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

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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Ace Pizza review – is this Perth’s best pizza?

Finally I made it to Ace Pizza in Perth’s inner city suburb, Highgate,. It’s run by the same people that run Cantina 663, a favourite of mine. There has been a lot of hype around Ace Pizza, many touting it as the best pizza in Perth.

Aperol spritz

Aperol spritz

Finding the entrance can be tricky – it’s not at the front of the building, but down the alley on the side. Walking in, the huge floor to ceiling wooden framed windows and a neon pizza sign hanging above a dark mural on the wall an make an impact.  The place is buzzing and it’s barely 6.30pm.  Cosy circular booths flank on wall, high tables and with swivel chairs flank the other wall and there are tables running both sides down a middle partition. The high ceiling  is patterned with large decorative domes and the place it lit with stage lights.

The service is snappy with friendly Gen Y’s efficiently taking our drinks order – and even waited patiently while we debated if we’d ever seen Peroni beer in a can before. Apparently, Ace Pizza is the only place in Perth that has Peroni by the can. I ordered an Aperol Spritz, my favourite Italian aperitif. It was fine, topped with too much soda (should really be just a dash – like the way the Italians make it), and I would have preferred more Aperol. Normally the taste of an Aperol Spritz evokes memories of Rome, but this one didn’t.

The menu is small with some traditional pizzas like the Margherita, although Ace Pizza calls their’s “the o.p” ($17) – I’m not sure why. We ordered that, a Pig Town with pepperoni, pancetta, pecorino, onion, mozzarella and san marzano tomato ($24), and the Lincoln Lady with hot salami, anchovies, olives, mozzarella, and san marzano tomato ($20) – ssshh, don’t tell anyone but we ordered it without without the hot salami. Our waitress told us they don’t normally permit topping changes and checked with the kitchen before accepting our order.

Margherita aka "the o.p" at Ace Pizza

Margherita aka “the o.p” at Ace Pizza

My theory is that you judge a good pizza place by their Margherita.  Ace Pizza’s version is quite good, but it could have done with another minute in the wood-fired oven. The thin base wasn’t crisp enough in the centre making each slice flop when held. The topping was good – the tomato sauce was well seasoned, the cheese was used sparingly which I think is best (or the pizza gets too sloppy), and fresh basil leaves added after cooking.

It’s not as good as Neighborhood Pizza‘s Margherita, which I maintain to be the best pizza place in Perth. Neighborhood Pizza’s wood fired oven consistently cooks  thin and crisp base and they make a  rich tomato sauce that is packed full of flavour, like it has been cooked down for hours.

Pig Town pizza

Pig Town pizza

The Pig Town pizza wasn’t for me only because the pepperoni was too spicy for my mild palate. The crust was thin, crisp on the outer edge, same well-seasoned tomato base sauce, and thankfully, well cooked red onions.

Lincoln Lady pizza

Lincoln Lady pizza

The Lincoln Lady pizza crust was like the other two, crisp on the edge and a bit droopy in the centre. Anchovies packed a salty punch along with the olives. Overall, the Margherita was the best pizza we ordered.

Tiramisu donut

Tiramisu donut

Tiramisu donut

Tiramisu donut

For dessert, I had to try the tiramisu donut ($5), which sounded like a dream. The reality was nothing like the dream, and nothing like a tiramisu. Really, they should call it something else because a tiramisu paints a picture of soft sponge layers, strong coffee laced with liqueur, and sweet creamy mascarpone. What I got was what looked like jam donut, topped with crunchy shards of sugar, and filled with a chocolatey ice-cream with crushed nuts, which oozed out and was described by one of my dining companions as looking like bird poo.

It was a cold dessert and between three of us, we left half of it to be taken away by the waitress. Perhaps the bird poo comment put us all off. It was not memorable in a good way, not as light and pillowy as other jam donuts I’ve had. I was full from pizza and it wasn’t good enough for me to force myself to eat it.

Two other desserts feature on the menu: nemesis choc cake ($11) and ace soft serve ($7).

VERDICT

The atmosphere at Ace Pizza is great, albeit quite loud so hard to hear each other speak.  The service is good, the prices are very reasonable, and the pizza is okay, pretty good even. Out of ten, I’d give Ace Pizza a score of 7.5.

FACT FILE

Ace Pizza
448 Beaufort St, Highgate
Tel 0499 448 000

http://www.acepizza.com.au

Open 7 days from 5.30pm til late

Ace Pizza on Urbanspoon

Divido: Back to Balkan – first class value

Once every six weeks, Divido in Mount Hawthorn hosts a special set menu titled Back to Balkans, inspired by Greek, Macedonian, and Croatian food. Priced at $65 per head, it is a contender for Perth’s best value quality dining set menu.

The woodfired oven in the kitchen produces incredibly flavoured food prepared by chefs with cultural heritages that match the cuisine. Head chef Jon Archondakis started his apprenticeship in 2007 under owner and executive chef Jason Jajnovic.

“I absolutely working with Jason – he is a chef who always gets it right,” Achondakis said.

Karlovačko Croatian beer

Karlovačko Croatian beer

The wine list had enough choices of different varietals weighted with Italian and European wines, offering the best in category for price, rather than pandering to the parochial. It’s great to see a wine list with reasonable priced wines. The Croatian Karlovačko was the perfect aperitif on a warm day: malty, crisp beer.

Friendly professional service, a warm inviting restaurant with soft chocolate decor, cosy booths and first class food make it hard to fault Divido. Put it this way, I didn’t need to reach for the salt once or the wine to top up our glasses all night.

Like Divido on Facebook to stay up to date with their special dinners and events. They have a special Melbourne Cup luncheon at $80 per head includes a three course meal and a glass of Moet & Chandon on arrival. The menu looks fantastic and I’ve been told bookings are necessary if you don’t want to miss out.

This is our Back to Balkans dinner, a celebration feast of St Andrew of Constantinople:

Entree:

Sarma - pickled cabbage rolls with veal mince, rice and smoked ribs

Sarma: Pickled cabbage rolls, veal mince, rice and smoked ribs. Hearty, great chunky terrine like texture, and the pickled leaves cut through the richness of the filling. The accompanying delicate tomato based sauce was flavoured with the smoky rib. There wasn’t much meat on the rib, however the cabbage roll was very generous.

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Tarama - fish roe dip

Tarama – fish roe dip

Tarama: Fish roe dip. My mother in law makes fantastic tarama, but Divido’s one would have met her standards. It was silky smooth, buttery texture, salty and drizzled with olive oil. Teamed with crusty crunchy bread thins, I honestly wanted to buy a tub of it to take home. Salty, savoury, smooth, creamy but a little grainy, it was the perfect pink tarama. I wish they sold it by the tub!

Bakaliarossalata: Spring sald , broad beans, peas, salt cod.  Fresh crisp palate cleansing salad.

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Kazunakia - Cretan feta and mint pies, and Guba - Macedonian pumpkin pastries

Kazunakia – Cretan feta and mint pies, and Guba – Macedonian pumpkin pastries

Kalzunakia: Cretan feta and mint pies drizzled with honey. Unusual sounding, these little mini samosa looking bits were a bit dry, but full of salty feta, sweet pea, fresh mint and the drizzle of sticky honey over the top added a sweet finish.

Guba:  Macedonian pumpkin pastries. Succulent sweet pumpkin flesh incased in buttery flakey pastry. Rich, sweet, and something I’d love to eat every single day. An unusual dish – I’ve not come across too many pumpkin pastry dishes before, but it was perfectly executed.

Mains

Moussaka

Moussaka

Moussaka: Layers of rabbit stew with eggplant and potato. Succulent delicate chunks of rabbit (no strong gamey taste), with meaty eggplant slices and cinnamon, orange zest and bay leaf infused sauce.

Perfectly matched to the Barossa semillion we had ordered (bottle $50).

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Woodfired whole roasted lamb with garlic, rosemary and anchovy

Woodfired whole roasted lamb with garlic, rosemary and anchovy

Arni:  Whole lamb, roasted in woodfired oven for the duration of a Greek Priest’s sermon, with garlic, anchovy and rosemary, served with rosemary and salt infused bread.

