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

Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki, Mosman Park WA

I was delighted when I received an invitation to dine at Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki restaurant in Mosman Park, Perth.

Finding the restaurant address was easy. Once we arrived though, the entrance was a little mysterious. Under the Fuku street sign was a closed gold door and an intercom buzzer on the wall. I pressed the buzzer and the door slid open to reveal an intimate teppanyaki restaurant with just 16 bench seats flanking two central BBQs. The back wall was lined with sake bottles, the lighting was soft and behind the BBQs was a very cool glass mural in gold colours featuring a couple of Japanese women with hair in a bun. It was very sophisticated fit out and I immediately knew we were in for a treat.

Fuku 22Our lovely host for the night, Milan and our waiter greeted us warmly. We were offered sake, served cold (only average quality sake is served warm), and informed that we would be enjoying the 8-course ‘better’ menu ($135 pp).  There are two other menus offered at Fuku, the ‘good’ 4-course menu ($100 pp), and the ‘best’ 10-course menu ($220 pp). There is also a ‘walk in’ menu ($75 pp).

Fuku 23The sake menu lists 30+ different types ranging in price from $25 for 220ml pot to $340 for 1.8 litre bottle. If you don’t finish your bottle of sake, and you’d be doing well to finish one and still be able to have control of bodily functions, you can take it home with you.  Nice.

The small but precise wine list offers everything by the glass and the bottle, besides the dozen wines listed on the ‘reserve’ list.  A wine and a sake degustation matching is offered (both at $75 pp).

Our sake was cold and very smooth. It was not the throat stripping harsh sake I have memories of.  It reminded me of a softer tasting grappa. I really enjoyed it, but made a mental note to pace myself as it’s is quite potent.Fuku 03

Onto the food, our first course:  kawa ebi and sun dried crispy nori sheet.  In a cute red single mini-bento box came lightly battered deep fried whole baby prawn, head and all. As they say, when in Rome… I tried one and was hooked.

The prawns were crispy and the taste was similar to whitebait that my Nonna used to cook. They were salty too, which I loved. The thick nori sheet was very pleasant to crunch into.

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Second course: Small morsels (otsumami) – featuring deep fried oyster with ginger salsa, snapper with ponzu, wagyu beef with sesame sauce, marinated octopus, and deep fried crispy soba noodles. The fan shaped soba noodles were amazing – crunchy, salty, and made me want to have a whole plate with a pint or two of cold beer. The wagu beef was smokey tasting and so tender, quickly dissolving on my tongue. The ginger salsa lifted the fried oyster but was subtle and delicate and not overpowering like some ginger dishes can be.

Fuku 07

Third course: Sashimi. I love sashimi, really, really. I could eat it every day and be happy. Fuku’s is no exception. The salmon and tuna was A-grade quality, soft and delicate. The snapper wrapped in japanese pickle was the dish’s standout component adding a sweet and sour twist. I loved it.

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Fuku 10

Fourth course: Quail on the BBQ. The boned quail was cooked on the hotplate and then chargrilled to add delicate smokey tones through the tender meat. Served in a soba bean pancake with small slices of tomato and cucumber and a szechuan pepper sauce.  The meat was perfectly cooked and tender, the pancakes were light and together, this dish was well balanced and was my dish of the night.

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Fuku 11Fifth course:  Scallop, prawn and crispy prawn head.   I was impressed with Chef Jaymon’s teppanyaki skill – he de-veined the prawns using BBQ utensils as the prawns cooked on the hot plate.  The dramatic teppanyaki show was in full force as the chef created huge flames on the BBQ, much to our delight.  The prawns and scallop were served with sea urchin butter. The crispy prawn head was something I wasn’t looking forward to, but it was actually tasty, crunchy and had clean prawn flavour. My scallop probably needed another minute on the BBQ to cook all the way through. This dish was pleasant, but fell flat after the previous amazing four courses.

Sixth course: Fish of the day, red emperor with lotus root, mushroom with a Japanese citrus miso sauce. The sauce was tangy without being harsh. It was beautifully presented on folded leaves. A well balanced dish.

