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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bites: An Organic Brunch @ City Farm Café, Perth.

Perth City Farm has long been an iconic example of inner-city biodiversity with its other half, the City Farm Café fronting their organic produce using a farm-to-table approach.  Its sitting is a mix of covered and open air dining, both equally enticing on a cool morning’s day.  But when it comes to eating, it is all about the food.  So lets get eating!

Some of the stuff we ordered that day includes XL’s Pain Perdu or French Toast with maple syrup, crème fraiche, and caramelized bananas ($16.50).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat is a good French Toast? For me, its all about a well-dipped soaked toast that has beautiful charred edges.  The end product should be moist and fluffy with a golden brown color.  City Farm delivers exactly that.  Cutting through the bread you could still see a very eggy inside that looks a little runny.  Soak up all that syrup sauce and its so good by itself.  My biggest critique about this dish were the caramelized banana.  It is a rather typical accompaniment but unfortunately it was not typical good.  The banana lacked the ripeness I desire and the caramelization felt short of spectacular.  I was looking for a caramelized banana that is mushy on the inside but can still hold its shape while carrying a whiff of buttery scent.  All the joys of a perfectly caramelized banana but there was none.


Fishman had not fish today and ended up with the Brekkie Burger which was a toasted bun with runny egg, cheddar and bacon ($12.50)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe said it was OK but lacked quantity on a place. Perhaps a serve of chips on the side for a couple of dollars more would make this a pretty good meal.  As is, it would not keep anyone filled past lunch.


For myself, I decided to keep it simple and ordered one of their most popular dishes there.  The Aged Cheddar and Chive Eggs with Bread ($16).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt had layers of good silky texture and it was creamy through each bite.  However. I did not quite get the excitement of the bitey cheddar as I savored the egg.  I was expecting more to go with my buttered toast but there was hardly enough Cheddar to complement the dish as a “Aged Cheddar and Chive Egg”. As for the addition of the chives, the flavors were quite subtle and compliment the dish well.  Yay or Nay?  Well, to be honest it was OK, but definitely not the explosion of “WOW” I was expecting.  Above average at best.


The drinks at City Farm Café are very well priced.  I do not drink coffee but I think the espresso starts at $2.50 or so.  Others would have cost no more than $4.  As for the food, it was a mixed bag.  Most were good while the rest were OK.  The food was safe and rather traditional.  It was a breakfast that is not here to complicate things.  There was no foam, no pork belly, no dehydrated anything but it was quite pleasant.   But considering the birth of so many new eateries around, this level of skill is hardly commendable.  Nonetheless, when you put your fingers together to count all the good things this place brings to an urban jungle like Perth, its value grow by folds.  A lovely sitting area, recyclable cutleries, and organic goodies planted by our very own Perth-ians  puts City Farm Café in a league of its own.



City Farm Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bites: Dosukoi Ramen @ Allendale Square, Perth CBD

The pioneer of what is inevitably one of the most authentic Ramen is Dosukoi Ramen which first started in the Fremantle Markets many years ago.  But with something so tantalizing yet affordable, news did not take long to spread.  Soon, queues for ramen at this original shop in Fremantle stretched 3 hours long.  Fortunately, the mastermind behind this establishment decided to open on in the CBD making it super accessible for a quick meal.


With no price increase, there seem to be enough for a decent meal here.  My favourite ramen here is the Shoyu or Soy based ramen with tender pork slices (Chasiu).  For $10, you get 5 pieces of Chasiu with their signature Sumo stamped Nori and a slice of Naruto along with Dosukoi’s decadent ramen.

P3110005Whilst this bowl is named and priced the same as the one in Fremantle, I cannot help but feel that something was lacking.  It felt a little salty but that was not the problem.  It was something else that was missing.  However, this is no way deterred me from enjoying this bowl of ramen.  Its noodles were bouncy, the Chasiu was tender as hell and all in all, it just was a really good bowl of noodles.


Many people would compare the ramen here to the ramen served in the Fremantle Markets.  But in all honesty, if the CBD shop saves me the need drive to Fremantle as well as a 2-3hours on a weekend, I can happily forgo the small difference present.   In this city of pretty expensive food, a good meal for under $10 is not an easy find.  Especially so when so much detail and effort is required to make a decadent broth with matching tender pork slices.  So if you are looking for a delicious bite without the cost, definitely checkout Dosukoi Ramen :)!  And if you are not a fan of noodles, they have several rice dishes on offer too :)!



Dosukoi on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bites: Gaya at Applecross–revisited.

After leaving this restaurant last year with a huge 70% discount thanks to the bloggers promotion by owner Leo, I was still every bit compelled to be honest.  I told Leo that if I were to pay full price, I was not really sure whether I would be as happy as I was with a 70% discount.  His food was great and in terms of Korean, it was almost on the edge of contemporary.  I am receptive to new ideas and this was a cuisine I enjoyed.  But perhaps a promotion like a fix priced 3 course menu to add value to the dollar will help his business break the ice to the market.  To my delight, 3 months later Leo has put my advice to action and his restaurant Gaya now serves 3 course meals for a very decent $50.  That includes a complementary appetizer, an assortment of kimchee, followed by your choice of appetizer, main and dessert.


That night, the complementary appetizer was a pancake drizzled with chili mayo.  It was much simpler than the rice win cake served in my previous visit.  But I liked it better.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whilst I did not have a photo of their new trio of kimchee, I felt that Gaya has taken one step back from being contemporary to stick to its more traditional roots. In other words, to suit a layman’s liking.  Definitely the way the public wanted it.


My choice of appetizer was the asparagus, with cream cheese and enoki mushrooms wrapped by a thin slice of beef.  Seared just to color, and drizzled with a teriyaki style sauce.  Good flavors but I tend to like cheeses with flavor and cream cheese is not one of it unfortunately.    Yet this dish was delicious in its own way although the enoki tends to get stuck between your tooth!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


XL went straight to one of Gaya’s new starters to seek refuge for her hungry tummy.  The cheesy pancake. It was a fusion between a pizza and a kimchee pancake.  I will be honest that it was a shocking find to a restaurant seeking contemporary status.  But in terms of flavors, it was hard to bash.   In every slice were the joys of the stringy cheese crossed with the excitement of the kimchee.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


With our main’s,  XL chose the bulgolgi stew.  We had it at the border of North Korea and she orders this at almost every Korean place she steps into.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHer comments were positive on this one.  It was generous, tasty and really hearty when you are starving.  But was it the best she had?  She digress and said it could be less sweet.  It was for me a little on the sweet side too.


My main was a noodle dish served in a rich prawn bisque.  A clever mixture of green and yellow noodles with various textures from the deep fried battered root vegetables and shaved salad.  It had good flavor but the intensity of the prawns made the end of the plate an impossible journey.  For me, I tend to like my dishes served hot or cold.  In this one though, the shaved salad was cold bringing the whole dish to room temperature.  In my opinion it felt neither here nor there but that was just a matter of preference over the chef’s intension.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


As for the dessert, I stuck to my favourite Hott-teok and Gaya’s signature dessert, the Red Misu. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeedless to say, after a 2 week long street food journey in Seoul last year, nothing was more nostalgic than these little pancakes filled with piping hot cinnamon syrup.  I loved every bit of it.  In fact, Leo decided to put more sugar in mine this time.  It was yums!  Perhaps a little burnt but still every bit delicious.


With the Red Misu, see my previous post on it here WenY Wonder’s Why: The Gaya @ Applecross.My verdict?  PA310413 Like mentioned before, the food the Gaya prepares is Korean with a modern twist.  Improvement and changes are definitely a possibility; but in the capable hands of Leo it is not too far away.  Tonight’s dinner was a bit of a hit and a miss.  But like with all experiments, there are good and bad outcomes.   Nonetheless, it is these experiments that keeps us foodie tongues surprised and keen to try.