I am an eternal sufferer of FOMO (the fear of missing out). This terrible affliction of mine means that to make the simple decision on where to go out for dinner becomes a complicated task involving restaurant shortlists, reading menus in advance and scanning social media for evidence that I’m not missing out eating somewhere else.
But now I have found the perfect solution to this ailment; why should I limit myself to dine at just one single venue per outing when I can go on a progressive dinner and enjoy three restaurants in one night?
The Leederville Food Safari offer progressive dinners that run over about three hours and visit three of the most popular restaurants in Leederville; Ria Malay Kitchen, Kitsch Bar and Foam Coffee Bar. To make the night even more interesting, instead of walking between venues the guests are transported to each restaurant in a rickshaw.
On my first Leederville Food Safari experience, we started our evening at Ria Malay Kitchen for entrées and it didn’t take long for our group to discover the awesome cocktail list. I ordered a Malay Mule; made with lemongrass infused vodka, fresh lime and homemade ginger beer. It had just the right amount of ginger bite to it and would have been an easy drink to slam back in succession if it wasn’t a school night 😉
All three of the Safari’s restaurants are able to cater for dietary requirements including gluten free and vegetarian options. My gluten free entrée plate included a generous heap of peppered squid and grilled satay chicken skewers.
There was a lot of other starters brought to the table for the other guests which were devoured in no time. We remained blissfully oblivious that we were about to be served an even more extensive amount of food for our mains at the next pit stop.
I climbed into one of the trusty rickshaws with the lovely Laura from Yelp Perth and we snuggled up together to keep warm. Neither of us are ever short of a word to say and having not seen each other for a while we chatted away vibrantly while our driver carefully negotiated the busy traffic to whisk us over to Kitsch Bar.
I had really enjoyed the gingeriness of my Malay Mule cocktail and subsequently was prompted by friends to order Kitsch Bar’s chilli ginger beer. I was given the option for no chilli but of course I politely declined and asked for it to be hot!
As the food started to come out to our tables, I was extremely excited to hear that everything they were serving was gluten free! This was definitely a night of NOT missing out! For our first dish we enjoyed was the very naughty, but scarily addictive tamarind salted chicken skins. Super crispy with no oily aftertaste, these skins are a treat that you will have to forget about dieting and just tuck in.
The chicken skins were gone in a quick flash and we were warned to pace ourselves by veteran Safari guests as there was a fair amount of food on its way. Kitsch’s menu is based on a modern twist of many Asian street food favourites. The barbeque Szechuan chicken was first on the list, the tender chicken was tossed through with charred corn salsa and coriander.
My favourite dish of the evening had to be the sticky black vinegar braised lamb neck. The meat tore off the bone effortlessly and literally melted in my mouth it was so moist and soft. It was served with a mild eggplant sambal and green beans.
One of the vegetarian dishes on offer was the sriracha and garlic roasted cauliflower. I loved the addition of thick chunks of paneer, a fresh white Indian cheese.
Our final main dish of crispy skinned pork belly came at a point in the night where my sides were nearly splitting at the seams. This food safari is a great night out for people with a healthy appetite! The pork belly was prepared with a sticky sweet chilli caramel sauce and served with a fresh apple salad. Although we all proclaimed we would struggle to fit anymore, we each managed to nibble our way through a slice of the pork before piling back into our rickshaws to head back down to Foam Coffee Bar for dessert.
Laura and I were the first to arrive at Foam and stood starry-eyed in front of the cake cabinet for some time before we could make our decisions. There were numerous gluten free, dairy free and raw options to choose from in addition to some more “normal” desserts for those without any dietary requirements.
We opted to both share our choices and ordered a wedge of pistachio, berry and almond cake along with some raw peppermint slice. We both agreed that anything peppermint flavoured wouldn’t actually fill us up as it is very refreshing and light. Kind of along the same lines as eating peppermint thins at the end of meal. I could easily eat a whole packet of those little chocolates.
The Leederville Food Safari is a fun night out and gives a brilliant alternative to the usual dining experience. The food is served in abundance and I recommend to arrive hungry so you can eat everything on offer. This summer’s rickshaw driven food safari season begins today on the 1st of September and will run through until the end of summer.
Disclaimer: Chompchomp was an invited guest of the Leederville Food Safari. Thanks to Meg Coffey from Coffey & Tea for organising such a fun night out.
Leederville Food Safari
Phone (08) 9242 1229 | Cost $95 per person excluding drinks | Book online at leedervillefoodsafari.com.au
Ria Malay Kitchen
106 Oxford Street, Leederville WA 6007 | (08) 9328 2998 | riamalaykitchen.com.au
229 Oxford Street, Leederville WA 6007 | (08) 9242 1229 | kitschbar.com.au
Foam Coffee Bar
130 Oxford Street, Leederville, WA 6007 | (08) 9444 7475 | www.foamcoffeebar.com.au
“Take me back to Barcelona!” These are words that escape my mouth on more than one occasion. My love affair with Spain first developed back in the 90’s when the Boy and I went backpacking around Europe together for the summer. We were uninhibited by shackles of any debt or responsibility and traveled nearly six months roaming from city to city without any real plan. We stayed in hostels and I successfully survived living out of a backpack with only two pairs of shoes to choose from. I laugh at this fact when I think of how I travel now; with suitcases the weight of bricks complete with multiple pairs of shoes, boots, jackets, dresses, running gear, party outfits, lap tops and camera equipment. My how time can change people!
More recently I traveled alone to Barcelona on conference and despite being ten years between visits, I slipped back into my hedonistic state within the first day. Simply I ate, and I ate and I ate. There wasn’t a single meal that didn’t excite me and my only regret was not bringing the Boy with me.
People in Barcelona don’t eat three square meals like us Aussies tend to prefer, and more curiously they eat at the strangest times of day with most restaurants not opening their doors until 9 pm at night. During the day for those who want a snack, there are a multitude of “pintxos” bars serving a variety of small bites of tapas with a wooden stick skewered in the middle of it. At the end of your meal, the waitress would count your sticks to determine your bill.
Pintxos have started to take off in Perth with a couple of options around town. It is somewhat comforting to know I don’t have to travel too far to get a little piece of Barcelona. I was recently invited to dine at Pinchos in Leederville for a bloggers lunch.
Run by the same team behind Jus Burgers, Pinchos takes that concept of all day bites to the Spanish level, with a multitude of morsels to fill your hungry belly. They have a separate food intolerances menu making ordering very easy.
We ordered a bunch of my favourites including boquerones y pulpo; white anchovies and octopus served with ribbons of zucchini, chilli and grapes. The octopus was not as tender as that in Spain but then I have set very high standards for myself. I loved the addition of sweet grapes. The Boy added even more sweetness to his by drizzling the honey from the chorizo pintxos on top.
Another Spanish thing I adore is manchego cheese. This aged hard sheep cheese has a very characteristic flavour and I ate it by the truckload in Barcelona. The De la Casa salad, or house salad, is made with thin slices of manchego tossed with iceberg lettuce and a sherry vinaigrette. A simple but addictive dish that I could easily eat every day.
We wanted to try a few of Pincho’s cured meats but I was mindful that there were a number of other dishes I was desperate to order. We agreed to compromise and order a “taste of four for one”. Our plate included Jamon Serrano, Morcon, Chistorra and Fuet Anise.
Our favourite two on the meat plate were the Jamon Serrano and the Chistorra. Chistorra is a traditional sausage from the Basque region made from minced pork and flavoured with garlic, salt and paprika.
Both of the two daily specials were able to be adapted gluten free so we chose the Bienmesabe fish with stuffed squid. Served in two components, the fish was delicately tender and infused with gentle spices on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes and capsicum.
The stuffed squid were particularly delicious, stuffed with a sweet fig paste and drizzled in caramelised balsamic. My only gripe was I was left wanting more.
A Spanish tapas feast is never complete without a slice of tortilla. In Spain a tortilla is not a form of flatbread, but instead comprises of a thick omelette with chunks of potato and other ingredients cooked through. They are generally gluten free and an easy quick snack for a Coeliac on the go. Pincho’s tortilla is served with some salad and made a substantial meal on its own.
We were far too full for dessert but as always I was left with the need to end with something sweet on my palate. We ordered a couple of chocolate and sherry fig truffle to finish. They were soft and melted in the mouth leaving a creamy sensation to roll over my tongue for a lingering moment.
Disclaimer: Chompchomp dined as a guest of Pinchos. Her opinions and photos are her own and she will not be influenced by the fact her meal was at no cost. In a desperation for a little bit of Barcelona without the cost of an airfare, she has already returned in cognito and found the quality of the food and service to be consistent.
749 Newcastle Street, Leederville WA 6007 | (08) 9228 3008 | pinchos.me
I have always had a very keen interest to try Malaysian cuisine but the fear of accidentally eating gluten has frightened me off. I learnt this the hard way on our trip to Kuala Lumpur earlier this year where I was quite restricted in what I could eat and despite being very careful I ended up getting sick from eating something with gluten in it.
Many moons ago I perused RIA Malay Kitchen’s menu online and found that they are one of the rare Asian restaurants in Perth that not only can accommodate for gluten free but have dishes specifically marked on their menu. Consequently I have wanted to visit this Leederville restaurant for quite some time. Knowing in advance what I can eat makes life so much easier, for those with food allergies you learn quickly that doing your research prior to choosing a restaurant is so important.
RIA have recently renovated and expanded their popular restaurant with a revamped menu including old favourites alongside some new additions. Chef Jon Hizola’s style is based on authentic home style Malaysian cooking and with RIA being an allergy friendly venue, they were keen to invite me come along and try some of their dishes.
The word “ria” can be translated from Malay to mean happy or jolly and I could see that the staff working both front of house and in the kitchen seemed to apply this to their daily work. We were greeted with warm smiles and although my booking was late in the afternoon at a strange time of day to eat there were still a number of customers dotted about the restaurant.
RIA offers still or sparking water free of charge which I thought was a lovely touch but I was in the mood for something a bit more exciting. They have a small cocktail menu with some interesting options. I started off with the mandarin sour; slightly sweet with a hint of sour this was the type of beverage I could down way too easily while sitting by the pool on a hot summer’s day.
The menu doesn’t just cater for those with gluten sensitivity but also has options for dairy free and nut free meals. It felt like such a luxury to be able to just choose dishes straight off a menu without my waitress having to go to and fro from the kitchen. As an extra precaution, I always ask for it to be written on our order slip that I’m coeliac just to reinforce to the chef to avoid cross contamination.
We started with a couple of small plates off the entrée menu; the lotus chips and the crispy prawns. Both were served with a mild spicy homemade mayo. The Boy hadn’t tried lotus root chips before and crunched through them nearly as quickly as he would a packet of corn chips. Along with ice cream, corn chips is another one of the Boy’s weaknesses.
The prawns were one of my favourite dishes and were so flavoursome. Cooked in a gluten free batter with a thin crispy outside and crunchy middle, you could taste the freshness of these critters. They were topped with some fried garlic and chilli which added another punch of flavour. You wouldn’t want to be on a first date after eating these!
It was hard to just choose two curries for us to share as there were quite a few gluten free options. I toyed with the idea of ordering three which the Boy also thought was a good idea but our waitress raised her eyebrows at us and explained that we would want to be extremely hungry! I settled for just two but ordered some pilau rice to help mop up all the sauces.
My first choice was the seafood tamarind. I fell in love with tamarind in my travels through Thailand, the tangy flavours always go so well with delicate seafood. It was a generous serve and the seafood was super fresh with the fish fillets so tender they tumbled apart under my fork.
For our second curry I chose the Nyonya chicken curry as I wanted to try something authentic. RIA uses a traditional recipe that has been handed down from the Chef’s mother for generations. The curry is gently spiced with turmeric, chilli and cinnamon and then cooked with coconut milk.
Now I am not of Malaysian descent so I can never confess to being an expert on Nyonya cuisine, but I have certainly eaten a lot of curries and I know what makes a beautiful curry and what makes one fall short. A good curry to my western tastebuds, is one that has an individual and defined flavour with wonderful layers of complexity from the careful addition of spices, coupled with slow judicious cooking. Too many times have I been out for curry, ordered a bunch and they all just taste the same!
Our Nyonya curry had all the makings of a brilliant curry such that we polished off the lot despite feeling uncomfortably full by the half way mark. In hindsight, we really did eat too much (again) and that is saying something as we both have bottomless pits for stomachs.
Dessert was a childhood favourite of mine, sago pudding or, sago melaka. My mum used to make this for us when we were kids and I always loved the sensation of squishing the little tiny soft pearls of sago between my teeth. Our saga melaka was served with fresh apple which is not fructose friendly so I let the Boy eat the fruit off the top before we tucked in together.
For someone who is gluten free, I usually don’t even consider dining in Asian restaurants as the chance of a suitable meal can be near on impossible. The only exceptions I have found is Vietnamese, Thai and Indian cuisines as they do not use soy sauce or much wheat flour. The discovery that Ria Malay Kitchen is so accommodating for those on a gluten free diet is quite a liberating find and I will definitely be returning.Disclaimer: Chompchomp was a guest of Ria Malay Kitchen however my views and opinions are my own. Ria Malay Kitchen 106 Oxford Street, Leederville WA 6007 | (08) 9328 2998 | riamalaykitchen.com.au
People come and go in your life; sometimes through your own choosing and sometimes due to circumstances out of your control. Their departure can often be filled with all sorts of mixed emotions but when you know that their decision is a good one for them personally it makes saying goodbye so much easier. We recently bade goodbye to a dear friend and colleague who is entering a new chapter in their life; one that I’m certain will give them the security and happiness they deserve. To bid him farewell, we dined at the Kailis Bros Fish Café, Leederville for a simple, fresh seafood meal.
I had spent the earlier part of the day at Feral Brewery for lunch for a friend’s baby shower and was grateful there were many light options on the menu. I was informed that many of the dishes could be adapted to be gluten free as they only involved simple ingredients while relying on the freshness of the seafood to take centre stage.
For entrée I started with the herb and garlic crusted scallops with fresh chill. Kailis’s Bros support sourcing local produce and their scallops are West Australian, from either up North in Carnarvon or from the icy water of Esperance depending on the time of year. Each lightly browned scallop was a delicate, tender pillow of flavour and my notion that I was too full from my lunch passed from my consciousness as I plopped each morsel into my mouth in quick succession. The Boy made a little underhanded comment at my speed of eating which I can only presume meant he wished that I saved him one! His consolation prize was getting to mop up the remaining garlic juices on my plate with his garlic bread instead.
The Boy couldn’t see any vegetarian meals on the menu and so he reluctantly ordered the octopus “a la grec”. For this dish the octopus is carefully simmered in red wine and then grilled. Having recently been very spoilt with some mind blowing “pulpo” in Barcelona I was interested to see how Kailis’s version matched up. After just one mouthful I was left wishing I had ordered this dish instead of my scallops. There was no chewiness or rubbery texture; each piece was as soft and as tender as I recall it being in Spain.
Our guest of honour ordered the grilled New Zealand flounder which he explained was a common dish he ate during his childhood. Having not eaten it in decades he took a bit of a gamble trying to rehash an old school favourite but thankfully he was not disappointed. The fish was served whole with a “latho lemano” dressing which is a traditional Greek baste made with lemon juice, olive oil, wild Greek oregano and a dash of fresh ground black pepper. The meat flaked away off the bone easily and despite this fish’s huge size our friend managed to slowly but deliberately work his way through the lot.
For my main I both ordered the pan seared Tasmanian salmon with a sweet & sour tamarind glaze, sautéed baby corn and bok choy. I was impressed to see the kitchen staff take gluten contamination seriously and ensured my fish was grilled on a separate fresh grill. Not all eating establishments have this level of understanding for what is needed to ensure there is no gluten in their food. The salmon skin was super crispy whilst the steak was just past the point of being rare making it lusciously soft. The tamarind sauce was a touch too sweet for my liking and needed a tiny bit more balance with its other key elements of sourness and spiciness.
We also ordered a few sides to fill in the gaps including crunchy roasted Royal Blue potatoes with wild oregano and sea salt, a green leaf salad with shaved Reggiano parmesan and cracked black pepper and some sautéed seasonal vegetables with tarragon butter. The potatoes were crisp on the outside with a lovely soft centre and were one of the first things to be finished at our table.
Just when we thought we had no room left for sweets, our waitress came over to our table with their daily selection of desserts. She advised us that all their desserts are made in house fresh each day by their dedicated pastry chef.
Once again bursting at the seams I wondered to myself if I would ever gain the ability to exhibit self-control at this point of the evening. I dismissed such a crazy idea and chose the lemon and lime crème brûlée to share with the Boy. Other options included a tiramisu, sticky date pudding and a couple of other more creative looking options. Our choice was a hit all around the table with each couple sharing one brûlée between each other. A well rounded night out indeed.
I have always found Kailis Brothers Fish Café to reliably satisfy me at every visit. They maintain their reputation by staying true to themselves serving the freshest of seafood with minimal fuss. They promote West Australian produce in particular and remain in my humble opinion one of the best providers of fresh seafood in Perth to the public.Kailis Brothers Fish Café 101 Oxford Street, Leederville WA 6007 | (08) 9443 6300 | www.kailisbrosleederville.com.au Price: $$$$ (Entrée $12.50-26.50, Mains $27-48) Food: 4/5 (exceedingly fresh seafood needs minimal additional work) Service: 3.5/5 (friendly and welcoming but a bit slow on the drinks service) Ambience: 3.5/5 (busy, loud and non-pretentious) Drinks: 4/5 (a proudly WA heavy wine list with a good selection by the glass) Total: 15/20
I have worked at the same practice for nearly ten years. It has been both an unavoidable yet enjoyable experience to form strong bonds with some of my team members over this period of time. Despite wishing that all my good staff would stay with me forever, I respect that people’s lives change and they move on. When a true friendship is formed in addition to a professional relationship it actually ceases to become that important that you remain working together as you will always stay in touch with each other.
It was sad to lose Tracy from our highly talented team of vet nurses, but dealing with other people’s naughty animals can be emotionally trying work and like many others she eventually got fed up with her career choice. Tracy and I share a lot in common: we love our food and wine, have similar alternative music tastes and appreciate the finer things in life. After a few months of settling into her new job we realised we must make more effort to catch up socially and organised a brunch outing sans children and men.
Sayers Sister is the new venture by Mark and Steph Sayers in the leafy suburban part of Northbridge. The original café Sayers Food in Leederville has been open since 2006 and continues to fill up with hordes of hungry people every morning. It appears that Sayers Sister is following in her footsteps and similarly shares in such popularity. To my relief Tracy managed to score us table only minutes before the morning rush began. As we sat and sipped our coffees, we watched people eagerly queuing out the door and down the street desperate for a table.
As many of my dear readers may know, I have an infatuation with poached eggs. I truly believe one of the simplest and most satisfying things in life is that burst of molten sunshine when you gently cut into them. So to prove to myself I’m not entirely predictable, I decided to order the scrambled eggs. Folds of foamy eggs flopped over the plump gluten free toast and were draped generously with citrus salmon gravlax. I gasped at the size of my dish; this was one serious looking breakfast! The eggs literally dissolved in my mouth however I didn’t enjoy my gluten free toast as much as last time. It was slightly under-toasted leaving a slight doughy aftertaste.
Tracy chose the buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compote and lemon posset. Her serving size was not for the light hearted either and you can be rest assured that the men in your life will not walk away from this place hungry. The lemon posset was set like custard and so delicately fragrant. With Tracy’s encouragement, I couldn’t resist a little taste. Imagine creamy lemon butter crossed with a soft gooey pudding. It was totally divine.
Sayers Sister sure does give her sibling a run for her money. The ambiance is much brighter, lighter and has more energy and as seen by the lengthening queue as we left it is hitting the spot for many punters. I thought the execution of the food could have been slightly improved; toast is not a hard thing to make however this was made up for by the use of extremely fresh ingredients, an interesting menu and very good coffee.Sayers Sister 236 Lake St, Northbridge WA 6000 | (08) 9227 7506 | Facebook Price: $ ($11-22 for breakfast meals) Food: 4/5 (great menu choices, huge meals) Service: 4/5 (similar vibrancy and warmth as at Sayers) Ambience: 4/5 (fresh flowers, communal tables, bright, clean open kitchen) Drinks: 4.5/5 (5 senses coffee…winning) Total: 16.5/20
Dispersed throughout my eleven year friendship with my Bestie there has been prolonged times of separation where we have lived in different cities, states and even on different continents. In true testament to our strong connection to each other, distance has only ever served to make the heart grow fonder. In the past when our times together were limited, our catch ups would often tend toward the excesses and we both have a number of scars and hilarious but foggy memories to remind us.
In more recent times, we are lucky enough to finally both be settled down in the same city. No longer do we have to schedule our fun times to those infrequent occasions when our paths cross as we only live a short drive away from each other. Impromptu brunches and sleep overs can now be a regular occurrence. After an exciting morning a few weeks ago at Elixir Coffee, we made last minute plans to meet up for brunch before work.
I have had a bit of an emotional week where I have had to make some firm decisions on where I am going to draw my line in the sand with recent family issues. These things always seem to raise their head at weddings. What they say is right: weddings really do bring out the best AND worst in people! My thoughts progressed to a little nostalgia for my Mum’s last visit to Perth where we ate and drank our way around this wonderful city. One of our many eating stops was Sayers in Leederville, so I figured returning there may help re-live some of those happier times. Better still I would be accompanied by the one person in my life that is always guaranteed to make me laugh.
I arrived about ten minutes prior to my Bestie so I ordered a short macchiato and sat back to soak in the atmosphere. I became increasingly overwhelmed with indecision on the menu because everything sounded so delicious! Sayers serve their own special blend of Five Senses coffee. It contains a mix of Brazilian and Balinese beans both sourced from fair trade plantations. The coffee has a very smooth and creamy flavour yet still retained enough kick to wake me up out of my hazy thoughts just in time for the Bestie’s arrival.
I ended up deciding on the slow roasted mushrooms with crumbled feta, truffled rocket and a poached egg on gluten free toast. For those who must endure the rollercoaster ride of hits and misses with gluten free bread, you will understand how exciting it is to firstly discover a venue actually has gluten free bread, but then even better still that it is good!
This bread had texture resembling a freshly baked crumpet and was fluffy, light and slightly sweet. Confronted with a mound of food, I initially decided it wise not to eat it all, especially not all the bread. However once again my stomach won the battle; good gluten free bread doesn’t come around often and I have to make the most of such moments!
The Bestie has been a long-time fan of her oats so it was certainly no surprise as she ordered the porridge with poached pear and blackberry compote. It was served with a dainty little pint size milk bottle filled with fresh locally sourced milk. The small little spoon of honey gave her meal just the right level of sweetness she wanted. She commented that the pear was poached just to the point of melting in the mouth and not a moment prior.
We honestly had no room for sweets but we both just wanted to remain in our blissful states for a little longer so we ordered a piece of flourless chocolate cake to share. We certainly were not prepared for the enormous wedge of nutty rich goodness that appeared in front of us only moments later. It had been warmed allowing the decadent ganache to drizzle randomly down the sides onto the plate. It was absolute heaven. Exploding at the seams this was a day that our eyes really were bigger than our stomachs. We were unable to finish it not because it wasn’t good, but because we were too insanely full. Better luck next time I say!Sayers 224 Carr Place, Leederville 6007 | (08) 9227 0429 | www.sayersfood.com.au Price: $$ (Breakfast $13-22, Lunch $17-27) Food: 4.5/5 (excellent gluten free bread, more than the usual breakfast items on offer) Service: 4/5 (funky, friendly and fast) Ambience: 3.5/5 (buzzing and busy, would have been cosier with a table inside) Drinks: 4.5/5 (Five Senses sure to please coffee connoisseurs) Total: 16.5/20
This year has been such a hectic and emotional one which has flown by with the speed of light. It has been a whole year since the Boy finally managed to convince me after much persuasion to start writing a blog. After an initial few quiet months while in its fledgling state, it has now grown to be something I am proud to call my own. Many of my close friends are loyal regular readers and are always keen to be part of the Chompchomp phenomenon by joining me on my gastronomic expeditions around Perth.
My wedding expert friend Tara is one of these supportive people and she jumped at the opportunity of a night out with our respective others to Duende to celebrate my first blogiversary coupled with a bit of “wedding talk”.
It was one of those first glorious balmy spring days and I was drunk on the delightful sunshine and perhaps maybe also the bottle of Billecart the boy bought for us in the afternoon. I donned a short summery frock, slipped on some killer Diavolina platforms and bared my winter legs. Call it a stark rebuttal against any further threats of the dreaded cold weather!
We started at The Garden for a few rounds of drinks before heading over to Duende for dinner. Neither Tara nor her husband suffer from any dietary intolerance and were happy to order a selection of dishes that were suitable for me so we could all share. We started off with a bottle of gorgeously bright ruby coloured Pe Tinto Tempranillo, an organic and biodynamic wine from Portugal. We then proceeded to work our way through most of the gluten free options on the menu. Of which there were many!
The marinated olive selection contained over four different types with a broad range of textures and tastes to suit all of our palates. The chorizo had generous amount of heat in it and was thickly cut and juicy.
Patatas bravas are one of my favourite Spanish dishes. Parboiled potatoes are deep fried before being coated with a variety of spices, vinegar and red pepper. They can be served with a number of different types of sauces depending on the area of Spain and which can range from a tomato based sauce to more of an aioli style. These crispy slices of heaven had a generous paprika dusting and were seasoned with some lemony tasting vinegar. The level of spiciness was fairly mild and I would have preferred a bit more of a punch however the Boy was relieved with the relatively low heat.
The pork belly had a luscious creamy texture and literally melted into the polenta without any fatty aftertaste. The pear and plump muscatels gave a pleasant sweet note but I did my best to avoid these two fructose filled fruits.
The lamb rump was quite a surprise. I didn’t really read the menu carefully enough to be prepared for the enchanting sweet maple flavours from the fenugreek. It actually took us all a few moments to work out where the flavours came from! The rump was succulent and pink.
The pickled beetroots were hidden under a loose pile of fresh rocket, goat cheese and hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are my favourite nut, in part due to my praline addiction but additionally it brings back indulgent teenage memories of eating Nutella by the jar full. Although an interesting dish this wasn’t one of the better ones.
Initially we were a little reserved in ordering the beef cheeks after hearing negative feedback from a friend that found them to be dry. Cheeks are a cheaper cut of meat with a higher proportion of fat, sinew, connective tissue and bone in them. Provided they are cooked correctly this generally means they are more delicious, though they do require a little time and care when cooking.
We were right in taking the gamble because our cheeks were incredibly flavoured, delicately tender and we really should have ordered two serves and maybe left out the beetroot.
The sensation of squeaky haloumi always brings a smile to my face. Coupled with rich smoky undertones of eggplant puree this simple dish was a crowd pleaser.
Px vinegar is made with the sweet Pedro Ximenez grapes and was the perfect combination with gorgonzola to top the earthy mushrooms. I know I’m a little biased as I have a mushroom addiction but these slippery little nuggets packed a powerful burst of flavour and I could have eaten many more had I not already stuffed my face with everything else!
We chose 3 out of the selection of five available French and Spanish cheeses and it was quite a feat narrowing it down to three. If I wasn’t already bursting at the seams I would have said one of each! Our choice included a semi-firm cow’s cheese Mahon from Spain and two French cheeses; Roquefort, a creamy blue sheep cheese and Sainte Maure, a soft buttery goat cheese.
For sweets we ordered the doughnut balls with condensed milk ice cream. Obviously these were not for me as they are full of all the gluten in the land; a fact my companions were very content with as it meant there was all the more for them!
After reading a multitude of positive reviews on Duende over the years I cannot believe it took me this long to try them for myself. They more than exceeded my expectations and have to be the best tapas I have experienced in Perth by far. We loved it so much that we actually headed back for a quick midweek bite later that following week! And yes….we ordered more of those patatas bravas.Duende 662 Newcastle Street, Leederville 6007 | (08) 9228 0123 | http://www.duende.com.au/ Price: $$$ (Tapas share dishes range from $4-25, we share 11 dishes/4 people = stuffed!) Food: 4.5/5 (if I had more room I would have tried more!) Service: 4/5 (dishes didn’t come out too quickly, friendly and helpful) Ambience: 4.5/5 (buzzing vibe, I could nearly imagine myself back in Spain…) Drinks: 4/5 (interesting wine list, plenty of by the glass options) Total: 17/20
The Boy had been given a corporate box ticket for the Western Derby game by some work mates and although he is not the hugest follower of AFL he was still pretty excited with his score. There was only one ticket on offer meaning I missed out and so off he headed into Subiaco solo. In order to try and compensate for leaving me home alone, he was kind enough to send me photos of all the delicious food on offer and update me regularly on the game progress. (Not that I’m any more of a footy fan than he is.) Presumably the beer was freely flowing because after the game had finished I receive yet another text message:
“How do I get home? :(“
Considering he was one amongst another 40,000 fans trying to get home, I didn’t like his chances of hailing a cab, nor did I like MY chances of getting through the traffic anytime soon either. After initially considering walking home (so the beer was definitely flowing fast) he offered to meet me over in Leederville where we could stop for a bite to eat before driving home.
At this point in time I was devoid of any makeup, in my track pants and snuggled on the couch with the boys (our two kitties Rollie and Eddie). Any normal person would probably decline an offer of a night out especially considering how cold and wet it was outside and how warm and cosy it was in. But I am never one to turn down a spontaneous night out to eat something other than hum-drum home-made bride food.
After a fairly pricey foodie month of July which included two nights of degustation at Clarke’s of North Beach and Darlington Estate Winery, we opted for a cheap dinner and headed into Justin Bell’s new(ish) venture Snags and Sons. I found out recently at the Mundaring Truffle Festival that they now stock gluten free buns and have a variety of gluten free sausage choices. Many of you are familiar with Justin Bell; several years ago he was one of the first to open up a gourmet burger bar here in Perth namely Jus Burgers. Promoting use of locally sourced produce he has now expanded to include restaurants in Subiaco, Fremantle, Northbridge and now on Chapel Street in South Yarra. S&S is the next chapter for his casual eating empire. As with Jus burgers, the menu is filled with WA produce right down to the desserts. (More on this later!)
Having trekked on foot in the rain from Subiaco, the Boy was keen to order more than just a sausage in a bun so we ordered some marinated olives and some grilled goat chorizo to start. The chorizo was juicy with a subtle hint of chilli heat. The olives were fairly standard and nothing too spectacular.
The Boy ordered the beef Boerwors with smoked Dutch cheese and peach chutney. Although tasty, he wasn’t wowed by his choice at all and felt after the succulent chorizo his sausage was a little dry and lacklustre.
My venison sausage was very succulent and the gamey taint of the meat matched well with the sweet beetroot. The horseradish was barely noticeable through these flavours and a more generous helping inside would have gone down treat. My gluten free bun looked similar to that you find in Jus Burgers, I have to presume the same supplier, and it held its shape well despite all the delicious juiciness contained inside.
A meal ended on a savoury note just doesn’t make any sense. At least that’s what I keep telling everyone. I shimmied out of my corner to wander over and investigate the sweets cabinet. There wasn’t any gluten free cake options however amongst the minitarts and brownies I did notice some vaguely familiar looking nougat chopped up into bite site pieces.
I enquired if it was gluten free upon which I was told they did not know as they buy it straight from Rochelle’s café. “Rochelle Adonis?” I ask. To which I received an affirmative reply. Having feasted on her nougat many times I know for certain that it is indeed gluten free and bought a piece for us both to share. It was perfection as all her creations usually are.
Leederville, 6007 | (08) 9228 3008 | www.snagsandsons.com.au/ Price: $ (Under $15 per meal) Food: 7/10 (may be gourmet, but they are just hot dogs! Keen to try a few more tho) Service: 2.5/5 (our waitress seemed a little distracted but still served us promptly) Ambience: 3.5/5 (funky, vibrant & fresh)