Galileo Buona Cucina, Shenton Park

IMG_7540 For Daniel’s 21st birthday I took him to Galileo in Shenton Park, an authentic Italian restaurant that has been one of only 10 WA restaurants that are recognised by the Italian government. After hearing many great things, I made an early reservation at 6pm as we had tickets for Cirque Du Soleil’s Totem later that night.

The service here is exceptional, our waitress for the night impressively listed the specials and their detailed descriptions. To start off we ordered two entrée specials, the Caprese ($23) and the Gnocchi ($23). They thoughtfully split the Caprese onto two separate plates for us to share, the ingredients tasted very fresh and the simple combination of mozzarella with the saltiness of the meat were perfect. The Gnocchi was made with ricotta and spinach, four-cheese sauce and truffle oil. The pieces were so pillowy and melt in your mouth, definitely a highlight!

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For mains Dan had the Quail stuffed with Venetian Sausage centre & Lentils ($29.90) and I had the Spit Roast Duck ($33), one of the specials. The Quail was cooked perfectly pink and tender. While the duck’s skin was crispy on the outside although a little bit dry inside, however the creamy bed of mash it sat on made up for the dryness.

IMG_7541IMG_7546Unfortunately we were in a rush, and didn’t get to try their dessert menu. However, they surprised Daniel with a little chocolate cake, which was a nice birthday treat. They also give all their customers complementary biscuits at the end of their meal. I think Galileo is a must visit in Perth, I’m already drooling thinking about that gnocchi dish!

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Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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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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Hermosa, Wembley

Hermosa1     The people who brought us Tropico in North Beach have recently opened up Hermosa, a Spanish inspired eatery serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast

On my first visit, I went with my boyfriend to try out their breakfast menu. The service was very friendly and our dishes came to us quickly. Just like Tropico, they use Bondi based roasters Will & Co’s beans, we ordered a Cappuccino and a Long Macchiato topped up.

Hermosa11 Dan ordered the “Full Spanish”, poached eggs, chorizo chipolatas, mushrooms, beans, bacon, tomato ($23). He quickly insisted that it was the best big breakfast he’s had! I really enjoyed the beans which were served in a separate jar on the side.

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I ordered the Avocado on Toast, Migas, Lime & Tomato Salsa, Poached Egg ($16), which had a generous portion of avocado and a nice zesty flavour. However, I much prefer Tropico’s which comes with a beautiful lemon curd.

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Lunch

A few weeks later we returned to try their lunch menu. After several recommendations by other foodies, we ordered a range of dishes to share.

Smoked Hock & Morcilla Croquette, with heirloom carrot escabeche ($12). This dish was delicious, crispy battered blood sausage and hock, with punchy pickled vegetables.

Hermosa 5Pan con mushrooms and goats cheese ($14). The serving comes with four pieces of toast, spread with goats cheese and topped with sautéed mushrooms, easy to eat and the classic flavours work well together.

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Slow cook egg, migas, morcilla, potato puree ($11). This dish had all the things I love, carbs, runny yolk and crispy bits. The blood sausage was also a good addition to the dish, which I hadn’t had before.

Hermosa10Manchego cheese & truffle onion, grilled toasty, red pepper ketchup ($12). Many people had raved over this toasty, and I regretted not ordering it on my last visit. Available all day, this toasty hits all the buttons. Hermosa9

Grilled artisan W.A. Chorizo, Marinated peppers, roquette, lemon dressing, “hot dog” ($15). Out of all the dishes, I probably wouldn’t order this one again, as it was quite underwhelming.

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Papas Fritas with aioli ($8) Just had to order some fries, which came with a delicious homemade aioli.

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The highlights for me would be the Slow cook egg and the Toasty. Service here is also very friendly and efficient. But, I have noticed that Hermosa's recent rating have not been good, and also that there are a few inconsistencies with portioning in peoples photos. My personal experiences have been positive so far, so I will definitely be back to try their smoothies and Lime Churros!

Hermosa3Rating: 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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Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

IMG_6270 A new season has come around and new dishes are now on offer at Harvest Espresso. I’ve always loved their creativity, bold flavours and strange combinations! This place has been blogged about so many times, so I’ll try to keep this short and simple.

This time round, we started with Long Macchiatos topped up and I had an Iced Matcha Tea.