The lamb fell off the bone, the meat was juicy, balanced hints of garlic, fragrant rosemary and the saltiness from the anchovies came through with each mouthful.

My husband would have thought he’d died and gone to heaven eating Divido’s lamb. Faultless.

Kupus Salate - Croatian coleslaw

Kupus Salate – Croatian coleslaw

Kupus Salate: HERO dish. Coleslaw, Croatian coleslaw. Who would’ve thought I would have loved coleslaw so much? I always avoid the gluggy cabbagy overly tangy dish at every bbq.

Divido surprised me with their version. Finely shredded savoy cabbage, shaved carrot, red onion, radish, all dressed with a balanced white wine vinaigrette. Not a dollop of mayonnaise in sight, thank goodness.

Fresh and crisp, it cut through the richness of the other dishes and left my mouth feeling cleansed.

Gosak sa slaninom: Peas and bacon

Gosak sa slaninom: Peas and bacon

Fidhe: Greek macaroni and cheese.  Made with risoni, a pasta shaped like swollen grains of rice, this dish wasn’t overly cheesy and with all the other glorious food in front of us, didn’t excite me.

Grosak sa slaninom: Green peas and bacon. Much like the Italian piselli e pancetta. Flavour marriage made in heaven and a perfect side dish. Exactly like my mum makes.

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Dessert

Palačinke - baked crepes with fruits, Kourambiethes - Greek short bread

Palačinke – baked crepes with fruits, Kourambiethes – Greek short bread

Kourambiethes: Greek shortbread. Imagine nutty denser melting moments that crunch, crumble then melt away on your tongue in an instant. Flavoured with almonds and cloves, topped with a thick layer of icing sugar, my Greek mother in law would have approved of these ones.

Kosiniak - Macedonian brioche with almond filling

Kosiniak – Macedonian brioche with almond filling

Palačinke: Baked crepes with spring fruits. My favourite dessert. Thin layers of crepes, filled with vanilla, orange, marmalade and brown sugar. Sweet, fruity, with a bit of acid from the orange and the mellowness of the vanilla and a sticky syrup over the top – almost a perfect dessert (just needed chocolate, somewhere – I love chocolate!)

Kosiniak: Macedonian brioche with almond filling. This was like a cake and given the above two desserts was perfect and my tummy full, the brioche didn’t capture my attention.

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VERDICT:

Divido has consisted been listed in Perth’s top ten best restaurant for years, with good reason. The food is beautifully prepared, rustic and tasty, the service is first class and the ambience is the right balance of buzzy and intimate. For what you are paying, it is terrific value for exceptional dining. Best thing of all, it’s open on Monday nights making it a perfect choice for birthdays and other anniversaries that happen to fall on a Monday. A winner, every time.

FACT FILE:

Divido
170 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn WA
Tel: 08 9443 7373
Divido Facebook Page

Open Monday to Saturday 6pm to late. Closed Sundays. Fully licensed

Divido on Urbanspoon

Il Pasto – review

Nestled in the northern suburb of Inglewood you’ll find Il Pasto on the corner of Beaufort St and Ninth Avenue.  It was so busy on a Saturday night, that when friends rang to book the day before, the only choice for table for five was at 6pm or 8.30pm.  We opted for the later table and were pleasantly surprised when the restaurant called to day our table was ready earlier.  We were seated by 8pm.

I was immediately impresses when I walked in. Every table was full of smartly dressed diners, many looking European, chatting away. A good sign. The interior was smartly decorated and had an elegant and comfortable feel.

The menu was good, offering good selections of antipasti, pasta, mains, sides, and desserts. One advantage to sitting so close to other tables is that it’s easy to see what they are eating – if you are like me and like to look at the dishes before ordering. Upon seeing the next table’s mains and the generous portion sizes, we opted to share antipasti for entree.

I was so happy to see marinated white anchovies ($12) on the menu – a favourite of ours when we were in Sicily last year. The whole menu in fact is influenced by Sicilian food. Forget the salty hairy fish found on cheap pizza that make kids say “gross”,these anchovies were light and delicate, marinated in a vinaigrette, and very moorish. The big green Sicilian olives ($6) were meaty and firm, and the dried pork fennel sausage ($7) tasted home made and had a touch of spice.  A great start.

