It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for July, 2013

No 4 Blake Street

UPDATE – This restaurant has now permanently closed.
No4 Blake Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When I booked this restaurant I didn’t quite appreciate the quality of it. I had skimmed through a few reviews, thought that they did brekkie, brunch, slightly quaint high teas, and I expected the dinner to be bistro style. Before going I had a quick look at the restaurant website to find that the dress code was ‘dressy’ and the evening meal was a fixed price kind of degustation style affair.

The menu is $90 per head, you choose three of the courses from four options each, and the restaurant gives you three ‘surprise’ courses. The wait staff were all French, very friendly and helpful and not at all stuffy. When we chose just soft drinks, they did not behave stand-offishly like some wait staff do, and we were not rushed (some establishments will rush you through the meal to free up the table for alcohol-buying customers).

The restaurant is very stylish and minimalist with tables inside and outside. It is not on the main Mount Lawley Beaufort Street strip, but is a little out of the way and just off Walcott Street.

No 4

We were given bread at the start of the meal – the bread was fabulous, still warm from the oven, I chose olive bread, but there were other varieties available. The bread was served with a trio of butters – vinegar, orange and herb – all delicious and lightly whipped.

The first course was an amuse bouche of pig’s tail on a sweet potato and lemon puree – this was one of the surprise courses, and it was very tasty and unusual :

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

For my entree I chose yabbies with blood orange gel, black pudding (boudin noir), and purple potato crisp. This was a very well executed dish, the black pudding was rich and crumbly, the yabbies were perfectly cooked, and the potato crisps were as light as air.

Yabbies entree

Yabbies entree

My companion chose the rabbit parfait, belly presse, leg and pistachio terrine, gingerbread tuile and pomegranate. Everything on the plate complemented the dish and the ingredients worked well together, the parfait being the star of the dish.

Rabbit entree

Rabbit entree

Other choices for entree included squab, venison and goats cheese gnocchi.

The next course was a ‘surprise’ course of linguine puttanesca. It looked like a small amount of food, but was actually quite filling and very tasty. We were also offered our second round of bread at this point.

Linguine puttanesca

Linguine puttanesca

For the main course I chose pan fried Coral trout with smoked sardine pate, samphires, mussels and chenin emulsion. The mussel ‘shells’ were made of something (pasta maybe?) and squid ink, so the whole dish was edible. The trout was amazingly good quality, the pate was smoky and flavoursome, what a wonderful dish.

Coral Trout

Coral Trout

My companion chose the Ranger Valley beef flank, parsnip, poached quince and brandy braise. He said that the whole plate was delicious and textural, the meat melted in the mouth, the parsnips were light and crispy, and the quince added another dimension.

Beef flank

Beef flank

Other choices for main course were chicken with truffle, lamb with chickpeas and Japanese pumpkin.

The next course was the last of the surprises – a palate cleanser, which was a superb white chocolate and mango sorbet on a bed of tapioca and pineapple pickle. It was lovely and I would have been happy to have it as a dessert.

Mango sorbet

Mango sorbet

When the waiter brought dessert, he sprayed toffee essence into the air beforehand to add another sensation to the experience. For dessert I chose possibly the most amazing chocolate dessert that I have ever tasted – called a Chocolate Garden – it was a flowerpot containing layer after layer of surprises: edible flowers, Valrhona chocolate mousse, chocolate crumbly ‘soil’, dacquoise (which is almond and hazelnut meringue), and salted peanut. Every mouthful was pure joy.

Chocolate Garden

Chocolate Garden

My companion chose the Winter Jar – Tonka bean pannacotta, fairy floss, burnt orange jelly, malted crumb and cinnamon ice cream. He said that it was the best dessert he had ever tasted – again layer upon layer of superbly executed elements.

Winter jar

Winter jar

Winter jar

Winter jar

Other choices for dessert were blue cheese with strawberry or rhubarb and white chocolate. A cheese plate is also available for an extra charge.

So – the verdict? No 4 Blake Street is now in my top five of Perth restaurants. It is friendly, stylish, quirky and delicious. My motto – it just has to be delicious…and everything I had here fulfilled the brief. I will be back again and again.

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Shiro – Central Park Plaza, Perth

UPDATE: Shiro has now permanently closed.

Shiro Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This restaurant is inside a lovely area of Perth CBD called Central Park – a modern area with gardens, restaurants, cool bars and hotels.

Shiro Shiro

The ambience is modern, chilled and minimalist – I found it very relaxing – the staff were pleasant without being pushy. They provided tap water without us having to request it (I hate it when restaurants only offer bottled water at $10 a bottle, and then look down their noses at you when you ask for tap water).

The menu was fairly comprehensive offering an 8 course tasting menu for $95, an omakase menu (11 items) for $150 and various a la carte options including nigiri, sashimi, tataki/carpaccio, salads, hot dishes, tempura and house specials.

We chose miso soup and shared 6 dishes:

Miso soup

Miso soup

The miso was tasty and warming – a nice dose of umame on a chilly Perth evening.

Popcorn Shrimp

Popcorn Shrimp

This was a lovely tasty dish to start off with – deep fried crispy prawn meat with spicy mayonnaise and salad – very moreish.

Karaage chicken salad

Karaage chicken salad

Karaage dip

Karaage dip

If you have never eaten karaage chicken before, just imagine the best ever tastiest, crispiest, succulent fried chicken, and there you have it – this dish was perfectly cooked, served with mustard dip, salad leaves and crispy lotus root. Yum.

Carpaccio of snapper

Carpaccio of snapper

Next was carpaccio of snapper, lovely slices of raw snapper served with dashi jelly, ponzu sauce and herbs. This was a lovely concoction of flavours, impossible to eat with chopsticks, but the waitress obligingly gave us a spoon each.

Soft shell crab tempura

Soft shell crab tempura

The soft shell crab tempura was delicious – chunks of watermelon, crispy deep fried spinach leaves which were light and tasty, crispy lotus root slices, and soft shell crab in tempura batter.

Caramel Miso Pork Belly

Caramel Miso Pork Belly

The pork belly was perfectly cooked, soft and tasty on a bed of light caramel sauce with tempura noodles.

Assorted nigiri (royal flush)

Assorted nigiri (royal flush)

The nigiri was nice, top quality snapper, prawn, scallop, tuna, salmon and yellowtail on thumb sized pieces of rice. The rice fell apart a little though, I like the rice in sushi to hold together so that I can dip the whole piece in my soy, however these sushi fell apart in my chopsticks. They still tasted great though.

I loved Shiro. I thought the food was really good quality, and well presented in a nice environment. I will go back, but this time will order fewer deep fried dishes and more vegetable dishes. Excellent – I thoroughly recommend it.

Blackbird – East Perth

Blackbird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I hadn’t heard of Blackbird before, but decided to give it a try and take advantage of a 50% discount offer – I was quite impressed with the Urbanspoon rating so thought it would be above average.

We went on a Sunday lunchtime, and the restaurant is in a lovely setting right on the river just behind Royal Street.

Blackbird river view

Blackbird river view

The interior of the restaurant was casual and cosy, and the waitresses were cheery and welcoming. I liked that the drinks list offered some mocktails, and decided to opt for a no-jito, an alcohol free mojito, which was very good.

No-jito alcohol free mojito

No-jito alcohol free mojito

The menu options were fairly limited (4 choices for each course) but all sounded appetising. We chose to have some bread, and the waitress was very helpful in allowing me to have olive oil with balsamic vinegar rather than the usual Parisian butter. The bread was fresh and crusty – good quality. We decided to share a tasting plate starter.

Tasting Plate

Tasting Plate

This consisted of a slice of beef with blue cheese on bread, tomato and mushroom crostini, polenta with a capsicum sauce, and an arancini ball with pumpkin puree. They were all tasty and good quality – very enjoyable.

For main course I chose the fish of the day which was snapper in a light batter with chips, tartare sauce and a fennel and orange salad:

Fish and chips

Fish and chips

The chips were excellent, crispy and tasty, the salad was also very good and complemented the fish well. The snapper was good quality and fresh.

My companion chose beef medallions with sugar snap peas, roast potatoes, pumpkin puree, balsamic onions and mushroom duxelle:

Beef medallions

Beef medallions

The beef was cooked perfectly, all of the elements worked well and the textures complemented each other well.

For dessert I chose chocolate pudding with cherries and coffee ice cream:

Chocolate pudding

Chocolate pudding

It was a huge portion of chocolate pudding and quite rich, but very very good. I would have liked another scoop of ice cream – it was home made and had a really rich coffee flavour.

My companion chose chocolate truffles and coffee.

Chocolate truffles

Chocolate truffles

Coffee - flat white

Coffee – flat white

So will I go back to Blackbird ? Yes I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and felt pleasantly full afterwards. It is a nice environment, good quality food and friendly service. The only thing that let them down slightly was serving a chipped plate, but I think that the food made up for that faux pas.

P’tite Ardoise Bistro – Highgate

P'tite Ardoise Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I have been intending to eat at P’tite Ardoise for a while now – it always scores highly on Urbanspoon/Zomato, so I was delighted to finally get a booking (booking is not easy – they only seem to answer the phone in the afternoons).

I arrived early for my booking and was surprised to find the restaurant already very busy. The tables are very close together, so they pack quite a few people in. It has a quirky ambience, is a little old-fashioned, and the waiters are all French, speaking fluent Franglais to the diners “Bonsoir, can I get you a drink?”.

On first view of the menu, I wasn’t impressed, just three choices of starter, main and dessert, until I discovered the ‘menu du jour’ on the other side. I had been looking at the ‘classics’ menu.

The waitress brought lovely fresh bread in a basket – baguettes, olive bread, bread with grains, and I loved that they served it with a trio of butter, olive oil and tapenade. I cannot eat much dairy and I prefer olive oil to butter with my bread.

Olive bread

Olive bread

I chose the rillettes de tours to start – similar to a rustic pate, but not as smooth as pate – pork belly with sauternes jelly and crispy bread. The bread was so crispy that it was extremely hard, and made my hard palate sore trying to crunch through it. The dish was served with an apple chutney, a raspberry jelly and some dill pickles. The pork was extremely tasty, but the overly hard bread was a let down – I would have loved some softer toast, then it would have been perfect.

Rillettes de tour

Rillettes de tour

My companion chose the scallops and Merguez sausage with celeriac puree and calvados jus. He thoroughly enjoyed the dish and it looked fabulous.

Scallops

Other choices of starter included pumpkin soup, terrine of the day, and thinly sliced peppered beef with prawns and celeriac remoulade. It did occur to me that this would not be a great restaurant choice for the vegetarian diner.

For the main I chose snapper with manjimup truffle and potato macaire and port jus.

Snapper

Snapper

The snapper was lovely – perfectly cooked, but I didn’t really enjoy the potato macaire, it was quite dry in texture and I didn’t really detect the truffle flavour. We were also served a dish of vegetables which were nicely cooked but fairly plain.

Vegetables

Vegetables

My companion chose slow-cooked beef cheek with mashed potato, bacon, mushroom and red wine jus. He really enjoyed it and said that it was perfect winter food.

Beef cheek

Beef cheek

Other choices of main included casserole of the day, lamb shank and ratatouille crepes.

The portion sizes were quite huge and we didn’t feel that we had room for a dessert. If we had opted for dessert, we could have chosen from floating islands, chestnut meringue, plum clafoutis, trio of mini desserts or assorted truffles and nougat. All of them sound lovely but after two huge courses and two rounds of bread, we were finished.

So would I rush back to P’tite Ardoise ? The food was definitely tasty, I think my companion chose better dishes than me, the service was a little haphazard, and the tables felt cramped. The whole restaurant was quite noisy and lively and is a fun place to be, however, I don’t think it quite lived up to the hype. It was very good, but didn’t blow my mind.

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