Mary's, Mt Lawley

Marys18During the day you may know it as Mary Street Bakery, but at night it transforms into Mary’s, serving amazing food with creative flavours and a bit of an Asian influence. I recently visited Mary’s for a farewell dinner, as my dear friend Kat was leaving us for America.

Dining in a large group can sometimes be difficult, so we chose Mary's ‘Feed Me’ option where the kitchen selects a few dishes for us to share, at $45 per person. I totally recommend this if you can’t decide what to order and you’re in a big group, we got to try almost every dish from the menu.

To start off we ordered a few drinks, I chose a Pink Granade – Gin, Grapefruit, Maraschino, Bitters ($12), a light and fruity pre-made cocktail which reminded me a little bit of Schweppes’s Agrum.

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A few snacks came out, Crispy Chicken Skin with Seven Spices ($6) (not pictured) which was super a little bit spicy and very addictive. Some Trailer Trash Mix ($7) which consists of some smoked nuts and some Olives and Pickles ($9). We also got some bread and butter which was a great bonus.

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Marys3Marys22After that we had a few smaller things to share, my favourite being the Kewpie, Roe, Chicken Wings ($12 for 4), super crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Marys12marys11

I also really enjoyed the Eggplant Chips which I couldn't find on the menu. But they were lovely crispy battered pieces of eggplant with an aioli and chilli salt.

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The New Style Raw Fish with Ginger and Sesame ($22) this dish had a good amount of Ginger and Sesame.

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The Pig Head Terrine, Pickled Cucumber, Radish ($12 for 2) were also really popular amongst us, this was served a bit like a San Choy Bao.

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What I highly recommend ordering is the Aged Rump Tartare, Smoked Oyster ($18) served with little crackers. The cracker topped with little pieces of raw meat, pack a punch in terms of flavour and texture.

Marys10Marys9We also shared a few pasta dishes a Mal Tagliati, Braised Beef, Spiced Black Vinegar ($22) and the Lasagne, Mushroom, Black Garlic, Burnt Butter, Curd ($24). Both pastas were cooked very well although the flavours from the lasagne were my favourite of the two, and a stand out dish of the night.Marys21

Marys17Mary’s also have some nice salads we got Kim Jongs Crunchy Nut, Vegetable Noodle Salad ($16), Peppered Lead, Onion, Avocado, Black Rice, Thai Basil ($14) and Iceberg, Caramelised Bacon, Apple, Kimchi Vinaigrette ($12).Marys19Marys16Marys15To end the night we were served two desserts firstly a Doughnut Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Crunch, Kyoho Grape Jelly, Toast ($9). The peanut butter crunch was salty, which balanced out well with the sweet jelly and the cinnamon doughnut flavoured icecream. Then the waitress came out with a Dark Chocolate Mousse, Ginger Nut Brownie Coconut, Passionfruit ($14), and shaved some coconut ice on top, great theatre!

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Marys23Overall, it was a delicious experience, with friendly and quick service. Price wise, the 'Feed Me' option is very worth your money and our bellies were very quickly satisfied. Since I managed to try a majority of the menu, I would have to say to go for the Chicken Wings, Rump Tartare and Mushroom Lasagne. Also, don’t skip the desserts!

Rating: 8 out of 10 

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Chimek, Fremantle

IMG_6372 Fried Chicken and Beer is a very popular craze in Korea, and I guess it has now come to Perth. Chimek in the Fremantle Market offers a range of Fried Chicken and some non-alcoholic beer floats. The name Chimek comes from a combination of the word Chicken and Mekju, which is beer in Korean.

IMG_6356For lunch my friend Jaceline and I, ordered their insta-famous Charcoal Beef Burger ($10) and Korean Dak Gang Jeong Fried Chicken ($10). The burger which looks black, is actually made with charcoal however there is no charcoal taste to it. I really enjoyed the flavours of the Beef with the sautéed mushrooms, balsamic onions, squid ink aioli and cheese.

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Before ordering, they kindly let us try the Dak Gang Jeong Fried Chicken, which was supposedly spicier than their Korean Gochujjang flavour. Personally it wasn’t very spicy, but we liked it and decided to get a serving. It came out with some daikon radish and chips, as well as some handy plastic gloves to keep us from getting messy.

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We had also heard great things about their Green Tea Cheesecake, so we decided to give it a go. We were given a good portion size, of the cake with more Matcha sauce and powder dusted over the top. There was a good amount of Matcha flavour in the cake and the texture of it was perfectly smooth.

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Overall, Chimek did not disappoint and their friendly service is a big plus. I can’t wait to go back to try their Sticky Pork Cranberry Burger and their Honey Soy Sesame Fried Chicken.

Note: They also have a 20% discount offer, if you pick up one of their discount postcards at the counter.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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Farine, Shanghai

IMG_4587One of the food highlights from my recent trip to Shanghai, was the visit to Farine Bakery located in the French Concession area. Farine is a lovely place to enjoy some sweet treats, breads or a cup of coffee, and everything is baked freshly in-house.

