It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for the ‘Restaurant review’ Category

Trangs, Girrawheen

Trang's Vietnamese Cafe & Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

There’s a whole Vietnamese community shopping centre on Marangaroo Drive, dominated by Vietnamese cafes and my nail technician swears they are the best in Perth. We visited Trang’s on a Friday night, and it was really busy with a constant stream of visitors waiting for a table.
Once seated, Vietnamese tea is complementary, which had a nice toasted coconut fragrance to it.

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We chose some spring rolls to share, nice succulent veggie rolls, thin and crispy too.

I chose the Bun Rieu – crab and pork special, a rich soup with fried tofu puffs, minced crab and pork balls, pork blood cubes and sliced pork. Full of nutritious veggies and herbs, it had a lovely depth of flavour. The broth has a tomato base, and we were given a mountain of cabbage, beansprouts, mint, and chilli to add to our taste. I tried the blood cubes, but I wasn’t overkeen – they are authentic, but also an acquired taste. The minced crab and pork balls were delicious and the noodles a nice bland backdrop to the flavours of the soup.

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My partner chose the spicy pork and beef bun. It was well spiced but had quite a lot of fat included, which he put to one side. He did enjoy it and ate it hungrily.

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We also had some fresh lemon soda.

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It was a great authentic meal. Trang’s is cash only though, so make sure you have enough cash before you visit.

Visit Date – August 2018

Tropico, North Beach

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

Tropico is a casual cafe on Flora Terrace, just a street back from the main coastal road. We didn’t book and were pleasantly surprised to be seated straight away for brunch. The wait staff are really nice, and very efficient. It’s quite large and airy inside, and they offer table service.

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I chose a soy iced coffee to drink, which was nice but with an edge of bitterness. It wasn’t my favourite type of coffee, as I prefer a mellower blend, but it was certainly very drinkable. I am not sure which blend was on rotation on the day – but then again I have been a little spoiled with Five Senses at home.
For my brunch I chose the Paleo plate – a delicious combination of avocado, spiced nuts and seeds, and spinach topped with two beautifully poached eggs. It was tasty from the first mouthful until the last and surprisingly filling.

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One of my companions chose the cornbread with chorizo ragu, poached eggs and chilli jam. He thoroughly enjoyed it – a well thought out plate – and a very satisfying meal.

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My other companion chose the brioche toasty, consisting of fried egg, leg ham, bechamel and cheese on a toasted brioche. A dish where all of the ingredients complemented each other perfectly, and he polished it off in record time.

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At the end of the meal, we felt very happy. We didn’t have to wait ages for our food, the staff were great and the quality was excellent. I am looking forward to going back soon.

Last Visit Date – March 2018

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Vans, Cottesloe

Vans Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve been meaning to try Vans for a long while, and it’s definitely a popular location, situated in Napoleon Street behind Boatshed Markets. I immediately loved the vibe of the cafe – friendly staff, a great looking cake cabinet, jazzy music and nice decor, and it had quite a buzz about it but wasn’t so loud that you needed to shout. I chose fresh orange to start which was good and vibrant – great flavour.

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My partner chose a decaf soy flat white which was smooth and little thin maybe because of the soy.

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It was difficult to choose a main – there were way too many delicious options, but in the end I plumped for the potato cake with smoked salmon, spinach and poached egg. It usually comes with lemon butter, but I asked for that to be left off because of my dairy allergy. This dish was perfection on a plate – the potato cake tasty with a bit of crunch, the egg perfectly gooey, and the smoked salmon was good quality fare – not the usual gelatinous packet bought version.

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My partner chose the cheesy jalapeno cornbread with bacon, poached eggs, smashed avocado and a black bean and corn salsa. The poached eggs were perfect, the cornbread very tasty and the bacon – like my salmon – was good quality and yummy. There was a nice zingy lime backdrop to the avocado smash.

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The cake cabinet looked very tempting but we decided to save that for another day. The raspberry brownies looked particularly good.

Vans is definitely worth a try – one of Cottesloe’s jewels.

