Sunday, 28 July 2013

School is back in! @ The Classroom

Tick! I said to myself after visiting The Classroom (354 Charles Street, North Perth) last weekend. Located opposite the McDonalds and BP station at the corner of Scarborough Beach Rd and Charles Street this is a nicely decked out bar!

There is the main public bar area (long and narrow and tables/seating is a premium! next door is two private function areas called the School Yard (closer to a tuck shop/ cafeteria in decor ) and the Library with some very nice chesterfield sofas about the place (think a den - though I think someone called it a Harry Potter type library room!)

The Classroom's strength is in its array of cocktails and alcohol selection, a different spread (but pricey) with a good selection of small plate food menu; think eating lots of entrees for dinner (not quite as small as tapas but not as large as restaurant type mains. food style could be described as modern with a gimmick, pipettes for dispensing Tabasco? 

Most dishes have multiple servings to share but each item was roughly $15+ (wedges were $7). All up our total food bill for a group of three was about $40 each, four dishes and chips with some drinks left us mostly satisfied food wise, not too hungry and if we had more drinks we wouldn't have cared ;)

So our order that night consisted of:
Shaker hand cut chips (wedges served in a hot chips cup with a paper bag with shaker salt + lime(?) ) 
(It was just chips.... That were limp and soggy - apologies on the pic, maybe a brown paper bar doesn't really convey what a bucket of chips with skins on really looks like right?? Imagination people..... Use it :D why inside that bag could be something much more awesome like.... The next dish??)

Beef Brisket (yum - came with pickled veggies and extra sauce) - the vegetables felt more decorative than being an important component of the dish however, cauliflower, carrots in a jar? I'll have the meat thanks!

Fish Fingers - more like fish footballs :D three little footballs of fish paste sitting on top of a fennel salad and anchored in place with tartare sauce - tasted nice, better than my school days of fish fingers :D

Fried Chicken - four pieces of fried chicken! Supposedly 12 secret spices, looked nicely friend and crispy though lacking in something, maybe the 13th spice should be flavour hmmmm. Was cool it came in a little bucket and napkins to absorb the grease...

Finally we had the Chicken Quesadillas - with Tabasco in a pipette and fresh guacamole (three pieces) 
Not too bad, crispy, filling and guac was fine

Overall the food did its job, the people were very friendly and service was very attentive! They were very happy to answer questions, cleared up the table quickly (flipping tables probably their priority) and drink orders were delivered promptly. Food was pushed out quickly and they used a buzzer system so you ordered at the bar (or waitress) and collect your food from the "canteen" essentially you bus your own food to your table from the pass lol. Anyhow the decor was great, decent food and alcohol selection. My overall impression is not too bad but am looking forward to lounging on them chesterfield..... hmmm yes :D

Thursday, 11 July 2013

[Life] Sony Dinner Sessions!

Two highlights from Thursday night, eating at Butterworth Bar & Kitchen and geeking out with Sony's 2013 product line up :D

So important things first, the Butterworth Bar & Kitchen was a new place for me in the city (opposite Australia place off St George's Tce) and street parking was not so easy to get (but I did hurrah!)

It's quite a small place with not many other guests dining in on a Thursday night but I reckon our party definitely made up for it.

The Sony reps had booked out the front section, I presume it was the bar area with some great lounge seating and high bar stools and tables. For dinner they had a nice long table with bar stools fitting about 15 people.

Around the table were an assortment of gadgets for us to play with whilst the waitstaff came around to take our drink orders.

Big shoutouts as the bar was fully available and the liquor selection was very enticing to explore had I not been distracted with so many shiny doodads...

Anyhow the focus of the event was a gathering of the Sony X community, essentially a networking event of fanboys (and girls) and meeting face to face with some of Sony's marketing team, Jamie Wong - Community Manager and Kevin - product marketing for Imaging. Also present was Craig, Sony's sales rep for WA.

After a brief round of intro speech we were introduced to the products around us, from the 55" 4k TV ( someone want to buy me one?) to the mega muteki - code named "Shake" - literraly a disco light speaker system (2.1) with bass expandion to give you pseudo heart palpitations and a full range of cameras from the NEX 6, a99 and the Rx1 (ok I want one of those!!)

We then proceeded with the round table of personal introductions then food orders were taken (and more drink orders)

Menu wise it was all very swish, pricing was a bit extravagant, with entrees around the $20 mark and mains low 40s and desserts... Well I stopped looking at the price and just went at it.....

Kevin - image marketing , Jamie Sony x and Craig sales Sony wa 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

There's no place like home

Trials and tribulations in moving house and furnishing from scratch....
Oh the agony of packing and moving....

Here's a quick pic of the progress so far, had to shelve so many potential modifications before moving in for the sake of economy ack!

And here is what the living room is up to for now

Gotta love couches on cardboard!! Need to get those easy furniture rollers that couch alone was close to 100kg in weight (why is the wood so heavy!!)

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tuck Shop Cafe - Northbridge

So whilst I'm not what you would call an early riser, when organising a breakfast catch up with A popped up I found myself suggesting a visit to Tuck Shop Cafe is in order. The good news was it was totally worthwhile waking up so early on my usual sleep-in day, the bad news was that it involved making sure we got there before 8am on a Saturday morning!

Thankfully Northbridge in the morning is a civil affair, families, DINKs and people in cycling gear all gather, grab coffees and chat away the morning in a lively atmosphere in decor i'd describe as eating inside a providore store?

When we arrived it was about 1/2 to 3/4 full already ( seating really was suited for groups of four or less) so I was glad we went early (plus being able to find side street parking was a bonus too)

So here's the skinny, the menu is pretty much a gourmet brunch menu, service was friendly and attentive (quick for food to coffees, food and clearing the table) and pricing wise was roughly $12-20, the cheap end was for their continental breakfast options or from their pie selection and the $18-20 range consisted of more substantial foods. Coffees ranged from about high 3's to $4+. Good quality brews with a frequently rotating coffee blend.

Ordering myself a mocha whilst A grabbed a fruit juice (beetroot celery and apple!) we talked as our hot dishes were served up,

In summary, this is definitely going to be one of my goto breakfast places, only downside is having to beat the rush of people to get a table :((

My dish was average, the pork belly a bit dry and chewy, the crackling crunchy but felt dried out making it a tough chew early in the morning. The potatoes and chorizo were fried nicely and the sweetness of the Spanish onions was a welcome addition. Overall serving size was very filling.

The salmon and ricotta dish looked fantastic, again a good serving size with a good serve of smoked salmon. A lot of ricotta cheese to fill out the dish.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Northbridge O Day!

It's northbridge O Day! Not sure what I'm orienteering but there's free stuff and stamps and magnets to collect!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Is Donburi... is good :D

So for our Wednesday dinner and games nights our nom noms was at a restaurant quickly becoming one of my go to Japanese restaurants, Is Donburi on William St (next to Jus Burgers in the refurbished arcade containing Superstar Waffles).

One thing you'll notice is there aren't many seats at the restaurant so I'd recommend coming with groups of less than 8 as they have such limited space you could be waiting for a while. They do take reservations and I was quite tempted to see if the AMEX concierge would be able to reserve a table on the spot since I saw those reserved Amex signs (with no one claiming them....)

Anyhow dinner was kicked off with some Karaage chicken (which were awesome in taste though slightly disappointing as they bulked it up with a lot of salad, so much so it was closer to being a karaage chicken salad entree instead).

Taste wise the batter was great, crispy and not oily, looked slightly too dark though, definitely pass the golden brown stage. There were dipping sauces included (one which looked like sweet chilli and a dollop of Japanese mayo in the corner)

For mains I ordered my trusty I-Bento set (well presented with great variety of dishes for $24!). You choose your main protein of teriyaki chicken/beef/tofu/fish then the side dishes consisted of fried gyozas, pan fried salmon piece, sushi and a serve of sashimi ( three varieties of fish each with 2-3 small servings!) and a Japanese salad to round things off.

My friends had a mixture of S Bento sets a business was bento set ?l( essentially a donburi bowl filled with your main protein with rice topped with the fried gyozas and tempura pieces).

Serving sizes were are generous and plenty for dinner and it tasted very good. A highly recommend from me to check it out! Apologies on the lack of photos, I concentrated more on eating than taking pictures this time round :D)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Aisuru Sushi

Ticking off another Japanese sushi place in Northbridge to try, back in the days this used to be a YHA travel agent but I'm glad they've become a sushi / izakaya type restaurant!!

So a fateful Sunday evening being impatient at getting a table at Is Donburi (second time I said I'll come back now!) we ventured to Aisuru Sushi (diagonally opposite at the corner of James and William Street.

Initial impressions was pretty good
decor wise seemed to go for a more modern look with a mix of conveyor belt bar seating and a handful of sit down tables and about four sets of tables on the alfresco pavement, we were lucky to snag a table as walk-ins.

Whilst looking at the menu we were asked if we wanted any drinks then shown an iPad with icons of drinks to select. The savoury menu was pretty focused, with a large bias towards sushi rolls (with not so common names - think fusion type sushi combinations)

Price wise things weren't too bad with most entrees coming around the $8-15 mark, with the more expensive ones often having a raw fish component.
Sushi came in two sizes, four or eight pieces with a four piece serving around the $8-10 mark and eight pieces around $16-22 mark.

After debating we decided to get three entrees and five 4pc sushi rolls so we could get a sample of their vast range of sushi combinations.

For entrees we had the sweet corn tempura, sweet corn kernels dunked in tempura batter then deep fried and drizzled with a mildly spicy mayonnaise based sauce. It was very tasty and the tempura batter was not soggy at all and the slight spicy heat mixed well with the sweetness of corn.
Our second entree was the salmon sashimi salad, looked like the salad base was a mesculin salad mix topped with five pieces of salmon sashimi and half an avocado sliced to one side. The dressing was nice though at times I felt a bit too oily and they could've presented it better, seemed the sashimi pieces broke the servings into five nice lots but the avocado was forgotten on the side. Perhaps laying the avocado across the sashimi would've helped?
Anyhow, raw fish and avocado is a typical pairing so not much could go wrong.

Our third entree was the karaage chicken, we had about 10 round pieces, about a third of a chicken fillet size so was a decent serve. Again the batter was tasty, chicken juicy, a very good and seasoned dish of fried chicken goodness yum

For sushi rolls there were some hits and misses, the hits being the soft shell crab sushi ( spider roll), the plum flower roll (chicken and avocado sushi roll with a different name) and finally the dynamite roll. The more forgettable sushis were the scallop based sushi (pretty much a California roll topped with some pale white scallops :( - I think some caramelisation would've gone a long way to give it some oomph) and the vegetarian sushi titles the magic mushroom, essentially a combination of enoki mushrooms and button mushrooms that ended up with a kinda bland taste. I was hoping of the umami taste from the mushrooms but just don't think it worked, especially with the sushi rice.

All in all a very decent Japanese restaurant, not too pricey with it coming to about $30 a head and service was fast as they cleared plates quickly with plenty of waitstaff to flag down for any assistance. A good sushi option if you're too far from Mr Munchies and much better value than Matsuri.

Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Casa Mexicana - El Compa

The scene: a Saturday night, a much needed catch up with friends and a lot of events and dramas to update everyone on, so what do we end up eating? Mexican of course! Corn chips, tacos and beer were on the cards when we descended upon this Northbridge restaurant last Saturday evening.

Casa Mexicana - El Campo was one of those places I've walked by and wanted to try, the furnishings seems pretty basic/casual, white plastic chairs, a red light by one wall and loud background noise, of people talking increasingly louder to be heard. This isn't your intimate dinner place but definitely suitable for a casual night out.

The menu is fairly compact and we were attended by a friendly Argentinian waitress, with genuine concern if the food we got wasn't good (but not like she could've comp'd anything free though) we proceeded to order a variety of menu items to get a good tasting of what this restaurant had to offer.

Started with a set of four starters - the house guacamole, a corn esquites, refried black beans and a small pork roll which I've forgotten the name of it already (it was that memorable?)

Anyhow the entree dips were served with corn chips which they graciously refilled upon request (I didn't notice being charged which was nice)

We then ordered some sopes, these are corn dough bases topped with a variety of toppings (think your typical beef / pork pulled meat toppings with capsicum onion tomato based salsas). For $10 these seemed a bit more filling than the entrees and packed a good punch of flavour. Size wise they were slightly smaller than the tacos, probably the size of a person's palm. They did come with two sopes per serve which was a plus

We skipped the quesadilla round and moved onto ordering a variety of tacos. At $7-10 per taco it isnt what you'd call good value with each taco consisting of a soft flour taco with good flavoured toppings. We had about 3 tacos per son and with the beers were just OK on the filled stomach meter. Taco varieties ranged from chicken, beef and pork tacos with a vegetarian cactus taco I didn't get to try unfortunately). All in all the flavours were fine, typical flavour combinations were used eg. Pork carnitas were paired with some apple cubes, beef had slivers of capsicum. I'll let the photos attempt to speak for themselves.

All in all it wasn't too bad (one plus the food arrived quickly and together!!) but not really a place to go back to in a hurry, about on par with La Cholitas I reckon. My search for new Mexican restaurants continues....
(Apologies for the really abysmal photo quality this time round.... dim lightning really hurts the quality)

Casa Mexicana - El Compa on Urbanspoon

Our entrees for the night (Guaccamole, refried black beans, sweet corn salsa and some a small sandwhich - pork based entree the name escapes me :(  )

Beef tacos....

Sopes ! They really were about the size of the tacos :X At least they came in serving sizes of 2

Pork carnitas tacos with apple hmmmm

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Adelaide Day 2

Unfortunately no real exciting places to report.... Went to The Historian Hotel for after work drinks, being a Tuesday evening it was pretty quiet and being Adelaide they didn't have a cook on roster that day so no food or nibbles :(

Dinner was at some Italian place called Scoozi Cafe think of it as the Sienna's of Perth Italian fare (cheapish bistro Italian fare)

Was ok, had coffees there with Mr DT on the weekend earlier. Had the fettuccine veal ragu, strangely being a tomato based sauce I still kept tasting hints of Parmesan despite none actually being on it (maybe it was just the slightly off/strange smell from the ragu?? ) overall it was so-so and not getting food poisoning is always a good blessing. Pictures to follow but it isn't really a place to write home about.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Adelaide Day 1 - an Abortion!

Supposedly an Adelaide "dish" presenting to you the AB! (From north Adelaide) which is as north Adelaide as Roe Street is north of the CBD ;)

(Double serve of a base layer of chips, lamb kebab meat and chicken kebab meat on top and lashes of garlic and sweet chilli sauce)

Protein and carbs.....
Courtesy of our SA FGC friend Peter Lay!
(Teh fighting gamez)

Adelaide day 0 - Parlamento

Landed in Adelaide around 6pm tonight I'm quite surprised the taxi fare was so cheap from the airport to the CBD! At $23 Ish dollars I guess it's not bad for a 30mins taxi fare hey??

Unfortunately being a Sunday and after 6pm everything is pretty much shut :( did see across from my hotel (the Stamford Plaza) there's a casino and train station!

Am glad Crown spent some money renovating our casino up, Adelaide's one looks like a theatre or the GPO building in Perth :))

Overall looks like a nice place, Rundle mall is what I would describe as Murray and Hay street mall joined end to end but yes Adelaide is a smaller town than Perth so there!

Food wise I ended up going to a restaurant next to my hotel since my alternatives were closed on a Sunday (/sigh)

Parlamento a home style Italian bistro, not too bad and the waiters are in old school black and white uniforms (++ for them being aussie/italian and able to speak Italian !) but food wise barely passed with my steak not coming medium rare but. More on the side of dead Gray :/

But that aside at least it makes a nice photo...

Parlamento on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Ni No Kuni - Studio Ghibli x Level 5 = omg pretty

Short and sweet update today.

If you have a Playstation 3 you need to go get this.

ps. I heard the PSN copy (US store @ $55) is much better than getting the disc version as you won't run into issues with it randomly freezing and hard locking your PS3.....

Who does not like Drippy? :D

Anyhow... no more updates I'm going to lock myself into a room for a bit and enjoy this!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dough! - northbridge

Hmmm so from the ashes of Sparrow comes a new pizza bar called Dough!

Decor is your modern hipster place, walls plastered with retro billboard posters and seating was quite tight so those with prams should probably avoid it for the benefit of the rest of the diners.
(ie. it's narrow and small)

So seven pizzas later the boards games group (BGG) came out feeling satisfied and well pizza'd out for the month.

I ordered the Parmigiana pizza which was a tomato sauce base, pork sausage and eggplant toppings on roughly 10" handmade dough base. Others ordered a carbonara pizza (onions pancetta and eggs), a margherita pizza (your standard tomato sauce pizza) a calzone, a pumpkin pancetta and rocket pizza. The one I liked the look of the most was The Farmers pizza, potato, pork sausage and pancetta on a white sauce hmmm.

Scanning the menu you had a choice of two sauce bases, essentially a red or white (cheese sauce) base. Each pizza variety only had at maximum 2-4 toppings (you could always ask for additional toppings too) and most had a cheese topping element (Gorgonzola, Parmesan etc)

Entrees were your salads and arancini balls, meatballs (which didn't get the value for money recommendation sadly). On special was a lone pasta dish (that seemed to have the ingredients of a pizza that was scrubbed off the list) but unfortunately we didn't get the chance to try this time round.

One pizza definitely was enough for a hungry man sized serving, smaller eaters half to 3/4 a pizza would probably do. One method of inhaling down a pizza was to roll it up and eat it up like a crepe. The pizza dough was that fresh and soft that it was a viable eating technique. There were a couple of calzones on offer as well (even a Nutella dessert based one).

My pizza I ordered unfortunately became too soggy when it arrived, I'd blame the eggplant and liberal lashings of tomato sauce and oil causing the pizza base to to give way and turn into that mushy soggy dough texture :(
I tend to prefer much thinner and crisper bases and to prevent my toppings from sliding off had to resort to making my own pizza sandwiches!

Money wise wasn't too bad, around the $20-25 mark overall per pizza.
Not a bad pizza bar if you're in Northbridge (on the upper end near Mela and bar 399). Overall a good place, handmade dough, quality toppings always make a good combination.

Dough Pizza on Urbanspoon