It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for the ‘Restaurant review’ Category

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

Riverbank Estate Winery, Caversham

RiverBank Estate Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Riverbank Estate is a winery with lovely views in the heart of Caversham. I was drawn to the venue when looking to see what Kiran Mainwaring is doing now (former chef at Dear Friends and Co op dining). We booked a table for a winter Sunday lunch, but were pleasantly surprised to see that there are several tables and a food stall laid on in a marquee for those who just want to pop in for a casual lunch. There was live entertainment too and it’s one of those places where people gravitate with their camp chairs and cushions and settle in for a lazy Sunday afternoon drinking wine.

We chose a glass of Rebellious vermentino to start proceedings, a nice drop, not unlike a riesling, with great fruity overtones.

Perusing the menu, I really fancied lobster and chips, so placed my order, but unfortunately they didn’t have any, so I reconsidered and decided to try the wild fish of the day which was crimson snapper served with endive, capsicum, purple cauliflower, orange and passionfruit gel and burnt butter sauce. I asked for the butter sauce to be minimal, and it was – just a few dribbles around the plate. It was a delightful dish, superbly fresh fish with a good citrus zing from the gel.

My partner chose one of the daily specials, brisket risotto, which was really good. Great slow roast brisket on a nice creamy risotto, topped with a little beef jus.

We deliberately skipped starters so we could have dessert, and my partner chose the mixed berry and apple crumble with vanilla bean ice cream and marshmallow. This was a little disappointing, and felt like the components had been prepared separately and put together on the plate. The apple was firm – not the nice stewed apple that you expect with a crumble, the berry seemed to be mainly berry juice, the crumble topping seemed to have been cooked separately and then sprinkled on top, and the marshmallow was just plonked on the side. A more traditional crumble all cooked together (without the pastry case) would have been nicer with some lovely gooey melty marshmallow around the edges, and maybe some custard.

I chose the best dessert. A cherry choc dome with crystallised dark chocolate and cherry ripe ice cream. Everything about it was excellent. Luscious chocolate mousse, crisp chocolate shell, honeycomb, sauce and a very addictive cherry ice cream.

I like Riverbank – I like the vibe of the place, and the food is mainly great. The live music did clash a little with the music from the main restaurant, but it was a cheerful and friendly experience, and we will be back, because I am determined to sample the lobster and chips!

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Last visit date – July 2021

My House Dumpling, Leederville

We stumbled across this Taiwanese venue when looking for somewhere to eat on a Friday after work. Most venues were not quite open yet, but My House was already buzzing with plenty of reserved tables. It stands on Oxford Street on the site where Low Key Chow House used to be. The lovely gentleman in charge of front of house found us a table and explained the dumpling serving sizes and the technology to order them. They give you a tablet device to peruse the menu and order which is fun and a good way to make sure that you get the order right.

The range of dumplings is extensive, and you can choose from various fillings. We chose the famous xiao long bao – juicy pork soup dumplings and were advised to dip them in the vinegar sauce that is provided on the table. They tasted amazing and we were helpfully given a spoon to help with eating them.

We also chose spicy kimchi and beef boiled dumplings. Again delicious.

We chose a few non-dumpling dishes – a fried kueh teow with chicken, very authentic with the lovely smoky wok flavour running through it.

Then some spring rolls with crab and prawn, which were served with a sweet chilli sauce – very moreish.

We left feeling very satisfied and as we paid the man gestured towards the owner who was busy hand making all of the dumplings. The dumplings may not be as perfectly uniform as the restaurants where they buy them in (probably frozen), but they are certainly very tasty and you can tell the difference in the freshness. This restaurant is well worth a visit for the tastiest dumplings in town and the friendliest service.

Last Visit date – May 2021

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Sandalford Estate, Caversham

Sandalford Estate Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sandalford is one of the best known Swan Valley vineyards, with quite an impressive land area and a lovely cellar door and restaurant area.

The menu is modern Australian, and the drinks menu contains every drink that you could imagine along with the selection of Sandalford wines of course. As it was lunchtime and several of us were driving, we didn’t go for a full wine tasting on this occasion.

Everything on the menu looked appetising and it was hard to choose, but eventually I went for the Exmouth tiger prawns salad with orzo pasta. This was absolutely delicious, great quality fresh prawns and really good flavours throughout.

My partner chose the pork belly with watermelon, radish and sherry vinegar. The pork was nicely cooked and the sweet melon offset the vinegar. A great plate.

We shared some sides of salad leaves and fried royal blue potatoes – all very tasty.

One of our friends chose the lamb shank with roasted eggplant, carrot, feta and date relish, and soft herbs. He loved the texture and flavours, and said that he would choose it again.

Another friend chose the pizza with prawns, nduja (pork sausage spread), zucchini and mozzarella. All pizzas are hand made fresh in a dedicated pizza oven and this one was as delicious as it looked.

Another winning dish consisted of figs with orange, heirloom carrots and caramelised nuts (entree size).

Desserts were spectacular and included a chocolate cube with tonka bean gelato:

A bomboloni Italian doughnut with coffee Frangelico semi freddo, macadamia and white chocolate:

A cassata of raspberry, coconut and mango:

A coconut gelato with berries and melon:

Everything we ate at Sandalford was delicious, the setting was great and it was a very relaxed lunch. Will definitely return.

Last visit date April 2021

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High Tea at the C Restaurant, Perth CBD

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

We have dined at the C before and had high tea there before but never a vegan high tea, and on a lovely Easter Sunday, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to try one of the few vegan high teas available in Perth. To be honest, it didn’t really have to be vegan, but it did have to be dairy free, so sometimes with a dairy heavy option like high tea, it’s easier to go vegan. If you don’t already know, The C is on the 33rd floor of St Martin’s Tower on St George’s Terrace, and it revolves, so you get a full view of the Swan, King’s Park and beyond as you rotate around at the top of the CBD.

We were seated by the window and given water, but it was some time before we were offered tea. My partner chose to have coffee instead, wanting a soy decaf flat white, and we were quickly told that this ‘wasn’t included in the high tea package’, only percolated coffee was included and we would have to pay extra. At the end of the meal we found out that this was a full price coffee, not the difference in price between percolated and other coffees, which seemed a bit mean of them. Anyhow, I chose a green sencha tea which was very good.

When the three tier stand arrived, we anticipated a lovely tea.

The savouries consisted of rice paper rolls, spring rolls and sliders. The first one we tried was a slider with vegan cheese and tomato. The roll was nice but the filling was under-seasoned and a little bland. The spring rolls were filled with mainly cabbage but some other vegetables, but again seasoning was lacking and we sought out a salt pot to help. The rice paper rolls contained tofu, noodles, carrot, onion and cabbage, and came with a dipping sauce, but again they were bland. The fourth item was a roll with avocado and grated carrot. I didn’t try this but my partner said that the roll was tasty and the avocado nicely ripe.

Scones were good, with a choice or fruit or plain, served with jam and coconut cream. The coconut cream was quite runny, but the scones were nice and I enjoyed them.

The desserts were a bit of a mixed bag. Fruit kebabs were simple but nice. The cashew cheesecake was grainy and not really pleasant to eat. The chocolate caramel slice was sweet and heavy.

So what was the verdict? It was nice but not special, and to be honest a bit of a lazy menu. They really could have made a few minor tweaks to make it a great menu. Instead of vegan cheese and tomato in a roll, how about a vegan tart with caramelised onions, vegan cheddar and tomato. How about a slice of crispy tofu bahn mi – that would have been so tasty! A finger sandwich with vegan pesto and roasted veggies would have been superb. Some tasty mushrooms in the spring roll and some more seasoning would have elevated it to another level.

Instead of dense vegan cakes, we could have had a little vegan lemon meringue, the fruits could have been arranged on a little vegan flan, the cheesecake could have been whipped strawberries and coconut cream. Vegan isn’t all about grated carrot and dense nutty desserts!

Will we go back? I doubt it, unless they lift their vegan game.

Last visit date – April 2021

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The Point Bar and Grill, East Perth

The Point Bar and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On Riverside Drive, near the Causeway, is a little oasis of restaurants right on the river with a view of Heirisson Island at Point Fraser. One of them is a bar and grill upstairs with a great glass balcony. We were seated with a fab view of the river and were looking forward to a classy lunch.

The menu is Modern Australian with lots of nice options. We chose some dukkah olives and kingfish to start.

Olives were varied and plentiful, and the kingfish was superbly fresh with pickled enoki, yuzu, miso, chilli, coriander and wasabi. There was a nice dollop of a romesco style sauce which was quite nice as a dip for the olives!

For main I chose pork belly with scallops, pea puree, apple, fennel and jus. It was very nice, and not overly fatty, but I would have preferred the crackling to be a little crispier. Scallops were divine, and the pea and apple had a nice depth of flavour.

My partner chose the beef cheek with crushed potato, peas, bacon, scorched onion, and pumpkin. It was lovely meltingly soft piece of beef cheek. We also chose a summer leaf salad, but I forgot to take a picture – this was a beautiful salad and really nice dressing.

All in all it was a great lunch with a lovely view, and some great flavours. I would definitely pay a return visit.

Last visit date – April 2021

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Andly Private Kitchen, West Leederville

Andly Private Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Andly Private Kitchen is in West Leederville, a bit away from the main eating and drinking areas of Leederville and Subiaco, but quite close to a few local breweries. Parking is fairly easy, but it’s not a place that you can just drop in. you have to book in advance, convey your dietary requirements and pay a deposit as well as choosing a price per head starting at $100 and increasing in $50 increments.

When you arrive it really is like walking into a treasure trove of a room, rich with artworks, oriental furniture and ornaments, it has a cosy feel like dining in somebody’s home lounge. We were seated on a long shared table sitting opposite each other, but far away enough from the next couple to maintain intimacy. We chose the $150 per head menu and looking around the room as dishes arrived it seemed that most had chosen either $100 or $150. We also asked for ours to be dairy free and minimal meat. The restaurant is ‘bring your own;’ for a small corkage charge, but we chose to stick with water on this occasion.

The kitchen is fairly open and you can see chef preparing everything. He clearly loves what he does, and when we arrived he was making the most perfect looking dumplings.

Our first dish to arrive was a scallop in crispy thin noodles with an apple salad. The scallop was perfectly cooked and nice and thick (not a half scallop that some chefs slice horizontally). The apple salad delicate and crisp with some tiny tomatoes and corn. This was a great start to the feast.

The next dish is where the dumplings came into play. Patagonian toothfish dumplings in a chicken broth – excellent intense broth, beautifully soft dumplings. Another really excellent dish, I just needed a tiny bread roll to scoop out the remnants of the broth from the bowl.

If you know me you will know that crispy aromatic duck is one of my favourite meals. In Australia, it tends to be Peking duck which is similar, but the duck is roast and not deep fried. We watched chef roll the pancakes, and they arrived in a perfect bamboo basket with a wonderful portion of sliced duck breast, some hoisin sauce and mango, cucumber and spring onion. To prepare the pancake you just put a little of everything in the pancake, roll it up and eat. This didn’t disappoint, and every item was perfectly prepared.

Fourth was probably my favourite dish (although finding a particular favourite among such a high standard was hard) – pork spare ribs with vinegar sauce, fig and pineapple. I can’t remember better ribs than this, soft and sticky and cooked just right.

Next came a whole lobster cooked in crispy floss with herbs and we were given some disposable gloves so that we could eat the lobster without getting messy fingers. I noticed that some other diners had prawns rather then lobster, so maybe this was one of the differences with the price point of the menu. The lobster was beautifully fresh and we really enjoyed the dish bit were beginning to feel quite full.

Finally dessert was fresh fruits with mango sorbet, again perfectly presented, and really refreshing. We noticed that other diners (the ones eating dairy) received a luscious looking slice of cake type dessert, and so this was the only course where I felt a little short-changed. Although the fruit was lovely, it was very simple and I know it’s not difficult to make a dairy free cake. Anyhow, the mango sorbet was intense and soft, and I did enjoy the jewel like appearance of the dessert.

So what did we think? Yes it was an amazing meal, where the ingredients were the star. Nothing seemed overly fussy, it was all simple food, well constructed and presented. The chef has an eye for menu creation and he certainly has access to some good produce. I wouldn’t be visiting Andly every week, but it is definitely a good venue for a special treat and a unique experience.

Last Visit Date – March 2021

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Ootong and Lincoln, South Fremantle

Ootong & Lincoln Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ootong and Lincoln sits on the cafe strip of South Terrace in South Fremantle. It’s a quirky place with colourful zebras painted on the outside walls. The menu is quite friendly for customers with special diets and we settled down to check out the brunch dishes. There were quite a few tempting options on the menu, and I chose an elderflower mint and apple slushie to drink. This was a nice refreshing change to regular drink items, I really enjoyed.

My partner chose a decaf flat white which was nice and rich – he enjoyed it.

For my meal I chose the potato cake with mushrooms which was lovely and quite a huge portion. The mushrooms were nicely flavoured and they helpfully put my hollandaise on the side so that I could have just a little. the poached eggs were beautifully cooked to a perfect level of dippiness. The dish comes in several variations including bacon, chorizo, and smoked salmon for omnivores.

My partner chose the shakshuka. The bread was amazingly good. The coddled eggs were sadly overcooked, and the spicy tomato sauce was nice but could have taken a little more spice. The metal dish was nuclear-fusion hot which probably contributed to the overdoneness of the eggs. However, despite this, my partner did enjoy the meal, he would have liked a slightly bigger portion.

The staff were nice and helpful and this cafe is definitely a neighbourhood gem. Worth a visit if you are in the area.

Last Visit Date – March 2021

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Paste Thai, Applecross

Paste Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had heard good things about Paste Thai and were keen to try it, so we headed down to Applecross one Saturday evening for a nice Thai meal. The first obstacle with this venue is parking. It’s located in Kearns Crescent and the parking is chaotic, especially on a busy Saturday evening. I wasn’t sure if I had parked in a suitable space, so asked the waitress, but communication was a little difficult and she just nodded, so I left the car where it was and hoped for the best. The restaurant was equally as chaotic as the parking, busy, noisy, hot and humid, but we took this as a good sign and were looking forward to food.

We were seated near a wooden feature wall which was really quite dirty, it was covered in dust, and the crevices were full of grime and bits of rubbish. It does worry me when a restaurant does not keep the dining area scrupulously clean – it makes me curious about the state of the kitchen. Anyway, we went ahead and ordered.

The first dish to arrive was an entree of vegetarian curry puffs. There was absolutely nothing ‘curry’ about the puffs and I could not identify the vegetable inside – it may have been cabbage or potato, but either way, they were parcels of deep fried blandness. The pastry was nice, and the dip was good, but both were let down by the rest of the dish.

For our main course we ordered the chilli basil noodles with prawns and a chicken panang with steamed rice.

The panang was the best of the dishes but the chicken was small and overcooked, and there were no traditional thai eggplants in the dish, and no back flavour of thai basil, although the veggies were nice.

The noodles were okay-ish – quite hot – but not a lot of other flavours going on but we ate them anyway until the awful moment when my partner found a long black hair in the noodles. After this we both felt quite queasy and didn’t want to continue with eating.

We informed the wait staff about the hair and they apologised. On payment, the waitress gave us 10% discount which only amounted to $5 – we really should have had a full refund for the noodles. She promised that it would be better next time, but there won’t be a next time. Applecross is quite a trek for us, and not worth the time and effort to be let down by lacklustre dishes and poor hygiene.

Last visit date – March 2021

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Cooee, Swan Brewery, West Perth

Based at the iconic Swan Brewery in Perth, and right on the river, there couldn’t be a better location for dinner. Previously this restaurant was Zafferanos, a stuffy and lacklustre Italian based joint that seemed stuck in the 70s with its cheese and cream heavy menu, so I am pleased to say that Cooee’s fresh, friendly approach to Modern Australian food is a breath of fresh air to this establishment. With head chef Alan Wise in place, the menu is appetising and delicious, and the vibe is definitely more upbeat, smart-casual and welcoming.

We booked fairly late in the proceedings and were offered a place on the long table with stools, or a small table at the back with high chairs with backs in them. Comfort is everything to me when eating, and I like my chair to have a back in it, so we chose the higher chairs. It was fine, but the waitress then offered us another table with a better view as long as we vacated it in time for the next occupants – we agreed to the deal and ended up on a nice table overlooking the river.

We were intrigued by some of the the wines on the menu and asked to try the vermentino, but when sampled, we weren’t keen, so decided to go for a Great Southern La Violetta sparkling rose, which was very drinkable. The waitress was very patient while we perused our choices.

The menu is designed for sharing or not, with smaller plates and larger plates. I love it when I can’t decide because the choices all seem so nice, and Cooee didn’t disappoint. I could have gone for vegan or vegetarian choices (both were available), but decided to go with a fish based meal. Choices for small plates included oysters, mussels, sashimi, pork belly, mushrooms, cauliflower etc. and larger plates included chicken, leeks, zucchini, steak, fish and wagyu.

I started with Fremantle octopus with vietnamese mint, lime and chilli. Beautifully cut slivers of octopus in a piquant dressing. This was lovely and fresh, clean and nourishing – the raw chilli was a little hot for me, but my partner happily stole my chilli to add to his own dish.

My partner chose the vegan mushroom tartare with radish and potato crisps (and my added chilli of course!). Again a delicious starter, and how can you go wrong with crisps on a plate – he was in heaven.

We both chose the fish for main which was Rankin cod with lemon, lentils, chives and capers. Sides were broccolini with crispy shallots and a hearty bowl of chips, skin on and perfectly fried. Everything was good – the fish was fresh and delicious, with a great balance of piquancy from the capers, lemon and chives.

We looked at the dessert menu and decided to pass as everything, tempting as it was, contained dairy. It would have been nice to see a non-dairy dessert option, but we were fairly full anyway.

Staff were friendly and inviting, and I enjoyed my experience here – will definitely be back for another visit.

Last visit date – February 2021

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