Marinated anchovies, chorizio and Sicilian Olives

Marinated anchovies, chorizio and Sicilian Olives

Marinated white anchovies

Marinated white anchovies

Zorba opted for Paccheri alla Siciliana:  Large tubes of pasta, anchovies, chilli, tomato, basil, baby capers topped with sheep’s milk Pecorino Debbene Biologico ($25).  He enjoyed it and when I tasted it, I reached for my glass of sparkling Italian water – it was spicy!  Then again, I’m such a softy for chilli and usually find anything with chilli in it too hot.

Pacchieri alla Siciliana

Pacchieri alla Siciliana

My main meal was the winning choice of the night.  Paccheri, zucchini e frutti di mare: Large tubes of pasta tossed through finely chopped Morton Bay bug meat, tiger prawns, crab, zucchini,EVOO and cherry tomato topped with fresh herbs ($34).  The pasta was perfectly cooked, the seafood was sweet, the zucchini added texture, and every mouthful was a delight.

Pacchieri with zucchini e frutta di mare

Pacchieri with zucchini e frutta di mare

The service was attentive and friendly, and everyone around the table enjoyed their meals.  Despite the portion size, we all left our plates clean.  Best thing of all, you can match this great food with your own favourite wine. It’s BYO ($3 corkage per bottle).

The desserts looked and sounded tempting – Torta Caprese, Tiramisu, Cassatta (all $12), but we were full and totally satisfied. We decided to stop there rather than keep eating and leaving feeling disgustingly full. Sometimes less is more.

Our bill, split between five people, came to just over $40pp. Very reasonable and for the quality of the food, service, and ambience, i thought it was actually very good value. Thumbs up from this discerning Italian restaurant critic!

Verdict: Quality food, service, and good value for money with a comfortable elegant setting. It’s busy on weekends and probably not the best for a romantic night if you want to talk in private as tables are close together. Otherwise, it’s a great choice. Bookings a must.
Ilpasto on Urbanspoon

Perth Food Bloggers Progressive Dinner

I like Progressive Dinners, especially for groups. Not only do you get to try a few different restaurants, but you also have a chance to sit next to different people at each venue and mingle.

After a fab night mixing with food bloggers at the Accento Italian Master Cooking Class in May, I approached some Perth Food Bloggers and organised the inaugural Perth Food Bloggers Progressive Dinner.  Our location for the night was Vic Park.  A good first choice with many restaurants and cheap eats to choose from.

Entree:  Bravos, 933 Albany Highway, Victoria Park

When I contacted Bravos to make a booking, the manager Darren suggested a tasting plate that features several of their entrees.  How good does it look?

Clockwork starting at 9 o’clock there are crumbed polpette (meatballs), pesto, fried calamari, polenta with mushrooms and goats cheese, bean cassoulet, chorizo and in the centre is house made focaccia. The meatballs were a standout; crunchy outer, juicy perfectly seasoned meat on the inside. The house made focaccia was almost donut like in texture – so fresh and spongy with a salty crusty outer.  The calamari was also beautifully cooked and perfectly seasoned.  The bean cassoulet was hearty and the sauce was a perfect accompaniment with the focaccia. The service was friendly and efficient.  It was a great introduction to Bravos, and we all agreed, a delicious first course.

BravosBravo's on Urbanspoon

I loved seeing a couple of large tables of Italians eating in Bravos. A sign confirming that the food there is good.

Main Course:  Good One BBQ, 808 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park

I’ve eaten at Good One BBQ once before – my husband and I drove 15-20 minutes there from home, ordered and ate and drove home – all with in the hour.  It is fast food but good fast food. We ordered a half BBQ Duck, a mixed plate of roast pork and BBQ pork, and Kai Lan with oyster sauce (greens).

Good One BBQ2

The duck, a highlight last time I ate at Good One BBQ, was succulent, with the sweet juices complementing the salty crispy skin beautifully. It looked wonderful, glossy skin and the meat really did taste as good as it looks.

Good One BBQ3

The BBQ pork and roast pork were also beautifully cooked, juicy, and perfectly seasoned. The kai lan greens are a favourite of mine – they always feels so healthy to eat – crunchy and .  They balance out the fatty duck and pork, right? Hmm, maybe not they were enjoyed nonetheless.  The bill was split between six and it cost $13.85 each. Yes.

Good One BBQ on Urbanspoon

Dessert:  The Precinct, 834 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park

Walking into The Precinct I was immediately impressed with the fit out. And it was busy. Flat out busy on a Wednesday night.  For our final course, The Precinct organised to give us each a tasting plate of mini desserts . The apple and rhubarb crumble, usually the last thing I would choose on any menu, was actually my pick of all of the desserts. It had the perfect mix of crunchy crumbs and soft stewed fruit, and it wasn’t too sweet or too tart.

The mini chocolate fondant was gooey and decadently rich.  The ice-cream sandwich was great in theory, but tricky to eat. The biscuit was hard to break, and picking it up the ice-cream dripped everywhere. However, the ice-cream centre got a big tick of approval –  cookies and cream flavour with chewy bits. It was really lovely. There was also a little ball of pistachio ice-cream and scattered pistachio nuts. Nice.

The Precinct 2

Special mention needs to go their cocktail of the day, the Pig Fat Manhatten – a bacon flavoured cocktail.  The guys ordered one to try – actually to share – and it came out in two glasses filled in half. Nice touch. I had a sneaky sip. It was served over ice and was actually nice – quite refreshing with a hint of bacon.

The Precinct

The Precinct was a great place to end the progressive dinner. It was lively and full of people, but despite how busy it was, the service was great. Our water bottle was regularly replenished, and the staff were polite – at one point I noticed a waitress holding back to ask us for our order until one of the guys at the table had finished his story. So many times at other establishments young wait staff just barge on in and interrupt a conversation in full flow to ask if anyone would like a coffee.  I was very impressed that this did not happen The Precinct – knowing to pick your moment to approach customers is the sign of a well trained wait staff in my opinion.

The Precinct on Urbanspoon

Thank you

Many thanks to Juji Chews, The Foodie Hub, The Skinny Perth, Eat Meets West, and Libertine Eats for their great company.  Thanks to Bravos and The Precinct for arranging special menus for us.

The next Perth Food Bloggers Progressive Dinner will probably be held at the end of the October.  If you are a food blogger in Perth and would like to come along, please get in touch.

Neighborhood Pizza – sorry, what did you say?

I love the pizza at my local, Neighborhood Pizza.  In a converted warehouse behind the IGA on Scarborough Beach Road in Mouth Hawthorn is possibly the best pizzeria I’ve eaten at in Perth, ever. I’ve blogged about it before also and told all my Perth friends about it. Thin crisp bases cooked in a proper wood fired pizza oven and topped with just a few simple flavour combinations from quality produce. The pizza is authentic Italian and I love that.

Buffalo mozzarella, basil and proscuitto.

Buffalo mozzarella, basil and proscuitto.

During a recent visit with friends who were excited to experience the pizza I’d been talking non-stop about for ages, I have to say I was disappointed.  Not in the pizza, that was awesome. Not in the atmosphere, the place was buzzing.  It was the noise. Deafening noise. Even though we were sitting close to each other huddled around a coffee table trying to lessen the impact of the clanking background noise, we could barely hear what one another was saying.

It was all too much to bear for my pregnant friend who suggested we leave as soon as we’d finished our pizza.  We did just that, taking our half drunk BYO bottle of wine with us and regrouped at our place where we could have a conversation without shouting and getting a head ache.

It is such a shame that the noise levels ruin what could be a great pizza experience. The need some soft furnishings, plants, or better still, some experts to sort it out for them. It has the potential to be the best pizza place in the city.  Luckily, there are professionals that can help – and the guys at DineHear are giving away one of three iPad minis just for nominating how your favourite restaurant sounds.  Check out the video here. Hurry the promotion ends 28 June.

Spicy salami, gorgonzola, almonds and rocket

Spicy salami, gorgonzola, almonds and rocket

FACT FILE

Neighborhood Pizza
173 Scarborough Beach Rd, Mt Hawthorn, WA
Tel: 0419 507 432
Twitter: @Neighbhoodpizza

Neighborhood Pizza on Urbanspoon

 

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Disclosure:  DineHear components of this post are sponsored. Views about Neighborhood Pizza are Travelletto’s own.

Moore & Moore Cafe, Fremantle (and win an iPad mini)

For a true “Freo” cafe experience, you can’t go past Moore & Moore Cafe.  Tucked away in a side street, this warehouse conversation in the historic Moore building means that there is enough space for more than a cafe. A big area is reserved for exhibitions that the Fremantle Arts Centre operate.

From now until 5 July, the Professional Photographers Exhibition is on, and it is fantastic.

Pro Photo Exhibition at Moore & Moore. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Pro Photo Exhibition at Moore & Moore. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Whether you like to watch the world go by from a pavement table, get cosy on a couch cupping a coffee, sit a big wooden table with your nearest and dearest, or soak up some sun in the court yard out the back, there’s a space at Moore & Moore that you will just love.

My only criticism is the order at the counter service. I do prefer to be waited on.  On the flip side, if you are going with a group, everyone can pay for their own at the counter so that makes bill splitting unnecessary.

I love the courtyard for relaxed meals, and the front room for business coffee meetings.  Moore & Moore isn’t a loud clanky cafe like so many in Fremantle are. It’s important to hear what your loved ones and friends are saying over a meal or a coffee, but doubly important to hear what a new client is saying too. That’s why I choose to meet a new client at Moore & Moore the other day, because I knew I’d be able to hear her! And of course because their coffee is legendary.

Don’t you just loathe it when you in are in a restaurant and you can’t hear your dining companions talk, so a conversation becomes a necessary shouting match?

WIN:  The guys at DineHear are giving away one of three iPad minis just for nominating how your favourite restaurant sounds.  Check out the video here.

I reviewed Moore & Moore late last year after a fabulous breakfast in the back courtyard – to read it, click here.Moore&Moore

FACT FILE

Moore & Moore Café
46 Henry St, Fremantle WA 6160
T: 08 9335 8825
http://www.mooreandmoorecafe.com

Moore & Moore on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: The DineHear component is sponsored. All opinions about Moore & Moore are Travelletto’s own.

Indiana Cottesloe (and win an iPad mini)

Perched overlooking one of the prettiest of Perth’s 19 metropolitan beaches, the Indiana Tea House is central to the iconic vision of Cottesloe Beach.

Walking in there is an old-world beach charm with white washed Georgina wooden window frames that draw the eye to the magnificent post-card view of the Indian Ocean.  It’s divided into natural nooks and crannies thanks to bay windows and elevate entrance that steps down to the restaurant. The double-sided open fire place and lounge chairs positioned adjacent to it  add to the warm and cosy seaside feel.

Our visit to Indiana Tea House was for coffee – and it was so good I had two! The interior of  Indiana I’ve loved, but the food has had bad reviews in the past. All recent reviews on Urban Spoon have been positive; hopefully Indiana is on the up.  My coffee was perfect, could not fault it – and I’m extremely fussy with my coffee.

Indiana2 1

The reason we opted for Indiana over one of the other many Cottesloe cafes and restaurants is because it is quiet and it was a business meeting. So hearing each other clearly was important.  It was lunch time, about a third of Indiana’s tables were occupied, and the audible level was not noticeable – a good thing.

Don’t you just loathe it when you in are in a restaurant and you can’t hear your dining companions talk, so a conversation becomes a necessary shouting match?

WIN:  The guys at DineHear are giving away one of three iPad minis just for nominating how your favourite restaurant sounds.  Check out the video here.

FACT FILE

Indiana Tea House 
90 Marine Parade, Cottesloe WA 6011
08 9385 5005
reservations@indiana.com.au

Indiana Cottesloe Beach on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: The DineHear component is sponsored. All opinions about Indiana Tea House are Travelletto’s own.