Lucky Chan’s is lucky for some

Lucky Chan’s is Perth’s first crowdfunded restaurant. Interested punters could contribute by signing their name signed on a wall or impart your wisdom on a step for $5 or $175 respectively. 672 punters put in and Lucky Chan’s ended up raising $112,000, well over their $100,000 target during the 60-day campaign. It opened about a six weeks ago.

It’s a narrow little eatery has a crazy Asian-Urban influenced fit out makes is tricky to climb the stairs – there’s so much stuff to look at everywhere – on the walls, floors, stairs, ceiling, mezzanine.

Of the three floors, the roof top is the best space – high above busy William Street three floors below. The city skyline is in the near distance and it’s wonderful to see it from a higher perspective.  On a warm and sunny autumn day, the roof terrace was a great place to be. The tables are probably a bit too close together, but it wasn’t busy the day we visited, so no bother to us.Lucky Chans_LR - 1

The menu is short and sharp and not much is paleo friendly.  It was one of my 20 per cent off-paleo days when I visited (planned that way), so all was okay. If you are avoiding grains, then avoid Lucky Chans. It’s all fresh dumplings and hand made ramen noodles – and worth going off-paleo for.

The two ‘from scratch’ dumplings we shared were prawn, snapper, squid ink mai and caviar ($13) and the sticky beef shin and liquoice gyoza ($14). The prawn dumplings had a pungent fishy smell that put me off, most likely from the squid ink. Not for me. But the beef ones were amazing – soft tender beef, slightly sweet, perfect dumpling casing, finger-licking-good. Lucky Chans_LR - 2

The ramen noodles are made in-house and a bowl of Shoyu ramen ($14.90) with Hanoi chicken, 62 degree egg, fishcake and nori is what I had next. The noodles were a wonderful texture, still with integrity (not mush). The broth was really tasty, perfectly seasoned, and the gorgeous 62 degree egg oozed all through it. What I didn’t like was what looked like seafood substitute. The waitress didn’t know what it was when I asked, only to return to inform us that it was fish cake. It looked wrong, so I didn’t it.Lucky Chans_LR - 3

Lucky Chan’s is hot right now in Perth. The prices are really very reasonable. The drinks list is excellent, and the service friendly. Would I go back? Absolutely, especially if the sun was out, I’d be heading straight for the roof terrace.

 

FACT FILE 

Lucky Chan’s
311 William St, Northbridge
getlucky@luckychans.com.au

Lucky Chans_LR - 4

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Taste of Perth 2015 – tips for a great experience

Taste of Perth 2015 is in it’s second year and Perth foodies and wine lovers are gearing up for it.  Held in 22 cities around the world, Taste is touted as ‘the world’s greatest restaurant festival’. Thirteen of Perth’s top restaurants will each offer four dishes in tasting-size portions, allowing punters to put together their own progressive lunch or dinner.  

 

Music stage2

How it works

The festival is broken into afternoon or evening sessions of four hours duration on Friday and Saturday, either 12pm-4pm or 5.30-9.30pm, and a five-hour afternoon session on Sunday 12pm-5pm.

Entry starts at $36 per person for general admission ($4 increase from last year) and from $135 for VIP tickets ($20 increase to last year).

Get your wallet out. You need to do this as soon as you walk in to purchase the festival’s currency, Crowns: 1 crown = $1.

Last year, a few complained at the cost of the dishes. This year, every restaurant will offer one dish at $6 ($2 cheaper than last year’s cheapest dish), or rather 6 Crowns, the currency of the event. Prices range from $6 to $32 per dish – the most expensive is for Nobu’s 9+ Wagyu Capracio with quail egg.  Seems that dishes average between $10 to $15.

UPDATE:

Crowns are now refundable (they weren’t last year).  This is a great improvement and means that punters can load up their cards and spend what they like, knowing they will be refunded at the end of the session. Loading up and getting a refund on the crown card was painless – very easy and hardly any waiting in queues.

Bib & Tucker suckling pig slider, 10 crowns

Last year’s Bib & Tucker suckling pig slider, 10 crowns. Beautifully balanced thankfully, which made it worth the wait. The good new is that it’s only 8 crowns for this slider this year.

Participate and learn

The best thing about Taste of Perth, besides the central location, city skyline backdrop and pretty event set up, are the information sessions and demonstrations.

Book into sessions as soon as you arrive because the popular ones fill up.

Some sessions cost, others are free. From Create your own Margaret River Red (wine blending workshop) to Know your Craft (beer making raw ingredients), special skills sessions and cooking demonstrations, choosing what to attend is a balancing act.

UPDATE: Some sessions you can pre-book. I tried to pre book into the Create your own Margaret River Red session by email at 3pm (session at 8pm) – I did get a response at 6.30pm saying that the session was full. I also tried to register when we arrived at 6pm, but it was already sold out.

Bistro Guillame Beef Daube on a bed of Paris mash 14 crowns

Last year’s Bistro Guillame Beef Daube on a bed of Paris mash 14 crowns. Tender beef that just fell apart.

Restaurants present:

  1. Asado
  2. Bib & Tucker
  3. Bistro Guillaume
  4. El Público
  5. Lalla Rookh
  6. Lalla Rookh Wine and Salumi Store
  7. Mary’s
  8. Modo Mio
  9. Next Door at No4
  10. Nobu
  11. Print Hall
  12. Propeller
  13. Silks

 

The friendly service from Lalla Rookh stand

The friendly service from Lalla Rookh stand

Top tips for Taste of Perth

 

  1. Arrive on time, you only have four hours (3.5 hours to order drinks)
  2. Put a reasonable amount on your crown card and top up if needed – there’s no refunds and plenty of crown stations if you need more
  3. As soon as you arrive, book into the demonstrations / lessons you want to attend
  4. Keep an eye on the time so you don’t miss any demonstrations – last year I went nerdy and put them in my iPhone diary (the ones I really didn’t want to miss)
  5. Organise transport to and from. Closest taxi ranks are outside Hyatt Hotel or Pan Pacific Hotel

 

What I’m looking forward to:

I’ve already decided I’m going to have a Paleo-free day (I always said I’d do Paleo 80% to 90% of the time, and I do), I’m going to indulge in all the things I’d otherwise avoid. Yes, I might regret it later on with a dodgy tummy and feeling icky, but at least my taste buds won’t be left wondering.

  1. Eating at Mary’s – I had dinner in this Mt Lawley restaurant last week and it was fantastic
    UPDATE: I strayed from the paleo way and enjoyed a donut with peanut butter icecream. I felt so naughty eating it and was on a massive sugar high afterwards.
  2. Lalla Rookh – trying fried custard
    UPDATE: Missed this!
  3. El Público – trying the twice cooked sticky lamb ribs.
    UPDATE:  While many hosted guests raved about these ribs, I paid $12 and was disappointed – dry, stringy, and the fat not rendered and hardly any sticky sauce. I must’ve got a dud because lot of others raved it…
  4. Honey Cake – having a full piece – it’s so light and delicate
    UPDATE: the honey cake was every bit as good as I remembered from the sliver of a taste I had last year. I also converted three friends to be honey cake lovers.
  5. Blending my own Red in the Grape and Grain Tasting Room
    UPDATE: I missed out on this – the session was already booked out.
  6. My overall favourite thing – chatting to producers about what they grow or make. Hearing them tell their stories with such passion is always inspiring. And I could talk food and wine ’til the cows come home.

 

Highlights from last year

I love the event set up. It’s easy to navigate, there’s room to move, places to stand and eat or sit and relax, and enough exhibitors to keep one amused for four hours.

The music stage in the centre of the event created a lovely atmosphere.  Little details such as covered garbage bins made the site clean and appealing. Hay stacks, giant tee pees, rugs, a ping pong table, and the instagrammer’s favourite ‘taste’ letters near the entry all contribute positively. The guys at Brand Events (event organisers), do it well.

Last year, tasting this gorgeous Honey Cake on my way out was a definite highlight. This traditional bohemian recipe is a winner. It’s a natural light fluffy honey cake with layers of caramel and ground walnuts.

Honey cake

Honey cake

The lowlights last year would be the waiting time for some of the dishes, the liquor licence that prohibits alcohol tastings and drink sales 30 minutes before the event closes, and the prices of some tasting plates.

 

Summary

Taste of Perth is foodie heaven, and cashed up foodies will have a brilliant day out. Last year it is not a cheap day out, then again, it’s rare to have the chance to taste dishes from some of Perth’s premium restaurants in one place. It’s great to see some cheaper options available this year.

FACT FILE

Taste of Perth is held at Langley Park from Friday 15 May until Sunday 17 May
Entry tickets start at $36 and are available at the gate, or from Ticketek

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Review of Thriller Live, Crown Theatre Perth

I was thrilled to be invited to review Thriller Live at Crown Perth last night, the preview night. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson’s music.

