Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rottnest Island

On the last full day we had in Perth, we went on a road trip to Rottnest Island. Our adventure started with breakfast at Bread In Common, and then continued with the ferry ride from B Shed.

Our main activity on Rottnest Island was cycling, and to be honest, I was a little nervous. The last time I had cycled was when I went to Rutherglen, and I remember having trouble starting, stopping and turning corners because the bike was too big. Fortunately for me, the bike at Rottnest was manageable (it was still slightly too large but my feet were barely able to touch the ground) so the ride was a lot smoother this time.

The scenery was just beautiful. We were a little wimpy at the start and stopped every 10 minutes or so for snacks and drinks, but soon we picked up the pace and cycled about half the island, which was just a little over 10km. There was the ocean..

..and lovely greens and lakes. I got tired so easily at the start, I didn't think I would be able to finish the whole route, but after a while it somehow took less and less effort to pedal. I was probably too distracted by the beautiful surroundings. I would have loved to cycle the 22km route, but unfortunately we were running short on time.

The best part about the trip was meeting quokkas, also known as the happiest animals in the world. They are the reason the island is called Rottnest Island, as they were originally mistaken to be rats (hence rats' nest). We saw these cute little furry animals just chilling under some trees, and have I mentioned that they are so, so cute?! I tried enticing one with some leaves and managed to get a close up.

Soon 4:30pm came and we were ready to head back to Fremantle. We were all so exhausted that we all fell asleep on the ferry ride. I am so glad I got to see this beautiful island. It was a day well spent!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bread In Common, Fremantle

One morning in Perth, the five of us dropped by Bread In Common, Fremantle for a hearty breakfast to fuel our day. As with Tuck Shop Café, this eatery was also highly talked about amongst many.

For once, I felt like something else other than hot chocolate. This invigorating blend of grapefruit, orange and ginger juice was the perfect start to my day. 

We ordered a mix of breads and spreads to share. The two types of bread that were served were the common loaf and the sourdough wholemeal. Both breads were fresh and beautiful, with the sourdough tasting a little more acidic and dense than the other. We paired the breads with some olive oil and hazelnut dukkah. 

We also ordered some house churned butter which was so amazing we ended up getting another serve. It had an unforgettable taste and texture, as it was one of the smoothest, creamiest and lightest butter I've ever tasted. 

We also decided to get some cured meats for a heavier and more savoury pairing, and this included pickled ox tongue and coppa (a cold cut made from the muscles of pork shoulder or neck).

Last but not least, we shared a plate of anchovy toasts with creamy egg yolk. I've always thought of anchovies as 'cheap' food but I was quite pleasantly surprised by these tasty little bites. These were slightly different, with the anchovies embedded within, but crunchy and tasty nonetheless.

I loved the food and their unique focus and philosophy. We all agreed that it was a very enjoyable breakfast with great customer service from possibly the loveliest waiter ever. I would definitely recommend a visit, regardless of whether you have a small or large group as there is ample seating space. If you're lucky, you might catch a whiff of freshly baked bread being carted from the kitchen.

Bread In Common on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Aisuru Sushi, Northbridge

After a food-filled day at Swan Valley, my friends asked me to choose a cuisine for dinner. There was no doubt that my answer was Japanese, so they took me to Aisuru Sushi in Northbridge. (There is also another branch in Subiaco.)

I was told that this restaurant was very popular for their unique sushi, which was evidenced by our thirty minute wait. Despite having pigged out the whole day, I was a little hungry and rejoiced when we were finally seated.

I've fallen in love with lotus root chips ever since I first had them at Izakaya Jiro Grill & Sake Bar. These were really crunchy, but was unfortunately lacking in flavour. I thought they were pretty bland, so a little bit more seasoning would have been great.

Another entrée that we ordered was the salmon sashimi. It was fresh, but I thought it was quite overpriced. Five thin slices of salmon was certainly not worth $10.

I thought the sweet corn tempura was a pretty special dish, as I don't think I've ever come across it in Melbourne. This dish was an amalgamation of different tastes - sweet and juicy corn, salty and crunchy batter and smooth and tangy mayo. Highly addictive!

