I don’t work in the city centre and with my chosen line of work it is unlikely that I ever will. I passionately love my job as a vet; I get to save lives and make a positive impact on individual animal’s welfare every day. However there is girlie part of me that would love to have a job where I could wear beautiful clothes, style my hair and grow my nails. Working with animals excludes all of these things, the job of a vet is far from the glamorous kitten hugging, puppy kissing career that some of you may believe it to be. Those of you who know me well will have been subjected to many of my gross and detailed stories involving unsavoury smells and body liquids!
In addition to vetting, I am also part of the practice’s senior management team and we meet together monthly with our most recent meeting falling on my rostered day off. Kindly embracing the spirit of Eat Drink Perth with me, my fellow colleagues Chris, Wayne and Liz were happy to journey into the city to have a work meeting at Venn Bar + Café located on Queen Street.
Venn serve a blend of 5 Senses coffee which is a guaranteed way to start my morning off on a good note. Better still they served my short macchiato short and traditional, just the way it should be. I hate it when baristas top up my macchiato with hot milk, that’s not how a macchiato should be! Let’s recall what macchiato actually means in Italian; a “stain”. A proper short macchiato should be a shot of espresso with a dash or stain of milk, not a cup full.
Chris and I have been breakfast buddies for many years and have enjoyed numerous outings together. As soon as I saw house braised beans and chorizo on the menu I guessed it would be her choice. I was not wrong. If it has chorizo or prosciutto and it is for breakfast, she will claim it for her own. Her serving size was more than ample and even someone with an appetite as big as hers couldn’t finish it all.
Liz chose the warm potato and Gruyère cakes with smoked salmon. I was glad she selected this as it was my second preference and it meant I got to try a little nibble. The potato cakes were thick and well-formed however they only had a very subtle flavour of Gruyère. The soft folds of salmon were topped with a chive and citrus yoghurt which lightened this otherwise quite stodgy and filling dish. Once again I noted this was a good value meal considering we were in the heart of the city.
I used to have avocado religiously every morning on my toast but in recent years I have had to drop that luxury from my daily life to avoid being the size of a small house. We eat out a LOT so when at home I try to eat as clean and lean as possible.
My free range poached eggs came with a spoonful of house made avocado butter and citrus sea salt. The total contrast in creamy smooth avocado and tangy saltiness was all these eggs needed. And yes, I got that all important yolk shot; always a win for me. They were served with house made gluten free bread.
Never serve a South African greens I’ve been told. Well at least not to my colleague Wayne. This is a man who deliberately removes his lettuce from his burgers before eating them. It was no surprise what he chose for his breakfast. Meat, meat and eggs. No greens, no fuss. He actually even picked the green garnish off his eggs and refused to eat it. Venn source their bacon from a local small goods company called Princi who specialise in free range bacon and other smallgoods. The cut was nearly as thick as a piece of steak and yet was richly flavoured and tender. Paired with the slab of bacon were pork chipolatas, eggs and a token vegetable that thankfully wasn’t green.
Our meeting ran a little later into the morning than planned meaning a third round of coffees was needed at which point the talk of sharing sweets was bantered across the table. There was only one gluten free choice available; an orange almond cake. It was moist and soft but I confess I have eaten enough orange almond cake to last me a life time. Nevertheless it filled the void for my sweet spot.
The gluten eaters were spoilt with the chocolate swirl cake which judging how quickly it got torn into two, three and then four pieces before vanishing in a whirl of crumbs I am figuring this was a positive sign.
Venn is a hip little venue tucked away in the back of the building behind the Venn store and is divided into a small ground floor dining area with a rooftop deck on the second level. I would love to return here for an evening and try some of their small bites. Their bar focuses on Australian wines and craft beers with some killer looking cocktails.For the 2014 Eat Drink Perth Festival, Venn Bar and Café have a couple of offers in the Eat Drink Perth Passport. Head over to the EDP website to find out where you can pick up your copy of the passport. Chompchomp is one of the official bloggers for the Eat Drink Perth Festival 2014. This meal at Venn Cafe was not sponsored and was paid for in full. Venn Bar + Café 16 Queen Street, Perth WA 6000 | (08) 9321 8366 | venn.net/bar
At my business we run an externship with the veterinary students every year which gives us the opportunity to put them through their paces. It provides a great way for them to gain further experience and confidence before they head out into the big wide world of employment. It is often during these externships that certain individuals shine and a couple of years back one of these externships led to our decision to offer the student a job.
