Thursday, 27 September 2012

Hippo Creek African Grill

Hippo Creek African Grill on Urbanspoon

It was A's dad's birthday when his family decided that the best way to say Happy Birthday! is by stuffing him with as much meat as possible on a sunny, laid-back, serene Sunday morning.
I think that is absolutely perfect. Nothing says it better than meat.

And while I welcome unbearable amounts of meat eating at all times, some may scoff at and can't handle the idea of a few shared kilograms of heavy protein and not much else for a breakfast.
Anything can be handled, if you put your mind (and stomach) to it.

There is no doubt Hippo Creek provides a mean meat feast, and I really can't believe I haven't been here before.
"Excessive" is really just an understatement.

Hot Chocolate - $4
It was a gorgeous morning and just being by the tranquility of the harbour just makes it even gorgeouser. A warm, toasty cup of hot chocolate is a good addition to that equation of sun, sea and the beginning of all the carnivorous activity to come.

Avo Dugout - $19.50
Because I wasn't paying for my own meal, I scouted around for a not-so-dear menu item that didn't make me look like a greedy scoundrel. The other impending reason was I was still waiting for my stomach to open up to its full capacity, since I'm not a morning person.

And neither is my stomach.

A breakfast fit for a king (and humble old me!)
I came across the perfect dish in the entree section of the menu, and not because of the extravagant marron that was included, but probably because of the simple mention of avocado.
Heaven to my ears :)

Half a deliciously creamy and firm avocado accompanies an equally as creamy inclusion of mixed seafood that's been generously tossed through peri-peri aioli. Although the starter size is actually substantial enough a portion for breakfast, the creaminess of the main elements of the dish adds up after a while of eating it.

I've never been as thankful for the included salad (and the half marron of course, even with the tiny amount of meat I forced out of it). Its main purpose was probably to look pretty, which it does a fine job of.

African Safari - $46
The game meat tasting plate for 2 features skewers of a changing selection of game meats, which offputtingly reminds me of a realistic scene of Hangman. It isn't everyday where you will even see crocodile, emu, buffalo and venison meats, let alone eat them.

Served with peri-peri and the hair-raising name of monkey gland sauce, I was much more at ease upon finding out the real ingredients behind this long-time favourite addition to meats. The fruitiness and slight spiciness to the sauce give a nice sweet element that complements the cubes well.
And although it's nice to learn no monkeys were harmed in the making, eating all these non-domesticated animals doesn't provide strong reinforcement :P

You game for some game?
Grilled to a perfect medium rare, the cubes of meat are lean but still succulent and juicy. I am pleased (but also silently disappointed) that it looks and tastes just like beef and chicken. I would wholeheartedly believe these are simply beef/chicken shish kebabs without a notion of doubt.

Some would agree that a visit to a modern South African restaurant is incomplete without trying their specialty, and I certainly agree to their agreement. Make sure (or make yourself) game enough for an exotic game meat experience.

Just be prepared to face the collective pool of red at the bottom as you slide flesh off its metal skeleton.

Garlic Bread - $7.50
Garlic bread is always a good accessory to get the appetite going and line the stomach. Even if the stingy amount of garlic renders it to be butter bread instead.

Hippo Creek's version features a mini baguette style of this why-so-hard-to-get-right item, cut into a few slices making the loaf. It is certainly well-buttered and soft between the sections, but the crusty bread might not be to everyone's liking.

I liked it though :)

Hunters Assaghai - $44
If dining options had a stand out, attention grabbing centrepiece, this would be it.
I have heard of this too many times to walk into Hippo Creek and NOT try it.
Though if you dislike seeing any pink in your beef, then stay away 'cause the meat isn't going to reach any shades of grey (i.e. no cooking past medium for quality purposes).

Featured on a tremendous structure that looks like it could have killed the cow itself, are fist-sized cubes of marinated beef rump. Perhaps their description of "marinated cubes of rump on a skewer hanging over a bowl of fries with your choice of garlic or chilli butter dripping down, served with a side salad" says it better.
And that butter does indeed slide down the rump ever so seductively.

But really, if the description doesn't entice you, maybe the side of garden salad will.

