Thursday, 28 May 2015

Healthy, guiltless herbivore eating at The Raw Kitchen, Fremantle

The Raw Kitchen
It is somewhat out of character for me to make a trek to Fremantle for dinner (although this mindset must change to make way for the bustling dining scene of Freo!), it made sense to find a feed here after some frolicking around at the beautiful Cottesloe Beach for Sculptures by the Sea. It was about time I visited The Raw Kitchen, a place that ticks all my boxes - having a menu in which I would be able to eat any dish that I could close my eyes and point my finger at. More so, I was interested in how much it would take to get our meat-loving bellies full and remain that way.

Summer Green - $9.50
Like a meal on its own, we started with this green smoothie - cool, refreshing and quenches your thirst for healthiness. Its combination of greens including organic spinach and cucumber blended with mango, lemon and dates results in a summery drink with a natural tinge of sweetness. I did notice the sky high price but hey, I've just gotta get used to Perth doing this to its people.
What I also found intriguing was the metal straw. An inflexible straw = mind blown.

Pad Thai - $24
Andy was very excited to eye out the words Pad Thai and other greasy, protein-heavy dishes on the menu like curries, but I gently let him down by reminding him of where we were dining - hello RAW KITCHEN! No signs, smells or sights of any woks here that even the mention of Pad Thai seems a little taboo.
A different kind of noodles
Looking deceptively noodley, there are long, stringy strands of zucchini noodles with an almond 'satay' sauce mixed through the dish, amongst a medley of vegetables such as capsicum, baby corn, snow peas, mung bean sprouts with fresh herbs, tamarind and kaffir lime.
Zucchini almost looking like real noodles!
The 'Pad Thai' available here is of course, a far and healthy cry from the kind we are accustomed to. This is a fresh and very clean edition of the greasy favourite kind I adore and to be honest it was somewhat difficult to fall in love with eating raw zucchini. This is the first time I tried zucchini noodles, the latest destination of the health-craze train. I must give credit to how long and thin the zucchini strands are sliced to mimic the appearance and nearly even texture of normal noodles - we spent a good 5 minutes studying a single noodle strand to try to deduce whether these were noodles with zucchini added in or actually made from zucchini itself.
Ooh aren't we just so silly!

Refreshing, but I finished this dish craving actual Pad Thai and a serious carb fix. Oh carbs, I could never leave 'em!
Yellow Coconut Curry - $27
In hindsight, I am not surprised that we ended up choosing the Asian-style dishes to try from the vegan menu. It is interesting to see the creative elements of how to rework these types of dishes into something healthy that you don't feel the slightest pang of guilt for eating.

I actually really enjoyed the yellow coconut curry dish, a shallow dish of creamy 'curry' sauce with lupin tempeh, broccoli, sweet potato chunks, lime and chilli, complete with the finishing touch of  crispy shallots scattered on top for fragrance and flavour. Not forgetting about curry's best friend - rice - the substitution is a small dish of quinoa on the side.
The heavenly raw dessert cabinet!
Strategically placed where the counter to pay is, the multi-tiered cabinet of desserts features a whole range of guilt-free (how many times have I said that right!) treats that you can't help but check out from top to bottom when lining up to pay. There are chocolates, then there are raw balls, then just out of the corner of your eye are more tempting caramel slices and a selection of raw cheesecakes just to test out your ability to resist.
Needless to say, we left with some balls. Meh, what does resisting temptation even mean!

Just like its menu and philosophy to real, natural food, the interior of The Raw Kitchen is very much simplistic and exposed. The warehouse style restaurant is big and spacious, where the extra space houses a retail store and is also used for other purposes such as yoga classes and workshops on the premises.

The most beautiful bottles of poison
Clever use of a shipping container
The Raw Kitchen is a haven for those who have food intolerances, as the kitchen is very accommodating and have taken care to design a very thoughtful and creative menu free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar. As my friend once said to me when suggesting a place for dinner, that this was a restaurant where I could "actually eat everything on the menu!"

Carnivores might resent places like this and probably won't willingly find themselves eating from a plant-based menu, but with such an interesting menu, they just might realise that not eating meat for a meal is not such a big missed-steak after all ;)

The Raw Kitchen, Fremantle
The Raw Kitchen
Monday - Thursday: 11am-4pm
Friday - Sunday: 11am-9pm
Closed public holidays
181A High Street, Fremantle WA 6160
(08)9433 4647

The Raw Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Monday, 22 December 2014

Beautiful brunch dishes at a neighbourhood cafe at Flinderz, Hillarys

It let out the necessary ooze of liquid gold...

Coming towards the end of a postgraduate degree goes hand in hand with the unavoidable late nights, oodles of stress, squeezing and destroying of stress balls and the attractiveness of big, give away panda eyes. When I sat down last weekend for a late leisurely brunch, I was shocked to realise that it was my first brunch at a restaurant in 2 and a half months.

Food blogger, you say? What food blogger, I say.
Flinderz Restaurant, Hillarys
Even though I haven't set foot in a restaurant for a disgustingly long time, I have remained active on Instagram - active meaning the vicarious browsing through beautifully photographed breakfast and lunch meals that have saturated Instagram. As my thumb routinely did its usual up/down movement on the feed, it did a double take and halted on something beautiful that ignited my hunger pangs.
It was this from the lovely Amanda over at The Chef, His Wife and their Perthfect Life.

Exactly 2 days after, I woke up and texted Andy: we're going to brunch. Flinderz. Now.
He said it was the fastest decision I had ever made about deciding where to eat.
Menus in the alfresco seating area
When I turned into a little neighbourhood shopping complex, I knew immediately that it was going to be one of those places that I have a thing for. I am forever won over by those local and quiet, less well-known, 'neighbourhood gems' for lack of a better description, type of cafes. No need to hustle and bustle or fight for a table; it was simply go and take a seat wherever you would like. I like that.
Outdoor seating that's perfect for the sunny days
We chose to sit outdoors under their patio, with plenty of breeze. The grand carpark view doesn't deter anybody - everybody chose to sit outside to dawdle a beautiful sunny Saturday morning away. Unfortunately we didn't get any assistance after we sat down but I was more than happy to get up and grab menus myself. In hindsight I didn't even need to - I had already meticulously studied the menu at home and knew exactly what I would get.
Water and Cold Drip Coffee (Long) - $6
First to come was the cold drip coffee, which got Andy excited when he spotted it on the menu as he has been deprived ever since our dose at Plantation in Melbourne. We opted for the large over than the single shot, which came served in a glass with lemon slices inside and a small pot of sugar syrup. We were quite perplexed about the lemon - and if that is the norm, then us coffee newbies know nothing about it - but it gave a refreshingly citrus twist to an otherwise strong coffee.
Pulled Pork Benedict - $18
The Pulled Pork Benedict arrived next, with luscious hollandaise slowly dripping down its sides. Toast, braised pork shoulder and garlic spinach is nestled under 2 poached eggs slathered with golden spiced hollandaise and is exactly how I pictured the dish to be.
The eggs, really, were poached perfectly and let out the necessary ooze of liquid gold. A good, satisfying serving of #yolkporn.
We didn't say much to each other after the waitress walked away after putting down the dish on our table. Our knives and forks did all of the talking.

Flinderz Taste Board - $19
It is perfectly safe to say that having any kind of 'taste board' on any menus means no choice is required of me - I'm onto it 110%. It's my greedy way of fitting everything I can into the one dish, and thank goodness for it, because I would have been torn between the Quinoa Granola I came for and the Flinderz Taste Board. Two birds with one stone. Score!

The Flinderz Taste Board is a long dish of a few goodies, namely a miniature version of their quinoa granola, a smoked salmon and scrambled egg slider, a zucchini slice and a small jar of fresh orange juice. The menu does include yoghurt and fruit compote, so I was a little disappointed to see that my taste board did not have these. Everything else that was there however, made me literally clap my hands in glee.
Zucchini slice (part of the Flinderz Taste Board)
The zucchini slice is akin to the innards of a quiche, soft and eggy with cubes of softened zucchini. It rests on a bed of rocket and overall that portion of the board is a bit plain and bland for my liking. It would be more exciting if it were spruced up with sauce or similar, which also applies to the mini slider. Besides the saltiness of the salmon, the rest of the slider is quite plain with a soft bun that would have been great if toasted just a little more.

The mediocrity of its counterparts meant that the star of the dish truly stole the show. I wished for a bigger version of the quinoa granola (true thoughts of any foodie) after the first mouthful, or that I had ordered the main sized portion of this pretty little thing. At the centre is a small mound of banana pannacotta, surrounded by a colourful moat of blueberries, strawberries, bananas, granola, nuts, honeyed jersey milk and tiny purple flowers. As with all pretty dishes, it looked too good to eat for a second (and only a second!)

You little beauty, you!
It's funny because I am against ordering any muesli/granola type breakfast at a restaurant, because quite frankly I got sick of it after eating it everyday for breakfast when I first discovered how great it was. Put a few more things in it and it's a different story (and dish) altogether - I think it's a high possibility that I will return to Flinderz and be won over by the main sized quinoa granola all over again. The aesthetics of the dish, its contrasting soft and crunchy textures and its aesthetics (again), beautify this dish in many delicious ways.

Banoffee Pancakes - $16
Instagram is beneficial in many ways, and its usefulness came in the form of Banoffee Pancakes. I spied Flinderzs' (well that was hard) posting of this sin (there's no other way to describe it) that was not written down on its menu prior to visiting and had decided against ordering it until halfway through our meals. Sure, we were full, but why would you let the feeling of fullness stop you from ordering another dish, right? RIGHT?!

Birds eye view of the Banoffee Pancakes, because you need to view it from every angle
We called a waitress over to make our order as her eyes gleaned over our unfinished plates of food, and smiled. A lightbulb started to flicker in my head when she asked whether we wanted to order TWO plates of Banoffee Pancakes, but I decided to be sensible and quickly flicked the lightbulb switch off. We stuck with the one plate.

Sigh. No words.
The pancakes were definitely a head turner. There were 3 thick pancakes stacked atop one another surrounded by vanilla cream, caramelised banana and drizzled with oozy salted caramel sauce before being crowned by a ball of deep fried vanilla ice cream with coconut. The salted caramel and fried ice cream make it such a decadent dish that is quite filling, so it would be a wise (and seemingly considerate) idea to share. I found that I yearned for a contrasting texture amongst the soft and creamy mouthfuls but boy, this baby should stay on their menu!

The interior of the restaurant is flooded with loads of natural lighting
As we sat for hours, I couldn't help but notice the relaxed nature of everybody else around us as I chatted to the next table. There was no sense of urgency with this neighbourhood cafe, and I quite enjoyed people and dog-watching from our table outside in the alfresco area. It is hard sometimes to really feel a sense of community in the neighbourhood, but when I watched a man backtrack in his steps and put down his multiple shopping bags to help a dog untangle himself from his own leash around a pole, I couldn't help but smile.
It's the simple things in life that matter.
Flinderz, Hillarys
Monday - Tuesday: 7am to 5pm
Wednesday - Sunday: 7am to 10pm

Tel: (08)9403 5225
110 Flinders Avenue, Hillarys WA 6025

Flinderz on Urbanspoon
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