It Just Has To Be Delicious

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

I love Sunday brekkie/brunch, and keen to find a good place in Sydney for a Sunday brunch I came across reviews for Reuben Hills. About a 15 minute walk from our hotel to Surry Hills, we found this quirky little place with quite a queue outside. We only had to wait 15-20 minutes for our table.

The waiter was really helpful. I wanted a non dairy based milkshake and he veered me towards the lychee, lime and coconut flavour because it was based on coconut sorbet. I loved the shake. The coffee was also very good quality.

For my brunch I chose soft baked eggs with jamon, spinach, ranchero and rye bread. This was a lovely if little spicy brunch, and it was nice to have the bread to mop up the little bowl of ranchero and egg.

Soft baked eggs

My companion chose achiote pork n beans with soft fried egg, tortilla chips and chimmi churri. This was mildly spicy, full flavoured, and the textures worked well.

Pork n beans

Yes – Reuben Hills was a great choice for brunch. I wish I lived in Sydney so that I could work my way through their menu.

A quirky cafe with fun wait staff, not your average menu, and great coffee. Yes it works.

Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay on Urbanspoon

This restaurant is in a lovely location on Blackwattle Bay in Sydney with a view of the Anzac Bridge. We arrived by taxi, but if you want to make a more dramatic entrance, you can arrive by water taxi. Greeted by friendly faces from the moment we walked in, the service was impeccable and the wait staff very knowledgeable about the dishes.

The menu changes daily, and fish/seafood is their speciality.

 

BoathouseBoathouse Boathouse

I had trouble choosing from the menu as the options all sounded so delicious, but in the end I went for a selection of oysters:

oysters

The selection included (clockwise from the lemon) Hastings River, Merimbula Lake, Port Stephen’s Rock, Wallis Lake, Wapengo River and Blackman Bay. My favourite was the Merimbula Lake, but they were all delicious and perfectly presented.

My companion chose seared Hiramasa kingfish with saffron, red peppers, almonds and chorizo. Again, a delicious, well executed dish. Every flavour in the dish was there for a reason and the freshness of the kingfish was apparent.

Kingfish

The restaurant’s speciality is snapper pie, and I saw lots of them being served to other tables. The pie looked very tempting, but is a large portion probably better shared. I ended up choosing the Bass Groper and my companion chose the Blue eye Trevalla served with peas, pancetta, spanner crab and lettuce.

Blue eye Trevalla

Bass groper

We also had a side of brussels sprouts with a slow cooked egg and bacon cream.

Brussels

The main dishes were excellent. My groper was fresh, good quality and tasty, with the beautiful herbs and vegetables complementing the dish perfectly. My companion’s Blue eye Trevalla was equally delicious, and the sprouts were also sumptuous, a very interesting way to serve them.

The restaurant also serves an array of unique cocktails such as this Bourbon and cinnamon based drink.

Bourbon cocktail

I loved the Mescal with spiced pear vodka:

Mescal

Dessert for both of us consisted of Pistachio Cannoli with rhubarb ripple ice cream and salted caramel. A beautifully well presented dessert, just the right amount, and a perfect finish to a fabulous meal.

Pitachio cannoli

Coffee was presented with some little chocolate tart petit fours which were very yummy.

Chocolate caramel tarts

So will I go back to the Boathouse ? Yes absolutely, it is a first class restaurant. I struggled to think of a time when I had been served a better fish dish, and the only comparable meal that I could think of was at Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant in Padstow. I can’t wait to return – everything was top class- the service, the environment, the ambience and most of all the quality of ingredients, I had a fabulous evening at the Boathouse.

 

Basq Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Basq is a popular restaurant with the locals. It is very close to the cinema at Currambine, so ideal for pre or post cinema dining. I came here on the recommendation of a friend, and I like the large airy floorspace, and clean design of this restaurant.

The menu has appetisers, tapas and larger plates. We decided to go for the tapas.

We chose a ‘plank’ containing cured meats, terrine, pickles and bread.  It was okay. To be honest $24 for this amount of food was a bit of a rip off, especially when the only real skill here is in the creation of the terrine, and terrines are not expensive or difficult to make (see my recipe).

Cured meat plank

Cured meat plank

We also chose Nachos with guacamole, basq chicken and spiced beans. The Nachos were lovely, and the chicken and bean sauce very tasty. Probably my favourite dish of the evening, but again, a bit overpriced at $16.

Nachos and basq chicken

Nachos and basq chicken

Next came Spanish spiced garlic prawns. Five large prawns with a tomato and garlic sauce and some crusty bread. Yes this was nice but it didn’t blow me away. It tasted like something that I have made myself at home on many occasions.

Spanish spiced garlic prawns

Spanish spiced garlic prawns

We also chose a house cured salmon dressed with a salad containing radish, citrus fruits and fennel.

House cured salmon

House cured salmon

The desserts were lovely, we chose sticky date pudding and bitter chocolate cake. The bitter chocolate cake came with salted caramel sauce, and the sticky date pudding came with a toffee sauce – both were quite large servings.

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky Date Pudding

Bitter chocolate cake

Bitter chocolate cake

Basq serves nice food, the desserts are the pick of the menu. It was quite expensive though, for food that I thought was just ‘nice’. When I have had tapas at other restaurants, there has usually been a few standout dishes that have blown me away, but none of the above dishes did that for me. Maybe I could have chosen better dishes, but if I am eating out I want to taste flavours that surprise me and quality of ingredients that impresses me, I don’t want to pay a fortune for something that I could have made myself. Of the mains, the salmon was probably the best dish, but the others were just average, and I am not sure that I will be rushing back to Basq.

If you are ever in Sydney I highly recommend a visit to Mamak. I noticed it because every night there was a huge queue of people outside, and let’s be honest if a restaurant attracts a queue then it has to be a good one. As you queue up you can watch the chefs making fresh roti, which keeps you entertained while you wait.

Mamak on Urbanspoon

It’s a fairly big restaurant, cafe style, we queued for about 20 minutes before we secured a table. The food didn’t disappoint – it reminded me so much of the food that I have eaten in Malaysia.

We chose four classic dishes. The chicken satay was tender and delicious and as authentic as you will get anywhere.

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

The roti bawang – roti filled with onion, was fresh off the griddle and tasted delicious. It was served with two curry dips and a sambal. We also used it to mop up our main curry dish.

Roti Bawang

Roti Bawang

The nasi goreng – again a classic very well executed – Malaysain special fried rice, good enough to be eaten as a dish on it’s own.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

We also had Kari Ayam – the classic Malay chicken curry with potatoes. Another well-executed, authentic, flavoursome dish.

Kari Ayam

Kari Ayam

I really really like this place and I would happily queue up again for  table. The food is relatively cheap and very tasty – well worth it. I would have liked to try a dessert roti – yes they make rotis with banana or coconut/pandan, but I was too full from the main course. Maybe next time.

Deca Bodega on Urbanspoon

Deca Bodega was buzzing when we arrived. Centrally located in Freo’s restaurant hub, it has tables outside and in and is busy brash and noisy. When we arrived we were allocated an outside table right on the pavement, but the waitress kindly agreed to move us to a quieter inside table. It is an interesting corner building with a spiral staircase inside. The dining tables are at street level, but the spiral staircase leads down to a lounge area which could have possibly been a purpose built bodega previously.

Deca Bodega

The menu has tapas and ‘bigger plates’, so we chose three smaller tapas plates and the ribs as our ‘bigger’ plate.

The first dish that arrived was mixed mushrooms – a lovely dish containing a variety of mushroom types with parsley and soft roasted garlic. The remaining juice was delicious and I should have ordered bread to mop it up.

Mixed Mushrooms

Then our fish tacos arrived, nice fish goujons with a slaw. I thought they were quite enjoyable but quite expensive for the amount on the plate.

Fish tacos

Next our large plate arrived – pork ribs with pomegranate sauce and a cabbage slaw accompaniment. The ribs were tender and tasty, but again, I would have liked more on my plate for $30+

Ribs with pomegranate sauce

We had to remind the waitress about our missing prawn dish, but she was very quick to remedy the situation, and we decided to order an extra dish of patatas bravas. These lovely crispy spicy potatoes were served with a chipotle and were one of the best dishes of the evening.

