Having food intolerances can be a real pain if you also happen to be a foodie. Over the years I have learnt not to get fixated with a particular dish on the menu as there is always a good chance that I won’t be able to eat it. Some restaurants are compassionate of our allergic needs and clearly identify the gluten free dishes on their menu which makes ordering food so much easier. I look forward to the day I see a fructose friendly marked menu.
Thankfully, my fructose malabsorption causes me much less severe symptoms than my gluten intolerance does. Provided that I strictly avoid all gluten, I can afford to occasionally be a little lenient on the fructose. We were recently invited to Foodie Craving’s Crust Gourmet Pizza store in Mount Lawley to give feedback on their new free WIFI installed in store. The event didn’t start until 8pm so the Boy and I decided to stop en route to Solomon’s Café on Beaufort Street. The concept of an entirely gluten free restaurant is one that already gives me warm fuzzies, but at Solomon’s Café it is also all organic AND dairy free – it almost sounds too good to be true!
Knowing we had an evening of pizza feasting ahead of us, we planned to have a light snack only but as is often the case we may have ended up ordering a bit more than we necessarily needed.
Maybe I should just blame it on the meal sizes? When I chose the raw zucchini pasta, I certainly wasn’t expecting the towering mountain that came to the table. Nor did I plan ahead and ask for the omission of onion. Having eaten raw zucchini pasta on several occasions myself at home, I have grown to really love the texture and will make a great effort to make sure each “pasta” strip is made from the entire length of the zucchini to give long luxurious spaghetti-like strands. For this time round I was disappointed to find my pasta was made from short, comparatively fat pieces of zucchini that would have only been about 6-7 centimetres long. It felt a bit like I was eating a grated zucchini salad. It was tasty, but not what I was anticipating.
The beetroot gnocchi was much more satisfying although that may be in part because I so rarely get to order gnocchi as most are made using wheat flour. They tasted a little doughy yet still had a light texture and matched well with the vegan pesto drizzled lavishly over the top.
As soon as I saw there were vegan nachos on the menu I had a gut feeling the Boy would order this for himself. I was quietly hoping he wouldn’t as we had only recently shared raw nachos at The Raw Kitchen the week before. I like to have interesting and different dishes to photograph and write about but he just wasn’t having it. It was a much bigger serve than The Raw Kitchen and he preferred the salsa as it was more flavoursome.
Continuing in our quest to try and abstain from alcohol for sixty days we each ordered a healthy antioxidant packed drink. I chose the “Bloody Detox” juice squeezed full of fructose friendly beetroot, carrot, celery, parsley, ginger and lemon. The Boy chose the vegan but creamy mango lassi made with mango, coconut milk, cinnamon, cardamom.
Pleasantly but not overly satiated we strolled up Beaufort Street to Crust. I was glad I had left a bit of room for some pizza as they always have plenty of gluten free options for me. The purpose of the evening was to trial run their new free in-store WIFI to assess how useful it would be for their customers and if it was easy to access without guidance.
As we made ourselves comfortable on the alfresco tables some starters were brought out including the gluten free oregano verdi and parmesan squares. All my vegan efforts were thrown out the window as I couldn’t refuse the offer of such cheesy deliciousness like this. Crust’s gluten free bases taste incredibly “normal” and fellow blogger Jacqui from Pantry in Suburbia commented how she couldn’t even tell it was gluten free.
After polishing off some starters we ran through an online questionnaire using the free WIFI. It was very simple to connect across the variety of devices everyone were using and the Internet speed was much quicker than my Optus 3G network. For the gluten free pizza option we chose the Szechuan Chilli Prawn. Crunchy spicy seasoned prawns were scattered generously over the gluten free pizza base along with fresh capsicum, bocconcini and sweet chilli, and then garnished with fresh lemon and chilli. This pizza has a bit of a kick to it and I highly recommend it for those who like a bit of heat.
Crust’s dessert pizzas unfortunately cannot be made gluten free as the gluten free bases are made off site in a gluten free environment to minimise any contamination. I looked on in envy as every devoured the Black Forest Crumble; a decadent dessert pizza layered with custard, mud cake and black cherries, topped with baked crumble, drizzled with berry coulis and dusted with icing sugar. Given that our small table managed to eat its way through two of these, I am guessing they were pretty damn good. Gluten free dessert options at Crust include their chocolate mousse and all their ice cream flavours. The chocolate mousse is by far my favourite. I love how there are numerous little chocolate nibs buried in the mousse.
Solomon’s Café is definitely worth a visit for anyone with dietary issues as the menu is designed for us. Better still they use organic ingredients without the high price tag you would expect. Whilst not all our dishes had a wow factor, I loved how I could order pretty much anything off the menu like back in the days before I knew about my intolerances. Total freedom without all the health issues that used to come with it!Solomon’s Café 487 Beaufort Street, Highgate WA 6003 | (08) 9328 7995 | Facebook Price: $$ (Mains $20-36, Sides/Small bites $5-12) Food: 3/5 (would prefer more vego options given niche target market) Service: 3.5/5 (slow to bring out meals however were packed) Ambience: 3.5/5 (noisy and vibrant) Drinks: 3.5/5 (both juice and smoothie options, fructose free options) Total: 13.5/20 www.crust.com.au
I hate making promises that cannot be kept and I frown upon those that do. Come New Year’s Day when I am surrounded by friends and family making pledges to be healthy, eat less, drink less, exercise more and all that jazz I usually remain mum. That is until this year. After my mini-burn out in November that ended in me having to take a week off work, I reluctantly returned to the grindstone still exhausted but somewhat more functional. My drinking habits had escalated to compensate which only served to make me even more tired. Our New Year’s Eve was supposed to be a quiet one at our local The Precinct but with such fabulous food and atmosphere, we both got a little carried away. The night ended with me staying up well after the Boy had gone to bed, dancing alone in the kitchen with the cats. Yes, I really am a crazy cat lady.
Feeling sad and sorry for ourselves on New Year’s Day, the Boy and I agreed we would attempt to do a 60 day healthy promise to our bodies which involved drinking no alcohol, eating a plant based diet, fasting for two days a week and taking up weekly yoga with a private instructor.
Could we do it?
A vast part of our time together is spent eating out and the thought of regularly doing this without a drink in hand sounded a bit foreign to me. But people have a way of surprising themselves and lo and behold, we have nearly reached the end of our first month with close to a 100% success rate if you can exclude the small amount of wine we drank on our weekend with Mum in Adelaide. I mean, when you are at a winery you cannot NOT drink, can you?
Over recent weeks I have found myself searching for more vegetarian focused restaurants to visit. Just because we are not drinking alcohol it doesn’t mean we give up our regular nights out. To me that is just madness. The first healthy place on my list was The Raw Kitchen. These guys have recently packed up and moved locations to a bigger and most definitely better venue.
Their new digs have a yoga studio, a shop and a much more comprehensive menu including some cooked food plus the signature raw dishes. Everything is both dairy and gluten free without a piece of meat in sight. We each started our meal with a freshly blended smoothie. Since getting my own Omniblend blender at home, smoothies are a regular treat for us. I no longer crave eggs on toast after a long run; I lust after some sort of insanely swamp-like smoothie. Most of The Raw Kitchen’s smoothies contained agave syrup which is not suitable for us fructose malabsorbers as it is high in fructose however they are happy to omit this on request.
I chose the Minty Moment which contained fresh mint, cacao, vanilla bean, ice and almond milk with the agave syrup omitted. Unfortunately I believe the agave was an essential ingredient for this drink as a sweetener and it was not the easiest to drink without it. The Boy’s Summer Green with organic spinach, cucumber, mango, mint, lemon, dates was much tastier but I only dared to take a miniature sip as both mango and dates are high in fructose and would leave me with a significant tummy ache.
For our late lunch, we each picked two dishes and shared the lot between us. Our waitress organised for the meals to be brought out staggered to give us time to relax and enjoy each one. We started off with some roasted chats (not raw obviously) dusted with fennel seeds. They came with a lemon wedge to squeeze over them. Browned to a chewy, near crunchy colour we gobbled these up in snippety snap record time.
To accompany our only cooked dish we ordered their farmers market superfood salad. At a quick glance it didn’t look like anything very special but as I delved deeper into the piles of coloured leaves I could literally feel my liver detoxifying by the second. In addition to the multitude of greens, there was some seaweed, goji berries, pickled ginger and sprouts and everything was tossed thoroughly with a garlic ginger tahini dressing.
Our next two dishes were more interesting. The first one was something that we have already tried on our previous visit to The Raw Kitchen; raw nachos. I tried my hardest to encourage the Boy to order a dish we hadn’t already eaten but with no success. He can be pretty easy going most of the time but when he has definitively made up his mind for something he will not budge.
The nachos were made with raw, dehydrated, hand cut corn chips, walnut “beans”, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole and cashew “sour cream”. It was hard to believe this meal contained no dairy as the sour cream tasted like the real McCoy. There was a lot of onion in the salsa which I had to slowly and deliberately pick out piece by piece. Next time I will have to try and remember to ask for it without.
Being massive sushi fans we were keen to see how the raw sushi would turn out. The cooked sushi rice was replaced with cashew cauliflower “rice” and rolled up in seaweed with enoki mushrooms, avocado, pumpkin, sprouts, wasabi mayo and ponzu. Marinated shiitake mushrooms were served on a bed of carrot and cabbage on the side. Incredibly this flavour-packed sushi tasted pretty close to normal sushi except the texture of the “rice” was a little chunkier.
Eating raw, vegetarian, grain free food always leaves me feeling so light even if I eat a fair amount. I simply don’t get any of that uncomfortable bloating that overeating normal food usually gives me. This meant we both had plenty of room for dessert and whilst a lot of raw desserts contain dried fruit and thus fructose, I was willing to risk it with my glucose tablets ready in hand. After much discussion we both picked our own desserts only to be informed that all but one of the cakes had sold out in addition to all of their raw ice cream and most of their smaller sweets.
All that they had left were the hazelnut torte and a couple of small sweets including the peppermint slice. We ordered one of each. It didn’t end up being such a bad decision after all as each choice was delectable in its own right. The Hazelnut torte was richly chocolaty with a light foamy mousse texture that once again tasted so dairy-ish.
The peppermint slice had a hint of coconut in it and ended with a refreshingly cool minty aftertaste. Despite the pure decadent appearance of the torte, the peppermint slice was the winner by a long shot. The Boy actually had to physically stop me from over indulging at the counter as I nearly bought a stack to go home with. He reminded me that although they were gluten and dairy free, it was doubtful they were fructose free and I would regret my excesses the following day. I hate it when he is right!
My consolation prize was a visit to their shop where we spend a little wad of cash on some books and little snacks. I even found one of Pana Chocolate’s flavours that isn’t sweetened with agave syrup; the Sour Cherry and Vanilla. For those lovers of raw chocolate, Pana Chocolates are worth a try. So buttery smooth, it melts in your mouth like no standard chocolate could.
Raw Food is making more and more of an emergence into mainstream eating cultures. Whilst some may consider it a bit of a fad, and some may take it to the extreme, we enjoy incorporating it into our own diet within reason. As The Raw Kitchen can prove; raw food can be much more than just a pile of boring salads and soaked nuts and if you haven’t experienced it I highly recommend a visit.The Raw Kitchen 181A High Street, Fremantle | (08) 9433 4647 | www.therawkitchen.com.au Price: $$ Food: 4/5 (being kind to your body never tasted so good. A food allergic’s dream) Service: 3/5 (they know their menu well, shame about so many items having run out) Ambience: 3.5/5 (open, well lit and funky) Drinks: 3/5 (smoothie galore – unless you have fructose malabsorption) Total: 13.5/20
It was only about six weeks ago that the Boy took me down to Margaret River on a prescribed weekend of rest. We wined, dined and came back as fresh as daisies albeit slightly rounder in shape. It was a comparatively unplanned and impromptu trip which is quite out of character for me and I love that the Boy can have this sort of influence on me. I had barely finished writing up all my blog posts from the trip when it was time to head back for Gourmet Escape.
For my non-Western Australians readers; Gourmet Escape is a three day food and wine festival held in Margaret River in November each year. Famous chefs from around the world join along including Heston Blumenthal, Harold McGee, Rick Stein, Adriano Zumbo, Hadleigh Troy, Guillaume Brahimi, Matt Stone, Tetsuya Wakuda and Neil Perry to name a just few!
We had a full weekend planned with different events to attend on each day in addition to a two-day pass to the Gourmet Village. The Gourmet Village is held on the spacious grounds at Leeuwin Estate and the whole day is filled with activities, classes, shows and stalls offering wine and food from all around Western Australia. It was a wonderful way to showcase what a richly diverse State we live in and how lucky we are to have such a strong focus on quality produce.
Basic general admission tickets to the Village cost $38 per adult. We opted for premium tickets for $64 which also included 4 “GEMs”. GEMs are your village currency each costing $7 and most items to eat or drink cost one GEM. Despite buying some extra GEMS in advance we managed to guzzle our way through nearly 20 GEMS on the first day and had to buy more from one of the GEMs sellers that can be found walking through the crowd. There were also outlets in the Village selling GEMS but the queues for these were reasonably long.
The Classroom bar in North Perth set up their own Classroom Cocktail Club were you could buy their famous N2 espresso martinis for one GEM. For my review on this signature drink read my review here. The Boy missed out coming along to my cocktail Master class because he isn’t a blogger so we made a bee line as soon as we arrived to get him one to try!
One of my favourite dishes for the day was The Studio Bistro’s Butterfield beef fillet, cooked rare with a sumptuous dark sear on the surface, served with a melting dollop of decadent Café de Paris and some hand cut Royal Blue chips. I actually went back for seconds on day two! It definitely has inspired me to pay them a visit next time I’m in Yallingup. My other most enjoyable dish was the freshly shucked Pacific oysters at 34 Degrees Blue’s stall. These guys got slurped up in a flash before I even thought of snapping a picture. Oysters are best shucked right before serving as they taste completely different when served freshly shucked. I am glad we have our own oyster shucker extraordinaire in our family; namely my Dad!
Some of the presentations were of particular interest, the Boy and I loved Matt Stone’s demonstration on cooking with insects. The Boy is a great lover of eating these crunchy critters and he reminded me of the damage to the environment that farming my luscious, just devoured beef would have caused. I guarantee he would have been happier if there was a stall that he could have bought me a bag of crickets from!
The Southern Forest region is one that is lesser known to interstate and overseas tourists however it is also an area rich in world class produce, luscious forests and fine wines. This is the region in Western Australia where black truffles are grown commercially. The Southern Forests Food Council are committed to spreading awareness of the value of this region as a foodie’s mecca and were selling a variety of fresh and prepared produce including free samples of trufflicious risotto.
There were a number of gluten free options spotted around the Village and every time I saw something that I could eat I felt compelled to buy some. A little hedonistic I know and suffice to say I suffered for my overindulgence for several days afterwards!
As our second day in the Village drew to a close we had to decide how to spend our last three GEMs. We agreed on a cup of Matso’s Mango beer for the Boy, a glass of Snake + Herring ‘Corduroy’ Single Vineyard Karridale Chardonnay for me and a bowl to share of kimchi and vermicelli noodle salad topped with a couple of grilled Augusta whiting fillets courtesy of Cullen Wines. Cullen Winery are very focussed on sustainability and their impact on the environment, operating a biodynamic winery that is carbon neutral. Their restaurant specialises in using organic and local produce and is a must to visit if you are in the region. They have loads of vego and gluten free options. See my review for Cullen Wines here.
Gourmet Escape was a fabulous foodie weekend away and we hope to be able to attend for many years to come. We enjoyed a wonderful mix of satellite events along with visiting the Village although next year I think one day at the Village will suffice. This will leave more room in my stomach for attending one of the beach BBQs which I believe were incredible.
The Studio Bistro, Yallingup WA
Prevali Wines, 99 Mitchell Drive, Prevelly, WA 6285
Leeuwin Estate, Stevens Road, Margaret River, WA 6285
The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House, 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Ole Paella Catering
Cullen Wines, Lot 4323 Caves Road, Margaret River, WA 6284
I have to admit I am one of those people that tend to get a bit starry eyed with fancy restaurants that get into the big halls of fame. I am always hinting to the Boy that the holiday of my lifetime would be one where we travel around the world business class eating at the top ten restaurants in the San Pelligrino World’s Best. Focusing more locally than globally, the West Australian Good Food Guide is a highly esteemed annual publication where top restaurants around the state can be awarded one, two or three stars.
For the awards this year, there were five Perth venues and four regional venues that received a two star rating. This award is considered to identify “the best of the best: that small band of restaurateurs who are at the very apex of professional cooking and service”. As yet no Western Australian restaurant has ever achieved a three star rating.
In the weeks preceding our recent trip down to Margaret River I booked a table at Wills Domain, the winner of two stars in addition to the best WA regional restaurant of the year. I wanted fancy and was certain this would fit the bill perfectly.
The restaurant faces out onto the winery boasting 180 degree views of the sweeping vineyards. It had been a very wet weekend and we were blessed with some of the first rays of sunshine we had seen for days. A nippy breeze remained in the air to remind us that summer was still a few weeks away. We started off at Wills Domain’s cellar door to try a few of their wines and walked away appreciating why they hold a number of accolades for their collection. Suffice to say we didn’t walk away empty handed, in fact we had to pick up a full case on the way out!
Once seated at our table, we asked for some spice roasted almonds and marinated olives to be brought out while we perused the menu. I had forced the Boy to go on a short but rather hilly jog earlier in the morning and both our tummies were rumbling as loud as the thunderstorm the night before. The nuts were roasted with smoked paprika, cumin, coriander seeds and honey and packed a decent punch of flavour.
We both ordered the gin cured trout for entrée. Many of you may know about my gin obsession so for me this was a logical choice. Bright colours of locally grown heirloom beetroots, nasturtium flowers and pickles wound elegantly around the plate like a Spring garden bed. I found the “prawn crackers” quite curious. They were actually made from trout skins that are dried and puffed. You could even see the tiny little scales in them. They dissolved on the tongue satisfyingly.
After a considerable wait for our next dish whilst surrounded by very vocal young babies, our mains finally arrived. I was craving beef which is unusual for me so I ordered the Wagyu brisket despite getting a low brow from my dear husband.
I haven’t had red meat in some time, not necessarily because I don’t want it but more so because the Boy no longer eats it and we usually share our food! Three solid chunks of Ningaloo Wagyu brisket were served plank style with fresh kale, parsnip puree and fresh orange.
This was a very simple dish with each element done perfectly but I couldn’t help but feel that this was a very safe menu choice and lacked the creativity and imagination I would have expected for a two starred restaurant. The meat shredded with no effort under my fork and oozed that characteristic smooth, buttery flavour that one can only expect from Wagyu.
The Boy ordered the line caught snapper served with mussels, cuttlefish, fennel and nettles. His fish was also tenderlicious and flakable using only the freshest ingredients and served with a relaxed level of simplicity. We ordered a couple of sides to accompany our mains; roasted pumpkin with seeds and pomegranate and the radicchio and baby cos with buttermilk dressing.
Now as I have told you before, the bar has been set for the most amazing roast pumpkin in all the land by Rockpool. I have now eaten their version of this side dish at more than one Rockpool location, and, on half a dozen occasions. It never fails to woo me every time. If you are going to make a basic dish like this, then make sure you make it really really well! Wills Domain is first place I can confidently say serves roasted pumpkin that is AS GOOD AS ROCKPOOL’S!
Yes, I called it!
There was another fairly extended delay until our plates were cleared and another again before our smiley waitress finally brought the dessert menus out for us. Not quite the polished service I was expecting. As is often the case I couldn’t decide between cheese and sweets so the Boy and I agreed to share one of each. However, in a rare moment of contradiction, we found that we couldn’t agree on which cheese. Accustomed to usually ordering them all, it is a difficult task picking just one! We solved things the old fashioned way and flipped a coin. To my delight I won and selected the Vigneron cheese, or “winemaker’s cheese”.
This cheese is sourced from Woodside Cheese Wrights in South Australia and was created to “showcase the vine leaves and wines” from their vineyards in McLaren Vale. The young cheeses are wrapped in specially selected vine leaves and then washed in white wine. The end result is a fairly complex tasting cheese with a pleasant sweet, slightly earthy flavour ending with a nutty after-taste.
The Boy’s choice of dessert to share was the bitter sweet chocolate slab served with coconut ice cream, passionfruit gel and fresh fruit. The full gluteny version also has a macadamia crumb but the chef was happy to serve the crumb in a little bowl on the side so the Boy could enjoy this component without me.
Overall, our meal at Wills Domain was very enjoyable however I cannot deny I walked away a little disappointed. We have been fortunate enough to dine at a decent number of starred restaurants around Australia and I expected their service to be as polished as their food. Whilst our wait staff were dynamic and friendly, there was long waits between courses, empty plates remained on tables for prolonged times, and even though I made my booking a few weeks in advance, we were seated down the end of the balcony between two families with young children rather than in the body of the restaurant. If I hadn’t built up my expectations due to their rating, we would have actually had a fabulous day and will have to go back again to see if this was a once off.Wills Domain Lot 341 Brash Road (Corner of Abbey Farm Road & Brash Road), Yallingup WA | (08) 9755 2327 | www.willsdomain.com.au Price: $$$ (Entrees $19-21, Mains $29-39) Food: 4/5 (simple, executed precisely without fanfare or extravagance) Service: 3/5 (friendly but inattentive & slow) Ambience: 3.5/5 (placed between two noisy families it was hard to appreciate potential) Drinks: 4.5/5 (the wines are superb, our fav was the 2009 Reserve Bitza) Total: 15/20
It was bucketing down with rain and the wind cut through me like ice. This is not exactly the best weather to be walking through the city in search of a bite to eat. The Boy and I had just been dropped off at the Wellington Bus Station by Loris from Taste Bud Tours after an afternoon Speed Grazing in the Swan Valley. I had adamantly put my foot down refusing to return home and cook dinner. It was too enjoyable a day to return to the humdrum just yet. But we were a little peckish so I suggested we pop across the road to Jamie’s Italian for some pucker tucker before catching a cab. We were loaded up with bags of loot that we had bought along the way and desperate for a quick solution we both agreed this sounded like an easy option.
Our wise plans were to prove nothing short of stupid as it turned out that our impromptu dinner happened to coincide with the New Directions concert held at the Perth Arena only a minutes’ walk from the restaurant. Unbeknownst to us nearly every single parent of the 14,000+ teenage concert goers ALSO chose to eat at Jamie’s Italian while they waited for the three hour concert to finish. To add insult to injury these possibly clueless parents were either not educated in the Jamie way of high table turnover, or more likely they didn’t really care, and thus once completing their meals they were happy to just sit and occupy their table for a bit longer.
And they sat.
Meanwhile at the bar overlooking the restaurant floor, it was bursting at the seams with hungry customers waiting for a table. I noticed a number people casting intense glares at the well-fed diners seated below in hope this would prompt them to feel guilty, get up and move back to the bar to give up their table. I’m surprised there wasn’t a mutiny!
I have to say for the first hour I was still a bit full from our Speed Grazing and was happy to snack slowly whilst taking in the whole atmosphere. My absolute favourite of the bar snacks was the crispy fried polenta chips with fresh rosemary and finely grated parmesan. These are most definitely worth the hype. Obnoxiously crispy on the outside with a soft fluffy centre I could have easily downed several rounds of these if I could have made my way back to the bar more easily to place another order.
It’s a big call to call your olives the World’s Best olives but Jamie in his over confident manner is obviously happy to do so. Large, firm green olives and black olive tapenade were served on ice with paper-thin, crispy “music bread” which was not gluten free. Olives are a very individual taste and personally I wouldn’t go so far as to call these the World’s best as the flesh was a little hard. I like my olives to fall off the pip like slow cooked meat falls off a bone.
The sweet mini chilli peppers were stuffed with whipped ricotta, mint & lemon and were soft and delicate providing a good textural contrast to our super crunchy polenta chips. Our bar experience would have been greatly improved if our waiter brought us some serviettes and cutlery to the table with our food order. There may have been some available at the bar but as we were packed in like sardines I didn’t bother to check.
After what turned out to be a two and a half hour wait I was escorted to our table along with a very disgruntled husband. He had to start work early the next day, it was nearly nine o’clock and we were only just getting seated. We were originally told it would be about an hour and a half wait and had no idea that it actually would mean nearly double that! I felt terrible because I was the one that had pushed him into dining here, after our long day he would have been happy with some local take out and a night snuggled up on the couch.
Trying to make light of the situation I persuaded him to forget temporarily the busy day ahead of him as we had undergone such a long haul to get this table and we needed to make the most of it! I ordered the pan-fried whole pink snapper with olives, garlic, wine, capers, parsley & the “sweetest baby plum tomatoes”. The wonder about fresh seafood is that you really need very little effort to make it a delicious meal. Cooked on the bone the snapper had so much flavour but I did need to eat it slowly so as not to choke on a fish-bone.
The Boy had a fillet of baked King Salmon served with whipped lemony artisanal ricotta, balsamic roasted winter vegetables and a zesty crunchy salad. He was understandably far too hungry to go into details of listing adjectives to describe his dish but he did comment that all the ingredients seemed extremely fresh.
We ordered a couple of nicely priced side dishes to boot. The “Humble Green Salad” contained thick, bright chunks of cos lettuce with a lemon, mustard, crushed pink peppercorns & mint yoghurt dressing and topped with a variety of mixed seeds. It tasted like it had come straight from the garden.
The Boy and I are mad for roasted pumpkin and my tired eyes nearly missed seeing it on the sides menu. Thankfully the Boy was on the ball and ensured we ordered a serve. It was layered with chunks of roasted beetroot and garlic cloves and tossed with chilli, roasted nuts & seeds. Whilst this dish in its simplicity will never fail to excite me; my bench mark for hitting the wow factor is Rockpool’s Pumpkin with burnt butter and garlic yoghurt. Jamie’s pumpkin was good, but it was not THAT good.
The tension across the table from our overly excessive wait for a table had dissipated. I love how good food can fix nearly everything. For dessert I really didn’t think I could squeeze much more in so I opted for the poached Winter fruits with vanilla frozen yoghurt and smashed honeycomb. While being thankful my choice was light and easy to eat I couldn’t help eyeing off all the more elaborate desserts brought to our surrounding tables. I guessing I will have to come back with a more empty stomach next time. If the Boy lets me!Jamie’s Italian The Mitchell Building, 140 William Street, Perth, WA 6000 | (08) 9363 8600 | www.jamieoliver.com/italian/australia/perth Price: $$ (Entrees/Small bites $9-16, Mains $17-34) Food: 4/5 (simple, wholesome goodness, certainly nothing fancy but hits the sweet spot) Service: 2.5/5 (although the table service was brilliant, please don’t tell customers it’s a 90 minute wait when it is actually 2 & 1/2 hours) Ambience: 4/5 (noisy, energetic and vibrant) Drinks: 3/5 (very Italian focused) Total: 13.5/20
We all have our own addictions and vices. Things we simply cannot live without, things we cannot control ourselves around and things that make our life complete. Chocolate is one of these things for me. Whenever it is in the house it haunts my every waking thought until I know it has all been eaten. I can eat it in the early hours of the morning for breakfast, I can eat it before and after a run, in fact I’m sure I could find anytime of the day to eat it. I struggle to stop at just one piece and on many occasions have made myself sick by bingeing on it. Despite being a mad chocoholic, over the years I have grown to fine-tune my palate to chocolate in a similar fashion as to wine.
I first became introduced to the bean to bar concept at Gabriel Chocolate in Margaret River last year. Prior to this visit I was naïve to this concept and had little appreciation for the difference that region and climate can have on the flavour of chocolate. Gabriel has a wide range of chocolate from a variety of plantations around the world and it was fascinating to taste all the different types. Additionally by sourcing single origin beans, producers can make sure that their product supports ethical farming processes and allows the farmers to get an honest price for their hard work.
Matale chocolate is a newcomer onto the artisan chocolate scene and I was recently contacted by their producers Thibault and Eloi to sample some of their gluten free, fructose friendly and dairy free chocolate. How could I refuse such an offer? I was sent two luscious bars of chocolate to try.
The first bar was made with 68% cocoa and the beans are sourced from the certified organic Somia plantation in Madagascar. Smooth and surprisingly silky for a dark chocolate; there was no bitterness or sickly sweetness and it ended with a very clean and fresh citrusy finish.
The second bar was made using beans from the organically grown Malekula Plantation in Vanuatu. It was a darker chocolate containing 72% cocoa yet it still lacked that sharp bitter taste you can find in mass-produced dark chocolate. The flavour of this chocolate was a bit more complex than the Somia chocolate with distinct coffee notes and hints of spice.
The Boy and I sat down on the floor in the sun room to taste these chocolates, relishing in our attempts at describing the layers of flavours whilst enjoying their velvetiness. Twenty minutes later we realised we had devoured both bars in one sitting. I guess that says it all.Disclaimer: Chompchomp received both Matale Chocolate bars complimentary from Thibault and Eloi. They offered them to me without any obligation to write a blog post be it either negative or positive. I truly found each bar delightful enough to binge on regardless whether it was free or not and wouldn’t hesitate to order more.
Only a few weeks ago the Boy and I shared a very memorable lunch at Dear Friends and it was easily one of the best meals we have had in Perth for some time. I love their philosophy of focusing on local and seasonal produce with much of their ingredients being sourced directly from local farmers or foraged from the wild surrounds. On our way home that day we both decided to book in at their city restaurant Co-op Dining, East Perth to celebrate our six month wedding anniversary.
I am still nursing a broken toe therefore my ability to go running has come grinding to a complete halt. We enjoy eating out a lot and I am totally devastated that I can no longer burn it all off on the tarmac. Honestly, it won’t be long before I’m the size of a small house. In a vain attempt to mitigate the anticipated caloric excesses for our dinner we agreed to walk, or in my case shuffle, from our house to Co-op Dining. I sighed in disappointment that I cannot wear high heels, sulkily chucked a pair of flats in my LV bag and headed off in my flip-flops.
It was a Friday night and both of us had to work the next day meaning a degustation was unfortunately out of the question. Instead we chose the five course menu with a couple of suggested wines by the glass. A bit more of a reserved affair compared to our lunch date at Dear Friends when I am told I may have been a bit flamboyant.
Work or no work I just couldn’t commence this celebratory meal without some bubbles; Champagne definitely remains one of my weaknesses. Coop Dining serve NV Gosset Grande Reserve by the glass which comes from one of the oldest and original Champagne houses originating way back to 1584. Rich and creamy with incredible structure I made sure I savoured every drop. The Boy chose to bypass the booze and ordered a lemon and lime bitters made with lemon myrtle and fresh limes. Some of the soft house churned Guernsey butter that we had enjoyed at Dear Friends was served alongside some home-made bread.
Our first course was a sweet Manjimup marron served with peppery watercress puree, Swan River samphire, a twig of warrigal and some glistening syrupy fermented lime. The samphire has quite an unusual salty, tangy flavour and is foraged from the banks of an estuary near the Swan River. It was the same type of samphire that we enjoyed last year at Millbrook Winery as part of the Mushroom Mania campaign.
The Boy’s next dish was a luscious chestnut soup made from whole roasted chestnuts grown locally in Bridgetown. I really love how these guys are such great supporters of WA produce. His soup was rich and creamy and smelt like Paris in winter to me. For those who are yet to travel to this romantic city; roasted chestnuts are sold there as street food in cones of newspaper on the boulevards.
Although I was highly envious of the Boy’s heart-warming chestnut soup, I was not to be disappointed with my non-vegetarian option. Chef made his own rabbit chorizo which he served with some WA cuttlefish and more of that dangerously black squid ink puree that we enjoyed at our Dear Friends lunch. The slight gamey flavour of the rabbit was in no way overpowering and balanced graciously with a gentle kick from the cute little blob of kimchee. I successfully avoided getting any squid ink on me again. Winning. Maybe I’m gaining more coordination in my older years?
For our next dish, the house made soy tofu made a return visit too. I like how each of the menus for their restaurants shared key elements but then diverged out into their own individuality. Coop’s tofu dish looked so simplistic and symmetrical with each ingredient placed in alternation across the slate. Cubes of house made soy tofu and velvety soft chunks of confit carrot were sprinkled with dashes of spinach powder and placed on a bed of smoked egg yolk.
Looks can be deceiving and although this dish may appear basic, more complex flavours were thoughtfully hidden to surprise us. The smoked yolk was thick and strongly flavoured and gave the more subtle flavoured tofu and carrot a bit of oomph. The gently scented wild garlic is foraged on the Mainwaring’s property and I couldn’t help but smile when Kelli’s eyes lit up as she told us how each year they get so excited when they see it sprout up.
The Boy and I diverged again for our next course as mine included **shock horror** meat. I was given a choice of pork belly or Wagyu beef and opted for the later. Admittedly I confess that as it was a Friday night and as I was onto my third glass of wine by this point my mind had blissfully travelled off with the fairies. As a result I forgot to photograph my dish until I have already devoured a few wondrous mouthfuls. My deepest apologies dear readers, however I’m sure you can still get the idea what luscious cuts of beef they were from what was left on my plate. Cooked over bark and crusted with carbonised leek powder each piece of 4+ Wagyu beef was as soft as sashimi. The wine match for this dish was the 2012 Myattsfield Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier and was the second time I had tried this local wine from Myattsfield Wines. After our lovely outing at the Bickley Harvest Festival I have started to appreciate the sumptuous reds made in this region and are going to need to return for more.
The Boy’s vegetarian main focused on Jerusalem artichoke which is just still in season for a few more weeks. The artichoke was prepared two ways; cooked artichoke was compressed into chunks overnight and cooked sous vide and then for the base of the dish was artichoke purée. Chunks of leeks and courgettes tumbled in amongst Guernsey curd and Nasturtium flowers. Mushroom and green olive powder was sprinkled over for a strong flavour boost.
Although we only selected the five course menu, the chef was so kind to send us a complimentary cheese course. It was called Brin d’Amour, or “birth of love”. A perfect choice to celebrate our first six months as newly-weds! Chef Kiren makes this traditional Corsican cheese himself using half Guernsey and half ewes milk. Once made it is rolled in mustard seeds, house made smoked paprika, rosemary, oregano and black onion seeds. The whole process takes about two weeks. The cheese was served with carrot molasses and olive bread. I received some gluten free bread as a replacement.
I was a little off my form as I also forgot to take a picture of our pre-dessert; fresh Donnybrook mandarins and lemon scented fennel topped with Thai basil flowers. A mouthful of spring this cleansed the flavours of dairy goodness off our palates in preparation for our final course.
Once again I appreciated the personal touches made by the Mainwaring team to make our experience all the more memorable with “Happy” and “Anniversary” scribed in chocolate on each of our plates.
Juicy fresh Donnybrook Pink lady apples took the centre stage star for the finale. On a bed of peachy coloured apple puree laid an ice cool scoop of rhubarb sorbet encircled by portions of fresh and poached apples. Topped with slivers of glass sugar, oats and pistachios I loved the layering of textures, temperatures and flavours.
Our night ended with some healthy and cleansing Kombucha, a type of fermented slightly effervescent black tea.
It comes as no surprise that Co-op Dining came out winners at the recent Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards where they received a placing in the top 100 restaurants in Australia. Both Co-op and Dear Friends were also awarded One Star in the highly esteemed GT Restaurant Guide for 2014. This is a team that have proven and maintained their place as foodie “royalty” in Perth yet remain humble, modest and true to their passion. We will most definitely be back.Co-op Dining 2/11 Regal Place, East Perth WA 6004 | (08) 9221 0404 | www.co-opdining.com.au Price: $$$$ (5 course menu $95, 10 course menu $120, matched wines extra) Food: 5/5 (consistently excellent, original and proudly West Australian) Service: 5/5 (once again charming, enthusiastic and passionate) Ambience: 4/5 (would have been improved if busier but we had our own booth and each other, who needs more?) Drinks: 4.5/5 (wished I could have gone for matched wine as my selected few were wonderful ) Total: 18.5/20
One of our best wedding presents that we received was a gift voucher for a degustation at Dear Friends Restaurant in Caversham. Dear Friends is owned and run by Welshman Kiren Mainwaring and his Canadian wife Kelli. My first introduction to this team’s talent was at the final Largesse dinner held at Petit Mort last year. For this charity event he created a spectacular and beautiful dish of air dried ham, Swan Valley yolk, ajo blanch and foraged herbs. Since this evening I have longed to make the trip to their restaurant in the Swan Valley to be wowed by his creations once again.
Dear Friends is located on the rural flat lands of the Swan Valley and has featured in the Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant Guide and the Good Food Guide year after year. Chef Kiren focuses on utilising the variety of local and seasonal produce from the region sourcing directly from local farmers or foraged from the wild surrounds. The entrance to the restaurant is quaint and understated, bordering on old fashioned. For our seven course degustation I chose to have the matched wines and for each course sommelier Kelli took time to explain to me the origin of each wine and why she chose it.
The Boy and I now each have our own individual dietary requirements; obviously I’m still gluten free and fructose friendly but more recently the Boy is a vegetarian. I can see how some kitchens would baulk at having the two of us as their customers. Upon arrival we were immediately made to feel relaxed and at ease as our dietary requirements presented the Dear Friends team with no problems. More importantly each of our dishes were not just ones with alterations and deletions but were carefully planned; plated with elegance and originality.
Our first course consisted of some “tasters”; call them modern day amuse bouche if you like. There were super cheesy Manchego tacos containing some house made fresh cheese, crispy lupin chips topped with eggplant and Saratoga chips with balsamic vinegar. Despite being proud of both my father’s French heritage and all the cheeses that come from this fabulous country I have to confess Spanish Manchego is by far one of my favourite cheeses. It has such a distinctive flavour and the tacos made me reminiscent of my recent over indulgence in Barcelona.
My next course was a Welsh styled watercress soup. Watercress is supposed to aid with the digestion and this soup certainly did sit wonderfully warm in my stomach. The soft flaky blue swimmer crab contrasted with the strong pepperiness from the watercress leaving a fresh crisp taste on the palate.
My third course was the same as the Boy’s as it was a vegetarian dish. Who on Earth said vegetarian food was boring? Silky cubes of home-made soy tofu and locally grown Swan Valley field and oyster mushrooms sat upon a richly flavoured bed of smoky tomato puree. Some crunchy parsnip chips provided an interesting change in texture. This dish threatened to turn any meat eater into a vegetarian!
My next course of West Australian cuttlefish was served with tender tips of new season asparagus, Muchea grown Japanese turnips and shavings of fennel. I was intrigued by these turnips having never eaten them before as they were nearly as sweet as the fennel and as soft like potato. As I made my way through each of the generous wine matches I was glad this dish featured early in the meal. I tend to be a bit of a messy eater; which can worsen the more wine I drink. I could see the potential for me making a complete spectacle of myself and ending up with black ink purée everywhere.
As much as I am very respectful and proud of the Boy in his strong decision to become a vegetarian, I am yet to join him 100% and for my next course I could sense his disapproval at me eating animal flesh. I can console myself that Dear Friends source their organic free range pork from Margaret River Big Red Pork. Big Red’s pigs are kept in small family groups and run free range in the creek lines, grass lands and woodlands of their farm. They are fed on a natural diet of grasses, legumes, grains and grubs which gives the meat a characteristic dark colour. The Kassler pork loin was cured using a German technique which involves smoking and ripening the meat in brine for about 7-10 days. It was served with yellow squash and pickled cucumber. The cucumber gave some lovely sweetened acidity to the saltiness of the meat.
There was no missing out for the Boy as his next vegetarian course looked just as mouth-watering as mine. A near-translucent slow cooked egg sat nestled in amongst a variety of freshly foraged vegetables and herbs. As he cut into the egg, the yolk burst into life engulfing everything on his plate. Regrettably I missed the opportunity to take a picture of this egg porn moment as I was far too engrossed enjoying my cured pork.
My final main course was undoubtedly one of the highlights. Over the years I have worked my way through eating a variety of slow cooked meats but this was my first opportunity to enjoy a lamb cutlet prepared in this way. It was just as delicately soft as you could ever imagine. To complete the decadence it was finished with a bone marrow jus. Oh heaven! I was grateful for the lack of pretension and stuffiness as I just couldn’t help myself picking up the chop with my fingers and nibbling every last tasty morsel off the bone, not something I could get away with at every fine dining establishment. My Mum would shudder at the thought!
The Boy’s final main dish was a thick Glamorgan sausage served with Brussel sprouts, celeriac and broccoli. Glamorgan sausage is a traditional Welsh vegetarian sausage made with cheese, leek, potato, cabbage, herbs and breadcrumbs. A fermented Chenin hollandaise sauce was drizzled luxuriously over everything on his plate.
It was now time to veer away from all these amazing savoury courses and enjoy some sweets. Our pre-dessert teaser consisted of two medallions of macadamia and white chocolate chiboust which is basically pastry cream lightened with egg white meringue. Light and airy, each portion of chiboust dissolved with a “poof” on the tongue. Dollops of kumquat curd and glazed kumquats gave a tart element to the dish along with the nutty sweetness of shavings of locally grown macadamias. The Boy also received a paper thin peppercorn tuille.
Our dessert was quite possibly one of the most stunning carrot cakes I have ever seen. Made with purple carrots it was scattered in soft crumbles around a scoop of carrot ice-cream and decorated with honey comb, marshmallows, fresh blueberries and cute little sour grass flowers. As my belly expanded over the top of my pants it was hard to believe our magical afternoon was nearly over.
However as many of you will know, it doesn’t matter how full I am I can always fit in cheese. The cheese course at Dear Friends is an optional extra but if you have the gumption to squeeze it in I can highly recommend it. Our three cheeses were Ubriaco al Vino Rosso, an Italian hard cheese from Northern Italy, a West Australian brie from Dellendale in Denmark and Colsten Bassett Shropshire Blue, a lesser known blue from the same cheese makers as the famous English Blue Stilton. Kelli continued to be far too generous and offered me not one but two different wine matches to go with our cheese; thank goodness I wasn’t driving!
The concept of enjoying a coffee after a degustation is always so appealing. However most of our dego experiences are in the evening so unless I want to lay wide awake in bed all night I tend to end up drinking tea instead. I look on in envy at those that can drink coffee after dinner and then fall blissfully asleep. Being a lunch time meal I was in luck this time round as the time to sleep was still a long way off. Knowing this was a rare opportunity I made sure I savoured every last drop.
It is easy to see why Dear Friends has maintained their position as one of Perth’s top restaurants for a number of years. Sommelier Kelli provides charming and faultless service whilst each dish clearly shows Kiren’s passion and love for his craft. A definite thumbs up from both of us; and as we walked away we were already planning our visit to their East Perth digs Co-Op Dining.Dear Friends Restaurant 100 Benara Road, Caversham WA 6055 | (08) 9279 2815 | www.dearfriends.com.au Price: $$$$ ($115 for a 7 course degustation, $70 for matched wine) Food: 5/5 (each dish was filled with wonderment despite our different dietary requirements) Service: 5/5 (charming, knowledgeable and with a humble sense of well-deserved pride) Ambience: 4/5 (you do feel like you are in the country) Drinks: 4.5/5 (seamless matching of wines) Total: 18.5/20
I have a tendency to often bite off more than I can chew. This habit applies not only to my constant overeating but to many other aspects in my life. Working under pressure seems to bring out the best in me however this can sometimes lead to being in the position where there is so much to do that it’s almost overwhelming. Being a persistent and determined person I always seem to get through it all, often with success which only serves to drive me to do it all again. Earlier this year the rambunctious Amanda from Chew Town told me all about her project of The Sweet Swap over an oversized second breakfast at Miss Kitty’s Saloon. It sounded like such a great idea to me. The best way to describe The Sweet Swap is it’s kind of like a food bloggers Kris Cringle but not at Christmas and the presents are all edible.
The basic idea is this: make three batches of some sort of sweet treat that could survive a journey through Australia Post. Send a batch to each of your three nominated bloggers. Wait for your anonymous parcel to arrive from a different blogger. All proceeds go towards The Child Fund charity.
Now I’m not a fancy chef. My recipes have never been the main focus of my blog but more an expression of my interest in food while to meet all my intolerance criteria without sacrificing flavour. So here’s my offering. You won’t be able to stop at just one: Gluten Free Raspberry and Almond Chocolate Kisses.
- 460 g milk or dark chocolate chips
- 2-3 teaspoon coconut oil
- ½ cup almond butter
- 1 tablespoon powdered/confectioner ‘s sugar
- ¼ cup of raspberry jam
- Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, saucepan or microwave. Once it’s melted down, add coconut oil to thin out. Add more, if needed.
- Add about 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate to the bottom of each paper cup. Tilt the liners so the chocolate evenly coats the bottom and slightly up the sides. Another option is to take a pastry brush or even a small knife to spread the chocolate.
- Place the cupcake tin in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to let set.
- Meanwhile, mix together almond butter and powdered sugar – this makes it less sticky and easier to handle. Place almond butter mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Once both timers have gone off, roll [in your hands] about ½ teaspoon of the almond butter mixture and place in the centre of each chocolate cup. Place tin back in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove and add ¼ teaspoon of jam on top of the peanut butter.
- With the remaining chocolate, cover each cup until covered. Top with sea salt – optional.
- Place muffin tin back into the freezer, last time I promise, for about 20 minutes.
- These can be left out at room temperature or in the fridge.
I admit sometimes I completely underestimate my dear husband. I thought that after the first week of our Raw Food Meatless Monday Man Challenge his enthusiasm levels would start to wane. This is a man who used to eat a whole roast chicken in one sitting. I’m not saying that I don’t have faith in him changing his eating habits, but I didn’t think it would happen easily.
The following Monday arrived and to my astonishment he bounced out of bed all excited and ready for his next smoothie to try. He is not a morning person and seeing him with this much energy first thing in the morning was a little out of the ordinary. Knowing how much he loves his pink drinks it was logical that this would be the colour of his next smoothie to taste test.
- ½ pineapple
- ½ medium beet
- 1 carrot
- 1 cup strawberries
- cup of cooled green tea
- water, as needed
- Place all ingredients into the blender and blend on high for one minute or until smooth. Drink immediately.
- ½ cup young coconut meat
- 2 tbsp raw coconut butter
- 1 red chilli
- 2 tbsp raw peanut or almond butter
- Coconut water as needed
- ½ small ½ inch piece of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- Sea salt to taste
- Juice of 1 lime with ½ of zest
- 4 small zucchini cut julienne or spiralised
- 1 bell pepper, cut julienne
- 1 medium carrot, cut julienne
- ¼ cup finely shredded dried coconut plus more for garnishing
- In a blender combine the sauce ingredients and process until smooth.
- In a large bowl combine the sauce with the zucchini and bell pepper and carrot and ¼ cup of coconut and toss to coat.
- Place on plates and sprinkle with additional coconut.
Over the next coming weeks I will be publishing some blender recipes that I have created with my OmniBlend. The concept is for each Monday to not only stick with Meatless Monday and eat only vegetarian but to take it to the next level and make it a Raw Food Meatless Monday. For the whole day we will only eat raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly.
Over the past few years, the Boy and I have made a natural progression to eating a more vegetarian based diet. Whilst not completely giving up eating meat all together, our intake has been dramatically reduced such that our initial goal of a Meatless Monday has now extended into several days a week.
Our reasons for vegetarianism are twofold.
Our first reason comes back to being compassionate human beings. Can we truly justify the way we farm production animals? Housed in completely unnatural environments with cramped stocking densities and fed highly processed foods such as pellets and other animal proteins? Worst still, how can we know that every animal that is slaughtered for our consumption didn’t suffer in the process? Many of you may have seen Animals Australia’s shocking footage of our live export cattle in Indonesia abattoirs last year. We were all left outraged and distraught at the horrific treatment of these innocent beasts. But these events are by no means isolated and happen all around the world every day. While I understand that sometimes brutal death is a part of life in the natural world, I am certain a lion hunting a gazelle in Africa doesn’t stop to consider her prey’s welfare before she kills it. But unlike these majestic big cats, we humans choose to slaughter animals to eat on a much larger scale than is necessary for our own survival.
Our second reason for changing our diet is purely selfish. It is a well-known fact that the more vegetables you include in your diet the healthier you will be. Eating a predominantly vegetarian diet has been proven to help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease, lower blood pressure and slow the aging process. In fact a study on a group of 70,000 participants recently published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine showed that vegetarians even live longer. And who doesn’t want to live a long and healthy life? These are all wins in my humble opinion.
A logical progression from vegetarianism has been to consider taking it one step further and going raw. Back in late 2011 the Boy and I shared a very enjoyable lunch at The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle. This was my first experience with raw food and I was fascinated to learn that you can make dairy-free cheese, cream and even cheese cake made purely from nuts.
Back in the week before our wedding I received a blender from OmniBlend to review and I thought this was a perfectly timed gift for me to start trying out some raw recipes. The Boy proposed that I try and create some more manly raw dishes for him so he could switch our regular Meatless Monday into a Raw Food Meatless Monday instead! We called it the Raw Food Meatless Monday Man Challenge!
So here it is….Week One of the Raw Food Meatless Monday Man Challenge!
- 1 cup of water
- ½ banana (frozen or fresh)
- ¼ cup pineapple pieces
- ¼ cup kale, chopped or minced
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Place all ingredients into the blender and blend on high for one minute or until smooth. Drink immediately.
- ½ butternut pumpkin chopped into small cubes
- ½ to 1 tbsp curry powder (to you preference)
- ½ tsp real cinnamon
- ⅓ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- One young coconut (for both the water and the meat)
- Black pepper, parsley, shredded dried coconut to garnish
- Gradually add pumpkin and coconut water into the blender on low speed until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and then blend on medium to high until a smooth consistency. Season with cracked black pepper and parsley and/or some grated dried coconut
The Boy’s review of the Tropical Green Smoothie and Curried Raw Butternut Pumpkin Soup:“While I have struggled with the idea of giving up meat I have come to realise over the last few years the catastrophic damage that the meat industry has had on the environment. Added to that is the fact I can no longer justify to myself the suffering of another animal purely for my selfish enjoyment of the taste of their flesh. Therefore over the last year in what has at times been a difficult process we have gradually removed animal flesh from our diet. With this in mind I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of the OmniBlend Whole Food Blender review that Chomp had been asked to do and get her to make some Raw Vegan dishes for us to try. The first of what will be five weeks of what will be known as Raw Food Meatless Monday was a dish of raw Curried Butternut Pumpkin Soup along with a Tropical Green Smoothie. Now I must say the idea of cold pumpkin soup doesn’t sound entirely appealing however the dish turned out to be a very satisfying meal with the coconut nicely accenting the pumpkin and curry flavours. The fact it was cold wasn’t even noticed as the meal was quickly devoured… this soup would make a great meal on a hot summer’s day. The Tropical Green Smoothie was very refreshing and is definitely best served fresh and cold. A very filling drink that could easily be a meal on it’s own… I wonder what it would be like with a little vodka and crushed ice on a hot day?”
Over the next coming weeks I will be publishing some blender recipes that I have created with my OmniBlend. The concept is for each Monday to not only stick with Meatless Monday and eat only vegetarian but to take it to the next level and make it a Raw Food Meatless Monday. For the whole day we will only eat raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly.
As most of my regular readers will be aware I recently married the love of my life in Phuket, Thailand where we had the most magical dream wedding I could have ever imagined. In the coming weeks I will soon be getting around to posting a review of the fabulous venue Andara coupled with some snap shots of our big day.
In order to make our wedding ceremony in Thailand a legally binding one back home in Australia, the Thai government required us to travel to Bangkok for an undetermined period of about 3-5 days prior to the wedding in Phuket to allow for translation of documents. After giving this much thought we agreed this was way too much hassle and decided to wait and get the legal stuff done once we returned to Perth. To make it more meaningful, we planned to do this on our anniversary, a date we have celebrated for nearly 15 years.
Although we reinforced to our friends and family that this was to be a casual affair I still needed to have an outfit fit for a bride. I imagined finding myself something totally opposite to a bridal gown, something short, something funky and something dark coloured. With this in mind I hit the shops the weekend before with the ever so patient Boy in tow. After trawling all of the department stores to no avail I could feel my anxiety building. As an off-chance I decide to drag the Boy down to the other end of the mall to the Enex100 building to look in Lisa Ho. To my (and the Boy’s) relief I found the perfect dress…..but it was ivory and girlie; the complete opposite of funky and black! At least it was short!
Standing right on Greenhouse’s doorstep feeling thirsty, famished but totally satisfied it didn’t take much convincing to get the Boy to agree to stop in for a late lunch with the promise of beers. Commencing with some super fresh rock oysters to freshen our palates along with some Westwinds Cutlass Gin I allowed the feelings of relief that my mission was accomplished wash over me.
After chatting with our waitress I was pleased to see there were a lot of options for those on a gluten and fructose free diet. She relayed her conversation with the chef that he was more than happy to alter dishes that contained onion and much of the dishes on the menu were already naturally gluten free. I chose the marron with kipfler potatoes, native citrus and green olives. The delicate marron flesh flaked out of its shell easily and was so tender soft. I haven’t had marron cooked this beautifully in a long time. The salad had lots of crunchy finely sliced fennel and radish through it giving a fabulous texture contrast to the buttery marron.
The Boy chose the rare seared emu but instead of coming with “grains” the chef kindly altered it to come with a gluten free version of quinoa and lentils so I could try some. Fresh herbs and sliced green grapes were tossed through this dish adding some sweetness and depth of flavour. The emu was a dark plum red colour and had a milder flavour than I expected. Being a very lean meat it was a wise idea to serve this rare as it remained juicy and succulent.
Sitting enjoying a relaxing meal together without having one hundred and one things to do felt like a new experience to us. In the lead up to the wedding we had both been so flat out. We were so grateful to have this time with just the two of us sipping our drinks, gazing out the window with nothing to do and nowhere else to be. To prolong the experience we order a dessert to share. Unlike the mains there was only one dessert choice that was gluten free. This was the watermelon foam with berry salad and almond milk jelly. Those of you who are fructose malabsorbers know very well that we have to be a little careful with melons however I figured that I could just try to avoid most of the foam and eat the fruit.
Our dessert was delightfully light and incredibly refreshing; the perfect way to end a meal without feeling like you have stuffed yourself full. I do confess though as we left the restaurant I realised that it might have been a bit too much fructose for my belly and quickly dashed into the chemist to grab some glucose tablets. Glucose can counteract the fructose in fruit and reduce symptoms. It doesn’t work with onions unfortunately as the fructose contained in these is the starch form. If you want to know more about fructose malabsorption check out here for more.
It has been couple of years since we last visited Greenhouse and I still remain a huge fan. Their menus are always interesting, they use seasonal produce and source it locally were possible and are forever accommodating for us more difficult customers without compromising the taste of our meals.Greenhouse 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 WA | (08) 9481 8333 | http://www.greenhouseperth.com/ Price: $$ Food: 4.5/5 (I was spoilt for choice, ultra fresh ingredients and made to order) Service: 3.5/5 (we arrived for a late lunch so service was a little slow) Ambience: 4.5/5 (you love it or you hate it; recycled and reused with a quirky feel) Drinks: 4.5/5 (fabulous wine and cocktail list, Westwind gins too!) Total: 17/20
Things are definitely on the onwards and upwards for foodies living here in Perth. This past year has seen a plethora of high quality dining establishments open their doors and it is certainly something to be proud of. We are fortunate enough to live only five minutes’ drive away from the Crown Metropol (formerly known as the Burswood Casino) where internationally famous chefs Neil Perry, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and Guillaume Brahimi all have flagship restaurants residing there. Now it is never too hard to have a fancy meal out.
I made an initial reservation for the two of us at Bistro Guillaume during their opening week however this had to be postponed as I had forgotten we had already made plans to go out with some friends to Duende. After managing to secure a table on another weekend, the Boy informed me that I had booked on the same night as his High School Reunion and would have to cancel once again. By this point I am sure the reservation desk had red flagged me as an annoying customer! Third time lucky, we successfully synced our busy schedules and locked in date night.
It was the first time we had been back to the Casino since their massive renovations and its fresh new face lift has successfully dragged it out of the eighties into current times! We walked past Linneys on our way to The Merrywell for some pre-dinner drinks and like an insect attracted to bright light I couldn’t help but feel the powerful drag towards their sparkling boutique. Linneys designed my engagement ring and seeing as we needed to start looking at wedding rings soon I figured now was as good a time as any to begin.
As we browsed all their beautiful pieces, the store assistant kindly offered to clean my ring for me as this is a complimentary service offered to all owners of Linneys jewellery. Only minutes later “my precious” returned to me all glimmering and twinkling like it had never been worn! I was left torn between amazement at its shining beauty and shame on how dirty it had become! I need to visit Linneys more often!
Upon arrival to Bistro Guillaume we were shown to our booth which was perfectly located right in front of the kitchen. It was like having a television with an action movie playing for us to watch while we chatted away and ate our meal. I was further impressed when some complimentary gluten free bread was brought to our table. For once I wasn’t going to have to sit and watch the Boy eat his bread as I was too busy enjoying my own!
We commenced with the escargot en persillade, served the classic way my father used to make for us when we were young. Melted butter, herbs especially parsley and loads and loads of garlic formed a little pool in which each slippery morsel sat submerged. Beneath the overwhelming garlickyness I could still detect their subtle earthy flavour. Like calamari, if overcooked escargot becomes rubbery and inedible, these were cooked perfectly.
I love all oysters and have been known to make a complete glutton of myself if allowed. Following in the footsteps of my father, I could easily eat several dozen au natural in one sitting provided they are fresh. One of my favourite types of oyster is the Sydney Rock; this species of oyster are smaller, have a more intense and distinct flavour than Pacific Oysters and apparently take 2-3 times longer to reach maturity. Knowing that I have a tendency to order too much food, the boy managed to intercept me attempting to order a full dozen in addition to our two entrees and convinced me of a compromise of a half dozen to share. Each mouthful was as fresh as the sea leaving that lingering sweet, creamy aftertaste.
The recent heartbreaking news earlier this year on the horrific treatment of our cows in Bali slaughterhouses has struck very deep to both of our hearts. As a result our red meat intake has reduced dramatically and now I try to source our produce only from organic farms that are passionate about animal welfare. However seeing steak tartar on the menu, neither of us could resist, it’s up there with Sydney Rock oysters in awesomeness. I took some consolation that it was made with Dandaragan organic beef. For those not convinced about raw, finely diced beef you seriously have to give this a try. The meat was exceedingly fresh and literally dissolved in your mouth leaving no unpleasant meaty aftertaste. The serve was particularly huge and I would have preferred a few more of the crunchy potato crisps to scoop up all the deliciousness.
The venison tenderloin was out of this world. The rich nearly berry-like flavours of the venison melted beautifully into the beetroot sauce and this really was a match made in heaven. In my eagerness to devour it I accidentally splashed ruby red sauce about in a very unladylike fashion and was thankful to be wearing a dark coloured dress! I want to return to Bistro just to order this again.
The boy ordered the veal sweetbreads with a fricassee of mushroom and truffle. The soft creamy pillows of glands were a little too fatty for him but this was circumvented somewhat by the hearty and flavoursome sauce. There was a wide variety of mushrooms in his dish and you could clearly see the fairly generous servings of truffle buried in there.
Although I realise I am supposed to be limiting my calorie intake with our wedding day looming close, this is very difficult to achieve when you are approached by a handsome man with a thick French accent bearing a plate of cheeses. I confess I got a little lost on his cheese journey and may have accidentally ordered more than we really needed. Are you that surprised? I ordered Mont D’or, a soft but rich, washed rind cows cheese that just glooped onto the board; Roquefort, a well-loved blue sheep cheese; Sainte Maure, a classic raw soft goat cheese that we recently had at Duende; Caprin, a hard goat cheese with a distinct nutty taste that I often enjoy when visiting my dad; and Pyengana, an aged Tasmania cheddar.
As you can see, we had no trouble finding room for any of these cheese masterpieces. They were served at the perfect temperature and were even accompanied by toasted gluten free bread.
I have heard many great things about Bistro Guillaume’s desserts however unfortunately for me the majority of them are not gluten free. My only option other than the sorbet was the very un-French mini Pavlova with passionfruit cream and mango sorbet. I am a little on the pedantic side when it comes to my Pavlova’s texture; in a similar vein to a macaron, there needs to be an external crunch, and spongy middle and a gooey centre. This version exhibited a little too much crunch and not enough moist bounciness inside.
Bearing in mind the Boy is not a big desserts person, I was super jealous to hear he thought the profiteroles were the bomb. As our waiter poured thick molten chocolate sauce over the perfectly formed balls I figured if there was ever the temptation to poison myself with gluten then this was it. He took no hesitation informing me the pastry was crackling crisp on the outside and flaky light on the inside. Despite wanting a taste so desperately I resisted and was very thankful the following day.
Coming from a French background I may be a little biased in stating French cuisine is one of the best in the world and Guillaume has managed to capture its simple elegance without overindulgence. Fresh local ingredients, traditional recipes and impeccable service…..Bravo!Bistro Guillaume Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood | (08) 9362 7551 | www.bistroguillaumeperth.com.au Price: $$$$ (Entrees $18-28, Mains $30-45) Food: 4.8/5 (would have given a five if it wasn’t for the pav) Service: 5/5 (highly attentive without being in your face) Ambience: 4.5/5 (relaxed, comfortable bistro vibe) Drinks: 4/5 (lots of French options!) Total: 18.3/20
With the current Australian dollar being high coupled with overinflated prices in Perth, we have noticed that it is actually quite a bit cheaper to go on overseas holiday to a nearby Asian country than it is to holiday in Western Australia. Consequently of late we have been neglecting our frequent visits “down south” and replacing them with visits to Bali and Thailand.
But despite this fact, nothing beats a quick local getaway for its ease and accessibility. It was our last day of our minibreak in Margaret River and reflecting back on our weekend we were both grateful for our location choice. We hadn’t spent an hour trying to cram everything into our two suitcases nor was our little holiday concluding in a mad dash to the airport to catch a plane. Yes, travelling locally still has its definite perks. The car was chinking loudly due to all my wine purchases and our car eskie was jammed full of gourmet goodies; I was trying my hardest to make the most of having no limit on my baggage allowance!
I had made a booking for us at Cullen Wines for one last final meal before we drove back to the city to return to work. Being Easter Sunday I was glad that I had planned ahead as the restaurant looked busy. Upon arrival there was a little mix up where I got a vague jist from the staff that maybe our booking wasn’t recorded in their book. After a brief hesitation we were shown to our seats which were indoors and away from the picturesque area on the deck overlooking the vineyards. It was a bit of a shame we weren’t out there in the glorious sunshine as I had made the booking weeks prior and would have loved to have had one of these prime positions. I guess it’s not like I requested to be seated outdoors so really who am I to complain?
The Cullen restaurant follows the same biodynamic philosophy of Cullens’ Winery using only fresh organic produce sourced from their own large kitchen garden and selected local producers. I knew this fact prior to our arrival and I wanted to see for myself if this reputation for amazingly fresh food was true. We grow a lot of our own vegetables at home and nothing beats them in flavour when compared to commercially grown produce. I wasn’t disappointed – my salad was literally beyond fresh and bursting with flavour. Brightly coloured beets, tomatoes and carrots joined with soft leaves from the garden topped with tangy dollops of goat’s cheese. Scattered throughout were tiny little buttons of chickpea cakes giving just enough substance to make this a meal. Such simple yet thoughtfully chosen ingredients made every mouth full a taste sensation.
The Boy ordered the crispy duck with mandarin pancakes. The duck was richly flavoured and the pancakes were soft and light. I couldn’t see any of the crispy part of the duck on his plate but he didn’t seem too bothered about this and enjoyed his meal.
My main dish was described on the menu as grilled salmon with braised octopus, quinoa, Swiss chard and verjuice beurre blanc. After my delightful introduction to quinoa at Xanadu the day before, I wanted to compare and contrast this new discovery with another chef’s interpretation. I was initially told on ordering that this dish would be suitable for me but unfortunately the waiter soon returned to let me know that much of this dishes accompaniment contained onions. This didn’t seem to worry the chef as he offered to make an alternate option especially for me. As a replacement I was served some creamy mash, steamed snow peas and my large serve of salmon was topped with some citrus dressing that looks a little like Pemberton finger lime.
To my complete surprise as I started tucking into my meal, our waiter also brought out a large bowl of salad filled with massive chunks of avocado and a variety of those wonderful gems from the kitchen garden as a complementary extra because my dish had to be altered so much. How thoughtful and kind of the chef – thank you!
The boy’s main was a hearty man’s dish with a juicy sirloin beef steak, crunchy blue cheese soufflé, cauliflower cream and a red wine jus. His steak was cooked rare to his liking and was a quality cut of meat.
This was my first day of really feeling like I had recovered from my stomach bug so I had happily chugged down a far bit of Cullen’s lovely peachy Mangan Vineyard Sauvignon blanc Semillon. This meant we both ordered dessert without me remembering to take a photo of the menu to remind me of the details! My gluten free dessert was described as a brownie of sort with berry ice-cream. But let me tell you, this was no mere brownie. The top layer consisted of a decadent mousse flavoured with a hint of hazelnut praline goodness. The bottom half had more of a cake like texture and stopped the whole thing from being too overwhelmingly rich.
The Boy’s choice was the pecan pie, an unusual selection for him probably facilitated by the fact it came with ice cream. Obviously I didn’t get to share any of his as it was in no way gluten free so I cannot give you much of a description other than it was good enough for him to finish in entirety.
We really had a fabulous time during our stay down in Margaret River this Easter. Both Xanadu and Cullen were stand outs to us with both their customer service and food quality. Cullen’s exceedingly fresh produce is something worth going back for again and again and I look forward to returning.
Like Me on Facebook!Cullen Wines Lot 4323 Caves Rd, Margaret River, 6284 | (08) 9755 5656 | http://www.cullenwines.com.au/our-restaurant Price: $$$$ (Entrée $19-21, Mains $33-39) Food: 4.7/5 (fresh, succulent – nothing beats garden fresh) Service: 4.7/5 (slight hiccup at the beginning but handled very discreetly) Ambience: 3.2/5 (would get a much higher score if we sat outside in the sunshine) Drinks: 4/5 (only serve Cullen wines – not that that’s a bad thing!) Total: 16.6/20
After a pretty hectic start to our year, thoughts about planning for our wedding have remained in the infant stages. But there are some things that need to be commenced well in advance of such an occasion and one of those is getting our bodies into top shape! Seriously, there are no real overnight miracles to losing weight and toning up, the secret is really simple. Eat healthily in moderation and increase your amount of exercise. It’s definitely not rocket science. The trick is just sticking to it!
The Boy recently was inspired by a documentary called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s about an overweight Australian guy named Joe Cross who suffered from a number of illnesses secondary to his poor diet and weight problem. He decided to go on a 60 day juice fast drinking only fresh fruit and vegetables. During his fast he drove nearly 5000 kilometres across America with only one goal in mind; to get off all his medication and achieve a balanced lifestyle. During his road trip he met a man with similar health issues as he had and together they supported each other to becoming fitter, healthier and happier men.
After watching the doco The Boy went out and bought himself a juicer and a fridge full of fresh fruit and vegetables and tried it for himself. As I watched the kilos peel off him, it wasn’t hard to partially convert me however I’m not sure I could get through the whole day drinking just juice and no food! My will power is not that strong!
In a way to complement his new founded desire for raw fresh produce, I suggested a trip down to Fremantle to try The Raw Kitchen where all the food is vegetarian, vegan, organic, raw, dairy free AND gluten-free! It almost sounds too good to be true!
Their dairy free green smoothies were much tastier than our own concoctions at home although bear in mind we didn’t add any nut milk to ours – they were just straight vegies and fruit! They are made with handmade almond milk, filtered water, spinach and banana. The Boy had fresh mango added to his which made it a bit sweeter. Despite being served enormous glasses full we both easily gulped ours down quenching our thirst from the mornings exercise around the Swan River.
So much for my words of wisdom to eat in moderation. We got quite carried away as everything on the menu looked so good and we ended up ordered way too much food leaving no room for any dairy free cheesecake! The raw pizza was packed full of flavour with piles of fresh basil on top. There was some red onion on the pizza which I had to pick off which wasn’t a big issue. The cashew nut cheese tasted surprisingly cheese-like and it was hard to believe that it didn’t contain any dairy.
The nachos were a small serve but for us this was fortunate for us! The corn chips had an almost nutty flavour and were surprisingly crisp considering they had not been baked.
The “pasta” was made out of ribbons of raw zucchini which had an excellent firm texture to mimic that pasta feel. The rich sauce was lip smacking good and contained some sliced Kalamata olives and more delicious fresh basil. It was topped off with a sprinkling of raw macadamia “parmesan cheese”. Highly recommend.
Have You Liked My Facebook Page?The Raw Kitchen Shop 14, Piazza Arcade, 36 South Terrace, Fremantle 6012 | 0409 323 441 | www.therawkitchen.com.au Price: $$$ ($18-23 lunch, $3.80 espresso, $8.50-10 smoothies) Food: 5/5 (the pizza and the pasta are complete winners) Service: 3/5 (quick to bring food but slow to clear tables) Ambience: 2.5/5 (in an arcade in front of shops) Drinks: 4/5 (fabulous smoothie) Total: 14.5/20
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.
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.
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
It is so exciting to have all my family over in Perth for our engagement party tonight. My Mum and Dad have been divorced since I was a young teenager and so my sister and I have grown accustomed to dividing our time during any major holiday events between each of our parents and their loved ones. Incredibly this party will not only be a first for us all to be together in Perth, but it also will be the first family event that both my parents have attended simultaneously since I was a little child. Understandably I am thrilled to have them all here!
Dad and his wife arrived late the night before so we planned to catch up on the morning of the party for a light brunch and chatter at the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse seems to be a restaurant you either love or you hate. I have eaten here a number of times and have never been disappointed with the food or the service. The bizarre interiors are all made from recycled materials which gives it a real bohemian greenie vibe. Even the light fittings – which look quite spectacular – are actually just made from wound up barbed wire fencing. The meals are served in quirky pieces such as old milk bottles and terracotta plant pots. It definitely is not for everyone, but I love it more and more with each visit.
Last time I came here for breakfast I had wild mushrooms with slow cooked eggs served on my own gluten free bread – it’s such a shame they do not have any gluten free bread available. The mushroom dish was very memorable and I was eager to see if something similar remained on their ever changing seasonal menu. To my exquisite excitement a new version of this dish was on the menu accompanied by their amazingly gooey slow cooked eggs and some grilled polenta. I wasn’t going to need my BYO gluten free bread after all. Everyone at the table except for Dad ordered the mushrooms and none of us were disappointed with our choices. The eggs were perfectly soft and I’m sure there must have been at least four different types of mushrooms in there. As we sat in the fabulous Perth sunshine basking in its therapeutic glow I felt proud to call this city my hometown.
My Dad is a fashion designer for his own shoe label and spends a lot of his time for work in and out of China. So when he saw there was crab congee on the menu it was no surprise to us all when he ordered it for himself. I am yet to decide how I feel about congee; I think it’s my love of eggs for breakfast that always sways me away from choosing to eat it and I always end up opting for ordering a dish with googs instead. I had a little taste of his congee and found the saltiness and texture of the crab gave it that perfect lift, turning it from a potential bland baby food into a filling and delicious meal. Despite this deliciousness, my mushroom addiction overrode any regrets as I quickly devoured my own amazing breakfast and was left wishing the serve was a touch bigger!
After breakfast, I walked back to the car hand in hand with the boy as we both enjoyed the glorious warmth of the sun I could feel it energise me and give me increasing bounce in my stride. We chatted animatedly about our wedding plans for Phuket. By the time we got back to the car I was feeling a little on the ditsy side and I ended up leaving our parking ticket on the boot of the car as we drove off towards the exit. Unable to find the ticket when at the exit, I started to wonder if this beautiful morning was too good to be true and that the party day was destined to be filled with mishaps. We drove back to our original location and the boy started scanning the ground while I rummage through my handbag hastily. But to my surprise and relief there was the paper ticket still sitting there innocently on top of the car boot! We exited the car park without any further drama and made our way back to my Dad’s hotel room where I was spoilt rotten with a whole suitcase of Robert Robert and Diavolina shoes!
Score: Service 7.9/10 Food 9/10 Venue 8.5/10Greenhouse 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 | (08) 9481 8333 | greenhouseperth.com