Sunday, 10 February 2013

Blue Ginger Club

Blue Ginger Club on Urbanspoon
There's a new kid on the block (on my block at least), called Blue Ginger Club.
With 4 different Indian restaurants all within a minute's walk from each other (or a 3 second drive if you must) means 2 things: competition is strong and the smell of delicious aromas in that vicinity is even stronger.

I noticed this new (to me anyway) restaurant and went to grab a takeaway menu when a man eagerly gestured me to go inside, even though the restaurant was already closed.
"No worries, I'm the boss, go in!" he shouted at me, while shouting to the staff that there was one more customer for the afternoon.

"Next time!..." I lied.

This was a crap lie, because I came back just 2 days later and actually went inside this time.

Complimentary Papadams
Once seated, we were provided with menus, water and a basket of crispy plain papadams, accompanied by a minty yoghurt sauce and a sweet, fruity chutney.
Masala Lassi - $5
A stuck to the safe (but boring) option of Coke ($3.50) while my friends ordered a Mango Lassi ($5, not pictured) and a Masala Lassi to try the untried. It looks deceptively like a banana smoothie, but the savoury smell makes its way up your nose fast. It smells immediately like a savoury, spice-laden yoghurt.

Sad to say, we were definitely not accustomed to the taste as both the strong scent of spices and thickness of the drink made us think it is more suitable as a dip than it is as a drink.
And dip our papadam in it we did.

After all 4 people's efforts to drink, sip and dip our breads into the cup, we only managed to conquer 1/5 of it.
Steamed Basmati Rice - $4 per person
The all important rice, to go with all the curries, comes at $4 per person. I surprised myself by finishing more than half of this "4 servings" rice bowl by myself, since 2 of my friends did not touch this.

We had expected to be charged $16 as there were 4 of us; however, the charge for rice on our bill was $12. Perhaps the staff noticed that 2 people did not eat it, so decided to not charge 1 person. Still, an odd thing to do.
Lamb Rogan Josh - $21.50
We waited very impatiently for our dishes to arrive, which actually arrived really quick.

The bowls are deceptively small, but have quite a lot of substance within them! The boneless lamb cubes were really soft and tender to bite, and the traditional masala curry sauce it was cooked in was beautiful to spoon over plain rice.

With the spice mixture permeating through each mouthful, it was a unanimous agreement that this dish was the night's favourite one.
Beef Madras - $21.50
The Beef Madras was quite similar to the Lamb Rogan Josh in terms of both looks and taste, but perhaps with a milder flavour. It is a bowl of just-as-tender beef cubes in a creamy, coconut based gravy with a just as addictive sauce.
Butter Chicken - $22.50
I was happy to see that all chicken dishes use boneless chicken thighs instead of breast meat :)

They couldn't go past ordering the Butter Chicken at an Indian restaurant, which arrived with a velvety, buttery sauce in a vibrant shade of deep gold with succulent, marinated chicken pieces. The dish also has a touch of fenugreek - a plant with aromatic seeds used as a spice.

Initially not knowing what fenugreek tastes like and after eating this dish, I still do not know what fenugreek tastes like. I couldn't taste the flavour.
Butter Naan - $4.50
We are very aware of the fast stomach filling properties of bread, but I am a firm believer that you could never overdose on bread :) There was a bit of confusion when we asked how many slices of naan bread each serve was, and were told that you get 1 piece.

Perplexed, we ordered 2 "for now". Each basket was 1 big piece of bread cut into quarters, so essentially there are 4 slices to each serve. The bread was warm from the charcoal clay oven, golden, looked absolutely delicious and the buttery smell was divine.

It did taste disappointingly bland though, and lacked the strong flavour that was expected.
Garlic Naan - $4.50
In the same boat was the Garlic Naan, which only had a very subtle garlic flavour despite being encrusted with a small amount of golden garlic specks. The naan breads served as very useful serviettes to wipe clean our plates of curry sauce to eat haha.
The "Before" shot; always extremely hard to capture! (Due to "Hunger Impatience Syndrome" present in most humans)
A big spacious dining room and polished furnishings turn it up a notch from casual dining; and the menu has quite the variety, with around a $5 price difference between takeaway and dine in prices.