Since officially joining our team, she has continued to impress us all with her standard of knowledge and dedication to her career. There have been many nights she has stayed back late with no complaints, come in on her days off and pitched in to help others without being asked. She is a valued team member who appears to be fast tracking herself to success. As a token of our appreciation I took her out for dinner with a couple of my business partners.
Thankfully she is also a foodie so I gave her a list of a couple of restaurants to let her choose the venue. She chose one of her favourites; Nine Fine Food. This was my second time returning to Nine Fine Food after visiting them earlier in the year with my dearest blogging friends. Most of my photos from this first visit didn’t turn out very well due to my excessive consumption of espresso martinis at an event prior. My shaking, caffeinated hands produced a number of quite interesting artefacts however very few of the resulting photos were what I would call “blog worthy”. I was keen for a second chance to get it right.
In addition to their standard menu, Nine Fine Food offers two set menus: “Tokutoku” a three course meal for $53 per person or “Osusume” which is four courses for $63. We all chose the Tokutoku. I remembered from my last visit that Nine Fine Food provide gluten free soy and was chuffed that I didn’t need to bring along my own. It is these small things that make me happy. I had the fresh sashimi for my entrée and noticed that my serve was considerably smaller than when I had previously ordered it off the à la carte menu. This made sense as the à la carte version is $10 more expensive than the remainder of the entrée options. Each carefully sliced piece of fish was delicate enough to give that melt-in-the-mouth amazingness that will always elicit a moan of pleasure from me as it hits my tongue. Fresh sashimi is surely one of my favourite things.
During my previous visit I ordered the confit duck leg and this dish is quite a treat so I was excited to see that Chris ordered it. It was a hard decision for me to not order it again as I know how good it is but I was determined to try something new. The duck is marinated in five-spice and served with lightly grilled scallops, sweet potato mash, a tempura onion ring and pumpkin purée. A ruby-red reduction made from red wine and mirin wine splashed contrasting colour against the mash across her plate. Jealous!
Gluten free mains choices are limited as many of the meats are pre-marinated in sauces containing gluten. The chef seemed more than obliging to adapt things for me however so I ordered the salmon and scallops. The Atlantic salmon was cooked in two ways; one piece was roasted and one was lightly fried. It was served with some grilled scallops topped with tobiko caviar on a bed of citrusy Yuzu mascarpone. The normal gluten version also contains a panko fried mixed seafood cake which was omitted for me. Vibrant edamame, pomegranate seeds and fresh grapes decorated the plate adding interesting little bombs of flavour and colour.
The “pork and pork” dish is not for the faint hearted and I would only recommend it for genuine pork lovers. The three different presentations of pork made this the perfect dish for my meat loving, veggie hating South African business partner. A sizable cube of twice cooked, milk braised pork belly accompanied slices of tender grilled pork fillet and some tempura bacon. Yes, you heard right, I said tempura bacon. Now I don’t really get into my pork but THAT was enough to make me swoon. The day I find somewhere that can make me gluten free tempura….it’s game on. Fry me some bacon!
Our star team member of the night ordered the “chicken and lamb”. This was a dish containing multiple interesting elements including some marinated crunchy kara-age chicken, poached chicken breast, grilled lamb fillets and portions of vegetable cake. A sweet syrupy balsamic soy dressing was drizzled over the tender pieces of lamb to finish things off.
I cannot go past any matcha flavoured desserts, they really are the bomb. Even just your run of the mill, matcha ice-cream will get me excited despite not being the biggest ice-cream fan. During my first visit to Nine Fine Food I was introduced to matcha brûlée and despite the food blogger within me chanting that I already HAD a good photo of this dessert meaning I should order something different to give you dear readers more food porn to drool over…..I ordered it again.
And it was so good!
And I’m not sorry.
The others all ordered the Kuro Goma gelato which is made from black sesame. Chris also opted for the additional chocolate banana roll which cost an extra $5. Her plate looked something like a dessert garden with fresh fruit scattered about for decoration.
