and care.

We asked for a slight variation to the degustation – minimal dairy – and Todd happily obliged, which we really appreciated, as it can’t be easy to make exceptions when you only have twenty diners.

We chose a bottle of Maude sauvignon blanc to accompany the meal, from Marlborough NZ, with a soft fruit flavour rather than acidic. Lots of passionfruit and gooseberries on the nose, and served in beautiful delicate stemmed glasses.

Starters were framed as ‘finger food’, lobster on potato, an amazing mini croque monsieur, and a cylinder of snapper and mash with oyster mayonnaise.

Every item tasted delicious, the lobster was my favourite, but the croque monsieur was incredibly good too.

The next dish really blew me away. I had a tomato dish at Wildflower in February and it was nice, but not amazing. Todd presented a tomato consomme that was so tomatoey that I just don’t know how he introduced such an intense flavour into the broth and the cherry tomatoes. Accompanied by bocconcini and tomato sorbet, it was incredibly good – definitely a tomato lover’s dream.

The next dish should have been roasted cauliflower with parmesan and whipped brie, but Todd created an alternative dairy free dish just for us.

Artichoke and aubergine with black garlic sauce and purple potato. Very tasty, the black garlic was a real revelation.

Next came my favourite dish of the meal, cured scallop, coconut broth, coriander oil and chilli. This dish was absolute perfection, soft scallops, intense coriander oil, just a wonderful sensation in every mouthful.

Then another incredibly good dish, ocean trout wrapped in sublimely soft seaweed, with tempura trout skin, umeboshi (sour plum) and a foam of ginger, red onion, and lemongrass.

This set us up nicely for the meat dishes – first a sublime +5 wagyu beef dish with cheek and bacon ragout and horseradish. More excellence.

Followed by another favourite – Wagin duck breast, confit leg, black vinegar butter and XO sauce.

The next dish consisted of raclette, jamon and pickles with some cute bread buns. As raclette is molten cheese, Remy checked if we were okay with it. I knew that it would make me sneeze but decided to throw caution to the wind and have a half portion of cheese, my partner did the same. It was a really good quality raclette and tasted superb with the pickles.

The next dish was a substitution for the standard menu item of coffee custard, white chocolate and banana with caramel. Todd presented figs with caramel and an intense raspberry sorbet. A beautiful combination.

I chose a cocktail to drink with the petit fours – Hazelnut spritz – frangelico, sparkling wine, blackcurrant and lime.

Petit fours were a fitting end to a fabulous meal – nougat, macaron, chocolate truffle, raspberry jelly.

That was a memorable meal, and one that I will be talking about for time to come. Every dish was perfect, and I can’t wait to go back and eat it all again. Todd has really hit the mark with his new venture, and if you are lucky enough to get a table, you won’t regret this experience. Totally 100% recommended and right now, the best fine dining restaurant in Perth.

Last Visit Date – May 2022

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Way up in the northern suburbs is a peaceful beach called Eden Beach, and right on the beach with a perfect vista is a large restaurant called Beach House. There’s plentiful parking, and the restaurant is open for brunch and dinner. We went for brunch one Sunday morning and were blown away by the views.

We started with coffee and an acai smoothie – both good options.

There was a bit of a wait for food, but the waitress kept us informed, and it was nice to sit and watch the ocean. When the food came it was worth the wait. Crab scramble was amazing, perfect bread, a nice amount of crab, and just enough chilli among the softly scrambled eggs. I asked for the butter on the side, but later found out that I could have had non-dairy spread – always a bonus.

My partner chose the beef cheek hash – fried potato, curry mayo, poached eggs and pickles. The beef was presented as croquettes, which was unexpected but still tasty, and the pickles were a nice touch. Eggs were poached beautifully.

Well worth a visit for brunch and views – we’ll be back soon.

Last Visit – May 2022

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Nic and Kolo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’d been meaning to visit Nic and Kolo for some time, it always has great reviews and is in a sweet location amongst the cafes of Ardross Street. Run by Nicole and Ben (nickname Kolo), Ben’s nephew is Brendan Pang of Masterchef and Bumplings fame.

With a sleek smart interior, and cool clientele, we read the menu with excitement, and I ordered a glass of Clare Valley sparkling to start the mood. Sadly it was a little lacklustre and the bubbles quickly went flat.

The menu is a mixture of Asian fusion and modern Australian with a little Italian thrown in.

