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A last minute bestie binge at Harvest Espresso Victoria Park

Posted by  | Categories: Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Featured, Perth, Restaurants

I am quite an unconventional bride.  At the time we got engaged; the Boy and I had already been together for over ten years and bought both a house and a business. It’s not that either of us is against marriage, it just wasn’t a priority for us at the time.  After getting engaged I have found the whole process of planning for a wedding very gradual as I am not one of those girls that have all the details of their big day planned out in their heads before their respective other has even popped the question.

It was the day my Bestie was to fly out to Vietnam for three weeks to finish her yoga teacher training course and we were both feeling the guilt of neglecting our friendship.  Not because either of us meant to avoid each other by any means, we just had so much going on individually in our own lives that time got the better of us and before we knew it; her departure day had arrived.

"Coffee" "5 senses coffee" "short macchiato" "cafe latte" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

Creamy deliciousness. I didn’t like the wooden spoons though.

Luck was on our side as I had the morning off work and she didn’t fly out until the afternoon. I arrived at her house bright and early with the aim to take her out for breakfast as a farewell present, a Christmas present and a belated birthday present all rolled into one.  To minimize our travel time and thus maximize our time together I headed to the new café Harvest Espresso opened up on Albany Highway only a short walk from our house.

"Bakery" "cakes" "desserts" "muffins" "tarts" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

The morning’s freshly baked treats

The small café has a very welcoming feel to it and you almost feel like you are entering someone’s rustic country kitchen with lots of natural light flooding in.  We could feel the energy and excitement from the staff that often accompanies a new business venture.

"Coffee" "5 senses coffee" "short macchiato" "cafe latte" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

My mac was gone a in few seconds flat!

The coffee served is Five Senses and the barista knows how to brew.  Both our short macchiato and soy latte were served at the perfect temperature and if I hadn’t already had a double shot of my Nespresso at home I could have easily had another.  My Bestie on the other hand didn’t hold back on seconds.

"Poached eggs" "mushrooms" "wilted spinach" "gluten free bread" "zehnder bread" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

Poached eggs, mushrooms and wilted spinach

I ordered the poached eggs on gluten free toast paired with some wilted spinach and mushrooms.  A little unimaginative I guess but I was really in the mood for some poached egg molten goo action. I truly tend to find myself defining a good breakfast by the chef’s ability to poach an egg having failed at this miserably a number of times at home myself.

"Poached eggs" "mushrooms" "wilted spinach" "gluten free bread" "zehnder bread" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

The proof is in the goo. Tell me when you get sick of these shots!

My eggs did not disappoint.  As I gently sliced into the soft egg white, out ruptured the yolk like a burst of golden sunshine. In a flurry I grabbed for Gordon, my SLR camera to capture that lovely moment that never fails to excite me.   I cannot help but fall in love with the obligatory goo shot (sorry for those that tire of my poached egg obsession).

"baked eggs" "Harvest Spanish Baked egg" "chorizo" "cabbage" "tomato" "cannellini beans" "paprika" "Zehnder bread" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

Harvest Spanish Baked egg

After seeing some mouth-watering photos of the Harvest Spanish baked egg on their Facebook page; I persuaded the Bestie to give them a try. Served in a ceramic baking dish with chorizo, cabbage, tomatoes, cannellini beans and a sprinkling of paprika we were told this was their most popular dish.  We order an extra egg to be cracked in there for good measure.  After initially casting envious eye on the state of my eggs to her delight she was met with a similar experience of her own.  She happily mopped up all the flavoursome sauce mixed with runny egg with a big grin of satisfaction on her face.

We were determined to “push the boat out” and make this breakfast last for a long as we possibly could so ordering a second course was a must.  Although we have spent months apart before, the idea of spending three weeks separated from each other this close to my wedding wasn’t exactly best case scenario but unfortunately unavoidable.

"Pistachio friand" "desserts" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

Pistachio friand

There was a lovely collection of home baked single serve tarts and muffins beautifully displayed near the counter.  My only option for a gluten free choice was the cutest and nearly pointlessly small sized pistachio friand.  If I wasn’t so stuffed with everything I had eaten so far I may have been a little disappointed. Or maybe I would have just had two.  But for this occasion the single mouthful was just right. Perhaps in the future they plan to have some more adult sized gluten free desserts?

"Lemon curd tart" "desserts" "tart" "lemon curd" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Harvest Espresso Victoria Park" "Victoria Park" "cafe" "brunch" "breakfast" "organic" "Vic Park" "albany Highway" "food sponge"

Lemon curd tart

Not entirely bound by the restrictions of gluten free diet the Bestie was easily coerced into ordering a lemon curd tart. She initially planned on just scooping out the curd and leaving the pastry base but after a couple of zesty mouthfuls she realised that the pasty was an essential part.  She agonised over the right words to describe her dish and ended on the conclusion that it was a hit regardless of how you described it.

