Friday, 26 April 2013

Cecchi's

Today we celebrated FH's last days before tying the knot and the last part of the celebrations was dinner at Cecchi's.  Although it is situated on Beaufort St, Cecchi's is easily missed because it blends in with the buildings around it, so you really need to keep an eye out for it.  There is ample parking around the area which is a bonus.

As we entered the premises, we received a very warm welcome from the owner (we think he is the owner anyway).  He shook hands with each one of us and called us beautiful which was nice.  Our table overlooked the courtyard which meant we watched the owner greet each and every customer in the same manner for the rest of the evening.

The menu at Cecchi's is short and sweet which makes it easy to decide on what to eat, although a bit disappointing if you like variety.  We weren't sure of the size of the dishes, but as we were not that hungry we just ordered a main each and sides to share.

Cecchi's is BYO and they charge $3.50 per head for corkage which they told us upfront.

Our order
Main course
Moi & MK - Squid ink linguine, squid, tomato concasse, chilli, lemon crumb x 2 $66 ($33 each)
Hubby, PL & RL - Pork belly, caramelised apples, hazelnut, frizze, vincotto x 3 $108 ($36 each)
FH & RC - Duck breast, creamy bacon faro, quince, pistachio x 2 $72 ($36 each)
CH - Zuppa di pesce, barramundi, prawn+mussel stew, crusty bread $36
TW - Rib eye, vegetable slaw, anchovies, red wine gel, parmesan+onion crumb $42

Sides to share
Pearl barley+roasted Mediterranean vegetable salad x 2 $18 ($9 each)
Broccolini, almonds, slow cooked egg x 2 $20 ($10 each)

Dessert
Moi & RC - Donuts x 2
FH - Profiteroles
TW, CH, PL, MK & RL - Panna cotta x 5, Donuts

Now we wait...

Food and presentation - 3.5/5

Amuse bouche - complimentary
We were presented with a complimentary amuse bouche of tomato soup to stimulate our palettes before our mains, it was average and a bit sour for our liking.  Our mains were a bit of a hit and miss with the serving size being much smaller than anticipated.  The squid linguine was tasteless and the pasta looked and tasted like it's been sitting there for a while; I didn't taste any lemon crumb and only found 2 small pieces of crushed tomato in my linguine.  The pork belly was yummy and the skin was nice and crispy.  Unfortunately, CH found her fish soup pretty average.  The duck breast was tasty but a bit expensive for only two slices, while the rib eye was quite decent in size and was quite nice.  The sides were just so and if we didn't have them, we would've still been hungry.


Pork belly, caramelised apples, hazelnut, frizze, vincotto $36

Squid ink linguine, squid, tomato concasse, chilli, lemon crumb $33

Zuppa di pesce, barramundi, prawn+mussel stew, crusty bread $36

Rib eye, vegetable slaw, anchovies, red wine gel, parmesan+onion crumb $42

Duck breast, creamy bacon faro, quince, pistachio $36
As we were not overly full, we were able to fit in dessert.  The waitress rattled off the desserts available as it wasn't on the menu.  The standard out dessert were the donuts while the panna cotta on the other hand was very small and wasn't the right texture.


Donuts

Panna cotta

Profiteroles
 Service - 3.5/5
The owner was very friendly and as previously mentioned, greeted each of us when we entered but as the night progressed we found that he was a bit too in your face.  At the beginning he told us about the origin of Pinocchio and asked us why we were here for dinner, which was fine but then it progressed to constant interruptions with "Let's cheer for FH!"  If it only happened once, then that would've been fine but it was multiple times and sometimes when we were deep in conversation with each other. 

Our water was replenished automatically throughout the night which gave them bonus points.

One of the waitresses needs some training in customer service and communication, let's just say it's not what you say but how you say it.

Atmosphere - 3.5/5
The restaurant is actually really nicely decorated, very rustic and charming but the constant interruptions and the drunk Pinocchio on the wall behind us ruined the feel of what could have been a classy Italian restaurant.




Value for money - 2.5/5
Definitely not value for money.  Quality is not bad but the price for the size of the dishes is really quite steep.  $36 for two slices of duck breast? No go!

I don't have any objections with coming back for another meal but I'll be exploring other options first.

