Archive for the 'Breakky' Category

Becoming older yet again

I had a lovely birthday! It was filled with warm wishes, celebrations and lovely food. I even managed to catch a movie (Big Hero 6, it was cute, funny and heartwarming) which was what I really wanted to do for my birthday.
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Birthday brunch at Harvest Expresso which was my request. They now serve matcha lattes at Harvest Expresso. I’ve blogged about Harvest Espresso a few times, it’s my local cafe which is ever so popular and requires a bit of a wait because of it’s tiny space. Instead of trying somewhere new, I wanted to go to a place where I knew the food would be different (they always change their menus which is the sign of a passionate and great chef) but consistently good so Harvest it was.

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Their summer menu dish of Chicken and the egg (Fried egg, confit chicken, crepes, bacon jam, romesco sauce, lemon crème fraiche $20.5) did not disappoint. The chicken especially was tender and moist, very tasty paired with the bacon jam and romesco sauce. We thought the fried egg didn’t add much to the dish (but who will say no to a fried egg) and would have preferred the chicken to be a breast rather than a maryland (bones are so fiddly for brunch) but otherwise, could not fault the taste.

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My dish was the Tonka Toast (Seasonal fruits, French toast, tonka mascarpone,granola, crumble $18) because I am a sucker for french toast. Harvest does a lovely french toast, but I think it would have been much better if the mascarpone was cold which would lift the rather warm dish (even the fruits felt warm and heavy). I loved the granola and crumble though which gave a great crunch to the french toast.

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R brought me for degustation at Red Cabbage (South Perth) which is one of my favourite restaurants in Perth. I was happy that he chose Red Cabbage even though we’ve been a few times because it meant that we were going for the tried and tested classics. Even before the night started, I knew the food would be delicious and I wasn’t wrong :). Even their warm buns which came with garlic and chive butter and a side of pork crackling (so crispy we could hear other tables cracking into their crackle) tasted extra lovely.

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This was our favourite dish of the night, the marron which was really delicious, perfect texture, slightly raw, sweet and delicate, and paired with kimchi which was a great surprise but a wow for the tastebuds. Perfect dish to keep you hanging out for the main.

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Birthday family dinner at Satsuki in Subiaco. I’ve always wanted to try either Satsuki or Ha-lu (sister restaurant) because I’m always keen to find the best Japanese in Perth. I didn’t eat much of the sashimi but I’m told it was pretty good.

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I had a bite of R’s side of ramen which was very flavourful, R told me later that he found it too salty which is saying a lot for someone who usually likes heavy and salt laden food.

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Duck with wagyu beef and madeira sauce ($23). We liked this one a lot so ordered another serve. The duck and beef were both tender and nicely done.

I’m not sure we will be going back to Satsuki again, not that the food wasn’t good, it was actually quite nice (we thought it was a bit pricey at first but it turned out ok when the final bill came) but it wasn’t wow. So no, it’s not winning the best Japanese in Perth award.

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My colleague baked me a birthday cake for my birthday morning tea at work (=^^=). He’s the best baker in our organisation so I was chuffed. It had an asian twist to it to, a really delicious lychee and lime cheesecake (I told him I like lychees). I liked it so much that I had two slices and told him I want one every year. He told me it was the most expensive cake he’s ever baked (it’s the lychee liqueur) so I don’t think I will be getting another one next year haha.

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My pretty birthday cake which was decorated by Kaka with flowers. It was really nice to cut the cake and blow birthday candles with my niece who shares my birthday. We wished each other happy birthday in the car and she giggled ‘Daitaoha yee yee said happy birthday to me!’ I love my niece.

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Rainbow filling. I like rainbow sponge cakes because they’re so pretty. I especially like this one because the shades of the rainbow are just right, not too bright and garish. Also helps that it’s a really nice and moist sponge!

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Sigh, birthday celebrations over and it’s back to work again. Monday’s lunch bento is teriyaki beef with cherry tomato scrambled egg.

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Second lunch bento of butter chicken and rice. This is a recipe from my new Gordon Ramsay cookbook that I received as a birthday gift, putting it to good use immediately hehe. Hope it turns out well.

Have a good week everyone 🙂

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Singaporean breakfast @Sprolo

Still fighting post holiday blues… I noticed when one is missing home, then tend to veer towards comfort food or activities that they did during their holidays. For example, I’ve been watching TVB dramas and this weekend, asked Jan and family to join me for brunch at Sprolo (138 Canning Highway, South Perth), which I have been meaning to try because I knew they served Singaporean breakfast of kaya toast and soft boiled eggs.2015-01-11-22-58-20_deco

Ta-dah! The Singaporean breakfast ($12) complete with sous vide eggs. To be honest, the service at Sprolo was underwhelming, they were quite packed and busy and I noticed none of the waitstaff bothered to come up to ask whether we needed a table or offer assistance even though we were obviously standing at the entrance for quite a while looking perplexed. In the end we ended up grabbing our own table and pulling up our extra chairs.

The Singaporean breakfast looked a bit lackluster too, especially the unattractive hue of the kaya (coconut jam). I was expecting the worst but surprisingly, the kaya was pretty standard and tasty. There wasn’t even butter for three pieces of toast, but the eggs were done well and lovely with the normal condiments of soy sauce and pepper.

So that satisfied my curiosity, I won’t be returning to Sprolo any time soon. The service just wasn’t up to par.

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It was too hot for a coffee so I had an iced mocha instead. Notice Kaka in the background playing games on her mobile? This is definitely a generation of ‘dut dian wa’  (pressing phones), it still amazes me how tech savvy kids are nowadays, especially with all the slide finger action. I still remember when I had my first smartphone (it wasn’t even that long ago =^^=) and couldn’t figure out how to pick up a phonecall because I didn’t know the slide action *face palm*. To this day, I am still hopeless with any techy gadgets.
2015-01-11-23-04-49_decoBeing technically impaired was possibly one of the reasons why I’ve put off buying an e reader for so long even though I’ve heard so much about the wonders of an e reader and love reading books. R always jokes that I read way too fast and it’s a waste of money buying books for me because I devour them within a few hours.

But my dear brother bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I’m so delighted with it that I just have to blog about it! At the moment I have the whole Agatha Christie collection on my Kindle (I’ve spent years collecting my Agatha Christie book collection) and am now chuckling my way through Agatha Raisin books (a great recommendation from Jan). It’s such an amazing thought that I will be able to have all my favourite books in one place and have so many books just at my fingertips!

So sua-ku me. I sense that my Kindle and I will be spending many lovely days together in 2015 :).

 

Brunch@ Pleased to meet you

Spring is in the air! The weather was pretty glorious all weekend, I did no work at all and we’re pretty much fully recovered. So it was a good, real weekend 🙂

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I was feeling pretty chirpy on Saturday while walking to the supermarket and staring at the blue sky. There was a ‘spring’ in my step, I felt so lighthearted that I even bought some pretty daffodils to bring some cheer into the home.

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Sunday was great as well. I was missing the nephew and niece a bit, Tristan has been home sick while Kaka is still in Singapore. Had to make do with a really nice brunch at the fairly new hip joint in Northbridge, Pleased to Meet You. So hip that they don’t even have a signboard to identify the restaurant save for the ’38’ sign which signals their location on 38 Roe Street Northbridge.

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They only open at noon and we were a wee bit too early so whiled away our time by checking out the ongoing Perth construction. Perth’s skyline has changed a lot in recent years.

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I can’t imagine living far away from the city. I don’t think I could ever be a country gal, I shudder at the thought of living even half an hour away from the city. Even to this day, I miss working in the city and the hustle and bustle that goes with it.

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 Yeah the doors finally opened and we’re one of the first ones in. R is not into the whole communal seating but I tell him that this is the ‘in’ thing nowadays. I agree with him though, I do like the privacy of having individual tables but understand that it wouldn’t go well with Pleased to Meet You’s no reservations policy and their sharing, tapas style menu.

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Clean, industrial and spacious feel. The waitress was just friendly enough and provided good service.

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Opted for the window seat at the front of the restaurant. A brunch with a view.

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The menu is on the wall and you order at the counter. I wanted to order everything because the items all sounded so good (think ‘food truck’), but with restraint (haha), I had the duck taco with corn salsa ($7). Came in a three bite portion, and was delicious. Duck was moist, tasty, sweetness of the corn, ahh, squeeze of lime, it was yums. Could easily have devoured three of these.

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My other order, S&P squid banh mhi ($8.5) was lovely too. The pickles gave it the tart freshness, squid tasty and nicely spiced, the bread was just right, with perfect crustiness and soft innards. Right away, I knew I would be back. I regretted not ordering more.

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R had a real main, the roast pork ramen ($17). The ramen lover can never resist ordering ramen if it’s on the menu, we were really curious to see Pleased to meet you’s intepretation of ramen. The bowl that came out was pretty impressive, I think they must have placed their eggs in a water bath, it was oozy soft boiled pretty. I find it very disappointing that Perth restaurants that serve ramen now don’t even attempt to have the traditional half boiled eggs in ramen and instead give you half a boiled egg. Just wrong.

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The broth definitely had depth of flavour and obviously thought was put into this bowl of ramen up from the tender roast pork to the marinated mushrooms. While flavoursome, we found it quite different from traditional ramens in that it distinctly lacked japanese flavours that we’re so used to be it soy or miso. It was good, but R said he would probably just stick to his favourite Gumshara ramen in Sydney in the future.

Will 100% return, in fact I’m raring to return just to try all the other things on the menu.

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Market in the city. I bought a bagel because I love bagels, but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it haha.

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Checking out the new designs in the city.

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Mural artwork starting to appear in alleyways. Check out the interior designer at work, haha, capturing inspiration for his mood boards.

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I’m back in the kitchen :):). This was bak kut teh with stir fried bittergourd with egg.

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Japanese tofu with minced prawn, chicken, radish and mushrooms.

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I love simple comfort chinese cooking. This is stir fried brocolli with chicken and mushrooms in egg sauce.

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To balance out the ‘healthy’ items for dinner tonight, I had the very unhealthy siu yuk, roast pork. I’ve mentioned numerous times that R loves roast pork so I’m always experimenting with new ways to achieve the ultimate crispy skin. This was a new method which had many steps including marinating the skin in white vinegar for hours. Whilst a little more troublesome, I think it was worth it because this was my ‘bubbliest’ skin ever.

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Another chiffon cake? Yes, this time it was an orange chiffon cake which I baked specially for Tristan and Jo since they were sick at home.

Boohoo the weekend is over, but at least it was a great one 🙂

Lunch @ Chapter 88 & Little Chef Kaka

The daitaoha family are big fans of Ciao Italia, sometimes Jo and family even takeaway tiramisu from Ciao just for dessert after dinner. So when we heard that Ciao Italia had opened a new breakfast joint Chapter 88 in Nedlands, we knew that we had to visit it pretty soon.

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It was a bit odd to see this breakfast cafe tucked away in the corner of the dilapidated Broadway Shopping Centre where we used to go for our cheap takeaways as uni students. I don’t think we would have gone to Chapter 88 as students though because the prices are definitely not student affordable and around the high $20s.

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Master Tristan all dressed up for Chapter 88.

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Lady Kaka is ready for lunch too.

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We were a bit late for breakfast so had lunch instead. Their lunch menu featured lots of pasta dishes, very similar to Ciao Italia fare. This mushroom risotto was quite delicious.

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This Asian beef salad with soba noodles was fresh and very tasty. I would definitely order this again if I was in a salad mood.

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Jo had the squid ink pasta which we all thought tasted like Chinese rice dumplings! There was something very meaty about it which was weird. I was expecting the bursts of seafood flavour which usually infuse good squid ink pastas but this was a disappointment.

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MMy roast vegetable salad with eggplant, sweet potato and pinenuts. This was alright but I much preferred the asian beef salad.