Adequately fuelled for her long trip, we drove to the International Airport singing and laughing the whole way.  She has some exciting times ahead and I am so happy for her.

A bientôt ma chérie! Good luck! xxxxx

Harvest Espresso
629 Albany Highway, Victoria Park 6100 | 0416 397 088 | Facebook
Price:                     $$ ($9-20/meal, Cash only)
Food:                    4.5/5 (eggs are amazing, need more GF sweet treats!)
Service:                4.5/5 (super friendly positive vibe, proud of their café and the food)
Ambience:           4/5 (light, airy and homely)
Drinks:                  5/5 (5 Senses coffee. What can I say!?)
Total:                     18/20

Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon

Planning our Wedding Invitations at Elixir Coffee, Nedlands

Posted by  | Categories: Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Perth, Restaurants, Wedding

I like to be organised.  Being surrounded by a world of order gives me a great feeling of peace and tranquillity.  To avoid any confusion or lack of clarity for our wedding guests I ensured to keep them well-informed. Save the Date Cards were mailed out a year in advance and the Boy and I designed a detailed wedding website that is packed full of information about Phuket, Kamala and our chosen resort Andara.

This is not to say that a formal wedding invitation will be overlooked. In a similar vein to my early wedding dress shopping days, I found out that I know very little about such matters and was relieved to be invited to a Wedding Upmarket Expo by my friend Tara.  Tara is an expert in all things wedding and quickly steered me on the right track helping me obtain the beginning of a vision of what I would like. We came upon a stall for Annie P Paperie. I have driven past their store in Nedlands numerous times and was always curious as to their individual style.  We flipped through a few of their portfolios and my curiosity heightened to keen interest.

I made plans to meet the Bestie out at Elixir Coffee one Monday morning to fuel our creativity with caffeine before heading to Annie P’s to start the exciting process of invitation design. Elixir Coffee call themselves coffee specialists and they certainly do take their coffee very seriously.  They source single origin unroasted beans direct from traders to promote fair trade and to ensure they only buy beans that are in season and fresh. All beans are roasted on site at Elixir.

"El Salvador coffee" "Finca La Fany" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Elixir Coffee, Nedlands" "Elixir Coffee Specialists" "Elixir Coffee" "Nedlands" "fair trade coffee" "Annie P Paperie" "wedding invitation" "wedding" "breakfast" "cake"

El Salvador coffee “Finca La Fany” (left) and the house blend

I chose the El Salvador coffee “Finca La Fany” served as my usual short macchiato; it was quite sweet and nearly honey-like in flavour with hints of citrus.  The Bestie chose one of the house blends which consisted of three beans:  El Salvador “Talapo”, El Salvador “Miravalle” and Guatemala “Santa Clara Antigua” which she had served as her usual latte.  We ended up both going back for seconds.  And thirds. No wonder I felt so hyped for the rest of the day!

"Pollastrami sardines" "gluten free toast" "Abhi" "fennel" "caper" "fish" "sardines" "seafood" "fried egg" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Elixir Coffee, Nedlands" "Elixir Coffee Specialists" "Elixir Coffee" "Nedlands" "fair trade coffee" "Annie P Paperie" "wedding invitation" "wedding" "breakfast" "cake"

Pollastrini sardines on gluten free toast with added fried egg

For a bite to eat I ordered the Pollastrini sardines on toast. It was served with some fresh fennel, capers, tomato and parsley.  I requested a fried egg on top which I was told I could have “only this once”.  I figured they must get very busy and don’t do any menu alterations normally. Pollastrini sardines are not like your standard supermarket variety.  They may cost $7 a can at Scutti our local green grocers, but you definitely get what you pay for.  There is no overpowering fishy odour and the meat is chunky.  Cantina 663 often has them on their menu. The thinly sliced fennel was wonderfully crunchy and the addition of the egg gave some gooeyness to tie it all together.

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Granola clusters

The Bestie chose the house made granola clusters with berries and yoghurt.  Initially she was a little disappointed in the small number of clusters however once she started eating she could not stop raving about how fabulous it was.  She was amazed at the juicy bursts of tart flavour and was thankful the only sweetness was natural.

"Soursop tea" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "food photos" "Perth food blog" "food blog" "Chompchomp" "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Elixir Coffee, Nedlands" "Elixir Coffee Specialists" "Elixir Coffee" "Nedlands" "fair trade coffee" "Annie P Paperie" "wedding invitation" "wedding" "breakfast" "cake"

Soursop tea and cake

At this point we had overdosed on coffee and needed something a little more refreshing to the palate before we headed over to Annie P’s.  The Bestie chose a pot of soursop tea for us to share with a slice of flourless orange cake.  The tea wasn’t sour at all and had a tropical fruit flavour a bit like a combination of pineapple and pear. It was immensely revitalising and just what we needed.  The flourless orange cake was fairly standard; reliably delicious but certainly nothing out of the ordinary.

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Flourless orange cake

Excited albeit a tad jittery we left with full tummies guided by Google maps in the direction of the Paperie.  It was a gorgeously balmy day and so we both decided to walk but after about 15 minutes of walking I started to get the feeling we were heading in the wrong direction.  I couldn’t understand how Google could be wrong.  Google couldn’t be wrong could they?!

After a few more minutes as we walked past each landmark my feeling grew much stronger until we eventually agreed we were on the wrong track.  By this point in time we were running extremely late for our appointment with the graphic designer so we turned around and sprinted for the car! No more walking in the sunshine! Hot and sweaty we both piled into our cars and I plugged the address into my Tom Tom which confirmed my suspicions that Google was totally wrong! A quick few minutes hurtling through the back streets of Nedlands and we arrived all flustered but pumped for action!

Elixir Coffee
45a/145 Stirling Highway, Nedlands 6009 | (08) 9389 9333 | www.elixircoffeespecialists.com
Price:                     $ Under $15 /meal, cash only, free WIFI               
Food:                    3/5 (small selection of dishes, gluten free bread available)
Service:                3/5 (quick and efficient but don’t ask for alterations!)
Ambience:           3/5 (alfresco, café or living room style areas to choose from)
Drinks:                   5/5 (the coffee is out of this world – I will be back if anything just for the coffee)
Total:                     14/20

Elixir Coffee on Urbanspoon

Cultural Tastes, Mount Hawthorn and some Wedding Dress shopping!

Posted by  | Categories: Breakfast/Brunch, Perth, Restaurants, Wedding

I was woken up abruptly at around 3am feeling very nauseous and sweaty with my stomach churning and cramping.  I had a big day ahead of me with a number of appointments booked at bridal boutiques and I refused to accept that anything could ruin this special day.  I gobbled down some antacid tablets and managed to scull a few mouthfuls of Gaviscon.  I lay still in bed hoping that my increasing desire to vomit would pass and that I would at least get a couple more hours of sleep before I had to rise in the morning for what would be a very busy day!

The sun rose a few sleepless hours later and I continued to try to force myself into believing I felt ok but to no avail.  Our first appointment time crept up way too quickly such that I was relieved to get a message from Kate saying she had slept in and was running late as I was struggling to get going myself.  She cancelled the first booking for me and embarking in the pouring rain we managed to make it to our second booking.  Woozy and achy I worked my way through so many dresses as best I could and prayed I wouldn’t vomit when the assistant cinched the dress as tight as she could to “show off my figure”.  The problem with our first two boutiques was that their display dresses were all size 12s and they were all far too large, so the girls in the store would clamp the dress with a bundle of clips and pins. From this I was supposed to be able to visualise what the right size dress would look like! A very difficult task indeed, especially with a gastro developing in the mist.

As an interlude to all this rushing around Kate suggested we look along Scarborough Beach Road for a gluten-free café she recalled seeing previously.  We initially stopped in at the New Norcia Bakehouse where the only gluten-free options they had to offer were a selection of cakes.  Given the state of my stomach I wasn’t one to brave the stickies and we continued further down the road.  We stumbled upon Cultural Tastes which is both a shop and café rolled into one.

I walked in presuming that my on-the-spot demands for no wheat, no gluten, no onion and all the rest would be too big an ask for such a small quaint little café.  To my delight I was met with a series of “of course, no problems” to all of my requests – no onion in the omelette, gluten-free toast, and finally a freshly juiced fruitless, fructose friendly drink made especially for us with carrot, celery and ground coriander.

"Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "wedding dress" "gastro" "Cultural Tastes" "Mount Hawthorn" "Scarborough Beach Road" "breakfast" "brunch" "omelette" "vegetarian" "organic" "carrot juice"

Vegetarian gluten-free onion free freshly cooked omelette

Our omelette came out quickly and was fresh and piping hot, full of delicious roasted vegetables and packed with flavour.  The side salad was crisp and dressed thoroughly but not excessively so.  The gluten-free bread was the only downside of the meal and could be improved.

"Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "wedding dress" "gastro" "Cultural Tastes" "Mount Hawthorn" "Scarborough Beach Road" "breakfast" "brunch" "omelette" "vegetarian" "organic" "carrot juice"

Carrot, celery and ground coriander juice

Our juices were divine.  Iced and not watery; the dash of ground coriander gave it an ideal flavour boost.  They were a refreshing improvement on my own concoctions at home for sure. Thankfully our rest stop saved the day and gave me enough energy to solder on and continue our journey.

Our last stop was at Fara Couture, where our appointment had fortunately been changed to later in the day.  This allowed my darling bestie/personal chauffeur for the day to take me home for an exhausted slump on the couch for a few hours before braving the bridal world once more.  We received a warm and animated welcome from Fara herself who had opened the store on her day off for us and another bride to be. I noted her dresses were all a little bit different from the bog-standard ones we had looked at over the course of the day.  I also liked the idea she makes them all herself rather than outsourcing overseas.  We have definitely found a couple of potentials but I’m not ready to stop looking by any means yet…..

Cultural Tastes
167 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn 6016 | (08) 9242 1688
Price:                    $$ (I was too sick to remember to take a pic of the menu but it came to $40 for 2 omelettes,
                               2 juices and a coffee)
Food:                    3/5 (great omelette, they need to source better GF bread though)
Service:                3.2/5 (not overtly friendly but very accommodating)
Ambience:           3/5 (quaint little courtyard out the back in the sunshine)
Drinks:                  3.5/5 (I didn’t get to try their coffee due to my illness but the juice was excellent)
Total:                     12.7/20

Cultural Tastes on Urbanspoon

Bistro Felix, Subiaco

Posted by  | Categories: Bistro, Featured, French, Perth, Restaurants

I really need to start looking for a wedding dress!  Or at least I need to start to have some sort of vision on what I am looking for!  It all seems like a bit of an overwhelming task to begin so thankfully my bridesmaid Amber took the lead and knowing my style she kindly booked an appointment for me with Donna Tobin.  The task of co-ordinating all three of us (Kate, Amber and I) proved more difficult than we thought as on the day each of us ran late for our own individual reasons.  This resulted in us arriving nearly 45 minutes late for our appointment.  We sheepishly entered the old bungalow style house in Subiaco apologising profusely all hot and sticky from the rush.

After browsing through her collection I chose four different styles to try on and in nearly a blink of an eye our time was up! I had officially entered this weird world of bridal and was starting to really enjoy myself! We walked away with some valuable ideas on things to look for in our next dress expedition and chatted excitedly about them as we headed down to Rokeby Road in search of a thirst quencher!

After a short few steps we arrived out the front of Bistro Felix – a familiar favourite of mine.  I have dined here a number of times and always been impressed with whole package – great service, food and prices.  They have a “petit lunch” menu which you can enjoy two courses for $40 or three courses for $45 including a glass of house wine.  Excellent value right in the heart of Subiaco! We relaxed into the bistro feel of the place while we cooled our parched throats with some buttery sparkling wine (which I cannot recall the name!).

"Home cured gravlax" salmon "smoked salmon" "fish" "seafood" "caramelised lemon cheek" "sauce gribiche ""perth Restaurant review" "Perth food blog" "gluten free" "fructose malabsorption" "food blog" Chompchomp "Bistro Felix" Subiaco French bistro lunch "wedding dress"

Home cured gravlax, caramelised lemon cheek, sauce gribiche

The Boy and I have recently been on a bit of a vegan detox which has left me craving fish, fish and more fish.  Consequently I went a bit overboard and ordered fish for both my entrée and my main.  Very unconventional but so satisfying! The home cured gravlax was tender and slightly sweet however could have done with a touch more creamy sauce gribiche.

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Wild game terrine with port & apple chutney

Amber ordered the “wild game” terrine which was made from pork and had pistachios speckled through it.  It was topped with some port and apple chutney and served with some toasted brioche.  It looked so meaty and she was very happy with her choice.

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Buffalo mozzarella, artichoke, sun-dried tomato & aubergine salad

Kate decided to go vegetarian and ordered the buffalo mozzarella salad with artichoke, sun-dried tomato and aubergine.  Her dish was beautifully balanced and she was delighted to note that every component of her salad was served at the perfect cool temperature with no pockets of tepid food to mar any of the flavours.

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Pan roasted Garfish and mixed leaves salad

My main was so simple but executed perfectly, two fillets of garfish with a lightly dressed salad and some fresh lemon.  It complemented my entrée just how I wanted it to and I was left satisfied with my fish fix.

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Wild forest Mushroom risotto

Amber had the wild mushroom risotto which was packed full of meaty mushrooms of all types and topped with shaving of parmesan.  I was very envious of this dish!

"Toulouse sausage" "pork sausage" "Paris mash" "perth Restaurant review" "Perth food blog" "gluten free" "fructose malabsorption" "food blog" Chompchomp "Bistro Felix" Subiaco French bistro lunch "wedding dress"

Toulouse sausage with Paris mash

Kate had the Toulouse sausage which is a traditional pork sausage from the South-western part of France. Her meal was a decent size with a fat juicy pork sausage sitting atop of some creamy Paris mash.  It was garnished with a colourful array of flowers that she shared around for all of us to nibble on for fun.

"Melange of mushrooms" "shiitake" "oyster" "button mushrooms" "Swiss brown mushrooms" "beurre noisette" "Paris mash" "chives""perth Restaurant review" "Perth food blog" "gluten free" "fructose malabsorption" "food blog" Chompchomp "Bistro Felix" Subiaco French bistro lunch "wedding dress"

Melange of shiitake, oyster, button & Swiss brown mushrooms, beurre noisette with Paris mash, chives

Of course I had to order the mushroom sides.  As many of your dear readers will know I have a strong affinity for mushrooms and seeing as I couldn’t have the risotto this was the next best thing!  They were served in the cutest little Scanpan pot and were so succulent.  Hidden in the pot amongst the mushrooms were also some little gems of whole roasted garlic cloves which oozed out their pasty contents into the pan giving even more flavour!

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Lemon & cinnamon crème brûlée

The girls had the chocolate and caramel tart which was so decadent and rich.  Both of them struggled to finish their dessert after their decent sized mains.  I ordered the crème brûlée (which I had NO trouble eating by the way!).  After my previous lumpy experience of this dish at Celyta’s where instead of caramelising the surface they poured blobs of toffee on top, this was a wonderful and much more traditional reprieve to my taste buds.  Always a favourite, I will look forward to continuing to return to Bistro Felix for more long lazy lunches in the future.

Bistro Felix
118-120 Rokeby Road, Subiaco 6008 | (08) 9388 3077 | www.bistrofelix.com.au
Price:                     $$$$ (Petit lunch menu 2/3 courses $40/$45, Dinner entrees $22-26, Mains $37-41)
Food:                    4.8/5 (excellent value, would go back just for the mushrooms!)
Service:                4/5 (fairly attentive, occasionally needed prompting for topping up our wine)
Ambience:           3.7/5 (great bistro vibe – love the artwork on the walls)
Drinks:                  4/5 (big wine list – lots of options)
Total:                     16.5/20
 Bistro Felix on Urbanspoon

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Cantina 663, Mount Lawley

Posted by  | Categories: European, Perth, Restaurants

It was my birthday weekend and I decided to treat myself with a three-day eating and drinking fiesta with the Boy and a few of our close friends.  Our first night was a very casual affair at our local Victoria Park favourite Little Ying Thai.  My bestie and her man came along with us but as it was a weeknight we all managed to contain ourselves from getting too carried away.

On our second night we seized the rare opportunity for an outing with the Boy’s Best Man along with my two Perth-based bridesmaids.  His Best Man works FIFO on a number of mining sites so we don’t get to hang out with him nearly as much as we would like to.  Last year during one of Mum’s visits to Perth we took her to Cantina 663 and were all really impressed with our memorable meal.  Since then I have been really keen to go back and so I suggested going there to one of my bridesmaids Amber.  It turns out Cantina  has been on her wish list for some time.  Perfect!

Decked out in my brand new outfit from Abercrombie and Fitch (courtesy of my Dad and Stepmum) and feeling like a million bucks, we headed out on the town for a night of fun.  We were supposed to start off with meeting everyone at the Flying Scotsman for some pre-dinner drinks but we both took way too long getting ready and subsequently had to head straight to Cantina.

Cantina 663 serves European style food with predominately Spanish, Portuguese and Italian influences.  They pride themselves on having a fortnightly changing menu that reflects what’s seasonally available locally and they strive to source organic and ecologically sustainable produce when they can.

The wait staff exude edgy style and are energetic and friendly.  Our table’s waitress for the evening was very proficient and her passion for food was obvious as she discussed the suitability of each dish with me even prior to chatting with the chef.  She was even familiar with the condition fructose malabsorption which I was impressed with.  She happily communicated back and forth with the kitchen to assist in creating an adapted family style menu that was ample food for all of us to enjoy despite my allergies.

"Pork Rillettes" "Mustard butter" "Gluten free bread" "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Pork rillettes, mustard butter, pickled beans, brioche (note someone had already started...oops!)

The pork rillettes were decadently rich and oh so moreish and this dish was the first thing to disappear.  I had brought along some Schar brand Italian gluten-free bread with me in preparation as I recall from our last experience that a lot of Cantina’s dishes would be much more delicious smeared on bread and they currently do not carry gluten-free bread.  I delighted in lashing thick layers of the pork on my charred grilled bread.  The pickled beans were surprisingly sweet and were the ideal match with the pork.

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Fig, walnut, beetroot and goats curd salad (not currently on the menu)

Because a lot of the dishes on the menu contained onion, the chef offered to especially make for me a fig and goats curd salad.  Apparently this dish used to be on their menu and was very popular.  Fructose malabsorbers do have to be a little careful with eating figs, but to be honest this salad would have been scrumptious even without them…I have to confess I did eat just a few as I figured can tolerate a very small amount without too much problems.  Gluten is my real enemy.

The salumi platter was entirely gluten-free however she informed me that two of the meats may contain onion as they are not made on the premises.  I cannot remember all that was on there but I do remember some luscious dark bresaola, spicy chorizo and soft delicate jamon amongst others.  It was served with house pickles which were quite tasty and not too acetic or briny.

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Crisp stuffed zucchini flowers, ricotta, capsicum jam, labne

Unfortunately for me the zucchini flowers were off the menu as they were battered in flour before frying so I missed out on this wondrous looking dish.  I was quite jealous as they looked incredible and were demolished very quickly.  I was told the batter was fluffy and light and there was so much flavouring in the stuffing. Instead I ordered the tin of pollastrini sardines piccanti served with fresh lemon and my charred gluten-free bread.  I used to love sardines on toast as a child and these little fishies brought back great memories. I was nearly the only one who ate these – I guess you really have to be a hard-core fish fan to eat sardines. They also had a bit of a kick to them with the added chilli.

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Pan fried barramundi, spiced black eyed ragout, preserved lemon yoghurt

After stuffing our faces with all our entrees, we ordered a couple of mains to share between us.  I originally wanted to order the risotto but the rice is parboiled with stock during prep and the stock contained onion.  Instead I opted for the pan fried barramundi.  The fish was so heavenly and was cooked to a perfect buttery smooth consistency and had crispy crunchy skin.  I can honestly say pan fired barramundi is right up there in my top five favourite fish so perhaps I’m a little biased with my praise for this dish.  Putting my approval of the fish aside though, even its accompaniments were so appetising in their own right and pushed me and the girls well into the realms of being seriously full!

"pan fried gnocchi" cauliflower hazelnut sage fontina "Perth Restaurant Reviews" "Perth food blog" "food blog" Chompchomp "Gluten free" "Fructose malabsorption" "Mount Lawley" "Beaufort Street" "Cantina 663" Spanish Portuguese Italian

Pan fried gnocchi, cauliflower, hazelnut, sage, fontina

The boys ordered the gnocchi which although it was a small serve it left them quite satisfied.  We also ordered a couple of sides to go with our mains, the spinach and avocado with walnut dressing and the roasted zucchini with tahini yoghurt.  Considering these dishes were just meant to be sides – they were so good I could have easily had a whole serve of either to myself!  Especially the zucchinis; they were slightly caramelised during roasting and literally burst in your mouth with every bite.

Once again, I can see its obvious why Cantina 663 consistently receives great ratings on Urbanspoon and other restaurant review sites as they have everything going for them:  great food, dynamic staff, flexibility with catering for allergies and they are situated in an awesome location. This remains a definite fav for Chompchomp!

Cantina 663
Astor Arcade, 663 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley, 6050 | (08) 9370 4883 | http://www.cantina663.com/
Price:                     $$$$ ($7-16 share plates/entrees, $25-35 mains)
Food:                    4.5/5 (as many dishes are served with bread it would be great if they stocked GF)
Service:                4.5/5 (efficient, quick and knowledgeable)
Ambience:           4/5 (bustling energy but air con struggled in the heat)
Drinks:                 4/5 (extensive wine list with a lot of interesting options)
Total:                    17/20

Cantina 663 on Urbanspoon

The George and our Engagement Party

Posted by  | Categories: Modern Australian, Perth, Pub, Restaurants, Wedding

What a blissful and sunny start to our day!  Starting off with a delicious brunch at the Greenhouse with my family and the boy, the morning got even better when Dad gave me a generously sized suitcase filled to the brim with beautiful Robert Robert and Diavolina shoes.  Most importantly, the suitcase contained some super-hot shoes for the party tonight!  I headed home with my love to spend the afternoon preparing ourselves to look our very best for the big party.  One of my bridesmaids, Amber was so kind to offer to go The George without me earlier in the afternoon so she could set up everything for the night.  This meant all I would have to do would be to arrive on time!  She is such an angel!

The afternoon flew by surprisingly quickly and before I knew it we only had a short time until things were due to kick off!!  I slipped on my shimmering Alannah Hill dress matched with the cutest flower headband, kicked on my most awesome shoes from Dad and jumped in the cab hand in hand with the boy!

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Upon our arrival my heart sunk for a brief second as I expected to walk into an ambient lit room and instead was nearly blinded by bright ugly fluoro lighting.  I subsequently found that some of Amber’s instructions she had carefully given to the staff about setting up the lighting, heating and visual equipment had not been followed through.  Consequently some further little instructions were given to the function staff and they slowly assisted us without an accompanying smile. Not that anything could take the wind out of our wings! Grabbing a quick round of pre-party G&T’s, we all felt our nerves settle ready to greet all the special people in our lives that would join us for our celebrations.

Amber is a very creative person – something my scientific brain is most definitely not – so when she suggested we have a lolly bar at the party I initially struggled to visualise what she actually meant.  We had shopped all around town together in the weeks prior to the party buying a collection of gorgeous vintage vases and bowls that she filled to the brim with lots of colourful sweets.  It looked fantastic!  The boy wasted no time getting stuck into the assortment, tossing handfuls of lollies into his mouth for a strong pre-party sugar kick.

