My friends often joke about an aspect of my personality referred to as the “all or nothing”. According to them, I have a habit of applying this methodology to most of my life. I eat all the cakes or no cakes. I order all the cheese or no cheese. I buy four dresses after a year of buying none. You get the drift. So when the Boy suggested we do a predominately vegetarian, no alcohol detox diet after the New Year, I took the whole idea very seriously and proceeded to book us into a number of vegetarian restaurants around Perth. Just because we were being healthy didn’t mean we had to stop eating out did it? We visited The Raw Kitchen and Solomon’s Café in addition to doing a three day juice cleanse with Au Naturale.
I can tell you that going vego is no longer a boring diet of carrot sticks and hummus; in fact it makes quite the flavoursome lifestyle change. Towards the tail end of our detox we booked lunch at Heavenly Plate online with a Dimmi special which offered a 50% discount off the total bill. Heavenly Plate is a quaint little restaurant positioned on the busy part of Canning Highway just after the bridge in Applecross. As we entered we walked past their menu board and the Boy asked me “Are you SURE this is all vegetarian here? It says chicken and pork on the menu?”
Upon further reading of their menu, I confirmed to the Boy that everything was in fact ALL vegetarian and that the “pork” and “chicken” are made from tofu and other vegetable products. Prior to our visit I had perused over their website and seen that they make some very spectacular looking cakes in house. So before placing our ordering I walked over to check out their cake cabinet and make our selection. There were a number of beautifully decorated cakes on display but unfortunately the waitress informed me that although they were all vegan not a single one was gluten free. I couldn’t hide my disappointment from my crestfallen face.
We started off with a couple of small bites while I pondered on what to do about my cake dilemma as I had totally geared myself up for a sweet feast. Our first dish was the crispy yam rolls, paired with fresh mint and strawberries these rolls were an interesting yet addictive starter. They were made from soft rolls of sweet potato and yam wrapped in vermicelli noodles and subsequently deep fried which turned the noodles into a fine crunchy net encasing the super soft “meat” inside.
None of the remaining starters on their lunch menu were gluten free so we ordered a serve of scrambled “vegan eggs” made from tofu and coloured with turmeric. They looked eerily like real egg and left the same texture in the mouth. The taste was slightly different to egg but certainly didn’t taste overwhelmingly like tofu either. I could see myself successfully tricking a few meat eating friends with this dish!
The Boy ordered the Japanese burger with wedges. His burger was made with a marinated teriyaki “steak” in between two patties of Japanese rice and finished with fresh lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
This dish couldn’t be made gluten free so I didn’t get to taste it but he did say that it was very similar to eating a real meat burger except for the rice bun. He started to scheme how he could fool his carnivorous mates into coming back to Heavenly Plate and eating all these tofu dishes unknowingly. He is a man who loves a good practical joke.
With my cake dismay lingering in my mind, I had to have something sweet for my main. Our waitress told me that both the cinnamon French toast and the pancakes could be made gluten free. I settled on the French toast.
It was a good choice. Those two slices of sweet buttered French toast gave me just the sugar hit I was looking for. The gluten free bread didn’t crumble apart or dissolve like many can do with the rigours of Frenching. Each piece was dusted lightly in cinnamon sugar just like my mum used to do and was served with maple syrup and mixed berry compote. Some extra compote was served on the side so that the toast didn’t go too soggy on the plate. A thoughtful touch.
At half price this was a definitely a lunch worth eating however I cannot deny I was disappointed in the number of gluten free options especially the lack of even just one cake. There are a few interesting creations on the menu in addition to a few dishes that will surprise your meat eating friends into enjoying eating vegan. Wonders never cease!Heavenly Plate 2/899 Canning Highway, Applecross WA 6153 | (08) 9316 8818 | www.heavenlyplate.com.au Price: $$ (Entrée $7-13, Main $13-22) Food: 3/5 (101 ways to eat tofu without knowing it’s tofu) Service: 3/5 (a little slow to start but unobtrusive and friendly) Ambience: 3/5 (has a quaint French provincial style) Drinks: 2/5 (fruit drinks tasted a little artificial) Total: 11/20
I moved into the Vic Park area nearly twenty years ago when I was a young, whipper-snapper uni student. As is often the case when living in shared housing, I never really stayed in one location for long. I dotted about the neighbourhood in a number of houses until the Boy and I finally settled down and bought our own home. Over the years, it has been exciting watching my suburb’s growth and development and it has become a place that its residents are now fiercely proud of. One of the best things that I love about Vic Park are our many options for dining out. We are totally spoilt for choice with literally the A to Z of international cuisine on our doorstep in addition to some modern wine bars and pubs. One of the recent newcomers to the café strip is Grill’d Victoria Park burger bar.
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 over 50 stores. To help promote their new Vic Park store, I was kindly invited to come and enjoy a round of burgers on the house. This was the first time I had visited a burger bar with the Boy since his conversion to a plant based diet and I was curious to see his opinion on their vegetarian burgers. He is a hard man to please when it comes to burgers and is surprisingly critical. If he liked their burgers, I figure they must be good.
After nearly half an hour wait we still hadn’t received our meals and I enquired with one of the friendly wait staff. Within seconds she returned to our table blushing red with embarrassment and apologetically explained that for some reason our order got lost in the computer system. Her apology was promptly followed by the manager zooming to our table to do the same.
Within minutes our burgers and chips arrived along with further apologies. The Boy ordered the “Garden Goodness” on a regular bun. This burger contained a thick, soft veggie patty with beetroot, tasty cheese, avocado, salad, relish and finished with herbed mayo.
Impressing somebody who has been eating meat their whole life with a meatless vegetarian burger was always going to be a challenge. The Boy stopped eating meat for environmental, health and animal welfare reasons, not because he didn’t like the taste! I knew that this was going to be the testing moment and within seconds of taking his first bite I could see this was a winner. Packed full of flavour but without attaining an obscene height; the Garden Goodness is a veggie burger for even the most seasoned meat eater.
I had been feeling a little low on my iron levels recently and craved a real beef burger. Also being in the mood for a bit of spice I tried the “Hot” mama which contained a grilled grass fed lean beef patty, roasted peppers, dill pickle, tasty cheese, tzatziki, salad and a kick of Harissa paste. Of course I chose mine with the gluten free bun option.
Now those of you dear readers who are like me and cannot tolerate gluten in their diets, you will empathise the plethora of terrible gluten free bread out there. It has the tendency to have the texture of cake and often crumbles to pieces under the strain of weight and juices from a good burger.
While many gluten free buns disintegrate to mush at the half way mark or even sooner, I found that Grilld’s gluten free buns held good shape despite my burger having an abundance of sauce and juiciness. It remained so “normal” that I became doubtful that it was genuinely gluten free bread. I called our waitress over to that table double check that they hadn’t made another mistake only to sheepishly find I was totally wrong, it was definitely gluten free. A little embarrassing!
Finally, Grill’d hot chips deserve a mention. These thick cut chips are sprinkled with a very addictive herb mix that makes you feel like you are eating at somewhere a bit more upmarket than just your local burger joint. The chips were piping hot, crunched loudly yet were fluffy and soft on the inside. This could be dangerous being so close to my front door.
To ensure to myself that our order stuff up was just a once off teething issue, the Boy and I returned on a couple of occasions incognito without my glaringly obvious SLR camera in hand and found there to be no further delays or issues with our orders. We have found both their burgers and salads consistently enjoyable and will continue to return.Grill’d Victoria Park 895 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park WA 6101 | (08) 9355 1000 | www.grilld.com.au Chompchomp dined as a guest of Grill’d Vic Park. As it is too hard to be 100% subjective with a complementary meal I will refrain from giving a review or score and will purely just document my experience.
I am fortunate enough to work on the doorstep of the Swan Valley. This means that it is relatively easy to have some office meetings out and about and over the years we have developed a few favourites. Taylor’s Art and Coffee House has been one of those locations mainly due to their excellent coffee and interesting range of gluten free cakes. Their coffee is sourced from a small local company called Dark Star who roast their own imported beans on site in Northbridge. It is a full flavoured coffee that is perfect for an espresso or short mac, just how I like it.
Choosing a venue to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday was left up to me and with some winter sunshine on the forecast I suggested a trip to the valley. The Boy’s family appreciate eating big hearty meals in a casual relaxed dining atmosphere so I knew Taylor’s Art and Coffee House would fit the bill perfectly. No pretension or tiny plates of food.
Having never been here before on a weekend I was surprised to see the place was packed inside and out. Although the winter sun was shining brightly there was little warmth coming from its golden rays so we made ourselves comfortable inside under the heaters.
There were a few winter coughs and snuffles around the table so we all treated ourselves to a bowl of hot soup of the day to warm our bellies and sooth our throats. Unfortunately a few of the bowls that were brought to our table were lukewarm and had to be sent back to the kitchen to be reheated. The smooth and creamy corn soup provided excellent value at just $9 for a small bowl however I did think the one thin slice of accompanying gluten free bread was a bit on the stingy side. On previous occasions I have received a couple of slices with my soup, I’m not sure if they were on bread rations that day and were running out?
For my main I ordered the vegetarian frittata made with eggplant, fire roasted capsicum, basil, spinach and feta. It came with a massive side serve of salad containing sweet potato, pine nuts and fresh greens. The serving size was enormous and I starting wishing I didn’t order the soup as well. I guess I didn’t really need that extra piece of toast with my soup after all! The frittata could have done with a touch more seasoning and was very slightly burnt on the bottom. The huge salad was very filling even for my over-sized stomach and it was a struggle to finish it. Once again I felt this was value for money.
The Boy ordered the vegan burger. It contained a falafel patty with cashew cheese, beetroot relish and fire roasted capsicum. He was very disappointed with his choice and barely ate any of it. He said the bread was too hard and tasted almost stale; the burger patty was very soft and crumbled apart too easily and the relish was far too spicy for his liking. What a shame because it looked really tasty.
My mother in law ordered the mushroom tart with caramelised garlic, chevre and salmon. I didn’t really get a lot of adjectives from her describing its taste but I do know she enjoyed it and had no complaints.
My sister-in-law ordered the chermoula chicken salad. I have had this salad on a couple of occasions and once again the serving size is more than ample and will leave you contentedly full. Pieces of chermoula marinated chicken were served with a high mound of roasted sweet potato, beetroot, chickpeas, spinach, spiced yoghurt and a garlic walnut crumble. The flavours all work nicely together with a lovely balance of textures and a slight spicy kick.
One of the main reasons I came back to Taylor’s was that I knew they had a few gluten free options for dessert. However by the time I had eaten my soup, my huge plate of salad and my frittata I was bursting at the seams. When we were ordering our lunch earlier I spied a pile of rich cubes of gluten free chocolate brownies in the cake cabinet and was sure that between the Boy and I we could polish one off. Unbeknownst to me my young nephew had also decided that HE wanted a brownie too. When we returned back to the counter to order our coffee and cakes, the mound of brownies had been reduced to a mere single square! I figured that must be a signal to me to stop being greedy and let him order it for himself, not without stealing a few mouthfuls though! It was moist and very chocolatey, there would have been no way I could have eaten one to myself after all the food I had already chowed down.
I still haven’t quite made up my mind about Taylor’s Art and Coffee House; whilst their coffees and cakes are worth a visit the execution in the kitchen didn’t seem to handle the busyness of weekend brunch. I haven’t had such problems during my mid-week visits and I can assure you I will still return.Taylor’s Art and Coffee House 510 Great Northern Highway, Middle Swan 6056 | 0447 441 223 | http://www.taylorscafe.com.au/ Price: $$ Food: 2.5/5 (awesome coffee & cakes but lukewarm soup and inedible vegan burger) Service: 3/5 (slow service but friendly enough, the barista is a character who shows passion & enthusiasm) Ambience: 3/5 (quaint, relaxed country feel) Drinks: 4/5 (the coffee won me over) Total: 12.5/20
The Kalamunda Farmers Markets located in the centre of Kalamunda seemed like the most logical place for us to start our tour of the Hills for the Bickley Harvest Festival. These markets are on every Sunday from 8am until noon and include a number of local growers and producers selling their wares with many stall owners offering free tastings.
We nearly bought one of each of everything from the Ringwould Dairy stall as everything tasted so fresh. We settled for some Caillot (quark with added herbs and garlic), Moroccan marinated cheese and a strawberry lassi to share. The lassi was not overlying sweet and was very refreshing.
Moving on from Kalamunda we commenced our self-drive tour of the picturesque Bickley Valley. Gentle slopping hills, fruit filled orchards and brilliant green vineyards decorated the countryside like a holiday post card. We both wistfully dreamed of ditching city life for a tree-change. Our first stop was Aldersyde Estate which is the oldest commercially operated winery in the Perth Hills. This is a lovely spot to grab a few beautiful reds; we enjoyed their Merlot the best. I love how their pet Border Collies have made it onto their wine labels too.
Our second stop was Ashley Estate where they had set up a sausage sizzle which sent wafts of barbecued onions and sizzling dogs downwind into the car park triggering your senses immediately upon arrival. This winery is still run by the original owner and their speciality is Pinot Noir. They offered a fabulous vertical tasting journey of their Pinots ranging from 2005 through to 2010. It was fascinating to taste the change in each year’s vintage and the effects of cellaring and different seasons. We bought some of their 2008 and the popular 2009 vintages.
Brookside Winery was absolutely packed with a fully booked restaurant and I regret not planning ahead and reserving a table here! Their restaurant The Vineyard Kitchen focuses on using the freshest local produce, free range meats and line-caught fish and the meals I saw heading out of the kitchen looked worth coming back for. Although we missed out on trying their food we did hang around to sample their wines. The wine of most notable merit is their Petit Verdot; a grape that thrives on dry climates and has floral notes with fruity berry like flavours.
Sad that we had missed out on lunch at Brookside, we stopped in at Hainault Vineyard for a bite to eat to soak up all the wine. Their café was also fully booked however they also sold some take away plates to eat on the grass in front of a live band. We selected a vegetarian platter to share which cost us a scorching $18! What made the high price hurt even more was that the bread roll was stale (according to the Boy) and I tasted a distinctly horrible mouldy flavour in the hummus. Ugh. Inedible.
Hungry and disappointed we pushed on to our last stop for the day; the Core Cider House. This joint was a hive of activity with a live band playing, a bustling gourmet BBQ selling hot dogs and burgers and face painting for the little ones. You could even buy an apple tree to take home! The pork sausage was gluten free and they kindly had gluten free bread available too. Feeling much happier with some edible food to devour, we both sat back in the sun on the grass and soaked up the atmosphere.
I was shocked to learn today that apparently the Bickley Harvest Festival has run for over ten years yet this is the first time I have even heard of it! After chatting to a few wine makers it appears I’m not the only one as there are some people living in the region that have only learnt of it in recent times. It was a wonderful well organised day out and the drive showcased the Bickley Valley region beautifully. I really look forward to returning again next year.Elmars in the Valley The Vineyard Kitchen, Brookside Winery Hainault Vineyard Cafe Core Cider House
We rocked up obliviously late for lunch just as Food For Me was near their closing time hoping to grab a bite to eat. I still hadn’t twigged that they were about to shut and began to peruse the menu at which point the waiter politely informed me the kitchen was closed. Not perturbed in any way he kindly smiled and offered to reheat some of the food from the cabinet for us. After apologising profusely for our ignorance we accepted his offer.
I selected the spinach frittata with bacon, pine nuts and feta plus a beetroot and spinach salad. The frittata was light and set firmly without being chewy or unpleasant. The salad was obviously reaching the end of its life span but seeing as we had rudely barged our way in at the thirteenth hour I figured this to be expected at this time of day.
The Boy ordered one of his time old favourites; the beef lasagna. Thick with meaty sauce and gooey cheese the lasagna connoisseur gave it the big thumbs up. We both vowed to return when both the kitchen and the coffee machine were switched on and see what these guys could do.
A few weeks later I attended Rob Broadfield‘s sold out seminar on food writing at the Hyatt with Foodie Cravings and Perth Munchkin. Rob gave us some useful tips on how to write captivating restaurant reviews worthy enough to publish in the well-known West Australian Good Food Guide. The day also served to give him an opportunity to scope for new reviewers as each delegate had to submit an 80 word café or bar review. I found it amusing that basically we were all paying for the chance to have an interview!
It started off a stunning morning with clear blue skies and a crisp breeze so I chose to walk into the city. Halfway through the four-hour seminar I began to regret this decision as my stomach let out some clearly audible grumblings and my head started to spin. Talking about food wasn’t helping my situation much either. As soon as the seminar was over I met up with the Boy and headed straight to Food For Me, Victoria Park for lunch.
Serving locally roasted Essenza coffee, the beans are ground on demand and you can smell the aroma as soon as you walk into the café. The coffee is quite sweet and creamy without any strong bitterness or bite.
Although they do serve gluten free toast I wasn’t in the mood for bread and chose the zucchini and corn fritters. I didn’t expect such a huge meal and with half a brilliant green avocado, tossed salad and two poached eggs I was thankful I did walk earlier in the morning. All that bridal weight loss was returning back to my hips in a very fast fashion. The fritters were filled brim full of corn, each ear popping with freshness in my mouth.
My poached eggs were satisfyingly gloopy and I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a quick yolk-porn shot. Heavenly. The preserved lemon, chilli and dill dressing had a sweet almost maple syrupy flavour to it and I had to resist licking the last of it off my empty plate before they were taken away.
The Boy nearly ordered himself a steak sandwich before he stopped himself and changed to a chicken burger instead. Juicy tenderloins were buried in the burger among some bacon, cheese and lettuce. Their breads are sourced from Barrett’s Bakery in Nedlands where they hand make all their bread without adding any additives. The burger bun was soft but resilient and despite the constant drip of mayonnaise and relish it retained its shape and body until the very end.
When we were up at the counter ordering our meals, our waiter talked up their gluten free brownies claiming them to be outrageously good. After finishing off the last of my fritters my curiosity got the better of me and I sidled back up to the counter to order one to share. Rich and moist, the brownie lived up to his hype and was laced with some tart raspberries to balance out the sweetness. There was no crumbliness common to gluten free slices and our spoons fought over the last mouthful.
Breakfast in Vic Park can often be a bit of hit and miss. Having visited Food For Me on a number of occasions now I can safely say they are on my list of hits. Loads of gluten free options, fresh mostly organic produce and friendly staff they really have got their recipe right. We will be returning for sure.Food For Me 877 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park, 6101 | (08) 9472 0333 | http://www.foodforme.com.au/ Price: $$ Food: 4/5 (loads of GF options, make sure you try their brownie!) Service: 4/5 (super positive friendly vibe) Ambience: 3/5 (try and nail a table outside in the sun) Drinks: 3.5/5 (creamy luscious coffee) Total: 15.5/20
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 have been literally dying to take the Boy with me to The Imp in Victoria Park for so long but every time we plan to go there it is so packed full of customers that there is no free table available for us. Having been there several times myself I knew he would love it. It’s always buzzing and alive with atmosphere and the staff are all funky, vibrant and friendly. We had completed our usual Sunday walk around the river together accompanied by my new toy; my first DLSR camera which I have nicknamed “Gordon”. I had been busy happy snapping away at the gorgeous scenery and felt that all too familiar reminder what an awesome city we live in.
The Imp is not a place to go if your prone to claustrophobia, it is a tiny cosy little place and the tables are squeezed together closely meaning you have to shimmy in-between them to get to your seat. We sat next to an attractive looking African family who were enjoying their lunch. Sitting with them was their gorgeous little toddler with hair all up in little pony tails. She couldn’t drag her eyes away from staring at us, seemingly mesmerised by my Fendi handbag brimming with contents. As I pulled out my new camera her interest heightened and she watched with great amusement while I played around with the settings.
Upon ordering I enquired which dishes could be made gluten free. I was informed by the waitress that they no longer can guarantee any dishes gluten free. She explained to me that the previous chef made a big mistake in sourcing non-gluten free soba noodles and served them to a Coeliac who proceeded to become very unwell halfway through her meal. This chef was sacked as a consequence of her oversight and since then they don’t want to take any further risks in making people unwell. Fair enough. I appreciated her honesty. I am lucky enough to not be quite as sensitive as other gluten intolerants; provided gluten isn’t an actual ingredient in the dish any slight cross contamination in the kitchen very rarely poses me too much trouble.
I ordered the scrambled eggs, herb salad & truffle oil which normally also comes with toast. As they didn’t have any gluten free bread as a replacement the waitress kindly offered to serve some fresh avocado on the side instead at no extra cost. To my satisfaction the truffle oil tasted very strong and fresh. I get so disappointed when the oil is aged so much that the truffle flavour is nothing but a mere hint, that’s just teasing.
The Boy ordered the burger which came with pickled cucumber, hand cut potatoes and aioli with the added option of bacon. The beef burger was small but very juicy and seasoned well. The bun was soft and held its shape adequately without going too soggy or brittle. The bacon was grilled a touch short of crispy which was fortunate as the boy prefers his bacon meaty not crunchy. The fries needed a little extra salt but were otherwise quite tasty.
We had both worked up a reasonable sweat during our walk (despite my constant stopping to photograph things of interest) so we agreed to share a dessert. I ordered a flourless orange cake which came with some vanilla ice cream and was topped with the cutest little meringue. I was probably a bit too full to enjoy this thoroughly as I found the cake to be a little bland. The Boy enjoyed most of the ice cream which was creamy and sweet. Perhaps my taste buds were still too busy rocking out on all that amazing truffle oil!
Serving fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner; The Imp is somewhat of a foodie’s icon here in Vic Park. They continue to be extremely popular due to consistently great food, quirky friendly service and an ever-changing seasonal menu. A definite local fav of ours.The Imp 863 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park 6101 | (08) 9361 2600 | www.theimp.com.au/ Price: $ (Breakfast $6-20, Lunch $13-16, Tapas $8-26) Food: 4.5/5 (who doesn’t love lashings of truffle oil for breakfast?) Service: 4/5 (no table service, but friendly and fast) Ambience: 4/5 (busy, loud and vibrant) Drinks: 4/5 (serves Fiori coffee, big selection of teas, BYO for dinner) Total: 16.5/20