It is so exciting to have all my family over in Perth for our engagement party tonight. My Mum and Dad have been divorced since I was a young teenager and so my sister and I have grown accustomed to dividing our time during any major holiday events between each of our parents and their loved ones. Incredibly this party will not only be a first for us all to be together in Perth, but it also will be the first family event that both my parents have attended simultaneously since I was a little child. Understandably I am thrilled to have them all here!
Dad and his wife arrived late the night before so we planned to catch up on the morning of the party for a light brunch and chatter at the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse seems to be a restaurant you either love or you hate. I have eaten here a number of times and have never been disappointed with the food or the service. The bizarre interiors are all made from recycled materials which gives it a real bohemian greenie vibe. Even the light fittings – which look quite spectacular – are actually just made from wound up barbed wire fencing. The meals are served in quirky pieces such as old milk bottles and terracotta plant pots. It definitely is not for everyone, but I love it more and more with each visit.
Last time I came here for breakfast I had wild mushrooms with slow cooked eggs served on my own gluten free bread – it’s such a shame they do not have any gluten free bread available. The mushroom dish was very memorable and I was eager to see if something similar remained on their ever changing seasonal menu. To my exquisite excitement a new version of this dish was on the menu accompanied by their amazingly gooey slow cooked eggs and some grilled polenta. I wasn’t going to need my BYO gluten free bread after all. Everyone at the table except for Dad ordered the mushrooms and none of us were disappointed with our choices. The eggs were perfectly soft and I’m sure there must have been at least four different types of mushrooms in there. As we sat in the fabulous Perth sunshine basking in its therapeutic glow I felt proud to call this city my hometown.
My Dad is a fashion designer for his own shoe label and spends a lot of his time for work in and out of China. So when he saw there was crab congee on the menu it was no surprise to us all when he ordered it for himself. I am yet to decide how I feel about congee; I think it’s my love of eggs for breakfast that always sways me away from choosing to eat it and I always end up opting for ordering a dish with googs instead. I had a little taste of his congee and found the saltiness and texture of the crab gave it that perfect lift, turning it from a potential bland baby food into a filling and delicious meal. Despite this deliciousness, my mushroom addiction overrode any regrets as I quickly devoured my own amazing breakfast and was left wishing the serve was a touch bigger!
After breakfast, I walked back to the car hand in hand with the boy as we both enjoyed the glorious warmth of the sun I could feel it energise me and give me increasing bounce in my stride. We chatted animatedly about our wedding plans for Phuket. By the time we got back to the car I was feeling a little on the ditsy side and I ended up leaving our parking ticket on the boot of the car as we drove off towards the exit. Unable to find the ticket when at the exit, I started to wonder if this beautiful morning was too good to be true and that the party day was destined to be filled with mishaps. We drove back to our original location and the boy started scanning the ground while I rummage through my handbag hastily. But to my surprise and relief there was the paper ticket still sitting there innocently on top of the car boot! We exited the car park without any further drama and made our way back to my Dad’s hotel room where I was spoilt rotten with a whole suitcase of Robert Robert and Diavolina shoes!
Score: Service 7.9/10 Food 9/10 Venue 8.5/10Greenhouse 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 | (08) 9481 8333 | greenhouseperth.com
The excitement for the upcoming engagement party is escalating. The bubbling began at work with our girlie chitter chatter of our personal shopping expeditions for outfits of which some of us had success in our searches but for others it was still a work in progress. As team work is such a vital element of a well-run veterinary practice we are all quite close friends and any social outing sparks a lot of enthusiasm and animated conversations among us all. This level of excitement has further risen up a notch with the arrival of my darling mother early this week. My Mum is the type of person you will immediately love from the first moment you meet her – even my beauty therapists go on about what a gorgeous person she is! With the early arrival of my sister tomorrow, the three of us decided to pop out for a light meal and the perfect cuisine to fit the bill for this was some delicious Thai!
Dusit Thai is something of an institution in Perth and has been open since 1988. The atmosphere in the restaurant is effortless and comfortable, and its spacious size means it’s never hard to get a table. Having eaten here many times on business dinners I figured it would be a sure-fire way to have an enjoyable and quick meal with my love and my Mum. This would allow us to enjoy our last quiet evening together before the festivities really start to kick in.
Dusit Thai is not the cheapest of Thai restaurants in Perth but I have found they reliably serve delicious meals no matter what I choose to order. They are very flexible with adapting their dishes and have always ensured to make an effort to avoid specific ingredients for me which reveals to me just how fresh each meal that is served is. Prior to our travels to Thailand I created an eating card with my special dietary requirements for gluten-free and fructose friendly written clearly in Thai on one side of the card and in English on the other side. Every time we dined out in Thailand I would show this cute little card to our waitress where it would then proceed to do the round trip from my hand via several waitresses to the kitchen and back to the table. Often it would actually make two trips as all the staff would eagerly want to make sure that I have no problems with my meal. Unfortunately I have to admit that back in Australia; even in Thai restaurants this well-travelled little card hasn’t received such glorified attention. Consequently, it was to my delight that on this night I was reminded of its tour of duty in Thailand as it was escorted on a similar round trip around the restaurant to the kitchen before returning back to me.
The waitresses were genuinely helpful in discussing our choice of dishes for the evening and the chef appeared very flexible in attempting to accommodate my requests whenever he could. We started with my latest Thai favourite; some mixed seafood Tom Yum. This delicious clear spicy and sour soup is such a refreshing way to begin a meal, and if you’re not actually that hungry is enough for a light meal on its own. To my great disappointment, prior to the soup being served our lovely waitress came back to inform me that there actually is a lot of onion used in the stock for the soup. I was recommended to order chicken satay instead. I cannot deny my internal reaction to this was “how boring” but seeing as they had already gone to such great lengths to help me order the rest of the evening’s meals I decided I didn’t want to make any more fuss and just went along with her recommendation.
The Tom Yum was requested to be served mild because both the boy and Mum have delicate palates when it comes to hot and spicy food. Despite this request they both found the soup to be too spicy, so for those who do not like heat in their food I recommend that you make sure to emphasize to your waitress that you want your soup very mild. I had a little taste of the seafood contained in the boy’s soup. As I watched him struggle through the spiciness I became quite jealous as I really enjoyed its tangy sourness and wished I could finish it off for them both. I did notice the soup lacked the rich colour I would expect for Tom Yum however the seafood was soft and not chewy or overcooked. The satay was a delicious surprise. The chicken was juicy and tender, the peanut sauce thick and creamy and the ajat (cucumber relish) took me back to Thailand! Many restaurants here in Perth don’t serve their satay dishes with this traditional yet elegant condiment made from palm sauce, cucumber and coriander. Yum!
The duck larb was a tasty alternative to the more commonly served chicken and fortunately for me the kitchen had no issues omitting onion out of this dish. The little pocket rockets of baby chillies packed a fierce punch, but if omitted they allowed this dish to be eaten by my two companions with comfort. I must admit accidentally shovelling two of the crispy numbers into my mouth at once did temporarily take me out of my comfort range!
The stuffed squid is a dish I have eaten here before, unfortunately on this night I felt this wasn’t the dish served at its best. There wasn’t anything overtly wrong with it, it was present beautifully, and the squid was not rubbery but the stuffing just didn’t quite have the flavour I recall enjoying so much in the past.
The beef basil was cooked medium rare leaving the meat tender and succulent. It also contained large pieces of chillies meaning it could be spiced up or down depending on your preference. I double dosed on these babies without much trouble. The stir fried vegetables were the most uninteresting of the dishes and were cooked simply with some oyster sauce. The generous addition of enoki mushrooms saved this dish as some of the other vegetables were slightly undercooked. I enjoy crunchy vegies but not quite that crunchy.
Overall, I never walk away from Dusit Thai disappointed and I know I’ll be back.
Score: Food 7.8/10 Service 8.5/10 Venue 7/10Dusit Thai 249 James Street, Northbridge, 6003 | (08) 9328 7647 | http://dusitthai.com.au/
It’s only one week until our engagement party! And even better still nearly everyone is coming! My Mum is travelling over from Adelaide and my sister is flying in from Melbourne. I am actually originally from the Eastern states but I have lived over here for seventeen years with a few years also in London. During my time in sunny Perth my Dad and Step mum have not been able to attend any of my little life milestones – not my 18th, my 21st, my University graduation or even my 30th birthday. So you can imagine my delight when they told me without hesitation that they are both flying over for our engagement party! To top it all off; my estranged best friend who has lived up in Dongara for far too long has decided to take the plunge and move down to Perth to live with her boyfriend. This means two of my gorgeous bridesmaids will both be in Perth for all the wedding planning and festivities!
To celebrate her arrival in Perth and also to celebrate her birthday which was earlier in the week, we all decided to have a little night out down on the local strip in Vic Park. Unfortunately for me I had a busy day planned at work the next day so it wasn’t going to be a crazy night. It was such a beautiful evening so the boy and I decided we would walk down instead of driving. I work in a very busy Veterinary Hospital and I was still really wound up from an absolutely insane day. The day had been a stressful yet very rewarding as we were flooded with a string of critical emergencies cases all of which we managed to save! This left me on a bit of a giddy high so we held hands, talked and strolled in the setting sunlight down to Albany Highway.
We all met at The Publican for few pre-dinner drinks. The crowd was a bit older than we normally expect to see on a Friday night and there was a one man band playing music that would have been better suited on the Love Boat. Good company has a way of improving things so despite the horrendous tunes we stayed for a few rounds and chatted away about how she is settling into the city lifestyle and about the upcoming engagement party outfits.
We moved on from The Publican and started walking down Albany Highway looking for somewhere to eat. We were drawn into the Vietnamese restaurant Phu Pho which unlike the other neighbouring bare and brightly lit Asian restaurants had inviting soft lighting and modern interiors. Although my last visit to the Park was also for Vietnamese I figured maybe this may be a way to do a bit of a comparison of the popular To To’s versus Phu Pho.
We were greeted with lots of smiles from all the staff – they were all lovely and very polite. I remember similar treatment when we ordered some take out from here recently. Service was prompt although it took a little explaining for them to understand what gluten was which always makes me a little nervous. We started with the obligatory Vietnamese fresh rice paper rolls. I cannot imagine a Vietnamese meal without them. We ordered grilled beef rolls and the combination rolls with prawn, pork and omelette. The rolls were presented on their own on the plate – no fuss and no garnish. They were made filled to capacity and were so fat it was nearly a struggle to open my mouth wide enough to fit them in. The combination rolls were fairly standard fare, and I also felt the dipping sauce was a little too mild and bland. The beef rolls were tastier than the combination rolls; the beef tasted like it had some marinade to improve flavour.
For mains we ordered four dishes all to share. Learning from my bestie’s boyfriend that crispy duck is actually flourless therefore hopefully gluten-free, we ordered some duck accompanied with Chinese mushrooms. The duck was very meaty and not covered in fat, but it wasn’t served hot enough and could do with some extra crisp in the skin. The mushrooms were a delicious addition to the dish which would have been less enjoyable without them.
The sizzling Mongolian beef was quite tasty although once again I forgot to ask for no onions. There was much less onions to negotiate compared to To To’s so it wasn’t really a problem for me. Better still the dish wasn’t just meat and onions (like To To’s) and actually had a range of other crunchy vegetables included. Again I felt this dish could have been made spicier – in hindsight I should have asked for some extra chilli on the side as the boy can’t tolerate too much chilli.
The Tamarind king prawn was the best dish of the evening. You are probably thinking I’m turning into a tamarind addict and you may very well be right. I blame Thailand and all her delicious tamarind dishes we have enjoyed for creating this new obsession to add to my growing list.
Finally to add some green to our meal we had the Sambal with garlic and oyster sauce. Although this dish was served with a lot of garlic, it wasn’t overpowering and made the perfect light addition to the rest of our more heavy dishes.
Overall in comparison to the other week at To To’s, I feel the food here was much more flavoursome. I also preferred that their meat dishes included some vegetables other than just onions. Only the rice paper rolls were not quite as good. Nevertheless if I had to pick between the two restaurants I think would return to Phu Pho.
Food 7/10 Service 7.5/10 Venue 7/10Phu Pho Vietnamese Rice and Noodle House 800 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park | (08) 9361 2139
Spontaneity is an uncommon occurrence for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, in fact quite the contrary it’s just that I can’t help but plan and organise things. I hate the thought that an element of enjoyment is missed out due to lack of foresight. But as I was running to my car during the heaviest part of the down pouring rain I got this burning desire to go out for the evening. We both work long hours and often have hectic busy days so most weeknights tend to be a sombre experience of crashing on the couch, eating dinner and watching television. I sat in my car drenched right through to the skin in my work clothes and phoned the boy who was still at work, half expecting him to decline the offer with protests of exhaustion and lack of motivation. His immediate response was yes! Wa-toot!
On the previous weekend, a group of us had a pub crawl up Beaufort Street and on our way to the Flying Scotsman we all dropped into Five Bar for a refreshing beverage to quench us for the uphill stagger to the Scotto. I remember making a mental note to return to try their tapas and so we did.
As you walk into Five Bar you almost feel like you are in someone’s oversized living room. There is a mismatched collection of lounge chairs, ottomans and crates to relax on and the interior is decorated with a similarly eclectic collection of lamps and oddities. As I sipped on my Hendricks and tonic, I felt all the tensions of my day smoothly melt away.
The menu is quite small with the majority of the dishes designed to be shared tapas-style. After requesting to our waitress for suitable gluten-free and onion free options, this menu unfortunately further narrowed down to a smaller handful of dishes.
The marinated olives contained a crowd pleaser selection of pitted and non-pitted, black and green, and in all sizes from jumbo through to the teeny-weeny Arbequina olives. They were all of excellent quality and very moreish.
The beef Carpaccio was dressed with cornichons, goat’s curd and capers, pine nuts, some fresh herbs and EVOO. The beef was sliced perfectly paper-thin but was a bit dry and lacked a little flavour. This was somewhat compensated for by the tarty goat’s curd however that shouldn’t really be the aim of this dish. A few extra lashings of olive oil may have improved this dish.
We were informed after ordering the chorizo that it may contain onions so I gave this a miss and let the boy munch his way through the generous sized serve. It seemed to be quite tender and juicy and disappeared with no complaints.
The slow-roasted mushrooms with Danish fetta, balsamic and chives were definitely one of the better dishes. I am a bit of a self-confessed mushroom addict. I really love their rich savoury flavour; in fact it would be safe to say I eat them daily. These mushrooms were roasted wonderfully. The chef has managed to capture and enhance all that delicious mushroomness I enjoy and the subtle tang of the balsamic gently cut through these flavours to then be followed by the more lingering creaminess of the fetta. We ended up ordering seconds!
The final tapas dish we ordered were the sweet potato frites served with a Moroccan spiced mayonnaise. These were very tasty albeit also a tad oily. Nevertheless I could have eaten more of them if I could fit them in!
We ended the evening with a duo of macarons – vanilla and coffee. After overindulging on some amazing macarons from Choux earlier in the week, unfortunately these ones were a bit of a disappointment. I enjoy the contrast of the crispy outer shell with the chewy nearly gooey centre. These ones were consistently chewy all the way through and showed none of the contrast in textures macarons are meant to have.
Given the popularity of tapas in Perth at the moment we are spoilt for choice. I walked away from Five Bar thinking there are better quality options for the price we paid and probably wouldn’t go out of my way to return there.
Venue 8.5/10 Service 7.8/10 Food 7/10Five Bar 560 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley | 0467 534 267