Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Woody Pear Cafe

Tel: 9470 9176

Bright and early this beautiful Sunday morning, a pregnant Mrs YM (YM = yummy mummy) and I caught up for breakfast.  She had been to The Woody Pear Cafe before and recommended it for our breakfast expedition this morning.  I had no objections because I had been there on a previous occasion for dinner and was happy with the food.

We arrived at 8:30am and there was hardly anyone there, however by the time we left at 10:30am there was a lot more traffic.  The Woody Pear Cafe is situated at the top end (or the quieter end) of Albany Highway so it was easy to find parking which is great for Victoria Park.

 As Mrs YM is pregnant, she couldn't have everything on offer at The Woody Pear Cafe.  Their menu is fairly basic and there is not much of a selection on offer but we both found something we wanted.  Well, actually Mrs YM being pregnant and all wanted smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce which are all things she can't have so she had to settle...

Our order
Moi -  Eggs benedict (leg ham with poached eggs on Loafer's organic ciabatta, wilted spinach and hollandaise sauce) $16.50 with green tea $4.50
Mrs YM - Bacon and eggs (Loafer's organic sourdough toasted with two rashers of bacon and scrambled eggs) $12 and latte $4

Food and presentation - 3/5
The servings at The Woody Pear Cafe are generous (we couldn't finish our meal) and quite tasty.  It's breakfast so it's pretty hard to get it wrong.  My complaints were that my eggs benedict was not hot or even warm for that matter, the ciabatta was starting to get soggy and there was too much spinach so the flavours didn't quite balance.  However, the eggs were poached to perfection and the hollandaise sauce tasted nice (but was a little on the runny side).  They can also do with using bigger plates.  Mrs YM didn't appear to have any complaints and commented on how great the coffee is at The Woody Pear Cafe.  

Green Tea $4.50
Latte $4
Bacon and eggs $12
Egg's benedict $16.50

Service -  3.5/5
The waitress attending to us was polite, had a lovely smile on her face and friendly.  A bottle of water was on the table with Mrs YM when I arrived so that made me happy.  No complaints about the service.

Atmosphere - 3.5/5
The outdoor area was nice and relaxing.  The decor is very simple and basic but it is a cafe after all.  Being a Sunday morning it was quiet and it was nice to enjoy breakfast in a quiet, relaxing environment.

Value for money - 3/5
Didn't really pay attention to the price when I was there but when I got home and compared them to other breakfast venues that I've been to, it is slightly dearer.  Considering it isn't anything special, I don't really think it is worth the premium. 

Wow, I feel like a whinger.  I'll most likely return to The Woody Pear Cafe because their dinner was good.  Might try elsewhere for breakfast though.

Taste Test Total Score 13/20
The Woody Pear Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Meeka Restaurant

Tel: 9381 1800

 It's been a while since I last caught up with Mrs Em and Mrs Kae and tonight along with Miss Zed and Miss Fi, we finally had our catch up session!  Mrs Kae suggested we try Middle Eastern food and remembering Mr El recommending Meeka Restaurant, I decided we should check it out.  Meeka Restaurant isn't actually a Middle Eastern restaurant (I found out after making the decision) but a modern Australia restaurant with Moroccan influence.  At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what type of food Meeka Restaurant serves, all that matters is the the company and the quality of the food.

The menu at Meeka Restaurant was interesting and there was enough on offer without causing confusion.  What I love about their menu is that they have a glossary at the back which is such a great idea!  This saves time because I don't need to Google it or ask the wait staff (who sometimes look at you like you're an idiot!).  Although the menu shouldn't take long to read, it took us forever to decide as we were trying to catch up on each other's lives whilst looking at the menu.  We finally opted to share entrees, mains and tajines because we wanted to leave room to try the interesting array of desserts.

Our order

Mezze plate for 2 (Avocado and harissa dip, Turkish bread, macerated olives, grilled chorizo sausage, lamb boreks with eggplant relish and baby corn and asparagus with harissa tarator) $29
Dates stuffed with goats feta, walnuts, proscuitto, lemon, thyme, wrapped in kataifi $15
Twice cooked spiced duck leg, roasted carrot almond puree, sauteed silverbeet, asparagus, dukkah, crusted gnocchi, sour cherry glaze $37
Grilled vegetable quinoa currant brik pastry parcel, sweet and sour eggplant, hommus yoghurt, pickled cucumber candied walnut herb salad $28
Tajines (served with labneh and Israeli couscous or quinoa)
Chicken koftas in a spicy tomato persian sauce, pomegranate eggplant relish, date labneh $30
Fresh seafood selection with tomato saffron galliano sauce, quinoa stuffed baby squid, preserved lime, green olives $37
Turkish delight stuffed doughnuts, rose spiced chocolate sauce, cardamon yoghurt parfait, Persian fairy floss x2 $28 ($14 each)
Wild fig soft cheese cigar, pistachio dust, salted caramel parfait, Turkish coffee syrup $14
Meringue, caramelised wild baby figs, almond white chocolate mousse, orange blossom curd $14
Raspberry white chocolate and coconut ice cream with Persian fairy floss $6

We ended up ordering too much as usual so dessert ended up being a chore to finish...

Food and presentation - 3.5/5
The food was tasty and well presented at Meeka Restaurant - I love the tajines, they're so pretty.  The stand out dishes for me were the stuffed dates and the spiced duck leg (the crusted gnocchi was awesome!).  The other dishes were also very nice but it wasn't anything spectacular.  I've never had a tajine before so didn't really know what to the food supposed to be just warm? The desserts were good, maybe even a little weird but the combinations of ingredients and flavours seemed to work.  I'd never think to stuff Turkish delights into a doughnut.

Mezze plate for 2 (back view) $29
Mezze plate for 2 (front view) $29
Stuffed dates $15
Twice cooked spiced duck leg $37
Grilled vegetable quinoa currant brik pastry parcel $28
Chicken koftas taijine $30
Seafood tajine $37
Couscous that came with tajine
Pretty tajine
Turkish delight stuffed doughnuts $14
Wild fig soft cheese cigar $14
Meringue $14
Raspberry white choc and coconut ice cream $6

Service - 4/5
The wait staff was friendly and the manager picked me out to be a blogger as soon as I sat down, is it that obvious?  Water was topped up on a regular basis, they asked us a few times how things were going, etc without being annoying and our dishes were served in a timely fashion.  Only complaint was when they gave us share plates my plate wasn't very clean, it had oil on it. 

Atmosphere - 4/5
Meeka Restaurant felt very welcoming and is a great place to catch up with friends.  It is very spacious and there are tajines scattered around the restaurant, Moroccan style lights and a very nice decorative fireplace which wasn't very photogenic.

Value for money - 3.5/5
The food is quite reasonably priced, however the mark up on the wines are a little excessive (I guess that goes for many restaurants). 

Will go back if my taste buds crave for Moroccan...

Taste Test Final Score 15/20
Meeka Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Aisuru Sushi

Tel: 9328 8578 (they don't take bookings)

Last night I had dinner with Mr and Mrs Jae and Mrs and Mr Jay, yes I was the fifth wheel but I am used it.  I've wanted to try Aisuru Sushi even before it opened because (1) I love Japanese food, (2) it's new and (3) before it was even operating I was sticky beaking through the window and they waved at me.  

We originally planned to go there last Friday but as they don't take bookings and we couldn't get there til after 7pm, we decided to postpone to this week.  We arrived at 6pm (this was the time recommended by the person I spoke to on the phone) and there was already a crowd waiting to go in (they weren't open yet), when the doors opened everyone got in line and waited to be let in.  They were quick to show us a table and the waitress asked for our drinks order once everyone had arrived.

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The selection of sushi available at Aisuru Sushi was tremendous, I got confused because I wanted to try everything.  In the end, Mrs Jay and I ordered the ones with the stars next to it (we assumed they were the recommended dishes), we ordered 2 entrees and 4 different types of sushi (round 1).  We weren't full yet so we asked Mr and Mrs Jae to order some more food so they ordered 2 more entrees and 1 more sushi (round 2) then we had round 3 which was dessert.  We ended up ordering way too much food but it was worth it.

