Friday, 19 August 2011

Hogs Breath: Northbridge

Hog's Breath Cafe on Urbanspoon
"What are we eating tonight?" was my question, as we were driving to Northbridge.
This is usually a question that has no quick or sure answer as we debate over the load of options available. It's usually already late by the time dinnertime comes around and after being annoyingly indecisive, time beats us, the food outlets close up and we end up at McDonalds or similar fast food joint. Cause by the time we finish arguing and decide where to eat, that place isn't open anymore. Perth sleeps early.
But surprisingly less than a second later,
"What do you think?"

And then I knew we were having steak.

One of my friends haaaas to have steak, regardless of the mood she's in. It's like she lacked protein in her previous life, but it really saves our indecisiveness sometimes. Because she SAYS she doesn't care what we eat but we can see her brain screaming STEAK at us louder.
So we end up at a steakhouse almost all the time. This time it was Hogs Breath.

We scored a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. But on second thoughts this was a horrible idea because it requires parallel parking, which is the last thing the driver can do. Not even the last thing she can do, because she just can't do it LOL.

So after numerous attempts and creating traffic while doing so, the HATCHBACK finally made it into the bay. BUT THEN, the swearing came in when we discovered this was a No stopping spot. SIGH. So we found another, and the same story goes, in trying to park her ass into the bay. I even was offered passenger seat next time because the way she parks her car like 5cm's away from other parked vehicles is too much for some to handle. This proximity creates a view of the other car body SO FRIGGIN CLOSE that its like watching a thriller 4D movie, complete with movement effects if she hits.

We get heart attacks in her car, coupled with motion sickness as well. The way she rocks those brakes and accelerations propels you forward and backwards with every move, exactly the way theme park amusement rides do. Its a helluva ride and I'm actually seasick myself, but I didn't throw up so she's not, umm, THAT bad.

I wasn't TOO hungry like I usually am, which was odd for me. Seeing pigs everywhere - like literally - didn't even induce me to pig out. The restaurant SEEMED pretty full and we got the impression that we had to wait for a table since we didn't make a reservation.
But it only SEEMED full, cause it wasn't really.

I think I was saving my stomach for dessert and coffee from Frisk later on, so this is the miniature meal we had between 3:

Boss Hog Mushies
I never plan to order overpriced, small servings dishes under the Starters/Appetizers category at restaurants. But I tried these from a friend a few months ago and they're still not worth it for a couple of crumbed mushrooms but I seem to order them frequently now. Ok, I didn't give it the credit it should have. The description goes something like this:

"Fresh mushrooms dipped in our handcrafted salt and pepper crumbs, cooked to golden brown and served with tartare sauce". Doesn't that sound so much more decadent?

This dish came out very quickly and I was asked beforehand whether I wanted this as a main sized meal. Now I wonder how much that would cost, if this was already near the $10 mark?
It is by no means expensive but we established I could order 3 servings of grilled garlic mushrooms or salt and pepper mushrooms instead. Hahaha I'm broke, ok?

The crumbs on this are indeed nicely fried but I think they'd give even more of a bite if the mushroom pieces were cut a bit bigger. They were sliced into pretty small chunks, resulting in some pieces seeming of more batter than mushroom. But hot and crunchy they were, with a good flavour, even when not complemented with the tartare sauce. I even ate the fresh and crisp lettuce leaves to convince myself I had my serve of vegies for the day :)

Natural Prime Rib - Lite cut
This took a bit of a wait to come out. Because of that, my friend was feeling pretty destructive about her steak so I had to shout WAITTT and physically stop her carnivorous attitude and pull her back so I could take a picture. She rolled her eyes at me and said my efforts at this food blog wouldn't last long.
I am so grateful and lucky to have such encouraging friends in my life who support me in what I do.

People assume I don't have the patience to wait at the mere sight of food, and I do feel bad for making others wait for like, one second, but...screw them. I am the centre of the universe. LOL
But I did feel somewhat threatened by her impatience so a hasty attempt of a picture turned into this ghastly picture. But I can't say the real thing looked spectacular either, probably because of those famous hogs curly fries. They didn't live up to their glory tonight, cause they looked a bit sad, limp and lifeless. They tasted a bit lifeless as well. Not having their usual bouncy, crunchy, curly character and certainly not looking very much like pigs' tails.

Lobster and Steak special - with free Hogs Breath cap
I have a slight feeling this was ordered because of the very exciting bonus offer of a FREE CAP! Who would pass up a FREE CAP?! LOL, not us for sure... it even comes with a great variety of colours to choose from: BLACK OR WHITE! With the Hogs Breath piggy mascot!

So anyway, this is supposedly like a limited edition meal, with the chance to miss out if they sell out all their lobsters. It comes with a full lobster grilled with garlic and herb butter, a lite cut prime rib steak, with the choice of mash or fries, and a choice of salad or vegetables. As you can see on the quite-bland-tasting vegetables, blobs of yellowy goo clinging to the only healthy items on the plate. This was cheese sauce and was nothing to get excited about. I even ended up picking and scraping off the "sauce" with my fork (so yes, very unsaucy) off my brocolli which clumsily ended up on the floor, after this painstaking process. I was DEVASTATED and didn't feel like finishing my meal anymore.

But this sauce somewhat annoyed me, because unknowingly this costed us an extra $2.50 on our bill. Not impressed to say the least for charging that price for a few sparsely added strands of cheese that don't really add much to the vegetables anyway. Also charged as an extra $2.50 is that tub of mushroom sauce that is not included with the steak order. It does kinda put me off when every little condiment is charged extra and at that price too, when the steak-and-sauce combination is usually served together anyway.

The sauce had little pieces of mushrooms as did the swirl of mash potato that had little chunks of potato within. The mash was pretty good. Another thing that was good was the steak, which was flavoursome and tender, and had no bitter taste from being char-grilled. I hate that charry, burnt, black flavour of carbon on foods that are grilled especially for that taste and appearance.
I think it hides behind the facade of the appealing characteristic of burnt.

Lobster - close up
Being the main attraction of this dish, here is the lobster showing off how majestic it looked. The very delicious sounding garlic herb butter looked like very undelicious revolting mouldy diarrhoea. LOL but it tasted quite awesome and this is the only time I will ever proceed to describe anything diarrhoea-like to be awesome. Never again, sorry.

The lobster flesh was springy to bite and retained its juiciness. What pisses me off with lobsters is that they are so expensive but there is so little that you can eat of them. Most of their shell, tentacles (tentacles?), spikes and SO MANY OTHER FRIGGIN dangly, sharp, wobbly, furry, scary limbs and bits and pieces take up so much weight but are inedible anyway. And they may house a bit of flesh in them but it takes so much damn effort to get to them so we end up chucking the thing out as rubbish. Too much effort = I don't bother trying.
A very bad philosphy and rule to go by in my life but I can't get rid of this bad bad bad habit.

Maybe that's why seafood is rather expensive. You get so little of it with so much effort of catching, cleaning and cooking it but you end up with scraps of meat. It is not in abundance like a whole heavy thick slab of steak is.
Btw, raw lobster is ACE. It's a bit chewy but the flesh GLEAMS and SPARKLES when it is fresh and is such a delicacy to eat. Lobster sashimi is not available everywhere but it really is yummmehhhhhhhh.

Lobsters are pretty ugh to look at sometimes. They resemble part spider for their upper body, with the whole myriade of segmented legs complete with furry hairs; and part maggot for the lower part of its body.
So creative but a masterpiece gone wrong. U-G-L-Y but so good to eat. Sucha bittersweet combination.
Such is life.

The grand total of this meal came to nearly $80, which I wouldn't be calling a meal worth its value. I think you can get a lot more elsewhere for this kinda price but for some reason Hogs Breath is a place I do come back every so often for. But when paying, I always feel compelled to check the receipt and calculate what they have charged for, with most times being surprised to discover how and what they actually do charge. Last time, I was charged the traditional cut when asked for a lite cut and was given a lite cut. At least they got that bit right.

The service is the thing about Hogs Breath that stands out in an interesting way though, as it is evident that the staff are trained to give very personalised and attentive service, on their knees.
Yep, they come to you, introduce their names and kneel down on the ground so they are eye level to you. Peculiar. But service is good; efficient and non-intrusive.

The interior is very outback-saloon-like-style with wooden floorboards and the wooden flap door entrance, along with walls decked with road signs and vehicle registration plates. And with name tags like "Turtle" and "Keen Bean", you can be sure this is a relaxed, casual and laid-back atmosphere to pig out and eat without table manners if you wish.
Because sometimes food tastes better when you eat it in an uncivilised way, and not be judged for it.


  1. I agree that the service is excellent, maybe a little over the top but at least they make the effort. My medium rare steak was rawish in the middle and disappointing. With undercooked Cajun rice, glugy garlic white wine sauce, that made for a very average meal. Serving size is generous and the ribs are excellent though.

    1. Shaun, I feel the same way. You can't help but feel it is a little dramatic when they get down on their knees and serve you! I think their problem is inconsistency, as sometimes they can be fantastic and sometimes they are less than mediocre.
      I guess I need to try their ribs!

  2. thanx for the review on the lobster/steak special, very informative and
    i appreciate the honesty, i guess i will be taking my husband and i to try it out now, regards ValiDan*


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