23 July 2014

High tea at Rochelle Adonis, Highgate



When it comes to celebrating my birthday I prefer to keep things relatively quiet these days - dinner with the boy, plus my girls and I usually forgo presents and take one another out for dinner instead. This year with so much happening in my life it was a nice deviation from my standard approach to have a girl's high tea at Rochelle Adonis.

Recently my best friend Carly and I attended a contemporary designs flower class with Twigged by Tali which was held at Rochelle Adonis's new premises on Beaufort St. It was such a fun night (I love flowers - though if you follow my instagram you'll know this) and the icing on the cake was the delicious snacks provided. It was enough to pique my interest in Rochelle Adonis for sure. 

Veuve

Having a birthday in July can often feel a little limiting. It almost always rains on my birthday, and it's just so damn cold that most of the time I just want to curl up in bed and laze the day away. But one perk this year is that Rochelle Adonis were waiving the corkage for champagne during the month - which meant we could enjoy a lovely bottle of Veuve that Carly brought with her.

Sitting down at a high table with my three closest girlfriends Carly, Vee and Linda I already felt like it was the cherry on an amazing weekend. It's not often I get to hang out with all of them at once so it was a real treat and we all dove into the experience, chatting happily as we place our orders for tea.

Queen of Hearts

With adorable china our tea comes to the table. We've all chosen different options including Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Apple and Cinnamon. I opt of the Queen of Hearts tisane which is berry and vanilla, and spells just like heaven. It's light and sweet, just what I felt like!

Savoury course

Before long the savoury course for the afternoon is presented. Starting from the left and moving clockwise there's:

  • a smoked cheddar croquette with pickled relish (I can't remember the substitute for this)
  • a cucumber and dill aioli finger sandwich (Carly's substitute has same fillings but GF bread)
  • a goats cheese and beetroot tart (Carly's substitute goats cheese and beetroot tart)
  • an orange glazed ham cube, and 
  • a pepper roulade (Carly's substitute caramelised onion tart).

Carly's gluten intolerant and suffers from fructose malabsorption so her plate is a little different - I've put them in brackets above. It was great to see that Rochelle Adonis cater for dietary requirements, though I did notice that they didn't seem to have a grasp of what fructose malabsorption is since Carly was given a caramelised onion tart - onion is one of the worst things you can eat when you suffer from this intolerance. She didn't mind though, instead swapping some bites with me so she could try the croquette and I could have some of the tart. 

Croquette and finger sandwich

The croquette is crunchy but a little colder than it should be. I like the smokiness of the cheddar and the tang of the pickle underneath. Starting off with the only hot item I then move onto my favourite of the day - the cucumber and dill aioli sandwich.

How on earth can something so presumably simple taste just so delicious? I actually can't comprehend it - and the girls are quick to sing out their agreement. Delicious, thin slices of cool cucumber go hand in hand with the soft fluffy bread (sans crusts) and the herby creamy aioli. Yummy!

Goats cheese and beetroot tart

Goats cheese and beetroot are such a classic flavour pairing so this is was a guaranteed good bite. I was expecting the pastry to be crisp when I bite down but it was more of a soft pillow like dough. Definitely took me by surprise!

Honey cured ham

The honey cured ham is deliciously sweet and well infused with flavour. The meat is tender and juicy, and I love the little segment of fruit that accompanies it. Just the right element to lift the bite in my mouth.

Pepper roulade

Sadly due to my capsicum intolerance couldn't try the roulade but I was happy to offload this onto Vika who gobbled it up. Shame because it looked really tasty!

Strawberry popsicles

After the savoury course plates are cleared we get a top up of tea and then are presented with a frosted bowl of strawberry popsicles. They're so pretty and they taste amazing - chocked full of strawberry freshness with a sorbet like consistency.

I've seen so many photos of popsicles from Rochelle Adonis online and these ones looked just as good - and taste better!

Sweet course

The sweet course comes out as a big share plate stacked full of goodies including:

  • Rochelle Adonis signature sundae with brownie and chocolate fudge sauce
  • Chocolate jaffa cake
  • Hazelnut nougat (I think) tart
  • Vanilla meringue with strawberry


Gluten and fructose free dessert plate

Carly's dietary requirement friendly dessert plate has:
  • Rochelle Adonis signature sundae with brownie and chocolate fudge sauce
  • Chocolate marshmallow
  • Chocolate caramel balls
  • Chocolate vanilla cupcake
I'm pleased to see that she doesn't miss out on the sundae that we're all completely falling in love with bite after bite. It's like a McDonalds hot fudge sundae on speed. So utterly moorish and decadent - I never wanted it to end. The best of all the desserts by far. 

The rest of Carly's plate looks good but I can see that it's all chocolate and nothing fresh like our meringue with strawberry. Fructose malabsorption does limit natural sugars like honey and most fruits, but berries are fine so I give her half my strawberry to provide some much needed freshness to her palate. 

Signature sundae

As for our desserts on the standard plate, I liked the sundae and the meringue the best. I'm not the biggest fan of jaffa as a flavour but the cake itself is soft and ethereal, just the right amount of sweetness included in the creamy icing. The hazelnut tart is a bit too tough for my tastes and teeth so I end up abandoning that bite halfway. 

At the end of the meal the girls and I are still a little peckish so Carly jumps up to ask the waitress if we can purchase some extra cucumber sandwiches. She's given the simple answer of 'no' to which she then asked if we could buy some take away treats - again with a 'no'. While I understand the core business is high tea and they might have only enough portions to last the seating, it would have been great for them to be a little more accommodating. 

The same waitress actually told us off earlier in the afternoon for talking when she put the plates down - granted she was about to explain the dishes in the savoury course, but it felt a bit like we were in school and the naughty kids!

Outside of that though, I did enjoy our afternoon at Rochelle Adonis. The setting of the restaurant is just lovely and for the most part the food was delicious. I definitely will be trying to replicate those finger sandwiches at home - they're so addictive! Part of me does wonder if the price tag of $55 each is worth the amount of food we were served though... I haven't decided. But for a birthday day out, it was a beautiful place to visit and added a specialness to the weekend. 


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22 July 2014

New burgers and a new look at Jus Burgers, Leederville



Recently I received a lovely email from Jus Burgers and Pinchos owner Justin Bell, inviting me to come to the newly renovated store in Leederville to try their new menu. Seeing as it has been just about forever since I last visited Jus Burgers, I was pretty keen to see what had changed.

Justin and the Jus crew


Arriving on a Sunday for lunch Jeremy and I step in to what looks like a completely different store to meet Justin. Gone are the days of graffitied walls and loud music. Instead, in it's place is a beautiful fit out by the same team behind Cantina 663 and I believe Ace Pizza too. It's clean, modern and simply gorgeous. I really like the combination of exposed brick, timber, white space and just bursts of blackboard and greenery accents throughout.

Justin tells us that at night the space transforms into a warm, intimate venue lit simply by candlelight. I definitely need to come in one night to check it out I think! The vast refurbishment investment has been worth the money in my opinion.

The new look

Hearing about the decision to refresh the Jus brand, stores and burgers on offer was really interesting. While I can appreciate other burger stores offerings, there's something quite special about this locally owned venue. While Justin has five stores under his belt, he still is spends shifts at them all, cooking and chatting with customers. He is one hard working man who puts his heart and soul into his restaurants!

New menu, new salts

Justin walks us through the new menu, pointing out that there's still the old favourites present but now there's a section of diner style burgers, sliders and even some new sides. In order to be a pack leader and showcase a different side to their menu, they're offering a selection of upmarket burgers that have great produce and flavours. Kind of like your Huxtaburger in Melbourne.

And the best part, the new diner style burgers (four different types) all come on Jean Pierre Sancho brioche buns. I was already sold before the food hit our table.

Organic lemonade and still water

It's meals like this that I really love. Literally the only thing we need to choose is a drink each - the food is sent out by our host for the afternoon. It's a blissful way to spend a Sunday!

