Sunday, 29 July 2012

Red Cray Seafood & Grill Restaurant

Red Cray Seafood & Grill Restaurant on Urbanspoon
If you are lucky enough to encounter the species of humans that will still open the door for you upon your arrival or departure, you're very fortunate to witness the few remaining ones on this earth (or at least this corner of it).

The charming, polite and welcoming breed of waitstaff are approaching extinction.
Or, have yet to come, in case you are of the optimistic kind.

And thus being treated just so well on every occasion I have been here, Red Cray deserves a big congratulating pat on the back on successfully whipping their waitstaff into competency. You'll appreciate the service you get here and start to wonder why you've had to put up with all the crap attention you have gotten elsewhere (if you managed to get attention at all).

If you're sick of bad customer service everywhere, Red Cray will have you feeling like you've committed a bit of bribery with their staff.

So now that I've started with the positives, lets move onto the positives.

Lemon Lime Bitters - $4.50
Drinks arrive waayyy before your meals arrive, so it's a good idea to be a bit conservative with your liquids. And $4.50 for a glass of LLB is very reasonable indeedy.

Red Cray's Own Kilpatricks Oysters - 6 for $17
I am an occasional fan of oysters, but an occasional hater of oysters served the Kilpatricks way.
Fresh natural oysters drowned in bacon and Worcestershire sauce are too much of a distortion to the original oyster taste for me, and I dislike bacon (YES, I DISLIKE BACON and no, there is nothing wrong with me).

But I did taste these and while they were good, an opinion from me is like a vegetarian commenting on a slice of meat. It will be inaccurate. It will be biased. The sauce wasn't overpowering and it's a good starter, but I will never be converted.

The rock salt adds a nice colour splash for the overall presentation. Pity rock salt isn't always blue, to which my visiting relatives consumed a spoonful of it then politely asking, "Why is Australian rice so salty?" Aw!
Taste Plate - $23
Feeling particularly ravenous and ambitious since we may or may not have starved ourselves before this, the Taste Plate was a welcome addition to our stomach to start the night. 

Simple and refined, each ingredient was placed in isolation to the others so as to separate each distinct flavour. Loving the medley of textures on the same plate, with components from both land and sea.

Composed of their in-house smoked salmon, spiced coriander lamb cutlets, coconut prawns and crumbed brie, this could be a main for (an extremely) small eater. With a perfectly crunchy golden exterior, the creamy block of brie meets its perfect contrasting partner.

The prawns are not a disappointment on their own - fresh, plump and juicy however salivating with the expectations of delicious sounding coconut prawns, they are disappointing in that context. I couldn't taste the coconut, or even the slight HINT of it with the prawns.

While Aussies love their beef, I love my lamb. Tender and slightly charred, I'd choose a meat lollipop over a normal lollipop any day, everyday.

Beetroot: yuck. Beetroot Puree: gobsmackingly delicious!
I was initially led astray by seeing smoked salmon as part of the dish. I'm not overly fond of smoked salmon, especially when it tastes so much better raw or cooked. One extreme or the other, no fooling around with "smoked" for me.

But my oh my, my prayers are answered and desires fulfilled. This was exquisitely smooth and soft that I could have bet on my life that it was sashimi and definitely not smoked. The thickly cut piece was firm yet soft, supported by a mound of something I'd love to hate.

I'd love to hate beetroot, and I do hate it. No matter how many times I try it, I can't see the difference between it and dirt. But Red Cray, has revolutionised my thinking with this beetroot puree they put up. I needed to finish the whole thing before I realised I was eating my food enemy!

Red Cray Seafood Platter - $75
For the past 4 or 5 times at Red Cray, I haven't been able to pry myself away from their Seafood Platter after discovering what a delicious monstrosity they offer. Served on a massive tray that is the size of the table, the platter is presented as individual dishes of seafood so that the crunchy stay crunchy, the cold stays cold, and that you don't end up with chilli prawns and creamy mussels.

For the purpose of splurging, the Executive Platter upgrade includes a Mornay Crayfish, brimming with melted cheese and creamy sauce. I decided to watch the size of my thighs on this occasion.