Taste Test Total Score 13/20

Cecchi's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Bollywood Restobar

Hubby and I won a double pass to see "The Host" (I don't recommend seeing that movie at the cinema) and we could only see it at Event Cinema in Innaloo. We don't really know the area and didn't want to venture too far from the cinema so decided to try Bollywood Restobar which was right next door.

It was only 5:30pm (movie was at 6:30pm), so not surprisingly we were their first customers.  The manager greeted us and told us we could sit anywhere we wanted.  The name of the restaurant was very fitting - they were blasting Bollywood music through the speakers, playing Indian music videos on the wall mounted television, the back wall is a mural of famous Bollywood stars and their menu was also plastered with Bollywood stars.

As we had not been to Bollywood Restobar before, we decided to ask the manager for recommendations, I'm not sure whether he thought we had never had Indian food before or whether butter chicken and lamb rogan josh really are their house specialties but we decided to go with his recommendations anyway.

Our order
Bollywood platter (samosa, aaatissha kebab, lamb shikh kebab, fish amritsari) $28
Butter chicken $21.50
Lamb rogan josh $21.50
Garlic naan $4
Steamed basmati rice $3.50

Food and presentation - 3.5/5
The food was good.  Nothing really to rave about but nothing to complain about either.


Bollywood platter $28

Butter chicken $21.50 and Lamb rogan josh $21.50

Garlic naan $4 and steamed basmati rice $3.50
 Service - 4/5
The manager was very friendly and attentive and so was the waitress who served us a bit later.  Our food came out quickly and we were asked a couple of times how everything was going.  Whilst we were waiting for our food, the manager was setting up some of the tables and you can tell he was concentrating very hard to get it lined up perfectly - hubby and I gave him a big thumbs up for attention to detail.

Atmosphere - 4/5
I like the Bollywood music blasting through the speakers and the Bollywood décor.  It is slightly tacky but it fits the theme.   We were the only customers there so not sure what it'll be like when it's full house but we were happy with the peace and quiet.



Value for money - 2.5/5
Expensive.  You're paying about 30% more for the same dishes than at other Indian restaurants (well, the ones I've been to anyway).  I guess you're paying for the décor and the fact that it is owned by the same people who owns 2 Fat Indians in Mount Lawley. 

Will go back if we're in the area and craving Indian food but I won't be going out of my way to have dinner there.

Taste Test Total Score 14/20

Bollywood Restobar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pacific Rim Mix Plate

After our disappointing breakfast this morning at Volcanic Stone Grill and Cafe, I needed a nice lunch!  Hubby suggested we go to Pacific Rim Mix Plate, a place he went with his mates for lunch a few weeks back which was apparently amazing.  I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't expecting a tiny little takeaway shop with limited seating.

All the tables were taken we arrived but I was quite happy to buy takeaway and eat in the car; luckily a few people left before we ordered.

Our order
Moi - Huli Huli BBQ Chicken Plate $13
Hubby - Katsu Fish Plate with Creamy Tarragon Sauce $12

Food and presentation - 4/5
We ordered the plate which comes with macaroni, tossed salad and steamed rice but you also have the option of ordering the wiki bowl which only comes with steamed rice and is $1 cheaper.  The food is made to order as we saw the owner take a fresh piece of fish to crumb after we placed our order, a good sign.  

Okay, their fish was absolutely awesome especially with the tarragon sauce and it was cooked perfectly, the texture just...beautiful and you get three massive pieces!  The chicken however was nice but nothing special, it was just chicken cooked in barbeque sauce.  The salad and macaroni was just so but their steam rice was perfect.  You may be wondering why I commented on steam rice but I have been to so many takeaway places and even restaurants where the steam rice is either too dry or too sticky.  As the fish was so awesome, I ate a large portion of hubby's lunch and he had to help me with my chicken...


Creamy Tarragon Fish plate $12

Huli Huli BBQ Chicken Plate $13
Service - 3/5
Everything is self serve here but the owner was friendly and polite. 

Atmosphere - 3/5
They've attempted a Hawaii theme in the shop which is cute but really there isn't anything to rave about in this small takeaway shop.  Eat and go seems to be the philosophy here.


Value for money - 4.5/5
Yes, 4.5/5 because where else will charge you $12 for three massive pieces of perfectly cooked tasty fish with rice, salad and macaroni? 

Will definitely be back to try the other items on menu or for more Katsu Fish.

Taste Test Total Score 14.5/20

Pacific Rim Mix Plate on Urbanspoon

Volcanic Stone Grill and Cafe

Saturday morning 10:30am, we were on our way to  Northbridge for breakfast but with the traffic banked up, we decided to detour to East Perth.  Toast and The Partisan were full (which we expected but thought we'll try our luck), so we ventured into Volcanic Stone Grill and Cafe, a place we walked past along the way.
Volcanic Stone Grill and Café looked like any normal café from the outside but inside it was mishmash of peach wallpaper, chandeliers, a see-through fridge (so you can see their numerous loaves of bread...), ripped chair covers, amongst other things.  We were a handed copy of the menu by the staff from behind the counter and found our own seat.  Their menus needed replacing and/or a clean.  They had a wide selection for breakfast but it was all your stock standard dishes.
Our order
Moi - Bacon and egg sandwich served with tomato relish $7.50
Hubby - Full breakfast (fried, poached or scrambled egg with your choice of bacon or smoked salmon served with hash brown, sausages, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato and toast) $18
When hubby was ordering, I remembered that we did not check Urbanspoon as we were both way too hungry, I was devastated when I saw the percentage that like them but it was already too late...
Food and presentation - 2/5
I didn't think you can stuff up breakfast but obviously you can.  I would've been happier with a McDonald's breakfast or even better, cooking my own fry up.  Their hash brown was drenched in oil, the sausages were of poor quality and their bread was a bit stale.  It was edible but I don't want to have to go through that again.


Bacon and egg sandwich served with tomato relish $7.50

Full breakfast $18
 Service - 2/5
Orders are taken and paid for at the counter but they do bring out your food.  Service was nothing above and beyond.  Took points off because they didn't ask hubby whether he wanted smoke salmon with the full breakfast when it is clearly stated as an option on the menu.
Atmosphere - 2.5/5
Our table was next to the window so we could watch the passers-by which was nice but the general atmosphere of the café was ordinary.
Value for money - 2/5
Their prices are comparable to other breakfast places but the quality is not acceptable.
We will not be going back.
Taste Test Total Score 8.5/20
Volcanic Stone Grill & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Cabin Small Bar

Triple date night! Tonight, hubby finally gets to meet my friend LY, who moved over to Brisbane after university and her partner JO.  JL organised dinner as usual so we gave her the important job of choosing a restaurant, well even if she didn't organise dinner we would have still given her the job.

I've wanted to try The Cabin Small Bar for years because my colleague's sister used to be the head chef there but since she left it wasn't on my priority list although I have been there for drinks.  They have a good selection of tapas style dishes and as we were all indecisive, we asked the waiter for recommendations.  The waiter was helpful and gave us a brief rundown of the most popular dishes; we ordered most of his recommendations to share.

Our order
Tapas 
  • 'Broome' little snapper, cashew and spice crust, lemon tahini yoghurt, mizuna, pomme granite, shallot $24.50
  • Roasted baby eggplants, chermoula, quinoa tabhoule, pulled cheese curds, grilled lemon $13.50
  • 'Margaret River' venison spare ribs, oriental glaze, ponzu mayonnaise, sesame $19
  • Sweet potato fries, rosemary salt, mustard mayonnaise $10
  • Kalbi braised beef shin tacos, pickled vegetables, horseradish crema, jalapenos x 3 $42 ($14 each)
  • Crisp pork belly croquettes, cuttlefish ribbons, tomato, saffron, black olive, smokey aioli $17.50
  • 'Esperance' lucky bay scallops, grilled goat pepperoni, chimmi churri x 2 $45 ($22.50 each)
Dessert
  • Brule 'banana split' dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream, cardamom chocolate sauce, walnut praline $15
  • Olive oil citron cake, lime curd, burnt marshmallow, passion fruit pearls, popping candy $16 
On a side note, they do $10 cocktails between 3pm and 7pm on Friday and Sunday so of course the girls had a cocktail each while the boys all downed a beer.

Food and presentation - 4/5
The food at The Cabin was yummy although it was not anything special, you can get similar dishes and/or flavours at other restaurants.  Saying that, I had no complaints about the quality and taste of the food.  My stand out dishes were the 'Broome' little snapper and the 'Margaret River' venison spare ribs.  Dishes were well presented in general, however we all agreed that they could have jazzed up the presentation of their banana split.


'Broome' little snapper, cashew and spice crust, lemon tahini yoghurt, mizuna, pomme granite, shallot $24.50

Roasted baby eggplants, chermoula, quinoa, tabhoule, pulled cheese curds, grilled lemon $13.50

'Margaret River' venison spare ribs, oriental glaze, ponzu mayonnaise, sesame $19

Sweet potato fries, rosemary salt, mustard mayonnaise $10

Kalbi braised beef shin tacos, pickled vegetables, horseradish crema, jalapenos $14

Crisp pork belly croquettes, cuttlefish ribbons, tomato, saffron, black olive, smokey aioli $17.50

'Esperance' lucky bay scallops, grilled goat pepperoni, chimmi churi $22.50

Olive oil citron cake, lime curd, burnt marshmallow, passion fruit pearls, popping candy $16

Brule 'banana split' dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream, cardamom chocolate sauce, walnut praline $15

Service - 2.5/5
Unfortunately, the service was a bit of a let down tonight.  Not actually sure what the reason was as they were not particularly busy at 6pm on Sunday.  (1) It was hard to get the attention of wait staff, they just didn't look our way, (2) we only ordered one serving of the croquette but received two, (3) they forgot about our spare ribs - the waitress asked us if we wanted to order any more dishes and we had to tell her that we were still waiting for the spare ribs, then she came and told us it wasn't ordered but not long after the spare ribs came out...,(4) JL was playing wait staff by clearing our plates and putting it on the next table, (5) it took a while before we got a wait staff to take our dessert order and (6) it was forever before our dessert arrived, we had to ask where it was after 30 minutes.  An early Sunday night dinner ended up finishing a lot later than expected, luckily I had good company.  I gave them a pass for service because the wait staff were helpful and friendly (when we got one) and they apologised for the hiccups when I went to pay the bill.

Atmosphere - 4/5
Love the décor and general feel of The Cabin.  The music wasn't blasting so it is great place to catch up with friends, as you're not limited to shouting in the ear of the person next to you.

Value for money - 3.5/5
Not the cheapest tapas but similar pricing to restaurants of this calibre.  You are paying for the quality and atmosphere.

Will be back for more tapas and drinks once I get over the service.

Taste Test Total Score 14/20

The Cabin Small Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ingredient Tree

What better way to spend Saturday afternoon than with your girlfriends!  It's been a while since MK, RL, PL, TW and I had a catch up so I was looking forward to our lunch at Ingredient Tree.

I had not heard of Ingredient Tree before but MK suggested we go there because she was impressed the last few times she was there.  Located in the middle of a residential area, you really can't miss it as you drive along Herdsman Parade.

Ingredient Tree is actually both a shop and a café so you're essentially eating in the middle of a food shop.  They sell international and locally sourced ingredients such as flour, pasta, sauces, etc.  It was refreshing and the most important thing - they do all day breakfast!

Our order
Moi & TW - Salmon special x 2 $38 ($19 each)
RL & PL - French toast x 2 $34 ($17 each)
MK - Noble persons lunch (hand cut free range ham, house pickled vegetables, Camembert wedge, cornichons, pancetta and organic sourdough) $16

Food and presentation - 4/5
The food at Ingredient Tree was great.  Fresh, simple food made from quality ingredients that's tasty, what more can you ask for.  The servings were big and we were struggling to finish, but no matter how full we are we always share the love and have a taste of each other's dish, all of which were really good.

Salmon Special $19
French Toast $17
Noble persons lunch $16

Service - 3/5
No complaints about the service but nothing to rave about either.  The staff were polite - they took our order, brought us water and our food and then cleared the table when we finished. 

Atmosphere - 4/5
I liked the artificial grass at the front with the funky chairs and table, the big noughts and crosses board and the decorations around the shop and café in general.  Ingredient Tree is a cute shop/café and a great place to chill out with family, friends or by yourself.




 Value for money - 4/5
I thought Ingredient Tree was good value especially when you compare it to other cafes.  Fresh, good quality and decent sized servings.

Already planning my next visit.

Taste Test Total Score 15/20

Ingredient Tree on Urbanspoon