We chose to start with tempura cauliflower and broccoli with spiced tamarind dressing, and the charred housebaked sourdough with hummus. Both were good dishes which we enjoyed.

For mains my partner chose the harissa chicken with tabbouleh and snow peas. He enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away by it. It could have been a little more spicy but was tasty.

I chose the saffron linguini aglio olio peperoncino, with prawns and prosciutto chips. The prawns were good but there was way too much garlic in the dish, I love the flavour of garlic, but I don’t want to eat huge lumps of it and there was so much barely cooked garlic that it made the dish unpleasant to eat.

We decided not to stay for dessert. When the waiter cleared the plates he didn’t ask how the food was, even though I had left most of the dish. When we paid, I mentioned that it wasn’t a pleasant dish to eat, and was asked if I liked garlic. Of course I like garlic, but there was just too much almost raw garlic in the dish. I was then informed that this was a dish that the team were ‘experimenting’ with and there had been an issue with their pasta supplier, but no offer was made to refund the dish, or offer a return voucher, free breakfast or just something to make me feel better about the experience.

I left puzzled as to why the reviews are so good for Nic and Kolo. Maybe the breakfast is amazing, but I won’t be going back to try it.

Last Visit – April 2022

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Silks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Silks is a restaurant that I have been wanting to try for some time, and when I saw that they serve a unique Cantonese style afternoon tea on Saturdays, I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

There is a choice of cocktails and mocktails, and I chose a refreshing Lime and lemongrass cooler from the mocktail range.

The afternoon tea menu also includes Butterfly flower tea which changes colour from vivid blue to vivid purple with a touch of acid such as lemon.

The meal was served in a bamboo steaming basket which was quirky, colourful and very appealing. I couldn’t wait to tuck in, and the centrepiece – a bao bun with cumin lamb – was a triumph, a very well crafted bun, and I would happily have eaten two of them.

The wok fried king prawn with chilli sea salt was equally magnificent, and again a whole basket of these would have gone down a treat. How do they get those chilli strings so fine?

Next came a sesame ball with black sesame and beetroot, not really savoury but not really sweet either, but tasted nice. Quite typical of the non-sweet Asian desserts.

I then tried the green tea choux. Adorned with green tea chocolate and filled to the brim with sweetened green tea cream, it was surprisingly good and incredibly light.

The blueberry and lime sphere looked beautiful and tasted equally good with intense flavours of blueberry and the bright element of lime complementing it superbly.

The next basket was the raspberry, coconut and lemongrass roulade and wow it was incredible. The intense raspberry flavour was so good, I think this was my favourite sweet.

I finished up with the mandarin macaron, choc full of mandarin flavour and a really good macaron – macaron perfection.

This was certainly an unusual and surprising afternoon tea. It wasn’t particularly filling though, and I would have liked a ‘go large’ option, maybe three extra dishes with a few more savouries. I can’t fault any of the dishes, flavours were intense, the appearance of the meal was appealing, and the dining room is beautifully decorated with open tables and private booths. I would happily dine here again, maybe for dinner next time.

Last visit date – March 2022

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Wildflower Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For a long time now Wildflower has been one of Perth’s most talked about fine dining venues. Chef Matthew Sartori is famed for his skilful use of native ingredients and in-season ingredients to create a gastronomic journey for the diner. The restaurant is situated in the distinctive Treasury buildings and the lighting was quite subdued on our visit so please excuse the dim photos.

This venue had been booked for quite a while for a big birthday meal, but the pandemic rules changed just before our visit, so with short-notice, we were downgraded from a 6 course menu to a 4 course version with a shorter sitting time, but we decided to continue with the plan as it was too late to book anywhere else. The waiter enthusiastically showed us to our table and promised us an amazing meal. I chose a sparkling rose from Voyager Estate to start with.

The amuse bouche was a light bun with eggplant and nasturtium leaf, quite pleasant.

We asked for a dairy free menu and WIldflower were very accommodating with this, bringing olive oil and balsamic instead of butter for the bread.

The first course consisted of marinated heirloom tomatoes with fresh curd, anise myrtle and miso. The lovely intense tomato flavours danced on the tongue, and I happily finished the plate.

The second course was cured line caught snapper with Geraldton wax, finger lime and ginger. The waiter explained that it usually came with creme fraiche, but as we were having dairy free, they’d leave off the creme fraiche. To be honest this annoys me. In this day and age it’s easy to find suitable dairy alternatives, and I would much have preferred a substitute rather than leaving it off altogether. It was a nice dish, but it did need another element.

For the third and main course we could choose between duck and lamb, and we both chose the Wagin duck with gem lettuce, fig, liquorice root and anise myrtle. A nice dish, and good flavours, but it didn’t blow my mind.

Dairy free dessert was an off-menu special. Marinated strawberries, strawberry sorbet and strawberry gum mousse. Again, nice, but not memorable.

Birthday petit fours were served with a candle, a jelly and a fudge.

It was a nice meal, a good example of fine dining, and a great use of native ingredients which have quite a unique flavour. The waiter kept telling us how magnificent everything was, but really, honestly, I don’t think it lived up to the hype. I’ve had better fine dining in Perth at several other venues, and at $139 per head it really needed to blow me away. It wasn’t the gastronomic journey that I was hoping for.

Last visit date – February 2022

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8 On The Point Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8 On the Point is located at Point Fraser, a nice complex of bars and restaurants just off Riverside Drive at the Eastern end of the city. We were given a warm welcome and seated by the window overlooking the river – a lovely spot. We booked with the intention of having Peking duck, and found the menu options for this quite reasonable. We chose a glass of wine each while we waited (I had prosecco) and each glass was served from a freshly opened bottle.

We were also served an amuse bouche of strawberries in plum sauce, a lovely appetiser to start proceedings.

We mused over whether to have a starter first, and then duck, but we chose to make a meal of the Peking duck, so chose half a duck, with pancakes and san choy bow, plus the optional duck bone soup. The waiter also recommended the duck noodles, which we were very glad to include.

The duck arrived on a trolley and the waiter carved the duck and duck skin, and made pancakes in front of us with chilli, cucumber, and spring onions. We were presented with the plate of pancakes and some hoisin to dip them in. They were absolutely delicious.

Next came san choy bow, a generous portion each of lettuce leaf filled with chopped duck and seasonings. Again another very satisfying course.

The third course was served by the waiter, a generous large bowl of duck bone soup with tomatoes, tofu and veggies. The rest of the soup was left for us to serve ourselves, and as we left it to infuse, the broth became richer and tastier. This amounted to around three individual bowls of soup each.

Along with this we were served duck noodles, enough for two generous bowls each, and probably the tastiest noodles I have had in a long time.

The meal definitely satisfied our duck cravings, and was so nice that we will be going back to try other items on the a la carte menu. My only slight criticism is that I would like to have had more of a rest between courses, as soon as we finished one, the next was served. All in all reasonably priced with friendly staff, and delicious food along with stunning views. There’s a lot to like about 8 On the Point.

Last visit date – January 2022

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Sometimes it’s hard to know what to cook for dinner, it’s easy to waste food, and there’s nothing worse than clearing out a fridge full of ‘past its best’ food on bin day. In this post I am going to suggest a meal plan that will give you four dinners for two without spending too much money. You can adapt it of course to include different ingredients, but it is based around a chicken and a packet of sausages. You can also add things that are in your store cupboard too, I’ll make suggestions as we go along.

Here’s the shopping list:
One fresh chicken – choose a large one
2 onions
A pack of 8 sausages
Green veg – e.g. spring greens, silverbeet, brussels (get enough for leftovers)
Frozen peas
Garlic
1 regular cayenne chilli
Fresh medium sized mushrooms (about 12 of them – a regular punnet should do) wiped clean of soil
Potatoes x 8 (pick good roasters – Red, Royal blue, King Edwards etc.)
Half a butternut squash
3 eggs
A tin of chopped tomatoes
A tin of plum tomatoes
A cup of rice (regular basmati rice) cooked and cooled, (or a pack of ready cooked rice)
200g dried penne pasta
Vegetable stock powder
Cherry tomatoes (fresh) – optional

Store cupboard items like salt, pepper, vinegar, lard, butter, oil, dried herbs.
Optional store cupboard items – jam, cranberry sauce, white wine vinegar, cornflour, jars of olives, anchovies, capers, lemon, parmesan, tabasco, chilli sauce, sesame oil, dried fried onions, ketjap manis (thick sweet soy).

Meal 1 – Roast Chicken

As this is probably the most time consuming of the meals, I’d recommend making this for your Sunday lunch or dinner. It’s easy to do, it just takes at least an hour to cook depending on the size of your chicken. If you want to make it cook quicker you can ‘spatchcock’ it – this means taking the backbone out and squashing the chicken.
So first peel all of the potatoes, slice them in half lengthways (if they are huge you can quarter them) and parboil them in salted water. While they are parboiling set the oven to approx 180 deg C (fan) or a little hotter (185) if you don’t have a fan assisted oven.
Put 2 tablespoons of oil or lard in a roasting pan and put it in the oven so that the fat melts and gets hot.
Meanwhile wash the chicken, pat dry and season it. You can rub it with dark soy sauce if you have some soy in the cupboard, or if you prefer, you can use butter or other spread under the skin, season with salt and pepper, and lemon juice – just use whatever you have to hand. Stock powder is also a good seasoning that you can rub on the chicken skin. If you like garlic, peel and mash a clove and rub it over the chicken. Place the chicken on a rack and put 8 of the whole mushrooms in a pan underneath (this should be separate from the pan that you have prepared for the potatoes. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you can use slices of carrot and onion instead, but the chicken juices will drip on the veg below and that will be your basis for a lovely gravy. Put the whole pan and rack containing the chicken and mushrooms in the oven
Once the potatoes have boiled for about five minutes, drain them, give them a shake and put them in the hot pan. Shake them around the pan a bit to coat them with fat and put them in the oven.
Set the timer to an hour.
Now prep the greens and squash. If using spring greens or silverbeet I wash and shred them and place them in a saucepan of salted water. Brussels need a little trim and again can be placed in salted water. The squash can be peeled with a speed peeler (although peeling is not mandatory), the seeds should be scooped out with a spoon, then I halve the squash lengthways and slice it into large chunky pieces. Season the squash in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. The squash doesn’t need as long as the potatoes, so when the potatoes have been cooking for 25 minutes, shove them to one side of the pan and put the squash pieces next to them.
Place 1-2 cups of frozen peas in a small saucepan of salted water. If using brussels, you need to start cooking them about 10 – 15 minutes before the chicken is ready, silverbeet and greens should take about 5-10 minutes and frozen peas only take 5 minutes once they are boiling.
After 45 minutes of cooking check the chicken with a skewer and see if the juices run clear. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken and whether or not the backbone is in it. If you leave the backbone in, it can take up to 1.5 hours – this also depends on how efficient your oven is. If in doubt leave the saucepan veggies until the chicken is done and cook them while it rests.
Once the chicken is done, put it on a plate and cover it with foil and a few tea towels to insulate it.
Now you can make the gravy from the roasting pan. If you used mushrooms, add half a finely chopped onion and a little water to make a gravy. If you used soy on the chicken, this will season the gravy, but you may wish to add a sprinkle of stock powder and some jam/sugar/cranberry sauce to adjust the flavour. Add any juices from the resting chicken. Finish the gravy off on the hob while the potatoes and squash cook on in the oven. (If you used carrots and onion, instead of mushrooms, mash them up and add a sprinkle of stock powder plus a little jam/sugar/cranberry to balance the flavours). Sometimes a dash of vinegar (or white wine vinegar) works well too. The gravy might need straining to separate any mashed carrot.
The peas and greens should now be simmering too. As the green veggies cook you can add some of the cooking water to the gravy to enhance the flavour. If you want a thicker gravy, you can add a tablespoon of cornflour which has been mixed with some cold water.
When serving, serve a quarter of chicken for each person, and make sure that you keep some leftover potatoes, greens, peas and squash. I recommend serving a third of the veggies for each person and keep a third for leftovers. Pour the gravy over everything making sure that each person gets some mushrooms. The gravy also keeps if you want to have some gravy for the next meal. Place the leftover chicken in a bowl in the fridge covered with cling wrap. Do the same with the leftover veggies.

Meal 2 – Sausages, bubble and squeak, fried egg, tomatoes

Start off by gently pan frying the sausages, do all of them even if you can’t eat 8 sausages between you. You can also cook sausages in the oven if you prefer.
Chop up the leftover potatoes, squash, peas and greens into smallish pieces and mash them together in a large frying pan with a little olive oil. You can also add some finely chopped onion to them for extra flavour if you like. Just warm them through and mash them together as you go. You can add milk, water or leftover gravy to help bind them together. I love it when the bubble and squeak goes crispy and brown on the bottom, so you don’t have to do much with it once it is cooking and warming through.
Place the plum tomatoes in a saucepan and heat them through (you can also use a can of beans if you prefer).
When everything is almost ready, fry 2 eggs in a pan – you can also poach or scramble them, it’s nice to have runny eggs on top of the bubble and squeak.
Serve up 2-3 sausages each, half of the bubble and squeak, a fried egg and half of the beans or tomatoes. Serve with HP sauce. Reserve the leftover sausages.
You can also make this meal with a packet of bacon or vegan sausages if you prefer.

Meal 3 – Chicken pasta

Shred the leftover chicken. Chop half an onion, a chilli, and a clove of garlic quite finely. If you want the sauce spicy, leave the chilli seeds in, otherwise take them out. The chilli is optional anyway. Slice some leftover mushrooms. If you have any jars of capers, anchovies or olives in the fridge, take a few and chop the into small pieces.
Bring some water to the boil in a saucepan and add 200 – 250g of penne pasta to the water.
In a large-ish pan or wok, fry the onions and garlic in a tablespoon of oil until they soften. Add the mushrooms and fry for a minute longer. Add some dried herbs (about a teaspoon), and at this point add the capers/anchovies/olives if using them.
Now add the about two thirds of the shredded chicken stir around for a minute and add the tin of chopped tomatoes.
Season with salt, pepper and add a little stock powder if necessary. Taste to make sure the sauce tastes yummy.
Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little of the pasta water to thin it out. Serve in nice bowls. Add some grated parmesan if you like.

Meal 4 – Special Fried Rice

This is where you use anything you have leftover. Chop up half an onion, a clove of garlic, some leftover sausages and slice any leftover mushrooms. Get some frozen peas ready in a cup. Beat an egg in a cup or jug – if you have any sesame oil in the cupboard add a drop to the egg, and season with salt and pepper.
Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil, you can also add a chopped chilli or some chilli sauce if you like, but this is optional.
Now add the sausages, mushrooms and any leftover chicken and stir to warm through. After about 2 minutes add the peas and stir through. Once the meats are getting nice and hot, make a little space in the pan and add the beaten egg. scramble it once it starts to go opaque and mix it in with the other ingredients. If you’re like me you’ll have some fresh cherry tomatoes in the fridge – feel free to halve a few and chuck them in if you like. Now add the rice and warm through. Check the seasoning – you can add salt, pepper, soy, chilli sauce. Serve in bowls. If you have crispy dry fried onions, sprinkle them on top (you can also use chives or spring onions if you have them), a drizzle of ketjap manis on top is also good.

HQ Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HQ Bar and Kitchen is at the top of the newly refurbished Quay Hotel at Elizabeth Quay (previously the Esplanade Hotel). It’s a popular spot for drinks at the bar and when we arrived there were plenty of diners having cocktails and nibbles in the bar area. There is a balcony outside with superb views of Elizabeth Quay.

We were seated at a corner table, but it was quite dim and we needed to use our phone torches to read the menu. The menu is one of those menus where you want to try everything. All dishes are shareable, but we decided to go for shared starters and have our own mains. The flavours are Asian, probably more Japanese than anything, but a good variety of interest on the menu.

To start we couldn’t go past the lobster tails and chose them along with capelin with slaw. The lobster was a do-it-yourself nori sushi wrap. The dressing on the kale was tasty, a little on the salty side, but very nice with everything else together. The lobster was maybe a little overcooked, but not enough to spoil the experience.

The capelin were like large whitebait, very fresh and nicely cooked. I would have loved a little more slaw though.

For mains I picked the signature Cone Bay barramundi with tapioca pearls, goji mushrooms and broccoli. It had a weird garnish though. There was a length of something that looked like it might be a piece of ginger torch lily, but it was really inedible and not pleasant on the dish. The sauce was nicely tasty and the tapioca a good feature of the dish.

My partner chose the slow cooked beef short ribs with pickled eggplant, coral white fungus and black beans. He would have preferred more black beans, the white fungus was pretty tasteless too, but the ribs were lovely.

We also chose a side of battered shaved sweet potato fritters which were delicious.

So overall what did we think? It’s a great venue with nice views. The food is mostly flavoursome but the chef should really think about some items that don’t belong on the plate like the odd garnish and the white fungus. We still felt hungry when we left, and it wasn’t a cheap meal at almost $140 with just two soft drinks. It’s a good restaurant with a lot of promise, but just lacking a little finesse.

Last visit – August 2021

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