From what I’ve heard it is always crowded and difficult to find seating, so come early on a weekday. The morning I visited, we were lucky enough to get a seat outside where we could enjoy our breakfast with a view of the picturesque leafy trees, iconic to the area.

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For coffees we ordered a Short Macchiato and Cappuccino. The cappucino came out traditional style, without chocolate powder, it was probably the best we had in Shanghai compared to other coffee joints. We also decided on a Ham Quiche for something savoury, which was warmed up for us.

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Dan wanted to try the Chocolate Croissant, which was buttery and flakey. Although the chocolate didn't ooze out, I would maybe recommend to ask for it to be warmed up.

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The star of bakery was definitely that beautiful Lemon Passion Tart (35 RMB), it’s smooth, creamy and has the right balance of sweetness to tartness. If you ever pay a visit to Farine this is the first thing you must order!

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Rating: 8 out of 10

Website: http://www.farine-bakery.com/

Address: 378 Wukang Rd, near Tai'an Rd. Fergusun Lane, Xuhui. 200031 Shanghai.

Opening Hours: 7am-8pm Daily.

Ciao Italia, South Perth

IMG_3350 Finally, I can say I’ve been to Ciao Italia! Last week I visited this busy Italian restaurant for a weekday dinner with some friends, where we shared some pasta, pizza and also tried out the calamari (as sadly they ran out of Chilli Mussels).

For starters we shared the Romana ($26.50), this pizza was perfectly cooked in the wood fire oven. The crust was the right thickness, and toppings of leg ham, fetta cheese, bacon & artichokes were generously spread over the base.

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Dan and I shared the Spaghetti Vongole ($34.50), a dish of pasta tossed with baby clams, lots of garlic, chilli, fresh tomato and extra virgin olive oil. I thoroughly enjoyed the spaghetti and would recommend it to anyone who loves seafood.

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Our friends ordered the Linguine Alla Salerno ($35.50) with chilli tomato sauce, and the Fettucine Ciao Italia ($29.50). The linguine dish, is made of homemade squid ink pasta and although I didn’t get a taste of it, looked so good I just have to go back to try it. On the other hand, I have previously tried the Fettucine Ciao Italia at Chapter 88, their sister restaurant situated in Nedlands. This signature dish, comes with a creamy white sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and chicken.

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Instead of sharing the Chilli Mussels, which they unfortunately sold out of that night (note to self: must go early in the evening), we ordered a serving Calamari Alla Griglia ($37.50). The generous serving of calamari came in a light batter with some lemon sauce, and a side of salad.

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To finish off, we ordered a Tiramisu, which was a hit for some of us and a miss for others. With all the other dishes, do not expect to finish one slab of the homemade dessert by yourself! The decadent layers of sponge cake, coffee, mascarpone cheese and double cream are plenty enough to send you into a food coma.

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Overall this place is what you imagine a busy family like Italian restaurant to feel like, it is loud, super jam packed with people and the food is delicious. Make sure to share everything or prepare to takeaway, as the servings are huge. I’ll definitely return to try some more pizza and pasta!

Rating: 9 out of 10

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Sea Circus, Seminyak

IMG_3507 Sea Circus is a quirky and colourful café located on Jalan Kayu Aya. If you feel like having a healthy breakfast or a cheeky cocktail, this is the place to go. Just a short walk from popular spots such as Bodyworks Day Spa and Potato Head Beach Club, you couldn’t miss the creative artwork painted on their shopfront.

On a busy day of exploring what Seminyak had to offer, my family and I popped into Sea Circus for light refreshments and snacks. After browsing various Instagram images and perusing through the menu, we decided to order the Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa (3 for 110 000 rupiah). The tacos came out on a wooden board, with three side dishes of guacamole, mango salsa and jalapenos. When combined together, the soft taco tasted fresh and delicious, and we were very satisfied with the flavours.

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My sister Joan, ordered an Acai Smoothie (65 000 rupiah), which was topped with banana, strawberry and bee pollen. Joan still claims today, that this is the best Acai smoothie she’s ever had, and she's tried quite a few. She was also pretty disappointed she didn’t come back to try their Acai bowl for brekky.

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After hearing how good the frozen margaritas were at Sea Circus, I ordered the Passion fruit & Guava Margarita (90 000 rupiah), which is made of Jose Cuervo tequila, passionfruit, guava, triple sec and lime. Mum decided on the Strawberry and Lychee Margarita (90 000 rupiah) made of Jose Cuervo tequila, strawberry, lychee, triple sec & lime. Both the cocktails were strong, icey and refreshing, just right for Bali’s extremely humid weather.

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To finish off we tried the Hot Churros with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce (45 000 rupiah), which were quite average. Not something I would order again, as they tasted premade and not very fresh.

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On a separate occasion we came back for a few more refreshments, and my sister ordered another Acai Smoothie. I’ve forgotten the rest of the names but they ranged between 25 000  to 30 000 rupiah and can be served as a granita (frappe) or ice-cold juice.

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Sea Circus have a menu with such variety, there is something for everyone at an inexpensive price. If I’m ever holidaying in Bali again, I’d definitely come back to try more of their dishes.

Rating: 8 out of 10

(Photos taken with iPhone 6s)

Website: http://seacircus-bali.com/

Address: 22 Jalan Kayu Aya (Oberi Rd), Seminyak, Bali

Sushia Izakaya and Bar, Perth CBD

IMG_2296 This Valentine’s Day my boyfriend and I were busy with work, so we planned a date for a Thursday night at Sushia. When we walked down into the restaurant it was dimly lit, with a comfortable open space and a modern Japanese ambience. I liked how the kitchen was viewable by customers, and impeccably neat.

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Never being to Sushia before, I decided to ask the Japanese waitress on what and how to order. She was very helpful and gave us a few suggestions that I was excited to try.

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The drinks we ordered was an Asahi Super Dry ($10.5) and a Pure Passion Mocktail ($12), because I was driving that night. The Mocktail was a mixture of cranberry, raspberry, apple juice and passionfruit syrup, something fruity and tart.

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The first dish that arrived to the table came from the Raw Bar, which was the Sashimi Santenmori ($18). A trio of raw fish beautifully presented on a bed of shaved ice consisting of Salmon, Tuna and Kingfish. The fish that night was very fresh, and just melted in your mouth.

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From the In-House Sushi Menu, I chose the Kamo ($22), a Duck breast sushi with Yuzu miso dressing. This was one of my favourite choices that night as it was a change from the raw salmon sushi I normally order when going out. The duck breast was tender, served on small pillows of rice, just the right size for one bite.

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The Soft Shell Crab Salad ($24) was a winner for my boyfriend, who enjoyed the combination of sweet watermelon with warm crispy soft shell crab, baby greens and amazu ponzu dressing.

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Our waitress that night recommended the Hotate age ($28), deep fried scallops wrapped with kataifi and Japanese pickles. Kataifi is a shredded looking pastry, which when deep-fried created a good crispy exterior to contrast the delicateness of the scallop.

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From the Robata Grill section, my boyfriend chose the 450g Rib Eye ($36), which came out medium rare as we requested. It was slow-cooked and served with three sauces, a black pepper, a jalapeño and a spicy sauce (which to me tasted like Korean soybean paste). Out of the three, the jalapeño sauce was my favourite, and I like how they cut the rib eye into bite-sized pieces, making it easier for the eater.

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For dessert, I was super excited to try Sushia’s Dessert Tasting Platter ($42). That night it included Black Sesame and Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream, Chocolate Lava Cake, Tofu Cheesecake, Banana Wraps, Mango Sorbet and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. For us, the standouts were the Banana Wraps and the Chocolate Lava Cake.

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I’m unsure if Sushia make their ice creams in-house, but the Mango Sorbet has got to be my favourite sorbet ever! It was different because there was bits of lime rind, making it taste very fresh, a good palate cleanser if eaten last.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the meal, the service was helpful and the dishes arrived promptly to the table. I would recommend it to anyone for future date nights, although it is pricey for those who expect larger portions. I would suggest to make a reservation for a nice occasion, and definitely don’t miss out on ordering dessert.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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N2 Extreme Gelato, Fitzroy

IMG_4700 Last year, my boyfriend and I planned a post-exams trip to Melbourne in November. Before flying off I prepared a list of the city’s ‘must tries’ and N2 Extreme Gelato was one of them. Available in Sydney and Melbourne, but unfortunately not Perth, these treats are made using liquid nitrogen and come in a variety of weird but wonderful flavours.

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After visiting the Melbourne Museum that day, we walked over to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy known for their boutiques and cafes. The gelato scientists behind N2 have an ever changing menu, there is always something for both the fussy eaters and the adventurous types. On that day this ranged from simple flavours such as Mango Sorbet ($6) to an unconventional Strawberry & Jalepeno ($6).

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Being a crème brulee fan, my boyfriend quickly chose the Milo Crème Brulee ($8) while I went all out and got the Ferrero Reveal ($10). In less than five minutes the staff served us the freshly prepared gelato.

The Milo Crème Brulee was smooth and creamy, and the burnt sugar top was just as it should be.

IMG_4698My Ferrero Reveal was definitely an ambitious size for me, and could be shared between two. This menu option had great texture with crispy rice bubbles and hazelnuts in the Nutella gelato, which was then topped with chocolate drizzle, a signature N2 syringe filled with warm ganache and finally a choc-dipped cone.

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I love this place and the concept they have, because the menu is always changing, meaning there is always something interestingly different to try. Can’t wait to taste it again next time I travel east!

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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