Archive for the 'Italian' Category

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.

May

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.

Hell’s kitchen

It was a different weekend of some sorts. We left the car behind and took the public transport into Fremantle.

partners

Pipsqueak cider and Bright ale from Little Creatures are the best partners in crime. I bought 3 second hand Agatha Christies that day, so happy.

ecco

Then it was dinner at Ecco! We had a scoopon voucher which came with a bottle of wine, a seafood platter as an entree, pizzas or pastas as main and tiramisu to end with.

pizza

The food itself was quite nice. I had a blue cheese and pear and pinenuts pizza. The sharpness of the cheese and the sweetness of the pear made for an interesting and delightful combination.

What was more interesting was the chaotic kitchen and wait staff, and the increasingly furious expressions of our fellow patrons as they waited for their food. There was the waitress that kept bringing wrong orders to tables, and turned around in circles looking lost and perplexed. Also the family of four that were happy and cheerful during the first hour but grew really grumpy after everyone who came later than them received their food earlier. And the poor couple who were romantically holding hands during the first hour of waiting, during the 2nd hour, the guy’s face was black as thunder, his arms were crossed. He looked pretty scary.

tiramisu

Tiramisu for dessert, it was just average for me.  The whole night was just like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, finishing with a couple walking out because no one bothered taking their orders. Somehow, we still managed to have fun and enjoy ourselves tremendously.

wanton

Deep fried prawn wontons that I prepared, froze overnight and defrosted in the oven for our afternoon tea the next day. They were very popular with my colleagues as all fried food usually are. Back to work tomorrow 😦

Our Melbourne long weekend

It started with a late night flight out to Melbourne.

A stolen snapshot from the runway. Tiger Airways btw, is terrible for domestic flights. I still slept most of the way to Melbourne, I was that tired.

First morning was all about Queen Victoria market which was located right opposite our hotel.

Loved the market, it was huge, had rows and rows of butcher shops displaying their fresh meat beautifully, cheese and dairy products, pastries, fruit and veggie stalls, everything, it was a feast for the eyes and lover of fresh produce.

The rest of the morning was spent discovering city streets and hunting for our hidden Japanese restaurant Yu-u. Like entering into Aladdin’s cave, the very bare door led the way to the secret basement below which wowed us with their posh and dim interior.

The lunch bento itself wasn’t bad at all. Mingling amongst the business crowd  swirling their wine glasses, I felt like an imposter watching a show.

A very quick power nap and it was dressing up for R’s birthday dinner at Maze, Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant located in Crown Metropol. Dinner was exciting, impressive and fun.

2nd day started with exploring Chinatown and eating yummy ramen for breakfast and lunch!

Watching street performances in the city.

Melbourne is great because they have MENTAIKO onigiri!!!!!!!!!

Spot the couple exploring the Melbourne Convention center.

We finally find the DFO (Direct Factory Outlet)!

We love the free City Circle trams.

Late night dinner along Lygon Street, Melbourne’s famous Italian restaurant strip. I loved the lively atmosphere of the street and the city in general after dark. It is warm and alive, unlike the dead city of Perth after 5pm. We need extended trading hours, really.

Gorgeous tortellini tartufo at Tiamo 2, the soft tortellini was filled with fresh ricotta in a gorgeous creamy mushroom and truffle sauce, it was lovely.

A cold and rainy stroll to Melbourne Central for a late night movie.

Day 3 was luscious and tasty raw beef and beef tendon pho at Mekong along Swanston Street.

Drinking in the city sights and stopping by the Melbourne institution Pelligrini’s bar.

I wish I had space for their very rustic looking spaghetti bolognese but had to settle for coffee and a slice of tiramisu.

The trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Eureka Tower for a 360 degrees view of Melbourne.

View of Melbourne from the 88th floor.

Suddenly the sky cleared up and a rainbow appeared!

It was goodbye Melbourne but not complete without a sushi takeaway for dinner. We spotted so many sushi takeaways throughout the trip, we had to end with a box for dinner.