Had we taken away, we could have devoured a whole other mains dish!
Blue Ginger Club is another player on the field and sandwiched between Punjab and Anghiti, both already brimming with their Best Indian Food awards. The atmosphere in this Innaloo eating strip is being saturated with a yummy curry fragrance, I can't get enough of it!

(08) 9445 1979
Open for Lunch & Dinner


Friday, 1 February 2013

Subi Street Festival 2012

Rewinding life backwards to 2 months ago, I was working hard at twiddling my thumbs at work when I looked up and saw a few chaps wheeling a couple of skilltesters (well known as "those claw machines") across the busy Rokeby Road.

While my colleague assumed that a new arcade games store was opening down the road, this happy sight reminded me that there was a festival to get to that night!

Subiaco; the lively, hip and trendy suburb more affectionately known as Subi, is the latest to jump aboard the festival bandwagon. They held their first Subi Street Festival, which was a grand extension of the Sunset Food Markets already in place at Subi Square over a few balmy Summer nights. 

It was a completely rare sight to not see vehicles in the very commercialised street of Subiaco, as it was only open to pedestrian traffic for the evening. This includes paws! Lots and lots of paws.
I loved seeing so many furry friends join in the celebrations - big, small, long, fat, clean, dirty, groomed and way too furry - trotting along and being hustled about by human legs everywhere.

Fancy a climb?
 Intent on being a very family and community oriented festival, there were several "zones" dotted over the festival with a load of activities that kept the needs of super active (read: hyperactive) kids in mind.

This was evidently a popular attraction, with several kids all over it and another several in queue who couldn't wait to be all over it.

I had a childish giggle in my moment of immaturity when I realised this giant sculpture looked so much like a giant...sculpture.

Other family-fun zones included this immensely popular activity that I've seen at every other festival - umbrella painting.

Paint: Getting into it, getting it on themselves
 This very interactive kids' play area unleashes artistic creativity with blank umbrella canvases and real paint, and not just the type of Paint you find under the Accessories tab on your computer.

Behind the paint station is a display of some spectacular finished creations, worthy of admiration. I never managed to establish a trustworthy partnership with my paintbrush!

Amanda's African Sauces attracted a good crowd with their free samples of sauces and breads to passer-bys. The stall sold a wide range of exotic and unique sauce and dips that you probably wouldn't see on a supermarket shelf.

I spied names like banana jam, roast eggplant, chilli mussel, cashew pesta, kassundy, mango pickle, chilli mint...and wanted to try them all. I didn't. Can't look too greedy in front of strangers!

Pop up Cards
3D pop-up cards are every bit gorgeous and attractive, handmade by very creative hands at Unique 4 U. I spied intricately detailed cards for every occasion, with cute designs popping up.

My very talented friend M has been keeping alive the tradition of sending cards through the mail, and I love seeing her handmade goodies. She posted a picture of pop-up cards she came across on her holiday recently, and really, the art of 3D cards can get pretty crazy!
The Youth Zone featured a very chilled out relaxation area amidst the festival, pumping out tunes and complete with astro turf, sofas and beanbags sprawled on the street. With the Nova radio station crew present, one of the highlights offered was a guided tour of their building, a live radio station in action.

And just in case you were not blown away by fascination by the sheer size of that inflated red Nova mascot, I will attempt to by alluding you to the actual size of it compared to a child (if you even noticed her in the first place).

Free Photobooth. Score!
They say the best things in life are free, so this free photobooth made PERFECT sense. There was a constant queue for this small photobooth from Wink Peace Pout that instantly prints out all your cringeworthy shots.

Photobooths are immensely popular especially at weddings, and usually come with all the props needed to see formally dressed, elegant, reserved ladies transform into pimped out, streetwise grannies.
Street performers, buskers & entertainers
This mischievous stiltwalker had a great time ghosting unsuspecting individuals :)

Main stage providing free live entertainment
Street stalls; one of which offered Ping Pong matches!
2 peacocks, clearly not attracted to each other :P
Peacocks are a normal everyday sight for me, watching them casually roam the grounds of my university and chase anyone holding a sandwich within chasing distance.