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For food we tried out two new dishes on the Winter Menu, the Harvest-Smoked Salmon Fillet ($26.5) and the Steamed Mandarin Pudding ($18.5). The Smoked Salmon Fillet was delicately flakey, topped with two perfectly poached eggs and combined with leek ash, toasted buckwheat, hon shimeji, braised leek, salmon caviar and butter lettuce jus. The buckwheat gave it a crispy textural element and the creamy, smokey flavours worked very well together.

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The Steamed Mandarin Pudding was light and moist, with Lochan Ora jelly, crème fraiche, coconut crème gel, toasted muesli and earl grey crumble.

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Overall, I give them 10/10 for creativity and giving me a reason to return with their ever-changing seasonal menu. For fellow Western Australians who live under a rock, or those from out of state who haven’t yet visited Harvest Espresso, I highly recommend trying the seasonal dishes.

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.

Restaurant Amusé, East Perth

IMG_3989 To celebrate our third anniversary, Dan and I visited Restaurant Amusé in East Perth. The restaurant looks like an ordinary house on the outside, but the interior is simple and sophisticated, and their waitstaff provide perfect service from start to finish. The night’s menu was filled with both classic and imaginative combinations, and showed a lot of impressive technique.

Before we began the degustation, we were given a ‘cheat sheet’ with ingredients for each course and the wines served if you decided on wine pairing ($80pp), which we opted out of. When each dish is placed in front of you it is explained in detail, and truthfully some dishes had so many elements I couldn’t exactly remember, but I’ll try my best to recall each dish.

We started off with canapés, which were Curried Egg on Cos, Salt and Vinegar Cracker and Cheese Puff.

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Following that we had a small portion of Buttermilk Dashi, Crab and Lemon Verbena, which was so delicious I wanted more.

IMG_3995 After that some Bread and Butter was brought to the table, the bread is baked in-house and comes in two varieties, Rye and Sourdough. I preferred the sourdough, which went perfectly with their churned smoked butter. It’s great that you aren’t restricted to two slices each, they offer you more bread if you want it!

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The first of the savoury courses arrived, which was Nashi Pear, Sunflower, Turnip and Cheddar. This was a simple yet exciting dish, the sweetness of the pear went really well with the saltiness of the grated cheddar.

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Next on the table was the Marron, Carrot, Quinoa and Buckwheat. Underneath the smokey bisque, was a risotto made from quinoa and buckwheat, lovely pieces of marron and a textural element of crispy quinoa.

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One of my favourites from the night was the Beef, Apple, Coal and Celeriac, with shaved egg yolk. I was very interested to see how they would use the coal, and in this dish they made a coal mayonnaise. The sweetness of the apple and crispness of the celeriac, really complimented the medium rare barbequed beef.

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The next dish was the Barramundi, Artichoke, Mushroom and Black Garlic, also topped with grilled zucchini. The barramundi was cooked perfectly; it didn’t taste fishy at all and melted in your mouth. The shitake mushrooms made this more of a Japanese dish to me.

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The dish that didn’t really hit it off for me was the Duck, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi and Pomegranate; maybe it was because I was very full. The duck was cooked two ways, and is under layers of kohlrabi soaked in pomegranate juice. Thanks to Wikipedia, I learnt that a kohlrabi is also called a turnip cabbage and it tasted just like that.

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Before dessert, came out a dish made of Caraway, Passionfruit, Coconut and Pine Geranium, which I didn't really enjoy too much. The caraway is used in a rye cracker, which then has passionfruit and coconut gel piped onto it.

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For dessert we had Quince, Prune, Jasmine and Chocolate. This consisted of shards of dehydrated chocolate mousse, poached quince pieces, a jasmine cream and a surprisingly delicious prune sorbet. The flavours worked very well, but I felt as if there could’ve been less shards of mousse or it could have been broken into smaller pieces.

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The last treat for the night consisted of Mint, Pepperberry, Lychee and Bergamot. Mint and pepperberry were made into a tea like drink, to help aid our digestion. The waitress also brought out a little dish of lychee jelly and bergamot caramel, for additional sweetness.

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Overall, the food was creative and well balanced throughout the night. If you have $130pp to spare, and around 2.5-3 hours I definitely recommend dining here! For those of you who do have the entertainment book, make sure you take advantage of the voucher for $40 off the total bill.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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'The Six Stack' by The Bao Bar

IMG_3843 A few months ago my friend Aaron Chew mentioned an idea to bring the humble Taiwanese Gua Bao to Perth in a modern and relatable way. Now his dream has become a reality, with the creation of his pop-up venture known as ‘The Bao Bar’. With other local eateries such as Low Key Chow House and crowd-funded Lucky Chan’s offering variations of gua bao, The Bao Bar is up against some pretty tough competition.

