Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Phong Vinh Noodle House

Phong Vinh Vietnamese & Chinese Noodle House on Urbanspoon
Usually you know your own strengths and weaknesses. When confronted with the question, our
conscience is temporarily lost and most of us lie our hearts out and butts off, but with no guilt whatsoever.
But I won't lie. One of my - oh so many! - innate strengths that I am so fortunate to be born with is -
my appetite. That's about it, really. As I don't think I'm good for much else.

But I'm oh so proud to call it mine when people gawp in awe (or disgust, I'm not sure) at just how much I
can fit into my little tummy - which many call, to my horror, "the bottomless pit".
It's like it's expandable. Always handy.

Why I say all this? It's because sometimes I myself marvel (yet quite horrified) at this strength of mine.
It took me from eating at home, to the Twilight Food Hawker Markets, to Phong Vinh - one after another.
Hopefully one day, it takes me places. Conquering the world, one cuisine after another.

Satay Sticks - 5 for $6

I quite miss the presence of the Twilight Hawker markets that lingered for about half a year or so in the CBD centre. They stuck around because of its popularity, the delicious aromas that wafted into the air against a twilight backdrop made perfect scents - HA! - to attract the crowds that created its success.

It was not just the food (albeit being the biggest attraction no doubt) but the sights, the sounds, the smells of large masses of people after one thing but the same thing. The atmosphere of it all, of hungry people congregating together and appreciating the simple but nourishing food that our beautifully isolated city has to offer.

The satay stall evidently attracted the biggest crowds with the biggest cloud of smoke fumes from cooking, with impressively but annoyingly long lines that warrants the wait for freshly grilled and caramelised meat lollipops laden with crunchy peanuts in a sweet chunky satay sauce. On the small side, so gives justification as to why you can eat, and eat, and eat and eat and eat some more.

Pho Dac Biet - $11
I felt inclined to name this my favourite Vietnamese restaurant after my first visit. I've tried a few of their dishes which don't fail to impress in terms of price, quantity and taste. Personally, the way I judge a Vietnamese restaurant is through its pho. If they don't do a good pho, I am skeptical. But still welcoming.

My particular bowl of Combination Beef Hofan Soup was no different to how I remembered it to be - generous, warming and filling. Combination beef really does means a combination of beef parts: different cuts of raw and cooked beef, tendon, omasum, balls...and starting to sound a tad sensual (or disgusting).

This contains pretty much ZERO vegetables besides spring onions, if that can be counted. It becomes a subconscious action of mine to load up my bowl with the bean sprouts provided just so it magically transforms into a nutritional meal.Beef stock is full of flavour but definitely doesn't leave the dry mouth feeling that MSG is so good for.

Mi Bo Kho - $10.50
We did temporarily swap our dishes but after digging into this, I decided it to be a permanent swap. Another winner of a dish is this rich, flavoursome, hearty combination of egg noodles in a gluggy soup, abundant with soft cubes of braised beef and carrot chunks that have fully absorbed the juices they are stewed in. I can't believe I'm saying this, but there really was TOO MUCH BEEF!

As with most of their dishes, you are spoiled with the choice to switch between springy egg noodles, chewier rice noodles, rice vermicelli or if you get excited by smooth textures, hofan would best answer to that desire. Each noodley strand is a different texture from their shape, size and form - the variety to be expected from a "noodle house". So use your noggin and select your noodle :)

Sinh To Bo - $5
I really love a good Asian style smoothie full of unconventional flavours of same old strawberry, creamy chocolate and very ordinary vanilla. All the smoothies you see at a Vietnamese restaurant are those of Asian inspired ingredients. And yeah avocados may not come to mind first or even connotated with anything Asian at all, but you probably can't play I spy an avocado shake anywhere else.

Very likely you'd think UGH! but I assure you it is very MMM! It's not a full on gluggy mashed up avocado made into a drink, but a lighter flavoured smoothie with a creamy consistency and similar to ice cream if it were more solid. I love avocados and I love ice cream so mathematically speaking, I love this. And I do.

I'd say it's like an avocado sundae, but then even I think that sounds revolting. So nah.

Sinh To Sau Rieng - $5
Perth's William Street was transformed into an entertainment strip on a March weekend for the annual William Street Festival. Held in celebration for the arts and cultural diversity that characterises the street, the amount of artistic fare and local designers' creations on display outshone the presence of the small number of food stalls.

It was a sunny day (too sunny!), I was starting to sweat like a pig and with Phong Vinh conveniently located on that very street, we popped inside for a bit of people watching and a lot of air con. The thought of a durian smoothie ignited my tastebuds more than that of the watery slushees up for sale on the street. 

The distinctive durian aroma (so tempted to describe it as stinky) and flavour resonates throughout the glass, making the tall, slender icy cold blended durian fruit shake the perfect accessory for a stinking hot day.

Bun Thit Nuong - $11
I love Vietnamese cuisine for its refreshing flavours which make good use of the fresh raw ingredients that go into compiling the dish. It's not too heavy and fish sauce is THE prominent addition used to flavour the food, an intense tango of salty & sweet.

The compilation of this dish revolves around crisp textures of the raw vegetables and salted roast peanuts sprinkled atop. Paired with rice vermicelli and morsels of grilled pork, there's nothing really unhealthy about this meal. It's even bordering healthy. And believe it or not, miracles do happen and healthy food can be quite delicious.

Bun Thit Nuong - $11
Probably as close to eating a salad I'll ever get.


Some people do believe you can suss out a restaurant based on its clientele, but with this place you can't really tell. It has a mix of different people eating different types of meals for dinner from its many choices from the menu. Foods whipped up are well flavoured, and while nothing is really bland, self serve condiments are within reach and the all important hoisin sauce can save the day any day.

Unlike many places where staff are hit and miss, here it is consistently helpful and accommodating. It's akin to a no frills no spills system - well, no frills but yes spills, with a minor accident involving scalding hot soup spilled onto us - but with spills mopped up and subsequently showering us with apologies, all was forgiven.

A brightly lit, spacious, airy dining room creates a casual atmosphere where you can slurp your noodles loudly and to your heart's content without being stared at. With the standardised and recognisable thermos of hot tea given to you upon sitting down, the familiarity of Phong Vinh to Tra Vinh up the road - from similarities in its menu to the tea flasks used - CAN be justified: related owners, apparently. So the food is on par, on the better side of good.

You know you're in the vicinity of Northbridge when your dinner is interrupted by the hardworking guy, adorned with lights and other flashy devices strapped to his body, persistently selling overpriced flowers day in day out. Too bad flowers are only reserved for special occasions and dates these days, meaning I got downright rejected when I casually asked A for some flowers on a particularly normal night.

But even with its tainted reputation, you can always rely on Northbridge restaurants to stay open and dish out nourishing, good value meals. So unlike someone who won't buy you flowers, you can count on the restaurants. At least they will never let you down, or reject you.


Sun - Wed: 10am - 9pm
Friday - Sat: 10am - 10pm

(08) 9228 8238

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Golden Century

Golden Century Seafood Chinese on Urbanspoon
"Go make me a sandwich."

Luckily, I don't get that a lot. And not because I am not a woman, but most likely because people don't trust my cooking for some odd reason.

And when asked where women belong, you and I know we are most likely thinking of the same thing. Jokingly. But joke or not, we know we shouldn't domesticate the humble but miraculous woman, and associate her with all those C words -
Yet so, so courageous in the face of life's difficulties.

 It's a family tradition of mine to tackle the rowdy crowds of Dim Sum in Northbridge every year when Mum's Day comes around. With the restaurants bursting to overcapacity and people flooding out the door on weekends, it already looks like it's Mothers Day every single Sunday. Imagine the real Mothers Day. Floods turn into tsunamis.

The one day in the year when Mothers are acknowledged and treated like a real lady, and rightfully NOT told to go to her kitchen (where real ladies belong, apparently). I've grown up with a role reversal among my parents, with Mum never having resided in the kitchen.
So I've learnt my mother ain't a real lady.
My dad is.

Prawn & Pork Dumplings
After my whole table performed several loud renditions of table pounding, I think it finally came to the staffs attention that we weren't trying to get their attention but just keeping my never-grow-tired niece occupied with sound and movement.

The carbohydrate and protein feast to come started with baskets of plump and juicy prawn & pork siu mai dotted with balls of fish roe. Best eaten when popping hot and fresh, cause that's when they are moist and burn you with hot deliciousness.

Prawn & Scallop Dumplings
By the end of this post you will notice how very closely the term Dim Sum is just another synonym for prawn dumplings.

Yeah, I know, not quite true. But if you have a prawn allergy you probably won't be able to eat over half the items available! I'd be bawling my eyes out in the corner.

I am quite partial to these silky white and smooth babies, delectable in appearance and taste. A luxurious mouthful of seafood featuring the bouncy texture of prawns, sweetness of scallop juices and mini pops of fish roe wrapped in a slightly chewy transparent dumpling skin. Fit for a queen. I.e. fit for me :)

Chicken Feet
I actually loved these when I was a little toddler but I have now grown out of chicken feet. I now have normal feet. However I have yet to grow out of a little toddler's size. Sigh! Some things just never change, while other things change too quickly.

Everyone should eat feet at least once. It's probably not something you'd imagine yourself drooling over or craving, unless you have a foot fetish...Ugh.

But forget that a chicken once used these to run around and embrace the taste of something that has been braised in a savoury black bean, slightly sweet and garlicky sauce, and now you'll just be spitting out bones that have now been sucked dry, instead of being grossed out by a foot.

Deep fried Crab Meat Dumplings
It should be a sin to serve these cold, or to re-fry them when they are cold and serve them up again as "freshly fried". But when they are indeed freshly fried without the quotation marks, crab meat dumplings are quite yum. Just like every other deep fried until golden brown item.
Everything should be deep fried. That's probably what the person who came up with deep fried Mars Bars thought as well.

Golden triangles that are sort of reminiscent of the humble hash brown, these are also white inside with the springy texture of crab meat. Now, I don't know how much of that crab meat is ACTUALLY crab meat, and how much more I'm inclined to call these Crab meat flavoured dumplings.

But coated with an exterior of crunchy golden batter, nobody cares that it contains little crab (or none at all).

Prawn Dumplings
Nobody goes to Dim Sum without consuming these. NOBODY! It's become so standardised that any Westerner can say har gow as fluent as if they are fully Asian. It's beautiful how food can transcend through all cultures while languages is a bit hard to.

A blanket of clear smooth dumpling skin with crinkled edges tightly hugs mounds of juicy prawns - it's a perfect, snugly fit. And the way your mouth wraps around these dumplings is also a perfect, snugly fit.

I used to always refer to these as tripe until I did a Google search and was exposed to images that differed from these. Honeycomb tripe is in fact another Dim Sum dish (you want it? Dim Sum's got it!) but is quite different to these. Honeycomb tripe gives a lot softer chew and their "honeycomb" appearance means it absorbs a lot more juices.

So I've learnt a new word - omasum. No doubt (well, some doubt) that these also come from somewhere inside a cow but better looking than most offal. Texture wise, they're a bit like...fabric. (WHAT?)

They look a bit spiky but they aren't, and gives a "hard chewiness" as opposed to the "soft chewiness" you get from, say, a tendon. And by now I know I'm not even making sense so you just gotta embrace all animals (and their insides) and give it a shot yourself.

Deep fried Meat Dumplings
Quite literally, these are salt water dumplings. Thankfully, they are not full on salty and do not have an oozy liquid centre (unfortunately). Instead, they are like deep fried savoury Mochi balls, with a contrasting texture of crispy skin coating with another layer of chewy, sticky, glutinous skin.

Their centres consist of a filling of minced pork meat, sometimes among other ingredients like Chinese mushroom. As with all encased items of food, they become volcanoes with dangerously hot molten lava centres. But delicious molten lava you'd run towards, instead of bolting your life away from!

Egg Custard Tarts
And while I'm on the subject of delicious molten lava centres, here are some pods of golden lava. They are so beautifully made, with silky smooth and wobbly custard centres baked into multi-layered tiers of flaky, aromatic, buttery pastry bowls. A lustful cocktail of intense taste and textural sensations in a much loved Hong Kong delicacy, baked fresh from the kitchen.

On every visit whenever she steps into this restaurant, my mum makes a point to 1). Physically go up to the waiters, 2). Call the waiters over, 3). Tell every waiter who comes within her vicinity to "Leave 3 plates of Egg custard tarts for me for later!" And then 4). Remind every waiter that she has told them to save her 3 plates of egg custard tarts.
Poor waiters. They suffer the same nagging as I do.

So like, you can sort of tell from this maniac obsession of hers, that they must be quite alright, right?
Apparently she reckons they serve the best egg custard tarts. It was a nice gesture that they charged us 2 plates and not 3 when they dropped and hence served us 1 less egg tart. Like a touch of liquid sunshine,they're so warm to look at and touch. I'd much prefer eating than walking on sunshine oh ohhh! :)

Layered flaky goodness
Just a tad closer so it's easier for you to grab one straight through your monitor ;)

And close-up shots to get your heart pumping and mouth salivating. And downing a few of these would probably get your cholesterol levels pumping equally as much too.

Beef Tendon
Something you'd expect to be fibrous and tough, but instead is braised until soft and a little chewy. Mum has teeth of steel and loves hard stuff - i.e. chewing on bones. Yes I'm serious and no that wasn't a joke.

As such, I'm so used to and have taken a liking to tendon being cooked so that they are still hard but give a good chew. These are much softer and people probably like them more done this way, but to me it feels like I'm eating heavily flavoured baby food.

Egg Custard Buns
These are a favourite amongst many and funnily enough, if you put on a serious stern face and tell someone they can eat the paper underneath, they do actually believe it. And then proceed to eat it right in front of you.

I was in year 9 when a teacher came in with these buns and distributed them to the class and told everyone the paper was edible, only to hear sounds of PUH! later on when it proved a bit difficult to swallow. Teachers. Always a reliable source of information.

Perfect white circular spheres of fluffy bun-ny goodness, served steaming hot in wooden steamer baskets. Many people peel off the layer of skin formed on the bun itself, but that used to be my favourite part of the bun. Stupid me. Hated animal skin but loved bun skin.

Egg Custard Bun - Innards
So here we go again with the pool of golden surprise when you rip the bun in half. Now, this really CAN burn. I mean, the others can burn, but boy this one can BURN.