Last Visit Date – March 2019

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Extra pics from another visit:

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Pink grapefruit and rosemary soda – so yummy:

Pulled pork chimichurri – top dish :

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Korean beef tacos:

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The Dainty Dowager, Mount Lawley

Dainty Dowager Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Dainty Dowager is on the main Beaufort Street strip just past Clarence Street, and the first thing that you notice is the warm welcome. There are obviously many regulars here judging by the number of hugs and warm greetings that the head waitress dishes out. We were seated at a regular table (there are also high bar tables that you can perch at), and considering that it was only 6:30pm the place was buzzing, noisy and vibrant.

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The wait staff are incredibly good here, not overly attentive so that you feel stifled, but they notice straight away when you need a water top up or a fresh napkin. The menu is made up of small, medium and large dishes, and it is very much designed for sharing. The vibe is Asian fusion, and I found that most items on the menu were tempting – it was difficult to make a shortlist. We started off with a glass of Castelli Riesling first, a lovely drop – floral and citrus – a real champion of Great Southern Rieslings, and now one of our favourites.

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We chose three small dishes. The first to arrive was a sashimi grade fish with ginger plum dressing and burnt chilli aioli. The fish of the day was kingfish, and this dish brought to mind more of a South American style ceviche than a Japanese dish. The aioli was punchy but went really well with the fish and we found it a great and enjoyable plate of food.

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The next dish was a pair of napa cabbage spring rolls with celery leaf, carrot and peach and ginger sauce. This was nice but the spring roll lacked seasoning and really needed the sauce to bring out the flavours. It was beautifully crunchy though.

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Third to arrive were the coal charred pork spare ribs with a sweet sticky marinade and pickled daikon and carrot. Everything about this plate was tremendous, the pickles beautifully done, the ribs melt in the mouth succulent and falling off the bone. If you order just one thing, order these ribs.

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We ordered a medium plate of soft shell crab. This arrived with a som tum salad, and again was a triumphant dish. The crab wonderfully crispy and well seasoned, and the green papaya salad a combination of spicy and citrus, all served with a sweet chilli sauce. Yum.

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The last dish to arrive was a large one – chicken mussaman curry. This was different from a regular mussaman curry, there were no potatoes and the sauce was thinner than usual, but the chicken was beautifully flavoured – it had been cooked sous-vide and then flash fried to make the skin crispy. It had a wonderful gingery depth and was served with tomatoes and snake beans. We had to order the rice separately and were presented with a bowl that was plenty for two.

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At the end of the meal we were pleasantly full and very happy with our choices, keen to return and try the rest of the menu which contains several vegan and vegetarian options. The only downside was the ambient noise which made it difficult to converse without shouting at each other, but through sign language we enjoyed a wonderful meal.

Last Visit Date – July 2018

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Portofinos, Mindarie

Portofinos Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Portofinos is a large restaurant at the Quinn’s end of Mindarie, and it has the advantage of overlooking the ocean. We went there on a Friday evening and it was quite busy and noisy with lots of families dining.
We were directed to a table fairly close to the large windows with a panoramic view of the ocean. The waitress seated us, but it was quite a while before we were offered some drinks.

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The menu includes tapas style plates as well as larger mains. We decided to choose some tapas to share. We also chose a glass of Jim Barry Lavender Hill Riesling each, which was okay, but not the best Riesling that I have sampled.
We started with a sharing plate of chicken wings, halloumi, arancini, smoked sausage, mixed pickles, vegetable frittata, olives, dip and flatbread. The bread was nicely made and cooked, and the wings were quite tasty. The halloumi was overly salty and not pleasant to eat and the chorizo was very strongly spiced. In contrast, the frittata needed some seasoning and the other items were okay. The dip was quite nice.

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We also chose whitebait – nice standard fare, quite tasty.

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Next came a duck spring roll and this was definitely the best dish of the meal, but a bit pricey at $12 for one roll which was cut into 3 pieces (sorry I ate one before taking the pic).

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Lastly a chicken pate with pear chutney and turkish bread. The pear chutney really didn’t add anything to the plate. The pate was quite nice though.

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So what was the verdict on Portofinos ? It certainly has a great view, and if you have a family it is very child-friendly. It’s not a great place for a date though, because it is noisy and brash. The food was okay, but expensive considering that it wasn’t amazing. The duck spring roll was very nice, but everything else was pretty average.

Visit Date – October 2017

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Pixel Coffee, Leederville

Pixel Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pixel is a cafe that sits on Oxford Street about halfway down, away from the main Leederville hubbub and close to Bourke Street.
There are tables inside and out, but not a lot of them. We started off seated at the coffee bar and the moved to a table as one became available.

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The menu is quite varied with healthy bowls, chia pudding, and brunch options and Pixel are famous for their array of milks. If you don’t drink dairy, they have pretty much every other option you could need. I chose the banana smoothie with coconut milk, a lovely thick banana honey smoothie with cinnamon – absolutely yum.

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My partner chose a decaf soy coffee, a Colombian blend which was rich and smooth, you couldn’t tell it was decaf by the flavour.

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I chose the Pix Plate to eat – a potato and herb hash with poached eggs, prosciutto, peas, sprouts, parmesan and lemon oil. What a lovely combination. The oozy eggs soaked over the potato hash, the parmesan added a salty piquant hit as did the prosciutto. Posh bacon and eggs with a twist.

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My partner chose the Mushroom Ragu, rich braised mushrooms with tomato and fennel, on two pieces of Mary St Bakery sourdough, with fried eggs, peas shoots, crushed walnuts and smashed avocado. He really enjoyed it.

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The staff were nice and really enjoyed serving the customers, and the cold take away cabinet looked very appealing. There was a steady stream of take away customers. I’d definitely go back to Pixel, it’s good honest healthy food, well prepared and nicely seasoned. There are good vegan options too.

Last Visit Date – January 2019

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Kitsch, Leederville

Kitsch Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kitsch is an Asian style bar and restaurant on Oxford Street, but a bit north of the main strip – close to the Re-store, Pappagallo, Pixel and the Bourke Street community. We had an early Friday evening booking and were seated at a comfortable table for two. The menu is quite varied with lots of good-sounding options. We chose the lotus chips with wasabi mayo to start. Unfortunately there was no wasabi mayo (we were too early for chef to make it), so we had sriracha chilli mayo, which was nice, but a shame because I was really looking forward to the wasabi, and it would have been nice for them to tell us before delivering the dish.

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We chose several plates to share and the first to arrive was a plate of eggplant sambal. The eggplant was well cooked, soft, but not squishy, however the whole dish needed more seasoning.

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The next plate contained Korean sweet and salty chicken wings. They were simply delicious – definitely the best dish of the evening. They came with a spicy mayo and were nice plump and meaty with a gorgeous sticky coating. We were also given some wet towels to wipe our sticky fingers.

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Next to arrive was a bowl of spicy mince with green beans – similar to a larb salad. This was tasty and had some nice gravy at the bottom. We didn’t eat it all though – it was good to start but the flavours didn’t carry through for the whole meal and we became a bit bored of it.

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Then came crispy skin pork belly in a red thai curry broth with lychees and pineapple. This was another star dish that we really enjoyed. We also had rice to soak up the lovely sauce.

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So Kitsch – is it a winner? They definitely have some fabulous dishes, but they also have some mediocre dishes too and it’s not cheap to eat there. The staff were friendly but I found it a bit strange that in an empty restaurant they chose to seat a table of three right next to us when there was plenty of other seating available. It also seems to be a venue where you go for a drink and cocktails, and I heard the lady on the next table singing the praises of the gin. Maybe we’ll give Kitsch another go, but there’s a lot of competition in Perth, so watch this space..

Last Visit Date – March 2019

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Nando’s, Clarkson

Nando's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m not a great lover of ‘fast’ food, but I am quite partial to Nando’s sometimes. I find that the different outlets can be quite variable, but one that seems to be consistently good is the Clarkson branch which sits in Ocean Keys Boulevard on the outside part of Ocean Keys shopping centre.
If you are not familiar with the offerings, there are various forms of grilled basted chicken – quarters, halves, whole chickens, wraps, burgers, salads etc. and you choose the heat of your basing from mild to extra hot, or the mild and fruity flavours lemon and herb, and mango and lime.
The Clarkson restaurant is usually quite clean, although some of the booth seating is beginning to look a little worn.

