Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Botanica Bar and Bistro

Botanica Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon
The lead up to something is usually more exciting than the actual something, when it eventually happens. I say this subjectively because it always happens to me. Damn you expectations. Always fail me.
One exception: lead up to exams.
They're really horrible and horrific and horrifying and h...mmmmmmmm. =p

I never feel more alone, boxed up in a room on the floor that's acting as my study table. I hate it so much I don't even bother buying a table. The floor suffices. Study doesn't even deserve a table.

With a week's break between my first and second exam, my first one was pretty much my last one. So after my first exam, I felt like king of the world. And really, with True/false questions and Fill-in-the-blanks in my paper, I felt like king of my paper too. (Not really).
However, my results seem to disagree. (As always).
Seriously, I'm humble. Don't give me Credit for what I do. But I'll accept a HD.

So we went to celebrate my newfound position of king. At a bar. Cause they're such classy shits and all. In Innaloo. Cause it's hell classy there.
No really! Quite lush surroundings. Just food pictures here though. I should have photographed more than just the important stuff.

Not much of a celebratory meal though. At all! But that's ok. Like always, it's the attitude that counts.

Fish of the Day, Fries, Tangy Tartare - $29
I wouldn't go for a typical pub like meal in a not-so-typical pub that is Botanica. But this is not my meal so alas, it made an appearance because it was ordered by a very typical, average person. Like father, like son. And here? Like person, like food it seems.

Being the thoughtful friend he is, he offered me ... his salad. And only because he wasn't going to eat it anyway. Even put it on my plate for me. So I looked down and saw a single piece of grated carrot. Never in my life have I felt so degraded before. You are too kind! I devoured it with pleasure.

Surprisingly, the generosity didn't stop there and he proceeded to offer a tomato, a single spinach leaf, and then eventually his humane side took over and didn't stop me from casually eating off his plate. So I finally tried the fish. I liked the tartare? Lol.

The fish earns some points for presentation. It wasn't served like your usual rectangular slab of fish, whether it be A grade or F grade quality. It was sliced open down the middle and then deep fried for a visually crispy batter, which I regretfully have to peel off. The cut down the middle gave it a resemblance to long legs, something I wish I had. This "open" style lets the chips beneath it to breathe, and retain their crunch.

Garlic and Parmesan Ciabatta - $7.5
I did a mental scroll down their menu and nothing shouted my name at me. But when you don't need to pay for your meal, you face 2 options:
a. Pick the most expensive item, or
b. Pick the cheapest item, or
c. Reject the offer.

As C is incorrect, I was weighing up A and B. A would probably be the answer of choice if you asked the audience but of course, B is probablyyyyyy more morally correct. Ultimately I picked B so that I didn't feel like a gold digger. And so that he'd actually buy it.

But really, I didn't pay so I don't like to bust the wallet of the person who does. And neither do they, so they offered to shout me garlic bread a single piece of garlic bread. But they don't come in singles so he begrudgingly had to spend $7.50 on 4 pieces. So I started with this Starter and was left hanging, as I also ended with this Starter.

The Garlic and Parmesan Ciabatta bread came out warm and golden. As usual, I didn't expect to taste the garlic in it, and I expected right. Dots of parmesan cheese on buttered ciabatta and toasted means lots of oil, means I risked eating it all at once and dealing with any consequences later if my body rejected it. So I ate all the crusts. And then ended up eating the bits I left behind anyway.

Tooheys Extra Dry Pint - $9
This is one out of the, like, 5 that (not I) consumed over the course of the night. And because of this mildly excessive alcohol consumption on a tame Tuesday night, I finally now know what TED stands for. I've never been fond of beer that much, which explains why I don't participate in Beer Pong. At all.

Which is convenient, because only when it was a completely empty glass, and only then was I asked, "oh, you want some?"
Thanks sweetheart.


Apparently this place was formerly a hotel, which explains how it has made a stylish transformation into this contemporary looking venue now. I've had a friend hold her birthdays at this bar/bistro for 2 years in a row and I always thought it was some dark, hazy, hobo pub place. No bias towards the bar itself, just bias towards her because she is a hobo and that her slave labour wages couldn't pay for a spanking nice place like this.

But boy was I wrong! This place is comfortable for the eyes to look at. Especially the feature smack bang in the middle of the room, being a giant tropical aquarium full of colour and life swimming their lives away. It's crazy how carefree fish actually are. Eat sleep swim die. Hmm. Didn't realise how my life exactly resembles that of a fish's. Except if you throw me in a puddle, I'll drown.

Anyway, back on track, this place would make a really inviting place to hold events and functions. It's classy enough and effortlessly stylish without screaming out a posh and snobby atmosphere. I've noticed the patronage here dress quite smart too, and me being a poor uni student who probably just failed her exam, I couldn't give a damn how I looked. I probably looked out of place for all I know.

Heaps of spacious areas both outdoors and in, complete with a wooden floorboard and shade sails up top the courtyard outside, with lots of nature's natural colour all around you. Greenery everywhere, living organisms in the fish's a nice change to the usual scenery we are all accustomed to seeing in an average bistro and bar. And this also has a sports bar next to the courtyard for hardcore sport followers.

Having read reviews and hearing comments about how "this is a pretty good bar given its location", I was quite surprised at the negativity about Innaloo. I think the suburb is quite ok and I reckon it deserves more credit..! It has houses, it has trees, it has streetlights...what's so bad about it? Even though most people probably wouldn't know Innaloo if it didn't house IKEA...which has established itself to be somewhat a tourist attraction for locals...which serves like $1.95 big breakfasts...

Yep, I definitely love Innaloo IKEA.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve is now.
And the anticipated noises of celebrations doesn't seem to be around.
It is lacking something. It is quiet.
And I'm not sure if I'm ready to welcome the new year to my doorstep.

But before I sound like an absolute pessimistic dawg, I am forward looking. Not necessarily needing something to look forward to, but at least forward looking and keeping my head up.
It's important to look back and realise where you've come to stand now, and the end of the year is probably the best time to do so.
But I've also learnt that looking backwards while you step makes you more vulnerable to fall.
Gosh, I'm growing up way fast. I sound like your mother!

But more importantly, Christmas is a time that makes us all acknowledge that we're here, and celebrating the same thing, wherever we are. So while you're out there overeating a shitload of food and complaining about how full and fat you are, I say take a little time to pray for those who don't get to complain about eating too much.

I walked past World Vision the other day and I got a sudden urge within me to change the world. Even in the tiniest way possible, and one step at a time.
I purchased ONE christmas present this year. I bought a chicken for someone I didn't know, who lives on the other side of the world.
And I felt GREAT.

I don't celebrate Christmas so I don't receive presents, but really, the feeling of giving is the best present ever. True story!

Simplicity is what I believe in. So maybe, if I hoped for something simple, I will get it.
A little ask for the biggest present.

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is:
- A better year in 2012.

So to you, thank you in advance, for playing a part of my Santa :-)

So stuff yourselves crazy, get fat, show no regrets for it, carouse around but stay safe!

Merry Delicious Christmas everyone! :-)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ngoc Han Restaurant: Vietnamese and Asian Cuisine

Ngoc Han Restaurant on Urbanspoon
I love my parents. I know I can be a brat sometimes but I know they still love me all the same.
That's the good thing about parents, you know you've always got them when you've got nothing else.
I love you Mum n Dad. I don't know why the easiest things are so hard to say sometimes.

As we grow bigger & bigger, they grow older and more frail. It's an undeniable fact that scares me because it's just so true, so unavoidable. I try to spend more time with them nowadays. Cherish them. Obey them. Missed them when they abandoned me and went holidaying for a month and subsequently meant me eating takeout for a month. Got accustomed to life without parents. "Whaaaaat, already?" when it was time for them to come home. Have lunch with them on their first day back home. Realised I was glad to have them back with me :)

But not before I left them stranded outside the house with their luggage ringing the doorbell for 10 minutes, yelled at them for waking me at 11am and tumbled back into bed.
I was a much more pleasant daughter when I awoke at 2pm.
Love you Mum n Dad :)

I love how my menu changes when they are back. I also love how my wallet changes when they are back. From mine, to theirs. Heh. Yes I use and abuse and I mooch off my parents just like the rest of you do =]

Bun Bo Xao - $10.50
Back when I didn't know variety or how to read, I would go for pho as the staple dish, every single time without fail. Now that I want to try everything and can read, I go for the bun bo xao every single time without fail. Now that itself, is pretty fail. Considering I can now read and aim for variety.

I find a good dish, overdose on it, get bored, find a new good dish, fall in love, spam it, get bored, find a newer good dish etcetera etcetera. It's a vicious cycle and now my current stop is at the bun bo xao's of the Vietnamese cuisine train. I hop around places hunting for the best version of it. Yet to reach final destinations or come to any conclusions thus far though!

I enjoy this dish because it's so light and tastes so fresh and healthy and doesn't make me feel crap after eating it. With a good mix of protein to vegetables, I feel like I'm eating a salad. Vaguely. Which I hate cause salad is like...eating grass but at the same time, grass does my health and body justice so I feel good for eating the stuff. I know the tender braised beef, crunchy roasted peanuts and salty, probably calorific Vietnamese sauce wouldn't be in a Dietician's good books, but plain rice noodles and the abundance of lettuce and bean sprouts probably would be!

It's an awesome array of flavours, textures and temperatures in your bowl, and same goes for your mouth.

Bun Bo Xao serving
It's good how most places serve that additional sauce on the side so that you can have as much or as little as you please. So in easier language, if you want your dish to taste better you add more, but you'd have to deal with it stinking more. Stink less, add less, taste...less.

I wouldn't go as far to say it stinks cause this wouldn't be my own thoughts and fish sauce is a prominent ingredient as far as Vietnamese cuisine goes and I'm glad it is. It does have a distinct recognisable odour which to some may be pungent, strong and offputting. And that's enough to get me excited and lure me in LOL. Cause to me, it just Vietnamese =)

Savoury fish sauce yet sweet and slightly tangy with a tinge of hotness from the addition of chilli, it's a combination of different flavours that gives food a real boost in flavour, if Viet food even needs that boost at all.

Pho Tai La Sach - $9.50
When one thinks of this Asian cuisine, one would probably think of pho - pronounced fur said in an accentuated way. I am fluent in food-speak in many languages, such is the talent that I possess =p And such is the appetite that I possess in order to nurture that talent :)

With the variations of pho, this is one that includes raw beef slices and offal with flat hor fun in a typically flavoursome beef based stock. If you dislike beef, this is your nightmare. This particular dish has beef ev-er-y-thing and I mean it. I just googled offal and the results were enough to amuse me:

1. Waste parts, especially of a butchered animal
2. Refuse, rubbish

Oh dear. I have a deep profound love for garbage and waste. Animal waste, to make that sound even more delicious.

Pho Dac Biet - $10.50
This is the variation to choose to get a well-rounded taste of what the fuss of pho is all about. This is the pho combination of meats and bits and pieces of "rubbish" in that same beef soup. It has a bit of everything beef, plus more beefy products. Like I said before, this is living hell if you hate beef.

It's in all its forms here - soup, sliced, rare, cooked, venison, beef tail, balls (not the kind you immediately thought of). Though I gotta say I vaguely remember eaten something rather putrid which I was unaware at the time as I was told it was innocent meat and I so innocently believed. I'll spare you the details.

I especially love the garnishes with all the sprigs of mints, abundant and always making an appearance in Vietnamese cuisine. The coarsely ground pepper cracked into the soup gives it an extra bite, or maybe its just me thinking adding pepper makes anything more extravagant.
(Which is what I feel when I say YES to pepper offers at restaurants... so I never refuse.) =p

Goat Curry
Usually if I sight something other than beef, chicken, fish, pork, any usual suspects you'd expect in a menu, I would order it. GOAT?! I'd jump on that. How often would you come across weird and wonderful things like that in Perth?

This came out in a shallow dish with a gravy puddle so vividly red that it looked somewhat unnatural. But it was tasty all the same regardless of how much colouring went in to produce that result. I could also do with more meat, seeing as most of that dish was big chunky bones everywhere.

The meat was tender and nice to eat, when it wasn't bone that I was eating instead. This was one skinny goat. I wish it ate more, so that I got to eat more!

Steamed rice & sides
As far as presentation goes, this didn't go very far, but its simplicity makes it go a long way. There's something about the way everything is arranged on this plate which made me want to leave it be. All the colours were vibrant with visually soft and hard textured ingredients together.

Ok, I'm aware I just made that sound a bit overdone. If there was no picture to go with it, you'd probably imagine something resembling a work of art and then scoff when you see the picture, since this was merely rice, tomato, cucumber, lemon, salt, chilli sauce and cracked pepper on a plate. There, I'm back down to earth now.

But still. It's pretty right?

Com Trang Carry De - $12.80
The curry gravy, albeit normal, was surprisingly addictive to keep eating. We were meant to eat just a little for breakfast (at 3.30pm...) since we had a buffet planned for dinner (planning your next meal during your current one is ESSENTIAL!) but we couldn't help and get another bowl of steamed rice to soak up the remaining bloody good curry juice, long after all the meat was gone.

Curry gravy on rice is as good as a meal on its own than any other meal. Simplicity here would taste good, but just won't look good. At all.

I quite like lemon based sauces and the like. I grew very fond of my lemony, spicy, salty and peppery dipping dish and proceeded to eat the sauce, as I usually do in a normal day of my life.
As I gulped it down from my spoon I'd realised how big the grains of salt were, and how many there were, and how undissolved they were in my sauce combination.
Oh man. I just swallowed a heart attack.

Soursop Smoothie - $4.80
Om nom nom. Asian style smoothies are the absolute bomb! Unlike the boring flavours you spot in menus, you spot more exciting ingredients here in Asian restaurants like durian, avocado, jackfruit and soursop. Soursop. Soursop? Soursop! I can't get over that word. Its so weird but it tastes so great. I typed all that while saying it. It still sounds foreign as!

Smoothies of this kind always come in a tall glass and being all luscious looking, seduces me every time. It tastes so REAL and FRESH and I'm so attracted to those qualities. I down it ever so quickly and it always disappears too fast too soon.

Good things just never seem to last at all.


This place stays open from morning to night and doesn't close down during the epic quiet time from 2.30pm to 5pm like most restaurants. Which is something I appreciate a lot, considering my breakfast ranges anywhere from noon to about 6pm. I like to surprise my stomach by shoving food in randomly at unexpected times so it's nice to be able to get a feed and do that whenever I wish to.

It's never been busy when I come eat here but that's not to say the quality or anything is bad. I just come at stupid times because of my stupid body clock and stupid eating/sleeping hours. Its location is quite secluded but because of this there are HEAPS, PLENTY, TOO MANY parking spaces. Yay! Always a positive point when it comes to eating out.

The decor is quite modern and has quite a relaxing ambience to it, I like! Purple walls with abstract and vibrant artwork on the walls along with pretty, pretty lampshades all add a touch of difference to the interior, along with the furniture. One staff working the floor, laden with make up and tight clothing. Always! Lol.

To my understanding the establishment has changed ownership and so has also changed names. I've heard others say the quality and servings of food has dropped since, but I myself haven't noticed that significant of a change. Perhaps I am just a food noob. In which case this is a crap blog but...ah well, I have my fun still :) I think it's something worth being happy about as I have finally found something where my passion lies, and gives me a haven to escape from the world when I need to.

Thanks for the support, since you are reading! Truly grateful to have at least one person interested ;)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Bamboo: Authentic Singaporean

Bamboo Authentic Singaporean. on Urbanspoon
I sometimes am jealous for those who live South of the River.
Putting aside those stupid, childish but downright true and sure-win arguments of Northies > Southies, it's no arguing that there is an abundance of eateries located down there as opposed to up here where I am.

Bamboo is one of them.

The 4 of us were tired, restless, HUNGRY after badminton. I've always wanted to try this talked-about-so-much restaurant and since we were in the vicinity, we ended up in this little square of restaurants in Willeton. Sure we were "in the vicinity" meaning we were down South, however being nowhere near Willeton meant we actually drove close to 30 minutes for this.
Bamboo, you better be DAMN good. I already had high expectations before I even got to judge for myself.

Between 4 people, we ordered 5 plates of food. Even I got scared, and I NEVER get scared.
But my friends were all like, don't worry, you're here.
Naw, thanks guys. Too sweet.
I'm here to save the day like always. We'll be ok.

Iced Lemon Tea
K suggested us to try Bamboo's iced lemon tea drink. Being one of the more frequent diners at Bamboo, he did a great promotion for the drink to us then proceeded to get crazy and ended up ordering heaps. Overall I think we got a bit carried away.
A little bit of greed, a little bit more of ambition and way too much stomach space.
That combination is gluttinous and costly to feed.

The drinks came out really fast. And when they didn't stop coming even after each person already had a drink, this was when we realised K had ordered 6 of these between the 4 of us. It was a really wtf? moment at our table.

But it wasn't a mistake to order too much because these initially went down really easy. Ice cold and refreshing drinks always go down a treat but after a while these got too sweet for me. I'm devastated that my sweet tooth has left me. However these WERE overloaded with sugar, along with crushed ice and lemon juice in a refreshing tea blend. 1 cup is good, maybe not 6.

Chicken Satay Sticks - 5 for $9.80
I love a good unburnt satay stick. I love peanuts. I don't love cucumbers. I'll eat em cause they're good for me. Kinda like...I'll be friends with you if you benefit me. You know?*

I quite enjoyed these sticks. They were fragrant, flavoured well and popping hot. When isn't juicy, succulent chicken popping hot? And sometimes sauce isn't even necessary, as I find that the original, naked (...naked?) taste of whatever you're eating is retained by skipping out the sauce. Especially a sweet one like this, that can override the delicious, raw taste of grilled chicken.

I love skewers but these meats were skewered on so tightly that you have to drag your face down the wooden dagger to get your chicken off. Not a fan of splinters. In fact, I have a deadly fear of splinters. I'm a real wuss when it comes to pain. Fragility is my strongest weakness.

*Relaxxx. I'm not really like that. I wouldn't ever say that, otherwise you won't benefit me anymore LOL

Panfried Toothfish - $25.80
I'm a big fan of the sweet soy sauce that this dish is typically drenched in. The beautifully smooth and soft fish flesh encased by the slightly chewy but simultaneously crispy skin is a winning combination. For some reason it just can't be recreated at home. The smoothness just has a whole new different but not better texture at home where I can just describe it as slimy.
The more I eat, the more I ugh!
I have a love for restaurant panfried toothfish only.

I'm a sucker for that heavenly skin and my stomach hates me for it.

Rice bucket
I get called a rice bucket. And this is a rice bucket. I have never seen it in such a literal, raw form. Never seen rice served in a wooden bucket like so. It amused me! I wanted to touch it! Play with it! I bagsed serving the rice today. And only today =p

Sizzling Japanese Tufu with Chicken & Salted Fish - $16.80
Sizzling Japanese tofu I reckon, has pretty much made its mark in the area of late night Chinese supper meals. It's a standard dish now that makes an appearance on most tables, especially popular on pre-drinks and pro-drunk gatherings at places like Billy Lees.

Not surprising, as it has established itself to be one delicious and mildly healthy dish, tofu being healthy, fried tofu being only mild healthy. It always excites my senses, loving all the sights, smells and sounds as the sauce bubbles away, lifts the aroma up and drift into the air ... and friggin wildly spitting liquid everywhere it pleases!

But what does that matter, and who the hell minds, when that smooth custardy egg tofu meets with your lips, tastes delicious in your mouth then burns the shit out of your throat. Slight pops of very savoury salted fish and mushroooms! YAY! They make every dish so much better.
Mushrooms are so magical ;)

Sizzling Garlic King Prawns - $17.80
This came out and turned out different to what I had pictured this dish to be. In my head I think I envisioned a hotplate laden with the less - what I call fake - prawns swimming in a golden pool of buttery, garlicky sunshine and just smelling of fat.

I don't think the hotplate created much of a difference to a normal stirfried prawn and vegetable dish. The omission of vegetables in the dish's name became obvious when the majority of this plate was in actual fact, the vegetables instead. Turned out to be the best as this was my only accidental intake of vegetables for the day.

I like these sort of prawns - the type I refer to as restaurant prawns - as typically they are used in dishes. I know they're real but they've had something done to them - soaked, perhaps? - that gives them that springy bite that shelled prawns don't have. I hope I make sense. Just a bit?

Bamboo's Deluxe Boneless Duck - $22.80
My eyes widened when they wandered over the name of this over Bamboo's huuuge ass menu. It sounded soo good! Deluxe protruded an exquisite sounding dish and ignited my interest, but not as much as the word boneless did. That's how a sloth thinks!

I thought we were pretty safe with the choice of the house specialty. It ended up being the less-eaten dish for the night and the only dish that filled up a takeaway box later on. Maybe a little too much and a little too rich after one, two, three pieces. I thought the sesame seeds added a nice touch as a visually appealling decoration. Broccoli garnish inclusion was also smart, probably need more plain tasting things to balance out the dish.

As with all saucy components, everything gets soggy. To many's dismay, a soggy duck skin is a horrible, horrible thing to witness and eat. Crispy beats soggy and chewy any day. I know one person who prefers soggy chips over crisp ones and I can tell you she is retarded for sure!


Aside from being way too far from me, there's not much else this restaurant can be at fault for =p Both itself and Taurus a few doors down seem to be doing well in attracting hungry people, as evident by patrons quickly filling up the eateries around peak dining times. A full house restaurant is always a good sign and you can generally judge by looking through the windows of one!

Deco inside is simple but nicer than your average Asian restaurant, albeit having the tables a little squished together cosily with a tight and snug fit. In circumstances like these you can't be blamed for eavesdropping. There is no room for claustophobia here, as no space is wasted in order to cram in an extra table for diners. Either tables are somewhat small, or our dinner orders are somewhat too large. Hehe!

Despite being at capacity and bursting at dinner time, service is efficient and staff are around when you need attention. All the dishes offer so much variety and are reasonably priced but somehow the bill totalled more than expected, at $30+ for 4 people for a homestyle meal. Then the 6 iced tea drinks came to mind -.-

I came in hungry, lightweight and feeling healthy then left the establishment feeling like an overweight camel with a huge hump on my belly instead. Gosh, this always happens. It's like I'm fooling with my own body. Give it false hope with exercise and then just kidding! and stuff the crap out of it again.

I worked off my guilt with another few hours badminton after that...and then piled it all back on again with McDonalds at 2am.
Balance is a beautiful thing when you've mastered it.

Perth Dae Jang Kum

Dae Jang Geum on Urbanspoon
So like, this meal was on the Sunday before our lovely exam study break started, which dates back to...uhh...6th of November.
Which means...I'M DAMN LAGGING ON POSTS!!!
Which also means...I'M DAMN LAGGING ON MONEY!!!
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to drown my sorrows with countless eating frenzies.

I'm a really good student and excel in procrastination and not giving a shit. Even my friends get jealous at how gifted I am in these areas to the point where they actually start worrying about my studies for me.

J: "Dude, your first exam is on the 15th..when are you going to start studying?"
"Uh...dunno...the 16th?"

S: "Would you start studying if like, I came and drove you to uni?"

All that cramming came crashing down on me. My exams sucked. Boo hoo hoo :(

Onto happier topics, we decided to have The Last Meal in preparation for the lack of dinners to come, in preparation of getting killed by exams. Little did I know that this meal would kill me. Actually this meal killed all of us, but it killed me first, since I was first to stop eating.
Which sorta...

Just a few mouthfuls into dinner,
T: "Shit. Guys...we're in trouble."
LOL and then pretty much breathed out fire.
Kimchi Fried Rice - $14
Was hoping this could be a more subtle carbohydrate which we could eat with the other spicy dishes but this on its own was anything but subtle! Maybe because it came out last and our mouths were already burning.

I've never been a lover of kimchi on its own but kimchi fried rice would probably make me eat it more. A nice chilli kick but nothing to jump about. Nothing more than a serving of chilli fried rice under a blanket of fried omlette. My tastebuds were dying at this point. I probably had 2 grains of rice and half that omlette.

Dakgalbi - $36 for 2 people
It was unbelievable how much my friends rambled on about this dish after trying it ages ago. And it was even more entertaining since they had no idea what it was called and the best they could do is just constantly OMG, that chicken thing! Lets go to that shop with that chicken thing!
Me: Which shop?
Them: That shop with the chicken thing. You don't know that chicken thing? How can you not know that chicken thing? The chicken thing!
Me: What chicken thing?
Them: That chicken thing!

So turns out that chicken thing was this chicken thing. And this chicken thing, otherwise known as Dakgalbi looked fiercely spicy. It came on top of an electric gas burner which doubled up its hotness, which had us furiously panting and fanning our tongues to save our poor tastebuds from this heatwave. I couldn't taste anything for the next few hours.

Inside was marinated spicy chicken, rice cake and assorted vegetables with rice, and meant to be for 2 people. Well, the 6 of us couldn't finish it, partly because IT WAS SO FLIPPIN HOT! Actually nah, it's not that bad, I think we're just chilli wusses and each consecutive mouthful became hotter than the previous one. Apparently it doesn't taste AS nice now too, and spamming on the excessive vegetables with insufficient chicken is noticeable.

I guess now I won't hear them rant about it anymore.

Cheese Dakgalbi - $38 for 2 people
LOL. When I looked at this, I automatically just thought, that's just lazy. This just looks like a Cheese pizza before it goes into the oven. And really, that just looks like a massive dump of cheese and nothing more to get excited about.

Surprisingly when it got mixed in with all the other ingredients inside, you actually have no clue about the amount of cheese there was as you can't really taste it so much. This was actually also the affectionately known chicken thing but with udon noodles instead. I regret that we ordered 2 pots of fire that we couldn't eat but thankfully the excessive amount of cheese helped to neutralise the spiciness we couldn't handle.

See they realllllyyy wanted their Dakgalbi that they doubled up their order. Dakgalbi and Dakgalbi with cheese. Their greediness backfired and I think they've learnt their lesson now.
Complementary Side Dishes
I love how Korean cuisine comes with little side dishes that you can replenish at your will and greed. Isn't it just exciting when you get free stuff, and even more exciting when that free stuff can just keep coming? Or maybe that's just me... :$

There's the mediocre kimchi with such a spicy hit that I refused to consume, on top of our hot meal that literally left us panting all through and after it.
There's the marinated bean sprouts which I always love and demolish, every. single. time. without fail. Their simplicity is what makes them so delicious.
There's the weird jelly/tofu-like dish which I still have no idea what on earth it is. I dived into it expecting nothing. And I got nothing.
I have good expectations!

Side Dish
Here is a better view of that side dish. It tasted bland. Even with the soy sauce drizzles, it didn't add to the taste, if not made it taste even more odd. Not criticising, just not to my liking.

It reminds me of that black glossy grass jelly, an Asian dessert usually served with coconut milk and sago, more fondly known as that grass jelly drink in cans. This had the same texture, only difference was that this had a white, opaque appearance instead.

Overall? Meh.

Cheese Dakgalbi
Cheese being cheese, all that cheese from before easily disappeared as soon as we mixed it all through with the udon noodles atop a gas burner. I guess that's why cheese is so dangerous - you just can't tell it's there and can't see all the calories you're consuming. It's just an invisible killer ingredient that makes food delicious.

This was like one big Italian dish, like a cheesy chicken pasta fiesta. We resorted to this whenever we needed to take a breather and save ourselves from the other chicken dakgalbi.
Same same, but different. Cheese soothes and cools here.

Extra serving of rice
By the time we were nearing the end of our meal - not the end of our food, food was still PLENTIFUL but we couldn't take it anymore :( - we were actually full. Yet, we ordered an extra serving of rice, presumably to have a dish THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY EAT and was chilli-free. Plain rice never sounded so good.

But then being the bright kids that we are, we dumbly poured the whole plate into the dakgalbi pot and stirred together all the contents in that big hot fiery cauldron. Then realised we'd just made another version of kimchi fried rice. What was meant to tone down all that hotness, was now fully marinated in that very same hot sauce. DOH!

Looked pretty good though. When else does your rice look like that when you order a serving of it right?

Dae Jang Kum Menu
This always reminds me of that award winning Korean drama on our satellite TV a while ago.
But cbf finding out the significance of it, who it is, what it is, or what the hell it even means.
I'll just eat my Korean thanks.


I think the general rule of thumb we live by is if you're going to go for Korean, go for it hard and get crazy with all-you-can-possibly-stuff-down-your-throat buffet instead of A la carte style Korean meals. There's nothing quite like the sound of sizzling ox tongues on the hotplate that adds to the happiness in a glutton's way of thinking. You get your money's worth that way and cooking your own meals always adds a dimension of fun and frustration. But totally worth it.

Bill came to $20+ per person which I reckon would have been better used at like Sinabro Korean BBQ up the road with neverending meats and drinks. Our meal here was also neverending as we struggled to get through it, the end just seemed so far. Typically like assignments, deadlines and other crap you don't want to do or commit to.

Staff are friendly but service could be deemed a bit slow but still pleasant. Food was just too hot to handle for us, which makes sense in a winter wonderland like Korea but here in the stinking hot summer desert of Perth, it's something less inviting. Like most hot foods, it's not too bad to start with but then with each further mouthful it begins to build progressively hotter and soon enough you'll be consuming more water than food. Good thing that water here is free and kept chilled for your mouth's convenience.

To be honest we were still hungry but for me, chilli gives me a false sense of fullness that doesn't last long. We requested to takeaway our heap of leftovers but then nobody wanted the takeaway box. Guess none of us are hero enough to go through it again.
So by the time 3am came around and hunger came for a visit again, we opted for the chocolate croissant bag instead.

I could do with that!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Siena's: Morley

Siena's Morley on Urbanspoon
T: Man, too much exercise. Need fat stuff to balance it out again.
Seriously, he is lucky to have one hardworking metabolism slaving away for him to keep that forever model figure =p

Italian would be the first suitable choice that comes to mind, naturally.
Carbs, cheese and cream are the best culprits to resort to for weight loss. Naturally!

We were really really really x100 starving and felt pretty ambitious with our order. When you're deprived of food for a few hours (or in my case, like, an hour LOL) you feel like you can eat the world. So this is what followed:

Affogato - $5.50
So like there's this friend of mine who orders Affogato everywhere. And on the occasions I've been there, I've got to benefit from that without needing to get my own caffeine dose. And thus far, Siena's version is the best I've seen, presentation wise. It's all grand looking and separated so you can control your drink, and dictate how fast your ice cream melts. Always handy.

The tall triangular glass holds a generously sized blob of creamy vanilla gelati ice cream, suffice to be a dessert on its own. Mmhmm. I started off my dinner with a few too many spoonfuls of dessert. Served with a shot of espresso on the side, some may consider $5.50 a little steep.

Affogato - Post mixing
Here's the somewhat DIY affogato, looking a bit ugly. Never underestimate.

So creamy, so smooth, so contrasting flavours and textures together in the one luscious drink.
You get hits of cold creamy ice cream mingling with the rich, heavy, bittery taste of espresso and really, it is quite the drink.

You have cold, you have hot, you have sweet, you have bitter, then you have addiction.
A winner of a bittersweet combination.

Works Pizza - $24.90 (SN: $17.90)
Pizza is usually topping many "favourite foods" lists despite it being what it is. Probably a hate-love relationship cause it probably does you more damage than it does good, despite the fact you'll probably consume SO much more vegies if they were dumped on a pizza. Like yes to capsicum on pizza but no to capsicum in any other form.

Personally I actually prefer the less authentic versions of pizza base and crusts cause they're so much better to chew and provide so much more crunch. Wood fired pizza crusts just don't satisfy me in the same way :( And really, I'd go for 3 Dominos pizzas over this anyday.

This was a no brainer to order. We wanted everything and this pizza was closest to having everything. The Works boasted tomato sauce, mozarella cheese, Italian sausage, chicken, capsicum, olives, artichokes, mushrooms and sundried tomato. Om nom nom.

Base wasn't too my liking so I dissected my pizza. Having ate the ingredients on top, my bare pizza base looked pretty naked. The last time I did this we threw pasta on top of the pizza base and ever since, it's become our somewhat standard approach to eat pizza =] Try it!

Ravioli - $20.90 (SN: $15.90)
This was a waste of an order and should not have been ordered. My fault. I wanted something different other than the usual cheesy, creamy, red or white sauced pastas but this different choice failed us. The description intrigued me but that's as far as the intriguing part got, and we were all pretty disappointed. Word usage is a powerful but powerfully deceptive skill!

I mean, it certainly looked alright. Pumpkin and ricotta filled pasta pillows in a white wine, garlic, cream Napoletana sauce topped with fresh rocket leaves and shaved parmesan. To say the least, lets see, it was bland and had no taste, the filling was stingy and practically you just can't tell that you're eating pumpkin or ricotta and some pillows weren't thoroughly cooked so even the extravagant sounding sauce didn't save the day. At least it looked decent.

I really hate giving negative or even anything-less-than-good comments but if I didn't then I'd be lying. Sorry Siena's. You still do alright. This was actually a struggle to finish on our table and the last lone pillows were unwanted. As per usual, this is where I come in and the leftovers get disposed, into my stomach, because I can't stand food wastage.
I hope my good deed gets me somewhere someday! :)

Fettuccini Siena - $24.90 (SN: $17.90)
The Fettuccini Siena was prooobably the best choice out of our choices. I mean a dish named after a restaurant should not be a let down by any means, right? I quite liked looking at the dish without having even eaten it yet, colour was pretty awesomely orange.
To those of you who have asked for my colour preferences, yup, orange is one of my favourite colours. I allow you to wrap my future presents in orange wrapping paper =p Ok thanks :)

This consisted of long stringy fettuccini pasta with plump prawns and broccoli in a vodka flavoured tomato and cream sauce, sprinkled with chilli flakes, giving it the slightest hint of spiciness. Not overwhelming, but noticable. And creamy sauce is always a winner with anything. It's one of those universal foods that can make anything better, even though I avoid it when it's on its own.

Not exactly sure what the sauce was meant to taste like but I couldn't help but notice the lack of any slight, hint, itty bitty teeny tiny bit of alcohol tasting element in the sauce. I know its not meant to be overpowering and I know it's meant to be subtle, but damn this was wayyy too subtle to the point of being non-existent.
Or maybe, I don't drink, I'm ignorant to what vodka is, and just didn't sense it being in the sauce.
Yes. Most likely. :)
Chilli Mussels being served
Interesting serving presentation, I say. Presumably this is meant to lock in the steam and keep those hot chilli mussels even hotter. Though a tad unnecessary...but kept me entertained for a little under 5 seconds. The novelty in this died after that. Ahh, short lived.

Garlic Bread
The concept of garlic bread has evolved over the times to become many things, many of those being not very garlic bready at all. Well maybe just not garlicy but still very bready. Too bready.
This was pretty much just buttered toast with fancier bread sorta thing. And 2 little mere pieces just doesn't seem fitting with that big plate of chilli mussels.

It is somewhat sad, or not, depending on how you look at it, to say the most memorable and best garlic bread I've come across so far is one out of a plastic packaging out of an IGA supermarket. It's amazing that such good garlic bread can be replicated, or my standards are just low.. Either way, that was crazy good. I will never forget that day.

Chilli Mussels - $24.50
And when the plate was lifted off, I was greeted with the sight and smells of this chilli mussel extravagance. Depending on how you feel towards mussels and how much you like eating mussels, the sight may either get you excited or flip your stomach. I actually quite like mussels but observing the picture more and more makes it look rather putrid.

Maybe it's the blackness, the abundance of hard shiny shell exteriors and the fact that everything there except the red parts are inedible that's sorta putting me off. Alot of the mussels had parted ways with their homes and some homes were still locked up but overall it was pretty good with the tomato chilli sauce.

Cheese side dish. Lol...
This extra bowl of pure cheese was served with one of the pasta dishes, but my memory fails me and I can't remember which one. Most likely the ravioli one. This went untouched. Maybe we were meant to touch it, then maybe the ravioli wouldn't have been so bland. Ahhh...

I haven't seen cheese being served on the side like this. By the end of the night I just wanted to do something with it. Had to. Being me, I ended up just eating half a spoonful of it, on its own. I have no idea why I did. They all had a go at me for "contaminating the chese", so now the cheese has to be thrown away...

No, stupid friends. Pretty sure it's going straight in the bin regardless...?

Lol. So this is our water-jug-turned-fish-tank, which in turn looked like an attempt to vivify the chilli mussel. I must stress that this was a pure accident, we are definitely not immature little brats playing with our food, no no, none of that.

Sharing food meant a lot of transferral of food across the table and in the middle of the journey, we all heard a distinct *PLOP!*, and found that Y had clumsily dropped a mussel straight into the water jug, which had a small opening the SAME size as the mussel itself. My disapproving applause immediately became one of sheer admiral.

Well freaking done.


Siena's had always been the first restaurant that came to mind whenever Italian is mentioned. It's always been delicious, generously sized, good value and a laid back atmosphere to it that makes you feel at home. Having all this in mind, the first thing I noticed was the change of menu (ok, cool...) but also with the change of prices (NOO!).

I mean, the prices are still standard and pretty fair, but you know, in comparison to having seen what the former prices are, it's pretty sad. The servings have also changed and based purely on what we ordered, the tastes have also fared worse off than before, but that is all a selfish subjective opinion of course.

Kitchen also closes unbelievably early on a Thursday night, as we got there a little bit past 8pm and were asked to make our orders ASAP as the kitchen was closing. As I hurriedly scanned through the menu, all the pizza/pasta dishes had a more attractive, more affordable price next to the standard price with the initals SN next to them. We could have saved $20!

So, point taken: come on Special Nights! (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays btw :))
-It's not being cheap, it's being cost efficient =p There is a difference! Like...I'm dumb, but I'm not stupid LOL

So after we settled the bill, we headed straight to McDonalds for the next 3 hours to fill up the still-empty spaces in our stomachs with fries, soft serves, cokes and fake oreos - Rodeos.

No really. Just Google imaged rodeo biscuit. A whopping ONE picture made it through. Shockinggg! But fake=good, still. Sometimes. Most times, not.

You know when people are like "I ate 3 packs of oreos"? And it's like meh because it doesn't sound like much? Well, T said this. There's 18 in a pack we were eating, and after some slow calculations:

Sounds so boss, huh? It really changes how you perceive a mere "3 packs of oreos" and how you look at them now: with praise and so much more respect...
And this is the same T that feels too healthy after exercise.
It's a miracle.
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