The Silver Spoon : Vic Park

Life is like a musical and I often find myself mimicking Olivia Newton John by walking to the beat of my own theme tune (minus the leather and John Travolta) depending on what I’m doing. I feel it is only human to sing Sadie the cleaning lady while vacuuming (it’s a rare sight) or humming mission impossible while covertly obtaining my 3rd Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. My day leading up to attending dinner at The Silver Spoon in Vic Park consisted of Ugly Kid Joe warbling Cats in the Cradle in my mind “The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon….” The more that I sung it, the less the chorus lyrics started to make sense and I could only hope that the 6 plate degustation menu ($70 p/head or $100 with matching wines)  wouldn’t leave me scratching my head more.

I was first to arrive and sat at the table feeling like I was the loner kid at school needing to eat their lunch in the toilet. Once the remainder of the clan turned up service was prompt serving water and champagne immediately. The food promptly followed with the paper menus being left at the table for the diner’s to refer to while eating each course. I liked this idea probably because my goldfish memory doesn’t allow me to retain all the components of a dish after being told once by the wait staff. (Probably why I eat the food rather than serve it).

First off the rank in the ‘tour de food’ was Amuse Bouche ( For the unpretentious among us Amuse Bouche means “a small bite sized offering from the chef to get the taste buds tingling”) For tonight’s degustation it was a carrot coriander soup served in a Demitasse Cup (Espresso cup ….2nd tick in the pretentious column). It was a nice start but I don’t go to restaurants to order soup, so my mind moved on quickly to looking at what was coming next that being seared scallops, black pudding, cauliflower pomegranate & mint (gf).

Seared scallops, black pudding, cauliflower pomegranate & mint (gf)

Based on the fact that I embrace my inner nerd I will not lie and admit that I ride on the vampire loving bandwagon E.g. Vampire diaries and  True blood (Twilight not so much).  Despite this nerdy addiction when faced with getting my ‘vampire on’ and eating congealed dried blood in sausage I tend to lose my appetite. One of my biggest pet hates however are people who say they don’t like something before trying it. These people can usually be found eating at overseas McDonald’s rather than trying the local delicacies (Yes I am judging you). By pushing the black pudding to side and not tasting it I felt that I would have to hate myself. Not wanting to have a low self-esteem I channeled my inner Edward (lame Twilight reference) and shoved that little slice of black pudding into my mouth.  Chew, chew, chew, chew mmmmmmm interesting enough there was no need to reach for my napkin and expell the mouthful. The combination of the perfectly seared scallops with the cauliflower puree and pomegranate, off set the strong taste of the black pudding to make a nice dish.

Pheasant & ham hock terrine, tomato chutney, piccalilli & cucumber (gf) was up next. Not being one to leave food by having a plate removed from me with food still on it, usually means I felt it was a waste of calories which could be better spent on something far more delicious. This dish left me underwhelmed with the flavours of the tomato chutney and piccalilli overpowering the meat itself. I also felt that the consistency of the terrine was quite fatty and didn’t make for an enjoyable eating experience. By not having a photo of this plate may also be a clear indication that I wanted to remove this course from my memory.

Grilled King snapper, shellfish & Israeli couscous, crackling & rouille (gf)

The standout dish for the night was the Grilled King snapper, shellfish & Israeli couscous, crackling & rouille (gf). Although I enjoy degustation and the food journey it takes you on, I could have ordered this as a main meal and been exceptionally happy. The fish flaked and pulled apart with ease and was beautifully complimented by the rouille, which I was mopping up with every mouthful of the fish. Use of the Israeli cous cous provided a different texture in the dish  creating a ‘risotto’ like base.

Slow cooked pork belly, carrot & honey, broccolini, king prawns & masterstock (gf)(n)

After being on such a high from the fish anything that followed was going to have to be good to impress even further. This was not the case with the slow cooked pork belly, carrot & honey, broccolini, king prawns & masterstock (gf)(n) being a huge disappointment for me . Nothing brings me more joy (sad but true) then biting into a crispy tasty piece of pork crackling. Just chewing on that pig fat brings back memories of Christmas and family roast night. All that I am saying is that to  serve a piece of pork belly with soft skin and no crackling in sight is sinful, reprehensible and in my opinion criminal. The inclusion of pork crackling would have been an excellent touch as the textures in the dish were one-dimensional. That’s all I have to say on this matter (The Fat Cow is now stepping off her soap box and moving on).

Chocolate tart, burnt meringue, raspberry cloud, raspberry compote

If you love at San Churro’s and can polish off a block of Cadbury’s chocolate by yourself in one sitting then this is the dessert for you. The two small squares of chocolate tart were smooth, rich and full of chocolate goodness. For me eating both of the chocolate squares was a little intense despite having the meringue and compote there to offset the intense nature of the tarts. For the 1st time in my life I showed some discipline and only ate half the dessert leaving me happy rather then resembling Georgie Porgie. Looking around the table it was clear the dark chocolate lovers were in a happy place, indicated by the scrapping of spoons and contemplations of licking the plates clean.The raspberry clouds were reminiscent of our childhood days of eating cloud lollies at 10 cents a pop. After an up and down menu this dish was an enjoyable way to end the evening.

Although there were a few dishes that left me underwhelmed and disappointed, the Chocolate Tart and King Fish made me happy to have visited this restaurant.  Althoug the food may not be as well executed in comparison to well-known degustation restaurants E.g. Amuse and Halo, it is defiantly more affordable for those on a smaller budget wanting to have a degustation experience.

