Posts Tagged ‘leederville’

06
Sep
2007

Return to Ria

Nonya Achard Fish

Ok, well this is probably a lot longer coming than it should have been, and a testament to the fact that I’ve been off gallivanting around the countryside far too much, because I haven’t been back to Ria in quite a while now.

For the unacquainted (or out of towners), Ria is a wonderful restaurant in Leederville, that serves up an array of Malaysian dishes, in a trendy and informal setting. Nothing too indepth about the food this time, other than my stance on what is “authentic” is as firm as ever (i.e: If the food tastes good, I couldn’t care less how authentic it is).

I was lucky enough to be joined on this latest expedition by Grendel, Mrs Grendel, and 2 x junior Grendels, as well as Kam, Justin + Irene (trusting lender of expensive cameras), the ever lovely Sharon, and potato growing, bike riding, Irish/Kiwi valkyrie Lorraine.

So after finally making it into the place (that doesn’t take bookings) with 10 people, I had to struggle not to pry the vegemite sandwiches from the hands of a junior Grendel with discerning tastes. Then ordered essentially everything that looked good on the menu (most of it).

Prices of the dishes vary, but the majority of the curry dishes are around $18 – $20, a few other dishes cost more of less, depending on what’s in them.

Stand outs… definitely Mum’s Lo Ak, a caramelised duck covered in a rich sticky sauce, and the Nonya Achard Fish; a deep fried fillet smothered in sesame seeds and dressed with a chilli viniagrette.

Wine was a Pinot Blanc by Hugo & Fils of Alsace, well chosen by Kam.

Dessert (for me at least), was a delicious sago in coconut milk, with a dark sugar syrup hiding underneath.

All up, another outstanding Ria experience, and a great night shared with old and new friends. If you’ve been waiting to try this place out, now is definitely the time.

Coconut Sago with pear

Ria Authentic Malaysian
Unit 1
160 Oxford St
Leederville 6007 WA
Phone: (08) 9328 2998

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07
Feb
2007

Sayers Food

Sayers Sayers Sayers

I am officially the king of the lazy posts. I keep on meaning to write more, but I always end up writing less. So please consider this offering as a token of my appreciation that people continue to come to my site in search of content, most often to find nothing.

It was recently made aware of a new establishment in Leederville called Sayers Food, by the ever thoughtful Jen of the W.A Barista Academy. Sayers Food has been open for about 4 weeks now, and is located next to Cinnamon Club in Carr Place, Leederville, in the premises that used to be occupied by the most excellent Eminem Modern Turkish (before they got too cool for Leederville and moved to Nedlands).

The fit out of the shop maintains the cool vibe hat Eminem created during it’s brief tenure in Leederville, with a relaxed yet classy atmosphere created with a bench along one side filled with cushions, dark wood grains on the tables, and beautiful textures running through the tableware and wallpapers. But really, who cares about layout (aside from interior decorators), it’s all about the food isn’t it ??

So I strolled in on a lazy afternoon when everyone thought I was somewhere else. I was due to have a meeting in Subiaco later on in the afternoon, and so I justified my brief sojourn into Leederville as a mere pit stop on the path to productivity that is my working life, plus it was already well past midday and I hadn’t had lunch… it was basically a matter of survival… yeh, lets go with that.

Smoked Salmon BrouilladeFlat white

Without much of a chance to look at a menu I opted for whatever looks tasty in the display window. This time round that was a smoked salmon brouillade, which was slightly confusing because I was under the impression that a brouillade was some form of scrambled something or other. So it possibly should have been called a smoked salmon and spinach brouillade being as there was a creamy spinach type mixture wrapped around the salmon. Actually, maybe it was called that… I have a habit of misreading menus and ending up confusing myself with over analysis. The dish itself was great, fresh and light but still filling, with great textures coming through the salmon, spinach, and cream cheese (I think) filling. A lovely little salad of wilted cucumber strands in a light vinaigrette accompanied my “brouillade” just nicely.

