It Just Has To Be Delicious

Posts tagged ‘modern Australian’

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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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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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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Samsons Paddock, Mosman Park

Samsons Paddock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We chose Samson’s Paddock on a bit of a whim. I received an email to tell me that it was included in the Entertainment Book, and the pictures looked nice, so I booked. It is in Glyde Street, Mosman Park – an interesting building with comfy armchairs, an upper deck and lots of nooks and crannies. We were seated on a high shared table – which I didn’t mind too much as we had booked fairly late, given the choice I prefer a regular height table.
Samson’s serve every drink that you could imagine, and also craft beers – we chose our favourite Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine – and had a nice variety called Lone Goat. The menu has tapas style sharing dishes and bigger dishes too. We went for the tapas style. The first dish we chose was panko crumbed whiting and prawn with a daikon salad and spicy aioli dip. The prawns and fish were good quality, a nice size, and everything on the plate tasted good. The salad was nicely coated with dressing – a very nice dish to start.

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Next came wagyu rib fingers with kimchi. These were the star of the meal – beautifully spiced, boneless, rich, melt in the mouth – full of flavour and very very moreish.

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Third we had a citrus salad with oranges, radish and cucumber. It had a nice selection of different oranges, but I would have liked some more slices. Again, every leaf was coated in dressing and it was a salad that had been prepared with care.

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Next came a confit duck leg with kasundi (an Indian tomato relish), ginger and cabbage. Again, presented and prepared with care, the duck was melting and tasty and everything on the plate went well together.

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We did choose another dish, but it was so tasty that we didn’t have time to take a photo. We chose a cheeseboard with brie – it arrived with fruit bread, grapes, figs, and craisins. The brie was perfectly ripe and oozy but the bread was a little stale and I would have preferred some fresher slices.
All in all with our $34 Entertainment book discount, it was a lovely meal and we will definitely be returning.

Last Visit Date – May 2017

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Gusto Riverfront, Noosaville, QLD

Gusto Riverfront Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We came to Gusto because it had been recommended by a taxi driver earlier in the day. We didn’t book, but secured a table fairly quickly. The menu was nice but not particularly inspiring – not one of those menus where you can’t decide because everything sounds amazing.
I hadn’t eaten oysters for a while so I chose half a dozen and my partner chose a smoked trout and potato pancake with beetroot relish, horseradish and dill butter.

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The oysters were beautifully fresh and came with a nice onion and watermelon salsa – they definitely satisfied my oyster craving.

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The pancake was delicious, with a full trout and potato flavour – a very nice dish where the flavours matched well.

For main I chose the salmon with a date and pistachio couscous, rocket and lemon. The fish was high quality, beautifully cooked, and the couscous was a nice amount and full of delicious complementary flavours.

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My partner chose the spatchcock chicken with crispy prosciutto, a broad bean risotto, watercress and parmesan. He thoroughly enjoyed it – again lots of nice well-matched flavours and a well executed dish.

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We enjoyed Gusto and would return, but I would like to see a much more appealing menu. The chef is clearly very talented, but the menu is lacking and maybe it’s the way that it is written or explained. I would also have liked a special option for the main course – a special starter was offered, but not a main. A very nice meal, but an underplayed menu.

Visit Date – April 2016

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Blackbird, East Perth

I hadn’t heard of Blackbird before, but decided to give it a try and take advantage of a 50% discount offer – I was quite impressed with the Urbanspoon rating so thought it would be above average.
We went on a Sunday lunchtime, and the restaurant is in a lovely setting right on the river just behind Royal Street.

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The interior of the restaurant was casual and cosy, and the waitresses were cheery and welcoming. I liked that the drinks list offered some mocktails, and decided to opt for a nojito, an alcohol free mojito, which was very good.11

The menu options were fairly limited (4 choices for each course) but all sounded
appetising. We chose to have some bread, and the waitress was very helpful in allowing me to have olive oil with balsamic vinegar rather than the usual Parisian butter. The bread was fresh and crusty – good quality. We decided to share a tasting plate starter.12

This consisted of a slice of beef with blue cheese on bread, tomato and mushroom crostini, polenta with a capsicum sauce, and an arancini ball with pumpkin puree. They were all tasty and good quality – very enjoyable.
For main course I chose the fish of the day which was snapper in a light batter with chips, tartare sauce and a fennel and orange salad: 13

The chips were excellent, crispy and tasty, the salad was also very good and complemented the fish well. The snapper was good quality and fresh.
My companion chose beef medallions with sugar snap peas, roast potatoes, pumpkin
puree, balsamic onions and mushroom duxelle: 14

The beef was cooked perfectly, all of the elements worked well and the textures
complemented each other well. For dessert I chose chocolate pudding with cherries and coffee ice cream: 15

It was a huge portion of chocolate pudding and quite rich, but very very good. I would have liked another scoop of ice cream – it was home made and had a really rich coffee flavour. My companion chose chocolate truffles and coffee.

So will I go back to Blackbird ? Yes I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and felt pleasantly full afterwards. It is a nice environment, good quality food and friendly service. The only thing that let them down slightly was serving a chipped plate, but I think that the food made up for that faux pas.
Visit Date – July 2013

We haven’t been to Blackbird for quite a few years and decided to go on a Saturday night to try their Chef’s Choice menu. Quite good value at $50 per head for 3 starters, 2 mains and a dessert.
The restaurant is right on the river at East Perth, a beautiful and chilled setting with seating inside and outside. It’s quite intimate and as evening falls, it really comes into it’s own with candle lighting around the windows and on the tables.

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Our waitress was very friendly and helpful and seemed quite enthusiastic that we had chosen the chef’s choice menu. We ordered drinks and snacked on a small bowl of warm popcorn, seasoned with their homemade salt mixture. We chose a chardonnay from South Australia.

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The first starter was prosciutto et croutes, a small piece of crispy bread with apple, prosciutto and goats cheese, drizzled with a little truffle oil. It was nice, and just a small mouthful to get us started.

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After this came a plate of vegetable croquettes with some capsicum and thyme
mayonnaise. They were quite filling, mainly consisting of pumpkin, and we enjoyed eating them. 5

The next starter was a bowl of garlic and butter clams, probably something that we would not usually order. The clams were fresh although some of the shells were closed which seemed a bit of a waste, and the sauce was nice. We mopped up the sauce with some bread, but it would have been nice to have more bread to do this.

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The first of the mains was a ravioli of rocket and parmesan with blue cheese cream and spinach. This was the best dish of the night, the sauce really brought the pasta to life and I would have been very happy to have this as an a la carte dish. 7

The second main was sous vide chicken with orange jus, Israeli couscous, corn, spinach and chorizo. The Israeli couscous are quite large pearls of couscous. I expected the chicken to be more orange-flavoured, considering that it had been cooked with the orange and that the jus was made with the meat juices and orange. It hadn’t really intensified that much and I would have liked it to penetrate the whole piece of chicken. 8

Finally, the dessert was served. A small piece of brownie, a small panna cotta, and a caramel ice cream. Each element was nice, but not outstanding. I think that the portions could have been slightly bigger.

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We had a nice meal in a beautiful setting, and it was certainly good value for $50 each. I left feeling that they could do so much better though. Everything was nice, but nothing out of the ordinary, and if this menu is showcasing the main menu, then it didn’t wow me. It wasn’t bad either, everything was perfectly edible, but I didn’t feel that I need to rush back to try other items on the menu. The setting is amazing though, it’s a great place for an intimate date.
Visit Date – Mar 2018

Click here to find out more about Blackbird

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