Seventh course:  Wagyu sirloin steak Mayura Station grade 9+, fried rice with wagyu flavour. This dish provided quite a cheffy show. Chef Jaymon was spinning and juggling the salt and pepper grinders, spatula, and tongs, doing a great job with the obligatory ‘tap’ of the said implements onto the surface. The most impressive of his tricks was throwing a raw egg up into the air and catching it on the side of the BBQ spatula, causing it to crack and gently plop onto the hotplate.

As he cooked and sliced the steak on the hot plate, after checking with each of us how we like our steak cooked, he was multitasking and making the fried rice, that soaked up the meaty wagyu juices.  The fried rice was shaped into a love heart – sweet. With a single onion ring, he stacked each ring layer to form an onion pyramid, which he lit and turned into an onion volcano, cutely naming it Mount Fuji.

The steak was nothing short of amazing. It was juicy, tender, and quickly melted on my tongue. It was dressed with soy and garlic, absolutely beautifully cooked.   The rice was too much for me. Zorba ate his bowl, then my bowl. No wastage when there’s food-loving Greek at the table.

Fuku 24Eighth course: Yuzu cheesecake with chocolate drink and mountain peach.  Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit and a mountain peach is a tiny peach-tasting fruit that is about the size of an olive. The chocolate drink was thick and not too sweet. The cheese cake was creamy and came with a wasabi foam, which is an unusual addition to a dessert, yet it worked.

The service every step of the way was first class. Our waiter patiently answered our questions without any hint of snobbery. Chef Jaymon has been with Fuku since it opened seven month ago in October last year.  He has the soft warm nature that many Philipinos have, and loves living and working in Perth.

“The people in Perth are friendly and our customers are so nice. Not like where I worked in Cyrprus, people there were not happy and a bit mean.  My wife likes living here – happy wife…!’ Jaymon said, with a smile.

Even the toilets are something worthwhile experiencing. They have heated seats and an electronic panel with a multitude of options for cleaning ‘down there’ as you sit. It’s a Japanese thing apparently!

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Verdict:  For a special night out, treat yourself to Fuku. It’s more than dinner, it’s gastronomic entertainment, as well as being completely pleasing on the palate. It is expensive, but the quality of everything is A-grade, so the value is there.  If you like Japanese food, you will love Fuku. If you have never tried Teppanyaki, Fuki will be your perfect introduction to the Japanese BBQ.

FACT FILE

Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki
20 Glyde Street, Mosman Park
Tel: 0403 470 964

 

 

 

Fuku - Omakase and Teppanyaki on Urbanspoon

 

Disclosure: Travelletto dined with compliments of Fuku

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe has once again transformed Perth’s iconic beach to an open-air Sculpture Park.  Over 70 local, national and international artists have created cool works for everyone to enjoy.  Best thing of all, it doesn’t cost a cent. That’s right, it’s completely free.   From the grandiose, to those that are fun for the kids, to the thought provoking, the range of sculptures will appeal to a variety of tastes.  Some sculptures are truly beautiful and pretty cool, while others left me wondering, really is that what they call art?

I checked out the 9th Annual Sculpture by Sea very early on opening day and was as impressed as I have been in past years.

I particularly loved the fishing rods piece, aptly named ‘casting around’.

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casting around, Ruth Downes & Geoff Webster, NSW

This big wooden sculpture called ‘upside down again’ was also really cool. It was big and I loved the way you can look through it and see the ocean.

There we so many great pieces, it’s hard to choose which ones to write about. I’ll let the pictures paint the words and do the story telling, then you can see for yourself and make your own mind up.

A great night out would be to grab some fish n chips and enjoy dinner on the grassy banks or on the beach itself surrounded by inspiring art.

If you end up going, let me know your favourite piece. I really liked habibi on the end of the groin, portal depicting three men crouching together, and upside down again twisted wooden cavern.

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe started on 8 March and finishes on 24 March.

Lunch in the West End, Perth WA

The West End Deli on Carr Street in West Perth was our cafe choice for a Saturday lunch. I was thrilled to see breakfast dishes on the lunch menu.

It is a popular place, which isn’t surprising given its great reputation.

I was tossing up between slow cooked egg, peas and anchovies or the two crab omelette. The helpful waitress recommended the omelette and that’s what I chose.

Two crab omelette

Two crab omelette

It was an excellent recommendation. The omelette was fluffily and light, the crab meat was sweet, the coriander gave it a zing and it was seasoned just right. I loved it. I could have eaten two of them and in fact had to make a conscious effort to slow down and savour it rather than scoff it down.

As a side dish, a girlfriend ordered vine ripened cherry tomatoes with goats curd. They were delicious. Intense tomato flavour complemented beautifully with the salty goats curd. I was polite and only had one. Again, I could have easily wolfed down the whole plate.

Vine roasted tomato with goats cheese

Vine roasted tomato with goats cheese

A good coffee was the perfect finish to a light lunch. I was very tempted by the potted cheesecake with dulce de leche for dessert and even ordered it, but when my girlfriends resisted dessert, guilt got the better of me. I cancelled the dessert order.  I’m on a quest to drop the extra kilos that have crept on in recent months, and as anyone knows, losing weight ain’t easy.  I felt happy that I was strong enough to say no.  But OMG did those desserts look amazing!  I will be back when I’m skinny and will try that potted cheesecake, and that’s a promise.

I’ve eaten at West End Deli a few times in the past for dinner (BYO, no corkage, brilliant), but never for lunch. It was a winner.

FACT FILE

West End Deli
95 Carr St, West Perth
Tel 08 9328 3605

West End Deli on Urbanspoon

Top 5 Roof Top Bars in Perth

In Perth, it seems that roof top bars are the new black. And why not? Not only are they a fabulous way to use space, you are up high and often have magnificent views as a result.  Here’s my top five list of roof top bars in Perth:

  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.

1. Mechanics’ Institute Bar

Urban, grungy, 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.  A cool place that attracts a mixed age group. I like it.

Mechanics Institute

Mechanics' Institute Bar on Urbanspoon

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2. The Print Hall – Bob’s Bar

Part of the 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.  It’s a slick city space that charges Perth city prices.

Bobs Bar Print Hall
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 last year (2011). Queues would be the norm most nights of the week.  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 downstairs and indoors, you’ll find a restaurant that has had mixed reviews. Expect to pay Perth city prices for a drink here.

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!

Photo from the Aviary Facebook page

Photo from the Aviary Facebook page

The Aviary – Nest Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon

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4.  The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse sometimes gets overlooked as a roof top bar because it has such a good reputation 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.

Photo from the Greenhouse Facebook page

Photo from the Greenhouse Facebook page

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon

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5. The Conservatory

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.

Photo from Conservatory's Facebook page

Photo from Conservatory’s Facebook page

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.

What is your favourite roof top bar in your home town?

Please can I have some Moore?

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Moore & Moore Café is situated in the heritage listed Moores Building in Fremantle, Western Australia. It’s decorated with odd yet funky kitsch furniture and bizarre light fittings. The Café is also a gallery.

The breakfast menu is great and had interesting choices like 7-grain toast with avocado or home made baked beans with rocket and cherry tomatoes which is what I had. It was delicious!

Best of all, their coffee is gooood.

It’s a real “Freo” experience.

FACT FILE

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

Moore & Moore on Urbanspoon

InContro, South Perth – review

Could InContro be a candidate for my new favourite restaurant in Perth?

This beautiful South Perth restaurant offers not only superb food, but uninterrupted sublime  city views across the Swan River.  The views are hard to beat.

Inside the restaurant at the view of the city beyond

The setting has an air of sophistication, the waiters are well versed, some donning French accents, and the napery, glassware and cutlery are what one would expect in a fine dining restaurants.  It’s all lovely.

It not just about the views though is it? It’s about the food.  InContro, which means “meeting” in Italian, offers first class Mediterranean style cuisine.  You can dine on the ‘piccolo’ menu – much like tasting plates or Italian tapas, the regular menu, or mix it up like we did and choose from both.

As one comes to expect when dining at a fantastic restaurant in Perth, it ain’t cheap.  No sir.  But for a special occasion, it is seriously worth splashing out for a food experience at InContro.

Leo, Katie, Matthew and John

Our family was celebrating a special occasion, Zorba‘s mother’s 70th birthday.  She is as fit as a fiddle and enjoys nothing more than sharing a meal with her family. Dining with us was Zorba’s sister Marnie and her triplet boys, Leo, John and Matthew, who are seven years old.  There is never any hesitation taking the boys out for dinner with us because they are nearly always well behaved in restaurants and thanks to their Greek and Italian heritage, they love food and eat everything!

Pizza Margherita

As most seven year olds are starving by 5pm, you can imagine how famished the boys were at 6.30pm. We ordered a couple of fresh pizzas for them straight away.  It was enjoyed by Masters Seven with gusto!

Entree was a selection from the piccolo menu; zucchini flowers stuffed with salmon mousse, Rottnest scallops and king fish carpaccio.  It was presented beautifully on a tiered  tray. I could not fault anything, simply beautifully cooked, delicious flavours, and the perfect way to start dinner. The zucchini flowers were my favourite – crispy on the outside, smooth mousse on the inside. YUM! I could have eaten a whole plate of those!

Zucchini flowers

How good do these dishes look?!  Are you hungry yet?

Rottnest Scallops

For main course, we decided to choose our own.  I couldn’t go past the Turkish Sticky Black Angus Short Rib ($45).  Marnie had Linley Valley Pork Belly Vanilla Pear Pomegranate ($36), Zorba and Katie both had Duck Confit Cauliflower Puree Quince Salad ($38).

Turkish Sticky Black Angus Short Rib

My beef rib was nothing short of sensational. Slightly sweet, oh-so sticky, rich with smoky undertones, and the meat was so tender, sliding away from the bone with just the gentlest nudge from my fork.  I have never had a beef rib as good as this one – and that’s a big call.   Whilst expensive, it was a decent sized serve which is just as well or I would not have shared any of it!  The boys all agreed that it was the dish of the night.

Marnie loved her pork and really enjoyed the pomegranate salad.  Katie and Zorba seemed to thoroughly enjoy their mains as well.  To accompanying mains, we had Albany asparagus and shaved fennel pear with candied walnut salad.

Finalmente!  Dessert time.  The seven year old nephews were chomping at the bit waiting for dessert, especially once they heard that fairy floss was a feature.

We all had the Eaton Mess with Fairy Floss and ordered some desserts from the piccolo menu to share. A two-course dessert – now that’s my style of eating!

Eaton mess with floss

The wine list was fairly extensive, but on the high end of pricey.  We shared a bottle of bubbles, a prosecco, to start ($70) and then went for one of the cheapest shiraz blends on the menu on advice from the waitress. I love my red wine but didn’t want to spend upwards of $90 for a decent drop. The waitress’ recommendation was perfect.  The 2010 Sons of Eden shiraz blend ($65) was a beautiful smooth easy drinking red.

The only other time I have been to InContro was for a friend’s wedding late last year.  For a function, it was the best food I’ve ever had. I was excited to finally be going back there again.  And it didn’t disappoint.

It would be hard to imagine anyone being disappointed dining at InContro. It is first class in every sense and really worth splashing out for for a special occasion.  Impressive and highly recommended.

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FACT FILE

InContro
79 South Perth Esplanade, South Perth WA 6151
Tel. 08 9474 5566

Open Lunch and Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday

InContro on Urbanspoon

Food Wine Sleep

Beaufort Street Merchant, Perth. Review

Great coffee, delicious food.  The Beaufort St Merchant has never failed on any of my visits and I must have been there on at least 50 occasions.

The ambience is comfortable and the decor can be described as urban farmhouse – a huge set of knife, fork and spoon adorn one wall, there’s a large blackboard that often has thought provoking quotes chalked on it, and the comfy sofas, wooden furniture mixed with leather arm chairs make for an instantly warm and comfortable setting. You could be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped into a great eatery in London or Melbourne.

Lunching with a good friend who lives close to this great local, we couldn’t decide what to order – the menu isn’t huge, but the choices all sound so good.  So we asked the accommodating waiter if we could share two dishes and it was no problem at all.  Extra plates were brought out for us to make sharing the dishes easy.

The quinoa salad with roasted beetroot, goats cheese and lemon yoghurt dressing was fresh, healthy, perfectly cooked, and the flavours burst in my mouth. I felt like I was getting healthier by the minute eating this dish.

The pumpkin rotolo with roast plum tomatoes was a rolled pasta sheets, spread with a gorgeously smooth pumpkin mix, rolled and pan fried (I guess) until crispy on the outside in a sage butter sauce.  It was sliced like a jam roll. It tasted so divine, smooth, sultry, and ever so warming on the inside.  It was like eating a hearty winter dish that wasn’t so heavy and perfect for a sunny autumn day. I couldn’t get enough of this dish.

My taste buds were loving it at the Beaufort Street Merchant so when we were tempted with dessert, my taste buds decided that they didn’t want the party to end. It was hard to resist the triple chocolate dessert, but I did. Instead, I chose the French toast brioche with berries and cream.  It was heavenly.  Crispy brioche on the outside and soft on the inside. The berries were not overly sweet, which balanced the brioche beautifully.  It was a huge serve so maybe consider going halves with someone if you decide to have it.

My lunch buddy had creme brûlée with apple and biscotti. Her creme brûlée had the nicest sugar caramel crust on it and it was silky smooth underneath. She enjoyed it, although she said, “I have dessert envy!” when she saw my dessert come out!  So I let her have a taste or two ;).

The service was great, courteous, friendly, efficient and not intrusive. We were left to sit, basking in the afternoon sun for an hour after we finished lunch in peace, the waiter checking in to see if we wanted another coffee or a drink. We were never rushed and it was appreciated.

If you wanted to have a drink, they sell a wide variety of wines in the shop and you can drink it with your meal without being charged wine-list prices.  They also sell a yummy selection of gourmet treats – great cheeses, pates, organic crisp bread and all manner of other things that you can take home. This is how the business started – as a shop – and then developed into a small café before becoming so popular that the owners, brother and sister team Angie and Scott Taylor, had no choice but to expand the kitchen along with the menu a couple of years ago. It has thrived ever since.

The Beaufort Street Merchant is an all time favourite of mine and there is no excuse for not blogging about it earlier.  After a delightful lunch on a sunny day, sitting comfortably on a sofa watching life go by from the pavement, I felt compelled to write a post to tell the world how great the Beaufort Street Merchant is (I secretly want to keep it to myself because on weekends it can get quite busy for breakfast and brunch).

The Beaufort Street Merchant on Urbanspoon

FACT FILE

Beaufort St Merchant
488 Beaufort Street, Highgate  WA 6003
Tel: +61 (0)8 9328 6299

Open from 7am til late, 7 days per week

Trustee Bar and Bistro, Perth City

The Trustee Bar and Bistro on the ground floor plaza of the new BHP tower, known as City Square, has lived up to the hype and not disappointed.  The new French bistro on the city block has already made a mark for itself in just five weeks of being opened.

A beautifully appointed urban feeling brassiere delivered spectacularly.  A small but well designed menu tempted us to try three courses – sharing the duck liver and smoked eel parfait ($22), chateaubriand (for two, $95), and salted caramel chocolate pudding ($15.50).

Duck liver and smoked eel parfait – magnificent

Melt in your mouth Chateaubriand, seriously amazing

Chateaubriand accompaniments, hollandaise sauce, mushroom burguignon, apple, walnut, rocket salad – there’s also salt roasted fat chips x

The wine list came in two forms – the short list and the full wine list. The short list was perfect for what we were after – and I was delighted to find a Fraser Gallop Cab Merlot for $45. Exceptional value for a quality Margaret River red.  Despite husband wanting only a beer, I had to succumb to a bottle of red, it’s that good. After his beer, husband enjoyed a glass of the Fraser Gallop cab merlot too.

The service was efficient, prompt, and friendly when engaged – the perfect combination.  Good news, there was something chocolatey on the menu. I always want something sweet to finish off a meal – and by sweet, I mean chocolate.

Chocolate salted caramel with creme fraiche ice cream

To sum up, it was a $200 dinner for two, but worth it for a special night out.  Our special night was knowing that our debt has somewhat been lessened thanks to a few good investments, so we were celebrating on a Tuesday night.  A random Tuesday night and  Trustee was booked out. However, the kind manager suggested some bar tables in the downstairs bistro where we could enjoy the full menu.  And enjoy our experience we did.  A city venue that’s worth the trip into town for for a special occasion.  Or one for those with corporate credit cards to keep going back to.

Well done Trustee.

FACT FILE:

The Trustee Bar and Bistro
133 St Georges Terrace
Perth, WA 6000
08 6323 3000
thetrustee.com.au

Open every day for lunch and dinner, except Saturday lunch. Bookings required.

The Trustee Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon