I thought I would share some recent gems with you, meal by meal.
*** Breakfast: Voyage, Milkd ***
I recently brunched at Voyage in Sorrento with my sister and her family to celebrate Xander’s first birthday. Both Katie & I ordered the New Norma’s (me with a side of mushrooms, as shown below). It was just what I needed. Wholesome. Well-cooked. With big components that I could share with Xander. The coffee was decent and mug-sized. I also loved the fact that you could shop for Simon Johnson products while breakfasting.
My nieces both ordered the pancakes, and Xander had a great time finishing off their spiced pears.
Jes, my 8-year old niece, also imparted me with her foodly wisdom: she provided an in-depth analysis of what makes a good caramel milkshake. Apparently her order was too sweet [pictured], however she informed me that she has had many a caramel milkshake that has been so weak that it tasted like vanilla.
Those who know me will know that Milkd on 8th Avenue is now a favourite of mine. I almost always order the ‘no bread brekky’ (right), more often than not with two coffees (one to take away), because the coffee is just so darned good here.
I can also recommend the Milkd Melt, for those who love their toasted sandwiches. The Japanese mayo makes all the difference.
*** Lunch: Bluewater Grill, Soda ***
Bluewater Grill, Applecross. What an amazing location. I mean, looking out over the river, eating Brad Leahy’s inspired creations, you could forget the fact that you are seated in the grounds of a former mental asylum. Actually, the location is beautiful. There is even a gallery next door, if you are so inclined.
I visited with my friend Dave on Saturday. We were only in the mood for a light lunch, so ordered the carpaccio and duck. I can not go past carpaccio when it is on a menu. My thinking: the meat that is used has to be so fresh and tasty that you can not go wrong. And this occasion was no exception. I wrapped the delicate combination of carpaccio, a light aoli, watercress and chickpea fries into neat little parcels and held my breath as I ingested slowly. Simply divine.
My lunch buddy shared a taste of his duck: that was also delicious. I still contend that mine was the winning dish.
For dessert, Dave had a macchiato; after I tasted the first blue on the list, I ended up choosing the stilton and brie on a cheese platter, and the portions were so generously sized that I could not finish either cheese.
News to me: Bluewater Grill also runs cooking classes. I may not sign up for this season’s (my dance card is pretty full), but I will be looking out for the summer classes. Maybe I will see you there sometime 🙂
N and I patroned Soda just over a week ago. It was my first visit to the cafe for a meal other than breakfast and, I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Then again, it’s pretty hard to be disappointed when you have a view of the ocean over your shoulder as you eat.
We started with the cajun fries and aioli. N ordered the lemon pepper calamari for main and, although the calamari was well cooked, he was a little disappointed with the floury taste. My meal, however, was awesome; I ordered the spiced venison kebab and each flavour was beautifully balanced with the next. Ordinarily, I could take or leave couscous, but it was seasoned so well that I savoured every bite.
*** Guilty afternoon pleasure: San Churro ***
A friend messaged me on facebook after my first chocolate post, incredulous that I had not been to San Churro. So I remedied that by paying a visit with A in late April [I know, it has taken a while to post…]. I can be sure that I remembered the experience accurately because I shared my thoughts with a San Churro napkin at the time and, miraculously, I managed to keep it until now.
I seemed to remember the San Churro site in Fremantle being a little hole-in-the-wall of a Mexican restaurant in a past life. The metamorphosis to chocolaterie is a distinctly positive change.
A and I took up the lounge seat in the middle of San Churro, and I set up the self-provided chess board as A placed our order. The Aztec hot chocolate was the main inspiration for my home version, which is utterly delicious (if I do say so myself :p). A ordered the malt ball mambo and that just didn’t arrive. That would have to be the one criticism I had of our visit: the service was slow & inaccurate despite the venue being practically empty. This aspect may well have been remedied over the past few months.
I was, however, very impressed with both the size and flavours of the tasting plate. We had churros (sticks of doughnuts for dipping in a generous pot of chocolate sauce), chocolate truffles, a rich chocolate icrecream, and a chocolate brownie. Very decadent, and very tempting to take some of the experience home with me.
*** Dinner: Rose & Crown ***
Ok, so my last visit to the Rose & Crown was for lunch rather than dinner — but I can recommend it as an excellent dinner venue based on past experience. Mandy and I had been meaning to lunch together for a while and finally got ourselves together on 23 July. Mandy’s partner, Richard, is the talented chef who also took the time to give me tips on pork belly preparation in between our mains and dessert.
For the main course, I ordered the sweet potato gnocchi with shredded rabbit in a cream and chive sauce; Mandy had the confit duck leg. I have to admit to making the better choice [of course!], though Mandy looked very happy with her duck in its balsamic glaze.
My silken pillows of sweet potato were fluffy and delicate. I was worried that they might overpower the other flavours, but the dish was incredibly well balanced: each element had its place and I came together in beautiful unison. I discovered, from the chef, that the secret is in stock reduction after the rabbit is braised. I have always been too scared to cook with rabbit in the past. I am now thinking of giving it a red hot go.
As for dessert, we were very pleased with our cheese plate. I only had eyes for the huge hunk of Saint Agur blue as it was placed before me and, as expected, it hit the spot perfectly. It was an incredibly sating experience for me.
I will be revisiting this fine establishment again very soon — maybe even to stand at the pass during service, if Mark will have me.