Sunday, 27 July 2014

Dear Friends (Last Supper Degustation), Caversham, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Earlier this year Alissa and I visited Co-op Dining, the East Perth restaurant owned and operated by chef Kiren Mainwaring and his wife Kelli. Impressed by their sustainable Farm to Table and Foraging-focused philosophy even before visiting the restaurant, the Tuesday special 5 Course Vegetarian Experimental Menu we went for remains one of the best vegetarian meals Alissa and I have eaten, and one that I frequent recommend to vegetarian and vegan friends due to the creativity of the menu; it changes every week (being drastically different when visited by friends a few months later) and the $69 per person asking price is excellent value for food of this calibre. As omnivores, Alissa and I have been meaning to visit Co-op again to experience their full 10 Course Menu, and with regular themed event dinners hosted by the restaurant, Alissa and I would have booked for their recent Canadian Roots dinner if not for a clash with Alissa's schedule and a decision to book 1907's Truffle Degustation meaning our fine dining budget was already allocated for the month.

Being on the Co-op mailing list, I received an email informing of Kiren and Kelli's decision to close Co-op Dining's sister restaurant Dear Friends in Caversham so as to focus their full attention on the East Perth restaurant. With their final service on July 19th themed as a 'greatest hits' Last Supper of their 7 years as a Swan Valley mainstay, this was both our last chance to visit Dear Friends and an opportunity to try Mainwaring's food again. Having already booked 1907 for earlier that same week, two degustations in such a short length of time was the kind of splurge we hadn't quite figured into our monthly budget, however given the limited nature of both menus we decided to make August a more frugal month to make the most of July's opportunities.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

1907 (Truffle Degustation), Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Winter is one of the best times of the year. Sure, its cold and rainy, but it is also a season overflowing with opportunity. Unlike the oppressive searing summers of Perth, the cooler weather is conducive to dressing up to go out - instead of sweating even in t-shirts and shorts, it's time to step out comfortably in jackets and collared shirts, and to accept the warm embrace of jumpers and knitwear. During the season, I find myself increasingly drawn to the outdoors; rather than worrying about the rain I'm more likely to get excited about being able to push it on a bike without even breaking a sweat, and there is something about the cold air that fills me with nostalgia for childhood holidays in the forests of WA's south west.

For a foodie, wintertime in WA also holds one of the great seasonal gifts - Truffle Season. With the increasing global recognition of the Manjimup truffle industry, the unique flavour of the black truffle (tuber melanosporum) has well and truly cast its spell on Perth restaurants and diners, with truffle being featured on seasonal menus by everyone from Must Wine Bar, Lalla Rookh and even shaved on top of the barbecued meat of Old Faithful Bar! One could not have imagined this prized ingredient being used so liberally even 5 years ago, and as a self-confessed truffle pig its like Christmas in July for us antipodean gourmands.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Old Crow, Northbridge, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

The Old Crow has been on our wishlist for, well, almost as long as we've had an actual written wishlist of places to try. In spite of being open for little over a year, this Northbridge restaurant has built up an enviable reputation for delicious, crowd-pleasing American-inspired Soul Food, and has been a consistent fixture on Urbanspoon's 'Talk of the Town' list (sitting at #1 at the time of writing). With glowing reviews from friends, other bloggers and professionals alike, Alissa and I were pleased a catch up with our friends Justin and Sarah (who joined us previously for a meal at Pleased To Meet You) served as a good opportunity to see for ourselves if The Old Crow lived up to all the hype.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Public House, East Perth, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Public House was one of those new Perth openings that flew under the radar for Alissa and I. Perhaps it was because they opened in November 2013 while we were in the mad scramble leading up to our wedding, or because its East Perth location is far from being along one of our regular thoroughfares. Whatever the case, we were kicking ourselves when we realised we'd missed out on their Nose to Tail dinners as part of Eat Drink Perth, however we added Public House to our ever-growing list of places to check out. It took us about 2 months, but on a cold and wet Friday night in July, Alissa and I finally made our way to for a 7pm dinner.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Galangal, East Victoria Park, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

A few weeks ago, a few friends send me an invite to join their new dining group. Called 'The Occasional Dinner Surprise', the groups mission statement is simple:

The tiny Thai joint at the end of your street that's a bit dingy, but makes a bangin papaya salad. That weird place that serves up delicious plump pierogi, but you think the chef might be on parole. And the crazy Korean cafe round the back of the ugly squash courts, doling out wicked kimchi. That's what this is all about. We want to set ourselves a challenge, and try out the hidden suburban dining gems of Perth. 

1. It has to be on a back street somewhere, away from the main strips of Northbridge, Leederville, Subiaco, Vic Park, Freo etc. 
2. No trendy newcomers. Only hardy perennials that have been doing their thing for years. 
3. Bonus points for ugly exteriors. 
4. Bargain prices = happy.

A noble goal, and one that is close to my heart. As much as Alissa and I do enjoy trying out some of Perth's best and most beloved restaurants, there is something lovely about the Occasional Surprise of discovering one of Perth's best kept secrets buried deep in the suburbs. I mean, within a 10 minute radius of where Alissa and I live in Bateman (hardly the culinary epicentre of Perth), we've discovered one of our favourite ramen joints in Perth, the deliciousness of Hawaiian/Japanese Fusion food in quite possibly the ugliest restaurant in Applecross, a seriously good noodle house in the middle of no where and - before their move to Nedlands - the incredibly difficult to book restaurant Marumo (sadly, pre-blog days). I was immediately excited by the idea of the group, and although Alissa already had plans for the evening, I decided to partake in the group's inaugural dinner at Galangal Thai without her.