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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bites: the Classic Hakata Ramen @ Ramen Lab, Mount Lawley

When something new opens in Perth, there is very little secret behind it in this small city.  When Ramen Lab opened its doors to the public a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to get in.  After all, there is plenty of space for more ramen in Perth.

Coming in hungry beyond words can describe, it was safe to say I ordered my heart out.  To start, a single serve of their Bao filled with cabbage slaw, and pork belly with a drizzle of spicy Aioli.

Clearly, each of these little buns were made with love.   The bao itself was light and fully. The starts though were its top notch fillings and spicy Aioli tasted a lot better than what I remember Sriracha Mayo tasted!  I particularly enjoyed the thinly sliced pork belly that had a slight charred smokiness to it. Did not looked smoked or anything though! 


Octopus balls topped with a Worcestershire based concoction, spicy Aioli, Bonito flakes, and Nori.  First thing that comes to mind when I ordered these is that it must have came right out of the bag! So there was little to dislike.  For sure it could have been a little bit more delicate but what do you expect right?  Very few people make their own these days.  Overall, these were pretty nice since I really enjoyed their spicy Aioli!

My pick of the Ramen bunch was Ramen Lab’s Classic Hakata.  This style of ramen is my all time favourite where an honest broth is given the punch of black garlic oil! This was no different as the bowl looked super inviting.

Looking at the noodles used for the Tonkotsu, you can immediately tell that the guys at Ramen Lab had done their homework because they paired their rich Tonkotsu broth with thin noodles instead of using the typical wavy noodle!  That’s like rule no.1 in the Ramen Book.  Then comes the other elements which were all very nicely done.  The egg was a class act, along with the spring onion and fungus.   Then comes the lovely pork belly which was tasted similar to the one in the Bao which isn't a bad thing considering how good it was!   While the Classic Hakata was good, I felt that there were areas where Ramen Lab could definitely improve!  First things first, the Menma or Bamboo Shoots needed a little more marinate because it still had a very strong flavour to it.  Secondly, the black garlic oil.  I love my garlic and the black garlic oil was way too little!  Lastly the soup by itself was lovely but with the noodles I think it could do with a little more salt.  The flavour was good but something felt lacking towards the end.

As noodles in soup continue to dominate the eating scene in Perth along with the craze for American BBQ and Fried Chicken, it must be wary.  Because if logic has it that a good bowl of ramen is like a trip to Heaven, then the converse must also true that a terrible bowl of ramen is a one way ticket to Hell.   Thankfully, Ramen Lab delivered better than expected because the lacklustre reviews prior to me coming were a tad concerning.  Sure there could be improvements but there was little to dislike.  Over all, it still was a solid delivery.  Oh yes, and I eat A LOT.  I would have definitely needed an extra serve of noodles if not for the sides I ordered.   A free serve of extra noodles would be good considering a bowl here starts at $15!  Would also note that the staff at Ramen Lab were extremely courteous as they made sure I got the best from the piping bowl of noodles by telling me to mix it properly and to not eat the strong flavoured Takoyaki and Ramen at the same time!

Check out my other Ramen posts:


Ramen Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bites: Crazy About Dumplings @ Authentic Bites Dumpling House.

Coming home from site there was a sudden craving for dumplings, so my sister’s suggestion to go to Authentic Bites Dumpling House in Northbridge was timely.  This little shop has queues building up early even before the doors open which I found to be very Melbourne-esque where all popular dumpling houses had long queues.  But hey lets skip the queue talk and get inside.

The dining area is small but the turnover here is relatively quick.  The menu is pretty straightforward with a few of our favourite appetisers making a surprise appearance.  To start was a serve of drunken chicken and lightly pickled cucumbers

Drunken Chicken:
Both, were amazing especially the chicken which had the fragrant of the wine coating the smooth chicken flesh.  Its flavour was very mild and what was even more surprising was how the cold chicken tasted more fresh than heavy.  Then comes the tangy cucumbers marinated in a little chilli, salt, sugar and some Szechuan pepper corn.  Light numbing but superbly flavourful. It was a table favourite least to say!

The  Shanghai Dumpling we ordered were a mixture Pork and Crab.
While I would normally go for the normal pork dumplings after a mediocre experience at Shanghai Street Dumpling in Melbourne, the lure of the briny crab flavour paired with the juicy pork was hard to resist.  Fortunately, Authentic Bites did not disappoint.  The flavours were great and I really enjoyed it then.  Except for the fact that I went to Singapore and had an even more amazing Shanghai Dumpling where the skin was really thin.  No one likes thick dumpling skin!! Especially when steamed :P!

We also had some noodles! The Braised Beef Noodle soup.
The braised beef itself was no doubt on part with some of the best braised beef in town and I was over all very impressed.  What disappointed me was the broth which I felt could have been more beefy.  It was very mild so I decided to enhance its flavours with some soy and chilli oil.  Over all,  not too bad but nothing to rave about!

We also had the famous the pot stickers filled with a morrish mix of spicy kimchee and juicy pork.  Unfortunately I did a terrible job of getting a picture so there will be none.  The dumplings themselves were very similar to the ones you’d get elsewhere but with a special crispy finish to bottom.  It was really yums.  I mean who would complain when they get more crispy bits right?  Authentic Bites Dumpling House serves some serious dumplings but even better appetisers.   Their noodles? Hmmm those were ok but I would not come back for them.  Dumplings?  Definitely.  Dad though has his preference set for the more dainty Cantonese style dumplings served at yamaha.  So this is not on his list!


Authentic Bites Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bites: Amazing Confectionaries @ Bites by D, Mount Hawthorn.

While a delightful high tea would have been an afternoon too dainty for me, some amazing looking cakes and some friends would make a good afternoon tea.  In this occasion my ex-colleagues and  I decided to visit Bites by D, a boutique bakery stocked with premium looking confectionaries.  Scanning the counter, the attention to detail on the cakes were sensation.  Everything looked so perfect!

From Left to Right: the Fresh Berry Tart, Summer Delight and Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart

The products from Bite by D were superb.  Glorious to see but even better to taste.  The Summer Delight for example looks deceivingly similar to the famous Watermelon cake from Blackstar Pastry in Sydney but is nothing like that at all.  In fact, I reckon the Summer Delight packs a better, more refreshing flavour that is not only more fruity in taste but more interesting in texture.  I really enjoyed the mix of berry favoured jelly and the tart lemony scent in the luscious cream at the top!  The berry tart was OK but my second favourite on the plate was the Salted Caramel Tart!

From Left to Right: the Opera Cake and Winter Delight

On this other plate, we ordered another two different pastries and I reckon we got a tie this round. The Winter Delight was very similar in approach to the Summer Delight with the addition of the chocolate which brought a sense of nuttiness and warmth to the plate.  The Opera cake on the other hand, is full on indulgence without an overbearing sweetness.  Lots of melting moment as I savoured each bite.  Quite a rare moment considering how I keep telling people that I am not a sweet tooth!

Bites by D is definitely a new favourite of mine.  While the likes of Chu Bakery, La Belle Sweets and Choux Cafe were really good, I felt that l enjoyed the cakes at Bites by D more. In saying that though, whenever Bites by D is hosting a high tea the environment is quite full on with no noise containment whatsoever.  So if you are a group of 4 sitting near the group of 20 people having high tea, you might feel a little outnumbered and rightfully so.  Even then, where pastries matters Bites by D came tops!

Bites By D Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato