Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Flour Factory, Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

The last time the Google Streetview Car drove down Queen St was in November 2007. Although the Queen St of today is still dominated by the imposing power of the Brutalist carpark located where the road meets Wellington St, the grainy, low fidelity images seem to come from another time. While its heritage building proudly displayed its year of construction, 1907 was not yet the name of a fine dining restaurant and bar, the corner of Queen and Murray St was a construction site and the building that would house Venn Gallery was the home of WA Hospital Supply.

Clearly seeing the future prominence of the streets that surround the area of the Perth City Link, some of Perth's most savvy restaurateurs have obviously seen an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the new Perth, with none perhaps being as wildly ambitious as Andy Freeman. Opened last year on King St, Varnish on King's focus on whiskey, wine and some of the best, more refined bar food in Perth had us gushing so positively that it remains the most read post at the Ministry of Gluttony. Others obviously agreed as Varnish was recently awarded Best Small Bar in Australia by Australian Bartender Magazine. To follow this up, Freeman and business partner Sam Astbury opened the late night Sake and Dumplings themed Darlings Supper Club on the Northbridge side of the future link earlier this year. More food focused in appearance than Varnish, Alissa and I found Darlings' food paradoxically less impressive, so when we heard about the opening of Freeman's third opening in the area - the bakery, butchery and fortified wine focused Flour Factory - we were interested to see how it fared.

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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

MoG @ Home #3 - The Fat Duck (Ministry of Gluttony at Home)

Before I really knew much about Modernist cooking, I knew about Heston Blumenthal. Unaware of the pioneering (and arguably even more impressive) work of Ferran Adria and his peers, watching Heston's Feasts for the first time was a true eye opener. Fresh as I was out of art school when the first season aired, I saw someone working with food in a way that seemed closer in spirit to early 20th century Modern Art than any cooking that I'd seen before. Like the optimistic visual artists of the pre-war era, Heston's belief that anything was and still is possible was a comforting thought in an art world that to me at the time seemed jaded and cast adrift into a cycle of pastiche. And the fact all the new technologies, techniques and ingredients meant anything truly could be possible made it all the more impressive.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Ah Mei Cafe, Canning Vale, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Back in June, Alissa and I dined at Formosa Vegetarian Eating House in Kardinya. During the meal, a regular of the restaurant recommended a dish for us to try. From this chance encounter he later got in touch with me after seeing the Formosa blog post appear on Urbanspoon, eventually sending me an email with a list of places to check out. His good leads resulted in satisfying dinners at Bateman Eating House and Silver Sushi, as well as a few we have yet to get around to. As much a fan of noodles as I am, he sent us a second round of leads in October, informing us that we had to try the Bakmie noodles and Chicken Rice at Ah Mei Cafe.

Cafe 140, Bunbury, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

During the Queen's Birthday weekend, Alissa and I joined a group of friends for a getaway in Dunsborough to celebrate the birthday of our friend Annaliese, as well as personal milestones like the end of Alissa's teaching prac, and my joy at seeing the end of the WA Day to Queen's Birthday public holiday drought. On our way home on the Monday, Alissa, our friend Ben and I decided to stop into Bunbury for lunch. In the past, Alissa and I have always popped into Benesse for our breakfast pit stop on the way Down South, but after walking to see the birds in Anzac Park we decided to have our lunch at Cafe 140, located nearby at the end of the Victoria St main drag.

Monday, 27 October 2014

MoG @ Home #2 - Eleven Madison Park (Ministry of Gluttony at Home)

Regular readers of the Ministry may have noticed an almost month-long gap between posts between mid September to mid October. There were several reasons for this absence; moving offices, three birthday parties and a weekend away down south certainly contributed somewhat to a lack of writing time, however the biggest reason for the break was this cookbook.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Riesling Rocks! Sunday Lunch - Burnt Ends x Restaurant Amusé, East Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Alissa and I are big fans of Riesling. In spite of being a Noble Grape, its far less popular with the average Australian consumer than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; a real shame when you consider the quality of Australian Riesling and its flexibility in being able to produce wines that can range from deliciously crisp and dry to an excellent late harvest wine when under the influence of botrytis' noble rot.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Nao, Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Recently, I was delighted to discover someone had done a Google search with the keywords being 'ministry of gluttony ramen'.
'We've made it!' I jokingly exclaimed to Alissa, 'our reputation precedes us!'
With this in mind, it was surprising then to discover it had been a long 5 months since our last ramen-related post, especially considering how strongly ramen figured up to that point. It's not like we haven't been eating ramen mind you - I eat a bowl at least once a fortnight thanks to our proximity to Kai in Bull Creek - however, timing and circumstance has prevented us from checking out many of the places we haven't been to, or to try some of our favourites yet again. 5 months is far too long a time, and a recent visit to Nao gave us an opportunity for atonement.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Arimia, Yallingup, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

One of the peculiarities of Western Australia's public holiday calendar is how sparse the long weekends become in the second half of the year. While the first half of the year averages 1 a month, after WA Day its over three months before the Queen's Birthday long weekend provides some respite from the relentless working week. The Queen's Birthday then is a holiday we all look forward to, independent of whatever feelings we have for the monarchy. This Queen's Birthday weekend was particularly important for Alissa, as it marked the end of her prac for her university studies and a weekend down south celebrating the birthday of our friend Annaliese Hutchison. After heading down with our friend Ben on the Friday night, Alissa and I had some free time on the Saturday morning to explore. After tasting (and purchasing) wine from the cellar door at Flying Fish Cove, Alissa and I decided to stop in for lunch at the cellar door restaurant at the nearby Arimia Estate.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Neighborhood Pizza, Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

I've always felt that pizza is one of those dishes that is easy to make at a half-decent level, but difficult to do exceptionally well. Perhaps part of the difficulty is that the standards for judging pizza are wildly divergent; is it all about interesting and inventive toppings, or is it about getting the most perfect wood-fired base? Rarely do the two come together in the one pizza, as progressives like Little Caesar's tend to make incredible toppings on largely unremarkable bases, while in their attempts to not mess with the formula, conservative wood fire traditionalists tend to rely on age-old classic combinations rather than dare to try new things.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Darlings Supper Club, Northbridge, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Alissa and I are massive fans of Varnish on King. Ostensibly a whiskey and wine bar, the quality of the food that they serve is as impressive as their drinks list, with their Beef Short Ribs and Sweet Potato dishes being some of the most memorable and satisfying dishes we've eaten in the last year. So when we heard that Varnish's owner Andy Freeman had just opened an Asian Fusion venue in the form of Darlings Supper Club, we quickly added it to our list of places to check out. With a Truffle Degustation at 1907 and the final service of Dear Friends taking priority due to their limited nature, our planned dinner at Darlings fell by the wayside. Additionally, with early reviews a bit mixed, we decided to give them a bit of time to settle in before we finally popped in for an impromptu dinner in early September.