The small animal petting farm at the festival attracted many pairs of eyes and hands, eager to pat and feed.

The Absolute Wurst hot dog van, selling many variations of the humble wiener.

The very busy Crepes van, selling both sweet and savoury crepes within the $7-$10 range.

Savoury options included ham, cheese and tomato; ham, cheese and pineapple; and ricotta, baby spinach, salsa and feta; while the sweet side entices with a maple syrup crepe; a nutella crepe; banana and nutella; and an indulgent, one-time-only maple syrup, banana and cream crepe.

The familiar La Paleta, selling Mexican ice treats made with real fruit and recipes from Mexico.

Nuts for You sell a lot of nuts for you, spiced with different flavours like honey roasted and chilli sea salt, as well as popcorn and a honey or chilli sunflower and pumpkin seed mix.

I've got a fierce and stubborn cough from a nut overdose, as I finished a 200g bag of mixed nuts and about 7 nut bars in 2 days. Too much of a good thing IS a bad thing.
Go easy on nuts.

Flippin' pastries
The Murtabak stall had a loooooong line of flaky, crispy paratha bread cravers. For $10, you can get a serve of a piping hot flatbread parcel with your choice of meat (beef mince, carrot, spinach onion and cheese) or vegetable (potato, lentils, carrot, spinach and onion) fillings.

Cooking for carnivores
You'd think these chunky beef ribs were going for free judging by the queue that was waiting for them, fresh hot off the supersized coal barbeque. El Asador (translation: the barbequer) lured in the crowds with their Tira de Asado - a seasoned then slow-cooked Argentinean style rib cut served with chimichurri.

Smell = delicious.
Delicious smell = Ridiculously unappetising crazy long line.

La Latina casted delicious smells from their 3 cauldrons, bubbling away with an aromatic chicken and seafood paella.

Maison Saint-Honore had a range of small cakes, and their complete rainbow of macarons; with flavours like mocha, pistachio, coconut, mango and honey & thyme.

Shak Shuka brought a taste and smell of Morocco to Subiaco, serving up shakshouka to the hoards. Usually eaten as a breakfast dish, the all familiar 2 poached eggs are cooked in a spiced tomato sauce with herbs, garlic and chorizo, served with crusty baguette and a chilli harissa dip.

Also on the menu is Chicken Tajin with Couscous, a traditional slow-cooked chicken stew with dry fruits on couscous or a vegetarian version with chickpeas.

Strung with lights, the Snags and Sons stall dished up a Latino Chorizo with chipotle mayo, apple & fennel slaw, balsamic onions and smoked cheese combination.

Takoyaki in the making
The Japanese Savoury Pastries stall let out a warm glow and warm scent of freshly cooked, golden balls of takoyaki. These were tossed and turned in their indents with precision and speed, their crunchy vegetable interior a variation to the usual chewy octopus texture.

Other stalls that joined the party were:

  • A stall selling hawker style Asian meals, including Penang fried Kuey Teow, Hokkein Char Mein (stir fry noodles), Hainan Chicken Rice, Roti Paratha with Curry Chicken and Tofu Goreng (Tofu stuffed with veges and peanut sauce);
  • Another crepes and paella stall; and
  • A gozleme stall, with fillings like lamb, spinach and feta; Med style with spinach, feta, sundried tomatoes and olives; Breakfast gozleme with spinach, feta, eggs and tomato and an Eggplant Moussaka.

Dj on the decks
Kids Zone
I was puzzled when I tredded through the street, littered with torn telephone directory pages from the Yellow Pages. I later found out this was the aftermath from a muscular, skin-hugging leopard leotard wearing strongman who entertained the crowd with his phonebook ripping acts!

Suitcase Circus was a play space with circus and carnival themed entertainment for the kids, showcasing circus performances, balloonists, clowns, magicians and workshops that taught very vital life skills of juggling and plate spinning :)

With the entire street coming alive with fire breathers, aerial shows and pyromaniacs, along with more food stalls than you can throw a hungry person at, I'll be gatecrashing this big annual party that Subiaco throws, every single year without fail.
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