Before guests had even started to arrive, the waitresses started bringing out plate upon plate of turkish bread with dips to scatter around the tables.  I rushed up to the waitresses and advised them stop them filling up two little cocktail tables with plates of food and to try and stagger them a bit with the arrival of our guests.  The food provided was delicious – a part of me wishes I had stopped talking and mingling among everyone for two seconds to be able to snap some photos, but it didn’t even cross my mind until the following day!  I guess us food bloggers should be allow a night off once in a while!  The selected canapés including freshly shucked oysters, spring onion aranchini, lamb koftas, sun-dried tomato and asparagus tarts and a variety of sushi rolls.  The special gluten-free options included five spiced duck pieces – amazingly succulent little cubes of meat marinated in a sweet chilli caramel sauce.  I’m sure I must have greedily gobbled a number of those!

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A major feature of the night was the amazing efforts of two of my guests (one of those being Amber) in joining forces together to bake enough cupcakes for seventy people with a third of the cupcakes gluten-free! They sparkled glamorously in the centre of the lolly bar and almost looked too good to eat!   Being able to enjoy devouring cupcakes with everyone else at the end of the night was such a treat although the way I stuffed the butter cream frosting into my mouth may not have been so nice!

The highlight of the night to me and my sister was surprisingly not food related.  My Mum and stepmum have not spoken words since over twenty years ago when Mum and Dad separated.  We have all accepted this and our family events have always been planned separately to accommodate for this.  So when I looked over and saw my Dad arm in arm with my dearest Mum on one side and his wife on the other my eyes started to burn hot.  My sister came running over to me in amazement and we shared watching this special moment together before flicking away our tears of joy.

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Toward the end of the night I wanted everyone to be able to have something more substantial than just the canapés so we arranged for some noodle boxes to come out with sticky pork with ginger, chilli and bok choy.  The pork was so scrumptiously juicy and the sticky marinade had nearly caramelised but not burnt.  This was the most popular food for the night and I’m sure I saw a few people go back for a second box!

As with all good parties, the night flew by at the speed of light and before I knew it we were standing under those hideous bright fluoros with the reality that it was over.  All those weeks of preparation and anticipation for a night that felt like it only lasted one hour!  I was extremely chuffed to see that our budgeted bar tab lasted for the whole night and no one had to dip into their pockets to pay for a drink.

After such a fabulous occasion, the events that followed on next totally took me by surprise.  Bear in mind that the venue was nearly empty in the main bar for the whole night so our party of 70 people would have been the only real income for the night for The George.  As we were all slowly drifting out of the function area and leaving through the main bar a couple of the bar staff got annoyed with us not leaving quickly enough for them.  As they walked past the bar, a number of my guests clearly overheard the staff retorting insults and foul language directed at us presumably because they wanted to us to hurry up so they could go home.  None of my guests were unpleasant or rude to any of the staff to call for this attack.

We all waited outside The George for what felt like hours all trying desperately to hail cabs. One of my friends had taken a bit of a stack on the pavement and had developed a very swollen ankle (she actually ended up in RPH early that following morning poor thing) so I wanted to get her home quickly.  I was also mindful that my dearest mother was keen to get home as she is not accustomed to standing up in her high heels for hours on end anymore.  I went back to the front door of the hotel and knocked to get someone’s attention.  All the staff were still inside closing up everything for the night.  I asked the bartender if he could kindly please arrange us some cabs for us as my friend was injured and many others were tired and ready to hit the sack.  He refused and told me to walk down the street to the closest hotel the Hilton where apparently I could find many taxis.  I explained to him my friend was injured and couldn’t walk, he then repeated that he wouldn’t call us cabs, and that was that! He closed the door in my face and locked the door!!

After spending thousands of dollars at their venue that night I was completely gobsmacked at such rudeness and appalling service.  Despite the actual night being such a wonderful success, it was so disappointing to end on such a sour and  unprofessional note.

Price:    $$$ (Entree $18-21, Mains $25-39)
Food:    7.6/10 
Service: 3/10 (for the rudeness!) 
Venue:  4/5
Total:   14.6/25 (58%)


Well, things have gone from bad to worse with the level of customer service that I have received from The George.  We left my old iPod touch there on the night of the party and since then I had attempted to contact the functions manager by phone and email to let her know that I would be popping back to collect it on my day off.  As I had received no reply, I figured that it’s not too complicated a request to fill so I went into town on my only day off to collect it.Upon arrival my bestie and I spoke to the bartender who explained to us in a curt manner that I needed to speak to her manager.  She got her bar manager who happened to be very same person who had bad mouthed to my friends and refused to call us cabs on the night.

I started to explain to him that I had left my iPod behind and had tried to contact the functions manager but had received no reply from her.  I purely just wanted to collect my iPod and that was it.  He fobbed us off saying that the functions manager was in a meeting and that she couldn’t be disturbed.  So I offered to go into the cupboard in the functions room myself to collect it upon which I was then told that she was having the meeting in there so this wasn’t possible.  He said to us:  “And that’s if you actually have left it here.”  If?!?!  He offered to call me in an hour when she would be finished her meeting but then uttered that she could be in there for hours so who knows how long she would really be.

My bestie and I popped down the road to the Sentinel for a drink (where the service by the way was very friendly – a total contrast).  During this time we received no phone calls from The George.  So after one hour we left and made our way back to The George.  On my way I called through and asked to be put through to the functions manager, consequently I was put through straight away implying that her meeting was over.  She then proceeded to tell me she had no time to walk to the cupboard where I left my iPod and retrieve it for me as she was far too busy!  I explained that it was my only day off, I had come into the city specifically and I was 50 metres away!  She repeated to me:  “I have absolutely no time to search for it, I am very busy and that’s provided you have actually left it here anyway!”  She said she would try and call me back by the end of business – it’s now been nearly a week and not a peep!

Final update:

So it’s been a number of months since all this happened and I thought I better give you dear readers a final report on the outcome with The George…..click to read my Epilogue.

The George
216 St Georges Terrace, London House, Perth 6000 | (08) 6161 6662 | www.thegeorgeperth.com.au/

The George on Urbanspoon

Phu Pho Vietnamese Rice and Noodle House, Victoria Park

Posted by  | Categories: Perth, Restaurants, Vietnamese

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.

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Beef fresh rice paper rolls

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.

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Sizzling Mongolian Beef

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.

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Tamarind King Prawn

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 7/10

Phu Pho Vietnamese Rice and Noodle House
800 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park | (08) 9361 2139


Phu Pho on Urbanspoon

To To Vietnamese, Victoria Park

Posted by  | Categories: Perth, Restaurants, Vietnamese

Oh my goodness!  What bliss it has been this week to finally return back to my gluten free diet!  I know it will take me a few weeks for my skin to heal and a few more weeks to maybe months on top of that for my gut to settle down……but my mood?  It is astonishing how avoiding eating just one seemingly harmless little protein can alter my mind so dramatically.  For the past six weeks I have carried a whinging, negative dark presence in my mind that was constantly criticising and complaining about everything and anything, and made dealing with all the other physical effects of eating gluten so much more difficult.  I was oblivious to the presence of this monkey on my back until now when I can see he has left!  My energy and excitement for life is returning and my sense of humour is lifted!

One of my bridesmaids suggested we go out for a casual meal to kick off the CHOGM long weekend. As we both had later shifts at work that day we opted for an easy peasy local night out on the strip in Vic Park. To To’s was packed full of customers and only had a couple of spare tables.  This is always a good sign.  After enquiring about gluten free dishes, we were promptly assigned a very flamboyant waiter who was bubbling to help us.  He pondered expressively on options for us and was keen to ensure that we chose a good range of dishes. For Vietnamese starters, I can never go past fresh rice paper rolls.  Unfortunately they only offered prawn rolls which meant my bridesmaid couldn’t try any as she doesn’t eat seafood.  I would have liked there to be a pork or chicken option for those who don’t eat prawns.  Nevertheless, the rolls were fresh and neatly rolled and the dipping sauce was not too overly sweet.

Chicken Satay

The sang choy bow was made with chicken and pork mince.  The meat was very moist and seasoned perfectly, however silly me forgot to ask for the shallots to be omitted and I had to pick them out.  We also ordered chicken satay for my bridesmaids children but unfortunately they contained gluten so I did not try.  They gave us a generous serve of these and I was informed they were finger licking good.

Stir fried chicken with chilli and lemongrass

For mains we were recommended to order the stir fried chicken with chilli and lemongrass, Vietnamese style beef, chilli and pepper spare ribs and stir fried vegetables with garlic and oyster sauce.  Both the chicken and the beef dishes contained copious amounts of onions which I had once again completely forgotten to request omission.   I guess after six weeks of foodie freedom it will take a bit for me to remember to ask for all the finite details of the fructose malabsorption part of my diet.  Thankfully fructose ingestion doesn’t mess with me to the extent that gluten does.  The onion was in big strips so it was pretty easy to pick it all out.  By the end of the night I had a cute little pile of onion next to my plate.

Vietnamese beef (with chicken satay garnish!)

Despite having to negotiate my chopsticks around the presence of so much onion I really enjoyed the lemongrass chicken.  The beef on the other hand was quite dry and bland and I wouldn’t recommend it.  Unfortunately when the ribs were brought out to our table we noted that they were covered in batter and called our exuberant waiter over to double check that this wasn’t wheat flour batter.  He was very apologetic and offered to replace the dish.  This wasn’t before one of the kids managed to quickly nab a pork rib to try! According to his palate it tasted like KFC so he renamed the dish VFC! (Vietnamese Fried Chicken).  As a replacement we were offered a dish that wasn’t on their menu – some roast pork.  This dish was definitely the best of the mains – the pork was deliciously tender and marinated to perfection and enjoyed by all at the table.  With our bellies comfortably full we all skipped over the road to Baskin and Robbins for an ice-cream fix to end our chilled out evening and we were very satisfied and ready for our long weekend!

Food 6/10 Venue 6.5/10 Service 7/10


To To Vietnamese
875 Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park | (08) 9355 2388

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