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


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