Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Espresso & Matcha's Saporous Expedition - Perth: La Veen

The next day, Iron Fist and I found ourselves prowling the streets of Perth looking for a hearty breakfast (despite last night's epic dinner). Wandering through the classic colonial style buildings on King Street, we noticed that La Veen had started to fill up, despite the early hour. Readers will know by now that in deciding which restaurants to try, I find that following the crowd is often a safe bet, so we headed inside to see for ourselves. 


Inside we were served immediately, given a table and instructed to order by the counter. I liked their all day menu, and the semi customisable eggs, which we eventually ordered.

Other than the standard cooked food, there were also an assortment of pastries and muffins, which we didn't order, although Iron Fist was sorely tempted to.

Our coffees arrived soon enough, and we had our usuals, a flat white for him and a cappuccino for me. We were both pretty impressed with the elaborate latte art, which was quite pretty and intricate in design. Coffee was strong and rich, making it the best I've had yet in Perth. Iron Fist liked it so much he ordered another one to have take away.

Our food came not long afterwards, and looked also very impressive. 

Both of us ordered the Eggs your way, and he had his poached, however he had the C set of extras whilst I had the B. His extras included mushrooms, chorizo and his favourite thick cut bacon. All of the fried goods were very well done, leaning towards the more overdone than the underdone end of the spectrum, but he enjoyed the crispiness of them. Seizing the chance to steal some of his mushrooms, I found them well seasoned and very tender.

I opted for my eggs to be fried, and with a B set, consisting of avocado (yes I'll never be able to afford a house), salmon and feta. Expecting regular fried eggs with a crispy bottom, I was surprised to be served eggs which reminded me strongly of that which you would find in a Mcdonalds McMuffin with its perfectly rounded shape and evident lack of a crispy bottom. Despite the lack of crispiness, it was still thoroughly enjoyable, with the yolks having a thick but still runny consistency. The avocado was ripe and the salmon was quite fresh and cool, but I didn't particularly like the taste of strong feta so early in the morning (but unfortunately couldn't opt out as the sides were in fixed sets), so Iron Fist took one for the team and finished it for me.

Price Range: $20 - $25pp

Taste: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 8/10

La Veen Coffee & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Izakana-Ya Okuman - West End

Having taken a slight detour on my quest to eat at all the Japanese Restaurants in Brisbane, I regained my focus and decided that the next stop ought to be Izakana Ya Okuman at West End. Having heard that they recently opened a branch store, Tatsu, at Fortitude Valley, I was keen to try out the original store before branching off. 

Arriving early in the lunch hour, the place was not yet half full. I really like the samurai decoration at the door, which was very instagramable, especially with the handy frame on the side.

In line with my usual preference, we got a bench-side seat, and noted that ordering was via ipad, which meant we didn't need to flag down a waitress.

Water was provided without having to ask, which is a nice change from having to wait and find someone to request water. 

We started our meal with the sashimi of the day platter, with seven varieties of fish. It was presented beautifully in a large ceramic bowl filled with ice. Cuts were reasonably fresh, but I've definitely had better in other places. The highlight for us was the tuna which was quite fatty for what's available in Brisbane. We found the mackerel to be very hard and not very paletable, whilst the bonito was super strong in taste (I was not prepared for that). 

My companion ordered a chicken katsu bento, which she also found to be quite underwhelming. Whilst the rice to side ratio was quite good, the quality of the sides left much to be desired. She found the chicken katsu to be not quite crunchy, and drenched in a little too much sauce., as were the croquettes, but most disappointing was the gyoza which had a doughy and thick pastry that covered a dry and coarse filling.

I ordered the assorted sushi set with a side of udon for my meal. Unfortunately the sushi was disappointing in both its elements. The rice was (shock horror) brown rice! As a devout sushi purist, whilst I can appreciate the health benefits of brown rice, having the option to stick to regular white would have been meant a lot more enjoyment on my part. Secondly, the fish on top was quite thinly sliced, especially after our sashimi, this was a letdown. Sadly the udon wasn't much different either, with the noodles being undercooked and quite firm, which is a rare fault to find in commercial udon.

Price Range: $20 - $35pp

Taste: 4/10
Value: 4/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

Izakana-ya Okuman Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Espresso & Matcha's Saporous Expedition - Perth: Nobu

As my readers will know by now. No interstate trip is ever complete with Iron Fist is complete without a splurge on something extravagant. Which is why I found myself at Crown Perth, at Nobu, which he was very keen to try after our enjoyable experience at their Melbourne store last year.

Compared to Melbourne, I found the Perth setup to be far more fancy and elegant, with a decidedly less wooden theme. The ceiling piece was especially captivating. Having made a reservation beforehand (of course), we were soon comfortably seated.

The menu was quite similar to Melbourne, and had quite a few contemporary and fusion options rather than traditional ones. 


Water was provided, and Iron Fist started with a red wine as usual, since he ordered red meat for his main.

First to arrive was the Nobu Style Salmon. It comprised of some very thinly sliced salmon which was covered in a balsamic and citrusy sauce with considerable oil, topped with shallots and ginger, finished with a cherry tomato in the centre. 


How can Iron Fist ever go to Nobu without ordering Sushi Tacos? The answer is that he absolutely cannot, which is why we had a serve of three, his two in wagyu beef and mine in salmon to try. The puffed rice taco shell was crunchy and light, whilst salmon was very fresh and complemented well with the wasabi mayo. Iron Fist also said that he found his wagyu to be very well marinated and saucy.

Not wanting to veer too far from the traditional, I ordered a serve of Tempura Prawns as well. They were very crispy, with a batter that wasn't overly thick, and freshly fried. It was served extremely hot, and cooled nicely with the tempura dipping sauce, and I really enjoyed the dish.

Prior to going to Nobu, Iron Fist and I spent considerable time doing research and drooling over other peoples photos and reviews. The one thing that stood out to the both of us as a must order was the highly acclaimed Miso Cod, which we ordered to share. It came out perfectly caramelised with some bits slightly charred, and topped with a piece of pickled vegetable and lotus root. The fish had a wonderful flakey texture to it and didn't have any fishy taste at all. The miso was quite sweet without detracting from the basic soy flavours. 

Being a big fan of noodles, especially when served in soup, I ordered a bowl of Kinoko Soba. After the intense flavours of miso cod, this was a very light option which really cleansed my palate. There were three types of mushrooms, shiitake, kinoko and oyster, all were mild in taste and had a good chewy texture to it. Flavouring could be added by the sides of shallots, seaweed and chilli should one find it bland. I for one found it good as is, especially with the soba being tender but having just the right amount of bite in the centre. 

Iron Fist's main event was the Rib Eye with Shiitake and Truffle butter. It was served with a side of mushrooms as well. Stealing a piece (of course I would!), it was perfectly tender and melted in my mouth. The beef texture was wonderfully smooth, and the truffle was exceptionally rich and fragrant. I could eat this every day. 

Last of our savoury foods was the sushi and sashimi platter. Which included:

Salmon avocado roll

One piece of king salmon and tuna

Two pieces of nigiri, including

Salmon with truffle and

Kingfish with truffle.

We found the rice to have been vinegared very well, drawing a balance between sweet and sour elements. The fish was of course, very fresh, and the salmon particularly melted in our mouth. Wanting to try the novelty of having truffle on my sushi, I ordered both the salmon and kingfish nigiri with truffle, and it was a little disappointing. Whilst there was no shortage in fragrance, the dry flaky texture of the truffle didn't match very well with the overall nigiri experience. 

Without a doubt, the two of us were quite full after consuming so much food, but of course readers would know that I am never one to turn down dessert for being full, and so when the menu arrived, we ordered some. 

Desserts took considerably longer to arrive than the mains, no doubt due to the fact we ordered it last.

The first one I tried was the Miso Cappuccino. with its miso and milk chocolate creme, coffee chocolate crumble, vanilla ice cream and coffee foam, it was an amazing mixture of texture! The foam was wonderfully light, the creme was rich and smooth whilst the crumble made it have just that little bit of crunch. Erring on the sweeter side of the spectrum, the chocolate and coffee flavours were quite strong, and overpowered the slight hints of miso. 

Last thing we could fit in that evening was the Matcha Lava Cake. It came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a chocolate plaque. Having experienced the best ever Matcha Lava cake at Cafe Cre Asion, I found this to be not as good, given that the outer layers of the cake were relatively drier, and the lava inside wasn't enough to balance this out. The matcha was also not very strong in flavour or colour, as you can see, and I had to supplement it with copious amounts of vanilla ice cream to get a good moisture balance.

Price Range: $150 - $180 pp

Taste: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 9/10
Environment: 9/10

Nobu Perth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato