Monday, 10 September 2012

Bivouac Canteen and Bar

Bivouac was chosen as the dinner spot for a long overdue catch up with F and E. Initially I wanted to go for the brunch as it seemed very popular, but because I seem to always go in the wrong days ie. Sunday, I decided to try a dinner service first.

Bivouac has a concept of providing a venue for rest and recuperation, much like a Bivouac itself. Dishes are Mediterranean inspired and therefore meals are designed for sharing. True to its name the canteen like venue has a relaxed feeling and a very youthful vibe to it with a few VERY UNIQUE art work displayed.

We were greeted by a young energetic waitress and started pondering over the menu. This was the verdict we came to:

Chacuterie board: wagyu bresaola, serrano style air dried pork, salami tascana, olive mortadella, ham hock terrine, pickles and char grilled sourdough 22

slaughtermans gnocchi, ox tail ragu, reggiano 23

moroccan mechoui lamb, chickpea puree, date and preserved lemon relish 29

gin gin goat chops, chermoula rub 16

First to arrive was the chacuterie board and we were disappointed, it wasn't the fault of the kitchen, more like us not knowing what most of the terms meant on the description. We all saw the word "wagyu" and was like "YEP! iwantthat". None of us knew what bresaola meant and turns out it meant air dried salted beef, in other words, this platter was basically store bought items plated on a chopping board.

Chacuterie board

Although our first dish was a disappointment, it only got better from then on. The gnocchi was well done and I was glad we shared as it got rather repetitive in flavour which is what I usually find with gnocchi in general. Ox tail ragu was so tender it melted in out mouths but I have to admit, I had to get my head around the fact that I'm eating a "tail".

slaughtermans gnocchi, ox tail ragu, reggiano

My favourite dishes would be the Moroccan lamb and goat chops. First of all the lamb was cooked to perfection and packed full of flavour which masked the lamb smell that usually puts me off lamb. Chickpea puree was silky smooth and the date and lemon relish just tied the whole dish together. The goat chops also had alot of flavour, it's flavours you can see and reminded me of what Jamie Oliver would whip up. I would have liked more pieces though, one piece each isn't enough.

moroccan mechoui lamb, chickpea puree, date and preserved lemon relish

gin gin goat chops, chermoula rub

Next was dessert, it didn't take long for us to order as we basically went, "I'll have all of it *finger circling* except that *finger points*" too easy. We ordered the following:

The deconstructed tira mi su, savoiardi biscuits, crema della duchessa and cafe marsala

Persian love cake $9

pistachio white chocolate and cointreau parfait, caramelised nectarine, honey wafer $14.50

baklava $6

When I saw the word "deconstructed", I instantly thought MASTERCHEF, I was so excited and when it came out, I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed, I guess I was hoping for crumbs of biscuits scattered on the board with little dollops of cream and a drizzling of rich coffee, but it was more simpler than what I imagined it to be. The waitress explained to us how to approach the dish, grab a biscuit, dip it in the coffee and and scoop some cream. We did as we were told and as soon as the biscuit hit our palate WHOA! that coffee was strong assss, the second time round, we didn't do a dip, it was more like a skim off the coffee. Despite the let down in my expectations, it was fun sharing the dish with awesome friends.

deconstructed tira mi su, savoiardi biscuits, crema della duchessa and cafe marsala

My favourite would be the pistachio white chocolate parfait, it went well with the caramelised nectarine. As for the Persian love cake, it was basically a cake with syrup, it looked beautiful and went well with the fairy floss as the taste is simple and not very sweet.

pistachio white chocolate and cointreau parfait, caramelised nectarine, honey wafer

Persian love cake

We also tried a baklava and was told it was home made. It was very hard to cut into three pieces, I'm not sure if baklavas were meant to be that hard, I found it rather average and a little bit too dry for my liking. At least I can say I've tried baklava.


Overall, I enjoyed my experience in Bivouac and will definitely return to taste their new menu. Service is excellent, food is delicious, beautiful presentation and we left paying just over $40 each with 7 dishes in total.
Bivouac Canteen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Pepper Lunch

"Healthy fast food"

I love it when something new opens in Perth, restaurants in particular. Pepper lunch is one of the new kids on the block and judging from the hype and positive feedback, I think it has been accepted into the cool kids club.

Pepper Lunch offers fast, Japanese, healthy food and has already boomed globally with the 200 outlets in Japan and another 100 outlets dispersed in Singapore, China, Taipei, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and now Australia. Pepper Lunch works on the concept of having customers grill their own meals in heated iron dish. Their menu offers items from flavours of japan pepper rice to sizzle it your own way fine steak and if you're lost with what to do, there are videos demonstrating step by step methods with each different dish and the friendly staff will also explain the processes.