We ordered a variety of sushi, the first one being the caterpillar roll - eel and cucumber topped with avocado, fish eggs and aioli. I love how each piece fit into my mouth perfectly. It was quite nice, but I thought it was a little bit of a shame how the flavour of the eel was overwhelmed by the toppings.

The plum flower roll was made of teriyaki chicken and avocado wrapped in egg and drizzled with plum sauce. The sauce was a nice and delicate touch, making each mouthful a delight.
I was anticipating the kirika roll the most - seared salmon and scallops with fish eggs and spring onions on sushi rice, and it didn't disappoint! Just look at those layers of seafood-y goodness.

Finally, we had the spider roll of which soft shell crab was the main ingredient. It was nice, but wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

One thing that definitely stands out at Aisuru is the beautiful construction and plating of the sushi. In terms of flavour, I would have liked them to kick it up a notch, but I do appreciate the subtlety as well. Hop in if you need a break from takeaway sushi!

Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sticky Spoon Café, Herne Hill

Towards the end of our Swan Valley self tour, we paid a visit to The House Of Honey in Herne Hill. As you would have guessed, it was honey heaven. There were tons of honey-related products, including flavoured honeys (with free tasting!), lollies, candles, skincare products and pollen. There was also a live bee display, where a friendly and informative staff member imparted his knowledge of bees and honey to my friends (I was quite distracted by the merchandise and tastings).

The House Of Honey is also home to the Sticky Spoon Café, which, unsurprisingly, had a honey-themed menu. There were honey scones, honey drinks and honey ice-cream, but the one thing we were there for, was the honey cake. Our friend had been harping on about it since the start of the day, so I was very eager to try it for myself.

It was a beautiful slice of art. The cake was made of layers upon layers of caramel and honey and topped with ground walnuts. I was a little worried because I had eaten so much earlier in the day, but it was still divine. It was somehow both sticky and crumbly at the same time, and in no way was it overly sweet. If I hadn't exceeded my sugar quota by like 500% that day, I would have liked to try the honey ice-cream as well.

It was a interesting stop with quite a number of things to discover, and we walked away with some honey candy, sparkling honey water (which was amazing!) and several jars of honey. If you are in search of the honey cake but live far away, fear not, as it is stocked by several other cafés in Perth as listed here.

The Sticky Spoon Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lamont's Swan Valley, Millendon

After exploring Swan Valley a little more, we stopped by Lamont's, Millendon for a proper meal. Blessed with a casual atmosphere and beautiful views, it was the perfect place for a lazy, relaxing lunch. They offer a tasting menu with dishes that are designed to be shared, so our group of five ordered five dishes in total. 

No indulgent meal is complete without some wine, so we shared a bottle of sweet and fruity rosé.

First up, we had half a baguette and a bowl of olives. I'm not an olives person, so I didn't have any, though I admit I was very tempted to try. 

One of the dishes was this delightful mushroom and parmesan tart topped with spinach and pine nuts. It was a relatively simple dish but it felt so natural. The pastry was flaky, and the flavours of the mushroom and spinach were so fresh it really tasted like they had just plucked it from the back of their garden.

Next up, we had pork belly with mashed potato and salad, and it was a star. Every single one of us made comments along the lines of, "Oh my god, so good!" and "Wow! You should really try this!" with our first bite. Crispy and tasty, there was nothing more that we could ask for.

Tempura whiting was next on the list. Once again, it was a straightforward dish but its clean and fresh flavours really shined through.

The last dish was pork and peppercorn rilettes with roast pears, reduced balsamic and crostini, which was rather interesting for me, as I had never had anything similar before. (My first impression was that it looked like cookies and cream ice cream.) I personally think it is an acquired taste, but it was still an enjoyable spread for the crostini.

In my opinion, this was the best café out of the ten that we visited in Swan Valley. The food was unpretentious, fresh and of great quality. A must try if you are in the region!

Lamont's Swan Valley on Urbanspoon