The show opened with a Jackson Five montage of songs, including ABC.  The dancing was terrific, although if I was to be very critical, some dancers didn’t have the same snap and sharp moves that MJ did, but they were in time, there were no stuff ups and it was highly entertaining and engaging to watch.

The set was simple, two sets of stairs on either side and a mezzanine level on top. The lighting was brilliant and the band – wow – just awesome.

The singers nothing short of superb. If I closed my eyes, at times I would not have been able to if it was Michael Jackson singing or not. They were spot on, high notes and all. Listening and watching Samantha Johnson (USA) who has the most amazing hair, and Tyrone Lee (that man can groove!) were highlights.  I was hoping to see Australian Prinny Stevens who is a lead singer, but she didn’t perform last night.

Photo of previous cast member

Photo of previous cast member

There was a little narrative to explain each phase of Michael’s career, but it was minimal. From the Jackson Five, it moved onto Disco and we sung along to ‘Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight…’.  The cast got the audience involved, asking us all to get on our feet – and everyone did, clapping and grooving in their spot.

After the Disco phase came Dangerous, a ballad, and then ‘Can you feel it’ which was a great place for intermission.

In the second half, it opened with the Thriller album (the hits played at the end of the night) with PYT and Beat it getting the crowd revved up again. Michael Jackson’s Thriller album stayed at number one for 37 weeks. Unbelievable! As a solo artist, he sold over 20 million albums. Incredible.

Smooth Criminal was a favourite – a brilliant song and performance. I expect more from Dirty Diana. Perhaps the dancers wearing black leotard with suspenders, topped with white mohawk centurian helmets distracted me? It didn’t have the impact I was hoping for, given it’s one of my favourite MJ songs.

Photo of previous cast member

Photo of previous cast member

The night rounded off with Man in the Mirror, They Don’t Really Care About Us, Heal The World – all three songs were delivered with intensity and I found myself welling up with emotion.

They cast bowed, left the stage, only to return to get us on our feet as they smashed out Billy Jean, Thriller, Bad, Black And White, and Smooth Criminal, again.  The audience bopped, clapped, and cheered when the dancers moonwalked across the stage.

Thriller Live is a celebration of Michael Jackson’s music. There wasn’t much story telling and no other aspect of his complicated life was mentioned. It’s not a show that will give you any insight into the life of the King of Pop, but it will entertain and engage for the the duration, demonstrating exactly why Michael Jackson earned himself that title.

Photo of previous cast member

Photo of previous cast member

FACT FILE

Thriller Live is on at Crown Perth until 21 December – more details can be found here

 

Disclosure

Dianne Bortoletto was invited to review Thriller Live.
All reviews on Travelletto are done with honesty.

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Top 5 Roof Top Bars Perth

This is an updated post from December 2012 of the best roof top bars in Perth. I have to say, I love a roof top bar. Not only are they a fabulous way to use space, you are up high and often have magnificent views. Roof top bars reminds me of being in New York.  Here’s my list – Perth’s top five roof top bars:

  1. Mechanics’ Institute Bar
  2. Bob’s Bar at the Print Hall
  3. The Aviary
  4. The Green House
  5. The Conservatory

 

Special mention must go to a local of mine, The Cabin in Mt Hawthorn, and the Roof Top Movies – whilst not technically a bar, you can buy beer there and it is a super cool space. Venn Skydeck is also a very cute space available for functions.

1. Mechanics’ Institute Bar

 

Urban, grMechanics Instituteungy, warehouse feel with scaffolding, exposed brick and long plank tables – then inside their bar tenders are renowned for their cocktails. Entrance is via a back alley making this Northbridge roof top bar feel like you could be in Melbourne lane way. Best of all, you can order a Flipside Burger from the bar and it gets delivered to your table.  Beer is reasonably priced as are cocktails that range from $12 to $17.  It’s a busy place and the bar is often two deep on Friday evenings.  Despite the staff shaking and stirring cocktails for eager patrons, the efficient service means you are served quite quickly.  You can buy a Flipside burger from the joint underneath and they’ll deliver it upstairs when it’s ready – awesome and a cheap way to eat. A cool place that attracts a mixed age group. I like it.

Mechanics' Institute Bar on Urbanspoon

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2. The Print Hall – Bob’s Bar

 

Part of tBobs Bar Print Hallhe Brookfield Place complex in the city, the Print Hall comprises of several bars and restaurant in the old West Australian newspaper building. The roof top bar is an ode to Australia’s larrikin former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.  Bob’s Bar is popular with young hip city dressers.  The wine list was average, the service was good, the large ottomans, wooden outdoor furniture and roof top shrubs are nice. Love that part of the roof can close to keep the rain or cold out. Nice bar food. It’s a slick city space that charges Perth city prices.
Print Hall Fine Dining on Urbanspoon

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3. The Aviary – the Nest

This place certainly made a splash when it opened in November 2011. Queues would be the norm most nights of the week.

The Nest at The Aviary

The Nest at The Aviary

Artificial grass, big canvas umbrellas, high wooden tables, massive big screen (awesome on Melbourne Cup day!) and a killer view are the elements that set a über cool ambience at the Aviary.  In the Bird Cage which is downstairs and indoors, you’ll find a restaurant that has had mixed reviews. Expect to pay Perth city prices for a drink here. It’s a great place to go if you’re waiting for a table at Jamie’s Italian downstairs.

The Nest roof top bar is a great place for a drink when the sun is out and it’s not too hot.  On those baking Perth summer’s days, you might go looking like a cool chick, but there’s big chance you’ll leave as a roast chook!

The Aviary – Nest Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon

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4.  The Greenhouse

 

The Greenhouse Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Greenhouse
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Greenhouse sometimes gets overlooked as a roof top bar because it is better known as a restaurant.

The outside is alive with stacked planter boxes that make this place unique and, well, green.

Everything that was used to build the Greenhouse was from recycled material – the stools are converted from wooden packing crates to form seats and candle holders are empty jars.

The roof top bar is small and has a lovely feel to it.  Surrounded by planter boxes growing herbs that are used in the kitchen downstairs, the Greenhouse roof top bar sits in the shade of the tall buildings around it.

A great place to have a drink before eating downstairs.

The coffee is good too if you need a caffeine hit during the day.

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon

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5. The Conservatory

 

The Conservatory  Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Conservatory
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Conservatory was the first cool roof top bar to open in Perth when it opened its doors and its roof in 2011.  That’s right, it has a super cool retractable roof.  Artificial grass gives the indoor space an outdoor feel and when the roof is open, well, I suppose you are outdoors. Kind of.

The stairs leading up require some skill to negotiate particularly if you are wearing high heels.  The wooden tables and outdoor BBQ give it a relaxed vibe.

It’s popular with the city set on a Friday evening. The restaurant has had mixed reviews and expect to pay Perth city prices for drinks.

It’s a pleasant space for a drink and a shared plate of nibbles. If I was really hungry, I’d choose other places to eat a main meal.

The Conservatory Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon

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So what are Perth city prices?  Expect to pay $8 for a half pint of beer on tap, $10 or more for a Corona beer, $12-15 for a glass of wine, and $18-25 for cocktails.

Are there any other roof top bars in Perth you like?

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Tips for Taste of Perth 2 – 4 May

Perth has joined the ranks of Melbourne, Sydney, Stockholm, Rome and London with its own Taste festival.  Touted as ‘the world’s greatest restaurant festival’, Taste of Perth featured ten of Perth’s top restaurants that each offered four dishes in tasting-size portions, allowing punters to put together their own progressive lunch or dinner. 

How it works

The festival is broken into afternoon or evening sessions of four hours duration on Friday and Saturday, and a five-hour afternoon session on Sunday. Entry starts at $32 per person for general admission and from $115 for VIP tickets.

Get your wallet out. You need to do this as soon as you walk in to purchase the festival’s currency, Crowns: 1 crown = $1.  Tasting dishes started at $8 and ranged upward to $30 – that was for El Público’s icon dish Fried Crickets and Artisan Mezcal.  They sold out quickly before I got a chance to taste the chilli salted insect. Those that did said the crickets tasted “nice and crunchy” and “okay”. I’m guessing the novelty factor had something to do with this dish’s popularity. I’m not sure I would have paid 30 crowns ($30) for a tasting plate of insects.

Crowns are not refundable, making it better to load up less and top up during the session or you can find yourself racing around the in final minutes of the session (there are two four-hour sessions daily) to spend unused crowns. Forget buying a drink because there’s no alcohol tastings or sales in the last 30-minutes with the exception of take-away sealed bottles. Part-payment with crowns and the balance in cash is not permitted either.Music stage2

Participate and learn

The best thing about Taste of Perth, besides the central location, city skyline backdrop and pretty event set up, are the information sessions and demonstrations. Book into these as soon as you arrive because the popular sessions fill up. Some sessions cost, others are free. From cocktail mixology to rum masterclass, special skills sessions, the art of oyster shucking, and cooking demonstrations, choosing what to attend is difficult.

The best free session I went to is Fun & Informal Wine Matching hosted by Gourmet Traveller’s Max Veenhuyzen and presented by Emma Farrelly. With over ten years experience in the restaurant industry, Emma consults to help restaurants build and maintain a balanced wine list. Her clients include Must Wine Bar, Beaufort Street Merchant, the Trustee and Divido.  We tasted three matchings: riesling with chicken and pistachio terrine, chadonnay with proscuitto, melon and bacon jam, and pinot paired with spanish cheddar and quince paste.  All were wonderful pairings.

The key tip to food and wine matching: match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food.Wine match riesling and terrine

 

The wine certainly brought out the flavours in the food, and the food highlighted the flavours of the wine.

Wine match Chardonny proscuitto The bacon jam with the proscuitto was magnificent, and an event highlight for my taste buds.

Wine match pinot and cheddar

The other session I went to is the Wine, A Natural Alternative at the Grape and Grain stand (entry 6 crowns).  We tried five natural wines, that is wines made naturally without preservatives, filtration or fining. Just some sulphur is added after the wine is made to ensure it doesn’t spoil. Si Vintners winemaker owner, Iwo Jakimowicz, hosted an engaging session thanks to his passion and knowledge of natural wine making. I bought a bottle of his chadonnay ($50) that was one of the most amazing chardy’s I’ve tasted, syrupy like a sweet wine without it being overly sweet.

Eat your way around

Bib & Tucker suckling pig slider, 10 crowns

Bib & Tucker suckling pig slider, 10 crowns. Beautifully balanced thankfully, which made it worth the wait.

Bistro Guillame Beef Daube on a bed of Paris mash 14 crowns

Bistro Guillame Beef Daube on a bed of Paris mash 14 crowns. Tender beef that just fell apart.

Bistro Guillame salted caramel macaroon, 8 crowns

Bistro Guillame salted caramel macaroon, 8 crowns. Share one as it is quite rich but perfectly made

Greenhouse Black Valley beef cheek, 10 crowns

Greenhouse Black Valley beef cheek, 10 crowns

The friendly service from Lalla Rookh stand

The friendly service from Lalla Rookh stand

Lalla Rookh Tortello of mushroom, ricotta and chestnut butter, 8 crowns

Lalla Rookh Tortello of mushroom, ricotta and chestnut butter, 8 crowns. Gorgeous silky pasta, flavour packed.

New Norcia Bakery cupcakes

New Norcia Bakery cupcakes

Restaurants present:

  1. Bib & Tucker
  2. Bistro Guillaume
  3. Co-Op Dining
  4. El Público
  5. Greenhouse Perth
  6. Lalla Rookh
  7. No4 Blake Street
  8. Nobu
  9. Print Hall Dining Room
  10. Silks

Highlights

I love the event set up. It’s easy to navigate, there’s room to move, places to stand and eat or sit and relax, and enough exhibitors to keep one amused for four hours.

There’s music on the Virgin Stage in the centre of it all that creates a lovely atmosphere. Little details such as covered garbage bins made the site clean and appealing. Hay stacks, giant tee pees, rugs, a ping pong table, and the instagrammer’s favourite ‘taste’ letters near the entry all contribute positively.

Tasting the Honey Cake on my way out was a definite highlight. This traditional bohemian recipe is a winner. It’s a natural light fluffy honey cake with layers of caramel and ground walnuts.

Honey cake

Honey cake

The lowlights would be the waiting time for some of the dishes, the liquor licence that prohibits alcohol tastings and drink sales 30 minutes before the event closes, and the prices of some tasting plates.

Summary

Taste of Perth is foodie heaven, and cashed up foodies will have a brilliant day out. It is not a cheap day out, then again, it’s rare to have the chance to taste dishes from some of Perth’s premium restaurants in one place.

Tips for Taste of Perth

  • Arrive on time, you only have four hours (3.5 hours to order drinks)
  • Put a reasonable amount on your crown card and top up if needed – there’s no refunds and plenty of crown stations if you need more
  • As soon as you arrive, book into the demonstrations / lessons you want to attend
  • Organise transport to and from. Closest taxi ranks are outside Hyatt Hotel or Pan Pacific Hotel

FACT FILE

Taste of Perth is held at Langley Park from Friday 2 May until Sunday 4 May
Tickets start at $32 and are available at the gate, or from Ticketek

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