Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Gaya Applecross

Whilst hubby and I were on our 5 week holiday in USA and Canada, I was honoured to be invited by Leo Cho the manager and chef of The Gaya Applecross to blog about his restaurant and fortunately for me, Chef Leo was kind enough to extend his offer to when we return from holidays and also allowed me to bring a guest (yes my hubby tagged along as usual). My apologies for the delay in writing this blog post but I've only just settled back into my normal routine and gotten over my post-holiday depression. USA and Canada are now just awesome but distant, let's get back on track. 

The Gaya Applecross is a modern Korean restaurant which is run by manager and chef Leo Cho who has been in the industry for over 13 years, he started his journey as a chef in Korea and now here in Perth, he has used his years of experience to create a fusion of western and Korean food, a concept which is still quite novel in Perth.

The restaurant is situated in the complex on the corner of Canning Highway and Riseley Street in Ardross.  If you park in the car park then it is opposite Terrazza and Il Ciao, otherwise if you enter from Kearns Crescent then you need to walk through the arcade behind Gelares. It is not very easy to find unless you know the area, luckily hubby is a southie.

As we approached the restaurant, the waitress actually opened the door for us, greeted us, seated us and gave us menus. We were informed that we would be having the $45 set menu.

Set menu $45, gives you one choice of:
  • Starter
  • 36pork, beef short rib, gaya bullgogi, seafood stew, la galbi or tteok galbi
  • Green tea ice cream or red misu

On a Wednesday night at 6:30pm the restaurant was empty which meant that I could take photos without intruding the personal space of other patrons and that we were served quickly but maybe wasn't so good for the owners. As we didn't know what to order, we asked the waitress for recommendations and she was able to tell us what is popular but not much more detail; we took most of her recommendations.

Our order
  • Arrancini (risotto, onion, zucchini, kimchi, mixed berry) - Shallow frying risotto rice served with basil pesto, pan fried kimchi and berry sauce
  • Gaya Chicken (chicken, egg, flour, peanut) - Deep fried chicken thigh by Korean style batter with Gaya special sweet and spicy sauce topped roast peanut
  • Beef short rib (beef short rib, parsnip, red date, potato, carrot) - Traditional Korean style 24 hour simmering cooked beef short ribs in broth of red dates and parsnip chip with rosemary potato and carrot
  • Seafood stew (banana prawn, scallop, squid, fish, vegetable, sticky rice) - Stewed scallop, prawn, fish and squid with vegetable in hot pot topped dried bonito served with crunch sticky rice
  • Green tea ice cream (homemade)
  • Red misu (homemade)
  • Green tea x 2

We were presented with complimentary vegetable pancakes shortly after we ordered, they were not bad, typical of the pancakes you get at your average Korean restaurants but obviously much better presented and the miso-mayo sauce made it a bit more special.
Vegetable pancake (complimentary)

Food and presentation - 3/5
One word can be used to describe most of the food at The Gaya Applecross - sweet. My bestie JL had warned me before I went that the food is very sweet, so I went expecting it to be sweet but didn't realise how sweet it would be. Our starter, the arrancini was probably the only dish that wasn't sweet and both hubby and I really enjoyed it especially the kimchi and berry sauce which really completes the dish. The Gaya chicken on the other hand was very sweet, the first few pieces were tasty but after that it became too sweet, the batter was also a bit thick and the chicken was actually a bit overcooked. The rice cake that accompanied the chicken was tough and wasn't pleasant to eat. Both dishes, however, were well presented with generous portion size.
Gaya Chicken
After our starters, we were each presented with side dishes consisting of spicy? tomato, fish cake and pickled cabbage. I put a question mark after spicy as that was what I heard our waitress say but when we ate it, it wasn't spicy so maybe it is sliced tomato? Nothing special here but it was well presented. I actually wished there was kimchi...
Side dishes - spicy? tomato, fish cake, pickled cabbage (complimentary)
I was excited when I saw my seafood stew because of the bonito flakes which were dancing on top and I really liked the metal bowl that it was served in. The stew was sweet, it was okay at the beginning but it started to get very sweet after a few spoonfuls. I did like the crunchy rice cake that accompanied the stew for dipping and could have done with a few more pieces.  The beef short rib was interesting, sweet and I'm not sure if I liked it or not but the beef was nice and tender.
Beef short rib
Seafood stew
I was excited about my dessert as I ordered the red misu which is a red bean version of tiramisu presented in the form of a chocolate garden similar to the one I've had at No 4 Blake St but unfortunately it was not comparable and I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong it was nice, just not wow both in terms of presentation and flavour. The green tea ice cream was not very well presented and didn't have enough green tea flavour.
Green tea ice cream
Red misu
Green tea
Service - 3/5
The service was pretty average, our waitress was polite and checked on us now and again but the service was not professional. I have to say she did open the door for us when we arrived and left which was very nice. My main niggle was that our dishes were not clearly introduced when served. I requested to speak to Chef Leo at the end of our meal to thank him and he was lovely and much younger than I anticipated.

Atmosphere and decor - 3/5
I don't think the decor matches the class of restaurant they are trying to be. It looked like they have kept some of the decor from the previous restaurant, the flooring looked a bit tired and worn and the counter is not fantastic, apart from that it was comfortable enough with simple decor but a little face lift will go a long way. The restaurant was fairly quiet so there wasn't much of an atmosphere tonight even when a few more tables were filled; it seemed to be more a casual dining restaurant.

Value for money - 3/5
The portions were generous at The Gaya Applecross and $45 for a three course dinner, I think, is pretty good value for money for modern dining with generous portions.

Once again, I'll like thank Chef Leo for inviting my hubby and I to taste test The Gaya Applecross, I admire your creativity and wish you and your team the best of luck.

Taste Test Total Score 12/20

The Gaya Applecross on Urbanspoon