Sunday, 2 December 2012

Cookies and donut

Best Apple Strudel!

I am going to spill information about my favourit-ist Apple strudel!

Presenting to you..COOKIES & DONUTS

In Southlands Boulevard Willetton, there is a little kiosk called COOKIES & DONUTS. Situated in front of Coles selling cakes, donuts and pastries, it looks like the usual cake kiosk but no...they have the best apple strudel EVER! So good that it is always sold out by noon.

I was lucky enough to have the best mummy EVER whom went and bought me some apple strudel. The apples are always crispy, fresh and juicy, custard and cream all so creamy with volume sandwiched between a light and fluffy pastry, topped off with a dusting of icing sugar. Every component compliments each other. The cream and custard isn't like the usual ones you'd find, it's more creamier? with volume yet not overly sweet and does not seem fatty. *when it is?* ugh I don't know what I am talking's just GOOD :)

I can devour the whole slab of apple strudel alone and not feel UGH from the fatty overload, instead I am more refreshed and sad coz it's gone :( I shall now showcase this apple strudel that I speak so highly of.

This slab of apple strudel will set you back $7

Sadly I have to share with my siblings :(

fresh apples, cream, custard what more do you want!

My whole family loves loves LOVES the Apple strudel and we believe it's on par with Corica if not BETTER. Give it a try and be the judge for yourself.

Southlands Cookies & Donuts
Kiosk 3
Southlands Boulevard
45 Burrendah Boulevard 
Willetton WA 6155

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bivouac Canteen and Bar

Bivouac was chosen as the dinner spot for a long overdue catch up with F and E. Initially I wanted to go for the brunch as it seemed very popular, but because I seem to always go in the wrong days ie. Sunday, I decided to try a dinner service first.

Bivouac has a concept of providing a venue for rest and recuperation, much like a Bivouac itself. Dishes are Mediterranean inspired and therefore meals are designed for sharing. True to its name the canteen like venue has a relaxed feeling and a very youthful vibe to it with a few VERY UNIQUE art work displayed.

We were greeted by a young energetic waitress and started pondering over the menu. This was the verdict we came to:

Chacuterie board: wagyu bresaola, serrano style air dried pork, salami tascana, olive mortadella, ham hock terrine, pickles and char grilled sourdough 22

slaughtermans gnocchi, ox tail ragu, reggiano 23

moroccan mechoui lamb, chickpea puree, date and preserved lemon relish 29

gin gin goat chops, chermoula rub 16

First to arrive was the chacuterie board and we were disappointed, it wasn't the fault of the kitchen, more like us not knowing what most of the terms meant on the description. We all saw the word "wagyu" and was like "YEP! iwantthat". None of us knew what bresaola meant and turns out it meant air dried salted beef, in other words, this platter was basically store bought items plated on a chopping board.

Chacuterie board

Although our first dish was a disappointment, it only got better from then on. The gnocchi was well done and I was glad we shared as it got rather repetitive in flavour which is what I usually find with gnocchi in general. Ox tail ragu was so tender it melted in out mouths but I have to admit, I had to get my head around the fact that I'm eating a "tail".

slaughtermans gnocchi, ox tail ragu, reggiano

My favourite dishes would be the Moroccan lamb and goat chops. First of all the lamb was cooked to perfection and packed full of flavour which masked the lamb smell that usually puts me off lamb. Chickpea puree was silky smooth and the date and lemon relish just tied the whole dish together. The goat chops also had alot of flavour, it's flavours you can see and reminded me of what Jamie Oliver would whip up. I would have liked more pieces though, one piece each isn't enough.

moroccan mechoui lamb, chickpea puree, date and preserved lemon relish

gin gin goat chops, chermoula rub

Next was dessert, it didn't take long for us to order as we basically went, "I'll have all of it *finger circling* except that *finger points*" too easy. We ordered the following:

The deconstructed tira mi su, savoiardi biscuits, crema della duchessa and cafe marsala

Persian love cake $9

pistachio white chocolate and cointreau parfait, caramelised nectarine, honey wafer $14.50

baklava $6

When I saw the word "deconstructed", I instantly thought MASTERCHEF, I was so excited and when it came out, I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed, I guess I was hoping for crumbs of biscuits scattered on the board with little dollops of cream and a drizzling of rich coffee, but it was more simpler than what I imagined it to be. The waitress explained to us how to approach the dish, grab a biscuit, dip it in the coffee and and scoop some cream. We did as we were told and as soon as the biscuit hit our palate WHOA! that coffee was strong assss, the second time round, we didn't do a dip, it was more like a skim off the coffee. Despite the let down in my expectations, it was fun sharing the dish with awesome friends.

deconstructed tira mi su, savoiardi biscuits, crema della duchessa and cafe marsala

My favourite would be the pistachio white chocolate parfait, it went well with the caramelised nectarine. As for the Persian love cake, it was basically a cake with syrup, it looked beautiful and went well with the fairy floss as the taste is simple and not very sweet.

pistachio white chocolate and cointreau parfait, caramelised nectarine, honey wafer

Persian love cake

We also tried a baklava and was told it was home made. It was very hard to cut into three pieces, I'm not sure if baklavas were meant to be that hard, I found it rather average and a little bit too dry for my liking. At least I can say I've tried baklava.


Overall, I enjoyed my experience in Bivouac and will definitely return to taste their new menu. Service is excellent, food is delicious, beautiful presentation and we left paying just over $40 each with 7 dishes in total.
Bivouac Canteen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Pepper Lunch

"Healthy fast food"

I love it when something new opens in Perth, restaurants in particular. Pepper lunch is one of the new kids on the block and judging from the hype and positive feedback, I think it has been accepted into the cool kids club.

Pepper Lunch offers fast, Japanese, healthy food and has already boomed globally with the 200 outlets in Japan and another 100 outlets dispersed in Singapore, China, Taipei, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and now Australia. Pepper Lunch works on the concept of having customers grill their own meals in heated iron dish. Their menu offers items from flavours of japan pepper rice to sizzle it your own way fine steak and if you're lost with what to do, there are videos demonstrating step by step methods with each different dish and the friendly staff will also explain the processes.

I ordered the Shimofuri pepper steak and bf had the Cut Steak with Kimchi and Cheese. I was very surprised to find such cheap prices with the steaks offered, waygu in particular, it is definitely worth the money. When my dish arrived, I was told to smear the butter on the meat and grill to my preference, then mix with the sauces provided of my choice, these being soy sauce, garlic sauce and a sweet sauce. It doesn't take long for the steak to cook, so if you like it rare and don't want it to cook further, place it on the vegies.

Shimofuri pepper steak

I enjoyed my meal, it's simple and quick and my steak was tender * I would like to think it's because of my pro grilling skills XD*, the down side would be that it had a lingering force defrosted taste to it (not sure how to explain it), it was very faint that it didn't bother me too much and hey what do you expect with such prices. I had a taste of the cheese kimchi fried rice and it tastes like what you'd find in a Korean restaurant but with corner kernels and cheaper.

Cut Steak with Kimchi and Cheese

Overall, I think Pepper Lunch is here to stay judging from the numerous customers it receives. Though the food is very simple and nothing to rave about, it offers another option of fast food that is healthy rather than the usual kfc, maccas and hungry jacks and I reckon the novelty will keep it going.

Pepper Lunch on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Millbrook Winery

As I'm not appreciative of wine, I haven't been to many wineries, but when I found out that alot of great restaurants are associated with wineries, I was keen to tag along in the next opportunity and just like that, an opportunity arrived on my doorstep like the arrival of my bf's relatives, what better way to show case W.A's fresh produce but through a winery that is Millbrook winery.

We took a 45 minute drive down south through the scenic countryside of Jarrahdale and as we turned the corner we were welcomed by a single building snuggled in the middle of green rolling hills beside a pristine man made lake and vineyards that seem to be vineless? We parked in what was a deserted carpark for which I thought.."oh god..this is when you kill me right?" turns out we were really early and the restaurant wasn't open for service yet.

Sheeps doing their thang

As service doesn't start till an hour, we happily walked around the area taking in the beautiful views, I loved the view of the sheeps in the far distance up the hills just doing their THANG..munching away on grass. We returned to the building and decided to try some wine tasting and as expected I couldn't tell between A to B and the supposedly claimed chocolate notes in wine A =-=.I just swirl my cup and pretend I know my thing.

We then went upstairs for our long awaited lunch and I was surprised to find alot of people dining in the restaurant especially for an isolated venue, the restaurant had views at all angles and had many awards displayed at the entrance, we were seated and greeted by our lovely and very professional waitress whom read out the specials for the day, as good as they all may sound we all opted for the items in the menu. We ordered the following:
Fremantle octopus, rasa's chorizo, pickled potato, smoked salmon
Baldivis rabbit, acciari butchers catechino, tomato sauce, handcut pasta
Market fresh fish of the day
foraged and farmed mushroom risotto, white truffle oil, parmesan
Free range pork loin, braised borlotti beans, local pancetta, caramelised shallots
dandaragan organic grass fed scotch fillet, chilli and anchovy braised brocollini, migas

Shortly after ordering, we were presented complimentary bread with butter and freshly made marmalade and pink salt. This was an odd combination to eat bread with and I was rather confused as to how to go about it. Nonetheless, there was nothing to complain about, it was complimentary after all.

Complimentary bread

I had the mushroom risotto, I was won over by the "white truffle oil" Love truffle! and LOve oil! This dish did not fail to impress, it was cooked perfectly, I've tried making risotto before and after two hours slaving over the stove constantly mixing and still having uncooked rice or rice thats just the wrong texture, I've become very appreciative of risottos and more willing to paying the $36 for what is really just rice and stock.

foraged and farmed mushroom risotto, white truffle oil, parmesan

I tried the pork loin and did not find much to rave about, flavours were rather subtle and very simple, I did notice that the caramelised shallots was done in wine as it had a rather sweet flavour to it. You might not want to take my word for it as I don't like/know wine but it did help with uplifting the flavours of the dish.

Free range pork loin, braised borlotti beans, local pancetta, caramelised shallots

I also tried the rabbit dish and initially, I was going to order this dish, but after realising it was just tossed in pasta, I opted out. The handcut pasta was cooked to perfection and the rabbit meat was lovely and tender enough to call it a good pasta dish.

Baldivis rabbit, acciari butchers catechino, tomato sauce, handcut pasta

Fish of the day

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed their meal, dishes were rather pricey but it is evident that the produce is fresh, I guess they didn't want to ruin the fresh produce with overwhelming flavours, keeping it simple and allowing the ingredients to speak for itself.

Millbrook Winery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 26 August 2012

John Street Cafe


John st cafe is the perfect pit stop for breakfast after walking the dog along the beach OR for brunch and getting updates of all the shameful things you did last night then burying your head in the sands of Cottesloe beach. But get my point, this place is a great place for breakfast/brunch and to just embrace the Australian way of life.

This little cafe is nestled between homes on John st in Cottesloe, it is too far into John st to see any beach but location wise it has probably added value to the homes nearby. This popular blue building has the theme of the beach on the walls and tables and everyone seems to know about it. I guess this could bring the property value down due to the constant people traffic. Anyways.. enough of the real estate nonsense lets talk food!

The girlfriends and I went on a busy Sunday morning, we all woke up early to beat the crowd, well only one of us did and the rest eventually got there. The menu consists of the standard breakfast items, nothing unique, prices are the usual price you'd find in Perth brunches ie. not very cheap. We all knew about the home made hashbrowns so we had to have one. I ordered the big breakfast which included the hash brown and a chai latte, the others had eggs benedict with an added hashbrown, scrambled eggs on toast and mushroom with an added hashbrown and finally a smoked salmon benedict with..and I will say it one more added hashbrown XD.

My big breakfast was BIG! Everything on the plate was perfectly done, it's hard to go wrong with the big breakfast, scrambled eggs well scrambled, sausages well sausaged, tomatoes well toasted, but the winner would be the hash browns crunchy on the outside and soft mustard and herb seasoned potato in the centre. Anything homemade is win for me!

Big Breakfast

If there's Chai latte on the menu, I always get it and this case was no different. My chai latte was perfectly made, I just kept raving about, it just had so much body to it with the thick creamy milk even after thoroughly mixing it.

Chai latte

V had the eggs benedict and she loved the hollandaise sauce, this is coming from someone who has tasted alot of hollandaise sauces in her lifetime. E had the mushrooms and scrambled eggs on toast she loved the mushrooms, she also ordered a fruit smoothie which was packed full of fruit.

Smoked salmon eggs benedict + hashbrown

Eggs benedict + hashbrown

Scrambled eggs on toast and mushroom + hashbrown

Overall, I enjoyed my breakfast, best hashbrowns so far. Each component of our dishes were cooked well, it's a good place for the standard breakfast menu and will keep the bellies full till well over lunch time therefore, more time to work on that tan.

John Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

Little Caesers

"Best pizzas"

I remember back in the good ol days when people would organise mini road trips to Mundaring just to try out the award winning pizzas in Little Caesars. I was one of them, gathering a large group of friends and just ordering everything off the menu to make the most of our journey. Till this day Little Caesars have saved everyone the road trip and expanded to Perth city, it has now opened a couple of branches one in Leederville and the other in Hillarys boat harbour.

