Source Foods Cafe: Highgate

It’s a word in a foodies vocabulary as repugnant as diet. Starting with a B and ending with a T, some may think I am referring to the word ‘bloat’. Although highly unpleasant, this foodie phenomenon is something I embrace and comes with the overeating territory. The dreaded B word I speak of and is currently putting a pickle in the works is ….BUDGET.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had ‘my last supper’ at Perth’s fine dining restaurants. The time has now come for me to become financially responsible, and scope out Perth’s cheap eats to save some money for the impending holiday. I am determined to find places which keep both my belly and wallet full, yet still enjoy great quality food. Although I enjoyed Nando’s chips and chicken (with peri peri sauce) the other night, I will try my best to avoid blogging and reviewing ‘fast food’ joints. We all know how delicious big macs or fried chicken can be, especially late on a saturday night.

In an attempt to find low-cost but great tasting restaurants, I perused the Urbanspoon website for inspiration. As luck would have it Source Foods in Highgate caught my eye, hearing many recent positive reviews primarily for their organic all day breakfast and enjoyable lunches.  As luck would have it however, Source Foods opens its doors for 1 night a week; that being Friday burger night!

Source Foods Cafe

Phone: 08 6468 7100

289 Beaufort Street, Perth WA 6000

http://www.sourcefoods.com.au

Burgers aka food of the gods, would have to be high on the list of my favourite foods. As a kid my favourite meal was a ‘salad sandwich’ (sad, sad child) and obviously as I have  become older and developed mature tastebuds I have upgraded from a salad sandwich to a burger. The combination of fresh bread, succulent meat, topped with fresh salad and melted cheese, elicits a creepy drool out of one side of my mouth. Mentioning the above ingredients makes it seem like anyone can make a burger, but from my experience there some seriously inept burger artists.

Source Foods wasn’t the case though. Looking through the menu it was clear to see that everything was produced locally and freshly sourced. I opted for the El Scorcho Burger – Organic Dandaragan beef pattie with tomato, fried onion, lettuce, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream and chilli jam ($15). My fellow burger buyer went for the Harrisa Steak Burger- Organic steak, tomato, fried onion, lettuce, feta cheese and minted yoghurt  ($16). Ordering these meat filled burgers ensured we would not be welcome at any ‘vegetarians r us’ conferences in the near future.

I was disappointed to find that our burgers did not come with the staple side of chips. Burgers and chips are like peas and carrots, and in my opinion one should not be served on a plate without the other. Like many places these days, Source Foods had them as a side order, which we quickly invested in to share ($5.50). Topped with texan seasoning the chips we ok, and enough to share between 3 people. As you may have noticed I tend to favour hand cut chips (nice and chunky) these however were shoestring fries, so they didn’t particularly win me over. Although the chips were ordered to be part of the meal, they arrived well in advance of our burgers. This in the end was a saviour, with the burgers taking a significant amount of time to present themselves despite being relatively quite in the restaurant. A few chips later and I had managed to curtail any cannibalistic tendencies I was starting to have due to insane hunger.

Shoestring fries with texan seasoning

Eventually the burgers arrived and looked very appetising (probably a lot to do with being hungry). The bread was fresh and the burger well stacked with the listed ingredients. It wasn’t exactly good ‘date’ food. Streams of sour cream and beef juice ran distasetfully down my arm, but when in the presence of great friends I didn’t care and simply licked it up. The pattie was tasty and best of all the combination of jalapeno and chilli jam added the ‘El Scorcho’ spice promised on the menu. No complaints were voiced by my happy burger companions, although water was being consumed at a rapid rate by my friend eating the steak harrisa burger. *She learnt harrisa was spicy that night.

El Scorcho Burger

I was very satisfied by the completion of my burger and it was nice not having an oil slick sitting at the back of my throat, so often experienced when eating crummy burgers.  Not only was I left happy, but my bank account was definitely happier than previous Friday nights.

Positives: Fresh produce, organic, great range of burgers (meat, veto, gluten-free)

Negatives: Long wait, separate order show strings fries and sparse environment.

Overall: 3/5. This is a great burger joint which is worth a Friday night visit, even before going for drinks across the road at The Brisbane. I would be interested in heading back to try it all day breakfast, as I feel the ‘organic’ ingredients lend itself well to the menu.

Love The Fat Cow x

Note: Apologies for the average photos. I am currently living back in the 1800’s with an extra old nokia phone after ‘misplacing’ my HTC. In 3 months time I may even upgrade to an iPhone 5!

Source Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

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The Precinct: Vic Park

I referred to my latest venture to The Precinct: Vic Park as ‘the last supper’. Don’t assume I am no longer wining and dining due to becoming calorie conscience and taking up meal replacement shakes (let’s be frank, a shake isn’t a shake if ice-cream is absent). It’s something far more sinister going by the name of a BUDGET!

Only six tiny letters which already is causing havoc and placing strain on maintaining my social life and sugar levels. I have however, come to the realisation that holidays cost money and if I’m to be able to afford wining and dining in South and North America then I need to make some serious changes to my ‘foodie’ spending patterns. In order to honour this budget I am set to employ a ‘less is best’ attitude and sample Perth’s cheap eateries rather than venturing to the alluring and pricey gastronomic havens E.g. Amuse, Halo, Balthazaar.

This newly acquired and well honed skill of scoping out quality cheap eats may pay dividends in the US when attempting to locate quality cheap Texan bbq ribs, roadside burgers, southern soul food and the odd can of string cheese.

As I mentioned previously this therefore was my ‘last supper’ of moderately priced food and I was hoping that it would be a positive experience leaving me semi-happy to commence the budget venture. The suggestion of The Precinct provided by my fellow diner fit the bill for our mid-week dinner date.

The Precinct 

834 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park

(08) 9355 2880

http://theprecinctvicpark.com.au

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 7:30am – midnight

Sat 8:00am – midnight

Sun8:00am – 10pm

Bookings available, walk-ins welcome

Settling back with a glass of the featured Howard Park Cab Sav at a rather expensive $13 p/glass it was hard to ignore the trendy and warehouse vibe that had been created. Exposed brick, dim lighting and wine lining the walls certainly made this bar/restaurant somewhere you would be keen to venture to for Friday night nibbles and drinks before a quick trek into the closely located CBD. Sound boards on the roof assist in keeping the noise to a minimum, a great move in a minimalistic and exposed environment.

It is easy to see why this relatively new restaurant has become a favourite in the otherwise underutilised Albany Hwy cafe strip. Although business seemed favourable I believe they could increase business 10 fold by simply changing their door. My favourite past time of people watching came to the forefront that evening with potential customers struggling to work the complex bi fold sliding doors. Pushing from the end marked with an arrow may seem logical but waitstaff were often scurrying to the door to operate the complex entry system. I’m not sure if this was their way of ensuring customers were greeted by front of house but if so its an effective ploy.

Table service was efficient and prompt. It was nice to finally see some great service in Perth with the wait staff cleaning our table, taking drink and food orders without having to be hunted down. Although it wasn’t particularly busy, it seemed like the kind of establishment that would run smoothly even on a hectic night.

We ordered almost immediately preventing any cannibalistic tendencies that may have reared its ugly head had we become too hungry. The menu is available online for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a substantial wine list. Although all items looked appetising, it was a small menu with a larger range of share plates/tapas than mains. In order to cover all bases we ordered 1 main and 2 tapas dishes for consumption which was enough for 3 people. The main was the gnocchi, pulled pork, almonds & silver beet ($23) while the two tapas dishes included the ever loved hand cut chips ($9.5) and walnut, rocket, white bean dip, tortilla crisps (gf/v) ($9).

Much like the interior the food presentation was clean yet appetising. The white bean dip was enjoyable and a great starter to the meal being light and fresh on the palate. A drizzle of olive oil or slightly more seasoning would have been preferable with the main ingredients of rocket and white bean needing some ‘oooomph’ in the flavour department.

White bean dip and tortilla chips

The age-old debate of soggy v crispy chips cropped up yet again with the much anticipated arrival of the hand cut chips. I am firmly in the ‘soggy/soft’ chip camp stemming from my youth of visiting country Chicken Treat specialising in day old soggy chips. The hand cut chips were right up my alley being slightly soft but not to the point that those on the crispy bandwagon would be disgusted. Seasoned well and at a sizeable proportion, I was happy with choosing this item off the menu. It was served with a side of chilli sauce but much to my surprise this wasn’t used by any of us, indicating the quality of the chips individually.

Hand cut chips

The last main was equally enjoyable. The almond and silver beet sauce lining the plate was topped with perfectly cooked pulled pork creating an interesting take on a ‘gnocchi’ meal. The almond and silver beet sauce was delicious and was mopped up with the pork and gnocchi stopping short of actually licking the plate clean, disappointingly frowned upon in public areas.

Pulled pork and gnocchi

Based on the design, food and wine list,I enjoyed my last supper at The Precinct and I have no hesitations in saying that I will be back after cessation of my ‘budget period’.

Positives: Cool decor, relaxed atmosphere, good service and ideal location.

Negatives: Complex door, limited main choice and some more seasoning for the dip required.

Overall: 3.5/5 

Next post is my 1st ‘cheap eat Perth’ post with Source Foods:Highgate being in the spotlight with their Friday night organic burgers.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Precinct on Urbanspoon

Ootong & Lincoln: Fremantle

I’ve been sucking back on my inhaler for about half an hour now. This is a necessary activity based on my anxiety currently sky rocketing, buoyed by the statement I am about to make.

I love Perth!

And just to really show just how much I adore my city, I would say that I love Perth like a fat man loves being caught in sizzler after hours.

Poor Perth has been dealt a bad wrap across the years being labelled dull, boring and stuck in the 18th century. Call me beige but the slow/relaxed lifestyle is exactly what I enjoy about Perth, probably appealing to my sometimes lazy tendencies. I have however come to realise that these are sentiments  not shared by many of my co-workers, who have emulated Dora the Explorer and come across from the eastern states. Hearing gripes about Perth on such a regular basis, I have managed to collaborate a comprehensive list of Perth woes.

Top 10 first world problems of living in Perth

  1. Perth driver’s inability to merge. Despite the ‘zipper one for one formula’ working across a multitude of states in Australia, Perth drivers having created their own system based on Darwinism – Only the strongest and most impatient survive.
  2. Lack of public transport. Stand of Murray St on a Saturday and you will realise you have more opportunity of sleeping with Brad Pitt  vs hailing a taxi down.
  3. No crispy crème doughnuts, Starbuck’s or 7/11. This problem is further highlights on dates 11/7 or 7/11 when shop 7/11 has free slushy days nowhere to be seen in Perth.
  4. Isolation. It is somewhat concerning when you pay more to get the Broome (our own state) vs Bali (international)
  5. Cashed up bogan’s. Compliments of the mining boom Perth has seen a bogan boom leaving the women of Perth exposed to a quality selection of foul-mouthed, beer swilling, bearded men. Sorry boys but having money doesn’t completely compensate for being an animal.
  6. Finding out Master Chef and The Voice results via Social Media before it actually screens. Perth is already too isolated to restrict our access to Facebook and Twitter in lead up to show finales.
  7. Having to flick past 10 stories about football before reading real news. Since when is Ben Cousins new tattoo more important then global news?
  8. Cost of living. Nothing says independence like moving out of home into a share house of 6 on a diet of potato simply to afford the rent. (Blame extends to cashed up bogans)
  9. No extended trading hours and no daylight savings. End of story.
  10. And finally the biggest complaint of all……….TAKEAWAY COFFEE costing over $4.00!!

Many of these gripes I can understand and appreciate. I’m the first one to agree that 5 pages on Ben Cousins is excessive and being exposed to toothless miners who haven’t seen a woman in a long time doesn’t make for a good Saturday night. Being patriot of the state however I have made it my personal mission to change the minds around me about Perth.

No extended trading hours?? Well I say, so what! No shops open on a Sunday morning allows me to validate going out for breakfast as there is nothing else to do. I urge all those watching paint dry at home to get on board. This particular Sunday morning we ventured into Fremantle to a longtime favourite (which I haven’t blogged about) Ootong and Lincoln. Located out of Fremantle you wouldn’t really stumble upon in it while meandering through the shops. I happened to stop in initially after another favourite breakfast spot Aubergine(up the road) was packed.

$3 takeaway coffee

A large spacious cafe allows for couples and groups to find a seat relatively easily both indoors or outdoors. The interior is old school retro filled with some mean trikes and old jars (globes inserted) dangling from the ceiling providing light. 2 serving areas have been set up with a main counter taking seated customer orders while the other doing takeaways. This works well eliminating queues and people standing around the food counter waiting for their takeaways.

Interior of Ootong & Lincoln

Looking through the menu it was hard not to opt for the Chai buttermilk pancakes with honey cream lime ($16) or the Mushroom, feta, tomato, rocket, basil pesto toast ($17.50) which we had previously and thoroughly enjoyed.  Living life on the edge (like a real rock stars) we deviated from what we knew and ordered the Baked egg, tomato, spiced red pepper and humus toast ($16.50) and Smoked salmon, poached egg, avocado on rye with a side of bacon ($19.50). Drinks included a soy iced chai and fresh orange juice followed by a takeaway long black.

Ordering up at the counter I couldn’t help but eyeball the cake and lunch cabinet making note that I needed to return on a lunch or cake run. In a less than obvious way I took a quick snapshot to give you all an idea of what culinary delights O&L might offer should you make your way to the cafe.

Lunch munches

As the plate of baked eggs was placed in front of me I knew I had done the right thing by trying a new dish. The smell of the fresh ripped bread looking ripe for the dunking got the saliva glands working. My love of carbs was reaffirmed during this breakfast with the homemade bread being served slightly toasted with a drizzle of olive oil perfect for mopping up the runny eggs and tomato juices lining the base of the serving pan. The baked eggs oozed upon first cut and the mix of the humus, tomato and red pepper made for a tasty and slightly spicy bonanza.

Baked eggs with crusty bread

Although the salmon avocado didn’t look as impressive as the baked eggs with its presentation it delivered with the traditional flavours of salmon, avocado and cream cheese coming together nicely. The eggs appeared slightly overcooked and the bacon a little thin for my liking but the generous serving of salmon seemed to be the primary focus of enjoyment for my fellow grazer being left till the end to enjoy in its own glory.

Salmon and avocado

For all those complaining about the cost of coffee however here is something that will cool your heels. Takeaway quality coffee available here for $3!! Not only was it an enjoyable coffee it was regular to large in size, and the barista double cupped my long black avoiding a trip to the burns unit for my fragile hands.

Yes, Perth might have it’s downfalls but with places like Ootong & Lincoln providing quality breakfast with affordable coffee on a slow sunny Sunday I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Positives: Good portion sizes, cheap coffee, retro vibe and richly flavoured foods.

Negatives: Slightly over poached eggs, thin bacon rashers and lack of parking spaces forcing poor illegal parallel parking.

Overall scores: 3.5 /5. Well worth a visit to Freo town for this hip cafe.

Ootong & Lincoln on Urbanspoon

Il Lido Italian Canteen: Cottesloe

Abstract art: a product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

Al Capp

The Scenario: It’s Saturday afternoon and my bottom is firmly grooved into the couch with a trashy movie playing in the background…….sound familiar?? Yes it was another Saturday afternoon that could have easily progressed into another night of  being too lazy to make an effort to venture from the depths of my bat cave. I don’t know if someone put something in my drink or there was magic in the air but tonight was different, and in some random twist of fate I transformed from a Walmart bogan into a real person.

So what could prompt me to find such motivation? The answer lies in two beautiful little words……….. Il Lido’s.

Il Lido Italian Canteen
88 Marine Pde
Cottesloe 6011
(08) 9286 1111

Open: Monday – Sunday

Breakfast, lunch and dinner available.

Bookings recommended

The literal translation (from all my years of speaking fluent Italian aka just adding an O onto the end of any word) of Il Lido’s is ‘the beach’, which is very logical with the restaurant being located directly across from Cottesloe beach. This logical naming unfortunately did not seem to carry across to Sculptures by The Sea exhibit located close by. In an attempt to be cultured, artistic and deep we ventured to the exhibition for some extended musing and toffee nosed discussion. Although I appreciated many of the sculptures, many left me perplexed purely from the strange names assigned to each piece. Clarification as to why a steel Rooster would be named Freedom, would be greatly appreciated. Why not be like Il Lido’s or one of the funnier artistic works (screwing by the sea – see photo) and call it what it is? Life would be so much simpler.

 A rooster named Freedom

A rooster named Freedom

Screwing by the Sea

Screwing by the Sea

Enough about sculptures I am clearly better suited to understanding food. You will see in the right hand column that I have Il Lido’s listed as one of the top dining places in Perth and that’s for good reason. I have been several times now for lunch and dinner, and not once have I had a bad experience or had any recommendee’s come back disappointed.

I attempted to break the mould and select a new dish to try, despite knowing how good some of my previous meals had been E.g. Pappardelle (pasta) beef cheek ragu. There were a range of options ranging from share plates ($14-$18), to light dishes ($20-$30) and finally main meals E.g. meat, risotto and pasta ($28-$38).  I ordered off the light menu selecting the lamb cutlets served with quinoa (pronounced Kin-wa), goats cheese, egg-plant, raisins and cauliflower. Venturing from what I knew and loved took some will power, with cauliflower not being the most appealing ingredient. My fellow grazer ordered the scotch steak on ciabatta bread with pesto, goats cheese and tomato perhaps influenced by my incessant chatter about the dish and another diners recommendation.

Lamb cutlets with quinoa

Lamb cutlets with quinoa

Service was good being provided with water and food/wine menus immediately. For fellow avid wine drinkers this is a place for you with an extensive list of imported Italian wines and local wines to choose from. Prices for wine range from $40 right through to well over $200. Based on financial circumstances we opted for the well priced Italian Wine Barone di Valforte. This decision was made not by asking for a recommendation (which would be the sensible thing to do) but rather through the impartial action of shutting the eyes and pointing. Some real wine lovers would explain that the wine was very palatable with undertones of berries and perfect tannins. Not being well-informed in this area, I’m just going to go with the fact that it tasted damn good and help wasn’t required to finish the bottle.

Barone di Valforte

Barone di Valforte

Our meals came out at the same time (tick) and were presented nicely (2nd tick) . Cutting into my lamb cutlets it was obvious they had been well rested and cooked to perfection being slightly pink in the middle. The quinoa was well seasoned with the side of goats cheese stopping it from being a potentially dry dish. The small florets of cauliflower were tasty and at no stage did I feel like I was eating Nan’s meat and three veg. Eyeing off my fellow grazers meal it was clear that it was equally satisfying with the meal being finished with the statement, “That’s possibly the best meal I have had” – a big statement for a dish that is essentially an open steak sandwich.

Scotch Steak on Ciabatta

Scotch Steak on Ciabatta

Although dessert looked great we passed on the option, concerned that we would need the Tonka Truck sculpture to remove us  from the premises and get us home. I did however manage to sneak a taste of a friends citrus tiramisu who also happened to be dining there at the same time. Although I love coffee I’m not a huge traditional tiramisu fan, so the citrus twist worked well for me. It probably had a touch too much cream without enough lime zest to really enjoy. More zest would have given the dessert the “zing” which I expect when ordering a citrus dessert.

My ride home

My ride home

Positives: Consistency, decor/vibe, imported wine list and perfectly pink lamb.

Negatives: Slightly disappointing dessert and loud setting.  Oh and in true Perth style not being able to get a taxi from Cottesloe on St Patrick’s day!

Score: 4/5. A moderately priced restaurant serving up fantastic food time and time again.

Next up a review of The Attic – Fremantle

Love The Fat Cow x

Il Lido Italian Canteen on Urbanspoon

 

 

Lemon Station: Cottesloe

–  You can’t go to the movies alone, that is the epitome of sadness – 

Quote from my Mother.

At this moment I came to think about all the things I do alone and how I may portray the look of someone socially inept or slightly stalkerish to those sitting near me. As I pondered over this statement, I came to acknowledge that there is a definite feeling about what is socially appropriate to do in a group vs on your own.

After being told that going to the movies alone was social suicide, it made me wonder where dining alone sat on the “nigel no-friends appropriateness scale”. Although it’s a sad state of affairs to sit at home alone with your t.v dinner flanked by a half empty bottle of red (probably watching Patrick Swayze lift baby out of the water), it is socially acceptable as your not projecting your sadness onto the general public.

I however strongly believe that dining alone is an activity that one should be able to do solo, without being banished to the land of pity by surrounding couples. To see if I was the only one to share this notion I consulted search engine Google which came back with some interesting insights. From what I could gather it’s  fine to eat alone as long as you look like you seem busy or important.

Suitable suggestions to remedy the dining alone ‘uncomfortabelness’ include:

1. Be bookish and read a magazine or the paper.

2. Eavesdrop on other’s conversation nearby

3. Befriend your blackberry, android or iphone

Personally after reading these suggestions I would be more concerned about the person cocking their ear towards your general direction or a person pretending to talk on the phone to Mr Nobody vs the lone diner simply enjoying their meal. Chances are they are dining alone not because they have debatable social skills or a serious case of halitosis, but rather the food is 10 times better than the mouldy cheese toastie waiting at home, or they would rather have no company over bad company.

Feeling ok about eating alone I can now move onto sharing my solitary experience at Lemon Station in Cottesloe.

Lemon Station
7 Station Street, Cottesloe
Tel: 08 9284 3808

http://www.lemoncafes.com.au/UserFiles/lemonstation.pdf

Opening Times:

Mon-Fri: 6.30am – 3.30pm
Sat: 7.00am – 3.30pm
Sun: 7.30am – 1.00pm

After a busy morning of physical exercise it is a regular phenomena that I feel justified to ‘treat’ myself to breakfast. On today’s occasion I had a craving for bircher muesli. Some people would be hating on me right now for ordering bircher, but being a bircher lover I have found that creating a memorable bircher muesli is an achievement and NO, I CAN’T MAKE IT AT HOME!

I entered the cafe without too many strange looks, and took my seat at a bar table to peruse the menu which had been clearly written up to the side of the cash register. As the long drive to Cottesloe had built up my bircher cravings little time was required to make a choice. I placed an order of apple bircher muesli with vanilla poached strawberries, honeyed yoghurt and toasted hazelnuts ($13.5)  with a long black.

Other menu items included:

Parmesan & spring onion potato cake w/ pancetta crisps, poached egg, citrus crème fraiche & wild rocket ($16)

Bacon & fried egg sandwich w/ homemade tomato relish & greens ($13), Spanish Omelette w/ roasted cherry tomatoes, green onion, basil pesto & feta ($15)  (gf/v) add chorizo ($3).

I scanned the newspaper while waiting – suggestion 1 of how to eat alone and not feel uncomfortable. Fortunately for those around me, I have the hearing of an 80-year-old jack hammer operator and couldn’t eavesdrop on interesting conversation (suggestion 2). A positive of dining alone is that food arrives quickly (perhaps it’s quick to cook or they want you to leave) which gave me good reason to fold away the paper and look busy eating. Presentation was simple yet the vibrant poached strawberry’s made it look appetising. The serving size was in proportion to the cost of the dish, and didn’t leave me contemplating eating the cold baked beans waiting for me at home.

Long Black Coffee - The Morning Hit

The creaminess and softness of the honeyed yoghurt and poached strawberries was nicely offset by the cruchiness of the toasted hazelnuts. Every mouthful I took was enjoyable and the  creepy smile plastered across my face started to make the children weep. Served in square bowl with a round spoon posed some engineering difficulties towards the end of the bowl. Showing marked difficulties in scooping up the last of the bircher with a little hard work and discipline I conquered the bowl, with my parents not doubt being proud of the persistence I displayed.

Apple Bircher muesli w/ vanilla poached strawberries, honey yoghurt & toasted hazelnuts

Apple Bircher muesli w/ vanilla poached strawberries, honey yoghurt & toasted hazelnuts

It’s a big call which I am happy to put out there until convinced otherwise, but Lemon’s bircher muesli is one of the best in Perth closely followed by Blend Cafe (Melville). This is a small cafe which serves up some tasty food for a good price. They are not re-inventing the wheel with their menu but what they produce is of high quality.

Final verdict: 3.5/5

Positives: Friendly service, nothing over $20 for breakfast, located close to Cottesloe beach.

Negatives: Basic decor and a simple breakfast menu.

To finish things off I have come to the conclusion that despite my Mother’s grave concerns about my social wellbeing, I rather enjoy a breakfast date with myself. I am however drawing the line at eating solo in a fine dining restaurant – I don’t want the wait staff betting on how long I will wait before my date turns up.

Love The Fat Cow x

Lemon Station Cafe on Urbanspoon

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

The Silver Spoon Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Mrs S: Maylands

Mary had a little pig,
She kept it fat and plastered;
And when the price of pork went up,
She shot the little ba$%#$d

I know it’s not your typical nursery rhyme but Mrs S isn’t your typical suburban cafe. With the interior decked out with cute references to childhood pastimes including Peter Rabbit wall pictures and Little Golden Books as menus, Mrs S automatically creates a homely environment on entry. This ‘cute’ factor is necessary based on the eyesore AKA railway line situated on the opposite side of the road.

The details:

178 Whatley Crescent, Maylands

(08) 9721 6690

Opening hours:  Tues – Sunday for breakfast and lunch.

Being to Mrs S more times than one should go out for breakfast and my painful spruiking to others about it, expectations were high. Perusing the menu I faced the dilemma of choosing between the notoriously good home-made corn bread topped with bacon, maple syrup and poached eggs or the homemade baked beans with feta and poached eggs on ciabatta. Knowing that I wouldn’t be venturing into many public spaces that afternoon I felt it was safe (for both myself and the general public) to have a good healthy dose of beans. My fellow grazer also felt it important to have some protein therefore ordering the same dish. A side order of a long black and piccolo latte was added to aid in starting the day.

Long black coffee with Little Golden Book menu

Orders are taken at the counter, so if you head in wanting high quality ‘table service’ then you might be a little disappointed. I personally don’t mind ordering at the counter as  it avoids waving your hand like a swimmer caught in a rip, which happens fairly regularly in Perth. The coffee’s came out first and although it wasn’t the best long black I still found it acceptable. The piccolo on the other hand was disappointing resembling warm milk with a dash of espresso. Not the ideal start but we were willing to persist and wait for our food, based on the quality plates being served to other grazers. (At this point I put my food stalker binoculars away)

Home-made baked beans with feta and poached eggs on ciabatta

Like a small child a wry smile came across my face as our plates headed in our direction. In my mind the plates had their own theme tune with the classic childhood song ….. beans beans the wonderful fruit, the more you eat the more you toot….. playing in my immature head. A prolonged ‘oooooohhhh’ from both grazers was elicited upon delivery of the plates indicating presentation must have been on the money. As much as I think presentation is important it really is about the taste, hence why Picnic chocolate bars are still being consumed. For me the beans could have been cooked a touch longer being a little crunchy for my liking but aside from this the meal was an absolute dream. The eggs were perfectly poached and seasoned, while the addition of the feta broke up the flavour of the beans and balanced the dish nicely. The ciabatta was fresh and allowed the remnants of the beans and eggs to be cleaned up to a point where the dish looked like it had been washed.

Despite the average coffee, the food once again excelled and we were given a nice send off by the wait staff which was a pleasant end to our morning expedition.

Negatives: Average coffee and slightly undercooked beans.

Positives: Quirky interior prompting a trip down memory lane, perfectly poached eggs and the display of appetising cakes.

Overall: 4/5. I will continue to spruik my little heart out about how much I love this place for breakfast!

Stay tuned for a write-up on ‘The Silver Spoon’ degustation menu located in Vic Park

Love The Fat Cow x

Mrs. S on Urbanspoon

The Imp Cafe : East Vic Park

According to my research the definition of the word ‘Imp’ means: A small devil or small mischievous child.

 

As one is able to do on Wikipedia I am tempted to alter the word  ‘Imp’  to meaning: A ridiculously small food portion.

 

I have been to Imp Cafe previously for breakfast a few times and quite enjoyed their bircher muesli and Fiori coffee. I was however interested in seeing what their nighttime tapas menu had to offer. With the cafe being conveniently located from my humble abode and being BYO, I was keen to see if The Imp could become a regular grazing pasture when the mood for Tapas struck.

The Imp Cafe

863 Albany Hwy, East Vic Park

Phone: (08) 9361 2600

Open Mon – Sun (7am till 10pm)

BYO wine (Bottle shop 4 doors down)

http://www.theimp.com.au/

Not being able to book and knowing that the cafe itself is very small, our group of 5 (university chums) arrived at 6pm in order to ‘shotgun’ a table. Fortunately we nabbed a  table in prime location AKA next to the cake display. While we waited for our late 6th member to arrive we poured the red ($3 corkage p/head) and started campaigning for whichever plate took our fancy.

In the past I have clearly shared my notion of ‘what’s yours is mine’ when it comes to dining out. With this in mind one would think that I would adore Tapas, to which I respond with a “negative ghost rider”. My aversion to going out for tapas stems from the fact that after taking all costs into account it can wind up being expensive. This is mainly due to the fact that you have to purchase a  kebab with the lot on the way home because you are still starving. Not wanting to end my night with a kebab in hand and garlic sauce over my face, we surveyed the waitress as to how much we would require for 6 people. Her answer…… ‘ 1 plate each’. Putting my non-existent maths skills to use, 6 people meant that 6 plates would be required to avoid the kebab ghost run.

After vigorous campaigning and casting our votes the selection included:

Lamb backstrap, cous cous, stone fruit, mint & yoghurt …………. 26.0

Beef shin, charred spring onions & sticky soy sauce (g) ………….. 18.5

Crispy pork belly with cinnamon sugar, sweet potato, apple & currants .. 13.0

Spiced hand cut potatoes with aioli (v) …………………………………. 9.0

Venison chorizo, lemon & parsley (g) ……………………………………. 9.5

Duck & fig frittata bites, rocket & truffle oil (g) ……………………… 15.0

After ordering we were informed that our 6th member had gone AWOL and therefore would not be joining us. Secretly I smiled inside knowing that there would be no chance of going hungry, as we were sharing 6 plates between the 5 of us!! Happy days.

Service was relatively prompt but I would have hated to have seen my face when the plates were placed in front of me. I think it would have resembled the look of a two-year old realising she had received a book and embroided handkerchiefs for Christmas vs the My Little Pony, that she had been hankering for all year. I was particularly concerned about how we would go about sharing the crispy pork belly between 5 of us when there were only 2 portions about the size of a dice sitting on the oversized plate.

Crispy pork belly with cinnamon sugar, sweet potato, apple & currants

Feeling a little deflated I hoped that by slowy gnawing on each piece I would not only be amazed by the flavours but feel satisfied. Unfortunately this really wasn’t the case with the crispy pork belly not being particularly crispy and the hand cut potatoes resembling Napoleon Dynamite’s potato tots. The duck and fig frittata bites was probably the biggest let down, with the flavours of the duck and fig not coming through resulting in it tasting very bland.

Spiced hand cut potatoes with aioli (v)

The venison chorizo however was addictive and the dash of lemon gave it a nice fresh taste. I also enjoyed the lamb backstrap which was nicely accompanied with the cous cous and mint yoghurt, and was an appropriate serving size for 6 people.

Although we could have ordered more, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be good service and logical to inform diners that more than one pork belly dish should be ordered if there is only 2 pieces with 6 people sitting at the table????’

As the cake display had been making eyes at me all night, I decided to not order more tapas and fill up on sugary goodness. There was a large selection of desserts including brownies, crumble, sticky date pudding and carrot cake to name a few. Being slightly overcast I was in the mood for sticky date ($5.50) with a side of vanilla ice-cream ($2). The presentation of the pudding was cute (being served in a coffee cup) and the generous side serving of vanilla ice-cream was not in keeping with The Imp name. The pudding was enjoyable, but could have done with more sticky date sauce (really just sugar and butter…yum) making the cake more ‘moist’ (probably the most common word used when talking cake). Fortunately with the combination of the cake and red wine I felt full despite the main event barely touching the sides.

Sticky date pudding with a side of vanilla icecream

Positives: BYO wine, venison chorizo, generous with the ice-cream and a pleasant setting.

Negatives: ‘Imp size’ portions, bland duck frittata and another black mark against going out for Tapas.

Overall: Sorry but this Tapas didn’t win me over so I am giving it a 2/5. I am however happy to return for breakfast based on good past experiences.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Imp on Urbanspoon

Sayers: Leederville

Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling.