I ordered the Shimofuri pepper steak and bf had the Cut Steak with Kimchi and Cheese. I was very surprised to find such cheap prices with the steaks offered, waygu in particular, it is definitely worth the money. When my dish arrived, I was told to smear the butter on the meat and grill to my preference, then mix with the sauces provided of my choice, these being soy sauce, garlic sauce and a sweet sauce. It doesn't take long for the steak to cook, so if you like it rare and don't want it to cook further, place it on the vegies.

Shimofuri pepper steak

I enjoyed my meal, it's simple and quick and my steak was tender * I would like to think it's because of my pro grilling skills XD*, the down side would be that it had a lingering force defrosted taste to it (not sure how to explain it), it was very faint that it didn't bother me too much and hey what do you expect with such prices. I had a taste of the cheese kimchi fried rice and it tastes like what you'd find in a Korean restaurant but with corner kernels and cheaper.

Cut Steak with Kimchi and Cheese

Overall, I think Pepper Lunch is here to stay judging from the numerous customers it receives. Though the food is very simple and nothing to rave about, it offers another option of fast food that is healthy rather than the usual kfc, maccas and hungry jacks and I reckon the novelty will keep it going.

Pepper Lunch on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Millbrook Winery

As I'm not appreciative of wine, I haven't been to many wineries, but when I found out that alot of great restaurants are associated with wineries, I was keen to tag along in the next opportunity and just like that, an opportunity arrived on my doorstep like the arrival of my bf's relatives, what better way to show case W.A's fresh produce but through a winery that is Millbrook winery.

We took a 45 minute drive down south through the scenic countryside of Jarrahdale and as we turned the corner we were welcomed by a single building snuggled in the middle of green rolling hills beside a pristine man made lake and vineyards that seem to be vineless? We parked in what was a deserted carpark for which I thought.."oh god..this is when you kill me right?" turns out we were really early and the restaurant wasn't open for service yet.

Sheeps doing their thang

As service doesn't start till an hour, we happily walked around the area taking in the beautiful views, I loved the view of the sheeps in the far distance up the hills just doing their THANG..munching away on grass. We returned to the building and decided to try some wine tasting and as expected I couldn't tell between A to B and the supposedly claimed chocolate notes in wine A =-=.I just swirl my cup and pretend I know my thing.

We then went upstairs for our long awaited lunch and I was surprised to find alot of people dining in the restaurant especially for an isolated venue, the restaurant had views at all angles and had many awards displayed at the entrance, we were seated and greeted by our lovely and very professional waitress whom read out the specials for the day, as good as they all may sound we all opted for the items in the menu. We ordered the following:
Fremantle octopus, rasa's chorizo, pickled potato, smoked salmon
Baldivis rabbit, acciari butchers catechino, tomato sauce, handcut pasta
Market fresh fish of the day
foraged and farmed mushroom risotto, white truffle oil, parmesan
Free range pork loin, braised borlotti beans, local pancetta, caramelised shallots
dandaragan organic grass fed scotch fillet, chilli and anchovy braised brocollini, migas

Shortly after ordering, we were presented complimentary bread with butter and freshly made marmalade and pink salt. This was an odd combination to eat bread with and I was rather confused as to how to go about it. Nonetheless, there was nothing to complain about, it was complimentary after all.

Complimentary bread

I had the mushroom risotto, I was won over by the "white truffle oil" Love truffle! and LOve oil! This dish did not fail to impress, it was cooked perfectly, I've tried making risotto before and after two hours slaving over the stove constantly mixing and still having uncooked rice or rice thats just the wrong texture, I've become very appreciative of risottos and more willing to paying the $36 for what is really just rice and stock.

foraged and farmed mushroom risotto, white truffle oil, parmesan

I tried the pork loin and did not find much to rave about, flavours were rather subtle and very simple, I did notice that the caramelised shallots was done in wine as it had a rather sweet flavour to it. You might not want to take my word for it as I don't like/know wine but it did help with uplifting the flavours of the dish.

Free range pork loin, braised borlotti beans, local pancetta, caramelised shallots

I also tried the rabbit dish and initially, I was going to order this dish, but after realising it was just tossed in pasta, I opted out. The handcut pasta was cooked to perfection and the rabbit meat was lovely and tender enough to call it a good pasta dish.

Baldivis rabbit, acciari butchers catechino, tomato sauce, handcut pasta

Fish of the day

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed their meal, dishes were rather pricey but it is evident that the produce is fresh, I guess they didn't want to ruin the fresh produce with overwhelming flavours, keeping it simple and allowing the ingredients to speak for itself.

Millbrook Winery on Urbanspoon