I'd like my chips served with butter and beef juice, thanks!
For something so extravagant sounding, the chips don't have the extravagance to match.
They're on the dry and not so poppin' hot side, and quite underseasoned despite all the extra help from the beef rump juice above it.

Very surprised to have unfinished chips at the end of the meal, with so many people on the table.

Spare Ribs - $36
Making an entrance are 2 racks of pork spare ribs, arching a bridge over the chips underneath it. The pork rib composed structure features a shiny glaze of Hippo Creek's homemade basting that will make you reduce all the meat to the bone, and suck that bone clean.

And with all the meat that is already in me, I could do with some more.

Yeah baby!
If you're faced with something beautiful like this, you gotta really pick it up with your hands and eat like no-one is watching.
Unless you don't mind the awkwardness of others watching you lick your fingers furiously.

'Cause this stuff is really mouth staining, finger licking good.

Hello, nice lookin' staircase wine cabinet!

If I still haven't been able to project across what Hippo Creek does, I'm not sure what I've been doing. With a custom design dry age cool room to boot, these guys claim to offer some of the highest quality beef around. It's all about the meat, and it's all about how you're more than likely to eat more than your recommended daily intake of protein by about a lot.

Even the men were absolutely satiated. And me? Yeah I was too, after finishing off theirs :)

Eating here is also educational, from the dictionary of beef-related jargon included in the menu that just might help turn diners into steak aficionados. Steakwise, consistency is questionable, but really, everybody's consistency is. I should give mention (and warning!) to their show stopping 2kg rump challenge that could do severe damage to your own rump.

Lunch is so much quieter, seemingly empty without the lunch rush. It's a bit cold and quiet - and I'm actually describing the waitstaff. Just a bit.

Modern South African dining undoubtedly features exotic meat and the surrounds to match. The wooden contemporary design suits the meat's supposedly "wood roasted perfumes" and mixes in some tribal themes, with some Marty and Tigger skins at the forefront to remind you you're in a carnivorous kind of place. Now just missing the liveliness of live animals running around during your dinner.

Make sure you're a Hungry Hungry Hippo before conquering Hippo Creek. Preferably an insanely carnivorous one too.
With all the lovely boats in the harbour, all they need are hippos in the creek to truly live up to their name :)

(08) 9447 2238
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm (Specials Mon - Thurs)
Dinner: 6pm to late
Breakfast: 8am Sundays

Kitchen closes 9.30pm
BYO wine $10/bottle
Public holidays: 10% surcharge per head


Friday, 21 September 2012


I can imagine we were quite the colour splash on the street with my striking yellow coat and A's equally as striking red hoodie.

Whilst resembling live walking tomato and mustard condiments came to mind, having hot dogs as my post-exam celebrations feast was the last thing to come to mind.

Originally headed for the much hyped, much anticipated Taiwanese dessert store Taro Taro, I casually turned my head to the side and saw a brand spanking new restaurant just 2 doors away from our intended destination.

"Ooo what's that!" I asked, fully meaning it as a rhetorical question.
Rhetorical schmetorical, we answered it, substituting Taiwan for Korea right there and then.

Jayusigan Menu
The restaurant was empty, and stepping inside in its new surroundings made me feel as though my footsteps were dirtying the floor with my shoes. Everything from its walls to floors had a gleam to it, including their eating utensils right down to its sleek menu.

With the slightest feeling of illiteracy, I stared cluelessly at the food photos on the wall, all looking delicious but without English description. Truly Korean I thought, to the point where I'm not going to know what I am ordering.

Dweajibulgogi - $12
First to arrive in style is the DJ Bulgogi, a mountain heaped high with mild marinaded pork slices, assorted vegetables and a garnish of sesame seeds. Expecting something different when I read "hot pot" in the menu, a hot plate was the last thing I thought I'd be eating off.

You'll find the meat to vegetable ratio is on the good side of generous, as you dig and eat your way through the pile of protein.
The serving of oil towards the bottom of the dish is quite unnecessarily generous too!

Tteok & Sobulgogi - $12
 My imagination tingled as I read "rice ball" in the menu description for this dish. When it was delivered I was initially underwhelmed - Jayusigan and I certainly had different ways of interpreting food items!

This feeling was overcome real fast, for I realised this was so much better than what I thought I'd get - plain rice shaped into a circular mound, which would be a nice novelty but would taste just so average. And thus I suddenly liked this rice ball & beef served with hot pot :)

Probably should have chosen another dish that was not so similar in looks and taste to its pork counterpart. The addition of long, tubular rice rolls mean less beef, but more to chew with their glutinous-like texture.

What would I do without you?
As always (almost), the meals are accompanied by a small, steaming hot bowl of plain white rice to fill you up if the meat doesn't.

Certainly true in my case, I can eat dangerously large amounts of food and still not be full, if I don't get my rice dosage.
Bad for body. Badder for wallet.

Assortment of side dishes
The one (or 3) reasons to love Korean cuisine is that you get more for what you pay for (sort of). These extra reasons come in the form of extra food, little moreish samples of side dishes that are completely complimentary and complementary to your meal.

Along with the ubiquitous dish of kimchi, is a small serving of tiny dried anchovies.
These savoury morsels are strong flavoured and spiced with chilli flakes, adding a bite of heat and a chewiness that's quite resistant to the teeth.

Needless to say, these were gone in about a second.

Sweetness is another flavour dimension added to the other side dishes, which are salty and chilli in flavour. These beans are soft but retain a slight chewiness, and dressed in a slick coat of syrupy sauce.

Tasted a bit weird to eat with my meal with its short sugary bursts, so I treated them as dessert :)
Jayusigan Dining Space
Small, quiet but private - it's like we booked the place to ourselves!


Admittedly the restaurant felt deserted and the lack of customers/staff did not make it feel particularly inviting. Upon sitting down I took to Urbanspoon (as you do...) and was hit with no results - but felt very confident that it was going to be a good meal :) But to this very day I'm very surprised at its mediocre ratings, either this place has headed downhill or the people of Perth are just too hard to please...

Small eats are also available for purchase from the hot baine marie inside. The portions spoke value for the prices charged and honestly, the food quality was quite on par with what you'd find elsewhere. And unless I'm just too easy, I found it good, and it was a happy, successful divergence from Taro Taro.

The new interior of Jayusigan is clean, uncluttered and polished. It boasts fresh, non-sticky tables and the choice of orange colour provides a vibrant look for the dining area. (And my photos!) After being ignored for a while upon entering, service was efficient and swift. Speaking limited English, the staff are still friendly and helpful through all the pointing and awkward smiling and nodding used to communicate :)

I quite like it here.
And the reason may or may not be because we went home with 2 free frog placemats as part of their grand opening gift :)

(08) 9470 1372

Monday - Sunday: Lunch and dinner
Closed Tuesdays (at time of enquiry)

*Location is actually on Leonard St, off Albany Highway


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

New Moon

New Moon on Urbanspoon
It is once in a blue moon that Perth gets to experience Dim Sim at NIGHT time, and so it is once in New Moon that we check out what this relatively new Dim Sim restaurant has to offer at DAY time (the less exciting time of day to be scoffing down Dim Sim nowadays!)


But the consistency we experienced here was something to get excited at.
Perhaps we have a new dim sim haunt to frequent from now on! And at seemingly abnormal hours too.

Steamed Fish Balls - $4.40
We order some balls to kick start our Dim Sim party, and these are definitely worthy guests. I'm impressed with these fish balls, especially after losing my fascination with them the older I grew.

Smaller sized than the usual huge white orbs served by other places, these are served atop sheets of bean curd skin that have delightfully soaked up the juices from the dish. The balls themselves taste more "real" and "fishy" (they are fish balls after all!), which is actually a good thing for once!

Because sadly, fish balls actually tasting like fish is something that doesn't happen too often here.

Steamed Bean Curd Pockets stuffed with Fish Roe - $5.80
Money catches anybody's eye, and these little money bags are no exception.

It's refreshing to see a new offering in dim sim menus and trolleys that you can usually recite off by heart. These adorable pockets are bean curd skins wrapping a sweet mushy fish roe filling, and knotted with what I think are dried lily buds. In their literal sense, golden needle vegetables, which are crisp to the bite.

Not only attractive, but taste pretty good too! Double win.

Money bag - the edible type
When I see a goodie bag, I'll jump on it. 

Because the best thing to do with your fortune - is to eat it!

Deep Fried Prawn Dumplings with Mayonnaise - $5.80
The next to arrive are 4 very good looking, golden tanned guests who are still fresh hot from the fryer. Flaunting very plump bodies full of meaty prawn fillings, the deep-fried prawn dumplings have crunchy skins that shatter with each bite, helped by little airy bubbles on the skin.

Mayonnaise is essential, if you plan on eating these while they are still burning hot!

Deep Fried Almond Prawn Cakes - $4.40
The first thing that catches your eye is the tightly packed and compressed amount of almonds that are loaded onto the prawn patties. Golden brown in colour and gloriously crisp, each bite cuts through a crunchy exterior of toasted almonds and consequential firm but springy bites of pressed prawn patties.

I think these kinds of layered "cakes" are starting to win my heart more so than the sweet kind do...

Almonds galore!
Almond saturation: an almond fan's heaven :)

Steamed Prawn Dumplings - $4.90
Every dim sim expedition has a must do, to order the well known har gow staple of the dim sum cuisine. These make a very regular appearance on every table, and no visit is ever complete without these as an important addition.

I personally think these are a good benchmark to judge the restaurant's quality standards, as it is important to make these famous dim sim landmarks up to scratch or exceed levels of adequacy.
We love Har Gou!
New Moon's har gou are in very fit condition when they join our feast on the table.

Extremely circular spheres thanks to the abundance of prawns securely wrapped in chewy, stretchy skins that are magnificently white and glowing with youth.

Steamed Spare Ribs in Black Bean Sauce - $4.40
Spare ribs at different dim sim restaurants are a bit of a hit and miss, depending on how good a day it is.

On the good days, you'll get good chunks of meat with a good lean meat to fat ratio.
This dish is one of those "good days" where you don't get the greasy ratio of fat to fat, however a more generous serving is welcome; one where the dish does not look like someone has already dived in!

Steamed Prawn & Chive Dumplings - $4.90
I'm beginning to grow fonder of this newer take on the standardised har gou. There are many similarities between the two, but the addition of chives adds a splash of colour and an extra fragrant and fresh flavour to the usual prawn dumpling.

A perfectly plump prawn-stuffed dumpling, chock full of springy, juicy prawns...
and the best kind of cross section I'd enjoy making a little too excessively :D

Steamed Beef Tendon in Szechuen Sauce - $4.40
Perhaps not to everybody's liking, beef tendon is a food that can be prepared and cooked in different ways and liked in even more ways.

I personally like them slightly hard so they retain their chewiness, however majority (usually) rules and most places will serve these up in their soft-edging-towards-mushy form. Coated in szechuan sauce with its distinct red colouring, the soft tendons have that sweet, salty flavour combination and slightly mild chilli undertones.

Deep Fried Cuttlefish and Pork in Bean Curd Wraps - $4.40
I'm not too overly fond of these golden pyramids, but since my welfare is usually ignored, these are always on the table and ALWAYS in front of me. These deep-fried dumplings are a family favourite (MY family favourite...) and are a must have.

Every. Single. Time. Without. Fail.
I have always likened these to hash browns; but then again, I'd be all over them if they really were hash browns!

Don't they look like hash browns?
Their warm golden brown tone makes them very deserving of their place in the deep-fried category of the menu. Simply named crab meat dumplings elsewhere, they have a very appealing title here at New Moon being cuttlefish and pork in bean curd wraps.

The bean curd wraps are certainly a nice, new, refreshing touch on the standard floury batter that covers the patty within. They provide a slightly crispy sensation and are much lighter than the usual batter.

Can't remember much of the amount of cuttlefish-ness or pork-ness in my bite, but I'd imagine dipping anything golden into chilli sauce is a winning combination.

Steamed Minced Pork & Prawn Dumplings - $4.90
Just like har gou, these siu mai are just as important to get right! The two usually go hand in hand, and will usually sit steamer by steamer right next to each other.

Juicy minced pork meat with smaller morsels of prawns are tightly pressed amongst opaque skins, a lot less glutinousy than har gou wrappers. Usually garnished with specks of fish roe, the dumplings taste quite lean - which is a relief for some and a disappointment for others.

Steamed Beef Tripe with Ginger & Spring Onion - $4.40
Continuing with our feast, the usual suspect of cow bits starts popping up on our lazy susan.

The tripe is done nicely here, not overly soggy nor hard and tiresome to chew. The touch of ginger is a nice touch, however overall the sauce might be a bit plain and watery clear for some.

Another (worse looking) tripe
Not as "perky" in looks as the first dish, this dish of tripe bears more resemblance to beef belly - yet another cow innard. Boy we just can't get enough of those organs! Belly..tendon..tripe..

And now I'm starting to talk utter tripe.

Pan Fried Glutinous Rice with Egg - $4.40
And when we were finally full, we started to round things up with a plate of pan-fried glutinous rice with egg. This is cooked fresh from the kitchen to order, and always comes out steaming hot as a result - evident from the heat that escapes upon lifting the golden egg blanket.

This dish is truly a sentimental childhood favourite of mine that is close to my heart. I loved and will always love eggs, and this egg omelette that wraps cosily around the mound of glutinous rice satisfies all my criteria.

Even more perfect is when the egg is not fully overcooked, so a little gooeyness remains that moistens up the rice when it combines with it. Pure, utter bliss.

Steamed Chicken & Chinese Mushroom Buns - $4.40
Not sure how these managed to sneak their way onto the table, but somehow they did.

And even though in their pure white bun-ny forms and neatly constructed outer appearance are here to impress, I'm less impressed with their personalities inside.

Right here to satisfy your curiosity of what's inside!

The filling is a hasty and mushy meat centre, offering not much to be excited about.
Buns are buns, unless they are sweet buns :)

New Moon's blocky steamers
A refreshing visual change from the usual round steamers is one with 4 added corners - because we all know that good things come in square bamboo steamers.


This is the one of the first restaurants I've come across (or have chosen to notice) that extends their Dim Sim offering beyond 3pm. It is one of the first of this kind, speaking by Perth's standards of course *mumble mumble* and seems to be quite successful in its own right.

Ironically it has been closed whenever I have gone past, and upon closer inspection of its trading hours does it reveal that you get your guilty night dim sim hit only 2 nights out of 7. New Moon Dim Sim Day & Night should really come with an asterix!

We were, however, delightfully pleased with the too many items on the table, all looking good, tasting fresh and comfortably priced. Service was a little lagging initially but as the ball got rolling and the lazy susan got spinning, everything picked up and staff efficiently delivered. There were dropped dishes and sauce splatters behind our backs (literally!) so while I wasn't over the moon with New Moon's service, they're getting the hang of it.

The attention grabbing thing that works in this new environment is the modern, polished design and understated class of the dining space. It has a spacious, comfortable layout and an overall blueish, cool coloured tones that drift throughout the restaurant's atmosphere. A really good job of giving the place a successful face lift from its preceding looks.

As the former business here was also a Dim Sim restaurant, here's hoping it is even more successful in maintaining the dim sim spirit that this location exudes.
And it will no longer be New Moon, as this might become my regular choice for dim sim - you won't be "new" to me for much longer.

(08) 9328 8720
Tuesday - Sunday: 9.30am to 3pm
Friday - Saturday: 6pm to 10pm
Closed Mondays


Monday, 3 September 2012


Kabuki on Urbanspoon

Not sure what sudden interest propelled me to drive 30 minutes just for some Kabuki.

Maybe it was the flood of positive reviews on Urbanspoon (I don't care what they say, Urbanspoon is always right.
...most of the time.
...ok, when it isn't rigged and bombarded with painstakingly obvious self-praising comments like OHMAGAWWDDD best meal everrr, LOVE THIS RESTAURANT FOREVERZZZ XOXO!)

So because of its relatively high rating, here is another dinner featuring Japanese cuisine to add to my seemingly Japanese diet.
I've eaten so much of it.
I just might turn Japanese.

Una Don - $13
I've heard Kabuki's kitchen produces a mean sushi roll, but the idea of having sushi for dinner is far too unsubstantial for my gluttonous mind and stomach.

I've gone with their Una Don, out of my pure everlasting craving for eel. The star of the show sits in the centre, fanned out on top of glorious sauce soaked rice and glistening with teriyaki sauce. Simple garnishes of cucumber, tomato and carrot shreds are a nice touch, but a bit plain.
A dressed salad would work wonders instead.

I have yet to come across a poorly grilled eel in any of my dinners, as it seems that eel is just one of those things that work.

I appreciate a hearty slab of thick juicy eel, complete with delicate layers of skin and flesh having different textures and feels among them. The smooth, soft white flesh is beautifully moist with the fatty element, attached to a grilled chewy skin on the underside.

An absolute delight to eat. Could do with more. A lot more.

Salmon Teriyaki Donburi - $9.50
Looking strikingly similar, the noticeably more dehydrated sibling of the Una Don is this Salmon Teriyaki Donburi. Although presented in the same way, the slices of grilled salmon are disappointingly thin, and tongue-scratchingly dry as a consequence.

Overcooked salmon cannot be saved really, and even copious amounts of teriyaki sauce cannot bring back the moisture, that's now forever gone.

All donburi meals give you the option to add miso soup and salad for an extra $3 as items are not included. Oh you thought! And oh I wished!

Beef Tataki - $7
The starter that came after the main meals arrived - a gorgeous looking dish of neatly arranged beef in a shallow pool of tangy sauce. Apart from its appearance on this long slender plate, the sauce is also present in a separate bowl as dipping sauce.

I'll have my steak done rare thanks :)
It's odd, that I don't have the guts (or I have the guts, but my guts can't stand the sight) of pink steak cooked (well, uncooked) to the state of rare, yet I can stomach as much beef tataki you feed me. Pretty much the same thing, but just oh so different!

Described as "slightly cooked" on the menu, the slices of beef are lightly seared on the outer edges, leaving the centre raw and untouched in its deep pink, chewy form. Multiple tender beef strips are laid across a bed of shredded lettuce that have soaked up the vinegary sauce, perfectly marinating the beef fillets.

Vinegar dipping sauce
Big but thinly chopped garlic pieces and spring onion rings adorn the beef tataki and float amongst the tangy vinegar dressing to pack more flavour into the mouthful.

Having bathed in this sour liquid, the garlic pieces have soaked up the sourness into themselves, and resemble pickled garlic. They've lost a lot of their pungent odour and sharp garlicky flavour, and are much more milder in taste (should you decide to have a go at eating it!)

Green Tea
Tea is not free here, however at $1 or $2 per person, can get you a cute teapot of Japanese green tea. Upon taking off the lid to peek at what's happening inside (just like any kid would do), I was greeted with an abundance of roasted brown rice floating on the surface.

This gave the green tea a really nice, distinct nutty aroma that was really pleasant to drink. The pouring of tea process itself scared me a little, because the ability for a cup to suddenly break off from the handle is not unusual for me. True story. I bawled my eyes out. I was 5.

So, while the teapot appears so robust, it also seems delicately fragile. Just like myself.


After the plates, bowls and boxes were cleaned (via eating every last speck of food), admittedly it was not a truly satisfying meal. It wasn't bad, though it wasn't great either, and it certainly didn't live up to all the expectations I created out of the hype on Urbanspoon for it. Perhaps the comments are a little outdated, I'm a little skeptical and just a little late (as always).

The better side to Kabuki is its cheap and cheerful style, offering affordable meals at acceptable portions. The menu is not extensive but is well rounded with the usual Japanese cuisine items. Service is quite efficient however, you can't really judge that efficiency in a restaurant with only 2 occupied tables during dinner. Meaning, the 2 of us made up half their dinner crowd that night!

The shop exterior isn't anything to jump about, and the limited seating inside makes it popular for takeaway instead of dine in. The restaurant's design is simple and casual, with wooden flooring and plain, practical furniture and very warm yellow orange lighting. I can see why takeaway is more exciting.

More suited to its "little local takeaway eatery" status,  I'm guessing Kabuki is more popular with the "30 seconds around the corner" crowd, and not the "30 minutes from the other side of the river" type.
Gee, the lengths I would go to get good (and mediocre) food!

(08) 9362 3550

Mon - Sat: 11am to 9pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: 5pm to 9pm

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