R bought an entire Strawberry Gateau cake for our farewell dessert! And he ate it all too (^__^). There was something really special and fun about huddling behind the Hudsons (their coffee chain store in Melbourne) cafe in the airport and eating a cake out of the box with plastic forks.

Arrival at Perth was a bit of a drama when Gerry’s car broke down and there was a spot of car pushing at 2.30am in the morning. I must say the traffic warden at the airport really enjoyed himself.

Monday was spent sleeping and sleeping with a homecooked steak and mash dinner. Melbourne was an eye opener, really fun and lovely, but being home ain’t so bad too.

Maggie comes to town

Last weekend Richard’s younger sister  Maggie came to Perth so we had a whirlwind tour of Perth during the weekend.I think we managed to capture the highlights of Perth pretty well in that short span of time but Maggie must be suffering from indigestion now because we ate and ate and ate ( = ^ ^ = )

Dinner started with our favourite Italian in town, Ciao Italia. We ordered the usual suspects, the risotto marinara, chilli mussels, but I tried a new dish at Ciao this time, the penne alla vodka which wasn’t as good as Il Ciao’s but still very tasty. It was a case of over ordering again so we had to ‘dapao’ quite a few things home at the end of dinner, but everyone still had space for a bit of tiramisu.

It was still light out when dinner was over so we headed over to Kings Park and UWA for a bit of photo taking. I always like it when people say that my alma mater is very pretty because it’s possibly one of my favourite places in Perth, besides Matilda Bay of course.

Day 2 Richard had to work so Jo and I brought Maggie out for a spot of shopping at Harbourtown. Perth was going through a heatwave then, it was so hot that all of us were kinda listless and tired. Luckily Japanese food at Hanami perked us up a bit and the guys all enjoyed their bento boxes. Brought Maggie to Burswood for some gambling but mostly we just took photos and basked in the atmosphere of whistling bells and chiming token machines.

The heat wave reached a peak on Sunday but the heat didn’t stop us from visiting the Fremantle sea port. This was the day where we over ate because we kept trying to hide in coffee shops, ice cream shops, any place with air conditioning . There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but it was so hot that even fish and chips were unappealing No one had much of an appetite but I did enjoy my usual soft cone twist.

We couldn’t go back without stopping by the famous Cottlesloe beach. But everyone in Perth had the same idea to go to the beach on that day and it was hard to find parking. I don’t understand why people flock to the beach on summer days, it’s still hot! I pretty much gave up by then and cowered under my umbrella while the brave sister and brother took photos around the Indiana Tea House.

No one had much of an appetite for dinner but S & T Thai Gourmet saved the day with their yummy curries, sweet and sour salads and sticky rice. Most importantly, they had strong air conditioning.

Monday it was back to work for Richard and I, Calv dropped Maggie in the city and I met up with her for lunch. Then it was dinner at home where Richard cooked scotch fillet steaks with sweet potato mash. My contribution was a new recipe of tofu topped with ricotta cheese, basil, bonito flakes, sesame seeds and drizzled with  a sweet sauce. Interesting combination which I would try again.

It was a very hot four days but I enjoyed showing Maggie around, she’s a cute girl with lots of funny lame jokes with mannerisms that are surprisingly similar to her brother’s. Hopefully it won’t be so hot the next time she visits Perth!

Il Ciao

Before coming to Perth, I had no idea what Italian food was or tasted like. But since coming to Perth and discovering Ciao Italia, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with creamy risottos, addictive chilli mussels and tomato cream pastas (love the taste, hate the carbs). So I’m always on a look out for good Italian restaurants, so far I’ve tried a few pretty good ones, Ciao Italia, Al Sito, Catalano’s, but have yet to try the famous Spaghis which is on my to-do list.

il Ciao is a restaurant that has been on my to-eat list for quite a while too. Rumour has it that Ciao Italia’s boss and chef used to work in il Ciao before upping and leaving to set up his own business (and taking the chef with him!), the now famous and roaring Ciao Italia. So I was interested to sample the roots and beginnings of Ciao Italia, having heard il Ciao is an institution itself.

