Reviews to Write

These are the restaurants i’ve been to recently that i plan to write reviews about… one day… perhaps never… this is here more of a mental prompt for me, rather than a way to show off at how i waste my money on eating out on a far too frequent basis.

So in rough chronological order we have:

* Star Anise – foie gras and pigeon pie… delicious
* Jacksons – the dego… too many sublime dishes, and too much wine… unreal
* Loose Box – traditional french food at its best, delicious terrine of rabbit, and more foie gras
* Tsunami – Shabu Shabu (with extra beef) !
* Lamonts – 6 courses of pure pleasure
* Eminem – Modern Turkish… very tasty.
* Duende – Fancy tapas… little morsels of goodness.
* Veritas – Looks nice… always empty ?
* Riverbank Estate – delicious food and cheap booze !
* Cream – Food by Cream + Wine by Matt = happy good times.
* Must Wine Bar – Tonight… aka my birthday…aka talk like a pirate day… arr.
* Maurizio Restaurant – Most authentic italian restuarant i’ve been to…
* The Prophet – Tasty Lebanese food… and cheap !
* Alt Heidelberg – Those Germans love their meat (well pork at least).
* Ciao Italia – An institution of hearty Italian food in South Perth.
* Billy Lee’s – A dirty secret… this used to be a regular spot for me… things haven’t changed much.
* Lava Stone Grill – Interesting concept… food comes out uncooked, you cook it yourself on hot “lava” stones.
* Diva Cafe – Mt Lawley, really nice little place which should be a lot more popular than it is. Modern Australian/ish food,
stylish setting.

* Sail & Anchor – Fremantle
* Vans – Cottlesloe
* Cinnamon Club – Leederville – New indian restaurant with possibly the worst restaurant music i’ve ever heard. To be written by Sharon.
* Red Teapot – Funky take on your average plastic fantastic Chinese restaurant

Think it’s time this post became unsticky because this list is going to keep growing… And it gets boring looking at it all the time.

Basil infused olive oil

This is another little tip I picked up from the Food & Wine Conversations with Kate Lamont. If anyone reading this is from Perth, I can not highly recommend these events enough. $60 for 6 courses of exquisite food, matched with equally superb wines… then you get a description of each dish as it’s being brought out by Kate herself, and to top it off you get to take home the recipes !

This little trick wasn’t one of the recipes, but did make an appearance as a garnish on the herbed risotto I mentioned earlier.

The concept is simple. You take a large quantity of both extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil.

The more industrious among you may then choose to pulverise your basil in a mortar & pestle, while gradually adding quantities of olive oil.

I however, am a generally lazy cook, and going to the effort of making flavoured olive oil is enough for one day… So i wisely choose to throw a large quantity of fresh basil and olive oil into my blender (kitchen whizz/insert colloquial term here) and completely eviscerate the mixture until its basically turned into sloppy green sludge.

At which point you’re essentially done.

You then take this concoction and put it into a container that can be sealed tightly and store it in the fridge.
The longer you leave the basil leaves in the mixture the more luminous the shade of green of your final product will be, and of course the stronger of the flavour of the basil through the oil.

I left mine in for a day or two, and then poured the mixture out through a strainer to get rid of the pulp, and leave just the oil, at which point it was transferred into an old olive oil bottle i conveniently had lying around.

So there you have it. The whole process of making the oil takes at most a half hour or so. Once its made you can use it as a funky garnish around your plates, or to add a bit of different slant to pasta/potato/salad dishes. The mind boggles at the possibilities.


Wine Heaven

I think i’ve found the promised land…

Living in Perth, you often come across an undercurrent of resentment towards our fair city. Specifically about what is available and when, how late the restaurants and clubs stay open, how late the grocery stores stay open (if they open at all), and generally how behind the times we are compared to the larger metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne.

I like to think however, that what Perth lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quantity. There are not as many restaurants as there are in Melbourne, but when you find those few special ones… you know you’re onto a good thing. You only have to look as far as Jackson’s and The Loose Box to realise that we have some of the finest food in the world served up for us every day.

Fine wine on the other hand, is a little harder to come by.

Of course everyone knows about the wealth of quality Western Australian wines from Margaret River, Pemberton, The Swan Valley, (just about anywhere else you can find a square of land big enough to plant some vines in)… But to find quality wines from interstate and overseas can be tricky.

Enter my new favourite place in Perth…Steve’s Bottle Shop

Yes anyone who knows Perth will probably remember Steve’s as the place where preppy university students from the nearby University of Western Australia go to get ridiculously drunk on cheap beer… Not that there’s anything wrong with that (!), i know when i was at uni i wasn’t looking for a rewarding experience when i went out drinking. My first favourite wine was the terribly sweet, and altogether embarrassing Brown Brothers – Crouchon/Reisling

But now that my palate is becoming a little more refined i have come to appreciate the finer points of wine… And now i have found my home.

Steve’s recently announced that they had completely restocked their bottleshop with all kinds of wines, but i had no idea the extent to which they’ve gone. Walking into the relatively dingy bottleshop, past the racks of beef jerky and cartons of VB, you get into a cave of bottles stacked from floor almost to the ceiling. Every known quality wine producing region in Australia/NZ/Spain/Italy/France/USA gets a run, and this is only the main room.

Venturing downstairs into the cellar is a whole new world for any wine lover.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Haut Brion, Chateau Margaux, vintages from many years, with significant price tags to go with them. I walked along just reading the labels, picking up the bottles and looking at the colour and style of the wines… I was only wishing i’d brought my corkscrew with me…

I settled on buying a few wines that were more in my price range, although look extremely good. I picked up a Chateauneuf du pape by E. Guigal, a Pinot Noir by NZ winery Rippon, and for a change (i seem to only ever buy reds), a bottle of Le Tertre, Du Lys D’or. Jack – the guy who runs the place, and who sourced the majority of the wines, let me know that this was actually declassified Chateau YQuem (one of the best dessert wine producers in the world).

Needless to say i’m very keen to try them all out, and will no doubt let you know how they went well. One is certain however, i have found my wine mecca… I will never slither through the depths of a Liquor Land or Liquor Barons again.


Hello Miss Silvia & Mr Rocky

Miss Silvia

Yesterday i welcomed two new friends into the household. They were Miss Silvia and Rocky, both of the Rancilio family.

After a long time reading reviews and searching through websites for information about espresso machines, grinders, and all the assorted paraphenalia that goes along with using and maintaining them, i finally decided to jump in.

I found the Silvia and the Rocky both on ebay, via a private seller. The photo’s looked good, the price was reasonable compared to what i’ve seen and the dealer seemed reputable and so i went for it. I dropped my bids in with a week left to go, and lo and behold if a week later i had won both auctions !

So yesterday they arrived and after a quick check to ensure they were in good working order Sharon and I got them working.

The first few shots left a lot to be desired, and after some grind level changes on Rocky and a few back flushes on Silvia we
were back in business. I won’t say the espresso is great yet… but it’s definitely on its way.


Update: Got some great info from Dan the seller, and done a lot more reading on how to get the Silvia setup right for consistently good shots. Sharon is kicking my butt so far… She made an awesome short macchiato for me last night, don’t think i’ve tasted one as good in recent memory.

Check out the photos if you want the real deal :)

Salmon with Fresh Herb Risotto

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This is a simple recipe i came across recently while eating at Lamonts. It was a lot smaller in portion size when i had it there… I seem to have an uncanny knack of making meals a lot bigger than they need to be, but then if it tastes good, i want plenty…



  • Arborio or Carnaroli Rice (roughly a cup per person)
  • Spanish Onion (diced finely)
  • Leek (diced finely)
  • Fresh Garlic (crushed)
  • 500 mL chicken stock
  • A handful each of basil, italian parsely, coriander, chives (basically any fresh green herbs you can get your hands on) roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 cups dry white wine
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper


  • Fresh Salmon fillets (sliced into relatively thin strips)
  • Salt & Pepper and extra virgin olive oil to season
  • Fresh lemon juice



  • Place your chicken stock into a large pan with an equal amount of water and bring it to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer
  • Fry the onion, garlic, and leek in a pan with some olive oil until soft but not browned
  • Add the rice to the vegetables, stir the rice through the mixture, coating the rice
  • Add a cup or so of white wine to the mixture, letting it absorb into the mixture
  • Turn the heat to medium low on the pan and start adding the stock into the rice a little at a time
  • Continue adding stock (i use a ladle full each time) until the rice begins to absorb and the liquid and gets softer
  • Test the texture of the rice to see if it is soft enough. You want a little bite to it, or else it will turn into mush
  • As the rice is nearly ready throw all your herbs into the mixture, and stir them through.
  • Done !


  • Season your salmon slices with olive oil, sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper
  • If you can, curl the salmon slices into a roll, it should look like a small cylinder at the end. Use a toothpick to fasten the ends if they won’t stay put
  • In a hot pan, add a splash of olive oil and sear the salmon on the top and bottom. A minute or so on each side should be plenty
  • Drizzle some lemon juice over the salmon as its cooking, lime juice would also add some nice flavour.
  • When the salmon is cooked to your liking, serve the risotto into a large plate and add the salmon on top.
  • Garnish with more fresh herbs and some crème fraîche if you like

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Enjoy with a nice glass of white wine (perhaps a Semillon).

Chilli Coriander Kangaroo

From the side
This is my first recipe post, so please be nice :)


  • Kangaroo Fillets – If you’re in Australia, these should be available in most supermarkets or butchers, i have no idea how readily available Kangaroo steak is anywhere else in the world, but ask your local gourmet butcher
  • Fresh Coriander – As much as you like
  • Dried Chilli (or fresh if you prefer)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Kifler Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Baby Spinach

This isnt really a recipe, more a way of preparing Kangaroo that i think enhances the flavours of the meat. Kangaroo is quite a gamey meat, with strong flavours, and they tie in very nicely with the lime and coriander. The chilli is there just to give it a bit of a kick.

So firstly season your Kangaroo with good extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper… Then chop your coriander roughly, combine it with your chilli and as much lime juice as you… (Say 30ml if you like numbers), and rub the mixture all over the Kangaroo, massaging it into the meat. You can also use this mixture (along with a good dose of olive oil) as a marinade for more intense flavours.

Then once the meat is properly seasoned, drop it onto your hot place and cook to your desired level of completion… ( Which should always be medium rare :) )

While you’re doing all that, you will have cut your potato and sweet potato into thin slices and laid them on a roasting tray.
Cover them with olive oil (and optionally some crushed dried herbs like coriander seeds, fennel seeds) and salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven until nice and crispy.

Once the vegetables are cooked and the kangaroo done (and has been left to rest), serve the mixture up, placing your vegetables in a stack on top of a small bed of baby spinach (or roquette).

Slice the kangaroo fillets into elegant little portions and lay them on top. Pour the delicious limey/chilli pan juices over the meat.

Now sit down and enjoy with a nice glass of full bodied red wine. I’d suggest an Australian Shiraz.

Bon Appétit !