Patatas Bravas

The last dish to arrive was a bowl of garlic prawns. Really tasty, they were served with zucchini slices.

Garlic prawns

So Deca Bodega – what is the verdict? The food is definitely very nice and good quality, but I think that it is a little overpriced for the portion sizes. The waitresses are friendly and efficient – I can’t fault the service.

The reason I tried Deca Bodega is because I had a 50% off food offer and this made the bill very reasonable at $50. I am not sure that I would have been happy to pay $100 for the same food, especially as Freo is quite a drive for me. For diners living nearby it is a neighbourhood gem and definitely worth a try for the atmosphere and the wine selection. I also noticed some delicious looking churros being served at nearby tables – they would be worth testing.

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

I tried to book online for Jamie’s… well okay I left it a bit late, but couldn’t get a booking for Sunday lunch, however the website said that some tables are reserved for walk-ins, so we just turned up and were told that the wait time was 45 minutes. This was not a major problem as the restaurant is in the heart of Perth and you can easily while away an hour browsing the shops or visiting a nearby coffee bar. We returned after 30 minutes only for my phone to ring to let me know that a table was ready.

The restaurant is large, busy, and warehouse style with a huge chandelier in the middle, quirky napkins that look like Jamie tea towels, and wooden plank tables.

Jamie's

Our waitress was a delight – she enthusiastically explained all 4 ‘specials’ to us and quickly organised some non-alcoholic ginger beer mojitos.

Ginger beer mojito

Ginger beer mojito

For starter we chose to share a crab and avocado bruschetta. This was really nicely done, served on a plank, the bread was sourdough topped with a lovely crab mash with apple, mint, chilli and lemon. If you were hungry you would probably want this whole starter to yourself, but it suited us as a share option.

Crab and Avocado Bruschetta

Crab and Avocado Bruschetta

For mains we both chose the special of pork belly with crispy crackling, served with salad leaves and roast potatoes. This was really nice, the pork was succulent and fell apart and the crackling was crispy and tasty.

Crispy Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly

For dessert I chose the tutti-frutti lemon meringue pie with limoncello and crunchy pistachio brittle. This was a lovely big serving, nice tart lemon offset by the sweet fluffy meringue and complemented by the crunchy nut brittle.

Lemon Meringue

Lemon Meringue

My companion chose the chocolate brownie with amaretto ice cream and caramelised popcorn – this was a luscious dark chocolate fix and the amaretto ice cream was superb. A very yummy dessert.

Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie

The toilets here have old fashioned Victorian style cisterns but alas no chain – I think that the cisterns are there for decor, the flush is push-button, but they were quirky nevertheless.

The meal was very nice and I would love to return to try some of Jamie’s pasta. The bill was quite reasonable too – not as expensive as you may expect. Some of the waiters are from Essex – which reminded me of home, so maybe I have a soft spot for this place. It is definitely a favourite in Perth, if you don’t mind waiting for your table.

All you need is a stick blender and you can make mayonnaise in seconds. It is so ridiculously easy that you will probably never buy mayo again because this method is simple – you can make it fresh every time.

Mayo

Mayo

You need the tall plastic beaker that comes with your stick blender, and the important thing to remember is to put the oil in last so that it covers the other ingredients.

Place the following in the plastic beaker:

1 egg (without the shell)

a pinch of salt

a twist of pepper

1 -2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or white wine vinegar (this is your acidic ingredient)

200ml of light oil (vegetable oil or light extra virgin olive oil)

Now use a stick blender to blend the ingredients – in approx 20 seconds you will have mayonnaise. Adjust the seasonings – you can add more of any of the ingredients if required.

You can also add other seasonings – herbs, garlic, spring onions, wasabi, capers, horseradish, mint, paprika, garam masala are a few suggestions.

Moore & Moore on Urbanspoon

This was my first trip to Fremantle for brekkie, and I was very pleased that we discovered Moore and Moore. It’s a long drive, but I will be happy to go back for a return visit.

The cafe is within an art gallery, and it is very interesting, a little kitsch in places, but very warm, cosy and inviting – I really loved the atmosphere.

Moore and Moore Moore and Moore

A lot of the dishes on the menu are vegetarian. If you want meat the only options are bacon and meatballs, and if you want fish, there is a smoked salmon dish, however, as a meat eater, I found the vegetarian dishes very appealing and the lack of meat did not worry me.

I chose the burnt butter, sage and roast pumpkin mash. This consisted of roast pumpkin spread on turkish toast with two poached eggs on top, rocket, and tomato relish. I added bacon as an extra. The whole dish was delicious – the bacon good quality and nicely crispy, the pumpkin mash slightly sweet and the eggs cooked perfectly.

Burnt Butter, Sage and Roast Pumpkin Mash

Burnt Butter, Sage and Roast Pumpkin Mash

My friend Karen chose the smashed new potato rosti. This consisted of mustard seed, spinach and romano cheese potato rosti topped with a poached egg, avocado, green olives and caper salsa, rocket and tomato relish. Karen really enjoyed it, she has been a vegetarian for quite a few years and found it tasty and the flavours quite interesting.

Smashed new potato rosti

Smashed new potato rosti

As well as the food, the coffee and the drinks were really good – fresh orange, home made lemonade – all refreshing and delicious.

I really loved Moore and Moore, the menu is inventive without being ridiculous, the flavours all go well together and it is nice to see a menu with a wide vegetarian choice.

The building is lovely – the Moores building – it is a heritage listed building that used to be an old merchant’s warehouse. There are various rooms where you can dine including an alfresco area out the back. When we were there a musical trio were entertaining everybody in the walkway. It was very typically Fremantle – a bit different, a bit quaint and very colourful. I loved it.

 

 

Rasa Penang on Urbanspoon

This little cafe near Clarkson station is a real find. It is so hard to get authentic Malaysian food in the northern suburbs of Perth, and this has easily filled the gap that Sense Lah left behind when it closed.

The menu is 90% traditional Malaysian with a few pan-asian dishes included.

We chose Lor Bak – one of my favourite Malay dishes

Lor Bak

Lor Bak

This was tasty and crispy with nice prawn crackers and sweet chilli sauce.

We also had beef rendang – which was rich and delicious with coconut rice, and an authentic char kway teow.

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

Char kway teow

Char kway teow

This is a lovely little cafe, the owner is really kind, he gave us a sweetie for Chinese New Year. It is a fairly small restaurant, very clean, with pictures of Malaysian street scenes on the wall. It made me pine for Penang and Kuala Lumpur – lovely food memories brought back to me by a short drive to Clarkson. Highly recommended.

Saigon Palace on Urbanspoon

This restaurant is very popular with the local clientele and was quite busy when we visited. The menu has lots of asian items on it which aren’t necessarily Vietnamese. I am not really sure why asian restaurants sometimes try to be all things to all men, I would much rather they excelled in one cuisine. So we tried to choose from the Vietnamese style dishes on the menu.

For starters we chose Vietnamese rice paper rolls and meat spring rolls.

Meat spring rolls

Meat spring rolls

Rice Paper rolls

Rice Paper rolls

The starters were delicious, the rice paper rolls fat and full of prawns and veggies, and the deep fried meat spring rolls were tasty and succulent.

For main course we chose Golden Duck which was roast duck with a spring onion, garlic and ginger sauce. This was really delicious.

Golden Duck

Golden Duck

We also chose a beef dish – chilli and lemongrass beef, which was quality cuts of beef in a really flavoursome authentic sauce. We accompanied this with special fried rice.

Chilli and Lemongrass Beef

Chilli and Lemongrass Beef

Special Fried Rice

Special Fried Rice

We also had a dish delivered to our table which wasn’t for us – it looked like a lovely fish dish so I took a photo for my blog.

Vietnamese Fish

Vietnamese Fish

This is a restaurant that I would return to, all of the dishes were perfectly executed and tasted really good. A little gem in Clarkson.

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