Working in the Cockburn Central area has its perks. Driving down the freeway against the flow of traffic is one of them, as is being able to bring my bike on the train for the same reason. Nevertheless, I can't help feel a little jealous of CBD workers knowing I could be eating Dosukoi or Nao everyday or popping in for a banh mi at City Provisions. With less choices immediately available you've really got to search harder to find interesting places to eat in Cockburn Central, and Daisy's Cafe is one of my favourite finds in the area.
Located east of the Freeway on Berrigan Drive near Glen Iris Golf Course, Daisy's Cafe is in the middle of nowhere even by Cockburn standards. Its name and appearance give away very little about what kind of food they serve, and I'd bet there are many locals who have no clue its a Chinese restaurant. The plain and slightly cluttered interior does little to suggest it is anything other that a regular suburban Chinese, however with a menu that includes such interesting items such as 'Typhoon Shelter King Prawn' and 'Yam Duck', I had to try them out.
Being a work lunch break, the more interesting items were going to have to wait for another visit with Alissa. I instead went with the Combination Hor Fun. Immediately, I was impressed with the amount of meat included, as it was similar to what I would expect from a home cooked version of the dish, not the usually stingy quantity given in many Chinese restaurants.
Tipping it into a bowl so I could stir it up, I discovered the added bonus of juicy prawns buried beneath the surface! Tastewise, this was a very good hor fun - far better than the disappointing version served to us at Two Chefs in Singapore, with a good egg to noodle ratio. The egg was still saucy and not set in spite of it having been driven back to the office in a plastic container. The noodles were cooked expertly, having that nice char taste of being cooked in a wok and the seasoning and sauces used were in perfect balance.
Two weeks later, Alissa and I visited Daisy's together. Alissa was a bit hangry (hungry and angry) from a long, frustrating peak hour drive from North Perth and because our initial plan to drive to Fremantle for dinner at Run Amuk was thwarted by my forgetting the camera, us having to double back and then having to choose somewhere a bit closer as a result.
We ordered a serve of Fried Wontons as our entree. This was of a very good standard; nice juicy wontons of a decent size fried nice and crispy. They were about what I would expect for this dish, neither surprisingly good or a disappointment.
One of my biggest regrets regarding our time in Hong Kong was that we didn't get to eat the Yam Duck my cousin found so addictive that he ate it repeatedly when he was there. As such, I was very happy to discover a place so close to home that made this dish. As with the hor fun I had tried before, this was a generous serve of duck. I've long loved the dim sum deep fried yam, and combining that flavour with duck made for an inspired dish. Crispy coating and duck, served with a sweet and tangy chilli sauce - what is not to like? My only criticism would be that some slices were more yam than duck and as such tasted a bit floury, but with a serve this generous there are bound to be sections less duck-filled than others.
The Typhoon Shelter Kings Prawns were even better. What struck us immediately was how generous the serving size of prawns was. Tasting it we were greeted by juicy, perfectly cooked prawns in a salty/spicy batter, served with the crispy garlic and spicy salt. Alissa and I have had similar versions of this dish with squid or tofu instead of prawns, and there is always something magical about that garlic and spicy salt combination. The use of prawns here made it even more delicious. This was an addictively good dish, definitely something to order again.
The Verdict: Very Good
Daisy's Cafe may be in the middle of nowhere, but its definitely a cut above the average local Chinese restaurant. The people who run this place seem like genuinely nice people, with the woman in charge of front of house being very friendly and the chef occasionally singing as he cooks. Serving sizes are generous, and they don't do the usual bulking up with excessive quantities of onions many lesser Chinese restaurants are guilty of. In spite of being amongst the more expensive Chef Specialty dishes, both or mains were $18.50 each; very reasonable for the quality of food served. With many other excellent sounding items on their menu for us to try, Alissa and I will definitely be back.