I go for a still water since I know there's going to be lots of food to eat, and Jeremy opts for the organic lemonade which I quickly steal a sip of. It's tart and lightly sparkled, separating itself from some of your more mainstream lemonades.

Sides

The sides are the first to hit our table, a mouth watering array of delicious goodness. I know they're not new to Jus Burgers but I'm so pleased to see that their famous onion rings with garlic aioli ($6.00) have still been included. For me, they're something I can't get enough of and I think Jus Burger's version are easily one of the best I've ever eaten. Jeremy bites into one and nods his approval quickly - he's definitely in agreement!

Onion rings

Spiced chips

There's now several different chips you can choose from. In this instance we're given the spiced salted chips ($5.00) with a creamy chipotle sauce to dip them in. I really enjoy the texture - soft, fluffy and hot all the way through. There's just enough of a chilli flavour to make you sit up and pay attention.

There's also shakers of spiced salt and farmhouse salt on the table to customise your chips with different flavours. Very cute and a great idea. Next time I'll have my eye on the parmesan and truffle oil fries - mmm-mmm!

Slaw

The slaw ($5.00) is a light and creamy side salad that has a punch from the underlying vinegar flavouring. It's a nice alternative to your standard fried offerings.

Americano

Americano

Instead of choosing one diner style burger to eat, Justin sends out a slider version of each of the four on offer. There's a collective hush between Jeremy and I as we take in what looks like some of the best sliders we've seen. Those brioche buns really do lure you in! So buttery and glossy...

We're handed a nice pile of napkins with a smile and a warning - these can get messy - but that's where the fun lies!

I'm quick to dive into the Americano ($13 for standard burger size) which is char grilled beef, pickles, Kraft cheese, salad, mustard and ketchup. It looks just like a cartoon version of a burger - pretty as a picture! One word is all I really need to say - yum. Soft, pillowy buns with well seasoned, well cooked beef and all the right flavours that make this a household classic. I particularly like that they use Kraft cheese, it's familiar and comforting and just a little melty. This and the next slider are my favourites for sure. 

Pulled pork

Jeremy hands me the pulled pork ($14.50 for a standard burger size) once he reaches the halfway point. It's definitely the sloppiest of the bunch but the aroma wafting from it is enough to make my mouth water. Is there anything in the world better than pulled pork?

Stacked between the charred brioche bun halves is Linley Valley free range pork with chipotle, balsamic onions, slaw and melted cheese. I love the sweetness of those onions and the creaminess of the cheese which is balanced by the tang of the slaw. The marinade on the pork is good enough to be bottled - which Justin tells us is the plan, they're going to sell it in store soon. Great idea!

Diner style sliders

Jeremy's favourite of the sliders is a toss up between the pork and the Shark Bay prawn. It's a crisp prawn patty with chilli relish, Asian slaw, salad, crispy shallots and garlic, and coconut lime dressing. The Asian flavours are really punchy and well balanced which is often problematic. I like the zing of the citrus which is a natural compliment to seafood. So tasty and full of contrasting textures.

Diner style sliders

The final slider is similar to the prawn, known as South East Asian ($14.50 for standard burger size). It's the same burger but with the option to chose your protein (or opt for vegetarian). While normally I'm not a chicken person, it was nice to try this protein given I wouldn't usually order it. By now I'm starting to feel like I just might spontaneously combust with the amount of food we've eaten!

Sweet potato wedges

To finish things off we tackle the new menu item of sweet potato wedges with sour cream and sriracha chilli sauce ($8.00). I adore sweet potato and these wedges are long and finger like, glowing orange and smelling pretty damn good. They're not as crunchy as I had suspected they might be, but the flavour and freshness on the inside is spot on. 

Having the combination of hot sriracha (which we use a lot in our house!) and the cooling sour cream is a nice change to your usual sweet chilli and sour cream combo. I can see these fast becoming a favourite amongst regulars. 

The feast

You can check out the new look venue and new menu at Leederville now, and it will be rolled out at the other Jus Burger stores over the coming weeks. I also discovered when writing this that you can preorder your burgers for pickup online, which is a handy option if you want to beat the queue.

A big thank you to Justin Bell and the team at Leederville Jus Burgers for hosting Jeremy and I for lunch. We definitely waddled out of the restaurant and were full for a loooonnnnggg time after!


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21 July 2014

A night of indulgence at Must Wine Bar, Mount Lawley



I always look forward to a birthday dinner with my boy - whether it's his birthday or mine. We both love to pull out all the stops and make a real occasion of it. This year for mine he treated me to a delicious and utterly filling dinner at the well reputed Must Wine Bar in Mount Lawley.

For so long Must has been sitting on my eating wishlist that it actually surprises me that I haven't been there before! So finding out this was the destination for my birthday dinner, I was so excited that I quickly went online to look at the menu and decide what I'd order.

Bread and butter

The weather had turned from sunshine to rain for the night, and after only eating at breakfast and a small little brownie around lunchtime I was famished! Thankfully we managed to avoid the downpour with some lucky timing and were soon seated in the restaurant where a basket of fresh crusty bread was brought out to the table with cold, creamy butter.

How I love bread! Let me count the ways... but honestly, good bread for me is the ultimate indulgence. Must's serving is generous, with slices of baguette that are crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The butter is a little hard to spread since it's cool, but it's so so tasty and I love spreading on a bit more than I should because the taste is that enjoyable.

It's a sin that it tastes so good!

Squid ink battered oysters

The menu at Must is a bistro menu with a great range of European influenced dishes that all sound so yummy. On our visit they also have a second menu to choose from - French Bistro Classics. We're spoiled for choice!

Before we pick our entrees and mains we decide to share a half dozen oysters between us ($21). Normally I will always insist on natural oysters but Jeremy's really taken with the others on offer so we decide to get 2 of each of the cooked oysters for some variety.

Rockefellar oysters

Chickpea battered oysters

We start off with the squid ink battered oysters with a side of lime and tobacco mayonnaise. This is Jeremy's favourite of the group and I have to agree. Creamy and succulently fresh on the inside, the black batter is thin and crisp. The mayonnaise is zingy and punches you in the face with some flavour - the perfect combination of flavours.

Next up is the rockefellar which is my least favourite of the three, though still really tasty. Consisting of a grilled oyster topped with spinach, pernod cream and gruyere cheese, it reminds me of a lobster mornay. I like the crust that forms on top from being grilled!

The final oyster is chickpea battered sitting atop of a lime, avocado and tomato salsa that reminds me of guacamole. It's so delicious - crunchy and fresh. I could have eaten quite a few more of these.

Steak tartare

Steak tartare

We decide to share our entrees, with each of us choosing a different one. Jeremy opts for the steak tartare with potato crisps and a slick of horseradish cream on the side ($20). A perfect dish to accompany our glasses of the Matsu El Picaro Tempranillo.

This is one of the best dishes of the night with the tender steak and creamy egg yolk coating the ingredients on the plate. I love the balance of flavours so much - every bite is wonderful!

Escargots

My choice for the entrees is the escargots baked in the shell with garlic, parsley and pernod butter ($20). It's a small serving but I'm actually pleased about this since I want to have mains and desserts too (and maybe cheese if my tummy can fit it!).

The snails are hot and buttery, with a great flavour from the garlic and herbs. They're a little tricky to fish out with the toothpicks provided, but when you manage to get them out boy do they taste good. While they're not the prettiest of food items, I always really enjoy them whenever I order them at French restaurants.

Confit duck

Confit duck

After our entrees are cleared and we enjoy some more wine, our mains are soon served. The moment I see Jeremy's choice of duck leg confit with paris mash, crispy black pig bacon, apple and radish salad and jus ($44) I have an immediate pang of regret. I was going to order the duck and changed my mind! Argh!

It is the dish of the night as far as we're both concerned. Soft, moorish duck with mash that is decadently buttery, whipped to perfection. The bacon on top is like shards of glass, shattering with just the slightest touch - and jam packed with porky goodness.

Salmon escalope

Salmon escalope

My dinner is from the French Classics menu - salmon escalope with cauliflower puree and sorrel cream ($40). It's a rich dish and initially as I start to eat I wonder if I've mischosen since there's a real abundance of cream. But as I continue I start to pick up on all the different delicate flavourings that make this dish what it is.

The salmon is soft and flaky; the cauliflower puree sweet though a little hard to locate initially. I like the addition of sorrel, which is like spinach but with a more distinct sharp taste. It's an enjoyable dish but is a far cry from the amazingness of Jeremy's duck. I have the worst order envy ever!

Creme brulee

I had been planning on ordering cheese before dessert but after our mains are finished we're both feeling quite full. We decide to skip the cheese and go straight to dessert knowing really we don't need either. It's my birthday though - so it's a time to go all out!

For his dessert my boy opts for the vanilla creme brûlée with raspberry sorbet and sesame snap ($16). It's a lovely light little dessert, with a great perfumed vanilla flavouring. The toffee layer on top is thick enough to make a satisfying snap when his spoon clunks on the top carefully.

Apple tarte tatin

My dessert of apple tarte tatin with vanilla and apple ripple ice-cream ($16). The apple is soft and yields to my spoon with complete ease. There's a caramel like flavour to the cooked apple, with crunchy pastry underneath. I really like the tart and creamy ice-cream on the side, it just adds another dimension to the dish.

I can barely get through the dish though - I am that full.

What an absolutely amazing restaurant! I actually hate myself a little that I haven't been earlier because it impressed me so much. I'm already making plans to go back soon - I loved every minute of it. It's no wonder it's such a popular venue in Perth.

Thanks babe - you treated me to an amazing day, and an incredible dinner too! X


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Birthday breakfast at Architects and Heroes, Subiaco



My birthday rolled around a lot quicker than I anticipated this year! But in true Jeremy fashion, my boy had arranged a day of spoiling me to the max. While normally he works for St John's on the weekend, he had taken time off just for me. What a lucky girl I am! After a morning of presents and cuddles, (a new Macbook eeeee!) he piled me into the car and drove us over to Subiaco for a yummy birthday breakfast at relative newbie, Architects and Heroes.

Architects and Heroes

Situated on the Rokeby Road strip this cafe is bright and airy, with a fantastic mural on the counter wall by talented Perth artist (and friend of mine) Peche. Seriously, how amazing is it!

Street view

Menu

Looking at the menu it's made of only a few items to order, which I actually prefer - I like having limited options otherwise I end up panicking and not knowing what to get!

We start with a hot drink each. For my boy it's a flat white and for myself, a skinny hot chocolate. His coffee is proclaimed delicious with a smooth blend and strong flavours. My hot chocolate is slightly bitter which I really like, it takes away what can often be a really cloying sweetness.

Flat white

Hot chocolate

For our food orders, we're both quite quick to choose since there's only a few items on offer. My boy chooses the baked eggs with hearty tomato, 4 beans mix, italian olives, feta cheese and spanish chorizo, plus a side of crusty bread ($21). 

Baked eggs

Baked eggs

It looks so good! 

A cheesy, heart warming concoction topped with a 63 degree poached egg that explodes sunny yolk the moment his fork pierces the soft surface. He really enjoys the flavours and combination of textures, using the bread to mop up every last drop. I definitely can see this being a popular menu item, especially in these cold winter months. 

Spiced avocado, cream cheese and salmon

Spiced avocado, cream cheese and salmon

My dish is the spicy avocado with cream cheese and Norwegian smoked salmon on fluffy English muffins ($20). Because I'm greedy I add on a 63 degree poached egg ($2.50).

The dish is quite generous - I was only expecting two muffin halves but instead received three, all topped high with cheese, avocado and salmon. The spiced flavour is mild but enjoyable and I like the flavour combination. Avocado and salmon are both quite oily so I'm glad I add the egg on. And look at that yolk porn...

Spiced avocado, cream cheese and salmon

I enjoyed my first taste of Architects and Heroes, and hopefully I can come back sometime soon to enjoy one of their decadent looking peanut butter cupcakes or even just a simple toasted sandwich. It was a great way to start my birthday day.


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