And by the end of it, I assure you will be incredibly over satiated and feel like you ate your weight in seafood, and the whole ocean in your stomach.

Garlic Prawns
Huge springy prawns absolutely drowned in a sea of buttery creaminess with a strong dose of garlic in scent and flavour, could really do with a serving of crusty bread on the side to wash the dish clean.

Crusted Fish
I enjoyed this more than the battered and deep fried fish, for these fish fillets felt lighter to eat. Flaky fish always benefits from a slightly golden herb crust on its exterior, which makes the mouthful simultaneously crunchy and silky.

Basil Pesto Scallops
These beauties were delicious, and just having 2 of them makes them all the more precious. I do believe the way to make something MORE delicious is to limit the quantity you give. It's a play on the mind for me.
If it ain't delicious to start with - game over.

It looked a little dry initially, but the scallops were still beautifully sweet and moist. Firm to the bite, and a burst of flavour with that amazing bird-poop dollop that is basil pesto.

Natural Oysters
Ahh, oysters - something I like to (and have) ruined for so many for former oyster fans :)
Some people can't get their head or their stomachs to stomach the raw, the slime, the fishiness of these ugly sea creatures yet once they do, it becomes a prized delicacy.

Undoubtedly fresh and even better with a squeeze of lemon, these are great in small quantities. Disappointingly I came across the hated CRUNCH of either sand or chipped oyster shells in my mouthful.

Beer Battered Fish
The expected component of a seafood platter would have to be the deep fried fish. There was nothing too fancy with this, bordering on dryness. Could give this a skip, if you are too full.

Salt & Pepper Squid
Squid rings could easily become deep fried rubber bands if care is not taken. Here, you are definitely eating squid rings. Bouncy, soft, but still giving a good firm chew.

Yes I did try to fling my squid ring. No I don't always play with my food.

Chilli Mussels
Ever since going on a cooking-chilli-mussels spree at home, making 1, 2, 3 kilogram batches on 3 occasions over 2 weeks, I am less of a chilli mussel fanatic if I see it on the menu.

It was very easy to polish off the bowl of mussels here. The actual mussels were fat, plump and huge! The tomato sauce had a slight spicy kick but not an overpowering hotness that makes your eyes, nose and head run.

The single thing on the plate that went unfinished, and forgivabley so. Eaten at the same time with the seafood these would be alright, but in our hunger flurry, the chips went unnoticed.

And right at the end when you're absolutely stuffed, potato - even the deep fried kind, just seems a bit...boring.

Antique - free of any antique photo effects :)
The sea is full of both ugly and beautiful things, and this is definitely one of them.

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My rubbish pile - with more edible things on it than the inedible. I will usually leave behind a little mountain of batter, this time painstakingly peeled off each squid ring.

My stomach would not thank me if I ate all that, so leaving it behind always serves as a comforting reminder of how much healthier I am forced to eat nowadays.

Garlic Bread - $5
On a more recent occasion (read: 2 months ago), a birthday celebration meant the best excuse for a good feasting. Garlic bread was the choice to kick off dinner, with 2 plates of a good type of over-the-top golden and over-the-top fluffiness.

A deliciously toasted crust and airy fluffy centres just like how I imagine clouds to be, the garlic bread has all the bread but could do with more garlic. I can imagine all the butter that went into the making of this, but I can't picture the garlic.

Who's the Yin to your Yang?
And these Yin-yang salt and pepper dispensers were adorable!

King Snapper - $32
We're all about caring, so sharing comes naturally via communal dining :)
Not allowing each other to order duplicates of items on the menu, is really the best and most demanding way to sample the majority of the menu.

So good it sparkles
The King Snapper is food art and is plated up impressively on a plate canvas. Locally caught and simply but well-cooked fillets helps to preserve and bring out the natural sweetness of the fish itself. Served with a lemon thyme crust and lemon butter reduction, the pieces are stacked onto blanched brocollini and roasted garlic croquettes, along with equally as sweet as they are cute vine roasted tomatoes.

Remotely similar to, but so much better than a hash brown, the croquettes are crunchy golden crumbed potato sticks, that would have benefited a lot more if not suffocated under the rest of the ingredients.
Despite not being as crunchy as they could have been, I would smoke a potato cigar any day.

Veal (Special of the Day)

Red Cray has occasional Specials of the Day dishes that are not printed out on their menu. Waitstaff gladly suggest these when you're already bombarded with all the delicious menu choices, which is always helpful :)

That particular night, we were fated with a massive veal cutlet (served medium rare) with a button of lemon butter, butter mash, sugar snap peas, vine roasted tomato and with a jus of some kind. Some good, tender, loving veal on the bone.

Ocean & Earth - $35
I reserved the right to claim this as my dish from the very beginning. It just sounded so huge and generous, a fusion of both land and sea inhabitants. Like a more luxurious version of a typical Reef & Beef dish with the addition of a Moretan Bay bug, the dish is generous and indulgently creamy.

I just hate how bugs are called bugs. It really throws me off thinking I'm eating something that's also known by 6 legged insects, except a much more giant version of it. Yuck!

When the sea meets the land
The dish is really served with a knife stabbed right through the heart of the mashed potato. Along with that, you also get a hefty serving of 300g Black Angus grain fed Sirloin beef, 1/2 a bug (as classy as I can get it to sound), local Western Australian prawns drizzled with garlic sauce.

The mash is rich and creamy especially mixed in with the sauce, and with only half a bug with a very limited amount of bug flesh, had me craving for more bugs.

Herb Crusted Barramundi - $33
They seem to be really fond of the whole herb crusted theme and this is reflected in many of their dishes. Another pretty dish of pan-grilled local Barramundi fillet with a slightly crisp herb exterior, served on sauteed roasted capsicum and spinach, crumbled fetta, beautifully seared scallops and a lemon butter sauce.

And yet again, the seafood featured is perfectly cooked in every way, every side, every angle.

Dukka Crusted Lamb Cutlets - $31
Just as you wouldn't go to a Sausage Sizzle for the buns, one would probably not visit an award winning seafood restaurant for some lamb. That's not to say however, that they are lacking in the lamb cooking department. At all!

5 tender crusted lamb cutlets, minted potatoes, grilled haloumi, babaganoush and red pepper relish - and I can't believe I didn't ask to try this.

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An interesting compilation of textures, flavours and ingredients.
Also reminiscent of 3 drops of blood, no?


So when I eagerly suggested Red Cray in my flurry of excitement, I very nearly wanted to take it back. I groan at places that may have warm lighting for a nice cosy atmosphere, which consequently means undesirable lighting that results in crappy photographs. Funnily enough when you're crazy enough, a restaurant's lighting becomes one of the deciding factors of going there or not, even more so than the food. And as an aspiring foodie, that is not on :P

With all its freshly cooked sea creatures as its forte along with such smiley, friendly yet professional service, Red Cray deserves every single one of its awards it has won. Building up quite the collection over the years, it has taken the prestigious and well earned title of not only being just WA's favourite seafood restaurant but also on a national scale. Impressive, with seafood to wow.

This award winning venue has certainly left an impression on Perth's dining scene, evident from its popularity despite being in such an obscure location on a busy and cramped highway. You probably won't be a happy chappy if you rock up without a booking beforehand, as everybody else seems to have seafood cravings on the same night that you get yours. Always!

With the good prices and better-than-good food on your plate, it's a comfortable and worthwhile dining out experience. Although focusing on seafood, the menu plays with meats, poultry and even curries too with a hint of Asian style influence in it. The interior is understated classiness, but seems to be quite a cold atmosphere despite the warm lighting. With the majority of the restaurant being encased with big glass aquarium windows and an aquarium in the restaurant, it feels like you're dining in one too.

And for the first time ever, I can see myself raving on more about the service than the food. It is faultless and polished, and may get overly attentive if I must find a flaw. You feel valued and that your opinion actually matters to them, with staff asking how your meal is in between delicious mouthfuls and while we were chomping and shoving everything down with over enthusiasm. So many others over promise yet under deliver on the service aspect.
Here they are humble, yet it really shines over and above everything else.

And with a baby who even giggled at the staff here while she usually cries at just about every other unfamiliar moving thing on 2 legs, the people here really are of a special species.

(08) 9479 7000
Tues - Fri Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm
Mon - Thurs Dinner: 5.30pm to 9pm (9.30pm on Fri & Sat)
No Separate Billing, BYO $6 per wine bottle
Specials: $12 Mon - Wed Pasta nights


Sunday, 22 July 2012


Toast on Urbanspoon
Ahh Toast.
I adore toast for 2 reasons: 

For what it is - the snack food to line your stomach when you are starving in the moments right before your main meal is fully cooked (try Lawson's traditional bread for its thick, fluffy centres!);
The Google search for "toast" which led me to discover TFP's site, which I have to thank for my less-than-desirable grades due to intensive studying of food porn rather than why the world economy is headed for doom.

Oh, and the actual place?
After reading many a reviews on why this is one of Perth's best breakfast places plus multiple visits to this peaceful breakfast haven located on the sunniest side of East Perth, I can see why Toast is not only a staple in the household but is also a staple in the online Blogosphere community.

Blimey - $6.50
The drinks category is kind of a serious thing at Toast. With about 2 handfuls of choices of freshly squeezed, juiced and blended fresh fruit juices, these are the next perfect answer to a stinking hot day besides diving into the glistening waters right beside this restaurant.

There is nothing to hide about these pure, fresh, pretty much naked drinks that are stripped from any nasty artificial stuff. Complete with a frothy, pulpy top, Summer arrives in a short, stubby glass cup. Pity, as thin and slender is even more perfect for Summer :) 

A refreshing cup of carrot, apple and watermelon will also have you thinking, "Blimey! Blimey is bloody good!"

Herb & Mushroom Omelette with Fresh Herbs & Tasty Cheddar - $18.50
As a student, I would choose the road less taken, and pick the essay question I suspect most people would scoff at.
So as a diner, I would choose the more adventurous, more exotic sounding dishes less ordered.
Consistency: live your life with some of it in hand.

Thus it is a surprise that I have chosen out of Toast's "Usual suspects" category of the menu, with the seemingly normal, boring, predictable choices. But however average, oldies are goldies and classic breakfast items are fail proof.

With toast and butter sidekicks that unfortunately melted faster than a sweating pig, the plump, mushroom filled omelette burst with sliced mushrooms and oozy melted stringy cheddar - making this golden parcel a deceptively filling meal.

Spiced Ricotta, Honey & Almonds Crepe - $13.50
If we had a rewind button for every time we have a deliciously unhealthy breakfast, or for every time we made a mistake...I would not be the person I am now.

I would be the size of an extravagant mansion.

Look at the way your skin glistens in the sun...
Crepes take on either a sweet or savoury direction but end up at the same end destination of Satisfaction. The delicately thin packages, with light and crisp edged wrapping paper encasing thoughtfully prepared fillings, are personally gifted from the chef themselves out of the kitchen.

With subtle tasting innards that don't overpower other flavours and result in too heavy of a breakfast dish, the creamy filling is contrasted against a handful of crunchy toasted almonds, creating a texture perfect plate of crepe.

Add to that golden blanket a glaze of honey, a dusting of icing sugar, and to your breakfast order.

Another one of Toast's exotic fruity creations...
Seriously, juice with Toast is kind of a big deal.

With their fresh real ingredients and consequential pulpiness (sometimes), it made it possible to choke and splutter "I've got juice stuck in my throat!"

Eggs Norwegian - $16.90
An overindulgent breakfast needs to taste like heaven, just to make sure all the calories taken in haven't gone to a waste. And at Toast, that criteria is satisfied every single time, regardless if you've eaten your whole day's recommended energy intake in a single plate or not.

Simple, decadent layers of silky smoked salmon, poached eggs and golden velvet that is hollandaise are proudly stacked atop toasted english muffins and wobbling high with guilt and pleasure.

Sunshine. Sunshine, everywhere!
I think what makes Toast such a winner are their perfectly poached eggs. With just a slight prick of a fork, or a finger, whatever object you please, you witness a brilliant golden lavafall cascading over the mountain of food, leaving its striking presence everywhere along its path.

The wedge of lemon gives the acidity boost needed to cut through the rich, nearly unctuous taste of the dish from the creamy salmon, creamy yolk, creamy hollandaise and possibly creamy muffin base that will ultimately be drowned in all the excessive creaminess not yet consumed.

Roast Beef Pressed Sandwich - $12.90
I decided to deviate from my usual chicken, bacon, semi dried tomato, avocado and seeded mustard mayo ciabatta roll once in a blue moon and tried another option from their Simple, Fast Work Lunch category. Usually I can't justify the reasons for spending that price for a simple pressed sandwich I could replicate, and replace those reasons with excuses.

However, I can't help it. Simple, but so well made and packed with flavour that I can't resist such a simple order from a place offering so much variety. And while I'm not a fan of rocket most days of my life, my taste buds seem to welcome the peppery crispness of the balsamic dressed salad, giving it an overall tangy flavour.

Too little, gone too soon.
Sandwiched between a paper-thin top layer of turkish bread are equally thin fillings of roast beef, caramelised onions, roasted capsicum, rocket and chilli jam. And while I know perfectly how good toasted turkish bread is slathered with butter, I ask for mine without.

But turns out they include some cheese in here too, which unfortunately costs me my top layer of bread to be uneaten. Deeply saddened, I savoured the rest of the hot crispy roll wishing the ingredients were not so sparse. This roll would not be what it is, if it weren't for the sweet and juicy caramelised onions.

And a word of warning from my poor fingers, this comes out alarmingly HOT. Proceed to stuff in your mouth with limited handling time, 'cause seriously, who is civilised enough to eat sandwiches with a knife and fork?

Caramelized Banana Crepes - $14.90
It's embarrassing sometimes, to be a big eater. After placing 2 dishes for 2 people, staff assumed that was the end and proceeded to ask if we wanted any drinks. Sheepishly we asked for a third dish instead. :) Meal status upgraded to feast level!

While savoury crepes grilled with cheddar requires the suppressing of temptations, I've only ever tried the sweet variety offered at Toast. Yep, Toast does a great crepe too! And while their Rhubarb & Raspberry Compote with Toasted Almonds was something different, the tartness got sickening for me towards the end.

THIS however, is something to love. Banana crepes to top off breakfast is the cherry to top off the cake. 2 neatly folded parcels on 2 plates is the perfect design for sharing if you're not a pig. Hot crepes adorned by thin, crisp edges, with sugar crystals melting slowly into brown caramel, it's just the scatter of fresh bananas that make this a slightly more healthy choice.

So for the moment, I'm quite loving Perth for its (mostly!) undisrupted sunny days through the Winter months. A relaxed breakfast at 3pm by the water with the crisp afternoon sunshine streaming through the windows casting shadows onto my banana crepes -

Not what I asked for, but just what I needed.


Love needs patience and because you're going to love your food at toast, you're gonna have to need heck of a lot of patience to get it. I've found a sweet benefit that my laziness brings - a relatively empty restaurant in afternoons, the peaceful aftermath of early morning breakfast floodings. Weekend mornings, although the best time for a leisurely breakfast, is the worst timing for a seat.

Although not entirely fitting with the artificial but aesthetically pleasing Claisebrooke Cove on its doorstep, Toast makes it work by injecting some of its own down-to-earth realness to the place. Its informality is different yet comfortable, with wobbly chairs and tables perched outdoors under big shade umbrellas, colourful Ikea plastic cups (sometimes with too much dust floaties!), and decked out with an overall mismatching dining room.
Very cool. And with the open style room, also very cool.

Loving their all day breakfast availability, as you can get your breakfast at 5pm if you're busy living life to the fullest by sleeping it away. Because eggs should be on a menu all day, all night long :) An ever-changing Specials Board adds novelty dishes and actually seeing (lots of) corn in your corn fritters is always exciting. Smaller eaters can order half serves at 25% off the price, and while I'll never take that offer up, I'm somehow absolutely stuffed EVERY time after Toast that I've needed to complain and sleep right after.
Just not the most recent time, where I took in a waffle an hour later.

And perhaps on par with the food here, is the staff that run the place. Chirpy, cheery and friendly peeps that acknowledge your arrival and come over, even though it's an order and pay at counter system. Everything is more personalised when chefs bring out your orders with a free smile on the side :) One gripe nothing to do with Toast, is the ridiculous $3 for 30 minutes parking across the road. East Perth - high rollers...high rollers everywhere.

Toast, like the piece in my hand at the moment - is so hot right now.
From the 14 different versions they stock, everybody wants a piece of Toast.
With a no bookings policy, you're gonna have to wait patiently for yours.

(08) 9221 0771
7 days: 7am to 7pm
Public holidays: 7am to 5pm
Kitchen closes 5pm


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Took Begi

Took Begi Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Whenever I get Korean cravings, I like to satisfy myself in the maximum possible way.
The best way is to go all out and make a hole in your wallet by splurging on Korean BBQ buffet, a surefire way to refill and overfill the hole in your stomach.

But at times when you feel a little fat, or feel a little poor, there are other delicious cheaper means to please.
So once you learn to tame your innate animalistic instinct to opt for the endless meat buffet meal, you will start to appreciate the other relatively animal-friendly side of Korean cuisine.

It took me a while, but I eventually got there.

Assorted Side Dishes
The thing I love about eating Korean is the generosity of it all. Your meals are always paired with little endless side dishes that you can keep asking to be refilled, without getting rejected.
Where else could you get that luxury?

The assortment of side dishes goes by a rotational variety, with this particular visit bringing dishes of soft marinated bean sprouts, crisp pickled cabbage and carrot shreds, sticky sweet slices of lotus root and a bitey kimchi which I took for a swim in my drinking cup before I ate it.

And these are the perfect solution to when you are not hungry but not yet full by the end of the meal. Or conversely, if being full is not enough and you rather be stuffed.

Hot & Non Spicy Marinated Thin Sliced Prime Soy Beef Stew - $19
A perfect dish to counteract the chilly weather outside is a hot, toasty and comforting bowl of soup that warms you from the inside out. The simmering soup section of the menu involves Korean traditional clay pot dishes, served with a trusty bowl of steamed rice.

This is a bit pricey at $19, but it's got the goodies. Laden with tofu, vegetables, soy beef and sweet potato noodles in a beef bone broth, it's a Winter warmer and gives you a full facial steam while you eat it.

Being served in soup however, the beef would benefit from stronger flavours and the interesting sounding sweet potato noodles being just glass noodles were a personal let down.

But rice in soup has always been a childhood favourite, because I didn't have to chew.
Oh yes. I was beyond just lazy.

Stir Fried Soy Chicken Bibimbap - $13
Bibimbap is a nourishing home style type dish, full of simple ingredients that don't lack in taste. Crisp seasonal vegetables of bean sprouts, zucchini, carrots, spinach and shiitake mushrooms are decked out on top of steamed rice, crowning a mound of stir fried soy chicken adorned with sesame seeds.

Best destroyed with all the ingredients mixed up, with each mouthful a perfect balance of protein, vegetables and carbs like a healthy balanced diet should be. As yummy as it already is, Korea's signature dish is missing the ubiquitous fried egg I longed for!

Egg - the humble household kitchen staple. How much of an grumpy chap would you be if your breakfast fry-up didn't have an egg in it!

How hygienic does this seem?

Before there is even food served on your little table, it's highly likely that it will already be messily cluttered with various items. The metal eating utensils are wrapped and sealed with paper and are definitely not the wooden/plastic disposable kinds, yet unwrapping your own cutlery is a rare occurrence nowadays and makes it seem pretty sanitised and clean (regardless if they really are or not!)

Water is served in what actually look like actual water bottles, the type you'd take around with you. It is cute, and reminiscent of my kindergarten days where I was proud of my very unique (or so I thought) drink bottle.

Which I found out a few wiser years later, was actually a clear squeezy sauce bottle complete with nozzle and cap. I HAD BEEN USING A DAMN SAUCE BOTTLE AS A DRINK BOTTLE FOR YEARS, DAMN IT! It must be quite hard to beat my parents' ignorance!


A journey to "discover the secret to authentic Korean dishes" will lead you to Took Begi in Perth's CBD. I am no expert, but it sure is a crowd pleaser judging by the inability to just get a table straightaway here. Part of it IS due to the limited seating however majority of it is probably because of its popularity amongst diners, and you really can't jam any more sardines in a can.

Somehow it is always crowded, even into the later hours of the night. Luckily, whilst waiting outside we noticed the banner on their window offering a takeaway offer of buy 2 get 1 free or buy 1 get 50% off Bibimbaps. A smart strategy, and one enticing enough to make the idea of eating in the car seem at least a bit better!

Staff are quite polite and the kitchen is pretty efficient. Ambiance wise, they're here to please your appetite. Some of the seating is a bit of a tight squeeze, as after my meal I literally turned around in my chair to pay the bill at the counter right behind me. Guess you could call it intimacy! The place is brightly lit, flooded with fluorescent lighting with a no frills dining room. Though I don't really care about how you look, I only care about how I'm treated and how well you feed me :)

Pricing is fair for what and how much you get, with a menu variety giving ample choices. Jumping on their takeaway offer, the portion seems a tiny bit smaller but of course, the price is even smaller and could be a contributing factor to that. However despite the small plastic containers your meat is compacted into, it becomes quite an acceptable portion when you mix it through your Bibimbap. That is some well vacuum-sealed protein!

Now, if I could vacuum pack my stomach...

(08) 9225 4557
Actually on Pier Street, a walk up from Miss Mauds.


Friday, 13 July 2012

Saowanee's Place

Saowanee's Place on Urbanspoon
You know you had some bad ass Thai food if your stomach is beating you up while thanking you for setting it aflame. And not the type that leaves you spending leisurely time in the water closet either, because then that would just be bad Thai.

I'm not talkin' bad, but bad ass.
Bad ass Thai food will do no less than leave you wanting more.
I'm not your typical female shopaholic, but I'll gladly eat til' my stomach drops.

Saowanee has perfected the recipe for addiction, because my taste buds temporarily developed a sudden surging tolerance for playing with fire with this particular meal.

Saowanee's Tom Yum Soup (Small) - $9.90
If your stomach isn't very agreeable with certain foods, Thai cuisine might just pose a small problem. So many of their flavours focus on the spicy, salty, sweet and sour components that bring out the best kind of dish you could put in your mouth, but not the best kind of swirly whirly concoction to put into your stomach.

As such, I needed to weigh up my options. Highly saturated in fat coconut milk dishes to tone down the spicy factor and risk a stomach ache? OR, emit the fatty creamy white liquid and leave the spicy dishes alone and risk a stomach ache? WHAT TO CHOOSE?!

Perhaps To Choose or Not To Choose Thai, would be a more suitable question.

Teaser sized, but I am content
The Tom Yum is far from being protein heavy, but you are presented with a choice of what you want in there from tofu & vegetables, chicken, prawns or seafood (an entire sea of prawns, squid, fish and scallops).

Along with the meat, are morsels of mushrooms and tomatoes. The closer you bring a spoon of this towards your mouth, the more intense the rich aroma finds its way into your nose. If crack was a food, this is it. I could not stop sniffing.

Digging up my soup soaked treasures

Tom Yum is arguably a traditional and classic Thai dish that is recognised world over and favourited by appetites from any culture. It is a distinct representation of what Thai cuisine is all about, the different flavours of different ingredients that come together so perfectly when you cook 'em all in the same pot with a sprinkling of talent.

This small bowl is a magical blend of the sensations of taste - the tarty sourness of lime juice, leaves and lemon grass, the fiery heat of chillis, the saltiness of fish sauce and the light creamy sweetness of coconut milk. Just missing the bitter taste, but no one's missing that party pooper!

A slurp of this practically slides down your throat not leaving any skid marks 'cause it's just so smoooooooooth with the dash of coconut milk. So many flavours mingling on your tongue at the same time makes for a good time.

Lamb Green Curry - $21.90
Seems like I wasn't particularly adventurous and had the same mindset as when I visit Hans Cafe: "MUST. GET. GREEN. CURRY." Because a dish that makes itself so comfortable within Thai cuisine must be up to scratch to give Saowanee's Place the title of Favourite Thai Restaurant right?

They certainly don't under deliver on this classic - sliced lamb pieces moist with fragrant green curry sauce brimming towards the edge of the dish. Lamb was The Chosen Animal out of the choices of chicken, beef, pork, prawns, fish, seafood, Thai fish ball and if you really must, vegetables & tofu.

The lamb was strikingly similar to beef when it was muddled with the curry sauce. And although the amount of delicious juicy capsicums, potato chunks and bamboo shoots made eating them unstoppable, they were the only things left to eat when you have a small amount of lamb supplied in the dish.

Steamed Thai Jasmin Rice - $3 per head

The perfect complement to intensely flavoured Thai cooking is more like a requirement: rice.
Rice in its original form of glory, to fill up the belly, to soak up the juices and gravies you'd rather pour down your stomach than the kitchen sink, to be the staple carbohydrate in Asian cuisine, to just be there.

Rice, what would 4 billion people do without you?

$3 per person gets you a heavy porcelain ornament-like piece doubling as a storage for rice. It's not particularly cooked to my personal liking because it's mushier in some places and not served at a hot temperature that steamed rice tastes best in. However you do get bottomless servings to make your plate a bottomless one, to satisfy your bottomless food pit.

Table placements
Table arrangements at Saowanee's is a bit homely, neatly cluttered and a little bit cute.
Delicately folded paper napkins in resemblance of flower lanterns rest on plates that matches the crockery that your main dishes are served in, with a nice touch of flowers in a small vase (albeit fake).

At least fake flowers will last forever...when everything else just dies.


You have every right in the world to be a little boastful with a breadth of awards under your wings all while continuing to soar even higher. Being featured as Best Thai in Perth, WA's favourite Asian Restaurant, WA's Favourite Thai Restaurant and multiple finalist awards for just being excellent close to pretty much every year, Saowanee's Place hits all the birds with its one cuisine.

Proclaiming that you will "experience the taste of real Thai", they promise to deliver on that promise. Serious about this, the menu is full of traditional favourites of Thailand's abundant culinary creations each with strong flavours and rich fragrant aromas. Apparently they even had a hand at making their own spices initially, back when it wasn't readily available in Perth - which makes their dishes deliciously intoxicating to consume.

The place has a somewhat golden ambiance, literally. You dine under a warm, yellow glow of lights in a casually comfortable but subtly elegant dining room. The addictive smells wafts throughout the place and adds to the warmth of the atmosphere while it mingles in the air with diners' voices. And while portions are just fair given their prices, you are very likely to be unable to finish or eat less than your normal capabilities due to the hotness if you don't order wisely!

I notice takeaway prices are cheaper and I also notice service can be inconsistent. It was very start-stop service as there is attentiveness at the beginning which then slowly becomes increasingly difficult to get some attention. Regarding some loud burly chaps who had drunk a little over his limit, staff handled his requests with a little less tolerance. But they do well with food and even if they haven't mastered authenticity in your eyes, they still please the appetite!

In a restaurant like this, your senses are heightened. Thai (hot!) food wakes up your senses - gets your eyes watering, burns your taste, makes you sweat, gets your nose running and gives you a temporary dose of the flu.
And although you get free water to hose down your flaming stomach, we found that a soothing McFlurry does the job a whole lot more professionally.

(08) 9228 9307
Lunch Friday only: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner Mon, Wed - Sun: 5pm to 9.30pm
Closed Tuesdays
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