The Fat Cow in Peru

Buenos dias Amigo’s and Amiga’s!

The Fat Cow has become semi cultured and has found herself venturing from the pastures of Perth all the way to Peru, South America.

Although many of you may not be able to enjoy the culinary delights with which I am going to share with you today, I am sure that many of you will not be too disappointed about that (please read on to see why).

I am one who wholly believes in the saying ‘when in Rome’, and while in a different country I think it only polite to taste local delicacies.

This motto often works out well in places like Italy or France, where local delicacies include culinary delights like olives, pizza or croissants. You can only imagine my horror and concern when announced that Peru’s favourite dish is Cuy, translation = Guinea Pig.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen that furry, cuddly and somewhat adorable pet that you owned as a wee person, actually gets served up on a plate over here. Traditionally it is usually served whole (head included) and one must devour in the carnivorous fashion of eating it with your hands.

With the mentality of the guy from Man v Food, I put to the back of my mind that I had to eat my childhood pet and ventured to a recommended Peruvian restaurant (Inka Grill) in Cuzco. Aiming to check off all the local dishes we ordered the entrée of Trout and Mushroom Ceviche and a main of Cuy (Guinea Pig) with roasted potatoes to share. Considered a delicacy over here, the Cuy was the most expensive item on the menu, and I had concerns that I would be playing 60 soles for one mouthful of food.

To calm the nerves prior to my pet tasting, I further got into the Peruvian spirit by ordering the local drink called a Pisco Sour. This was delicious and although initially tasting highly alcoholic I soon settled into it. The flavour resembled Tequila but was mixed with citrus and egg white which took away the typical burning that usually comes with Tequila. After trying many local drinks in different countries E.g. Raki in Turkey (liquorice in a cup) it was nice to actually find a drink which was palatable.

Pisco Sour

The dishes arrived at the table and I was happy to see that the guinea pig had been separated and there was no sign of a head. I was doubting my ability to eat such a thing if it was in fact looking at me. The ceviche was nicely presented and came with a side of corn, regularly sold and eaten here.

We started on the ceviche to get into the swing of things and although the city of Lima is best known for its ceviche, it seemed Cusco did it pretty well also. The citrus base flavoured the trout well, and was an enjoyable and light dish, of generous entree portion size to start off the evening.

Mushroom and Trout Ceviche

Next was the Guinea Pig and with a deep breath I took my first bite. Despite being a little less meaty and slightly chewier, Guinea Pig tastes like CHICKEN.

Cuy (Guinea Pig) with roast potato

All was going well and I was considering my second piece of Cuy until the piece I selected had some unappetising kidneys attached. Based on this disturbing turn of events, the fact it was expensive and tasted like chicken, I have decided to end my Cuy adventures in favour of returning to eating plain old chicken.

The fateful piece of Guinea Pig with kidneys attached

In other exciting culinary adventures I was also able to try Alpaca. For some reason this seemed a little less daunting than Guinea Pig perhaps because I never had one in the back yard. The Alpaca was also enjoyable, tasting slightly sweeter and lighter to Australian Beef.

Alpaca stirfry

I assure you even though I have eaten Guinea Pig and Alpaca, Peru still has animals left in existence, evident after our visit to the markets.

I always enjoy visiting different countries markets as it gives you an idea of what you should be trying and eating. All I can say however is that after visiting Cuzco markets I have now turned Vegetarian. Filled with countless isles of fresh fruit and juicing bays, we were off to a promising start but things soon changed after mindlessly walking into the meat section.

Call me a prude but I firmly believe that meat and fish when out in the open should be kept on ice and fly free. Strolling through the meat aisles, the Peruvian people obviously don’t share these sentiments and all cuts of meat were laid out in the sun for the taking. I soon realised how wasteful we were in Australia with cuts including brain, hooves, intestine, cow nose, tongue all being available for purchase at a good price. Although we do have kitchen facilities at the hostel, buying dinner seemed like the easier option then knocking up a quick brain and tongue stew.

Cow nose and brain

It has been a gastronomic experience to say the least and I am glad to report that I have no food poisoning based on the above tastings. I look forward to the next part of the journey in Bolivia and have my fingers crossed that their local delicacy lies somewhere between chocolate cake and pie.

Adios

Love The Fat Cow x

Advertisements

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

The Classroom: North Perth

Reflecting on my school report despite my best efforts I have never been a straight A grade student. Easily distracted by others in class and busy masterminding plans on how to be excused from Economics, I guess I was never destined for greatness in The Classroom environment…until now!

The Classroom

http://www.theclassroom.com.au/

1 / 356 Charles St, North Perth WA 6006

Tues to Fri – 4pm to late

Sat to Sun – 11am to late

Mon (private classes)

Ph: 08 9444 7729

No bookings taken

This Classroom specialises in the only subject that I could get an A in – Home ECONOMICS (minus the sewing). The setup is intriguing with retro tin lunch boxes, old wood desks and seats, blackboards and hand paintings clearly demonstrating that this is a well thought out ‘themed’ restaurant/bar. Like many of the newbies to the North Perth Bar, I spent a good 10 minutes discussing which items I rocked back in the day realising that I was shamelessly white and nerdy.

Unfortunately there is a no booking policy and by the time we arrived it was evident that we had hit “peak hour traffic” in restaurant terms. With limited seating  it is clear why there is a no booking policy in place, but does make it difficult to organise a group of friends to have dinner running the risk of waiting a period of time to find a large enough table.

I have now realised I have restaurant rage issues, after a fellow diner parked her rear on a seat/table that I had clearly stalked and scoped out. Refusing accept my move on notice in the form of daggers and one raised eyebrow, I scanned the room to see if there was a punishment cane available – lucky for her weapons were not kept on the premises and she lived to steal more tables another day (sorry Perth). Fortunately enough after another 20 minutes of making people feel uncomfortable by breathing heavily over their shoulders a table magically became available.

The three of us nestled around the school desk but instead of writing lines we perused the drinks list. The menu had been creatively stuck into a small school notebook which was another nice touch in setting the school scene. One of my fellow diners who demanded she go by the alias ‘Black Betty’, thought that I had taken my critiquing to a whole new level by bringing my own notebook with the menu stuck in it. I think she may have been relieved to find out I wasn’t that anal about my reviewing hobby.

The drinks menu was comprehensive and it was clear The Classroom is trying to build a reputation for both quality food and cocktails. In hope that someone may have thought I was talented in Chemistry, I selected a cocktail from the science menu aptly named The Bunsen after Burner ($20) with Chairman’s Spiced Rum, bunsen-burned bananas, fresh pressed lime, maple syrup, smoky bitters. The delicious aroma of the caramelising banana permeated the bar throughout the night and certainly smelt better than the usual waft of burning hair often a result of playing with Bunsen Burners. It was a tough decision opting for The After Bunsen Burner with  the  LNO2 Espresso Martini ($22) with fresh pressed Darkstar Espresso, The Classrooms Espresso mix, liquid nitrogen, mascarpone sherry foam and shaved chocolate also looking appetising.

The Bunsen after Burner

The Bunsen after Burner with Chairmans Spiced Rum, bunsen-burned bananas, fresh pressed lime, maple syrup, smoky bitters

Next on the agenda ordering food. Perusing the menu attached to a clipboard, we marked (with the good ol 2b pencil) which items we wanted before handing it to the teacher (waitress). Black Betty opted for the Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing ($16), while Smeagle’s carnivorous side got the better of him with selecting the 4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges ($17 small or $32 large). I couldn’t go past the Hand-cut crinkle chips, sumac dusting & chipotle aioli ($8) and Pork sausage rolls with fennel & apple, apricot chutney ($14) . Shortly after ordering my cocktail arrived served in a cute jam jar and smelling delicious. The quality spiced rum flavour was highly evident but nicely balanced by the sweetness of the maple syrup and bananas. The creativity and flavours featured in this cocktail won me over, and I would be more than happy to go back for pre-drinks with the girls despite being highly priced.

The Classroom order form

The Classroom order form with 2B pencil

The tuckshop lady must have worked hard as the food buzzer vibrated across the table in no time resulting in Smeagle and I sauntering through the crowd to the canteen to pick up our tea. I didn’t mind this self-service idea but logistically due to the large amount of people standing around the bar, for the non-trained waiter the journey from the canteen holding multiple plates is a perilous one. One can only imagine what would have happened if someone knocked my chips? Furthermore imagine if it was the lady who stole my table. Excuse the pun but I would have literally been spitting chips (Dad joke). The self-serve style restaurant also posed a few more problems with table service. Unfortunately for us we were sitting at a table that had not been cleared or cleaned from the last group sitting there making it sufficiently awkward for space once our food arrived. We weren’t the only ones with a table next door following suit and dropping a glass upon trying to clear their own table. Being a new restaurant this may just be teething problems, but self-service doesn’t mean a customer should be without table service all together. End of gripe!

Top marks go to the hand cut chips which proved to be highly addictive and enjoyable with the dusting of sumac over the top, something which I hadn’t seen done with chips before. Served in the old yellow chip bucket with generously cut thick chips, I could have devoured another bucket to myself (without even having to add more salt!). Due to Black Betty being a crispy chip lover and myself a soggy, we a had a great chip eating partnership worked out.

Hand-cut crinkle chips, sumac dusting & chipotle aioli

Hand-cut crinkle chips,sumac dusting & chipotle aioli

Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing

Szechuan pepper squid,compressed watermelon,nam-jim dressing

Smeagle was focusing on the ribs being a regular Tony Roma rib eater. Although stating they were good, he felt they didn’t pull of the bone as cleanly as he liked and were also fairly fatty. The rib I had pulled away nicely almost falling off the bone but I have to agree the fat to meat ratio was a bit out of kilter, which can sometimes happen with short ribs. The dipping sauce and side of barbecued pineapple was a plus, even for me who prefers fresh over cooked pineapple.

The pork sausage rolls were enjoyable with the apple and fennel sauce complementing the pork. In my opinion pork and fennel are like peas and carrots and is a classic flavour combination which should never be scoffed at. The pastry casing was nicely cooked with some crunch on the outside, something different to the usual soggy Mrs Mac’s sausage roll. Finally we move onto the Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing which caused some debate among the diners. The squid was well cooked avoiding any chewiness that sometimes arises with overcooked squid. The Szechuan flavour of the squid was also spot on, but the pairing of it with watermelon for me did not work. Eating each item separately was ok (with the watermelon cleansing the palate between the squid) but having a combined mouthful of the squid and watermelon made it became a wet dish taking away from the outer-crispyness of the squid. I am not sure which way it was designed to be eaten but either way Smeagle was in favour of the combination finding it quite refreshing.

4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges

4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges

The total came out to around $40 each including a drink which wasn’t bad for the quality of food and cocktails made. On a night out this may have come to a bit more, as I have no doubt that more cocktails and hand cut chips would be ordered. The vibe of The Classroom was inspiring and I am glad that North Perth finally has somewhere decent to eat. With my brother living just around the corner it will be nice to have a local restaurant vs having to drive into Leederville for a quality meal.

Positives: Interior decor, cocktail list and themed concept which Perth is yet to really see.

Negatives: Limited table service and no cane to hand out suitable punishment to rude diners.

Overall: 3.5/5. I love the concept and can see this place has great potential, already getting a good response from the locals. Hopefully after another month of being open they can solve a few of the table service problems which would see them take the bar to the next level.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Classroom 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 Sake Bar Restaurant : Northbridge

The cold shudder is an instantaneous reaction that I can not stop when I hear the word ‘Northbridge’. Such negative connotations and bodily reactions arise through ones own fault, stemming from my ‘young and the restless’ teenage days. Hazy memories include:

1. The glare of the sun after emerging from the ‘classy’ Paramount at 5am smelling like redbull.

2.Colourful characters playing instruments at 1:30am with a small flock of drunken teens dancing to the beat of the drum.

3.The sound of bad karaoke music spilling from neon palaces.

Such connotations does not make Northbridge an inviting place for me to venture and dredge up repressed memories. Unfortunately for me, Northbridge has become a haven for great cuisine resulting in my greedy stomach being able to bully my cynical head into visiting the Sake Bar Restaurant. I spied this Japanese restaurant earlier in the week while having coffee at Frisk Espresso, which serves great coffee for all those caffeine addicts out there.

Sake Bar Restaurant

Phone: (08) 9328 3380

71 Francis St, Northbridge WA 6003

Fully Licensed

Open Lunch and Dinner Tuesday – Sunday.

I parked at the opposite end of Francis St in the State Library carpark, with no intention of popping in for further learning. I donned my knife proof vest and like a ninja in the night scurried down Francis St. While bounding from building to building I was taking mental notes of not only suspicious characters but also other busy restaurants such as Dragon Palace across the road from Sake Bar for further visits.

NOTICE: THOSE THAT ARE COOL PLEASE TURN AWAY NOW as I am going to tap into my nerdy roots to describe my entrance to the Sake Bar. For those of you that enjoy children’s movies,  it was like walking through a magical cupboard into the Japanese version of Narnia. Unfortunately Aslan the Lion was on the other side but the waitress was more than inviting and escorted me to my private table.

Along with quality food, a restaurant/cafe interior design and vibe is what excites me and makes me want to return. The Sakes Bar interior design and layout was impressive and definantly made me feel very cultural! I have to admit I was jealous that by only having 1 friend at the time ( I assure you I do have more) meant we were seated at a table and not in a funky booth fit for 6 six people or a private room able to accommodate over 10 guests.

I jinxed myself by tweeting that I was looking forward to tempura zucchini flowers because sure enough they were out of stock – damn that Murphy and his law. To drown my sorrows I promptly ordered a sake cocktail to numb the pain. Some would say sake tastes like warmed up cat’s urine. Not being fortunate enough to know what that tastes like I usually liken sake to warmed up vodka and don’t enjoy it at all. That statement now no longer applies with the cocktails (featured below) Blushing Geisha and Cherry Blossom Tini being refreshingly tasty. At $19 a pop I was glad they delivered on presentation and flavour.

Cherry Blossom Tini (Left) and Blushing Geisha (Right)

Cherry Blossom Tini (Left) and Blushing Geisha (Right)

So onto the real reason why you go to restaurant’s ……. the food! We opted for a  number of the entrée dishes to minimise decision-making and taste more. Dishes ordered included:

1. Crispy Sushi – $16.00

Crispy Sushi

2. Aburi Sushi – $ 19.00

Aburi Sushi

3. Gyoza – $9.00

Gyoza

4. Tori Karage – $10.00

5. Miso Soup – $4.50

The seared Aburi Sushi was amazing, with the fish tasting fresh and nicely seasoned with my friend salt. The Gyoza’s was my favourite dish with the Gyoza’s not being sticky or gluggy which often happens. They were full of strong flavours and certainly had you returning for more. I was fortunate enough to get the last one! Never having had fried sushi I didn’t know what to expect and felt it would be something that I wouldn’t enjoy.  This was not the case with only the rice being gently fried and the sushi on top being fresh, giving the dish nice texture and crunch. It almost felt like eating a little hash brown sushi combo (a weird yet wonderful creation).  I also enjoyed the Tori Karage but it was the accompanying wasabi mayo which made the dish.

We didn’t have dessert as I am yet to find an  Asian dessert which I am particularly taken with. I am too attached to ice-cream, pudding and cake to enjoy desserts based primarily on fruit or rice. As a wise man by the name of Homer Simpson once said “You don’t make friends with salad”, and I am pretty sure this applies to fruit also. The overall bill came to $50 each which would have been substantially cheaper had we shown self-control and not drunk. (Where’s is the fun in that though?)

Walking back to the car the karaoke music of the Dragon Palace filled the air and I was struck by the fact I was still in Northbridge and feeling ok about returning despite our past indifferences. Will someone please slap me should they see me detouring from The Sake Bar to the Mustang or Paramount upon my next visit.

Overall

Positives: Loved the interior architecture, quality service, tasty cocktails and moreish food.

Negatives: No tempura zucchini flowers in stock and my bout of envy against people with more than 1 friend sitting in a booth.

Rating: 4.5/5

Strongly recommended for those that love Japanese and enjoy the full dining experience.

Love “The Fat Cow” x

 
Sake Bar Restaurant 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

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

The George: Perth CBD

Some weekends are dedicated to catching up with friends and family which inevitably means travelling from one cafe to the next. This weekend was no exception and left me visiting a variety of Perth pastures (restaurant’s/cafe’s) with some leaving me slightly underwhelmed.

The Indi Bar located at

3 Hastings Street Scarborough Western Australia 6019
ph: +61 8 9341 112
fx: +61 8 9341 1899

Kicked off the weekend on Friday night with local talent Carus Thompson getting the crowds in. I hadn’t seen or been to the Indi Bar before, and from the initial observation I felt as though I should have parked closer to the door or in a more well-lit area. As the main attraction was not playing in the front bar when we arrived, we took it upon ourselves to get into the bar/bistro theme munching on some turkish bread with homemade dips ($9) , wedges ($9) and chunky chips ($8). I know this isn’t a gourmet choice, but when in a pub it seems like the natural thing to do. I washed this down with a nice glass of Cab Sav Pepperjack which is great in any situation. The turkish bread and dips did not impress with the dip tasting like Philadelphia cream cheese. As for the wedges and chips….. well they were moreish, as indicated by the empty bowls with only remnants of the fried joys remaining. From observation the bar looked like it fulfilled its role of good standard pub food specialising in steak, burgers and chips. So if you’re in need for some pub grub and don’t mind dated decor then The Indi Bar will provide you with what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something a little more gourmet then somewhere like The Brisbane might be a better option.

Rating 2.5/5

The local talent

All the action from The Indi Bar

The Windsor Hotel was my next stop on the weekends eating adventure.

112 Mill Point Rd, South Perth

windsorhotel.com.au

This is my local stomping ground and have eaten and drunk a few to many wines here on many occasion. Being there on a warm Sunday afternoon under the shade cloth’s in the beer garden got me in a good mood straight away. This was quickly taken back however when after observing the menu I came to realise that my usual salt and pepper squid with Nam Jim salad had been removed from the menu. This dish was my clear favourite and forced me to deviate from tradition onto the wood fired pizza list. Service was adequate with attentive wait staff taking our food and drink orders straight away. It was however disappointing to see that the wait staff could not advise us if the barramundi listed on the menu had been caught locally. With the waiter returning to the table to inform us that it was local produce, half the table opted for a plate of traditional battered fish and chips ($29) while I ordered The Triple P  wood fired pizza (Red curry chicken, satay sauce, pineapple, coriander, spring onion, capsicum and sweet chilli topped with mozzarella ($23). Meals were quick to be delivered to the table however due to the pizza oven being in a different kitchen, the rest of the table was made to wait  while my pizza came out separatley…..some peoples manners are better than mine. Reviews of the barrumundi were all positive with the batter being light and the fish remaining moist. The pizza was enjoyable and had the wood fired crunch to the thin base however did appear quite oily on top when placed in front of us.

The final verdict – Good atmosphere and ambience in the beer garden when warm. Adequate service but limited knowledge of the menu. Good pub food at adequate prices. Rating 3.5/5

Slightly full from the Windsor I was craving something sweet to top off my day. What better way to end a busy weekend with a High Tea full of bite sized delights and fine china. I had been fortunate enough to be invited to The George by a friend to help celebrate her birthday.

The George

216 St Georges Tce, Perth

http://www.thegeorgeperth.com.au/

I never knew The George specialised in High Tea, after seeing it mainly as a place that the rat race flocked to on Friday afternoon to drown their sorrows about the stressful week they just had and what was installed for the next. But as I entered the doors (after finding a park at the overpriced Atrium car park) the room was packed with young and old women grazing on scones and pastries, with the odd male sitting there formulating an exit strategy. Due to our large numbers we were in the function room which was good as we were able to mingle with ease between the two tables. There was a good selection of teas available however due to being a coffee addict I ordered a long black. Should I have been traditional, Chai tea would have been the tea of choice. Sipping on champagne tied us over until the tea and coffee came out with scones, jam and cream to accompany it. The scones were light a fluffy and the jam was clearly homemade with the cream having a nice taste of vanilla to it. It was unfortunate however that after this course it was a long time till the tiered cake stand presented itself with the remainder of the food. By this stage another round of coffee and tea would have been nice but must not be included in the price of $37 p/p. The wait staff ensured that each party member was told about each individual item on the stand, which I was impressed by. It did seem strange however to be tucking into rare beef and smoked chicken sandwiches after starting on sweet scones. The highlight of the assorted cakes was the small lemon tarts topped with passionfruit, although the chocolate pistachio cake was also another clear favourite. Ialso  commend the chef for catering for my gluten intolerant friend, who was served an individual assortment of cakes and pastries which was equally as appetising.

Lemon Tart

A few tasty treats

Although the food was enjoyable, the odd presentation and lack of refills with the tea and coffee left me a little underwhelmed considering the price. I did not walk out the door feeling like The George was Perth’s best high tea restaurant, which was a shame as it seems to have the potential to do so.

Rating 3.5/5

So there it is my friends. 3 restaurants later and 3 kg’s heavier The Fat Cow has had a busy weekend. Leave me a post should you recommend any places to review.

Love The Fat Cow