It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for the ‘Restaurant review’ Category

Twenty Seats, Highgate

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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Beach House, Jindalee

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, Applecross

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 (Afternoon Tea), Crown, Burswood

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, Perth CBD

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, East Perth

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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HQ Bar and Kitchen, Elizabeth Quay

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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Coco Belle Espresso Bar, Mt Pleasant

Coco Belle Espresso Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coco Belle sits on the corner of Reynolds Road and Queens Road in the leafy affluent suburb of Mount Pleasant. We met our friend Susie and her daughter Annabel here for a Sunday brunch/lunch. The staff are immediately friendly and welcoming and genuinely pleased to see you. The menu has plenty of options for everybody and some superb smoothie options. We were reliably informed by Susie that the decaf option is very nice too. It took some perusal of the menu before we finally decided.

I chose a smoothie with peanut, banana, cocoa and oat milk – this was silky and delicious.

Pete and Susie both chose coffee which is sourced from Osborne Park roastery Dark Star, and as promised the decaf was freshly ground, and delightfully smooth with soft citrus and dried fruit flavours.

Annabel chose a babycino – a nice amount of froth, with sprinkles as well as marshmallows.

There were several options on the menu that I liked, but I finally plumped for an omelette with caramelised onions, mushrooms and bacon. It was so tasty from start to finish and served with a lovely salad and some toast. A very generous serving.

Susie chose the smashed avocado on toast with eggs and a side of bacon, again a very tasty and plentiful dish.

Pete chose the shakshuka – roasted tomato, capsicum, garlic, chick peas with poached egg and toasted flatbread. A very enjoyable dish, maybe a little underseasoned, but with a little table salt it was perfect.

Annabel chose pancakes – Ice cream, chocolate, strawberries. What more could a girl want?

We found Coco Belle to be a very child friendly and welcoming venue with lots of good food options catering for a variety of dietary requirements. The food and drinks are good quality and this is definitely one of the best cafes in the area.

Last Visit – August 2021

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The Little Bay, Watermans Bay

The Little Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Little Bay has a prime coastal position at Watermans Bay and is a favourite haunt of the young and trendy. We have dined here at the weekend before and it can get incredibly noisy, but this time we chose a midweek lunch, and although busy, it was quite a comfortable atmosphere. There are tables outside, but as it was a winter’s day we chose to eat inside and only waited fifteen minutes for a table. The menu has lots of tempting options, with dietary variations a possibility. Coffee was superb – we chose decaf, and when you get a nice freshly ground decaf, you know that you have found a winner.

For my brunch I chose the confit salmon eggs benedict, which was really well presented, a great fresh muffin, with tasty salmon and perfectly poached dippy eggs. I asked for the hollandaise on the side, which they happily accommodated, and I really enjoyed every mouthful.

My partner chose the scrambled eggs with chorizo, one of those dishes where the last mouthful was as good as the first. The chorizo was broken down into small, almost minced pieces rather than huge slices and this added to a great consistent flavour throughout the dish.

All in all it was a fab brunch with great views of the ocean, and friendly staff. We’ll definitely be back, but during the quieter times – I think that’s when Little Bay really excels.

Last Visit Date – August 2021

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Fleur, Perth CBD

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

Fleur is a superb fine dining restaurant inside the Royal Hotel on the corner of WIlliam Street and Wellington Street near Raine Square in the heart of Perth central. We booked a Saturday night table and the vibe outside was buzzing with people heading out for drinks, food and parties. The Royal is a traditional pub and the restaurant is in a separate section but still has the dark pub atmosphere, hence the poor quality of my photos.

The inside is lovely, cosy and intimate with walls of attractive drink bottles that make you want to try them all.

The staff are lovely and knowledgeable, the barman was very helpful with cocktail choices, and there really is something for everybody. My partner was on antibiotics and not drinking, but there was a whole page of appealing alcohol free cocktails to choose from and he couldn’t go past the rhubarb sour. So he had a rhubarb sour and I had a citrus martini.

The menu is a degustation, but you can add to it. There are a few extra dishes you can add, you can have the whole menu ‘truffled’ if truffles are your thing, and you can also add some caviar dishes, ranging from the expensive polanco oscietra grand reserve sturgeon ($120 for 30g) to a $12 10g portion of yarra valley salmon smoked roe in a brik pastry tart. There’s also a bar snack menu for those who want to pop in for cocktails and a sophisticated bite of oysters, lobster toast, and a cheese board.

We decided to stick with the main degustation, no additions and were delighted with the amuse bouche selection of salted orange soda, spicy togorashi popcorn and pickled daikon. The popcorn was addictive and has inspired me to make some spicy popcorn at home. The menu has a Japanese twist, and we knew that we were in for a treat.

The starters consisted of: Skull Island king prawn tartlet with green apple and Geraldton wax – a really yummy mouthful with light crispy pastry, fresh prawns and crisp apple.

Kangaroo tsukune, salted egg, tare (a thick soy sauce) and native dukkah, another gorgeous light bite with great flavour:

Shiromi (white fish), sushi rice, nori (seaweed), garum (Roman fish sauce) and sesame – this is the dish that we’ll be talking about for years to come. It doesn’t look much but oh boy it delivered on umami, umami tenfold! Such amazing savoury, moreish flavours with beautiful fresh fish hidden inside. I could have eaten ten of these little bowls of goodness:

Next came a fish course of ocean trout, native saline, sudachi (a citrus fruit), ancient grains and a smoked mussel broth. Another sublime dish, fresh quality fish, an incredibly tasty broth and the great crunch of the ancient grains – more perfection from chef.

The main course was aged duck breast with five spice, apricot, cabbage and umbles (a little offal – ‘umble pie). The picture doesn’t show it well, but the skin was crisped to perfection, and the duck beautifully cooked. Every little item was meant to be on this plate, and it was a triumph of menu design.

Next came a pre-dessert jasmine tea and fennel granita with lemon myrtle – a great palate cleanser.

Last but certainly not least was the main dessert 64% single origin dark chocolate with a Davidson plum mousse (they made this version especially for us to avoid the usual dairy version) and coconut. What a supreme dessert with so many good textures and flavours, and a super moist sponge, I scraped every last spoonful from the bowl.

I managed to squeeze in a second cocktail – a delicious floral prosecco spritz with cherry bitters.

I also loved the Fleur cutlery:

So wow. Fleur definitely has the wow factor and a menu brimming with umami. If you don’t do anything else this winter, please visit Fleur – you won’t regret your visit because this treasure of a venue has so much to offer.

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Last visit date – July 2021

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