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On this visit we chose to share churrasco bbq thighs basted with mild sauce, a chicken quarter basted with mango and lime, peri chips (the peri salt is a spicy seasoning), perinaise dip and corn on the cob. The thighs were succulent and the chicken breast was tasty. I believe that Nando’s premarinate and cook the chickens, so they are always cooked through, then they finish them off on the grill with the basting of your choice. The marinade is probably why the meat is
always so juicy and tender. The corn was nice, although the portion sizes of corn are larger in the UK version of Nando’s, but the chip portion sizes are more generous in Australia.

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I really enjoyed the food and will continue to go to this branch in future.

Last Visit Date – June 2019

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Pavilion, Joondalup

Pavilion Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pavilion is a restaurant located at the West Coast Institute in Joondalup. It is a restaurant where hospitality staff are trained, so it’s best to bear this in mind when attending. Sometimes everything runs perfectly smoothly, and sometimes not so, but everybody has to train somewhere, and this aspect is reflected in the price of the food. I went there for lunch with work colleagues, and the floor was full of eager beaver trainee wait staff who served us admirably, especially young Bella who was assigned to our table.
The menu does not have a massive choice and there is usually only one vegetarian option. The regular choices are 3-4 entrees, mains and desserts. It’s not particularly inventive or masterchef-like, but then again, the objective here is to train wait staff, and to have an over complicated menu would add an extra dimension of difficulty to proceedings. That said, all the food here is very tasty and well prepared.
We ate a set menu for a special staff function. Our starter was a pumpkin and coconut soup. Lovely and smooth, with a bit of a spice kick to it, and perfectly prepared croutons, I enjoyed this very much.

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Then we had a ‘go up and serve yourself’ carvery with a choice of pork or lamb. I chose the pork, and the chef served up a slightly clumsily carved thick slice of pork, when a few smaller slices would have been preferable. This was served with apple sauce, potatoes dauphinoise, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, crispy roast potato cubes and gravy. I really enjoyed the food, despite having to cut large chunks off of my ginormous slice of pork. The veggies were a little underdone, but this is probably intentional as carvery vegetable sit around on the heaters for a while (and probably eventually become overdone).

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Dessert was a lemon tart or an orange chocolate mousse. The orange chocolate mousse was luscious and very moreish with some wonderful candied nuts on top. The lemon tart was nicely made and served with fruit.

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We were offered tea and coffee and the meal was complete. There were a few ‘accidents’ in the dining room, a few dropped glasses, and some service mistakes here and there, but generally it was a very pleasant meal and the staff tried very hard to ensure that we had everything that we needed.
If you are happy to be served by young trainees, and don’t mind that the service is a little slow and deliberate at times, you will end up having quite a good value delicious meal. The trainees are really enthusiastic and pleasant to chat to. If you are looking for silver service and perfection, then look elsewhere. I liked it, and would be happy to return.

Visit Date – March 2018

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Low Key Chow House, Leederville

Low Key Chow House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Low Key Chow House is situated on the main Oxford Street strip in Leederville, and is a sister restaurant of Mount Lawley’s Dainty Dowager. The menu is designed for sharing, a mixture of small, medium and large plates.
We had an early booking, which means that we had the table for 2 hours, the downside of table time limits is that the staff tend to rush your order through.
We were seated, offered water, and chose a nice drop of Eden Valley Riesling while we perused the menu.

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We were given a small bowl of peanuts and candied anchovies to start – the anchovies were really good – quite unusual – sweet and salty.

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For our small plates we chose the spring rolls with sweet potato noodles, and the house dumplings – chicken and vegetable.

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The spring rolls were very generous and tasted good with a lovely tamarind dipping sauce.

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The dumplings were fried with a soy dip, nice but they needed the dip to season them. Our mains included soft shell crab in singapore chilli sauce with okra. This was a lovely dish, with a nice sauce, quite spicy too.

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We also chose the beef shortribs with pear and apple marinade, kimchi and sesame sprouts. The kimchi was very spicy, but very very tasty, and the sauce with the ribs was also quite hot, but we enjoyed it. The ribs were well cooked, good quality and very flavoursome – it was quite a generous dish.

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We also chose some plain noodles with ginger and spring onion.

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It was a good meal with a tempting menu, the staff were friendly, and it’s definitely a popular spot with the locals, however, we did feel that the meal was a bit rushed, and also quite expensive. I will probably go back at some point to try some of the other dishes, maybe not on a Saturday night.

Visit Date – October 2018

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