Dim Sum has always had Custard buns with a soft, sort of solidified custard centre. In the past few years, I think it was Golden Century that introduced the revolutionary new bun that actually contained a fully LIQUID centre that pours out from the interior. I was in love for a long time.

Namely the "Flowing Sand Bun" in direct literal translation, the centre holds a vivid and bright puddle of gold, a buttery mixture of salty yet sweet egg yolk and salted egg. Things have changed and the filling size varies, now with an added gritty texture (just slightly). Maybe to fit in with the whole "golden sand" theme.

Prawn Rice Flour Rolls
Yet another prawny dish, featuring pretty much the same ingredients as the Prawn dumplings but in different form and shape. Cause you should embrace everything, in all shapes and sizes.

Whole prawns are rolled into sheets of soft flour with a sweet soy sauce poured over them after they are served to your table, so that they don't prematurely get soggy.

Deep fried Prawn Dumplings
Deep fried prawn wantons made me really happy as a kid. I enjoyed the crispy skin SO much more than the prawn fillings inside, as would any other kid, and maybe any other adult too.
The deep fried pastry is crinkled and it makes them that much crunchier.

These are always served with a side dish of a sweet and tangy mayonnaise for dipping, which is the standard sauce to have with these prawn dumplings at Dim Sum. It provides a contrasting, soothing and cooling effect to the (should be) very hot dumplings.

It creates an extra layer to comfort your tongue from the heat or to protect your fingers, dunk your fingers in the mayonnaise and THEN pick up the prawn dumplings. Get into it.

Pan fried Potstickers
I'm aware these aren't really referred to as Potstickers, but I will. Quite literally translated as "pan stick", these are like the Chinese version of gyoza. They both have the chewy exterior skin with edges sealed via crimping together and then pan fried on one/two sides until crispy and golden. 

Love the hard crispiness settled on the skins plus the generous filled insides of pork and chives. These savoury dumplings are served with a dish of red vinegar as dipping sauce. I tend to do without as sauce cancels out the crispy factor. They stick to the pan until that crispiness is reached and hence, quite originally, pan stick.

Chinese Doughnut Rice Flour Roll
We couldn't pass up a plate of this. We've learnt to pass up a plate of deep fried squid tentacles cause that simply doesn't excite us anymore but this still does.

If you're wondering what a chinese doughnut is, then I'm gonna be very useful and describe it as indescribable. I could simply say it's deep fried dough, but in reality it's so much more than that and tastes so much better than you're imagining right now.

It's pretty damn oily but it's cleverly and easily concealed and goes unnoticed by all that sweet soy sauce. The dough sticks are lovingly rolled into silky flour sheets and garnished with spring onions and salty morsels of dried shrimp embroidered into the silky smooth edible white fabric.
Tad pricier than most of the other dim sums.

Scallop & Prawn Dumpling
I know this is already featured somewhere up there,'s just so pretty!

Steamed Chicken Buns
Okay. I gotta admit, I was surprised and puzzled when Mother ordered this. It seemed a tad too ordinary but when I gave it a chance and decided to give it a try, I was surprised again by...just how ordinary they were. I beg them to differ.

The pie version of this is a lot nicer, with fine chicken mince and other ingredients encased by a buttery pie pastry, resulting in something like a mini dim sum pie. Sure BBQ pork buns have their fame, but I'm not dazzled by them. So I'm even less dazzled by their chicken counterpart.
Not bad, but just not interesting.

Chicken Bun - Innards
See? Exciting?

Chicken pieces in a bun.

Steamed Fish Balls
I had a sudden craving for balls. Fish balls, to be exact.

So we called a basket of steamed balls. They're less bouncier than the smaller ping pong sized fish balls you commonly see, but bigger in size. Composed of fish paste, they taste more fishy than the aforementioned fish balls - not the bad fishy smell and taste but the actual seafood taste.

They sit on a base layer of soft bean curd skin that has sat there quietly soaking up all the juices the fish balls have to offer, and become so sweet as a result. Nothing satisfies quite as much as big white fluffy balls!


If you're craving Dim Sum, Golden Century is a safe place to satisfy those weekend/weekday/everyday cravings. Parking is a pain in the ass, which results from being in such a central location in the Northbridge hub, Perth's well known but also well-known-for-all-the-wrong-reasons entertainment precinct. It also sits perfectly opposite a particular...well known park in Northbridge too. Well known location in a well known location. You can't miss it. It's so well known.

Many of the Dim Sum restaurants go by that identity by day and dish up an entirely different dinner menu when the sun goes down. This place is one of them. But their Dim Sum menu is a good variety, with the typical dishes and a variety of others, but not the level of creativity as I see what Sydney and Melbourne are offering yet :( The prices are as expected and they don't skimp on portions, with well cooked food and not a bland dish in sight nor taste.

Decor is simple and practical. We were a bit disappointed to hear that much of the foods had run out as a result of our terrific plan to come a bit later than peak lunch hour so that we didn't die in the mass crowds. Genius no more.
But that way I guess we received more attentive service and food was served hot because a). It was cooked to order for us or b). It was freshly reheated. I guess that's still okay, cause food wasn't cold from doing rounds on the dining floor when it was full house.

While I can't fault much, there is one pressing thing that irks me to no end. One thing, but a big thing to me, as it is a continuing occurrence and not just a once off. What's one thing that everyone is sensitive about?
$$$. And out of curiosity I once calculated the bill before we take it to the counter to pay and it came up much greater than I'd calculated (but still <$10 difference. Still). Mistake maybe. But is it still a mistake if it happens once, twice, 3 times after that? And we get told that we are not getting charged for tea too. As much as I am unwilling, I doubt the honesty and I hate the feeling of being unable to trust.

On a brighter side, even though staff are worked flat out, some of their politeness really shone out as something different to me. Empty steamers were collected briskly, teapots were refilled and requests were answered to swiftly and with a smile, which is hard to get nowadays. Asked a staff for 2 pots of tea and these were placed on the table literally 2 seconds after by another staff.

Ok, they were efficient, but that was probably a result of my dear Mother telling every waiter to "please give us 2 pots of tea" en route from the entrance to her seat.
Deja vu? Nope. That's my Mother for you. Persistent as hell. That's probably how she got Dad.

I hope every single Mother in the world over had a lasting, loving and enjoyable Mothers Day.
You deserve every bit of it.
And if you aren't a Mother, treat your Mum like one!

Monday, 14 May 2012


Anghiti on Urbanspoon
I chuckled when a friend quite seriously said to me,
"Mate. First time eating Indian. Last time eating Indian" after a meal she had that probably resulted in something that bore great resemblance to the curry that she put into her mouth.

It's unfortunate she has now denied her own chance to appreciate a great Indian curry: brown, gluggy...but simultaneously rich and majestic in taste.
It's one of those cuisines you love or hate. But depending on the side you look at it from, you'll agree with only half that phrase deliciously ugly: curry is damn delicious or just plain ugly.

My friends aren't TOO shallow and we all know to look beyond just appearance. Apparently beauty is only skin deep but this little beauty resonates deeply through the depth of the bowls they are served in.

And excuse the crap blurry photos, 4 months back I always felt like such a drag making my dining companions wait. Nowadays they just know to wait. Otherwise I shout. (At them) :)
Not the other type, where I pay for the food.

Lemon Lime Bitters
Everyone on the table had the usual LLB except me. A few full untouched glasses needed replacements though, after A had a bit of fun in knocking over the drinks and watching the glass fly decadently and golden liquid free flowing across the wooden table.

Staff did not make a fuss out of this, nor the other incidents where she continued her clumsy streak and dropped heavy cutlery on the table...on the floor...and probably on us too.

Tandoori Mixed Platter (Medium) - $29 
My friends thought it smart to tell me that dinner started half an hour before it really did.
So here I was, waiting for latecomers while I starved. So ordered this platter for myself as a snack while I waited.

HA, just kidding. I know those who know me are thinking, you're so not kidding.
This tantalising platter arrived freshly grilled from the clay oven with assorted the proteins of fish, chicken and lamb, with each piece bursting with flavour from the strong marinade.
It's a shame this meal for one had to be shared between 6.

Shahi Paneer (Mild) - $16
While we decided against ordering certain dishes because some simply didn't like the ingredients, we ordered a dish I COMPLETELY couldn't touch (eat). I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

This indulgently creamy pot of golden melted cottage cheese smelted together with onions, cashew nuts and yoghurt gravy is mild but nonetheless heavy flavoured.
I went all out and indulged in about half a teaspoon of this.

Butter Chicken (Medium) - $18.50
I know D&J make a very subjective judgement on the quality of an Indian restaurant solely based on how they prepare Butter Chicken. I know that's not entirely fair but you're your own master of your appetite :) Who's to judge you on how you judge others?

Arguably one of the more well known names that pop up in thought whenever Indian is mentioned, succulent chunks of roast chicken coated and then drenched with a sauce that is thick, buttery, tomatoey and infused with spices. It's a real delicacy.
Where would India be without spices?!
Still in...some ocean I guess :$

Lamb Rogan Josh (Medium) - $18.50
This boneless lamb dish is a simmer of brown onions, whole spices and yoghurt. The cooling and soothing properties of yoghurt gives it that medium level of hotness that is easier to handle in the mouth and stomach.

I hate eating hot foods that leave me fanning my tongue, make my eyes leak and have me make hissing sounds throughout the rest of dinner.

Aloo Baigan (Medium) - $15.50
Curry is always associated with the different meats and the delicious ways they are prepared, but all their vegetarian dishes, laden with nearly as also as delicious vegetables are sometimes overlooked. What? Pfft, vegetables? Well pfft, give it a shot.

Along with potato, aubergine (eggplant!) is such a well suited partner to curry. Prepared with and immersed into exotic herbs and spices, the vegetable becomes slightly transparent, soft and full of flavour after soaking up all the rich curry gravy into its flesh.

Jeera Pulao Rice - $4.50
Sure you can eat meat and just meat but you probably, most likely will not do such a carnivorous act.

Indian basmati rice is very distinct, and distinguishable from the usual rice I faithfully eat every day and night. These rice grains are long and can look quite worm-like and I really shouldn't have said that.

This rice doesn't have the usual sticky properties of rice and has a harder texture than the softness of steamed rice. Each grain separates itself from its duplicates in the bowl.

Pickle - $3
So this is what pickle is in Indian cuisine. I did imagine the pickles you find in cheeseburgers at McDonalds.

Apart from the blurriness of the photo, it is quite an accurate depiction of the little porcelain dish holds - a blurry fiery red vegetabley mess.

Aloo Paratha - $5.50
Thin, flat breads with a soft potato filling spread inside arrived in a metal basket, looking and feeling mighty hot. Like rice, bread is such a complementary carbohydrate to have with curry.

It acts just like an absorbent cloth to soak up the curry juices and wipe down all the curry drippings off the tabl...plate.

Garlic Nan - $4.50 and Chilli Nan - $5.50
My memory challenges me and I really can't remember whether why these 2 types of different naan breads were served together. Maybe we were given the option to go half-half when 2 girls were having a b*!#$fight over the table on which bread to choose.

Unlike the paratha before, naan bread takes on a more crispier texture from their thinner style, not housing any fillings inside. Instead, they are flavoured on their exterior, extremely aromatic and taste so good when they are hot enough to burn your fingers.
But my lesson is soo not learnt.


Claiming to be the Masters in Indian Cuisine with a worn out, faded and visibly weathered restaurant sign post would needs guts and a very good chef to dish out the goodies. Fortunately they do stand out and stand up to this, holding the prestigious position of WA winner of Favourite Indian for 2010 and 2012. Their (lack of) effort to fix that old, battered, discoloured restaurant sign post outside is not reflective of their effort they put into the food that they serve up.

Stepping inside gives a stark contrast to the parking complex outside, a warmly lit atmosphere with a spacious floor plan layout. Located up the back is the kitchen, like a giant fishbowl available for diners to gawp at, watching the chefs busily swimming around inside around their clay oven ornament. This traditional Indian charcoal stove is what they pride themselves upon, the cooking medium fueled by charcoal and wood fire and used to cook all their foods that are fueled with spices and passion.

Deserving of their award, I couldn't fault much of what I tasted. All were aromatic, rich and with intense flavours, glistening with sauce.Checking the menu now seems to show an increase in prices. However at the time I had my Indian fix, the prices were good for value for Indian cuisine with good serving sizes, indicated by my as-per-usual finishing up job when everyone else declares they are full.

I used to think the place looked a bit plain, cold and hollow with a chain restaurant feel attached to it. But my, how time flies and things change. A few years on, it's more cosy, classy and more intimate. Wooden floorboards, artwork on the walls and the warm glow of lights casts shadows in the room amongst the brown and yellow themed atmosphere. The now less brightly lit dining section oozes comfort with decor that echoes the colour of the food itself. Wise!

We needed more time to decide on ordering and waiting around for VERY late people (i.e. 40 minutes) but then staff left us lonely for too long when we said give us a moment :( Late on they were attentive, responsive and quick to come to our rescue when they saw us watering down the place with our Lemon Lime Bitters.

Lack of desserts on their menu meant we conveniently popped over to the dessert store a few doors down for some ice cream - Blockbuster. And the rest of Perth are probably shouting directly at their screen and indirectly at me saying that's a video rental store you twat!

Life is what you interpret it to be, through your own set of eyes.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Jus Burgers: Northbridge

Jus Burgers (Northbridge) on Urbanspoon
Once upon a time, McDonalds would be the only place to go if you ever felt like a whopper. Hungry Jacks. Whatever.
Back in the olden days, we had limited choice. Fast forward a few sleeps, we are spoilt rotten with too much choice.
Burgers no longer have their long-standing reputation of being greasy, unhealthy, hungover food that goes straight to your thighs after consuming it. They stop at the stomach, all because of a fancy little word:

A hip word that is gaining so much publicity in the food world. You'll get shunned if you deliver anything less than outstanding. Everybody is a food critic nowadays.
People's standards have changed. (For the better!) 
Move over fast food, until when I next need you.
...Tomorrow? :$

The birth of earlier successful burger joints quickly led to a whole mob of burger-serving offspring to populate little old Perth. We evidently have a healthy appetite for healthy fast food.

Pomegranate Frappe - $6.95
Although it was a wet, rainy, stormy, lightning-striking-everywhere Australia Day night, it was simultaneously sticky, humid and hot. The rain pelting down could make you sweat. I can't remember the last time Perthians witnessed a spectacular light show of firework and lightning together, with rain pissing down on them.

It was so unbelievably stuffy, but perfect weather for an ice cold frappe. This stunning velvet creation features a refreshing blend of "pomegranate juice, berries, splash of cloudy apple, fresh mint and ice" and was really quite too SOUR! But so very refreshing and bursting with fresh ingredients.

We managed half the cup at best and ended up with an attractive berry-stained smile, thanks to all the abundance of gritty berry chunks and seeds.

All of Jus Burgers burgers are lovingly created with a grilled sugar-free Turkish bun, homemade aioli, relish, fresh lettuce, tomato and spanish onion. Something Jus Burgers deserves recognition for is being the state's first restaurant to sign to the Buy West Eat Best initiative, sourcing all of its produce locally from a cast of WA suppliers all over the region. There's no fakeness or artificialness here, unless you consider the only seasonings of salt and pepper added when cooking to be artificial!

There is an emphasis on fresh and no compromise on quality with their "no freezer allowed" policy, a very impressive procedure to exist in a restaurant to be honest. Stuff goes bad, start to rot, start to smell ...which then makes you appreciate the efforts required when a place endeavors to deliver FRESH FRESH FRESH and AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE all time, every time.

Original Beef - $11
I opted for the basic but equally satisfying Original Beef burger, full of simplicity, originality and free of frills, spills and hormonal imbalances. You're eating nothing but bare, naked cows in its pure original glory.

A juicy, hand pressed, char grilled patty of Western Australian Amelia Park beef hanging out with other burger staples sandwiched between a sturdy, crispy Turkish roll - Burgers just might be better at Jus.

Wagyu Beef - $15
Also on the line for dinner is the Wagyu Beef, a mountainous stack of WA Vasse Valley Wagyu beef slathered with wasabi mayo. Listening to the sound of that conjures up a taste sensation with hints of hotness, creaminess and fatty portions distributed throughout the thick slab of wagyu.

The wasabi mayo has a subtle spiciness and could probably be toned up a fair bit to add that extra hit to the overall flavour of the burger. When wasabi is involved, I want WASABI and not just...wasabi.

Mango Smoothie - $6.50
When Perth's Food and Wine month promoted Eat Drink Perth, I never once parted with my Eat Drink Perth booklet and quickly became my essential necessity. Chock full of discounted, delicious offers and coupons from all around the CBD and close-by suburbs, it wasn't a surprise to see Jus Burgers featured in there with their burger and drink contribution.

Usually selling at $6.50, their sweet deal delivered up a $5 mango smoothie with the purchase of a discounted Wagyu burger. A creamy concoction of blended mango, ginger and a splash of lemon gave a slight hint of citrus in a tropical beverage, infused with notes of spicy ginger undertones.

Wagyu Beef - $10 (Eat Drink Perth special)
Here's a cross section of the same burger from above, sliced through and making it a tonne times easier to eat. Or if you look at it differently, it can be a tonne times harder to eat, ingredients falling out from every angle of the burger.

It's become a habit of mine to ask for sliced up burgers, so you can see every intricate detailed layer inside the burger :) Nothing to do with the ease of my own eating pleasure of course.

Mullet - $15
I generally frown upon mullets. Jus has revamped the look and it has never been so good looking. I could do with a mullet in 2012. But with some sauce.

Mullets scream AUSTRALIAN! so loud, with the whole load of fry-up ingredients compacted into the one burger. Building blocks of salad, char-grilled beef patty, free range fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese (minus beetroot please!) towers high and rocks with instability, even with 2 skewers pierced through their hearts. We watched our burger sway dangerously on the countertop and tapped a waiter's shoulder just in time to save it from meeting with the floor.


Rightfully earning and thus rightfully boasting a multitude of awards over the years since 2009, Jus Burgers has become a famed burger name and an Australian celebrity with a loyal fan base. Being a continuous and consecutive winner of I LOVE FOOD awards (doesn't that award capture everything so well :)) for Best Hamburger in Australia, they must be doing something right to please people's palates.

This burger bar has several stores in the primest of prime locations (think: Northbridge, Leederville, Subiaco, Fremantle), all areas saturated with food and foodies. Along with happy and quirky staff, all the burger bars share quite small and slightly cramped spaces that are compensated with recycled, fun and functional decor (Ikea lamps and synthetic grass...on the CEILING?!). Constraints in seating does mean you have to scramble for a seat, making you feel much like a watchdog and barking at those who steal the next available table.

I admit I didn't take an immediate liking to Jus Burgers burgers. But seeing it out-rivaled WA's and even the entire country's burgers, maybe I was viewing it with coloured spectacles after falling in love with Grill'd burgers. And indeed after a 2nd, 3rd try, I now wear clear coloured glasses when perving at food. Their menu includes so much choice and caters considerably for those dining with dietary and ethical requirements with the expected gourmet prices for burgers.

Reading up on the man himself, Justin Bell - the bawssse of all this, it's easy to gauge the commitment put into chaperoning all the stores, AND our environment they are in. And as if this nationally successful and recognisable name isn't enough, Jus also receives commendation for environmental sustainability. Jus Burgers sells just burgers, which really lets them focus on delivering a quality and fancy elevated sandwich.

What can't this guy do?
Probably fail.

(08) 9227 0668

Monday & Sunday: 11.30am to 9pm
Tuesday to Saturday: 11.30am to 10pm


Friday, 4 May 2012

Big Bowl Noodle House

Big Bowl East Victoria Park on Urbanspoon
Yep, these guys sure do have big bowls.
And big spoons to match.

I think they have shrunk in size though, to more accurately reflect the amount of noodles you get inside that oversized porcelain bowl. It's not an under serving by any means, but things just look so much smaller when you place them next to bigger things...or into bigger things.

In the same way, Big Bowl becomes quite a small one among the big eating strip along Albany Highway. It doesn't really stand out as a place you'd really crave to visit all the time. Admittedly I end up in here only when other restaurants are closed, closing or closing down.
However, it is always a very trusty fallback option, albeit not being first choice. Noodles never disappoint, especially when they are the fresh homemade kind.

And even if they aren't - Noodles. Still. Never. Disappoint. How many lives has 2 minute noodles saved?

Pork Meat Balls Noodle - $9.80
On this occasion I felt like something simple, which is what this place caters for perfectly. Something light, soupy and not too big of a serving is just what anyone needs for breakfast. But then again, a huge delicious filling buffet of eggs, mushrooms, toast, muffins, sausages, etc etc etc would probably be a more tempting invitation to WAAAAKEEE UPPPPP!

A selection of noodles gives you the choice to select from thin, thick or wholemeal noodles. Above is a freshly cooked, steaming hot bowl of wholemeal noodles, bok choy and pork balls (the G rated kind) floating in clear soup.

Wholemeal noodles from here are reminiscent of pasta. They have a bit of a grainy texture and provide a satisfying mastication :)

Prawn & Pork Wanton Noodle - $9.80
Wantons are something we always make and eat at home but don't really make it into our food choice when we venture out to eat. Wantons at Big Bowl are worth a try though, with plump crinkly centres full of minced pork but limited prawn content.

Thin noodles have a lighter texture than their thick counterparts. A cloudier soup, but in terms of taste I don't think it's any different to the other soups used in most of their noodle dishes. A richer taste is always desirable but then again, you're just desiring more seasoning and good food doesn't rely on that. After all, they do pride themselves on Natural ingredients, Natural flavour, No preservatives & Healthy gourmet foodIt's pretty good that you don't feel like you haven't drank for a whole week afterwards.

Usually people follow Eat First, Remorse Later.

Pffftt. I follow Eat First. Who Cares!


Big Bowl comes with big bowls, big spoons, big dining space and a big menu. It's got its menu creatively made into wallpaper on some of their walls as well as on their tables, shielded under a clear glass panel. Makes things easier as everywhere you look you are bombarded with WORDS. MUCH LIKE THIS BLOG. WORDSWORDSWORDSWORDSWORDS

On the menu, you get something close to 60 choices revolving around noodles and the like. Different variations of noodles (ho fun, rice noodles, RICE...) within multiple methods of cooking (soup, stir fry, baked, braised) and you're spoilt with choice. Serving sizes are quite alright and is really good for a quick stop fast food noodle shop, minus the excessive calories. Fast food, meaning your food comes out in about 5 minutes flat. Seriously. That s#!^ is crazy.

Efficiency is top here: walk in, find a table, perve on the menu, order at counter, pay at counter, get table number, sit down, wait 5 minutes, food served, eat food, go. Quick and easy, but as expected with such a system to dining, table service is minimal. Staff are there, but you only sort of notice them at the beginning when you walk through the door. First impressions count... but then the second, third, etc don't, it seems!

Having said that, the place has made a niche into the noodle market and does not really serve up Chinese food as such. There's none of your typical Sweet n Sour porks or Chilli Pepper squids or any other of those dishes Chinese food is predictably associated with (probably thanks to Billy Lees!). These noodle nutters are big on noodles, made from scratch in house. Dumplings are the other stars here, so if you want wantons or want tons of noodley goodness, Big Bowl should be your first choice. Not your 2nd...or 3rd...or "just as a fall back option".

The interior of Big Bowl, like I said, is big. It's spacious, clean and rather...big. The large space extends to the back, as does the open kitchen. It will really remind you of food court style dining no doubt, with the table numbers, limited service and a capacious area featuring rows of ample seating.
This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm here for noodles, not a cup of tea.
So I'm cool with that.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...