Bellingen Community Markets

The Bellingen Community Market is one of the largest regional markets in Australia and held on the third Saturday of every month at the Bellingen Sports Oval off Church St.  A gold coin donation to the local Rotary Club will gain you entry and from there, be prepared for a sensory overload.

Everything and anything is for sale at the Bellingen Community Markets.  From copper pots to chainsaws, to sculptures, hand made clothing, fairy floss, fake sunglasses, polished stones, beautiful wooden boards and trivets, pet supplies, home made condiments, hand crafted skin care, interior soft furnishing, junk jewellery, knitting supplies and everything in between.

Here is my photo essay of the colourful and eclectic Bellingen Community Markets:

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Need a box? They even sell boxes at the Bellingen Markets

Local fresh produce, relishes, fine art and craft, antiques, plants, pottery, hats, bric’n’brac, new and second hand clothing, books, bags, toys, jewellery, gemstones, music, candles, soaps, beauty and alternative products, pamper yourself to an outdoor massage or take a sneak peak at destiny with astrology and tarot.

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Just two ingredients in this peanut butter – roasted peanuts and salt. The peanuts are ground when still warm after roasting – and it’s good, so, so good

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This stall is called ‘Shelf Respect’ – love that!

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It’s the perfect place to play, shop, eat, drink and be happy. With a smorgasbord of multi‐cultural culinary delights, tantalise your taste‐buds with delicious Italian wood‐fired pizza, German goods, Indian dishes, Mexican meals, healthy wraps, pastas, Buffalo products, Moroccan food, Asian cuisine, seafood, traditional sausage sangas, bacon and eggs rolls, pancakes, scrumptious homemade cakes, sweets, donuts and chocolates, gelato and sorbet, ice‐cream, ice treats, juices, smoothies, espresso coffee and boutique ale.

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Lift one side and you have two trivets for your table. Clever design made with beautiful local wood

 

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There’s entertainment for young and old alike at the Bellingen Community Markets

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photo essay of the Bellingen Community Markets.

FACT FILE

Bellingen Community Markets
Church St Bellingen Football Oval, Bellingen, New South Wales
Held: Third Saturday of every month

Aravina Estate: Tony Howell’s new kitchen

I gladly accepted an invitation to dine at Aravina Estate in Margaret River, keen to try the food of one of my favourite chefs in his new kitchen. Aravina’s new executive chef Tony Howell made a name for himself winning a legion of fans and numerous awards overs 15 years at Cape Lodge, listed in Condé Nast’s 2012 Gold List and named Best Boutique Hotel in Australia.

The Grounds:

From the moment I arrived, I knew I’d be impressed with Aravina Estate. A red Ferrari in the car park, a cute wooden walkway leading to lush lawns lined with eucalyptus, pretty gardens with two dams beyond, vistas of the vineyard, and a magnificent cellar door and restaurant that would not look out of place in the Hamptoms or on the set of hit television show ‘Revenge’. Outside white wooden railings surround a large alfresco terrace dining area that takes advantage of the stunning view. The beautiful grounds have hosted many weddings, including that of winery owner Steve Tobin just a couple of weeks ago.Aravina Estate15

Families will love lunching at Aravina. Eat in peace while your kids run around climbing, swinging and playing.

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From the terrace, parents can easily keep one eye on the fenced children’s playground that would be the envy of many local councils I’m sure.

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My favourite part, the kitchen garden. Executive Chef Tony Howell was almost frothing at the mouth as he talked about the massive ten-bed garden growing seasonable produce including all manner of herbs, several types of lettuce, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot, chilli, capsicum and much more. More fruit trees have also been planted.Aravina Estate21

“That’s the great thing about working here, [owner] Steve [Tobin] is open to suggestions and when I said I’d love a kitchen garden, he made it happen. Check it out!” Tony said.

“Everything in the salmon dish, except the salmon, comes from this garden, freshly picked just hours before it is served.”

Inside:

Walking in, the classy white interior, large windows letting in an abundance of light, high ceilings, lantern-style light fittings, Italian tiled floor and French inspired decor is chic, elegant, and inviting.

Indoor dining

Indoor dining

The wine tasting counter takes centre stage, as it should.  Towards the back of the building is an opulent private dining room, perfect for a party of ten.

Private dining or wine tasting room

Private dining or wine tasting room

Shelves containing cookbooks, vases, photo frames, table ware, kitchen accessories and ornaments are gorgeously displayed around the wine tasting area and also in shop floor area beyond.Aravina_shop1

The restaurant and cafe is beautiful. White linen, fresh flowers, elegant glass ware, and quality cutlery and crockery instantly set the tone for the dining experience to come.

The surprise:

Enter the building, walk past the wine tasting area, past the cafe, through the stunning gift and home ware shop and you’ll find yourself in a sports car gallery. High school memories  raced through my head as I clocked a yellow S/LR 5000 Torana, a 1972 Valient Charger, and 1973 GT Ford Falcon.

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There’s also vintage Citroen, Aston Martin, and a Daytona Ferrari as well as several of sexy modern Italian makes. The rev-head in me was squealing with delight. Who would’ve thought a posh-looking winery would appeal to car lovers or those of us that keep our inner bogan suppressed?

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The wine:

Wine maker Jodie Opie joined Aravina in 2011 after gaining experience at Lenton Brae and Voyager Estate. I liked all the wines, having said that, tasting wine is so subjective.

The vintage sparkling was light and clean. The Vermintino, and Italian varietal, was clean with an acidic finish. My palate has gone off Sauvingnon Blanc Semillon in recent years, but I really enjoyed the citrus and fresh qualities of Aravina’s. The Chardonnay was my favourite.  

Of the reds, I was delighted to see an Italian varietal Nebbiolo on offer. The tannins were tight but with time it will open up to be a beautiful wine to enjoy with winter Italian dishes. The Cabernet Merlot was easy drinking, the Cabernet Sauvignon left a beautiful plummy taste in my mouth, and I really enjoyed the Shiraz Tempranillo blend. Aravina Estate23

“We’ve planted a special varietal of Tempranillo and Malbec – it’s good to have different varietals on offer, as well as the classic ones the region is known for. It makes us different to the other wineries,” Jodie said.

James Halliday named Aravina Estate as “one of the ten best new wineries” in the 2014 Australian Wine Companion.  The wines have also won a multitude of medals at wine shows across Australia.

The food:

I put my diet on hold and threw my gluten-free ways out the window when whipped truffle butter accompanied freshly baked bread arrived at the table. We shared a number of dishes so we could try as many things as we could possibly fit in.  Aravina Estate06

The pork terrine, mustard fruits, pickled walnuts and persian feta was fantastic. The terrine on its own was rich, but perfect when mixed with the mustard fruits and the phenomenal pickled walnuts.

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The seared Esperance scallops avocado tian, tomato and chorizo crumb were delicate, and cooked perfectly. Everything married beautifully.

Aravina Estate08The special of the day, ricotta stuffed zucchini flower and house smoked salmon – it was divine.

Aravina Estate07King fish sashimi, asian omelette and ginger jelly was sensational. The asian flavours were perfectly balanced, it was fresh, light, and I could eat that dish every day and not tire of it. It didn’t look as pretty as some other dishes, that look like art in comparison, but taste-wise, it was perfect in every sense.

Aravina Estate11Smoked goats cheese. Who smokes goat cheese? Chef Tony Howell, that’s who. And it was nothing short of amazing. I’m told he uses local off cut jarrah wood chips, not oak ones that are used in the wine marking process, to smoke things in-house. Teamed with beetroot carpaccio, sous vide celery, orange and some crunchy brioche, this dish is visually stunning. The smoked goats cheese was so delicious, this wins dish of the day for originality and presentation.

Aravina Estate17The Shark Bay king prawn, compressed pineapple, green papaya, herbs and won ton was crunchy, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer’s day. The Asian flavours were beautifully balanced with the sweetness of the pineapple. It felt healthy to eat.

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Time for a refreshing mouth cleanser. Lemon sorbet with lemon and lime sherbet and citrus peel.Aravina Estate16

Feeling absolutely full after sharing the above, we just had one main dish, steamed duck yellow curry, crispy skin, fried peanuts, pickled chilli and herb salad. It looked beautiful on the plate, and smelled fantastic too. One of my lovely dining companions, Sandra, loved this dish – for her, it was the dish of the day. For me, it was too spicy and hot for my chilli-intolerant palate. I don’t mind a bit of heat, but I’m a weakling in that department.

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How pretty is this dessert? Compressed watermelon, coconut sorbet, herb syrup, lychee foam, seasonal fruit and sesame crisp. Every element was fantastic and it was beautiful and light. The perfect ending to a decedant lunch.

Functions:

Aravina Estate just completed a new function room that can seat 160 comfortably. It features a bar at one end, crystal chandeliers, Italian travertine tiles, cathedral ceilings, and large bi-fold doors so the room can incorporate the outdoor terrace. Off the function room, past the guest toilets, is a bridal suite, complete with a lounge area, dressing area, and bathroom with plenty of mirrors and bench space for the all important hair and make up touch ups.  It’s a stunning space.

Verdict:

Add Aravina Estate to your Margaret River itinerary. Not only are there award winning wines to taste and buy, but you can shop, kids can play, you can wander amongst the vines, admire the vegetable garden, and best of all, have a meal you won’t forget.

Tony Howell is producing food as good as he ever has. Despite the increase in covers, the food comes from the same quality local suppliers, is treated with the same respect and attention to detail is evident in every dish. Do yourself a favour and book in now.

My score: 9.5/10 (just lost half a mark because the curry was too hot for my palate)

Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was a guest of Aravina Estate and all reviews are based on merit.

FACT FILE

Aravina Estate
61 Thornton Road, Yallingup WA 6282
Tel: 08 9235 4600

The Cellar Door and Cafe are open everyday 10am-5pm and the restaurant is open for lunch everyday 11.30am-3pm. Bookings recommended.

Aravina Estate Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Free Burgers in Cottesloe Friday

Grill’d will celebrate the opening of their newest restaurant in Cottesloe this weekend by offering unlimited free burgers to all guests on Friday 14 March from 5-9pm.

There are 30 different Grill’d burgers on the menu including 100% grass fed, free range beef and lamb, lean chicken trimmed of all fat or vegetarian burgers.

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Wash your burger down with a selection of local craft beers, ciders and wine.

Sculpture by the Sea is on at Cottesloe Beach the moment, so before or after a free burger, wander through the sculpture park.

What a great free night out! Cottesloe is the place to be this Friday to get your weekend started.

FACT FILE

Free burgers Friday 14 March, 5-9pm
Grill’d Cottesloe, 6 Napoleon Street, Cottesloe

How to choose the freshest seafood

We all know that the Queensland’s coast is synonomous with seafood.

Just after ProBlogger, the most awesome blogging conference on the planet, I was invited by the host city tourism office, Tourism Queensland, to participate in some of the Gold Coast’s best food experiences.

We visited Peter’s Fish Market, around the corner from Palazzo Versace.  Under expert Japanese chef Yukio Itaba from the Palazzo Versace, I learned how to choose the freshest seafood.

FISH

Look at the eyes of the fish. You want the eyes to be plump, not sunken.

Is the fish fresh? Check the eyes

Is the fish fresh? Check the eyes

Is this fish fresh? This fish has a nice plump eye

Is this fish fresh? This fish has a nice plump eye

Is this fish fresh? This sunken eye tells me no

Is this fish fresh? This sunken eye tells me this fish is not the freshest

Next, look at the skin. Is it shiny? Or does it look dull?  Dull skin means the fish isn’t fresh. Look at the gills also, they should be a rich red colour. The older the fish, the darker that colour goes. Avoid fish with dark brick coloured gills.

Smell it – the fish should smell clean like the ocean. If it smells a bit rank or fishy, leave it.

PRAWNS

Buys prawns in their shell with the heads on. This prevent the meat of the prawn drying out. It’s okay to buy frozen prawns too.

Look at the prawn head. If it’s dark colour under the shell, leave it, it’s not fresh. You want it to look clear, or in the case of cooked prawns, nice and pink.

Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell of the head
Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell of the head. This prawn is relatively clear and it’s one I would buy
Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell

Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell – this prawn is not so fresh

Like fish, smell the prawns. They shouldn’t have a strong smell. If they do, don’t buy them.

CRAB

When buying cooked crab, same rules apply.

Look at the crab, it should be a bright pink colour.  Smell the crab, it should have a slight ocean smell but not reek. And check the gills of the crab – lift the flap on the underbelly of the crab to find the gills – if is it discoloured and dark, the crab is not fresh.

Chef Yukio Itaba from Palazzo Versace

Chef Yukio Itaba from Palazzo Versace

Checking the gills of the crab - lift the flap underneath the crab and if it is dark and discoloured, it is not fresh

Checking the gills of the crab – lift the flap underneath the crab and if it is dark and discoloured, it is not fresh. This one looks good.

A great place to eat seafood on the Gold Coast if you don’t fancy cooking it yourself is Palazzo Versace.  They have four restaurants at the hotel. We ate at Vie Restaurant and Bar. A great location with views over the water. The food focus is locally sourced fresh food prepared simply and elegantly. The food was excellent. I was thrilled to see a Western Australian wine  Leeuwen Estate Art Series Riesling on the list. They have a great selection of food and wine.
Vie Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Chef Yukio has 21 years experience making sushi and sashimi. The seafood he serves is beautifully fresh. They also run cooking master classes at Palazzo Versace – if you like sushi, then take a class to learn under this Japanese expert. 

How to roll sushi

How to roll sushi – Chef Yukio teaches us how

I won’t share photos of the sushi I rolled – put it this way, if this was an exam, I’d have failed! I’m not ashamed to say that I prefer to eat sushi than make it myself.

FACT FILE

Palazzo Versace
Sea World Drive
Main Beach QLD 4217 Australia

Toll Free (Australia) 1800 098 000
Tel +61 7 5509 8000
Fax +61 7 5509 8888

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Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

Duck liver parfait

Duck liver parfait

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen, Margaret River’s newest bar and restaurant, is serving up good honest food made with fresh local produce. Dishes are designed to be shared and the menu is categorised into light, plates, pizzas, sides, sweets and cheese. There’s a good choice of dishes and the prices are very reasonable.

The corner location on the main road in Margaret River town is about three hours drive south of Perth, and worth the drive – for those familiar with Margs it’s where Winos used to be. It’s casual but not slack. The service is fantastic and the food and wine gets the thumbs up.

The fit out is original with tables in the back area set under old-school Hills Hoists clotheslines suspended from the ceiling to double as light fittings.  The front bar is a great place to sit and chat, and the veranda that overlooks the street is a very pleasant place to sit under its covering of vines.

Cool interior fit out complete with good ol'Aussie Hills Hoist clothes line light fitting

Cool interior fit out complete with good ol’Aussie Hills Hoist clothes line light fitting

The duck liver parfait ($13) was silky smooth, rich and creamy and came with delicious wood-fired bread and some pickled veg called picadilli. It was hard not to wolf it all down at once.

Owned by Swings & Roundabouts winery that’s nearby on Caves Road, Swings Taphouse & Kitchen offers the same legendary wood-fired pizzas that the winery has become famous for.

I had to try the pizza and opted for the traditional margarita ($20) – my favourite. If the kitchen can get that right, then it’s always a winner. Swings’ version is good, but if I’m being picky (and nearly always am) for my palate it needed a bit of salt and probably could’ve done with another half-minute in the oven to really crisp up the base. That’s my only criticism of the food served at Swings. Everything else was bang on.

Wood-fired margarita pizza

Wood-fired margarita pizza

The King Fish ceviche with chilli, lime, avocado and coconut ($16) was fresh, colourful, light, beautifully seasoned and delicious to eat. Like a mouthful of summertime, if you could eat summer. The Swings Chardonnay ($7 glass) went down a treat with the ceviche.

King fish ceviche

King fish ceviche

The bright and bubbly pint-sized manager Annie really made my visit to Swings memorable. She answered all my questions, suggested dishes to try, and explained their tap wine. Yes, wine on tap. Read about their wine on tap delivered through ‘sight glass fonts’ – a world first in my previous post. If you’re not hungry, just go and try their wines – they are worthy.

There’s also a selection of ‘guest backyards’ wines, cocktails and beers, and the menu is simple and rustic, designed for sharing, and with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable produce.

FACT FILE

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen
85 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA
Tel: 08 9758 7155
swings.com.au

Open from 10am daily, Swings Taphouse & Kitchen serves brunch, ‘brinks’, lunch and dinner
Swings Taphouse on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was a guest of Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

World first in Margaret River – Swings Taphouse

Rosé wine on tap (and 30l keg in the fridge)

Rosé wine on tap (and 30l keg in the fridge)

In a world first, Swings Taphouse, Margaret River’s newest bar and restaurant, offers wine on tap delivered through ‘sight glass fonts’. That means customers can see the wine before it is poured. Wine buffs judge the colour of a wine as one criteria, and now every-day drinkers at Swings Taphouse can too, before committing to a glass or carafe.

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen is owned by the nearby Swings & Roundabouts winery on Caves Road, Margaret River, about a three-hour drive south of Perth, Western Australia. The wine offered on tap are the wines designed to ‘drink now’. These include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay, Rosé, Shiraz, and Cabernet Merlot. Swings & Roundabout wines are served by the glass $7, half carafe $15 or carafe $28.  Reasonable prices.

The wine is pushed through the tap with nitrogen, much the same as beer is with carbon dioxide. I asked Swings Taphouse & Kitchen manager, bubbly Annie Murphy, if the nitrogen compromises the taste of the wine.

“No, not at all. We had wine writer Ray Jordon in here a couple of weeks ago doing a tasting, and he was impressed – he said he could not tell the difference between tap poured and bottled wine,” Annie said.

In my own tasting, I thoroughly enjoyed my glass of chardonnay and was wishing I could sit there all day to sample every tap wine on offer.  The food is pretty good too – you can read about that in my next post.

What I love about it is that you can start with a glass of white and move on to a half or full carafe of red. It’s like drinking wine in Italy, ordering the house red or white, except at Swings, you can choose your varietal.

30 litre keg where the tap wine is stored

30 litre keg full of wine ready for tap-pouring

“We keep the wine in 30 litre kegs – the red wine is in a fridge set at 15 degrees, and the white wine is in the cool room with the beer kegs set at two or three degrees,” Annie said.

“When we make the wine at Swings & Roundabouts, we put some in bottles, and some into kegs for tap-pouring here. It is environmentally friendly because we use less bottles, labels, cartons, caps and the rest.”

Tap white wines with the see through fronts and carafes

Tap white wines with the see through fronts and carafes

There’s also a selection of ‘guest backyards’ wines, cocktails and beers, and the menu is simple and rustic, designed for sharing, and with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable produce. Read about the food in my next post.

FACT FILE

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen
85 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA
Tel: 08 9758 7155
swings.com.au

Open from 10am daily, the venue serves brunch, ‘brinks’, lunch and dinner

Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was a guest of Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

Beach wine festival – Sunset Wine

Sunset Wine on The Esplanade at Scarborough Beach, Perth held its inaugural event on the weekend (Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February) from 3pm until 7.30pm.

When I arrived on Sunday, the crowd was big enough to be buzzing, but still felt intimate. Some people were relaxing on the cushions enjoying a tipple or a bite to eat, others were dancing with their kids in front of the band, and many were engaged with winery owners as they enjoyed tastings. The number of families there surprised me – loads of them with small kids. It was really nice to see. I think Sundays attract the family crowd.

There were about 30 stall holders all up including wineries from lesser known wine growing areas, such as Nannup, Pemberton, and Harvey. It was great to see some more new stands (to me) such as the Bare Crush Fruit Icicles, Miss Tartufo ice creams, and The Alchemists.

Talisman - one of my favourite Riesling producers

Talisman – one of my favourite Riesling producers

I was delighted to see Talisman Wines. They produce one of my favourite Rieslings – the 2013 is just $20 per bottle, while the more complex and toasty 2009 just $24. Both bargains. Purchase made.

Moroccon food stall Shak Shuka

Moroccan food stall Shak Shuka

Julie, Mark and daughter Jess from Fifth Estate Wines

The Maloneys: Julie, Mark and daughter Jess from Fifth Estate Wines

A foodie and wino friend tipped me off and told me to visit Fifth Estate Wines. I was impressed not only with the friendliness of the family behind the winery, but the quality and price of their Tempranillo, which was just $15. It was not tart or dry like some Tempranillos. It was smooth and very quaffable. I’ll be buying some of that next winter. Located in Harvey, the Moloneys have been producing wine since 2005. Julie Moloney was only too happy to chat when I asked her about Sunset Wine and what she thought of the event.

“It was a lovely event and the crowd has been really well behaved,” Julie said. “Sales by the glass were good, particularly yesterday [Saturday] and for an inaugural event, I thought it was great.”

Simply Paella

Simply Paella

The folk from Azure Ice cream in Fremantle have their own funky food truck

The folk from Azure Ice cream in Fremantle have their own funky food truck

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Nannup Ridge winery stand

Nannup Ridge winery stand

The wines offered by Nannup Ridge Estate were also delightful. Their Chardonnay won me over. Subtle oak on the nose as a result of just 25 per cent of the fruit going into oak barrels during the wine making process. It was smooth, a little buttery that gave it a whole of mouth feel as I sipped it. The finish was clean. More purchases made.

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The band creating some great vibes

The band creating some great vibes

Mark your diary for next February folks. This is likely to be an annual event. With a relaxed atmosphere, family friendliness, good wines available for tasting and purchasing that you probably won’t find in the bottle shops, and enough food stalls to tempt everyone, you won’t want to miss Sunset Wine next year.

FACT FILE

Sunset Wine
1-2 February, 2014 from 3pm until 7.30pm
The Esplanade, Scarbourgh Beach, Perth Western Australia
Sunset Wine Facebook page

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Disclosure: CMS Events, the organisers of Sunset Wine, gave me two tickets to attend Sunset Wine. Ssssh, don’t tell them, but I would’ve gone anyway. I enjoyed Unwined – a wine festival in Subiaco also by CMS Events

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The worst meal of the year – MON Serving your soul

Walking past MON on Newcastle Street in Leederville, opposite The Garden, I liked the funky tables and covered stools on the pavement. This little Japanese eatery looked cute. That’s where it ends.

The poor waitress behind the counter obviously didn’t have any training as she could not answer my fairly simple questions about the dishes, nor print a tax receipt from the cash register.

We ordered the tasting board and chose four dishes; chicken yakatori, pork belly skewers, lotus chips, and gyoza dumplings. Add two bottles of still water and the bill was a reasonable $41. The food however was not reasonable. It was the opposite of reasonable.

The chicken yakatori tasted like a jar or bottle of sauce had been tipped over the top of the chicken. The Lotus chips had no seasoning whatsoever and were crunchy, very bland and had not taste except that of residual oil. It was like eating cardboard. The pork skewers were pungent, dry, and unpleasant – I couldn’t finish one skewer. My guess is that they used cheap male pork which is far inferior to female pork, something my butcher in Mount Hawthorn taught me. Or that the meat was off. The gyoza’s were probably the best of a bad bunch and they were only average. Zorba hated them.

For the rest of the night, Zorba and I both felt sick. I had to get up at 2am, 3.30am, and 5am to use the bathroom quite urgently. I will never eat here again, cute fit out or not.

Verdict: The only thing MON is serving, is another four-lettered-word beginning with “S”. My soul does not want a bar of it. Ever again. Score: 1 out of 10. Mon_leedy1.IMG_6993

FACT FILE

MON serving your soul on Urbanspoon

Waiters and why I love critic John Lethlean

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I love reading John Lethlean’s reviews in The Weekend Australian Magazine every Saturday. This week, he reviewed a new trendy “oh-so-predictable” restaurant in Brisbane called Hatch & Co.

I burst out loud laughing when he talked about Australian restaurant service going down the toilet. Rather than a waiter, he was served by “an interrupter”.

It’s an absolute pet hate of mine too – so many young bouncy service staff seem to think it’s all about them. I feel like screaming some times: DON’T INTERRUPT OUR CONVERSATION MID-SENTENCE! It’s not about them, it’s about us, the diners. The ones paying the bill and ultimately, their wage.

A good waiter should glide in and out topping up water and wine without an announcement, wait for a pause in conversation to take orders, not barge in ruining someone’s punch line.

Some of my favourite restaurants in Perth that have excellent service staff are Rockpool, Galileo, Lamont’s Bishop’s House, Cantina, and Il Pasto. Places that do not include Lalla Rookh (nice food, annoying service that interrupts conversation), The Prophet (a cheap eat, great food, too many waitresses asking us if we want anything else every 10 mins), and Jamies’s Italian (arrogance would be the word I’d use).

I tip my hat to John Lethlean for bringing this most annoying conduct of waiters to the fore.

The thing is, it’s not that hard to get it right. I waitressed for four years all through Uni, it can be hard work I know. All it takes to be a good waiter is good manners, a smile, and good timing.

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Win a double pass to Sunset Wine

We all love a wine festival. The latest wine festival event, Sunset Wine, will take place at Perth’s beautiful Scarborough Beach from 3pm to 7pm on the 1st and 2nd February, 2014.

One lucky Travelletto reader will win a double pass to the inaugural Sunset Wine. There are three ways to enter:

1. Comment on this post with the name of your guest to Sunset Wine if you win
2. Like Travelletto’s Facebook page
3. Share Travelletto’s Facebook page on your timeline with the name of who’d you take as your guest.

Winners will be drawn at random on noon Friday 24 January 2014.  Keep an eye on Travelletto’s Facebook page to see if you’ve won. The winner will need to send me their details in order to receive tickets.

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Good luck!

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