Along his journey I have somehow been roped into helping out, but working at The Bao Bar has been both fun and exciting. Every Friday night we get together to serve a bao degustation, known as ‘The Six Stack’. The event is located at a warehouse in O’Connor, where we pump some Nujabes and serve you six different baos, and unlimited Asian soft drinks, at a price of $40.

So here is ‘The Six Stack’ line up from the past two weeks:

Some lotus root chips seasoned in sweet and salty chinese five spice to start off.

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1. The O.G.

This is the original Taiwanese style braised pork belly gua bao, served with crushed peanuts and coriander.

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2. The Big Bird

Who doesn’t love a fried chicken bao? This gua bao is filled with chinese cabbage, a Taiwanese style popcorn chicken and drizzled in sriracha mayonnaise. Out of the six this one's my favourite!

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3. The Notorious P.I.G

Another pork belly bao, but this time with a crispy crackling, hoisin sauce, fresh cucumber, zingy pickled radish & carrot, and a garnish of coriander.

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4. The Sebastian

Delicious soft shell crab, covered in a homemade Singaporean style chilli sauce inside a naughty deep fried bao.

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5. The Porco Rosso

A char-siu pulled pork gua bao, with crushed peanuts, cucumber and a garnish of coriander.

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6. The Kimberly Hart

To finish off, there is a sweet dessert bao! A deep fried gua bao, filled with red bean paste and green tea ice cream, then covered in crushed strawberry pocky and peanuts.

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Unfortunately, through the power of social media this bao-gustation is now sold out for the next few weeks! But, if you want to know where The Bao Bar is popping up next, stalk us on social media:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

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The Old Laundry, North Perth

IMG_3615When I saw fellow Perth bloggers Bryony Eats and Queen of Bad Timing post photos of the prettiest Pop Tart ever, I immediately put the Old Laundry on top of my must try list. The Old Laundry is a North Perth bar and eatery serving their breakfast menu till 11:30am daily, the perfect place for a catch up on a Sunday morning.

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The coffees here are reasonably priced at $3.50 for a regular dine in cup. Here is a photo of their Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino, which I thought enjoyably smooth and had the right amount of foam on top.

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Best friends share their food, and I was delighted when my friend Rachel proposed to share the Peanut Butter & Jelly Pop Tart ($17) and the Sweet Potato & Chorizo Hash ($17). I thought that the pop tart would be overwhelming with so many sweet flavours of salted caramel, jam and chocolate mousse, but it was perfectly balanced. Although this dish is more of a dessert

IMG_3607 The Hash was also just what I felt like that morning, with spicy chorizo, caramelized onion jam, potato, rocket and topped with a fried egg. The sunny side up egg was cooked just the way it should be, yolky on top so it drizzles over the potatoes.

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One of my friends also ordered the Pecan & Maple Syrup Granola ($16), which came with a small jug of milk for those who need it. Although I only had a spoonful to taste, this granola topped with pear, rhubarb compote, pomegranate and yoghurt, was delicious, a good choice for a lighter breakfast.

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I will be back to try their Green Eggs and Ham, because the pork hock, green pea & polenta fried cakes with poached eggs and pesto sound irresistible! Their new menu is worth a try, give it a go and let me know what you think.

 Rating: 8 out of 10

Old Laundry Bar & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Fez Cafe, Mt Lawley

IMG_3570 After a productive morning, starting with class at University and some shopping in the city, Dan and I headed to Fez Café to meet up with our friend David. Fez Café sits on Walcott Street in Mt Lawley, and serves a variety of breakfast choices made in house.

To start off, the boys ordered some Long Macchiato’s ($4.50), while I had a Short Macchiato ($3.50). Fez uses a house blend called ‘Jasper’ by Darkstar coffee a local Western Australia roaster.

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First came those fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes ($18), which David had ordered, along with a side of berry compote, mascarpone, maple syrup and strawberries. I only had a forkful to taste, but would probably return for this.

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I was disappointed not to see their popular Panna Cotta on the menu, but opted for the Field Mushrooms ($21), which were delicious. It was a large portion of house beans, topped with the mushrooms, spinach, creamy fetta and two slices of garlic bread. This dish is a great winter warmer, but I definitely couldn’t finish it all by myself.

IMG_3578Daniel’s go-to breakfast is anything with Smoked Salmon or Avocado on it, so he chose the Smoked Salmon ($22) with corn & horseradish potato hash, spinach, lemon & herb sour cream and two lovely poached eggs on rye. The eggs were cooked perfectly, and he was satisfied with his choice.

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Apart from great brunch, the service here is quick and ten points goes to the free one hour parking right across the café, such a plus when choosing a place to dine. I can’t wait to return, just to dig into those pancakes, or to try a warm bowl of rice and chia pudding.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Fez Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Gaya, Applecross

IMG_3479 I have been to the Gaya once previously, it was pleasant and I didn’t think too much of it then. This time when head chef and owner Leo invited me to dine, I thought, why not. It gave me an opportunity to catch up with one of my good friends, Zoya who is always open to trying different foods, like modern Korean fusion.

Before we even ordered, the waitress brought out a complementary starter of homemade potato chips and cheese puffs. The homemade potato chips were a great snack, but the cheese puffs were a little strange, but we ate them all up quickly.

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Zoya and I started with the Beef Cream Roll ($15) and the Seafood Jijimi ($15). I ordered the Beef Cream Roll as I had heard great reviews about it, and it didn’t disappoint. This was my favourite savoury dish of the night, and although the ingredients sounded strange at first with fried garlic chips, asparagus, enoki mushrooms, capsicum, cucumber and cream cheese, wrapped up in beef, it worked very well.

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The Seafood Jijimi is more of a traditional Korean style pancake with spring onion, onions, carrot, squid and fish. Unlike other Korean pancakes I’ve had, this one was full of fresh ingredients and was cooked evenly, it was not too oily or soggy in the middle as some can be.

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For mains we decided on the 36Pork ($32) and the Gaya BBQ Rib Galbi ($32). The last time I was at the Gaya, Dan ordered the 36Pork and I immediately regretted that I didn’t order it. This dish is made of pork belly sous vide for 36 hours, put with pumpkin potato puree, soybean paste sauce, chives and apples.

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The Gaya BBQ Rib Galbi, is a grilled beef short rib, with daikon roll salad, potato egg salad and coconut rice. All the elements on the plate were tasty but didn’t really work very well together. Both mains came with some traditional Korean sides, which were Seaweed, Potato Salad and Spicy Beansprouts. The seaweed and beansprouts were a nice side dish, but the potato salad had a strong sourness I couldn’t get used to.

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After all this we were so full, but still decided to get the dessert. We shared the Redmisu ($9), a homemade Tiramisu with red bean paste, which is presented similar to the flowerpot dessert I had at No. 4 Blake St. This tiramisu is delicious with the addition of red bean and also has a right balance of coffee within it.

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We also got the Ho-Tuck ($10), a Korean style sweet pancake with dark brown sugar inside, topped with walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and strawberries. This pancake was surprisingly delicious and the flavours tasted very similar to Spanish churros.

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Apart from the A la Carte menu, the Gaya also offers a set menu, which includes a choice of a starter, main and dessert for an affordable $50. Overall, I had a very good time here and thank Leo for the opportunity to taste his creations. I would recommend to order the set menu, to try the beef cream roll, and definitely don’t miss out on dessert.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Disclaimer: Although I was invited to dine at this restaurant, the views and opinions presented are 100% my own thoughts.

The Gaya on Urbanspoon

Pixel Coffee, Leederville

IMG_3430 Pixel Coffee has just opened their doors with a fabulous team providing speciality coffee and fresh healthy meals daily. On arrival I fell in love with their minty blue, white and wooden interior, decorated with blossoming flowers.

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Dan ordered his usual, a Traditional Long Macchiato while I ordered a Single Origin Flat White, as recommended by one of the friendly baristas. The coffee was smooth and easy to drink, presented with swans. I really enjoyed this cup of coffee and will be back for more.

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Apart from a full display of sandwiches, salads, raw desserts and other treats on offer, they also serve a breakfast menu until 11:30am. I like how they use free range, organic and local suppliers where possible and make the meals in house from scratch.

I decided to order the Sweet French Toast ($21.90) and the Pix Plate ($18.90) to share between us. The French Toast is made using wood fired baker sourdough, fresh banana, strawberries, house cured maple bacon and raspberry mascarpone. This dish was not too sweet and beautifully presented. But I probably wouldn’t order it again as the flavours were not very exciting and the bacon wasn’t crispy.

IMG_3413 On the other hand, the flavours of the Pix Plate were more my cup of tea. This dish combined potato & herb hash with two poached eggs and a pea, prosciutto & parmesan salad. The hash was crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle and the saltiness of the prosciutto really complimented the dish.

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On a separate occasion, I came in just to try their Acai Bowl ($11.90), a Brazilian super fruit smoothie topped with fresh fruit and house granola. This smoothie bowl was a good consistency, sweet and just the right texture. I would recommend this to all the acai lovers out there, although, compared to other places like Hylin there was not as much fruit topping.

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When going up to the counter, I noticed a large Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Cheddar Tart ($12), which had just been baked that day. Being so fresh I insisted on getting it, which was a good choice as it was probably the best vegetable tart I have ever eaten.

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It is very nice to see such a lovely café show lots of enthusiasm in providing high quality food and coffee to their customers. If in the area, I definitely recommend stopping by for a quick caffeine hit or a sweet treat.

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Rating: 8 out of 10

Pixel Coffee on Urbanspoon

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

Ciao Italia on Urbanspoon

Paradise Dynasty, Singapore

IMG_3137 Xiao Long Bao, or as you may know them as Shanghai Dumplings, have always been my favourite ever since I was a child learning how to use chopsticks at Dim Sum restaurants. These delicious morsels have a thin skin surrounding a pillow of meat and soup (pork fat), which bursts in your mouth as you eat. But beware, not to burn yourself and to pick up the dumplings carefully as all the liquid goodness might break out.

Paradise Dynasty, offer a variety of Xiao Long Bao in different flavours as well as delicious La Mian (a handmade pulled noodle) and other Chinese dishes. I’ve been to this venue, up in Ion Orchard several times and have always enjoyed the selection. This trip, my friend and I decided to go all out and order two baskets of the Signature Dynasty Xiao Long Bao (8 flavours) ($14.80 SGD). The flavours are supposed to be eaten in order from Original, Ginseng, Foie Gras, Black Truffle, Cheesy, Crab Roe, Garlic and Szechuan.

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The Xiao Long Bao here are more robust than other restaurants, and some flavours were a hit while others were a miss. I thoroughly enjoyed the Truffle and Crab Roe, but flavours like Cheesy and Szechuan were slghtly overpowering. Overall, I still think the original flavour is the best.

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We also ordered a serving of Minced meat and Mushroom sauce La Mian ($8.50 SGD) to share, which came out in a large bowl. From that point we knew we were way ahead of ourselves as the serving was very generous. These noodles are deliciously springy, and slightly spicy coated in the meat sauce.

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Overall, the noodles here are delicious and it’s a nice place to share some Xiao Long Bao with the family. But beware, as this fancy Chinese restaurant on Orchard Road charges $1.80 for their serving of table peanuts, and 30c each for the moist towelletes.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Address: #04-12A, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn

Website: http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg

Perth Night Noodle Markets, Northbridge

IMG_2972In November last year, I had the chance to visit the amazing Night Noodle Markets in Melbourne (not a market that just sells noodles). This month, I was thrilled when I heard they were finally bringing it to Perth, along with stalls from the eastern states as part of the festival Eat Drink Perth.

After much hype, I rocked up on the opening night thirty minutes early. The plan was to get in and out before the massive crowds flooded the area, as well as take advantage of the natural lighting while the sun was still out.

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Masak Masak Masak Masak a business from Collingwood, Victoria was the first stall I tried at the Night Noodle Market. They were set up at the Urban Orchard area, and serve a variety of dishes like Beef Rendang with Coconut Sticky Rice ($15) and Crispy Prawn Wontons ($10).

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I ordered the Pork Belly with pickled vegetables and palm sugar caramel ($15). The pork crackling was crispy on the top, but a little bit chewy which didn’t affect its flavour when mixed with the vegetables.

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We also ordered a Snow Pear Slushy ($5), which was served in a plastic bag, similar to other traditional drinks served at hawker stalls across Asia. It's a sweet and icey drink, very refreshing on a hot night.

Masak Masak on Urbanspoon

Pasar Malam Due to the large variety of options at the Melbourne Night Noodle Market, I didn’t get to try Pasar Malam. This time, I was very excited to sample something from their menu, as it reminded me of familiar Singaporean flavours which I love so much.

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I settled on the Chilli Soft Shell Crab ($15), which was a small portion of crab served with two deep fried mantou buns. This tasted exactly like Singaporean chilli crab but was definitely easier to eat, the eggy sauce was not too spicy and the golden buns were perfect to wipe up the leftover sauce. I could eat this all day!

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I also ordered a serve of Sweet Potato Balls ($9), which was very expensive seeing as there were only 9 or 10 of these marble sized balls in the paper cone. Even though they were pricey, they were deliciously crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, a really nice snack.

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Apple Daily Bar and Eating House

On the first floor of Print Hall at Brookfield Place you’ll find Apple Daily, a restaurant serving Asian street style food. Although I have not been to the restaurant, I’ve heard good things and decided to sample something from their market stall.

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The Linley Valley Pork Ribs, with tamarind, chilli and coriander ($12) were perfectly cooked, the meat fell of the bone and the flavours were paired well. But, I’ve also heard through social media, that some people had meat that was overcooked and tough or chewy. Luckily for me, this was not the case, possibly because we were early and the large rack of ribs is left on the heat all night to stay warm.

Masak Masak on Urbanspoon

Verdict

It is important to prepare yourselves, as you’ll be paying over inflated prices for little portions, and wait in long lines. Hoy Pinoy, a business from Melbourne had lines as long as an hour, which is why I gave them a pass this year. But, I’ve previously tried their chicken skewers from the Queen Victoria Markets and they are great.

Overall, The food I tasted that night was all on point, I loved the flavours and would definitely suggest the Pork Belly Salad from Masak Masak and the Chilli Soft Shell Crab from Pasar Malam. Compared to Melbourne, the Perth Night Noodle Markets had less variety but I’m sure over the upcoming years this will expand greatly as more businesses are more aware to participate.

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Typika Artisan Roasters, Claremont

IMG_2879 I have been to Typika quite few times now, and from what I see I think their doing well for themselves as the Claremont venue is always busy. On the latest visit, my foodie partners in crime were, my boyfriend; Dan, workmate; Julian and his lovely girlfriend Oana (the blogger behind The Bittersweet Odyssey). Overall, us foodies agreed that their food is good, while their coffee and service is average

Coffee and Drinks

The baristas behind the counter that day, were Andy (@72transformations) who was previously from La Veen Coffee & Kitchen, and Rachel (@barista_ong) who also works at the Pulp cafe. They are super friendly people and passionate about coffee, so don’t hesitate to have a chat with them.

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Dan had the Cold Brew, which was served on a platter with a beaker of sparkling water and glass of ice. This single origin cold brew had been brewed for 16 hours, supposedly resulting in a sweet, low acidity flavour.

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Oana ordered a double ristretto Flat White, and Julian ordered an Espresso, which was served with a palate cleanser of sparkling water.

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I ordered a Grapefruit and Strawberry Smoothie ($7.50) a dairy free option, which was sweet and easy to drink.

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Although I didn’t order it that day, I would also recommend the Deconstructed Hot Chocolate; warm frothy milk, served with melted chocolate syrup, chocolate flakes and marshmallows. 

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Food

A popular and satisfying option at Typika, is the Golden French Toast ($19.50). A naughty breakfast of egg battered toast served with banana, maple candied bacon and lashings of salted caramel. I’ve previously introduced this dish to two friends who didn’t know that bacon and banana could coexist on one plate, and they both enjoyed it.

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Another sweet dish is the Cast Iron Pancakes ($23.50), a doughnut style pancake cooked in a cast iron pan, making the crust crispy and the inside soft and fluffy. When served with poached pear, strawberries, nut crumble, vanilla custard and cinnamon sugar is a perfect combination, although a bit pricey.

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I managed to taste a little bit of the Mushroom and Leek Ragu ($23.50), which Julian and Oana ordered. This was a dish off mixed swiss brown, field and button mushrooms, panfried in herb butter, white wine, then served with toast, poached egg, soft goats feta and snow pea tendrils. I would order this dish again, as the ragu was quite flavourful, although I would ask for it without the sprouts.

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Dan ordered the Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($23), which is slow cooked shredded pork shoulder, with cheddar and BBQ sauce, topped with a corn, avocado and capsicum salsa.

IMG_2906 I have also previously tried the Black Sticky Rice with Mango and COYO ($16), which is a change for people who normally order muesli or porridge. The black sticky rice was a bit bland, but nice when combined with the sweet mango cheek. I wouldn’t order this dish again as I didn’t really enjoy the coconut yoghurt, I would say that it’s an acquired taste, kind of like sour cream.

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Verdict

We all had a good time, taking our foodie shots, filling our bellies and meeting each other’s better halves. I like that the location is easy to get to, just off Stirling highway and parking is normally plentiful (if not just park at Claremont Quarter, the first three hours are free). But, each time I’ve been here it has been difficult to get the attention of the wait staff, apart from that the food arrives to the table consistently quickly. I recommend going on a weekday to avoid long waits, and to get the Golden French Toast or the Spiced Beef Benedict (not pictured).

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Typika Artisan Roasters on Urbanspoon

The Sarapan, Victoria Park

IMG_2795 This pop-up brunch venue on Leonard Street, have name themselves ‘Sarapan’ meaning ‘breakfast’ in Malay. Serving both Malaysian and Western dishes, what really drew me to Sarapan was the Roti Canai and Nasi Lemak. Only open on weekends, this café shares their space with another business, Olive and Figs who serve dinner.

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I really enjoyed the Nasi Lemak ($11.50) here, a dish of fragrant coconut rice and spiced fried chicken served with sambal, anchovies, peanuts, slices of cucumber and boiled egg. The portion of sambal (a southeast Asian chilli sauce) was generous and had a good balance of sweetness, saltiness and spiciness. The fried chicken could have been juicier, but it was fried perfectly with a tasty coating of spices.

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My friend Aaron also ordered an iced Teh Tarik ($4.50), a traditional ‘pulled’ Malaysian milk tea with condensed milk.

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The freshly made Roti Canai ($5) was crispy on the outside, as well as soft and fluffy. It was served with a dahl and chicken curry sauce on the side, for dipping. Even though we were given cutlery, the best technique to eat the roti is to rip it apart with your bare hands. I would come here again to eat this, and maybe add an egg next time for only 50c extra.

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Aaron and I were tossing between the Malaysian style Eggs & Toast ($5) or the Kaya Toast ($5), which we saw scribbled on the bottom of the menu. In the end we chose the Kaya Toast, which was a good choice that reminded us so much of Singapore. ‘Kaya’ is a sweet and creamy coconut spread, which was served with thick slices of white Hainan toast and a good portion of butter. There was enough kaya leftover that we could order an extra piece of toast (only 50c extra) to wipe it up.

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Overall, I think that this quaint pop-up café is worth a visit. The staff are friendly and the service is quick. I will definitely be returning on a weekend to try the Roti Bom ($5) a sweet version of the Roti Canai, served with condensed milk.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Sarapan on Urbanspoon

Hylin, West Leederville

IMG_2770 On the hunt for Perth’s best cafes with ticks in all the boxes for service, food and coffee, I decided to check out Hylin on Railway Parade. I have now been here four times, and have enjoyed my experience at each visit.

Hylin is bright and modern, I like how the windows are always open letting natural sunlight flow indoors (a tick in my box for good Instagram shots). It has a contemporary feel with clean finishes and exposed brick mixed with greenery from scattered plants and adorable shrubs.

IMG_2763Smoothies and Juices

The smoothies and juices at Hylin, are freshly made on the spot. My personal favourite is the Green Juice ($7.50) with cucumber, celery, spinach, kale and green apple.

On my first visit I came with friends Rachel and Erin, they ordered an Orange Juice ($7.50) and a Banana and Strawberry Smoothie ($7.50). On a separate occasion I also had the Acai Smoothie ($8.50), with banana and strawberry, which was very sweet and not particularly the best one I’ve had.

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Sweets

The ever-popular Cronut ($5) can also be found at Hylin, with a choice of a Nutella or Butterscotch filling. These are super delicious and are one of the better cronuts I’ve had in Perth. I’m not sure if they are available daily or just on the weekend, as on the two weekdays I visited there were sadly none to be found.

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Coffee

Hylin uses coffee beans from local independent Perth roasters, Micrology. We tried two coffees, a Cappuccino and Piccolo. The Piccolo seems to be my new go to during breakfast, because I end up too bloated if I have a large coffee with my meal. Eating with fellow baristas, they seemed pretty pleased with the coffee and Erin commented that the Cappuccino had the right amount of microfoam.

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Food

Their menu serves a variety of breakfast style dishes, from Acai Bowls to Burgers and even Tacos. The Smashed Avocado & Eggs ($15.50) came with a side of rocket and was served on two slices of sourdough toast. This dish was simply yummy, perfect for all those avo and egg lovers.

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The Open Street Tacos ($14.50) really drew my attention, and was my first dish I tried. The Cajun chicken breast and slaw in the flour tortilla paired really well with the fresh mango salsa. Although, I would’ve preferred it without beansprouts as they’re not my favourite vegetable.

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Whether vegetarian or not, everyone should try the Mushroom Haloumi Burger ($14.50), with a large roasted field mushroom, thick cut grilled haloumi cheese, caramelised onions, char-grilled peppers and a slide of slaw.

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My boyfriend tried the Spicy Chipotle Chicken Burger ($14.50), which wasn’t that spicy, but simple and tasty served with a side of pineapple slaw. The chicken breast wasn’t dry like most chicken burgers, but quite tender and juicy.

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Even though it was a small portion, I really enjoyed the Creamed Corn & Chorizo ($16.50), a dish with fried egg, asparagus, grilled chorizo, creamed corn and chipotle sauce on ciabatta. The best part was the creamed corn, I would eat a whole bowl of that if possible.

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On my latest visit to Hylin, my sister and I both ordered the Acai Bowl with Granola ($11). The smoothie part of the bowl was very sweet, made with coconut water, mixed berries, acai and banana. My sister finished the bowl quickly, but mentioned that Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall does a better Acai Bowl because she likes a thicker consistency.

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Verdict

I think coming here four times within the space of a week already says that I have good vibes for Hylin. My top recommendations are the Creamed Corn & Chorizo, Green Juice and Nutella Cronut!

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Rating: 8 out of 10

Hylin on Urbanspoon

The Modern Eatery, Fremantle

IMG_2705The Modern Eatery has recently opened their doors in Fremantle, a Japanese restaurant specialising in Aburi sushi (a method of light searing with a blow torch). On their soft opening, I brought my family down to try what the ‘House of Aburi Sushi’ had to offer. The interior of the Modern Eatery is small with a minimalistic feel, and an open view of the chefs freshly preparing our food. Our waiter for the night was Jason, whom we later found out is also part owner of the restaurant. He was friendly and extremely helpful in giving us some recommendations.

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For entrée, we ordered the Crunchy Salad ($12), which is a green salad with Japanese sesame dressing and some fried carrot (or sweet potato?) on top. Although it sounds so simple it is flavoursome, and would be lovely as a side with an order of sashimi.

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We also ordered a pot of hot Green Tea ($2 each) for the table, which I think was Genmaicha as it had roasted brown rice in it.

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The Modern Eatery, serves a traditional style of sushi known as Oshi Sushi, where the rice is pressed into box shaped pieces. The Salmon Oshi Sushi ($16), has pressed salmon on rice, with an aburi sauce and capsicum to garnish.

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Throughout the night, the dishes came to the table fairly quickly. Next we had the Fry Me to The Moon Roll ($15), which was apparently very popular during their lunch period. Made with a cream cheese, cooked salmon filling, sweet chilli mayonnaise and sweet soy. My Dad really enjoyed this roll as he loves tempura, and the outside of the sushi was crispy like a tempura batter. 

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The Salmon Sashimi ($9.50), came in five decent sized pieces and there was the option to Aburi for $2. I overheard that their salmon is sourced from New Zealand rather than Tasmania, which is probably why it was much fattier compared to other Japanese eateries.

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The dish that was not the best in terms of presentation, but definitely delivered in terms of freshness and taste is the Sumo Platter A ($55). A combination platter made of three types of Nigiri Sushi, a Salmon, Tuna and Scallop. It also has a Kamikaze Roll, which is made with Ebi Tempura, shredded crab meat, avocado filling, with aburi sauce and fish roe. The other smaller Uramaki rolls were your classic California roll, Veggie roll and a Sweet Potato Tempura roll. Overall, this platter was such a hit and all the pieces were gobbled up very quickly, the raw scallop was fresh and sweet, probably my favourite on the plate.IMG_2733

After all that, Mum still wanted to order something with Unagi and my Dad wanted to order some Tempura. We ordered the Baby Dragon Roll ($13), which is unagi paired with cucumber, avocado, and an unagi sauce.

IMG_2743We also ordered two servings of Zen ($10), which is an accompaniment to your main meal and is only available with a purchase of Oshi Sushi, Uramaki or Craft Roll. It consists of assorted tempura, a salad of the day and miso soup. The tempura was crispy on the outside and cooked well, although the salad had no dressing on it making it a bit boring, so there is room for improvement there.            IMG_2747

Update: I visited the Modern Eatery again for a second time, to take advantage of their 15% off opening special. The service and consistency was spot on, and the staff were very friendly enough to recommend more dishes.

The Modern Eatery on Urbanspoon

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