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Posts tagged ‘Fine dining’

Wild Swan, Mandoon Estate, Caversham

Mandoon Estate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mandoon has a lot going on. The estate is a winery in the heart of the Swan Valley, and they have cellar door tastings, a brewery, an art gallery, a fine dining restaurant, an outdoor area where they sell pizza, craft beer, and hot dogs, and a deli where they sell exceptional sausage rolls. They also have a hotel called The Colony, rooms which look out onto the Swan River, some with balconies and mezzanine bedrooms.

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Having sampled a glass of wine earlier, I decided to start with a cocktail and chose a cosmopolitan. This was nicely made with lovely cranberry tones.

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My partner chose a ginger apple mocktail. He said that it was a lovely blend.

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I chose the marron to start served with watermelon, lime and papaya. It wasn’t a particularly flavoursome dish and I imagine that it had been prepared in advance and refrigerated. I couldn’t really detect the lovely marron and papaya flavours that I expected.

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My partner chose the Geraldton kingfish with young coconut, umibudo, daikon and lime. It was a good blend of flavours, bright clean and tasty.

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The starters arrived fairly quickly, followed by our bread, which I think was a bit of a mistake, but the bread was a very welcome arrival to help mop up some of the leftiver sauces, and was served with whipped butter and a very moreish fennel salt.

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For main I chose the blue fin tuna with cauliflower, green raisin, pinenut and olive. This was delicious, served medium rare, good quality fish with really good accompanying flavours.

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My partner chose the Moojepin mutton with canneloni, borlotti, lettuce and raspberry. Mutton is generally tougher than lamb, and he expected it to be slow roast to make the most of the cut, but it came seared like a steak and was a bit chewier than he would have liked although it was very tasty. All of the accompaniments were rich, hearty and comforting and he enjoyed the dish.

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We also chose side dishes of broccoli, snow peas and beans, and zucchini fries. Both sides were beautifully cooked and we ate them hungrily.

We somehow found room for dessert, but before that I sampled a glass of Mandoon Estate sparkling, which put me in mind of a good prosecco.

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I chose the matcha, lychee, yuzu and caramel, a nice combination of matcha cake with lychee sorbet and dried lychees with blobs of caramel and oblong shaped yuzu cream.

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My partner chose the peach, pistachio, vanilla and sorbet, a beautifully balanced combination of textures and tastes. A vanilla panacotta with blobs of pistachio paste and peach puree.

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All in all, Wild Swan was a good experience – good modern Australian cooking with friendly unobtrusive service, and wines made on the premises. An excellent choice if you want to stay somewhere in the Swan Valley that has everything at your fingertips.

Click here to find out more about Wild Swan

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Garum, Perth

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

Garum is the place that everybody is talking about in Perth. Celebrated Aussie Italian chef Guy Grossi, famous for his cook books, appearances on Masterchef, and fine Melbourne osterias, has opened this Roman restaurant in Perth at the Westin.

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Everything is faithfully Roman, including the wine list where the wines are listed in order of colour. We chose a ‘yellow’ wine to start – a Flametree chardonnay from Denmark, WA. This was a fine chardonnay with pear and melon notes and lovely subtle oak backdrop – the sommelier here knows their chardonnay.

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The menu contained entrees, pasta dishes (which could serve as entrees or light mains) and mains with lamb, veal, fish, steak and an interesting lucanian sausage dish for two.

Bread was served with moretum – a herb ricotta spread with oil. This was a nice change from the usual butter or whipped butter.

For starters I was very tempted by the crudo, but decided to go for octopus, because I don’t usually order octopus. There’s a reason for this – when poorly prepared it can be very chewy and unpleasant, but I suspected that Guy wouldn’t let me down and wow did he deliver. The octopus was served Gaeta style (Gaeta is a coastal city just south of Rome) with crispy sourdough, olives, capers and tomato. Every mouthful was a joy to eat and the octopus was tender, meaty and delicious.

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My partner chose one of the pastas to start – the bucatini with pancetta, tomato and chilli. The pasta was al dente and well made with a rich spicy sauce, not too hot, served with some shreds of parmesan, and described by my partner as ‘a really good bowl of pasta’.

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For the main course I decided to go with the fish of the day – swordfish, served with crab, celery, ginger, spinach and coriander. The fish was beautifully cooked, with a buttery sauce and a charred lemon, and there was plenty of crab and prawn accompanying the mild ginger/celery dressing.

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My partner chose the Arkady lamb with parsley, capers, anchovy and radicchio. The lamb was delicious, nicely seasoned with a fresh herby sauce. The radicchio was quite a strong flavour and another vegetable might have been more enjoyable.

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We also chose a cauliflower salad to go with our meals. This was an absolute gem. Charred and served with raisins and grains, the cauliflower was perfectly cooked complete with its leaves – not mushy, but not hard either, and finished off with blobs of a labne style dressing. i could have eaten this whole plate as my meal.

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We didn’t have room for dessert, so will have to go back to review them. Garum delivered a beautiful meal, great wine, and a very full tummy. It was a bit loud and noisy as the evening went on, the location is Hibernian hall, a wonderful historic Perth venue, but also large and a place where sound carries. The wait staff were helpful and professional, and we had a great evening. Glad to see Guy Grossi bringing his talent to Perth.

Click here to find out more about Garum

Kebaya, Georgetown, Penang

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Kebaya is an amazing location. Tucked away in Stewart Lane, Georgetown on the beautiful Malaysian island of Penang, the dining room and hotel is a renovation of  seven terraced houses. Everything has been achieved to a very high standard from the beautiful traditional tiled floors to the intricate woodwork and chandeliers. When you step into Kebaya, it feels like stepping back into old Penang, and the wait staff greet you with politeness and elegance that makes every customer feel like a star.

We were a little early and sat by the bar having a cocktail before we were seated. I chose a Long Island Iced Tea

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My partner chose a Mojito.

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The bartender lovingly prepared each cocktail by eye (no measures!), and they were served with some nibbles. We were given the menu to peruse while we waited.

The food is Indo-Chinese and Peranakan, and everything on the menu is appealing. I would have tried every dish if it was possible. The menu is MR 128+ per person (approx $42 AUD, or £24) and for this you get an appetiser, a main, a vegetable dish and a dessert. You can order extra dishes if you like, but we found that four dishes each was sufficient.

To start we chose Pai Tee – Crispy ‘ tou hats’ of saltwater school prawns with fresh julienne vegetables & a sweet chilli and coriander sauce.

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We also chose Kebaya Ban Xeo – Crispy wafers stuffed with shredded chicken, bean sprouts, crispy tofu and stir fried vegetables in a tamarind sauce.

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Both starters were served in china egg holders, beautifully put together and succulent. A wonderful start to the meal. A little spicy with each flavour tingling the tastebuds in the most wonderful way.

For mains we chose the following:

Grilled Snapper – Fresh fillet of snapper marinated in a spice paste and wrapped in a banana leaf, grilled over a charcoal flame. This was creamy with a really fresh fillet of fish, and not too spicy, a wonderful contrast to the other flavours provided.

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Lor Ark – Duck confit with caramelised spiced plums & oranges in cinnamon, star anise, clovers & nutmeg. Wow this was a very special dish. The duck was beautiful in flavour and texture, with lovely warm spices, and the plums were absolutely perfectly ripe. This is a dish that I will remember for a long time to come.

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Wing Bean Kerabu – Salad of wing beans, toasted coconut, calamansi lime and sambal belachan. Apologies for the photo – we served some up before taking the photo. This was a wonderful combination of beans, herbs and spices – a great symphony of flavours.

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Thai Soft Shell Crab Salad – with chilli lime dressing, green apples, mango and pomegranate. I love soft shell crab, and this dish was similar to a som tum but with extra punch and texture. I loved it.

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Desserts were as follows:

Chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream. Dreamily gooey in the centre, this rich chocolate fondant was one of the best I have ever tasted. The ice cream was top quality, smooth and velvety.

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A special dessert called ‘Silks and Jewels’ consisting of almond panna cotta, glazed on osmanthus flower syrup, topped with candied kumquat, ginger, nutmeg and fresh mandarin. Again, a triumph of a dessert, wonderful exotic, warm, floral and citrus, a dessert that ticked all of the boxes and finished off a very memorable meal.

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I would totally recommend Kebaya Dining Room to anybody coming to Penang for a holiday. It scores highly for ambience, quality, elegance, and overall dining experience and now in my list of favourite restaurants in the world. Amazing.

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Click here to learn more about Kebaya Dining Room.

Scents of Siam, Joondalup

Scents of Siam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This restaurant is one of two Thai restaurants in Grand Boulevard/Reid Promenade, Joondalup. They are entirely different in their approach, the other one serving traditional Bangkok fare that you would find in most cafes and hotels in Thailand. Scents of Siam is different – it is a labour of love for its owners. Dan, who manages front of house, is Chinese, and his wife who is the Thai-Chinese brainchild behind the dishes, manages the kitchen. They strive to present a fusion of old and new dishes crossing the boundaries of Thai and Chinese and covering the whole geography of Thailand from north to south.

Generally, I don’t like pan-asian restaurants that try to serve more than one cuisine in order to please everybody, but Scents of Siam doesn’t do this – it brings us a very special insight into the food that the Thai-Chinese communities eat, and if the recipe isn’t perfect then chef doesn’t put it on the menu.

Dan explained the menu to us in detail and he also talked about the journey that he and his wife had travelled to find the location for their cafe. He explained that the dinner menu is still under development – they are new to Joondalup – and very much testing the waters with their unusual range of dishes.

I chose a special drink to start with – a butterfly pea flower iced tea. When presented, it is blue and tastes quite floral:

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Then you add a shot of lime juice, and some theatre happens ! It turns purple and tastes much more fruity:

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For our starters we chose mixed mushroom rice paper rolls. Containing button, enoki, shiitake and oyster mushrooms they were very juicy and tasty. A wonderful start to the meal.20170701_182959

Next was Son in law eggs:

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Wonderfully oozy with a crispy coating and a delicious chilli tamarind sauce, Dan told us the two stories of how they were named. Story 1 tells that a father wanted to know if his daughter loved him more than her husband, so he challenged his son-in-law to a competition where they would cook eggs for her to see which eggs she preferred. He was convinced that his daughter would choose his version, but sadly for him, she chose her husband’s eggs and they became known as son-in-law eggs. Story 2 tells how a lady was cooking at the bottom of her house, which was a house on stilts (built for the monsoon). She accidentally dropped an egg into hot oil but when she scooped it out, she realised that it was very tasty, cooked quickly with a firm white and a soft yolk. She was thinking about what to call this egg recipe when she looked up, and through the gaps in the floorboards she saw her son-in-law walking above, wearing nothing but a sarong, and she rather rudely got the inspiration to call them son-in-law eggs !

We ordered 3 dishes for the main and first up was a delicious chicken penang curry. It usually comes with quail’s eggs, but I am extremely allergic to them, so I asked for them to be omitted. This dish had such a wonderful depth of flavour, that I could eat it again in a heartbeat. Complete with thai holy basil leaves, the brightness of kaffir lime, plenty of good quality chicken, and a rich smooth coconut sauce, it was an absolute pleasure to eat.

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We also ordered roti, wonderfully light and crispy and perfect for dipping in the curry.

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Pad Thai was served with extra chilli in case of need, and was a wonderful mix of noodles, beansprouts, chicken, tofu and prawns, perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious.

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Dan was so happy that we liked the food, and asked if we would like a dessert. We said yes, not knowing exactly what to expect, and we were presented with a lovely thai creme caramel with mango sorbet.

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The creme caramel was sprinkled with nuts and there was a hint of chilli in the caramel. Very yummy and a perfect end to the meal.

The bill was also a pleasant surprise $58 for all this. A wonderful host, lovely food, and very reasonable prices – now I can’t wait to return.

EXTRA FOOD DIARY PICTURES:

Apple and shrimp salad:

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Spicy sausage balls:

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Pork and eggs with rice:

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Beef mussaman curry with roti bread:

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Seaduction – Surfer’s Paradise QLD

Seaduction Restaurant + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seaduction is a modern Australian fine dining restaurant and bar in the Soul Building at Surfer’s Paradise. It boasts an attractive position overlooking the beach on the main Esplanade road.

When we walked in the ambience was quietly sophisticated with a nice simple and classy decor and smooth jazzy background music playing. The staff were friendly and warm and led us to a wonderful table near the window. The menu has a choice of a la carte, degustation/tasting menus and wine matching.

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Soul Building Foyer

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Seaduction Restaurant

We chose the 5 course degustation menu, which actually turned out to be 7 courses including the tomato bread at the start and the coffee/petit fours at the end.

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The bread with herbs and tomatoes was flavoursome and attractive to look at, quite substantial and a very nice start to the meal while we sipped on a glass of sauvignon blanc.

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The first course from the menu was beetroot and sugar cured ocean trout, local sand crab rillettes, lotus crisps, yuzu pearls and lime emulsion. The little yuzu pearls were bursting with citrus flavour, the trout was fresh and delicious and the crab very moreish. A wonderful start to the evening.

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The second course was Bangalow pork belly, twice cooked in tamarind and yellow rock sugar, green paw paw salad and black Asian vinegar. Tender and tasty, with a hint of spice, this was a beautifully constructed course and a perfect amount.

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Course three consisted of lasagne of Harvey bay scallops, tempura foie gras, caviar and sea foam. Chef was generous with the scallops which were the star of the dish, beautifully enveloped in silky pasta and complemented by the other flavours on the plate.

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Next came green tea house smoked duck breast, duck and shiitake spring rolls, sour cherry gel, hoisin and orange marmalade. A very appealing dish to look at, and a wonderful example of duck served in a combination of ways with classic hoisin, cherry and orange flavours. Lots of nice flavours and textures to tempt the tastebuds.

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Dessert was coconut pannacota, passion fruit sorbet, ginger and passion fruit curd macaroon with elderflower gel. The pannacotta was beautifully silky, the sorbet wonderfully zingy, and the macaron perfectly constructed. A nice light dessert, again with lots of interest on the plate.

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Petit Fours

We finished with coffee and some delectable petit fours to complete a perfect meal. Every course was a treat, well thought out and beautifully put together. Definitely a location to return to for a wonderful treat.

Click Here to access the Seaduction website

 

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.

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