In addition to the Mundaring branch, I've also dined in both Leederville and Hillarys and still have never gotten sick of their pizzas. What makes their pizzas different from the usual Eagle boys, Pizza hut and Dominos is the gourmet pizzas they offer and simply the unique and creative pizzas on the menu such as pisagne (a lasagne on a pizza). They also have delicious dessert pizzas which isn't limited to just pizza with chocolate and ice cream, it consists of pizzas like baked upside lemon cheese cake, pecan pie, green tea pizza and french cinnamon tea cake.

Little Caesars is generous with their toppings on their pizzas and are baked on thin bases allowing our stomachs to sample more pizzas from their extensive menu. Don't hold back on the ordering as pizzas are presented in tiers so table space for pizzas won't be a problem, otherwise just sacrifice a guest ^^.

My favourite savoury pizzas would be:

Greek Lamb:  Corrigin Free Range lamb, mozzarella, semi-caramelized onion, fetta, Kalamata olives, rosemary, tzatziki $16.50

 Pork Star: Free Range Linley \/alley pork mince, caramelized onions sweet potato, crushed fennel seeds $22

Smashing Pumpkins roasted pumpkin, cashews, mozzarella, parmesan, cream sauce  $21

Pisagne in the middle tier
Bottom tier: Greek Lamb

As for desserts, it would be the award winning pecan pie and upside down cheese cake:

Baked Upside Down Lemon Cheese Cake:  creamy cheesecake mix, crushed biscuits, icing sugar, strawberry sauce $16.50

NewYork Pecan Pie: butterscotch pudding, pecans, icing sugar, golden syrup, pecan to ee  $16.50

I've tried the green tea pizza but wasn't really a big fan of it. it was rather dry and pretty much a green tea cake. Ironically it is the best dessert pizza photo I have.

Green tea dessert - Hillarys
Top tier: Mudhoney pizza, second tier: Apple strudel, bottom tier: upside down lemon cheesecake - Mundaring 2008

If I'm craving gourmet pizzas, little Caesars will be the first place on my mind. Get there early as they don't make reservations and due to it's popularity it's usually packed and there are limited seating. The newest branch in Hillarys can accomodate more than the one in Leederville and has beautiful views of the boat harbour, it is also the only one out of the three branches that opens for lunch service, unfortunately it is quite a drive for those that don't live up north, but surely having pizza for lunch would be enough of an incentive to drive up.

Little Caesars Hillarys on Urbanspoon Little Caesars Leederville on Urbanspoon Little Caesars Mundaring on Urbanspoon

Ciao Italia

"Creamy creamy fettuccine!"

I cannot remember how many times I've dined here and how many times I've waited outside for a table amongst the large crowd and just salivating from the thought of my favourite fettuccine dish. Ciao Italia is my favourite Italian place in Perth and is well known for its delicious authentic Italian cuisine. The dining experience may not be the most comfortable setting on a busy night, but despite being cramped together in a small table and eating in such a loud atmosphere, people still flock in because their food is worth it and hey..coming together is very Italian if I'm not wrong.

Ciao Italia seems to be a favourite to many and its success is evident from the expansion of the restaurant to double its size in order to accommodate the numerous hungry diners, despite their efforts, there seems to be a correlation between square metres and number of customers, as the number of customers also increased with size, they just can't win in this situation and many customers are still left waiting for quite some time. This is the down side of dining here, they don't do reservations so it is a gamble to get a seating but it ain't a gamble for the food.

To maximise business, the restaurant is crammed with small tables covered with red and white checkered table cloths screaming ITALY. The staff are also Italian and seem to thrive in such atmosphere, they always have a prompt and upbeat attitude and are also happy to take photos for you sometimes even offering, I guess they know the Asian ritual of taking photos of food and each other with food. Not only that, if they know it's your birthday, there will be a moment when the music changes from Italian music to a birthday song and the staff will sing in a cheerful manner. Birthday celebrations seem to be popular here as I've always seen at least one in the times I've dined here.

I have tasted many dishes from their extensive menu and have enjoyed all their dishes but there is always a favourite and that would be the FAMOUS CIAO ITALIA FETTUCCINE. You can't come here and not order the fettuccine. It is what makes this place my favourite. The fettuccine is unbelievably creamy and it's just SO TASTY, I reckon the preparation for this dish involves slathering cream sauce over the fettuccine followed by a cream reduction, more sauce, then cream reduction and repeat, you get my point, it is deliciously CREAMY. Other usual dishes include the wood fired pizzas and spaghetti Marinara which has a generous serving of seafood and is also a popular dish amongst my friends and I. I'd definitely recommend sharing everything, save yourself the creamy overload from the fettuccine and sharing is caring after all. I heard the desserts are also a hit especially the tirumisu, unfortunately I've always been too full to fit in dessert :O my second stomach has always failed me in Ciao Italia.

Cramming everything in our small table

Ciao Italia fettucine..MY FAVOURITE!

If anyone asks for a good Italian place, it will definitely be Ciao Italia. I'd recommend coming early to beat the crowd. They also don't open for lunch, another delay for all the Italian cravings and hence the accumulation of customers suffering from Ciao Italia fettuccine withdrawal symptoms.

 Ciao Italia on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ellie's Tent

"Shake those full bellies"

Looking for somewhere different to dine? A different experience? Cuisine? Ellie's tent is fun interactive dining, Lebanese style.

Ellie's tent is perfect for large group bookings and seatings are unique, you can choose to have table and chairs OR sit in harem squares! in this case pfft..who needs chairs :P I booked the harem square for 16 people and we were given a whole section just for us. 

First impressions coming in, it didn't look as extravagant as the photo on the website, I just saw wooden tables and chairs and fabrics draped across the ceiling, but after walking further towards the end, voila! there were the harem squares.

Ellie's tent interior

The harem square comes as a floor seating or high floor seating (basically like a square booth). I would've preferred the high floor seating but it wasn't able to fit 16 people. Having said that I still enjoyed sitting on the floor. Our seating was elevated by a step and covered with carpet, the area was decorated with middle eastern decor such as instruments, candle stands and rugs displayed on the wall it really added to the experience.

Dining lebanese style in harem squares

Bf and I shared the Lebanese banquet $35pp, it was definitely more than enough and I wouldn't have chosen anything else. I wanted the ultimate Lebanese experience. The banquet consists of Hoummos, Moutabbal, Tabbouleh, Falafel, Sambousik, Fetta Cheese, Shish Tawook, Shish Kebab, Seasoned Rice, Shawarma Lamb, Shawarma Chicken. 

First of all the falafel arrived and the lovely waitress told us about how her mum's (chef) falafels are slightly different to the ordinary hence it was a little more greener (don't quite remember why, parsley?), her marketing skills for the falafel worked and my other friends ended up ordering a couple for themselves, I think they gave it to them for free too :) I liked the falafel, crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre, it was like a potato ball but with chickpeas..obviously healthier haha. The sambousik was like a full on meat curry puff minus the curry, I enjoyed it but honestly I still prefered the usual curry puffs.



The hoummos and moutabbal looked delicious with the paprika and olive oil drizzled on top, both dips went well with the pita bread, I particularly liked the sweet smoky egg plant flavour of the moutabbal. The Shish kebab was tender, I probably would've liked it more marinated but that's just me..always wanting everything marinated haha..The taboulleh and feta cheese was fresh and complimented well with all the deep fried and grilled dishes, it was fun eating the banquet, you could put all the meat and dips into the pita and have it like a kebab or just have a little bit of everything.

Hoummus, Moutabbal, feta cheese and falafel

How good does this hoummos look

Shish Tawook, Shish Kebab and tabbouleh

The bf and I was very full at this point, BUT THERE WAS MORE :O the seasoned rice dish with shawarma chicken and lamb and in the end we couldn't finish it. I didn't quite enjoy this, it was probably because I was too full and was forcing it in, but I think it needed more flavour. Overall I enjoyed the banquet but I found most dishes had the same level of subtle flavour, I think maybe having a stronger flavour with the meat and rice would allow the refreshing nature of the tabbouleh, feta cheese and dips to shine and compliment the main dishes.

Seasoned rice and shawarma chicken and lamb

Most of my friends ordered from the ala carte menu which majority is basically one of the items from the banquet and a side. Here are some snaps.

Soon after finishing our meals, the music suddenly became louder, that was when I knew my long awaited moment has arrived. BELLY DANCER! They didn't call her a belly dancer for nothing, she really knew how to shake it. A couple of us were good sports and joined the dancer when she 'lured' them in, do not assume that just because you're sitting in the back corner, you won't be targeted by the dancer, even if it's inconvenient for you to get out of your table she can still pick you regardless. There were actually two sessions of belly dancing so don't be quick to leave after the first dance.

Belly dancer!

No one  is safe haha!

Ellie's tent is a great addition to Perth's multicultural scene and I enjoyed experiencing the Lebanese cuisine and customs. Definitely dine in the weekends for the belly dancing.

Elie's Tent on Urbanspoon