Our order 
  • Green tea x 5 $15 ($3 each)
Round 1
  • Soft-shell crab salad (Lightly battered and fried soft-shell crab with mixed mesclun salad and Aisuru mayonnaise dressing) $15.50
  • Creamy popcorn shrimp (5 pieces of crispy tempura served with tentsuyu sauce) $15.50
Sushi (we ordered the main size - 8 pieces)
  • Plum flower roll (Chicken teriyaki and avocado wrapped in nori and shari.  Wrapped again in tamago egg wrap, and drizzled with special plum sauce) $16.50
  • Black velvet roll (Tempura prawn, seared tuna, cucumber, crab stick and spring onion, wrapped in nori and shari. Topped with avocado and black caviar. Drizzled with chilli mayonnaise) $22.50
  • Grilled scallop and avocado roll (Avocado and crab stick wrapped in nori and shari.  Topped with seared scallops and drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise) $18.50
  • Salmon skin and unagi roll (Crispy tempura salmon skin and crab stick, wrapped in nori and shari.  Topped with unagi eel and crunchy tempura flakes.  Drizzled in unagi eel sauce) $18.50
Round 2
  • Salmon sashimi (5 slices of salmon served with gari ginger and wasabi) $10.50
  • Tuna sashimi (5 slices of tuna served with gari ginger and wasabi) $10.50
  • Sunburn roll (Spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber, wrapped in nori and shari.  Topped with seared tuna and dollops of spicy sauce) $18.50 
  • Green tea ice cream x 3 $15 ($5 each)
  • Banana split maki x 2 (6 pieces of fried banana. Topped with fresh druits and whipped cream.  Sprinkled with icing sugar and drizzled with chocolate and rasberry sauce) $24 ($12 each)

Food and presentation - 4/5
The food at Aisuru Sushi was fresh and tasty.  The combination of ingredients of each sushi we ordered has been well thought through and the flavours just go well together.  I can't decide which sushi I liked best because they were all yummy.  The creamy popcorn shrimp is a must have though! Presentation is simple and nice but nothing special because you can find this type of sushi presentation at other sushi places around town.  The green tea ice cream is the best in town,  I haven't had such awesome green tea ice cream for ages!  It was so creamy and packed with green tea flavour.  The banana split maki is also worth trying.
Creamy Popcorn Shrimp $15.50

Soft-shell crab salad $15.50
Plum Flower Roll $16.50
Black Velvet Roll $22.50
Salmon Skin and Unagi Roll $18.50
Grilled Scallop and Avocado Roll $18.50
Salmon Sashimi $10.50
Tuna Sashimi $10.50
Sunburn Roll $18.50
Green Tea Ice Cream $5
Banana Split Maki $12
Service - 4.5/5
Apart from not being able to book and having to get there early to get a table, I was really happy with the service.  We were given menus as soon as we sat down, they took our drinks order when everyone had arrived, our green tea was refilled periodically (you may probably tell by now that automatic refills are a bonus points item for me), the waitresses were polite and friendly, there was the right amount of staff, the waitresses asked whether you have been here before and do you need suggestions, the owner, Ken was friendly and observant (he noticed and commented on Mr Jae's awesome blazer when he entered the restaurant, he also noticed that I was forever taking photos of the menu and gave me a copy of the menu to take embarrassing...but kudos to him! And he let me press send on their iPad ordering system (yes they take orders on iPads!) when we ordered dessert, he chatted to us and let us take a photo of him which I promised not to post up) and the food came out quickly. Need I say more?

Atmosphere - 4/5
Casual, friendly atmosphere.  Seats were comfortable, the tables are spaced out enough so you can't hear the conversation at the next table but also not too far so that you can't talk to the next table if you wanted to (we offered our dessert to the table next door because we were so full and they seemed so fascinated with the amount of food we ordered).

Value for money - 3.5/5
For around $40 per person we were so full our stomachs were about to explode.  However, you can find similar sushi for a lower price or bigger servings at the same price.  $3 per head for green tea (tea bag) was a bit hefty but the fact that they topped it up periodically made it worthwhile.  

Green Tea $3 per head
Will definitely go back to try out the other sushi on offer and also for the green tea ice cream!

Taste Test Total Score 16/20

Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon