Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Pepper Lunch

Pepper Lunch on Urbanspoon
When you can't go see, hear, touch Japan, you can now taste Japan.

I first heard of Pepper Lunch through E's sheer excitement that the fast food of Japan was due in Perth very soon. I consulted Google requesting an explanation and a whole load of bright, fun and vibrant food pictures came up - all the way from Japan and Singapore.

It was so new that there was no Australian site in existence!

Armed with the sniffles, a blocked head, an umbrella and pure determination to eat fast food, we braced the rain and cold and ... was left outside standing waiting for a free table, gazing at the warmth and sizzle of the atmosphere inside with longing eyes.

It seems like everyone has caught the Pepper Lunch bug and is quickly spreading it around via (word of) mouth while the only thing I managed to catch was an annoying cold, standing outside and strengthening my existing flu bug.


Seasoning & Sauces
Placed on every table are bottles labelled sweet sauce and garlic sauce, vital additions (as recommended by the restaurant) to enhance the flavours of the meats sizzling their life out in front of you.

Widely loved for serving teriyaki anything, Japanese cuisine has many dishes having sweet marinades and the like. Drinking a spoonful of the sweet sauce just to test it out, proved to have an overpowering sweet tinge that I really ought to have expected. Good for sweet people.

Its counterpart, the savoury and powerful garlic rendition has quite a strong flavour with a distinct smell of garlic. Both the sauces take on the runny liquid form, rather than the thicker gluggy kind.

Salmon Pepper Rice - $11.50
I didn't even have time to complain about hunger with the speed that my order came out. I couldn't wait to start eating, probably not because of hunger but pure excitement when you hear the SSSSSIZZLE approaching, louder and closer.

Personally when I'm choosing a dish and there's salmon on the menu, I don't really have a choice anymore. It's no longer a choice - it's a calling. But overcooked salmon is not, and I was horrified at how quickly the hotplate cooks the salmon while I did my usual pedantic food modelling.

But in hindsight, if you posed for that long on a 260 degrees celsius hotplate, you too would be cooked at an alarming rate.

The best kind of moat is a Salmon moat
The best thing with this is how your food stays hot hot hot! You really have to destroy the beauty of it and mix the ingredients, combine the flavours and turn it into something akin to fried rice.

A mound of rice supposedly hides a special sauce in the centre, surrounded by a moat of sliced salmon pieces and garnished with juicy sweet corn kernels, spring onions and lots of pepper makes for a very peppery lunch at Pepper Lunch indeedy.

Blending with one another, all the fresh ingredients contribute towards a very gourmet tasting fried rice, enhanced by that creamy, buttery sauce.

Cut Steak & Chicken Combo - $13.80
For those who can't choose to save their life, there is the handy option to choose a combo option, which combines two meats in the one dish. The combo option includes a side of vegetables to balance out the protein, of beansprouts, carrots and beans. Or, a bean.

Adding the available sauces to the pan lets you create your own meat & vegetable stir fry, but the beef risks getting overcooked too quickly. I talk with experience, having suffered through unnecessary tough beef but thankfully, nice peppery chicken.

Probably wise to protect your beef from the heat and create a barrier using the vegetables, where YOU control the cooking pace and not a silly old hotplate.

Combo with Free Upgrade (Rice & Miso Soup)
If "free" gets your blood pumping, Pepper Lunch is offering a celebratory offer of a free upgrade to a set menu as a grand opening special, but only until the end of June. I think I just missed out on their HALF PRICE offer, which would really be a steal!

The free upgrade gets you a bowl of rice and a choice out of miso soup or a soft drink, which usually sets you back an extra $3.50. You will probably NEED to have the main with rice, so with the end of June fast approaching, the dollars may add up to be quite a pricey lunch.

But for now, I'm taking full advantage of the delicious prices and somehow found myself again there the very next day, experiencing deja vu as I stood outside waiting for a vacant table, yet again.

Shimofuri Steak - $15.80
I questioned the quality of the steak before I tasted it, admittedly not expecting anything that would make me say wow. This meal is one of their more expensive choices but only by a small margin, but what is a good steak, if tenderness fights a losing battle to heat?

But if you act quick smart, you can retain the softness in your steak and the juicy marbled fat in the flesh. The thick steak is far from chewy, with a melt in your mouth texture from the slight fattiness of the meat and the mound of their special butter on top, slowly disintegrating from the heat and bubbling onto the steak.

Salmon & Cut Steak Combo - $14.80
If you're after a better tasting steak, these cut up pieces might disappoint. Their smaller size gives more surface area for the heat to cook them from all directions. FAST.

Quite a good proportion of salmon, and yet again an overcooked, overly dry and flaky salmon is no good. Think fast, act fast, and save your salmon. Eating here is really like cooking and eating at home, with no-one to blame for the food outcome but yourself.

In fact, it directly resembles what I do at home - cook in frying pan. Eat directly out of frying pan. Just to get out of doing the dishes.

Salmon & Hamburger Combo - $14.80

Since mixing and matching the same meats but in different combinations don't make the dish taste any better than it can, I was eager to taste the rest of their menu. Their hamburger offer consists of a meat patty, albeit a very oily one but a very good one.

Not only can you taste the fat, you can see the visible fattiness escaping from the patty and consequently cooking the patty again. So full of fat and so good that I had to give it away. 

It is probably not much worse than eating a burger, except you haven't got the bun nor the accompanying veges to mask the unhealthiness and help you pretend that it really isn't that fat at all.

Double Hamburger Steak - $12.50
Pepper Lunch opened in the rainy season while I was sick - not the best combination but the ingredients in this is! Much like a dismantled "dude burger" on a plate, the Double Hamburger Steak gets you two meat patties and a fried egg sunny side up.

With a perfect, wobbly, golden egg yolk, you've struck gold. And this is the closest I'll get to flipping my own burger patties without working at a fast food joint!

Cooking Instructions
Each meal comes with a set of instructions on paper wrapped around the hotplate and is up to you to follow. But really, follow those rules.

The staff serving your order to your table do give a quick reminder and tutorial on what you should do, but do not give a demonstration as you can have the fun yourself. A direct but honest tip that I heard staff tell our neighbouring table who ordered the Kimchi Rice:
"Don't put the sauce in this one. It does not taste nice!"

More Cooking Instructions

Creating a sense of urgency helps!


Please forgive the general smokiness of the pictures, as I did my best attempt of ferociously fanning away the heat from the hot plates. All the fumes make this place get hot and steamy inside - a good haven from the chilliness outside, but you're going to have patience. Its central location makes it extremely popular, crowded, but thank God it has a pretty fast turnover even when it is constantly buzzing with activity.

With quite a small fit out, there is lack of ventilation. You won't leave smelling like Korean BBQ, but you'll likely leave with telltale Japanese BBQ smell stains on your clothing reminiscent of fresh, sizzling meats. The hotplate cooks extremely fast and I couldn't even take pictures without it sizzling the life out of my cows. It seems to transforms meat from raw to rare straight to downright overcooked - completely skipping out the whole just right stage without you noticing.

The system of ordering at the counter minimises the fuss and maximises the speed. Staff are friendly, polite and efficient at clearing finished dishes, to get more customers in the door but are considerate enough to teach you how to eat your lunch when delivering to your table. However there is no waiting system in place, with customers trickling out the door messily and the layout of small tables means that if you come in a herd of more than 4, you'll most likely need to deal with longer waiting times. Be prepared to have a sad.

Staff dealt with the grand opening crowd pretty well. Their disorganisation with drinking cups worked to our advantage, with the worker simply giving us free bottles simply because their cups weren't washed :)

You experience the hustle and bustle of Japan in this tight squeeze shop. Not exactly, but remotely comparable with a chorus of Japanese staff shouting (greeting) at you on your arrival and shouting (saying goodbye) at you when you leave. Food is extremely fast without being fast food, yet Pepper Lunch is a "fast food" franchise in the bigger parts of the world.

If this is fast food, I wouldn't know what to call the junk outlets junk food outlets we have here.

(08)9325 3532
7 days from 11am
Last orders: Sun to Thurs 9pm; Fri/Sat 10pm


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Basil & Mint

Basil & Mint on Urbanspoon

Recently (in Perth's terms), the daggy but quite comfortably so! suburb of Morley welcomed the $60 million Coventry Square Markets to its vicinity. It houses a whole variety of stores within, ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables and butchers to homewares, toys, clothing, jewellery and the usual clutter of items that have a million or no apparent use that you expect to find at markets.
And unlike many of the other markets in Perth, this one opens 7 whole days.
And being open for 7 days in Perth, is quite a big deal.

But of course, I don't care about any of that.
I care about the offer of food and drink from the cafe strip out the front, where an army of eateries are the focal point of the markets. Though boasting a sleek and contemporary exterior, the market's outer shell is quite a stark clash with its monotonous, under-furbished interiors.

And even MORE recently, a small scale tornado flurried through the area and disturbed the usual peace and quiet of Perth's oasis of serenity. It picked up some roofs and trees along the way and wrecked anything else it fancied during its short visit, noisily proving that things do visit Perth once in a long while.
And it seemed to take a liking to the relatively new Coventry Square Markets.

Beef Green Curry served with Jasmine Rice - $14

Although a simple dish, Green curry is an addictive feed that attracts me to keep coming back once, twice, three times to a restaurant. It is that medley of subtle spiciness, mild creaminess but fullness of flavour that contributes to a perfectly made dish of curry.

Basil & Mint's fusion of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine delivers up a scrumptious Green curry set lunch, loaded with sliced capsicum, bamboo shoots, broccoli and snow peas in a fragrantly creamy curry sauce. Diners can choose out of a protein selection of beef, chicken, pork or tofu and vegetables for $14 or pay a bit more for lamb or prawn curry.

That sauce! Paired with steaming hot steamed rice, you can even omit anything else inside the bowl because rice and damn good curry sauce, is all you'll ever need.

Green Curry (Beef)

But of course, having a dish full to the brim of tasty curry-soaked vegetables and tender beef is always nice too.
And is way more acceptable than being served plain curry sauce and rice.

Pho Dac Biet - $14

Vietnamese restaurants claiming to be Vietnamese restaurants without the expected bowl of pho or the like to be seen on their menu very much so confuse the hell out of me. Yes, that does exist and I was disbelievingly impressed at this absurdity when I saw it!
How is a hot dog a hot dog with no sausage?

Thankfully there are a lot of familiar Vietnamese terms at Basil & Mint, however not many waiters on that day who could understand them. Life isn't always perfect and you can't always hire authentic waiters on top of authentic food.

Pho Dac Biet gives you a big porcelain bowl of combination rice noodle soup with raw and cooked beef slices, beef balls and tendons, submerged in a beef stock that could have a more intense flavour as its soup base. At the bottom line, they can improve on quality at this inflated price.

Bun Bo Hue - $13.50

This visibly red hot soup dish is usually a combination of sliced protein and liquid fire. Pork and beef meats and pork balls replace the usual appearance of Vietnamese processed pork loaf pieces and pork hock. The carbs in this heavy proteined dish is rice vermicelli, in an otherwise meat laden meal. 

Compared to other versions you can find, Basil & Mint's Bun Bo Hue borders along a watered down creation of a strong, fiery Bun Bo Hue. More suitable to milder tastebuds, it is a more subtle hot and spicy soup and doesn't taste as full flavoured as the numerous ones I have come across.

The chef himself came out and we told of our honest opinion, to which I hope he takes the feedback as constructive and not just plain faced criticism of his ability from undeserving diners.


A concoction of 2 cuisines in the one restaurant has proved quite well for Basil & Mint. It is not the most authentic of food you can possibly find, but after weighing up your options and without putting too much weight on Basil & Mint's plates, it does quite satisfactorily. You do alright.

Food is not short of tasty yet you could possibly feel like your hard earned dollars deserve more, especially if you've tried and grown accustomed to the restaurants scattered around Northbridge. Prices are higher than par while portions are at par, but settings and decor are anything but below par. At the same time, there's a hollowness that I can't describe, perhaps due to the emptiness of the restaurant on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The fit out is a polished, neat and fresh dinig area with modern decor that differentiates it from other plain and homogeneous Vietnamese restaurants, which only seem to capitalise on food. I have absolutely no problems with that, but it doesn't hurt to eat your food in nice surroundings, at which you pay the price with higher prices.

Everything comes with a price, but not everything comes with a price you are willing, or need to pay.

(08)9275 8883
Lunch & Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
Way before its actual opening, Rockpool did good at creating the hype and anticipation preparing for its birth in Perth's Burswood Entertainment Complex.
And surely with a fit out of just a measly couple o' millions, it deserves to be an attention hogger in every right.

All the rave and attention among Perth's rapidly growing foodie scene was really unavoidable with everybody very Neil this Perry that - the man is a true celebrity for starstruck foodie paparazzi. Strutting your stuff down the entrance with plush soft carpet beneath your feet, you feel that sophistication and just nearly as classy as the lush surrounds of that candlelit hallway.

Rockpool was undoubtedly a huge hit on Valentines Day, still buzzing with activity past 9pm - the earliest we managed a booking. Oozing with stylish elegance, the place is huge. Calling it a fancy foodhall doesn't give it justice, but then don't have dinners by candlelight too often in food courts.

With a faint glow of dim lighting above us - I call them sleepy lights! - we went ahead, and squinted at our paper menus.

Lemon Lime Bitters - $6
A glass of simple and classic Lemon Lime Bitters to start.
Little did we know this was to keep us hydrated for the long wait ahead for food.

Complimentary Bread and Butter
Luckily, you are kept entertained with warm, fresh and chewy bread. A crusty hardness to my liking and a generous slab of creamy butter on a wooden block is always eagerly accepted with hunger. Complimentary bread is really an addiction when it's served right before your mains.

Usually you wouldn't want to prematurely hog up stomach space with bread but they really do give you enough time to digest it. We found ourselves craving more and would have enthusiastically asked for more, if we could flag down a waiter. More bread would have been gladly welcomed, as would more attentive service.
The drinks and bread came out fast, but that's where the speed stopped.

Mussel Steamed with Chilli, Peppers & Vermouth - $24
Just before we were certain that we were forgotten, entree proved that we were not. Plump and meaty morsels of juicy mussels gaping upward in their opened shells, freshly cooked in a tasty chilli broth of mild hotness. This was tasty, and is probably one of their entrees that are good value for money.

This is where extra bread comes in handy, to really wipe clean the pot of its juices. After a while of trying to get some extra bread with the remaining broth growing progressively colder, I gave up and made a spoon out of an empty black shell I retrieved from the discarded shells bowl.
There are always other means of finishing up the broth and cleaning the pot.

David Blackmore's Wagyu Chuck Braised in Dark Lager and Onions with Potato Gnocchi and Silverbeet - $49
And then another century flashed by and main dishes were presented. In hindsight I should not have ordered a block of meat that is famous for its melt-in-the-mouth texture from all its marbled and plain chunks of fat. Close to half this portion had a mound of fat attached that I really could not touch, but the remaining half of meat was tender and soft enough to pierce with a spoon.

If you do not enjoy swallowing plain, pure, saturated fat, it is better to choose alternative cuts which have the fatness marbled into the meat instead of excess fat on a cut from a cow showing clear signs of obesity.

But I scraped up every last piece of sweet juicy onion, silverbeet and creamy potato gnocchi there was. The gnocchi in particular, is one of the better gnocchi's I have tasted - and I'm not even a remote gnocchi fan.

Rangers Valley Dry Aged 300 Day Grain Fed T-Bone 450g 60 days - $75
At Rockpool if you're no expert on cow bits and pieces, the menu showcasing your long, detailed choices can be quite bedazzling. Dry aged? 300 day? 36 month? Grain fed? Grass fed? Not fed at all? Choose what you can afford? It can fry your brains out.

But it should be the case that regardless what you order, one should taste just as good as another from their woodfired grill. The cows don't suffer from intensive industrial cruelty, meaning happier cows and happier cows meaning higher quality meats.
The menu does state that Dry Aged beef does not benefit from cooking past medium rare.
But it's a shame Rockpool has not held up its philosophy for our particular T-Bone, which was cooked on the well-done side of medium rare and certainly did not benefit from that either.

The blackened char on the sides gave the overall steak a little too much of a bitter aftertaste and well-done meant it was dry, tough, and resilient to chew as a result. I'd hate to say that we were quite disappointed, and had to take turns to try and finish that $75 worth of flesh on a plate.

Bearnaise Sauce
The lack of garnish or sides with the steaks really puts focus on the meat. No other option, as there is nothing else present, besides a lone wedge of lemon that doesn't do much to steal the limelight.

Thankfully, there is condiment service and you have the choice of not just a dollop, but a whole Aladdin's magic lamp full of your chosen sauce. A creamy, silky bearnaise sauce was chosen out of the buffet of mustard, BBQ sauce, horseradish cream and harissa condiments available, wheeled out on a trolley for your convenience.

Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms - $25
All signs of your plate point to the suggestions to order, or perhaps over order,side dishes to accompany your lonely slab of beef. Whereas other restaurants serve side dishes as complementary and are overlooked, Rockpool's extensive selection of sides nearly outnumber and outshine the main stars of the show (menu) and are a major component with evidently lots of thought contributed to producing amazing sides.

We are big mushroom fans and although expensive, this side dish of mixed mushrooms was cooked well and had no excess juices leaking from them, which is the only thing I hate about mushrooms really. Good natural flavours but a little oily towards the base, and it may look like a small serving but don't forget how much mushrooms shrink instead of bloat!


Rockpool is dimly lit in the evening, much like the rest of the complex. Its grand exterior is so over the top but its mesmerising settings give that touch of class that adds that special experience and makes you feel like you're so worthy of being pampered. It is no surprise that its interior exudes intimacy with decor of earthy themes and shades of natural tones that resonate throughout the restaurant. Floor to ceiling drapey mesh curtains cast shadows over dark cosy corners which may be a bit too dark, for I nearly stumbled into the neighbouring table - unless my inability to walk in heels is to blame.

Rocking numerous awards since its opening for best new restaurant, best steakhouse and best wine list, Rockpool's steakhouse concept has the beef display, the wine cellar and an impressively designed dining room with an open kitchen to showcase the skill of chef talent. With a commitment to fresh and uncompromising on quality control, the beef ages in a custom built room behind glass panels in that very same candlelit corridor entrance. Much like artwork that provides a striking contrast to the warm bask of glowing candles, the tonnes (literally!) of meat either excite or repulse your appetite.

It is unfortunate that I didn't get the same amazing steak I witness in others' photos but I do admit it is truly an experience for your senses. My steak was very dead but they have the range to excite the red meat carnivore. It is important to remember it is not fine dining - it is a bar and grill that boasts extravagance and oozes style just like fine dining but you get good proportions for price and not a measly speck on a huge plate with too much excess empty space.

But it really seems like it is the service that is questionable. It sounds inconsistent but my experience was overall positive. Staff seem professional but maybe TOO unobtrusive despite their proposed forensic attention to customers and food alike.

So much positive publicity around Rockpool but surprisingly ratings on Urbanspoon suggest otherwise. Unfortunately I am not unanimous to all the rave reviews either with my particular experience and while it is a special addition to little old Perth, I might return to Rockpool later rather than sooner.

6252 1900
Lunch: Sunday - Friday
Dinner: 7 days


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

V Burger Bar

V Burger Bar on Urbanspoon
When I am not quite full after dinner and still have the munchies, a big fresh quality burger works wonders to fill that not quite empty but not quite full void in my stomach.

I must sound like a monstrous eater monster, to treat a normal sized burger merely as a snack one.
But no, I am completely normal and V Burgers' burgers are delicious.
I would gladly go for 1 (or 3) for breakfast, lunch or dinner and as entree, main or dessert. Or a void filler. I am completely captivated.

V Teriyaki Chicken - $11
This was the very first culprit that started my love affair with this very attractive burger joint.
Back when I disliked Jus Burgers for its very normal and bland burgers (which I now fully take back), I wondered how Jus managed to steal all the hype and limelight from Mr V here. Personally I thought he shone 10x brighter than Jus ever did in my eyes!

It was the standard curvature position of the hands to wrap around a big burger, the jaw lock of attempting to fit the whole thing into your mouth and the downright mess on the table, your clothes and your face that comprises the real burger eating experience in its entirety. And the sauce overload from the V Teriyaki Chicken satisfies the last criteria best.

A perfectly grilled chicken fillet glistening with teriyaki glaze nestled among juicy caramelised onion, tomato and mixed gourmet lettuce is enhanced with creamy wasabi mayonnaise that leaks out with every single greedy bite.

Onion Rings - $4.80
Onion rings done well can convert the most biggest onion hater to temporarily dismiss all that anger and devote it towards enjoying the deep fried, majestic ring of pure gold. Although generous in size, it makes sense that V Burgers is appropriately named and famed for its showstopping burgers and not exactly for their battered and fried onions.

Served with an aioli dip, it cannot hide the greasiness of these golden loops - they are quite heavily battered and oily as a result. The batter reminds me of the general fish n chip type, which could be improved on and battered with a lighter hand.

Try em - you'll either love em or you'll be indifferent.

Usually, 3 males with roaring appetites and metabolisms (luckily enough) would mean one serving each still might not be enough. But with all that batter and grease, it really should be more than enough.

V Burger offers an Onion ring + Drink combo for $6 when a main burger is purchased, allowing you to eat more, pay more while paying less at the same time.

Crispy Crisp - $10.80
And as if a burger on its own is way too healthy for your standards, V Burgers challenges that with its gob smacking Crispy Crisp - a tall, towering burger with circular tiers of onion rings. This is the first that I've seen of the burger revolution with such fillings, but I really shouldn't be surprised after witnessing a friend downing potato crisps sandwiches like a normal BLT sandwich.

It is close to impossible to fit all the fillings in a single bite. You're going to have to try your best to have the prime beef patty, battered onion rings, mixed lettuce, tomato, relish and aioli together, as I tried my best to take the opening bite and ended up with a mouthful of bun and a shred of lettuce at best.

Just looking at this pulled on my heartstrings, with a little flutter of pain. To eat it would completely yank all those strings off.

Mr Pinky - $15
With the seafood section of a burger menu usually showcasing a boring crumbed white fish fillet, Mr Pinky was truly impressive. This burger is a lot more manageable in height and most mouths can open to the size that can comfortably take a clean bite out of this one.

A seared Tasmanian salmon fillet is grilled to the point of moist and flaky goodness doused with a fitting honey mustard dressing, liberally coating the mixed lettuce, tomato and onion salad inside. One of the priciest burgers on their menu, but such a gourmet burger.

Unfortunately, I've noticed a substantial decrease in the size of the salmon fillet slotted into the burger. Not to say it is way too small, but is always sad to see when viewed in hindsight to the times where I couldn't stop commending just how big the fish fillet was when I first had it.
My first burger had 2 thick fillets side by side, compared to the second time round, where the single fillet had lost some weight and its companion.

F.B.A (Full Blooded Aussie) - $13.80
My memory fails me and I can't ascertain whether this is the F.B.A or the Eggy Steaky. I am inclined to conclude that it is the F.B.A burger for it includes beetroot, and the images I slightly remember of bloody, gory scenes on tables and clothes whenever beetroot is around.

The Full Blooded Aussie is bloody indeed, with the sauce of vibrantly red beetroot staining the entire burger with its blood. It's like you ordered a red wine soaked burger bun, or a maniac killer just assembled your burger.

This is what I would call a "Man Burger", with seemingly endless burger fillings of a prime beef patty, your usual salads, melted cheddar, bacon, fried egg, sliced beetroot, relish, aioli and BBQ sauce. A mouthful to say, and an even bigger mouthful to eat. The ingredients scream AUSSIE so much that the burger itself is all yeah eat me mate.

Avocado Chicken - $13
This is what I imagined I would go for, purely for the love of avocado. It sounds so seemingly normal next to the enticing options on the menu that I decided that I needed to break my boundaries a bit from choosing avocado schmavocado every single time.

A simple tender grilled chicken fillet slathered with avocado guacamole, tomato, onion, mixed gourmet salad, aioli and topped with melted cheddar. I appreciate that the chicken fillets here are cooked just right and don't have those charred, blackened carcinogenic grill lines embedded into the flesh which seem to suggest that it is freshly cooked burnt.

Freshly cooked and prepared ingredients, seriously bursting at the burger seams.
Will also make you burst at the seams, with excess careless burger consumption.

Chickorian - $11
It was the lime sweet chilli mayo inclusion in the description of the Chickorian that disillusioned me toward a food spasm. I'm big on sauce and prefer most of my things saucy (we are still on the topic of food yes?) The way I eat sauce would make one ask would you like some burger with that sauce?

I've learnt to ask for my burgers to be cut up, which seriously makes it easier (i.e. make it possible) to enjoy the fillings inside the burger at the SAME time in the SAME mouthful. The chicken and coriander patty was still quite discerningly pinkish, and while I feared that it was slightly rare, the sheer power of laziness quite easily beat the effort of finding out if this was fully cooked and could be safely eaten without being as sick as a dog afterwards.
I need to change.

The coriander was definitely visible but with a flavour so not overpowering that I could hardly taste it. I'd understand that coriander is a hit or miss with many people and shouldn't be too strong, but a stronger and more intense flavour would be appreciated for those who have already decided to order a chicken & coriander patty.

Battered Chips - $3.80
Burgers without a side of chips almost seems incomplete sometimes. V Burgers offers a Chips + Drink deal for $5, alongside their $6 onion rings + drink combo.

Similar to the onion rings, the chips are well fried but don't leave that big of an imprint in the memory. They're hot, they're crisp and they're golden, but they lack a little seasoning and overall wow factor that memorable chips have.

Med Veg - $10
Finishing a dinner at the restaurant next to V Burgers but seated right in front of the entrance of the burger joint instead, it seemed like a waste not to top off dinner with a burger finale. We weren't full, but it was the sheer convenience and coincidence that V Burgers was located right next to our dinner spot that propelled us to make a burger as our dessert.

To combat the guilt of eating a burger just minutes after a whole dinner, we chose a no-meat burger - because vegetarian is always inherently healthy. Roasted vegetables bring out a certain moist sweetness from within that is impossible to taste when you eat them in their raw, crunchy, healthy form.

There is a whole vegetable garden packed between 2 slices of burger bun - the inherently sweet flavours of grilled zucchini, eggplant, red peppers and salad intermingling with slathers of thick basil pesto and aioli. The pesto is chunky, strong and with substance, enough to replace the missing savoury and creamy texture of Danish fetta cheese that I ordered without.
Sad, because a burger sans anything is a pity. Unless it is beetroot.


I came for the burgers and fell in love with the buns. A good bun is much like a good friend - it is strong, it holds everything together when everything is noticeably falling apart. And V Burgers then, is a very good friend and has very nice buns. Their light sourdough bun and turkish style bread rolls have strength, texture and substance and while they get soaked with the generous amount of sauce, their gradual sogginess does not disintegrate into a pile between your fingers.

Their burger range offering is similar to the other restaurants that have hopped onto the burger train revolution, with pleasing prices. The range of prices seem to be bigger here, and sadly while the increased prices are fair and make them on par with competitors, their portions in some burgers have diminished. Never fear though, for their burgers are still generously filled and deceptively substantial. Something not so substantial however, is their limited drink selection offering mostly soft drinks and the all important H2o.

The staff here serve you well, though there is limited interaction in a system whereby you order at the counter and the minimal requirement of service or utensils that go into wolfing down a burger. Though they do make that effort to ask you how was your burger? and they are wonderfully inviting even if they're about to close after a long dinner shift. They start to clean around you, and while it is not their cue to hint to us we need to stuff the burger down our throat and leave, we thought it best not to push the boundaries of patience too far.

V is situated on the corner of a little restaurant village, brightly lit and being successful at attention seeking. Its interior can get a little cramped from too many burger demanders at the same time, but it sports a very open shop design concept to let out the steam of overcrowded areas as well as the enticing sizzling aromas of patties sizzling on the grill. Quite a cosy feel, various framed newspaper article clippings promoting its successes, cartoons and photos of diners at V Burgers - they like their customers, and we like them too :) I LOVE em.

Somehow my burger eating experience is the messiest possible way. I usually end up with a sauce moustache but here I also adopt a dripping beard too. With more sauce ending up on my plate than in my mouth, it almost looks like I've just finished exchanging kisses with a sauce dispenser instead.

"Prepared with Love, Served with Passion" is how V Burgers does their thing.
So be warned, 'cause love and passion is gonna get so, so messy. Have fun ;)

Monday: 5pm-9.30pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 11.30am-9.30pm
Friday-Saturday: 11.30am-late
Sunday: 11.30am-9.30pm

(08) 9355 3702

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Osaki Sushi

Osaki sushi on Urbanspoon
As I stepped out of my car ready to eat, I was greeted with a daggy, dreadlocked, unshaven but nevertheless friendly gentlemen holding spray bottles and a windscreen cleaner.
"Want your windows cleaned mate?", he asked.

I paused. "Sorry I've no coins!" I responded cheerfully and with as much truth in my voice I could project across.
This didn't phase him by any means, as he proceeded to spray my car screen anyway.
"That's alright, I'll just do it for free. I've got nothing else to do"
Naw. I strode back to the car with shame in my step and fumbled around for loose change that usually lives under my car seat.
I sheepishly handed him my spare change and made my escape before we both realised that I had just lied to his face.


So you would have picked up what sort of environment Osaki Sushi is located in from that little excerpt. It's definitely not intended to have bad implications, as it instead left me with a positive impression of the locals. Free window wash with your dinner, with complementary streak marks. Nice guy though!

Teriyaki Chicken Set - $10
Red Rooster craving unsatisfied at 10pm led me to discover this small, undiscovered Japanese haunt quietly doing its business in the suburbs. I took an immediate liking to the place as soon as I discovered a second row of chicken underneath the top layer!
Generosity is a rare gem.

Usually teriyaki flavour gets sickly sweet for me after a while, but this one was a-okay! Their bento sets are such good value and they really are filling. Tender teriyaki sauce coated pan-fried chicken thigh fillets still have a slightly crispy layer of skin attached, with the bottom row fully soaking up the moat of sauce surrounding it.

On top of a miso soup, the 3 pieces of mixed sushi becomes a challenge to eat if you leave that until last. Typically you'll get a chicken, a california roll and a vegetarian sushi that become really effective tummy fillers.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl - $8.50
I downgraded the next time to the bowl version of the Teriyaki Chicken, with an equally satisfying amount of meat content. If you're a thighs person over a breasts sorta guy (or...girl...), you might prefer the meat to have more moistness. You get a bit of a jaw workout working your way through all the chicken, so more sauce might be beneficial.

Would you like some rice with your chicken?
The amount of chicken they give really makes me happy, when I stare down at my thick and cosy blanket of chicken thighs. The juicy sweet, caramelised skin, a light sprinkling of sesame seeds, the close to 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs - so velly good.

Your usual big serving of rice isn't the case here, with the portion being close to completely overtaken by thigh.

Side salad
All of Osaki's main meals come with a side dish of salad, much needed to balance out the meaty meal. Presented on a separate dish, it's quite substantial in size and flavour alike. Just a simple salad of lettuce, cabbage and carrot strips tossed through with dressing that bears some resemblance to seeded mustard - but I am hooked.

On this tastier version of coleslaw!

Teriyaki Prawn Set - $11
A more decadent choice of teriyaki - lightly battered fried prawns smothered in sauce with a prematurely softened batter. The prawns are now wrapped with a sweet, sticky and soggy coating thanks to the syrupy teriyaki.

Personally I'd be more excited at the prawns if they were still crispy and less soaked. But this very characteristic means they are bursting with moisture and flavour, sacrificing the *crunch crunch*

Tempura Soft Shell Crab Bowl
I couldn't contain my excitement when I spotted this on the menu. You hardly see this on menus at casual Japanese eateries and when you do, you hardly see them at a price you (...I) can afford to be splurging on a meal.

When it was placed in front of me, I tried to contain my disappointment. Not at the dish itself, but more at the amount of batter on there. It was an impressive amount of crab in there with the bowl laden high with gold chunks...yet looking a little dry.

Soft shell crab would make you think the whole thing is edible, shell included. That's why upon eating this, you'll find feathery crab gills still in tact, battered. You're going to have to be like me in this instance, painstakingly peeling off the batter as you eat to pick out all those indigestible breathing tubes. 

Tempura Soft Shell Crab Bowl - $12
This was entirely different to what I had conjured up in my imagination and a lot more...heavy battered instead of light. You'd have a mouthful of batter and this really outshines the an unwanted way. The presence of the crab is insignificant because of all that fried flour around it that steals its glory.

And this is where the accompanying dipping sauce comes in with its creamy texture and mild sweetness that won't overpower other flavours. A taste somewhat similar to honey mustard with a squirt of mayonnaise - the sauce that never fails in any circumstance.

Tempura Soft Shell Crab Set - $14
You might even get a smaller amount of crab with the bento set, but nevertheless enough.
Even a voracious eater will probably be satisfied by this!

Bento Set
It's a little hard to finish, unless you have an immense love of deep fried batter and no sense of remorse.
The Clawww
Packed in a small area, the deep fried claws tower high like a bunched up Pinnacles - rugged and jagged with rough, uneven, weathered surfaces.

On the table
A bunch of vibrant red roses adds some much needed colour to the shop, placed on top of the table inside. Yes. Table. Singular!
With hardly enough space to fit the second small table, this place has seriously limited seating even with 2 tables outside. You're not spoilt for choice in terms of seating options but the abundance of choice in the menu compensates.
With something bad, comes something good :)


Small, no ambiance and a complete lack of a restaurant atmosphere doesn't deter me from taking an immediate liking to this place. It is small and cluttered and for that it exactly resembles to that description of a shop having a homely feel to it. And for such a small eatery it does a great job in kicking on to late hours when most other shops are closed, except for every other shop in its immediate vicinity with flashing bright lights beaming an open sign for 24 hours.

Osaki appears as a family owned and operated shop, as it is only ever the same 2 staff taking orders and cooking. They come across as the most accommodating staff I have experienced in a while and are ever so friendly that I feel particularly...warm when eating there :) My usual habits of taking half my life to decide on my orders and turning up to restaurants 3 hours later than a normal person would is not a problem here, as patience is their virtue while I weigh up my dinner choices like it's my last supper.

Menu wise, it boasts a large range of choice for such a small (you can really tell my emphasis on small can't you!) shop and at affordable prices that give no sign to the large serving size you get. It's pretty slow and quiet all the times I've visited so food is cooked and served fast with no compromise on freshness. Unfortunately they have notified a $2 increase to their prices when I popped in to grab a takeaway menu to write this blog post. Sad, but modest. Things only ever go up these days!

With a little TV droning away in the background in their kitchen, it provides much needed sound to take away the silence of dining in this seemingly secluded restaurant. It's a little treasure I was introduced to when I couldn't get my fast food fix and I love finding neighbourhood eateries that are unknown but really should be discovered, for it is unexpectedly good. And with pretty much ZERO activity on Urbanspoon with only one positive vote on there, I hope to see Osaki's successful, thriving business in future!

Plus with their advertising of "Japanese Dinning & Take-away", people seem to accept and embrace this little eatery, spelling mistakes and all.

Open Tuesday - Sunday: 11am onwards
(08) 9242 4408

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