– Dave Barry –

Humor columnist Dave Barry is 100% right – Rice cake’s taste like styrofoam. As far as I am concerned rice cakes, oats, cucumber and unsalted popcorn would all be ‘beige’ if they were a colour and are a waste of calories which could be put to better use for mouth-watering  culinary delights.  Throughout the week I try to resist devouring a whole bowl of flavour filled (and sugar filled) cereal and eat the mundane healthy oats with fruit as diabetes doesn’t particularly interest me. But one can not live this way forever (or for an entire 7 days), which is why I dedicate every Sunday morning to replenishing my body with a breakfast flavour explosion that it so desperately needs. Some may say that I am a breakfast addict…… I am not willing to admit to this in case it leads to me having to give it up.

Not wanting to waste my once a week breakfast bonanza much planning, research and thought goes into which cafe will fulfill my physiological needs. Therefore, I offer you a slightly scary insight into my weekly thought process.

1. I need a cafe which serves both savoury and sweet breakfast dishes – Making a midweek prediction of,  if you will want hot cakes or poached eggs just isn’t possible.

2. I need a place which doesn’t remind me of an IKEA car park and have people stalking me for my seat while eating.

3. Most importantly though, I need a cafe which is located close to the shops so that I can attempt to make last-minute Christmas gift purchases on a full and happy stomach.

Final conclusion was the well-known and loved cafe SAYERS!

224 Carr Place, Leederville

http://www.sayersfood.com.au/

Monday–Saturday

7am–11:30am: Breakfast
11:30am–2pm: Lunch

Sunday

7am–2pm: Breakfast
11:30–3pm: Counter lunch

Like a kid on Christmas morning I awoke early keen to have the most important meal of the day, and it wasn’t long before we were scamming a table outside decked with Freudian like chairs. Perched on my chair like Queen Mary the hard work of selecting a meal began. (A story in itself)

I did a personality test the other day which resulted in me finding out that I have relatively poor decision-making ability. At the time I scoffed at this notion choosing to believe that I wasn’t one of those annoying people who were forever ‘going with the flow’ *insert cringe*. As I scanned over the menu however, I had an epiphany realising that in the space of 10 minutes I still hadn’t reached a clear decision on what I wanted. Although tests prove I am psychologically inept in this area, I truly believe that Sayers did not assist in the process having a menu that looked so damn good. Although I had been recommended the Ricotta and White Chocolate Hotcakes with sticky toffee apple sauce and double cream ($16.50) I settled on the somewhat unusual combination of Raspberry Mushroom & crumbled feta, rocket, poached egg on toasted quinoa & linseed. ($18.50)

I often take the ‘what’s your’s is mine approach‘ when dining with most people. My fellow grazer played a strategic game however and ordered the Green tea salmon egg, baked ricotta, Denmark asparagus & rosewater poached pear ($20.50) knowing that I wouldn’t eat off their plate due to my strong dislike of smoked salmon.So the stage was set – Sayers had only one chance to blow me away with the one dish that I had ordered. At no point would unseasoned poached egg or mushroom cut it, I could not have my Sunday morning ruined by a breakfast which tasted like rice cakes.

Green tea salmon scrambled egg, baked ricotta, Denmark asparagus with rosewater poached pears

Fortunately for Sayers things were looking positive, with my star sign (in the paper) indicating that I would have a good day. The meals arrived in a timely manner and were aesthetically very pleasing. The lashing’s of raspberry over the top of the mushroom gave the plate a real lift in terms of presentation. I was additionally excited to see that my lone poached egg had been seasoned well with sea salt and pepper – BIG TICK.

Raspberry mushroom & crumbled feta, rocket, poached egg on toasted quinoa and linseed

Although I was dubious about how the raspberry would taste when combined with the other components of the dish I was pleasantly surprised. The strong flavour of the crumbled feta was nicely offset by the delicate sweetness and freshness of the raspberry drizzle. This was a good dish and I was feeling that I would be awarding my first 5/5 score to Sayers. The ultimate and final test however came down to that little poached egg sitting ever so quietly next to the quinoa & linseed toast – would it have the ‘goo factor’ that one aspires to get right when poaching their own eggs?????? As the knife pierced the surface, like a little rays of sunshine the bright yellow yolk ran all over the mushroom making me (in a sad way) very happy. As I scraped my plate clean I felt fulfilled and happy to take on the arduous task of Christmas shopping amidst the rest of the unorganised Perth population.

Overall:

Positives: Great food and coffee, good atmosphere and prompt service (despite being busy). It is easy to see why Sayers has been and remained a popular and well liked dining spot since its opening.

Negatives: Fairly small place – Based on its popularity it would be difficult to get a seat if you have more than 4 people and it is fairly loud if dining inside.

Flaversome food,  crave curing coffee, sensational staff and a scenic setting = a top score of 5/5

Up next is tapas at ‘The Imp’ in Victoria Park so stay tuned.

Love ‘The Fat Cow” x

Sayers on Urbanspoon

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.

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon