Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Mary's, Highgate, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

While Degustations and Noodle Shops are clearly food genres for which we have high levels of enthusiasm, Alissa and I rarely go out for breakfast. Being more a fan of the kinds of food available at lunch and dinner and somewhat bored of the conventions that define breakfast foods, I'm usually a bit utilitarian in my approach to breaking the fast to save more room for the lunch foods I really want to eat. Plus, with long weekend queues at the places that do serve interesting breakfasts, I'm more likely to end up grabbing an early Banh Mi or heading out nice and early for Dim Sum just as they open than stand around for an hour at all the breakfast hot spots.

For this reason, breakfast at Mary St Bakery has long eluded me. Alissa has been and raved about how good the food was, and blogger friends continually spruiked its greatness in conversation. So when I received an invite to attend a blogger's dinner at Mary St Bakery's nighttime alter-ego Mary's, I jumped at the chance - even when it turned out it was a night Alissa was unable to make it to.

Blogger Tricks

Monday, 22 June 2015

La Sosta, Fremantle, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

In spite of (or perhaps because of) Fremantle's Cappuccino Strip's long association with Italian food and culture, its surprising how hard it is to find an impressive Italian restaurant in the Port City. Being an Eat Street that predated Perth's recent leap forward in terms of food quality and authenticity, The Cappuccino Strip has fallen victim to the very thing that made it a success in the first place - its relative safeness and catering for Australian tastes may have made the street, but with increasingly discerning and demanding tastes the term 'Fremantle Italian' is often said with an underlying tone of derision.

Having recently enjoyed some excellent meals in Fremantle at The Modern Eatery and The Raw Kitchen, I became increasingly curious to find out if there actually was an Italian restaurant along the main strip worth trying out. Consulting the Index of the 2015 Good Food Guide, I was surprised to find in this year's guide that a Fremantle Cappuccino Strip restaurant actually made the cut - La Sosta. With some expensive dinners planned for our July trip to Sydney, Alissa and I decided to forego what would have been my birthday degustation in May, and instead made a reservation at La Sosta for a decidedly more low key celebration.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

McDonald's (Create Your Taste Menu), Willetton, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Let's face it - McDonald's are a pretty soft target when it comes to criticism. During the late 90s/early 2000s, McLibel and Supersize Me did not do wonders for the image of the massive multinational corporation as they were justifiably criticised for unhealthy food in unhealthily large portions. While I myself stayed away from McDonald's for a number of years, I felt some sympathy for the company when Ronald McDonald seemed to become the sole posterboy of all things unhealthy in the world, while companies like KFC and Hungry Jacks were able to continue business as usual without the same level of critique - especially when McDonald's actually took major steps to address the unhealthiness complaints (in Australia at least). Additionally, while the majority of so-called gourmet burgers that I have eaten have been tasty, many have often left me thinking; 'yeah, but is this really any healthier or that much better than McDonald's?'

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Brisbane Hotel, Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Although I'm obviously a very active supporter of the culinary arts in Perth, my early to mid-20s were more focused on the performing arts. Studying Fine Arts at university, working on music projects and knowing a lot of performers meant I went out a lot to shows, happenings and exhibitions around town, and one of those semi-regular haunts was the Brisbane Hotel. Having friends in comedy and friends who had friends in comedy saw many a Tuesday night at the Hotel's Lazy Susan's Comedy Den for Shapiro Tuesdays, seeing new comedians performing for the first time or experienced comedians testing out new material all for an affordable door fee. Its been quite a few years since last seeing a show, so when Alissa and I were invited for a dinner and show at The Brisbane, we immediately jumped at the chance to take a nostalgic trip as well as try out dishes that we had heard good things about.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Ministry's Guide to Gluttony - Ramen in Perth

Regular readers and friends will know that I'm a sucker for a good bowl of noodles, and that Ramen reigns supreme as the noodle dish that is closest to my heart. First introduced to me years ago by my friend Dan Bankowski (better known as the hip-hop artist Coin Banks), the combination of deliciously umami broth, thin alkaline noodles with bite and toppings of pork, egg and/or chicken quickly stole pride of place from the Wanton Noodles of my childhood, and I've been obsessed ever since. The first meal Alissa and I ate during our honeymoon in Hong Kong was at Ichiran Ramen - a branch of a Hakata-style Tonkotsu specialist chain from Japan, and I've always made it a point to visit a different Ramen joint everytime I go to Sydney and Melbourne.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Lucky Chan's Laundry + Noodle Bar, Northbridge, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Unless you've really not being paying much attention, the online marketing for Lucky Chan's has been unavoidable. Late last year, the restaurant's innovative Pozible campaign drew a lot of attention from the media as it is the first restaurant in Perth (and apparently Australia) to be crowd-funded (at least partly; the venue is the brainchild of the team behind Cocktail Gastronomy and The Classroom who are hardly unsuccessful). With the Chinese Laundry theme suggested by the restaurant's name, it was to my surprise and delight to discover that Lucky Chan's would in fact specialise in Ramen - that most delectable of Japanese noodles, and a dish for which my love and obsession is well known and documented. When a preview of Lucky Chan's Shio Ramen at the Night Noodle Markets turned out to be a massive disappointment (it was the absolute worst Ramen I've ever eaten), I was worried that Lucky Chan's was going to be a very well publicised dud, and the restaurant's first week jitters of poor service seemed to all but confirm this. Still, as someone who actively Google searches to discover Ramen joints in Perth, I had to try Lucky Chan's for myself, and Alissa and I paid the restaurant a visit on the Wednesday of their second week.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Kanta Japanese Kitchen, Langford, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

When it comes to dining out, its probably safe to say most meals are either eaten or taken away from conveniently located local restaurants within 10 minutes from a diner's home, or at places in a major dining precinct and/or eat street. These two options would probably be sufficient to cover most meals - from a dinner when you can't be bothered to a cook to a special occasion meal - however it doesn't cover every possibility. For every legitimately excellent restaurants in a Northbridge or along Beaufort St, there are just as many hidden gems known only to those lucky enough to living in the area and/or the most ardent of foodies willing to venture out to often far flung suburbs in sometimes dodgy neighbourhoods just to have a great meal. Well known in foodie circles while otherwise relatively unknown, Kanta Japanese Kitchen in Langford is one such restaurant.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Modern Eatery - House of Aburi Sushi, Fremantle, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

With a seemingly endless stream of notable restaurant openings in Perth and Northbridge, its nice to see my old stomping grounds of Fremantle finally getting in on the action as it slowly but surely works its way out of its early 21st century funk to reclaim its rightful place as our state's Second City. During recent visits to the Port City, Alissa and I have been impressed by the concerted effort being made to make Fremantle vibrant again, whether it be the innovative activation of the old Myer Building as the cutting edge retail/new business incubator MANY 6160 or the work being done to bring vibrant life back to the High St Mall. With many new if somewhat underrecognised restaurants around, Alissa and I were particularly excited to hear about the opening of a new sushi restaurant called The Modern Eatery. Being massive fans of Japanese food, we bumped The Modern Eatery high up our never-ending wishlist and found ourselves there for an early Thursday night dinner last week.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Low Key Chow House, Leederville, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

If you ever want to see me irrational and highly frustrated, then hop into the car with me while driving on the freeway during peak times - especially on a Friday night. There have been so many occasions when Alissa and I have wanted to head into Perth or Leederville for the evening and decided against it, as even going against the flow by trying to drive north can be met with sometimes inexplicably slow moving traffic and the lose-lose choice of either getting off at Canning Hwy and going through the suburban rat run or committing to the Freeway with no hope of escaping a traffic jam between there and South Perth.

Every time Alissa and I have had a free night to visit Low Key Chow House in Leederville, its been a Friday night and the thought of the drive has been enough for me to not want to go - especially since Leederville is only 15 minutes away from home if we have a clear run. With Alissa dying to try their food, I eventually gave in, and after a race against the clock we found ourselves in on the Oxford St main strip in time for our 6pm reservation.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Hikaru Ramen, Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Being something of a ramen obsessive, I always live in hope of discovering new or hidden ramen shops in my home city of Perth. Although the worldwide ramen craze has definitely taken off in a big way in Sydney and Melbourne, there are far fewer ramen specialists of note in Perth, and in a recent discussion with a friend we both expressed our dismay over the fact so few in the CBD are open at night, and when they do its only on Friday nights - don't they know ramen is an anytime food?!? One Friday night, Alissa and I headed into Perth to try relatively new ramen joint Hikaru Ramen only to discover they were no longer open for Friday evenings - or any evenings at all for that matter! With both of us not working in the CBD, it would take Alissa and another 3 months before we finally got around to try our first bowls from Hikaru Ramen.