A buzzing family restaurant, I immediately preferred the friendly, spacious and orange tones of the restaurant (surrounded by pictures of Italy) to Ciao Italia’s ‘elbow in the next table’s food’ space (they have expanded to the shop next door but I’ve heard it’s still a tight squeeze). I figured Spaghetti Marinara ($23.00) was a must-try since Ciao Italia does such a wonderful version. Sad to say, it was no Ciao Italia BUT it was still tasty,fresh and light. I’ve been spoilt by the huge chunks of seafood in Ciao Italia and the burst of seafood goodness in every bite of their risotto marinaras, so il Ciao’s version paled in comparison.

Their Calzone(enclosed pizza $19.50) came with tomato, mozzarella, chicken, capsicum, mushroom and sundried tomato.

It was an impressive sight, but taste wise it was only alright, the filling wasn’t err filling and the dough a little too thick for our liking. We probably should have stuck to ordinary pizzas.

Ciao Italia’s chilli mussels is a must order for me so I was interested to see if  il Ciao’s Zuppa di Cosse ($20.00) was any good. It was surprisingly similar to Ciao Italia’s version but perhaps not as flavourful but definitely cheaper and good for value. The mussels were kinda on the small side but the sauce was great with bread. That’s what I ate the whole night, bread dipped in chilli mussel sauce, ahh so indulgent.

Our favourite of the night was the Penne alla Vodka ($19.50) with bacon, onion in a Vodka tomato cream sauce. They don’t serve this in Ciao Italia (so one up for il Ciao) which is a pity because I love the after taste of vodka (buzzy feeling) in pastas, I’ve recently tried Catalano’s vodka pasta and it didn’t even come close to this addictive sauce.

So all in all il Ciao is a nice family restaurant that I would return to for a nice, casual, stress free (seriously Ciao Italia’s 1-2 hr waiting time is ridiculous, I hope it has changed with the expansion) pasta and carb laden meal. And I would return for the penne alla vodka.

Daitaoha ratings:

Food : 6/5/10

Service :6/10

il Ciao
771 Canning Highway
Applecross 6153
(08) 9364 9966
http://www.ilciao.com.au

Karaoke, hot chocolates, tigers and pizza

I’m so behind on all my posts! But here’s a recap of last weekend.

Thursday night we all went to Utopia to support Wui Hao at the Karaoke Singing competition. Do you like the signs I made? I designed and printed them out by stealth at the office!

The two brothers came to support Wui Hao as well.

Wui hao waiting calmly for his turn to sing.

Wui Hao relieved and happy when he was done. He sang Show Lo’s Wo Bu Hui Chang Ge and he sang really well, I was impressed. But… he didn’t get in the next round. Bah. I would have been fine if the contestants who made the next round were good, but there were some really dodgy choices. My tip for the next competition, just choose any Hokkien/Cantonese/Malay/other language besides Mandarin songs, sure can get in.

Jason asked me ‘what’s new in Perth?’ so I took this picture for him. New light up stool sculpture thingys in Northbridge!

Saturday hot chocolates at Tiger Tiger.

I really like the ‘hidden’ atmosphere for Tiger Tiger, it’s a reprieve and secret hideout from the city crowds.

Calvin cradling his hot chocolate like a precious baby. I believe he would move to Melbourne just for the chocolate bars.

Their menu looked pretty good as well, I think I spied a nutella, banana and cinammon bagel somewhere.

Sunday brunch at Delizioso Cafe in Carillion city. Delizioso is a small bright and cheerful cafe (they also have a branch in Subiaco) serving pizza, pizza, a bit of pasta and pizza. They have nice coffees too.

Can’t remember the name of this pizza but was mostly mushrooms, pretty yummy.

Caprese pizza slice ($5.20) with fresh tomato, mozarella, basil and pepper. Light and crispy, nice.

My favourite has to be the Mushroom Trio ($5.20) with button mushroom, Italian famigliole and chiodini marinated mushrooms with mozarella, ricotta cheese and parsley. Sometimes it can be a little oily but most of the time it’s really nice especially since I really like mushrooms.

Overall Delizioso pizzas are really nice for a snack or a quick bite while strolling around the city.

Daitaoha ratings:

Food: 6.5/10

6.5

Service: 6/10

6 service

Delizioso Cafe

Shop 45 Carillion City Perth

94 Rokeby Road (Cnr Churchhill Av)
Subiaco 6008 WA

p/s Entertainment voucher gives you buy one slice get one slice free

Villa Roma Ristorante & Pizzeria

Sometimes it’s difficult deciding where to go for dinner. It doesn’t help when your friends have standard answers of ‘Anything’ ‘Up to you’ ‘Also can’ when you ask them what they want to eat. Somehow or other, I always end up making the decision which can be good or bad, good because I get to go to the restaurant of my choice, bad because I always feel personally responsible if the food turns out bad.

As usual it was a ‘up to you’ night with the only request being ‘can the restaurant be an entertainment card thingy’. Since we were planning to go to San Churro in Fremantle for their chocolate desserts, I picked Villa Roma in Freo for our dinner venue. It was once voted one of the top 55 restaurants in Perth by STM so I was quite hopeful.

The restaurant itself was warm and bustling, we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table which is usually a good sign. The waiter recommended Linguine Al Pollo ($19.90) to Adrian which came with chicken, mushrooms, roasted capsicum and cream. I didn’t try this but I think Adrian said it was alright but not flavourful enough.

Amy had the Risotto Al Pollo ($19.90) which was a tomato based chicken and mushroom risotto. This tasted just ok texture wise but I’ve been spoilt by risotto at Ciao Italia and this just didn’t make the cut.

Bryan’s Risotto Pescatore ($21.90) was seafood risotto with garlic, butter and tomato sauce. Taste wise it was rather bland, but worse of all, the portion was so miniscule, it really was just a thin layer of risotto and that was it. Just compare it with the portion that Amy had!

Mine was the Scaloppine Marsala ($28.90) which is thinly sliced fillets with marsala wine sauce with a side of salad and roasted potatoes. The salad and potatoes were ordinary, but I quite liked my fillets which were tender and the marsala wine sauce which was sweet and savoury.

The start of the night was Richard’s Lamb Shanks ($24.90) which was braised lamb shanks with roast potato and asparagus in red wine and mushroom jus (one of Villa Roma’s most popular dishes). The portion was generous and the lamb shanks were braised till tender, the red wine and mushroom jus was nice too, but I would have preferred stronger flavours. Still, it was a good and hearty dish.

We all shared the Tiramisu (the website says $6.00 but I think it was more $8.00) which was made with mascarpone cheese (I hate it when people use cream as a substitute) but the sponge fingers weren’t soaked well with expresso and it was just missing that something that makes tiramisu so yummy.

Overall the guys thought that Villa Roma deserved a 6.5 in terms of food but a 7 for their lamb shanks and 8 for their service. I must mention that their service was great, the waiters were personable, attentive and very friendly. I also liked it that they asked us whether we prefer tap water or bottled water, unlike the Italian restaurants nowadays that serve you mineral water ($3 – 4 for a bottle) when you ask for water.

I’ve decided to give Villa Roma a 6 instead just because I feel the food was really just average (but the lamb shanks deserve a 6.5 – 7), and Hanami was really a lot better compared to Villa Roma.Haha, I can’t believe I’m taking this ratings thing so seriously.

p/s Entertainment voucher gives you 25% of the meal to the value of $35

Daitaoha ratings:

Food : 6/10

6

Service 8/10

8 service

Villa Roma Ristorante & Pizzeria
9-13 High Street, Fremantle
Tel: 9335 3664
http://www.villaroma.com.au


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