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I can’t remember what this was called on the menu but we knew straightaway that it was Ciao Italia’s signature Fettucine Ciao Italia only called something else haha. Very creamy and rich, it’s difficult to finish a portion of this.

Overall we were quite pleased with the food and service at Chapter 88 which isn’t surprising since the lunch menu is very similar to Ciao Italia’s pasta dishes and we also spied their tiramisu in the dessert counter (prices are approximately $2 more expensive than Ciao Italia). We’re looking forward to going back for breakfast :).

Chapter 88
39/88 Broadway
Nedlands
08 9389 6689

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This Saturday’s brunch spot was Millpoint Caffe Bookshop which is opposite Ciao Italia.  We’ve been to this cafe/bookshop a few times over the past years and it’s always been a comfortable spot for standard good coffees, service and breakfast. Unfortunately, this cafe seems to have gone downhill over the years.

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Service while friendly, was extremely slow. The food when it did finally come out, was below par. My french toast which was topped with raspberries and  candy floss was very disappointing. The toast wasn’t soaked thoroughly with the batter and it was sad eating half battered white bread (which wasn’t even nice bread sigh) which wasn’t hot, toasty or crispy. The toast screamed of a rushed job and a short time in the pan.

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Pancakes which looked great but was doughy and not light and fluffy as pancakes should be. The kids usually wallop pancakes but most of it was left on the plate.  What’s happening to breakfast places in Perth nowadays?! (T____T)_DSC2464 (Medium)

The big breakfast which is a safe bet at least. There goes another good breakfast place, sigh*.

Millpoint Caffe Bookshop
254 Mill Point Rd
South Perth WA 6151
(08) 9367 4567

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When outside food disappoints, we can only cook at home! Even though I haven’t been cooking as much as I like and I’ve had a few baking failures (*malteser cakes*) recently. Despite the ups and downs, I still enjoy my Sunday cooking afternoons. This is my Thai style pork belly which is coriander and white pepper laden with gula melaka.

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With the cold winter days, we’ve been having steamboat Sundays. Jan and Andy introduced us to this soy/vinegar/raw egg/coriander and spring onion dipping sauce which is great with steamboat.

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Speaking of cooking, I am looking forward to future cooking days with Chef Kaka! Hehe, we’ve been playing ‘masak masak’ on her little peppa pig stove and she has been baking cupcakes and frying chips, veggies and steaks haha.

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The very cute Chef Kaka with her homemade chef hat. Do you think she will make it to Masterchef  2034? Don’t grow up too fast Kaka, daitaoha yee yee still wants to play masak masak with you for years to come.

Sydney Long Weekend: Day 3

I’m afraid that my ah ma is right in saying I won’t be able to finish my Sydney posts before I’m in Singapore, so here goes another Sydney post!

It was my second day wandering around Sydney city while R was attending his full day course. I remember a friend who once visited Melbourne on his own and told me he didn’t enjoy his trip as much because he felt lonely. In contrast, I didn’t feel lonely one bit and loved having breakfast and discovering the city on my own. I guess I’m a real introvert. Or maybe it was because I knew R and I would meet up at the end of the day so I could never be lonely for long (=^^=).

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Early breakfast at Reuben Hills in Surry Hills, another must eat on my list. Again, Surry Hills was quiet and peaceful. The quiet streets were misleading though, I was surprised at the buzz and hive of activity when I stepped into the cafe.
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A classic Reuben sandwich which apparently originates from New York is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. Reuben Hills had a fascinating menu of reubens and I found it difficult to make a decision.

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In the end I opted for The Broken Omelette Roll with fried shrimp and and bacon jam ($14). Interesting combination right? It came with prawn crackers on the side and really had teeny fried shrimp in the bun which gave it a crunchy texture. The bacon jam itself was tasty, but whilst interesting, I don’t think I would order this again.

Instead of ordering their famous salted caramel shake, I had their lychee with lime and coconut shake which came out exactly how I imagined it would, refreshing and tropical.

Would I return to Reuben Hills again? Definitely, only with so many great cafes in Surry Hills, it might be some time before I go back.

Reuben Hills
61 Albion Street
Surry Hills
Sydney, 2010

After so much walking the day before, I ended my day a bit early and headed back to the hotel for a great afternoon of winter olympics watching. Sigh, I do miss the Olympics. Luckily World Cup is coming soon but there’s only one sport to watch, luckily I like football.

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We were contemplating whether we should return to Chinatown for Gumshara Ramen again (R really loved it) but I suggested we try another popular ramen store in the city instead. So Ichiban Boshi it was. Located on the second floor of The Galleries shopping mall (opposite Kinokuniya), it’s pretty easy to get to this noodle store.

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Even though it was quite late by the time we arrived, the store was still quite busy. We wanted to order the Tonkatsu ramen which I read somewhere is their signature dish (with only 15 bowls on offer a day, that can’t be true?!). We weren’t surprised when the waitress told us that they had sold out on tonkatsu ramen for the day. Oh well, R had the Miso Ramen ($9.90) instead. While it was no gumshara, he enjoyed this ramen and we agreed the ramen noodles themselves were very nice.

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I had the Tokyo Ramen ($9.90)which was a soy based ramen with char siew and a soft boiled egg. It was lightly flavoured and pretty good as far as ramen goes but I wouldn’t say that it’s outstanding.

Ichiban Boshi
Level 2 The Galeries
500 George Street
Sydney

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After dinner, we walked down to Darling Harbour to catch sight of the nighttime view of the CBD. It was very pretty. Maybe someday Perth will be like this once Elizabeth Quay is up, we can only hope.

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Can’t say you’ve been to Sydney without taking the obligatory photo of the Opera House!
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Sydney Harbour Bridge at night. It must be beautiful when the fireworks light up the bridge during New Year’s Eve.

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Quay with the legendary Peter Gilmore at its helm. He is the guy with all the beautiful creations that the Masterchef wannabes try to create to no avail.  What a beautiful place to have dinner. R said we might go there for dinner some day 🙂 .
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A short stroll into the Rocks for some chocolate dessert (R had a chocolate beer!) at the Guylian cafe (I can’t remember what this dessert was called but it was reaally good) and we called it a day. Another great day in Sydney.

Just one final post on Sydney and I will have finished my Sydney series, it’s the best one too because we went to the Fish market *drool*. Let’s see whether I will get it done before we leave for Singapore. Four more days and my sister and family will arrive in Perth forever, woohoo.

Australia Day long weekend : the final dego @ Jacksons

A long long time ago (back in 2010!), R surprised me with a birthday degustation dinner at Jackson’s. It was the longest degustation dinner I ever had and one that R and I always reminisce about because we had such a great time.

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I was sad when I read in the newspaper that Neal Jackson was going to retire in early 2014 and close down the iconic Jackson’s. The good news was he was bringing back his degustation menu (they stopped doing degustations a while back) for the last hoorah. I knew we had to go for one last time so R was forced to nicely agreed to treat me to Jackson’s for my pre birthday dinner.

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I don’t know about you but I reckon one of the best parts about fine dining is the lovely bread and butter! R and I always enjoy the bread at the start especially when spread with their glorious butter, why does it always taste so much better?? My favourite was still the seaweed butter at the now defunct Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant in Melbourne, luckily they kept replenishing the bread basket because we couldn’t stop (= ^ ^ =).

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I can’t put up photos of my lovely meal because I took such bad photos (I could blame the lighting but it was really me and my photo skills). The menu itself was heavily Asian influenced which was similar to our first dego. Maybe because R and I have had many fine dining meals and degustation meals since our very first degustation at Jackson’s, we weren’t as wowed as our first time, but we still thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and agreed the food was very tasty, clever, and beautifully executed.

I did love their peach curry icecream (it works!) with pandan sabayon and black sticky rice with coconut and white chocolate crumble. The icecream itself was particularly lovely.

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Chilling with Gerry on Australia Day with a Hongkong style milk tea, one of my favourite drinks.

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Dinner was at the cha chaan teng Joy Cafe on William Street which has deteriorated since it’s hey day.Long gone are the days when they used to have set dinner meals and you could choose from a range of dishes which were all pretty tasty and consistent. Now the chicken is old, the tofu is tough and there’s not much flavour in anything :(. You know it’s not going to be good when hainan chicken is served with bottled sweet chilli sauce.

Food apart, it was still cozy in the cafe, eating and chatting while listening to the fireworks go off in the background, instead of heading outside of the restaurant for a look like the other patrons, we laughed and watched the fireworks on tv instead.

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You can always count on Toast in East Perth to be open even on public holidays. One of their specials for today was french toast with mascarpone and sliced mango with passionfruit. Summery breakfast indeed.

I’ve been quite envious of all the fb status of friends who declare that they’re flying back to Kuching for Chinese New Year. CNY in Perth is really very lacklustre or maybe I just haven’t celebrated CNY in Perth for a long long time. I’m very unprepared for our reunion dinner this year but it will be a small one. Ok, in case I don’t blog before then, Happy Chinese New Year everyone, may the horse year bring you lots of good fortune, luck and happiness.

Elies Tent, Venn and Crispy Chicken

This was a couple Saturday nights ago when R had a long day at work and ended up falling asleep once he got home.
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By the time he woke up, it was rather late and we didn’t have many places to choose from. In the end we tried Elies Tent which is a lebanese restaurant in Victoria Park which we’ve passed by many times but never tried. It ended up being a good choice because the restaurant was quiet and we got this corner all to ourselves.
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I spotted a belly dancer  poster on their door and commented to R that we had probably missed the belly dancing since we were so late. But to our delight, at the start of our meal, the vivacious and friendly belly dancer appeared. She was a talented lady too and came by to chat with us later.

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We ordered the Maza for Two banquet ($35 per person) and it was fun when all this spread turned up. Hummus(chickpea) and mutabbal(eggplant) dips and fetta cheese which we had with lebanese bread. I actually enjoyed the mutabbal a lot which had this strong roasted eggplant flavour. We also had falafel which came out piping hot and was very tasty.

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Tabbouleh, which was a refreshing salad but I think they should have added more  ingredients, this one perhaps had too much parsley and not much else.

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Chicken and beef shish kebab. Nothing special but grilled meat on a stick 🙂

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Seasoned rice with shawarma lamb and chicken, the meat pieces were very tender and nicely spiced and lemony. R and I were getting very full by this time.

Would I return to Elies Tent? I’m not sure as I don’t think R is a big fan of Lebanese cuisine, but it was definitely nice to have something out of the ordinary and at a nice, cosy family restaurant.

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Breakfast at Venn’s in the city. I love the high ceilings and secluded feel of this hidden breakfast spot.

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Breakfast at Venn wasn’t great, this mushrooms with poached egg and toast was too salty.

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I probably should have stuck to good ol’ jam and butter with toast.

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We were really unlucky during our last Sunday brekkie hunt. All the places we went to were either closed or too full etc. So somehow we ended up at the popular Tuckshop which only required a 10 minute wait. This was my smoked cod gratin which came with a cheese toasty. The gratin was rich and packed with seafood flavour, rather like a seafood chowder, but a bit heavy for me especially paired with a cheese toasty.

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Lots of fun things happening in the city! I liked their makeshift beach with giant tv screen of rolling waves in the middle of the city.

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We discovered this 360 degrees poultry roaster gadget and couldn’t resist buying it. You know how one side of your roast chickens sticks to the tray and you end up ripping the skin when you try to flip it over? This gadget solves all your non crispy skin problems because it roasts the bird standing up.

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The result of our roast chicken, more crispy skin but the meat wasn’t as tender as usual, maybe I left it too long in the oven to get the full golden brown effect.

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Three kinds of roasted sweet potatoes, they included the normal golden sweet potatoes, my favourite purple skinned white fleshed variety and a new white skinned but purple flesh variety given to us by Gerry, very nice too.
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Baking for our work morning tea, nectarine and almond cake. Tristan’s first birthday party is coming up this weekend so lots of cooking will be involved this weekend. I’m hoping I get well from my bout of migraine and overall dizziness this week, wish me luck!


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