Negatives: Long tables were not a great environment for large groups, no crackling with the pork belly and  fatty terrine with overpower condiments.

Positives: Attentive wait staff, prompt service of food, exquisite king fish  & gluten-free friendly menu.

Overall: 2.5/5. A pleasant well priced experience which requires some tweaking. As it states on its website it is a casual dining experience in a sophisticated environment.

Love The Fat Cow xo

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Rockpool Bar & Grill : Burswood

If you had one final meal would you choose a plate of savouries or sweets?

This was the ‘first world problem’ that my friend and I mused over with the assistance of a bottle of red the other night.

Cheesecake over crispy pork belly? Slowly roasted beef cheek over warm chocolate fondant’s? ……. You can clearly see it is a hard decision.

Past history suggests all my best ideas and notions can be found at the bottom of red wine bottles and this specific night was no exception.

The place to solve this ‘problem’………. Rockpool Bar and Grill (A Neil Perry restaurant) It was agreed research via taste testing at one of Perth’s most recently discussed and acclaimed fine dining restaurants would help in the decision-making process.

Seeing I had been wanting to go to Rockpool since it’s opening, I took it upon myself to organise this crusade with a group of 10 friends in tow. Booking was relatively difficult considering the time of year and having a large party, so we settled on a 7pm booking on a Wednesday night. In hind sight going out on a ‘school’ night served us well making us practice self-restraint when it came to ordering cocktails.

Rockpool Bar and Grill

Great Eastern Hwy (Burswood Entertainment Complex)
Burswood, WA 6100

Phone: 08 6252 1900

http://www.rockpool.com/rockpool-bar-and-grill-perth/

As I walked up the long passage flanked with pictures of seafood and glass cases of fresh meat, I felt as if I was about to encounter a true gastronomic experience. We were immediately greeted by a number of staff and escorted to our table. Although it was a big restaurant,it’s arrangement with partitioning and mood lighting made it warm and inviting. Being a lover of anything with carbohydrates, I was pleased to find complimentary crusty warm bread waiting patiently for me to devour. As girls do cocktails were ordered at about $18 per drink. Although a little pricey each cocktail was enjoyable in particular the margaritas with charcoal(yes, what santa fills your sack with)salt. If you are a wine person then you will be impressed by the 62 page wine list, which we also dabbled with.

In the spirit of the research entree’s were bypassed to ensure a) we could afford to pay the bill and b) ensure we could fit a savoury main and sweet dessert in. Being indecisive once again the waitress was a great help in suggesting a variety of ‘well loved’ dishes. After being disappointed that they had run out of the popular crispy pork belly, I opted for the Mishima chuck braised in dark lager and onions with potato gnocchi and silver beet ($49). Sides of roast pumpkin and sweet potato with burnt butter and garlic yoghurt ($12) and roasted parsnips and eschallots with swiss chard and ginger ($12) were ordered to share. With one of the girls ordering the Mt Barker char grilled free range chicken ($39) we knew the wait for mains would take 50 minutes to come out as indicated by the extensive menu. Due to good company, drinks and bread this was not a problem, and no one got hurt by a mob of disgruntled hungry women.

The meals arrived together and looked visually appealing. The portion sizes for the meat and fish were substantial, especially with the sides. Surprisingly the pasta serves looked limited however I was assured by my fellow grazers that this was not the case. My meat was top-notch pulling apart with ease. I did add a little more seasoning aka salt, but I will openly admit that this is a bad habit of mine ,which I am yet to successfully give up. As the sound of silence filled the air, I realised that good food was the only way to stop a group of ten girls from incessant talking. Savoury dishes were off to a good start and sweets would have to be of a high standard to make my decision swing that way.

Macaroon Icecream Sandwich

Although tempted by the peanut butter caramel chocolate tart with milk ice-cream ($23), I decided to opt for the hazelnut macaroon sandwich filled with banana ice-cream ($14) (probably influenced by my one true love being a Peters ice-cream giant sandwich). Others opted for the ice cream filled profiterole’s ($16) and the red velvet cupcake with marshmallow icing ($6.50). After such a good main expectations were high, which was perhaps a reason why I was slightly disappointed with the desserts. The macaroon itself was cooked well with a crunch to the outside and soft middle but the flavour combination of hazelnut with banana ice-cream didn’t work for me personally. Mixed reviews were given about the profiterole’s with some wishing for the custard to come back, while others loved the ice-cream and chocolate filling. Most disappointing however was the red velvet cupcake with the marshmallow icing which lacked in flavour and certainly didn’t have the ‘wow factor’ that a restaurant of this calibre and cost usually offer. On the upside, the icing to cupcake-base ratio was great (more icing than base, which I love). With my sister-in-law making officially the worlds best cupcakes (check out her blog top the cupcake’http://topthecupcake.blogspot.com/) it may have been an unfair comparison.

Ice-cream filled profiterole’s and red velvet cupcake.

So there it is folks based on extensive research at Rockpool, I have come to conclude that savory mains might be the plate of choice should I ever face the ‘one last meal dilemma’. Until that point in time, I have taken a personal oath to continue to eat both savoury and sweet dishes, to establish validity and reliability in the above statement.

Positives: Excellent customer service and wine/food knowledge by the staff, great variety in food and wine list, great atmosphere and complimentary crusty bread.

Negatives: Some financial planning required prior to the visit, no pork belly left and slightly disappointing dessert menu.

Overall it was a fun, tasty and memorable experience. Although I won’t be rushing back for another meal, I certainly won’t object if anyone wishes to take me to dinner here (hint hint).

Rating: 4/5

Love The Fat Cow x.

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