Some dishes seemed destined to be stars of Instragram Food Pornography. From strikingly beautiful desserts like Sepia's Chocolate Forest or something idiosycratic like a Cronut or Tim Ho Wan's crispy take on the Char Siu Bao, these dishes can be found at restaurants at every level from street food to fine dining, but all share one common characteristic - they can be eaten with your eyes. As the prevalence of Food Porn has increased, restaurants seem increasingly driven to make their food interesting looking. The benefit of this is that presentation is given a lot more attention than it used to be, however the down side is that sometimes the visuals are more impressive than the actual taste of the dish itself - and at worst are really just an exercise in viral marketing.
A restaurant that has recently been featured on many a Perth foodie's Instagram feed is Chimek, a stall located in the Fremantle Markets known for their 'famous' black coloured burger buns and Matcha Cheesecake. The Food Porn move definitely worked; Alissa and I were definitely intrigued, and had to find out for ourselves whether Chimek's food was as good as the visuals suggested.
For an establishment that has been making a name for itself with a burger and dessert, Alissa and I were surprised to find Chimek advertising themselves with the subtitle 'Chicken and Beer'. Looking at their menu, Chicken does seem to be their main focus with no less than 6 different styles of fried chicken served with Chips! Alissa and I decided to sample the Korean Gochujang after the staff recommended it. These pieces of chicken were awesome, having a sweet and spicy glaze that tasted a lot like the Dragon Sauce served with the Rice Cakes at the bar at Momofuku Seiobo. This comparison was only emphasised by the crispiness of the chicken's outer layer, which mirrored the Rice Cakes' crispiness. It tasted as if the chicken had been marinaded in the sauce, fried for a caramelised exterior and then basted in even more glaze. What's more, the chicken meat within was cooked perfectly, with excellent juiciness within. The accompanying Chips were also well fried, with every single chip being nice and crunchy, right down to the last. Finally, the cubes of Pickled Daikon were nice and fresh, cutting the fat as a Pickled Gherkin would at an American Barbecue establishment.
Given its Instagram infamy, Alissa and I decided to also share the Famous Charcoal Beef Burger. Seeing the Black Bun in person, we had to admit it did look very impressive and thoroughly modern. I can see why it has been in high rotation on Instagram, and getting a closer look at the finer details - such as black poppy seeds and the used of squid ink mayo within - really goes to show that a lot of thought has gone into getting the overall look right.
Tastewise, the burger was tasty but ultimately nothing to write home about, being a fairly standard cheeseburger in format with mushrooms and caramelised onions as a flavoursome point of difference. As much as the bun was nice and soft and I loved the mushrooms and the American-style cheese, the patty was simply not on the level of somewhere like either the Merrywell or Short Order - and not a massive leap from a standard McDonald's or Hungry Jack's burger.
For dessert, we shared Chimek's famous Matcha Cheesecake. This was really good, having a really nice fudgy texture while still being nice, smooth and creamy; this was far more worthy of its place of an Instagram darling than the black burger was. The Matcha flavour was not overpowering and provided a great depth of interest while taking a bit of the edge off the sweetness. The serve was very generous and given that it was decidely rich and decadent, we were glad that we were sharing.
The Verdict: Very Good
Given the hype surrounding two of Chimek's dishes, it was inevitable that at least one of them would not live up to its image, with the Famous Charcoal Beef Burger being visually striking while being fairly ordinary in terms of flavour. Thankfully, the Matcha Cheesecake did live up to expectations, being a really well made and decadent cheesecake with a great depth of flavour. If anything however, it was the Korean Gochujang Chicken that really stole the show for us, being seriously great chicken that would be the main reason we would return to Chimek for a second round. The other reason would be the price - the entire meal came in at $27 with the Chicken and Burger being $10 respectively and the Cheesecake going for $7. At this price, Chimek is a great value for money cheap eat, and yet another sign of the growing vibrancy of the Fremantle food scene.