The Norfolk Hotel

There are so many places that Mark & I return to time & time again and The Norfolk is one of them.FullSizeRender 4

We had spent the morning at Woodman Point, a beach south of Fremantle, where Mark could indulge in his hobby of photography, (a talent wasted in my view – check out his website: www.grangehouse.wix.com/photography), capturing the kite surfers while I spent the time on my other hobby (food & wine will forever be my first loves) – collecting shells and driftwood. One day I will get round to doing something with my collections but for now I just keep collecting!

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Driving home Mark suggested a ‘quick pint’ so we headed for The Norfolk where the quick pint turned into two with lunch as usual! 

There is still a distinct lack of NZ wines on the Menu so I had a couple of glasses of Monte Campo Pinot Gris (2013, $10.00) and Mark had his usual Little Creatures Pale Ale ($11.00), the food Menu however had been updated with a few new and interesting dishes. One such dish was a Spicy Pork & Fennel Hotdog served in a Sourdough Roll with Chilli Jam, Aged Cheddar and a side of Chips. This was so yummy – especially the drizzle of HOT mustard – and a real change from my usual choices.

Mark’s choice of the Spicy Italian Salami Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella and Spring Onions seemed a good idea at the time but surprisingly was SO HOT he almost couldn’t eat it! To be fair it was advertised as SPICY but this was ridiculous! Luckily he still had his beer for its cooling effect!

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The Norfolk ~ 15th May 2016 (#22)

7/10

 

 

 

 

The Royal on the Waterfront, East Perth

I think The Royal is probably one of our favourite places to go for lunch. It’s not exactly local to us but well worth the drive despite having to pay for parking on a weekday. Even the walk through the park is lovely – you wouldn’t believe you were in the centre of the City.FullSizeRender 7

Sitting outside on the terrace feels like you could be in any one of a number of European waterfront cities and has a perfect view over Claisebrook Cove, which runs into the Swan River. There are a few mooring points for boaters who want to jump ashore to enjoy an afternoon of good food, wine & beer and only very recently the Little Ferry Company have started running a regular service between the new Elizabeth Quay and Claisebrook Cove allowing those who don’t have the luxury of owning their own boat the chance to arrive by water.

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Little Ferry

One of the main reasons we return to The Royal so often is the Colonial Brewing Company Project Beer which Mark is very excited about! This one off batch of beer is produced in the Margaret River region and is apparently pretty special! At $11.00 a pint it’s very reasonable for Perth and certainly keeps us coming back.FullSizeRender 6

Being a lover of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I especially like the fact that you can order a half bottle of wine so I always opt for the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from Marlborough at $24.00 for 375ml. 

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I have to say the Pizza’s here are one of the best we experience in Perth….. they are deliciously thin & crisp and served hot and fresh on a piece of slate. They have a specials menu each day which always includes a Pizza, however even the simplest Margarita here is amazing. We were not especially excited by today’s special so decided to share a half slab of the Capricciosa – this  was a great combination of Ham, Cacciatore Sausage, Mushrooms, Olives (a few too many for our liking, but that can be forgiven), Red Onion and Torn Mozzarella and was absolutely delicious ($20.00 half slab / $36.00 full slab).FullSizeRender 2

I have regularly eyed the Little Pot of South Australian Mussels which comes with differing accompaniments depending on the daily menu. Often the dish is tomato & chilli based which is not my favourite way of eating Mussels (I’m a white wine & cream fan), but today’s sounded particularly yummy being served in a Cream Sauce with Chilli, Onion & Bacon and accompanied by Crusty Bread. This has to be the best $16.00 I have spent on a pot of Mussels in a very long time. They were plump and beautifully cooked and there was not one that hadn’t opened. The sauce had the perfect amount of chilli kick with a hint of smokiness from the bacon and was creamy & so moorish  – the perfect liquor for my bread. I cannot rate these any higher!FullSizeRender 3

And to top it off – a beautiful Dolphin & her baby swam into the cove just as we were leaving. 

The Royal on the Waterfront ~ 6th May 2016 (#21)

9/10

Jamie’s Italian

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This was Mark’s first outing to Jamie’s Italian in Perth – we had visited the Covent Garden Restaurant when we were in London a couple of years ago but Mark was not that impressed. He ordered the steak which wasn’t fabulous – I pointed out that if you are going to Jamie’s Italian the least you can do is order Pasta which, I might point out, had been particularly yummy.

I have only been to Jamie’s in Perth once before with our daughter Lauren but do remember a particularly scrumptious Lemon Meringue dessert which we polished off in no time at all.

I was surprised we were to be able to get a table straight away on a weekend lunchtime as you usually have to book well in advance and even the wait time for ‘drop-ins’ can be 30 minutes or more. Maybe the ‘Jamie mania’ is calming down in Perth?

FullSizeRender 6We were shown to a table for 2 which was cosily nestled next to another table for 2, and when I say cosy I mean ‘elbow knocking’ – not the venue to whisper sweet nothings in fact the diners are packed rather like sardines!

Mark ordered a pint of a local tap beer from Bootleg Brewery (located in Margaret River) called South West Wheat (4.7% – $11.50). This is advertised as a refreshing summer ale which is low on bitterness and was served in an extremely thick and heavy glass jug.

Jamie’s vino Bianco white wine from South Australia was my choice at $14.00 for a 250ml glass. This was a wonderfully delicate & fruity house wine which came in a variety of sizes. So refreshing – I should have ordered the half bottle carafe!

FullSizeRenderWe began our lunch by sharing the selection of Artisan Breads ($4.50) which consisted of House-Baked Focaccia, Ciabatta, Seeded Cracker bread, Sourdough & Grissini with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic & Tapenade. Olives are not our favourite thing but the Tapenade wasn’t unpleasant, however I would have liked a little more of the Oil & Balsamic Dressing to soak into my bread which was lovely and fresh.

FullSizeRender 9Mark took my advice (finally) and ordered a pasta dish – the Tagliatelle Bolognese ($14.90 / $23.90) which claims to be Gennaro’s original pork & beef Bolognese recipe (got to love Gennaro!) This was slow cooked & served with herby breadcrumbs & Parmesan and was absolutely delicious.

 

FullSizeRender 8I chose the Meatball Pappardelle ($15.50 / $24.90). The pasta was beautifully  al dente and was accompanied by free-range pork & fennel meatballs (3) in a fiery n’duja tomato sauce with herby breadcrumbs & Parmesan, (n’duja is a spicy Italian pork sausage).This too was delicious and made even more so by the Parmesan breadcrumbs which came separately so were still fresh & gave a wonderful crunchiness to the dish.

All the pasta is made fresh on the premises – you can’t ask for better than that!

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To accompany the pasta we shared a Rocket & Parmesan Salad ($7.50) dressed with aged balsamic. This was fresh and crisp and had the addition of Radicchio which gave a welcome bitter twist to the rich dishes.

Jamie’s ‘Team’ were quick and attentive and the atmosphere was great. We will return!

8/10

Jamie’s Italian ~ 1st May 2016 (#20)

Little Creatures, Fremantle

It’s been a few months since I’ve blogged – call it writers block or laziness, I’m not sure which it is but I’m back with my opinions (for what they’re worth) on our local WA eateries.

Mark is currently taking 6 months annual leave from work and I now have every second Friday off. This gives us plenty of extra time and excuses to check out new and favourite local bars and restaurants.

Little Creatures, like many other venues, is one we’ve tended to avoid on our weekend’s off as you literally have to be waiting for them to open to secure a seat. Having these extra little ‘long weekends’ means we are finding ourselves able to once again enjoy them.DSC_1136

This iconic brewery is located south of Perth in Fremantle and I cannot imagine any visitor to WA hasn’t at least heard of this brewery let alone visited it. Originally established in 2000 the Brewery boasts a large bustling open ‘warehouse’ with various seating arrangements, a large bar and fantastic views of the kitchen and beer tanks. There is also an upstairs galleried seating area, a front garden area and a sunny ‘back deck’ overlooking the harbour. The Brewery has grown significantly over the years and is now accompanied by the Brewhouse bar and Creatures NextDoor.

The Brewhouse bar is located just next door and is the place to go if you want a more relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a drink & food from the Brewery Menu, it is also where you can purchase those all important six packs and ‘Souvies’ to take home. DSC_1132

Creatures NextDoor is the latest venue to open and is the perfect place to relax, take in the views of Fremantle Harbour, enjoy a drink and work your way through their all day Tapas menu. Creatures NextDoor also hosts a variety of entertainment including Live Comedy and Jazz and has been added to my ‘must visit’ list!

Mark and I had been on a shopping trip for holiday clothes for me – it’s still 3 months, 22 days, and twelve hours before we leave but you can never prepare too early for such a trip! Being close to Fremantle we decided to drop into Little Creatures for a couple of drinks and some lunch as, being a Friday, we knew we would be able to get a good seat. The place was still pretty busy with locals and tourists and we decided to brave the risk of rain and got a seat in the sun while it was still shining (though not for long – we did have to huddle under the umbrella to avoid watering down my wine once the heavens opened!)

Mark drinks enough of their Pale Ale to keep the average pub open so opted for a Midi of their Shift Brewers Stash – Amber Amber ($6) for a change. This was a good light summer beer,  but did not hit the flavour notes of their award winning Pale Ale and reverted to a pint of the Pale for the next round.
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Being a Brewery the wine on offer is pretty limited so I chose the Beaumont Sauvignon Blanc Semillion ’14 SA ($9) which was perfectly OK (though not in the NZ league) and was served in a pitifully small 1970’s wineglass!

The food Menu is very much geared around share plates as well as a good selection of Woodfired Pizzas.

I opted for the Cured Beef, Rocket & Bocconcini Pizza ($23). DSC_1045This was a very ‘grown up’ pizza – i.e. not smothered in BBQ sauce and Pepperoni so not to Mark’s taste! It was a lovely woodfired bianca base topped with slices of cured beef, fresh rocket and torn Bocconcini lightly drizzled with olive oil. As much as I loved the clean freshness of this pizza, with all the toppings being cold it was more like eating a plate of Antipasti and, in my opinion, would have benefited from a few seconds back in the fire to warm and melt the cheese a little.

DSC_1049Mark was toying between the Salami, Dried Tomato, Green Chilli & Pecorino Pizza ($22) and the Beef Nachos ($24). The Nachos won! When they arrived he was given a fair warning that the dish was piping hot, and it was, sadly the Nachos were not. The corn chips were however accompanied by spicy beef chilli mix & a small amount of melted cheese and was piled high with Guacamole, Sour Cream and a good scattering of Jalapenos and fresh tomato. Very nice but not amazing.

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We had to have a side order of the Frites & Aioli ($9.50). These took a while to arrive but was so worth the wait. The Frites were perfectly hand cut delights, piping hot, crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle. The Aioli is one of the best we have had – smooth and creamy with just the right amount of garlic. These Frites are addictive – we had to move the bowl away to stop us from devouring the lot!

The Seaguls were displaying a synchronised flyby waiting patiently for any scraps which may fall – luckily for them I managed to ‘drop’ a few bits!

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   7/10

Little Creatures ~ 29th April 2016 (#19)

The Windsor Hotel, South Perth

One of the things I do miss about living in the UK, and being on the doorstep of Europe, is the history and architecture that you see in every town and village. Sadly Australia is poor in comparison, but there is historical architecture if you look for it. The Windsor Hotel in South Perth, which was built between 1895 and 1898, remains one of the best examples of its time.10

3After treating Mark to the annual 4WD Show (which turned out to be a rather expensive experience) we dropped into The Windsor for some lunch. The day was again beautiful and we sat in the Garden Bar where we were shaded by beautiful vines which were hanging in darling little grapes.

The Windsor boasts three separate dining areas; The Garden Bar; Mends Street Bar and The Verandah Bar all of which are perfect to spend a few hours relaxing with friends, plus there is The Windsor Restaurant for a more formal dining affair. There are two newly refurbished areas to the Garden Bar – The Bali & Singapore function rooms – which looked elegant & welcoming and would be perfect for a private function.

The Bali Room
The Bali Room

With 18 beers on tap, one being Feral Hop Hog, Mark was in beer heaven but with the thought of power washing the pool area later in the day decided to go for a pint of mid-strength Little Creatures Rogers ($10.00) so that he didn’t fall asleep on the job! The Wine List is pretty extensive with a great choice of Australian & European wines available, I ordered a glass of New Zealand Tai Nui Sauvignon Blanc ($9.00) which is from my favourite Marlborough region.

56The Bar Menu is pretty small with all the usual ‘pub grub’ favourites but The Windsor has a fabulous Wood Fired Pizza Oven so the only decision we had was which pizzas to choose! Mark was as predictable as ever and went for the Miss Piggie which as you can imagine is piled high with pig (tomato, mozzarella, ham, bacon, spicy salami, bbq sauce ~ $21.00) and I ordered one topped with all my favourite things ~ Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Rocket and Shaved Parmesan $22.00. This was amazing, amazing, AMAZING!

8/10

The Windsor Hotel ~ 7th November 2015 (#18)

Queens, Mt Lawley

You can’t beat Queens in Mt Lawley for a Sunday lunchtime session – it’s the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by.

8The Queens Tavern was originally built in 1889 and despite the renovations in 1986, still maintains its rustic vibe. There are several areas of seating inside which are bathed in natural light from the high ceilings and large doors, plus the outdoor courtyard and veranda areas which are pleasantly shaded by umbrellas and trees.

We chose a shaded table in the already busy courtyard area and were immediately greeted by probably Perth’s most enthusiastic & friendly waitress who gave us water and Menu’s. Mark’s excitement was almost uncontainable when he saw they had Feral Hop Hog on tap and ordered a pint without hesitation ($11.00) while I chose a glass of Sleeping Dog Lies SSB which I was sadly informed was not available as they had run out the previous evening (probably due to the Rugby final between the All Blacks & the Wallabies – we won’t mention the result!) 7I opted instead for a glass of the Skuttlebutt SSB (WA, $10.00) another well-known wine which I have enjoyed on (probably) too many occasions!

The Food Menu was extensive with seventeen Share Plates available, plus a large selection of Main Dishes and Steaks. They also have a daily Specials Menu which again was full of interesting choices. Mark immediately singled out the Pulled Pork Sandwich served with Coleslaw, BBQ Sauce & Chips ($22.50) from the Daily Specials. 1When this arrived it looked succulent & juicy. The Pork was piled high and was beautifully sweet with the BBQ Sauce which was nicely matched with the crisp coleslaw and hot Chips (a few more would have been nice so I could steal some without feeling so guilty!)

I had so much trouble with the choices here as I literally wanted to try everything but eventually chose the grazing size of Weisswurst Sausage (a German Pork & Sage Sausage) served with Sauerkraut, Aioli & Dijon Mustard. ($11.50) as I was still craving this dish after our trip to the Duckstein in Margaret River. 3Being the grazing size I knew it would be small so also ordered the Toasted Ciabatta with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Evoo, Whipped Fetta, Fig Vincotto & Parmesan ($11.00) – now were talking! This was probably one of the nicest snack plates I have had in a long time. The Ciabatta was toasted to perfection and there was just enough of it to accompany the tomatoes, Vincotto and Parmesan (I do have to point out I didn’t find any whipped feta but there was the addition of fresh Basil leaves) – exquisite.2

My German Sausage platter was equally as delicious and didn’t last long on the wooden board; the combination of salty Sauerkraut and meaty sausage cannot be beaten along with a hot Dijon mustard.

Another glorious day in WA.

8/10

Queens Tavern ~ 1st November 2015 (#17)

Clancy’s Fish Bar, City Beach

6Whenever Mark suggests we have lunch at Clancy’s Fish Bar I experience a little feeling of dread. You see, as the name suggests, Clancy’s serves fish and Mark dislikes fish with a vengeance! Over the years I have managed to get him to eat the occasional Fish Finger as long as there is plenty of tomato sauce to disguise both the flavour and texture of the fish. We have now progressed to him being able to have the occasional plate of Fish & Chips (with the addition of Aioli) however I am quite used to hearing the comment of ‘it was OK – but the fish was a bit fishy’! Painful!

Clancy’s is located right on the beach and has the most wonderful view over the ocean whether it’s a gloriously hot, sunny day or the rarer grey & stormy day and yesterday it was the latter. We had been promised a storm which in WA is almost always a good one but sadly yesterday’s blew itself out before it came onto land so we had to make do with just a few spots of rain.2

We were shown to a table which overlooked the beach where we relaxed and checked out the Menu. There is a great selection of Beers, some unusual ones plus the regulars. 3Mark asked to try a different Pale Ale called Kosciuszko but this wasn’t to his taste so stuck with one he knew and had a pint of White Rabbit White Ale ($11.00). I was excited to see they sold some of their wines not just by the glass or bottle, but also by the carafe too so I chose a small carafe of Swings & Roundabouts SBS from Margaret River ($21.00) which arrived in cute little Le Creuset porcelain bottle.

 There are a few non-fishy items on the Menu (appropriately called ‘Land Food’) but Mark had already decided it was a day for Beer Battered Fish & Chips so that was what he ordered ($22.00)4

 I was tempted to have the same but thought if Mark’s fish was ‘too fishy’ we may have to swap so ordered the Battered Fish Tacos which were accompanied by Soft Tortillas, Tomato, Corn & Coriander Salsa, Chipotle, Lime & Sour Cream ($16.00). Thinking (as I usually do) that I would need more food I also ordered a Bucket of Chips & Aioli ($10.00), but as usual this was way too much food for me (note to self: STOP ordering chips!)

It took a while to order our meals as the ‘Crew’ were manically running around clearing tables following the departure of the ‘hangers-on’ from breakfast, but once we had ordered it didn’t take long to arrive. Mark’s fish was beautifully crisp on the outside and fresh and moist within (you can’t beat the Fish & Chips at Clancy’s) and was accompanied with a good portion of chips and a side salad. And the result? Not Too Fishy!
10I was presented with three large pieces of crisp and moist beer battered fish which were placed on individual soft tortillas, lightly drizzled with Chipotle and scattered with the tomato, corn and coriander salsa. These were three absolutely delicious bundles of flavour and the addition of coriander cut through the richness of the fish. The chips were the lovely fat steak type which were made all the better by a liberal sprinkling of salt and vinegar. A lovely casual and laidback place to enjoy a Sunday lunch by the sea……. 8

7/10

Clancy’s ~ 25th October 2015 (#16)