7 April 2014

all aboard the Merrywell's dude food truck



When it comes to dude food, the Merrywell at Crown Casino Burswood pretty much has the formula down to a fine art. I have to admit sometimes when I want to indulge on fried goodness, sliders and assorted greasy fare, a trip to the casino is in order. 

So when I heard that the Merrywell now had a food truck that would be featured at the Eat Drink Perth's Food Truck Rumble in April, I had a little (okay large) pang of regret that I'm going to be overseas and won't be able to attend.

But that disappointment was soon replaced by excitement when I discovered that the Merrywell's truck would be at the Perth Cultural Centre last Thursday. Rather frantically I shared this news with my colleagues and we all rather greedily booked time away in our diaries to go for a walk on our lunch break. Lucky us it's only a few minutes away!

Merrywell food truck

Arriving just after 12.30pm we were pleased to see I had been correctly informed - and even better, there were only a few menu items to choose from. I never do well when there's too many delicious menu items to contemplate... I usually end up ordering too much and suffering from full belly regret afterwards.

While the mini burgers (or sliders) definitely appealed to me, on this hot day I had only eyes for Merrywell's famed mac and cheese bites with house HP sauce ($11.50). To my surprise my two colleagues order the same, though one of them adds on a serving of fries ($5.00). That's one hell of a fried lunch!

Fried mac and cheese

The staff working the truck are extremely friendly - taking the time to make jokes with us as we wait around patiently for our food. They even have one staff member offering samples which we're all too happy to eat.

It's the BBQ pork quesadilla ($11.00 for an order) and after one bite I have a feeling of order regret. I know I'll enjoy the mac and cheese since I've had them at the actual Merrywell, but the quesadilla is wonderful. Sweet rich barbecue sauce covers shredded pork - all of which is encased by a crisp, thin tortilla. I'll get this one next time for sure!

Fries

Our orders only take a few minutes and once they're up we take them with us, going to sit on the nearby patches of grass. Our mac and cheese servings are a decent size, all steaming hot with crisp crust on the outside and molten cheesy goodness inside.

They are truly delicious! I know not everyone would love these but I think they're a great guilty pleasure - though probably a bit too ambitious for a mid-week lunchtime meal. I definitely gobbled them up with great gusto, but had some oily guilt for sure afterwards.

To ease the feeling naturally I sampled my colleague's fries which he had readily smothered in ketchup. They taste good, salty, crunchy and actual potato (evidenced by the skin still present on some chips).

All up, it was a great first taste of the Merrywell's Dude Food Truck and a sign of what people can expect at the Food Truck Rumble this weekend. Delicious!


The Merrywell Dude Food On Wheels on Urbanspoon
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6 April 2014

visiting the lunchtime canteen at Bivouac



In a couple of days time my boy and I are flying out for a holiday in Taiwan and Hong Kong. We're so excited for some 'us time' which won't revolve around work or study, but leading up to our trip has been the most hectic time ever. We're so busy! He's rapidly trying to get through as many assignments as he can for uni, and I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row with the current main project I'm working on for my day job. 

Because we're almost like ships passing in the ocean at our house at the moment, we decided we'd catch up for a quick lunch on Wednesday last week. Jeremy rocked up at my work and after a brisk five minute walk we arrived at Bivouac - easily one of my favourite eateries in Perth at the moment. 

It's never too early for cocktails

Especially cocktails this pretty

Bivouac is a cozy but consistently busy restaurant on William Street. It embodies the share plate philosophy, and you'll often find the walls covered in different art - most of which is for sale. The staff that I've had contact with are all fantastic. Slightly hipster in their own way, they all know their food and wine, and are always happy to make a recommendation when you ask.

Before we know it, we've somehow been talked into having a cheeky daytime cocktail each. I choose one that's made of Sailor Jerry's spiced rum (one of my favourite bases these days!) and coconut juice. It's like a pina colada but not at the same time - I love it.

Negroni

Jeremy gets the suggested "man cocktail" - Negroni. It's a bitter cocktail that is strong and has a nice rounded kick of orange. It knocks the breath out of me but I'm a bit of a weakling when it comes to alcohol.

Pulled pork

Pulled pork

Though Bivouac's standard menu tends to rotate around shared food, their lunchtime offering includes some individual dishes which suits the time of the day and the workers that often flock down.

Jeremy chooses from this part of the menu, which makes it easy for me to narrow down my selection. He opts for the pulled pork with spiced tomato jus, fried pickles, salad and za'atar dusted labneh on grilled malawach ($19.50). When it arrives at the table our lovely waitress tells him to eat about half of what's on the flatbread and then roll the rest up to eat as a wrap. He happily follows her instruction - but is of course lovely enough to offer me some bites (all in the name of blogging right!).

The pulled pork has clearly been slow cooked. It's tender, melt in your mouth and rich from the tomato sauce. I love labneh so I appreciate the creamy texture and taste especially combined with those spices. It's such a delicious lunchtime meal, and I can imagine would definitely be one of the more popular items to order.

Whitebait

Whitebait

While we each order separate dishes, we decide that we just have to order a serving of the fried local whitebait with tahini yoghurt ($10). It was either this or the fries with truffle mayonnaise. But whitebait always seem to lure me in - these ones were delicious. Well salted, and crisp, sitting atop a nice little salad of greens, radish and pomegranates. I particularly like the tahini yoghurt, which is cool and refreshing - just thick enough to work as a great side dip.

Grilled haloumi salad

Grilled haloumi salad

For my meal I also choose from the lunches side of the menu - the grilled haloumi, cauliflower 'cous cous', puffed quinoa, barberry, mint, nashi pear and date molasses dressing salad ($16.50). Don't the torn chunks of haloumi just look amazing!

The salad was divinely refreshing. Full of texture and flavour, with sweetness from the cherry tomatoes and pomegranates. I did encounter a few underripe seeds though which made me wince as my poor teeth rattled in my mouth. Ouch :(

The barberries in the salad are fantastic, easily my newly found obsession. Tart and sweet at the same time, they work well with the salty cheese. I gobble up every single crumb on the plate and sigh with absolute satisfaction after I'm done.

Like I said, Bivouac is one of my favourite places to dine. I love the food and I loved having some time with my boy. In the midst of our crazy lives we got to slow down and enjoy some great flavours with great company.


Bivouac Canteen & Bar on Urbanspoon
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2 April 2014

the First Feast of eat drink perth



On Monday 31 March 2014, 250 Perth foodies descended upon Brookfield Place for The First Feast, the kick off event for this year's Eat Drink Perth. I was lucky enough to score an invite to this swanky do, as did several other food bloggers. Thankfully we were all sat together so the constant flashing of our cameras was pretty much routine behaviour.
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a Kitschy chilli affair



Sometimes I feel like Leederville is my home away from home with the amount of time I spend there. I'm an avid Tutti Frutti goer, and outings for breakfast generally have me heading in this direction. So when my best friend Carly suggested we catch up for dinner one night before an undisclosed surprise activity she had planned for us, I was quick to offer two different venues - Duende or Kitsch.

We're both huge fans of Kitsch so it was an easy choice and one we readily embraced as we made our way down one Wednesday night.

If you haven't been to Kitsch it's a very cute Asian style restaurant which has a gorgeous and comfortable outdoor dining area that just screams weekend drinks. They're known for their share style of eating, which is right up our alley.

Arriving around 6pm the sun is still up and the restaurant is filling. Lucky for us they can squeeze us in!

Ginger beer

We immediately order a ginger beer cocktail ($13) each - which Kitsch give you the option to make spicy if you'd like. Carly declines, but I'm in a brave mood so I say yes. It's pretty damn hot! Cool, refreshing alcohol that gives you a big chilli kick after you swallow.

I love my chilli but as we make our way through the food that comes, I realise all dishes have chilli which means I have no relief but the tap water that I chug away at desperately.

Prawn crackers

When dining at Kitsch I highly recommend ordering a serve of prawn crackers with yellow rock chilli salt ($3.60). Crunchy, salty and immensely moorish. Jeremy often jokes that prawn crackers are my shameful secret addiction and I have to reluctantly (and sheepishly) agree that he's right.

I do get the odd prawn cracker that seems a bit stale, but for the most part they have that satisfying munchableness that I crave so much.

San choy bow

On our waitress's recommendation we try a serving of the san choy bow with chinese pork and fresh herbs ($14.80). These are pretty damn delicious! Fatty (in a good way), flavoursome pork works well with the herbs and chilli, plus there's a liberal dose of sauce on top and some crunch from peanuts.

At my house we tend to eat san choy bow with bamboo, mince and mushrooms so this is a nice variation from the more traditional style my mum has passed down to me.

Corn fritters

The star dish of the night is the spiced corn fritters with green chilli coriander syrup ($11.90) for both of us. Dark and crisp, these fritters are varied in shape but all pack the same smack of flavour. The syrup is definitely a winner, it's sweet, hot and utterly memorable.

Pork dumplings

The pork dumplings (I think these were around $10) were the most disappointing of all the dishes for me on this visit. I actually don't think I'd ever had a dish at Kitsch before that I didn't like but sadly then came along this dumpling - which was actually a recommendation from the staff.

The skin of the dumpling is hard and chewy; the filling a bit nondescript. I think some people might enjoy this, but after years of family dumplings, and feasting my way through Asia on many an occasion, it just didn't live up to what I personally would have enjoyed.

Prawn toast

I have only discovered prawn toast in the past couple of years - even though it's of Asian origin. I have to admit, I really enjoy a good serving of this. Kitsch's version is sesame crusted and comes with a fish sauce for dipping ($12.10).

My first piece was a little pedestrian, with not much flavour though there was a good satisfying crunch when I bit down. My second piece was much better though, with a liberal coating of the prawn mixture that had a good taste, and decent level of seasoning.

Mie goreng

Our final order for the day is a serving of the mie goreng, which is $16 on Wednesdays and comes with a ginger beer cocktail. Pretty good value!

This mie goreng is yummy! The noodles are cooked perfectly, and there's a delicious combination of green vegetables, chilli, bean sprouts and chicken. I like the diverse textures throughout the bowl, though the spring roll is not quite to my preference. We end up picking that out and going to town on the rest of the dish.

All up I enjoyed our dinner at Kitsch for the most part. There were a couple of dishes which weren't quite aligning to my tastes, but all up it was a nice weekday meal. I'm a big fan of their eggplant katsu which I had last time and tastes phenomenal - crunchy, inventive and a treat with the wasabi mayonnaise. I'll be back for this again soon.

Oh and that surprise outing? Well that was a Fox and Rabbit flower crown making class. Don't we look amazing in our little concoctions! What an amazing night.



Kitsch Bar on Urbanspoon
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