It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for September, 2013

Three Five Three – Wembley

UPDATE – Three Five Three is now permanently closed.

Three Five Three Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We dined here for lunch – very much looking forward to it as we had heard a lot about this place – reportedly a fine dining heaven, and really good service.

When we arrived, on a slightly chilly day, we were seated right next to an open window. Shortly after taking off my jacket, I put it back on again. Then it started to rain and I could feel the rain droplets in the air coming through the window. We decided to close it. It occurred to me that nobody asked if we minded being seated next to an open window, and none of the staff noticed that we were cold until we actually closed the window.

I ordered a strawberry and watermelon juice which arrived in a quirky chemical beaker and tasted very nice.

Strawberry and Watermelon juice

Strawberry and Watermelon juice

The menu was extremely limited – we could opt for two or three courses. The starters and dessert options were a platter (nothing else was on offer), and the mains were a choice of fish and chips, wagyu steak burger and chateaubriand with prawns. I did wonder what would be on offer for vegetarian diners.

Starter platter

Starter platter

Starter platter

Starter platter

Starter platter

Starter platter

The starter platter was quite large and consisted of charred bread, prawns with lime and mayonnaise, grilled halloumi with a pepper and tomato relish, olives, nuts, cheese and biscuits, and chorizo slices in a fruity tasting sauce.

This was not really the selection that I had hoped for, and I got the impression that the chef was making it easy for him or herself. Bowls of nuts and olives are a lazy option. The chorizo had quite a tough skin, although it did taste nice – I wasn’t sure about the fruity brown sauce that came with it. The cheese was ok, nothing special. The halloumi, again okay. The prawns were overcooked.

Having read the great reviews for dinner, I would have expected something a little more cheffy in the platter. I would have preferred smaller portions of nicer food e.g. a home made terrine or pate, some mushrooms with blue cheese, some mini arancini balls.

For main I chose the chateaubriand. I didn’t get an option of how well done I wanted it to be. I prefer medium rare. This was medium to well done.

Chateaubriand

Chateaubriand

It came with a ‘soil’ strip of coffee, which didn’t go with anything and I wasn’t sure why it was on the plate. The prawns were ok, but overcooked again, the tomatoes were nice, the wedges were ok, nothing special, the meat was tender but for me – overcooked. I was a bit disappointed.

Wagyu burger

Wagyu burger

My companion chose the Wagyu burger which came with the same brown sauce that accompanied the chorizos earlier. I asked if he could taste the quality of the Wagyu beef in the burger and he reported that he had tasted better burgers at Grill’d. He didn’t eat it all. He says he got bored with it.

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

The dessert platter consisted of a chocolate bavarois with three layers, raspberry sorbet, 4 mini macarons, strawberry, raspberry ripple and chocolate icecream, and elderflower jelly filled chocolates.

It looked amazing. The bavarois was quite heavy, the layers reminded me of a thick school blancmange, and I detected a hint of popping candy in the dark layer. It was okay, but I am glad that it was a small sample and not a whole dessert size. The dark chocolate ice cream was excellent – the best item on the plate. The other ice creams and the sorbet were okay, nothing special. The mini macarons were a little soft and not very flavoursome. I like my macaron shells to be crispy with a gooey middle. The chocolates filled with elderflower jelly were a bit strange to be honest, again okay, but not anything that I would rush to order again.

The waitress was friendly, but she only ever asked my companion if he wanted another drink or if his meal was okay, she did not address me at all, and during the meal the table became a little messy with a few drops of food on it, and at no point did the wait staff wipe down the table.

There was a tray of muffins left out to tempt diners, but nothing was covering them, and I saw at least two flies buzzing around – this is a failure of basic restaurant hygiene which should be second nature.

If the evening meals at Three five three are as good as everybody reports, then I am afraid that the lunch menu is sadly lacking. Will I go back to Three five three for dinner ? I don’t know – my experience does not bode well.

The Old Crow – Northbridge

UPDATE – The Old Crow is now permanently closed.

The Old Crow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I popped in here for lunch before a visit to the art gallery. I have heard a lot of good things about the Old Crow, so was interested to see if lunch was nice – if so, it may warrant a return visit to the city for dinner.

The ambience was very welcoming – it appears to be quite a large place with lots of nooks and crannies and options for eating either inside or out. The cuisine is predominantly Southern/Soul food.

The options included olives, oysters, lamb and chickpea scrumpet, potatoes with cajun salt, marinated anchovies, veal schnitzel, mushroom omelette, spicy pork rillette jaffle, smoked salmon spaghetti, and carrots with garlic sauce and cornbread.

I chose a duck parfait with pear and charred bread, and my companion chose the slow roasted brisket sandwich with thousand island dressing, pickled cabbage and fries. I also chose soy chai latte, and received the real deal – brewed chai tea in a pot with spices rather than the ubiquitous syrup based option. My companion reports that the coffee was excellent.

Chai Latte

Chai Latte

Duck parfait with pear

Duck parfait with pear

The duck parfait was lovely, the pear being a perfect accompaniment and served both as diced pear and puree. The amount of bread was just right.

Beef brisket sandwich

Beef brisket sandwich

The slow roasted brisket sandwich was jam packed with beef and pickled cabbage – delicious. The fries had a spicy coating.

Cakes

Cakes

The desserts looked very tempting, but we chose cakes to go – a chocolate brownie and a slice of orange and pinenut cake. The cakes were moist and delicious with a cup of tea later on that day.

I was very impressed with the Old Crow. I’ll be back, that’s for sure.

UPDATE – we did go back for dinner, but sadly, the dinner menu did not deliver in the same way that lunch did.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack

Choc peanut stack Choc peanut stack Choc peanut stack

The inspiration for this cake recipe comes from a similar item that I had in Starbucks in Singapore a few years ago. The Starbucks version was yummy but also sickly sweet, and I was reminded of it when a friend at work asked me to make a cake with nuts in it. Originally I thought of making a coffee and walnut cake, but then I thought why not try the stack ? I haven’t made a many layered creation like this before, so I knew it would be a worthy challenge.

I used an 8 inch square (20cm) cake tin with a removable bottom. I am sure it can also be made with a round tin and served as wedges, but I think that the rectangles look nicer. I lined the tin with baking parchment in both directions so that when the cake was done, I could lift it out with the parchment. This makes it adaptable to a square tin without a removable bottom too.

Make the chocolate cake a day in advance. Like bread, it is much easier to slice if it is not fresh out of the oven. I sliced my cake into three horizontal slices, but on reflection, maybe I should have used 4 slices. Use your favourite chocolate cake recipe, the darker the better. If you go for a packet mix, choose one without filling and frosting, and preferably one that uses oil as an added ingredient. Vegetable oil will make the cake very moist.

I also made my caramel a day in advance – I chose to make dulce de leche, where you simmer a can of condensed milk (just place the whole tin in the water, don’t open it) for 3 hours. This is a fairly simple method, just check to make sure that it doesn’t boil dry.

Use the same baking tin to assemble the cake – I re-lined mine with parchment for ease.

I made the base from digestive biscuits and melted butter – like a cheesecake base. You can use dark choc biscuits if you like, but I thought that oaty digestives would give another texture. You need approximately half the weight of butter to biscuits e.g. if using 150g biscuits, melt 75g butter. Whizz up the biscuits to crumb consistency using either a food processor or by bashing them with a rolling pin while they are in a plastic bag. Slowly mix in the butter and line the base of your tin with the mixture – use the base of a glass or cup to push the mixture down – push it into the corners, then put the whole tin in the fridge so that the base sets more firmly as the butter hardens.

Next slice the cake so that it is ready to layer – be careful because each layer will be quite flimsy – you can put parchment between the layer if it helps to lift them.

Now make the mousse and buttercream – each amount should make enough for two layers.

Chocolate mousse:

200g dark chocolate (70% at least)

1 1/2 cups thick cream

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Using an electric whisk, whisk the cream and icing sugar in a chilled bowl preferably until the cream is stiff rather than runny. While you are doing this, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler.

Once the chocolate has melted, fold half of the cream into it, it might go a bit stiff and claggy at first, but keep folding and it will smooth out. Then fold in the rest of the cream until it is an even consistency.

Peanut buttercream:

1 cup unsalted butter – soft

1 heaped cup of smooth peanut butter

2 cups of icing sugar sifted

1/2 cup thick cream

a pinch of salt

Using an electric whisk, whip the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Next whisk in the icing sugar. Now whisk in the cream and salt – if it is too stiff to spread, add a little more cream.

When I assembled my cake, I placed choc mousse over the biscuit base, followed by a layer of cake, followed by a layer of peanut butter cream, followed by a layer of cake, then a layer of mousse. I carefully placed some peanut butter cream on top of the mousse (this is why I could have done with another cake layer), and finished off with a layer of cake.

I lightly whisked the dulce de leche with a fork and spread that over the top with a spatula. Then I sprinkled salted peanuts on top. I placed it in the fridge for a few hours before removing from the tin and slicing.

Gurkhas – Nepalese Restaurant – Kallaroo

Gurkhas Nepalese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I went to this restaurant on a whim on a Saturday night. Fancying something a bit different from the usual Japanese, Chinese or fish and chips, I scoured Urbanspoon for something local and came across this restaurant.

It is BYO and right next door to a bottleshop which is very convenient. The staff are gentle and welcoming, and the restaurant is modern with a clean, elegant ambience.

The menu is  unsurprisingly very similar to an Indian menu with the usual favourites like samosas, pakoras, tandoori etc.

We were given cumin poppadoms while we read the menu – it would have been nice to have some pickles to go with them.

We tried to choose something that we wouldn’t find in an Indian restaurant and opted for the Gurkhas special chicken curry, served on the bone, and the Prawns Makhani which is a creamy tomato sauce. To accompany this we chose pilau rice, mushroom bhaji and keema naan.

Mushroom Bhaji

Mushroom Bhaji

Keema Naan

Keema Naan

Prawn Makhani

Prawn Makhani

Gurkhas Special chicken curry

Gurkhas Special chicken curry

Pilau rice

Pilau rice

Curry on the plate

All of the dishes were really good, certainly better than most Indian restaurants in the northern suburbs. My only improvement would be to add more seasoning to the mushroom bhaji.

I would be very happy to go back to this restaurant.

Co-Op Dining, East Perth

Last time I went to Dear Friends, which I have always considered to be the best fine dining restaurant in Perth, the waitress told me about the new venture from Kiran and Kelli Mainwaring called Co-Op Dining in East Perth.

Co-Op Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It has the same philosophy as Dear Friends, using fresh local ingredients, nose to tail butchery, and each plate being well thought out in terms of balance, texture and nourishment.  On arrival, the waiter was an absolute treasure – he is from Nantes in France and was very knowledgeable and courteous in recommending an aperitif without being too pushy. I chose the ‘New 75’ cocktail – vodka, champagne and lemon juice.

New 75 Cocktail

New 75 Cocktail

The restaurant is more contemporary in style than Dear Friends, the music is a nice eclectic mix and the atmosphere is comfortable and stylish. We were seated in a semicircular booth, scattered with comfortable cushions and probably one of the nicest tables I have ever dined at.

We chose the 10 course degustation menu. Some may say that at $120 it is quite expensive, but in my opinion it is perfectly justified for the fine dining experience, the quality, the flavours, and the thought and workmanship that has been invested in the presentation of the food. I wouldn’t spend that much every week, but I am happy to do so for special occasions.

The amuse bouche was a real stunner – marron tail served on a hot salt block – the marron is initially served raw like sashimi, and you can allow it to ‘cook’ on the salt block to your taste. I chose to keep mine fairly raw – the freshness shone through. Served with a prawn cracker made from the claw meat of the marron, nothing is wasted, and a slice of radish was added for texture. I could have happily eaten a whole plate of the marron tails, an excellent start to the menu.

Marron tails on salt block

Marron tails on salt block

The second course was cuttlefish with rabbit chorizo, squid ink sauce, kimchi paste and brussel sprout leaf. Cephalopods like squid and cuttlefish match nicely with spicy sausages such as chorizo and black pudding, so this was another match made in heaven, very enjoyable.

Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish

Next we had a vegetable course, and I never knew that vegetables could taste so amazing. There was a presse of Jerusalem artichoke on a Jerusalem artichoke puree with zucchini, nasturtium flowers and mushroom powder.

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem Artichoke

Next we were served with another vegetable course – chestnut creamy soup with parsnip crisps. Again this was a fantastic example of how a vegetarian dish can taste incredibly good and I found myself scooping every last drop of soup from the cup.

Chestnut soup

Chestnut soup

On to non-vegetarian courses, next we had morcilla blood sausage with a slow cooked egg, dijon mustard, poached pear, mint jelly and horseradish powder. There were a lot of ingredients on this plate, but they all matched nicely, my only slight disappointment being the horseradish which did not taste punchy at all. I like strong horseradish.

Blood sausage

Blood sausage

The next course was possibly the most perfect plate of food that I have ever tasted. Pork loin and pork belly on a purple carrot puree with gnocchi, button squash, kumquat sauce and pea sprouts. Wow this was so nice – the combination of pork and kumquat making an interesting change from the traditional pork and apple pairing.

Pork

Pork

Then we were served home made tofu with leek and a medley of mushrooms, garlic emulsion and mushroom powder. Wow more amazing vegetables – the mushrooms were perfect and earthy, such an incredibly good dish.

Tofu

Tofu

The last meat plate was wagyu beef, perfectly rare, with picallilli sauce, curried cauliflower, beetroot and parisienne potatoes, and pickled cucumber. This was like the cheffiest version of having ‘cold cuts’ the day after a roast dinner. It reminded me of home and the pickles were perfect with the quality meat slices.

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef

Next came a palate cleanser of mandarin sorbet on lemon cured fennel.

Mandarin sorbet

Mandarin sorbet

Dessert was pink lady apples with rhubarb sorbet on apple puree with pistachio and oats. Yum. Apple and rhubarb is a classic combination, but this plate had texture, heaps of flavour, and was a perfect end to the meal.

Rhubarb and apple

Rhubarb and apple

Coffee was served with petit fours – the petit fours were nougat, berry marshmallows, and aerated heritage chocolate. Perfect again.

Petit Fours

Petit Fours

Would I come back to Co Op Dining again ? Hell yes. I now believe this to be the best fine dining experience in Perth, every course was pretty much perfect, the staff were fabulous, the timing was perfect. A great evening and a great experience.

Tag Cloud