The coffee they are using at Sayers Food is 5 Senses, and they’re using a La Marzocco Linea. I asked how they made their coffees and they explained that the shots were pulled quite short. Happy that I wasn’t going to be getting half a cup full of bitter espresso, I ordered a flat white which was great… lovely flavours coming through what is clearly a nice blend, however probably a bit too foamy for my liking. Still, vastly superior to what they are serving in Oxford 130 around the corner as far as I am concerned.

Problem is though, it’s not just me who’s concerned, it’s everyone. Oxford 130 seems to have a strangle hold on the coffee loving community of Perth. It is a much loved hangout and beacon to the trendy masses that flock to Leederville for their fill of trucker caps, aviator glasses, and quirky original t-shirts. So whilst the coffee at Sayers is pretty good, it won’t be knocking 130′s off as the cafe of choice anytime soon. It doesn’t have that same shabby vibe that 130s does… its trendy, but a little too trendy for those types who don’t feel comfortable sitting on anything other than a milk crate, drinking long mac’s and discussing how to make the world a better place.

Still, that’s besides the point. Sayers Food is it’s own cafe. According to the guys at Five Senses, Mark Sayer (owner and namesake of Sayer Food, along with his wife Steph), has 25 years experience as a chef, and prides himself on creating great food with local fresh produce. This really shines through as the food I had was fresh and fantastic, and there is always room in this city for someone with a passion for their food, and a commitment to quality.

Hopefully Sayers Food continues to bring people in and raise the bar for quality food and coffee in Leederville.

Sayers Food
Shop 1/ 224 Carr Place, Leederville
p: 9227 0429

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02
Nov
2006

Ria: Authentic Malaysian

This is restaurant review in as few words as I can manage.

I went to Ria recently with my fellow bloggers from Perth Norg, for a bit of a get together and to see what we could see. I had previously heard some quasi Malaysian friend of a friend bagging it out for not being ‘authentic’, which made me wonder if it was any good or not. What I’ve since realised after going there is that the only thing that probably wasn’t authentic enough was the price, and the fact that some actual care has gone into the food rather than just throwing it onto a plate and grunting in your general direction (ala many of the Malaysian restaurants I’ve been too).

Now I’m not going to put myself up to be some kind of expert on Malaysian food, or curry, or really anything to do with original authenticity of ethnic dishes… personally the ‘authentic’ debate doesn’t interest me. It’s tired and is constantly pulled out as a reason to dislike a style of food or restaurant for unjustified reasons. Just because someone makes a style of curry in a different way than your great great great grandmother who originated from the very village where it was FIRST CREATED EVER… it doesn’t mean it is a bad meal. It just means it different. Funny little word that, but a very significant one. If uniformity in food was a good thing, then we’d all be eating at McDonalds and Han’s (and that’s a world I don’t want to have to imagine).

The nature of food in Australia is such that it is inherently a conglomeration (avoiding the word ‘fusion’) of many different types of food. You’ve got ye olde English roasts, your Irish stews, the huge Mediterranean influence of Italian, Greek, and French food, all manner of styles of Asian cooking, and most recently the middle eastern and African migrants bringing lots of lovely spices and styles for us to absorb into the ever growing organism that is the Australian diet.

So onto the restaurant. It’s kinda funky and relaxed, up market but not overly wanky. It is Leederville after all… If it was in Subiaco it would probably have turned out like Buddha Bar, which would not be a good thing. The restaurant is run by chef Deborah Ting and her husband Richard Serrano, who apparently got bored of cooking Italian food, closed up the shop, and reopened as Ria. She is Malaysian Chinese, and the food takes into account a lot of family recipes that she has given her own particular style. It’s quite hard to describe the food, but hearty currys and piquant flavours flow through the whole menu. Look up the style of cooking that is Nonya, and you’ll get a good idea of what some of the food is like.

Her signature dish is a braised caramelised duck called ‘Mum’s lok ak’, and its superb.
Other things we tried were the Chinese Shredded Beef and a Beef Rendang, along with some bok choy and tofu as a side. All very tasty and surprisingly moreish. So much so that I went back the next night to try a few more dishes.

Knowing Sharon would be keen to try this place out too, we headed back again on a Thursday night, after having just eaten there the night before. This time we ordered a chicken and chickpea curry, a lamb curry with star anise, the Nonya Acar Fish (absolute stand out), rice, more bok choy and a bottle of wine. Which was in fact more than we’d ordered the night before when we had 4 people.

Second time around it didn’t disappoint either. We also managed to do some star spotting with ‘HG Nelson‘ apparently in town, and stopping by for a casual dinner with his lady friend.
My only complaint about the place was that our waiter looked like had never carried more than one plate before in his life, and I was expecting to wear half of the dishes he brought over as he shakily fumbled them onto the table. That an the fact that he decided to finish his shift before asking if we wanted any desserts didn’t help either. But I’m not going to write off a place for a couple of oversights.

All in all the food was excellent, the vibe relaxed and happy, and the price just right to not break the bank while probably sending the majority of people who bemoan ‘newfangled’ upmarket restaurants that make traditionally based foods, back to food court land to get their fill of cheap eats with plastic forks. Most dishes are around $18 or so, and substantial enough so that you don’t feel ripped off.

So yeh…that’s all. Go try it, authentic or not, it’s intensely tasty… and keep your eyes out for some Nonya inspired meals coming to an Abstract Gourmet near you soon.

Ria Authentic Malaysian Food
Unit 1
160 Oxford St
Leederville 6007 WA
Phone: (08) 9328 2998

31
Jan
2006

Duende

Well Sharon and I just got back from visiting Duende. It’s located in a funky spot in Leederville, and boasts an extensive wine list and a bevy of tasty bite sized dishes on the predominantly tapas menu.

I’ve been to Duende a few times now, and this return trip was mainly to refresh my memory on how great the place is, in readiness for writing a stunning review. But after getting back, I’m left with a somewhat dissatisfied feeling in my mouth/stomach/wallet.

Duende’s style is trendy tapas. Not cheap $5 potato balls, or spicy meatballs that you might find in a cheap tapas bar… more along the lines of intricate dishes made with specialty ingredients often sourced from overseas (like jamon serrano and manchego cheese).

My memories of this place are sublime tasting dishes full of flavour and paired with a huge selection of local and international (Spanish and French mainly) wines. This trip however, i found myself looking at the menu and wondering how a dish of potato, chorizo, mint, and olive oil, served in a dish the size of a peanut bowl, can be worth $14… Sure it was tasty… but was it worth it ? I am far from one to skimp on prices, but when I feel like im not getting value for money it tends to grate pretty quickly.

Then looking at the wine list and seeing out of total of a hundred or more wines… there was only a handful available by the glass.

I was really trying to find things to like, but it seemed like it just wasn’t the right night. We had a selection of different wait staff, who varied between forgetful, cheeky, and patronisingly friendly. The wait staff there generally have a bit more character and spunk than your regular restaurant, but tonight instead of seeming refreshing or funny, it just came across as irritating. You can joke and muck around all you like if you remember my order and bring me decent food… if not… don’t even bother.

So what did we order:

Organic Bread
Jamon Serrano
Potato, Chorizo, and Mint salad
Sweet Corn and Manchego balls
Some kind of avacado salad
Skewered King Prawns in garlic butter (i think)

Having ordered the sweet corn and manchego balls before, i clearly remember them being light and airy and melting in your mouth as you bit into them. This time they would be more accurately described as salty cheese balls, dry and floury. Far from the experience I’ve had in the past.

So after finishing our dishes and waiting another 15 minutes for someone to come back and take our dessert order, we thought it best to end the night there and then.

I would really love to go back and describe the first experience I had dining at Duende. Being continually delighted as dish after dish of simple, elegant, and above all delicious food came out… but alas, this was not that night.

I still think it’s a great place, but perhaps not the golden child of my memories.

As always, do try it yourself… having too high of an expectation may well have been a factor in my overall level of satisfaction.

Duende
662 Newcastle St
Leederville 6007
(08) 9228 0123 (booking advised, no byo)

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