Nine Fine Food is exceedingly good value for both the quality of the food and service. Even better still, they are a BYO restaurant leaving you with the only drama being what wine to choose to match with your food. Unfortunately many of their beautiful dishes are not naturally gluten free and they require some degree of adaptation resulting in components being removed and not replaced. Hopefully as the chef has now made the move to offering gluten free soy to diners, he will soon move to offering more gluten free dishes that do not require changing to accommodate for people like us.Nine Fine Food 227-229 Bulwer Street, Highgate WA 6003 | (08) 9227 9999 | www.ninefinefood.com.au Price: $$ (Entrees $16-18, Mains $34, 3 course set $53) Food: 7/10 (would have scored higher if more GF options) Service: 3.5/5 (discrete and unobtrusive, the let to food take the stage Ambience: 3.5/5 (moody, dim-lit and quite romantic) Drinks: BYO Total: 14/20
Since opening earlier this year, Brookfield Place has quickly become something of a food haven in the centre of the CBD. With a plethora of bars, restaurants and cafes all in one complex it’s a wonder those who work in the city ever want to leave! From fine dining at Print Hall and The Trustee, more casual bistro style eating at The Heritage, Asian fusion at The Apple Daily and sweet treats at Theobroma Chocolate Lounge there is sure to be something for everyone.
Grill’d burgers have been around since 2004 and have grown from humble beginnings of a single Hawthorn store in Victoria to now being found across Australia in 50 stores. To coincide with their opening in Brookfield Place, they kindly invited a number of Perth bloggers to come and try the burgers for themselves.
Grill’d burgers are made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and all burgers are made to order. It was easy negotiating what on their menu I could eat and their chips totally gluten free too. No missing out this time round!
I was impressed to see that this national company still maintained its roots of servicing the local community as a small amount from every burger sold goes toward a local charity of your choice. I chose to donate to “Convicts for a Cause.” This is a fundraising event jointly organised by the Rotary Clubs of Perth and Mt Lawley, Cystic Fibrosis WA and Liver Foundation of WA. Participants in the event opt to be “locked up” in Fremantle Prison and each raises a minimum $500 bail to support people impacted by cystic fibrosis, polio and liver disease.
Seeing as one of my dearest friends is affected by CF, it was obvious to me that this would be my choice. I plopped both of our bottle caps in the jar and waited for our burgers to arrive.
We had spent the earlier part of the evening at the Yelp Elite event at the Terrace Hotel and I was feeling a little on the intoxicated side. I really wasn’t in the mood for any meat and was excited to see that there were several veggie burgers on offer. It was no surprise to many that my choice of burger was the Field of Dreams: a mushroom burger. Mushrooms are amongst my favourite foods and form a daily staple for me in at least one meal a day.
The gluten free buns appeared to be very similar to those found at Snags & Sons and V Burger Bar. Nestled inside the bun sat a succulent grilled field mushroom coated with herbed mayo and topped with tasty cheese. Underneath the ‘shroom were soft roasted peppers and bringing it all together was a massive dollop of basil pesto on the bottom bun. Curiously despite all this juiciness, the bun held together perfectly with no signs of collapsing despite my distinct lack of coordination in eating it.
Boys need real burgers and my beloved Boy was no exception. He ordered the Summer Sunset despite my suggestions that after all the lovely food he ate at The Terrace Hotel; it may push him into the realms of seriously full. I underestimated his appetite this time! His burger contained a thick grilled lean beef pattie that had just the perfect hint of pink in the centre. Grill’d use grass-fed beef which is generally lower in fat meaning if not cooked correctly can taste a little dry and chewy. Thankfully the guys behind the Grill’d grill knew what they were doing and the Boys’ beef was bursting with just as much moist flavour as my mushroom was. His burger also contained avocado, pineapple, crispy bacon and herbed mayo.
Everyone knows a burger isn’t exactly a healthy meal but looking at way Grill’d prepare their burgers and the ingredients they use, you can come pretty close to being somewhat healthy without sacrificing taste. Many burger joints have thankfully jumped on the gluten free bandwagon yet not all of them have gone the whole hog and many do not serve gluten free chips. I was thankful I could enjoy a proper burger meal this time and left vowing to eat bride food for the rest of the week.Grill’d Brookfield Place 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 | (08) 9226 4888 | www.grilld.com.au Price: $ Food: 8/10 (up there with the best burgers IMHO) Service: 4/5 (energetic, chatty staff who know their menu) Ambience: 4/5 (music was cranking, dimmed lights, perfect for an after drinks bite) Total: 16/20 Chompchomp was partly compensated with vouchers by Grill’d to write this review of Grill’d Brookfield Place. This in no way affected my option, all opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
We are not big eaters of classic fast food; I’m talking burgers, pizza, kebabs and the like. Ultimately I prefer much more refined dining but let’s be honest, one simply cannot afford to do that every weekend. At least not on my income. So when we both got a craving for junk, we decided to head to our local V Burger Bar excited about our naughty treat. Last year our initial attempts at visiting this popular place resulted in us being diverted over to Pancho’s Mexican Villa due to a lack of gluten free buns. Now that was some night…..sloppy microwaved food, blistering burns and a scathing retaliation from a fan (or owner) in the wake of my review; the Pancho’s post has certainly become infamous!
We stopped in at The Balmoral for a couple of pre-dinner drinks and bumped into some old friends that we hadn’t seen for a long time. As we chatted away a local band called Retriofit set up in full view of our tables and started playing some funky acoustic covers. After some time our friends departed to make their own dinner reservations leaving us sitting alone together. We were both in such a fabulous mood so we took the opportunity of using some interesting mood lighting to take portraits of each other with Gordon my SLR (yes, I named my camera!)
After several rounds of drinks and photos my post-run hunger started to climax and was accompanied by some rather unladylike noises erupting from deep in my stomach. We skipped across the road to V Burger Bar nearly drooling in anticipation. I had already called ahead to make sure they had gluten free buns in stock.
After briefly scanning their menu my not-so-sober eyes saw the words “fried egg, beetroot, cheese and bacon” and without giving it one more second of thought my decision was made. I vaguely remember the Boy making some comment about how enormous my burger choice was but in my hunger and excitement I didn’t really register or pay much attention. I was quite disappointed to hear that all the sides on their menu are not gluten free but we ordered a serve of their beer battered chips for the Boy anyway.
Our burgers came out in super quick time and we tucked into them immediately. I observed that my F.B.A. (Full Blooded Aussie) burger had a significant amount of extra height in comparison to the Boy’s Blue Mushie burger choice. I actually struggled to get both by hands around it let alone my mouth! As the Boy finished his burger he started to make wise cracks about my eyes being much bigger than my stomach as I was only half way through mine. Thankfully earlier in the day I had run 12 kilometres around the river at a cracking good pace so like a horse being whipped into action I successfully polished off all of my delicious juicy burger! It was faultless!
The Boy really enjoyed his Blue Mushie too. He was surprised how well the burger held together and didn’t crumble or fall apart in his hands. He loved the hint of blue cheese with earthy undertones of the mushrooms and the succulent perfectly cooked meat patty. The chips were less impressive, they lacked the expected crunch of beer battered chips and needed extra seasoning.
Despite feeling like I was literally going to explode I needed something sweet on my palate to end the night. I had recently read about Taro Taro on WenY Wonders Why and was desperate to check it out. I have always LOVED Asian desserts however there isn’t a great amount of options available here in Perth. Given that Taro Taro is a mere ten minutes’ walk from our front door I had high hopes it would be awesome.
It was getting quite late and much of the bustle of the café strip had started to die off however at Taro Taro it was absolutely packed full of customers. We shuffled into the brightly lit store and felt like we had been transported into another world! Despite being such a fan of Asian desserts I have to be honest, I haven’t got to try nearly as many as I would like. This was my first experience trying herbal jelly and taro.
If you are not familiar with Taiwanese desserts the menu can be a little confusing, so to simplify things for ourselves we ordered the Taro Taro Signature Herbal Jelly ice which contained herbal ice, dark black folds of herbal jelly, balls of sweet potato, sago and taro and lots and lots of sugar. Underneath all the intense sweetness, the flavours were quite soft and delicate and the texture of each type of ball was slightly different ranging from jelly like to nearly chewy. I honestly really enjoyed it but I realise it probably isn’t for every Westerner’s palate.
As we sat outside on a park beach we watched more and more cars turned up full of hungry customers all looking for their taro hit. Such a hive of activity in sleepy Vic Park! We will definitely return again but this time I might be brave enough to create my own dessert of the custom menu.www.thebalmoral.com.au/ Price: $$$ (Entrees $7-23, Mains $22-35, accepts Entertainment Card) V Burger Bar 12/910 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park 6101 | (08) 9355 3702 | www.vburgerbar.com.au/ Price: $$ ($10-15 burgers, accepts Entertainment Card) Food: 7/10 (excellent burgers need to be accompanied by excellent chips) Service: 3/5 (functional and no fuss) Ambience: 3/5 (it’s a burger bar……I don’t expect it to be cosy!) Total: 13/20 Taro Taro Shop 2/ 393 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park 6100 | (08) 9361 0098 | https://www.facebook.com/TaroTaroTaiwan Price: $ ($10-15 desserts) Food: 4/5 (if you love your Asian dessert worth a try!) Service: 4/5 (very efficient considering how busy they are) Ambience: 2/5 (bright white and gleaming) Drinks: 4/5 (good range of teas and other Taiwanese drinks) Total: 15.5/20
I am not originally from Perth having moved here nearly twenty years ago to commence my university degree. During my time at Uni I always imagined I would move back to the East coast. After completing my degree and obtaining a year’s experience in the work force, the Boy and I moved to London for a few years where we played it hard and fast in the big smoke. Returning to Perth a few years later, I found myself really appreciating this beautiful city for what it is and realised that in fact she had become my home. It was at this point my loyalties turned and I became a faithful lover of this sunny city.
There are some things about Perth that never stop giving me the wow factor and one of those is our regular running/walking route around the Swan River. Having the river on our doorstep makes exercising easy and the distractions of the scenery make the actual process much less onerous. To make it even better, dotted along this circuit is a number of excellent breakfast venues serving piping hot coffee and delicious food.
Toast in East Perth is a long-standing favourite of mine – we have been coming here on a regular basis for well over 4-5 years. It is conveniently located on my route around the river at the picturesque Claisebrook Cove. The sheltered location makes the most of the rising sun and protects the outdoor seating area from any wind meaning that nearly year round (excluding rainy days) the weather feels perfect.
The Boy and I had planned to do a big 17 kilometre walk together around both loops of the river but unfortunately the boy woke up feeling unwell and thought it wise to rest. Seeing as I would be making the journey alone, I thought I would embrace this opportunity and race myself from home through South Perth, running around the river to meet him over in East Perth for a late brunch. Thankfully Toast serves an all-day breakfast menu.
Not wanting to leave my fiancé waiting at the café for me feeling poorly, I took off at a steady pace with the aim to pick up speed even more once I hit half way. As I crossed the imaginary half way mark my legs still felt like loaded springs so surging forward I raced my virtual partner to the finish.
As a result of my mock running race, I arrived in East Perth all red-faced and heaving with about fifteen minutes to spare. This gave me time to compose myself before wandering down to Toast to meet the Boy. There are a lot of gluten-free options here; one is really spoilt for choice.
This time round I ordered the roasted tomato, feta and basil on gluten-free toast with added poached eggs and mushrooms. I have eaten this dish many times and am always chuffed with the knowledge my eggs will be cooked perfectly and each meal is consistent in quality with the previous. Their gluten-free bread has a beautiful rich pumpkin colour and is excellent in both texture and taste.
The Boy ordered the avocado and Vegemite on whole grain bread with added poached eggs. The Vegemite was warmed slightly allowing it to be easily spread over the crunchy grainy bread. The avocado was soft and creamy and his eggs were similarly poached to perfection. As we sat in comfortable silence in the sun soaking up its energy we were both so thankful we chose to settle down in Perth. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Two weeks later the Boy was fully recovered so we made plans to do our big double loop walk together. The weather forecast had threatened morning showers yet as we set out the sky was clear blue and a fresh autumn breeze was blowing. We were rewarded once again with another stunning morning.
We both maintained a cracking pace as we had plans to meet with his family in King’s Park for a Mother’s Day picnic later that afternoon. Despite Toast being even busier than usual we were seated fairly quickly and had a short wait for our meals considering they really were flat out.
It is a very rare occasion that I can be convinced to forego Toast’s poached eggs. If they aren’t included with my menu choice, I have a tendency to add it on the side so I don’t miss out. This time round however I was craving something sweet and as I gazed over their menu my eyes kept returning to the French toast. Their gluten-free bread held together fabulously and the delicately creamy ricotta with the tart berries had me in seventh heaven. I would have preferred just a dash more maple syrup to end on a stronger sweet note.
The Boy had one of his favourites, the big breakfast. This is definitely not one for the faint hearted, or those with heart disease more to the point. A massive pile of crispy bacon, three chipolatas, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms and toast made this a very decent sized meal. Once the Boy finished, he patted his stomach in a satisfied manner and groaned at the thought we still had to walk home. Unfortunately we had no time to linger in the morning sun and so we pressed onward with our journey back. Understandably our pace on this second leg was much slowed down due to our overindulgence but I guarantee we will do it again and again!
Like Me on Facebook!Toast Shop 21/60 Royal Street, East Perth 6004 | (08) 9221 0771 | www.toasteastperth.com Price: $$ ($8-20 breakfast/brunch, gluten-free options available) Food: 4.5/5 (seriously good breakfasts) Service: 3.5/5 (relaxed, efficient & casual) Ambience: 4.5/5 (blissful view gazing out onto the water) Drinks: 4.5/5 (serves high quality Rubra coffee, freshly squeezed juices worth a try too) Total: 17/20