Sunday, August 23, 2009

Colonel's curry

I'm not going to lie to you - I, just like many people who enjoy well coooked food, have a weakness for the Colonel's fried chicken. Yes... Kentucky deep fried "dirty bird" chicken, whilst so bad for me, does manage to satisfy a craving (albeit briefly) before consistently leaving me in a heap of "why the heck did I do that?".

Yes... there are so many things wrong with the idea of eating mass produced, battery chickens deep fried in artery clogging fat in the 11 secret (than God coz they were probably created in a science lab) herbs and spices... but it does appeal.

A genius way to enjoy the "calorie chicken" is to serve it with steamed rice and japanese curry. Yes.. that's right, Hot and Spicy chicken with home made japanese curry kicks ass. The spicy flavours naturally work well together and also means that you can introduce greens and vegetables into the otherwise sinful meal (any opportunity to lessen the guilt works for me). I like to add chopped chillis, onions, carrot, potato and sweet potato to my curry as well as half a freshly grated apple (preferably fuji) at the end of the cooking process to take the edge off the heat with natural sweetness.

Mmmm... this is one of those shortcuts in life that just make sense... try it to believe it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kiri Take 2

I have previously raved about Kiri Japanese restaurant which is nestled in the quiet neighbourhood of Shenton Park. This tiny yet elegant restaurant is run by Taka and Noriko, genuinely nice people who have a passion for what they do. A recent visit back proved that they are still feeding this passion as well as lovers of Japanese food who keep coming back for more.

Aside from the standard menu of their most requested items, Kiri also has a changing seasonal menu which reflects the fresh produce that varies from month to month. More often than not, it also includes Taka's new creations which range from the simplest (like cream crab croquettes topped with crispy lotus root) to the more elaborate (a beautifully presented bento box of unagi, grilled duck breast wrapped around grilled asparagus, grilled sablefish and nasu dengaku).

Kiri does well in simple but well cooked Japanese fare that steps beyond your teriyaki glazes (although it also does these perfectly well) and presents beautifully. What is even more impressive is that Taka manages to whip up these beautiful creations in the tiniest of kitchens. I was amazed at the constant stream of takeaway orders that came throughout dinner service and how the kitchen was able to keep up the pace.

It's great to see a deserving place do well - remember to book in advance.

Kiri Authentic Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The good... the ugly... and the bloody tasty

I've never been to Mexico - and I'm not sure if I'll get there anytime soon. But there's something festive about the idea of Mexican food - nothing pretentious, spiced up, often very messy and when done right - oh so tasty.

So its sad that Mexican food often gets a bad rap with the cheap and nasty versions served up the world over. From greasy and sloppy quesadillas to stale and crusty tacos - Mexican food has also become associated with stuff you devour when you've had too many a cheap margarita and its the only way in which you can get the maximum grease in the shortest amount of time to ease the pain.

And so it was a pleasant surprise when M and I stumbled upon the Flying Taco, a tiny Mexican diner tucked in North Perth for a late Saturday lunch (no we weren't drinking heavily the night before).

Everything is made from scratch here - from the delicious smelling tortilla to the addictive range of salsas. We ordered two burritos, a carne asada (grilled sliced steak marinated in lime juice, garlic and oregano) and the carnitas (slow cooked pork with grilled fresh pineapple). Both were excellent and were stuffed with delicious fresh ingredients as well as refried beans and Mexican red rice.

Nothing fancy here at the Flying Taco - as a matter of fact you might walk straight past it and head to the buzzing gourmet foodstore and cafes just next door. But drop by and be rewarded with some genuinely good food.

And whilst I probably won't get the privilege of visiting Mexico anytime soon, making amigos with its food here in Perth isn't such a bad substitute in the mean time.

The Flying Taco
40 Angove Street
North Perth

The Flying Taco on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More than meets the eye

We had the pleasure of dining at Table 78 for dinner recently, having booked our group of 8 into one of the private dining rooms in this charming restaurant that has found a home in a row of heritage listed houses in West Perth.

The setting here is elegant but simple - relying on the character of the high ceilings, wooden floor boards and vintage furniture to set the tone. And so is it with the food here.

Pared back to simple, uncomplicated menu descriptions with honestly tasty dishes cooked and seasoned well, the team at table 78 have managed to successfully pull off the concept of simple fine dining.

We started off with some seriously fantastic tempura oysters topped with chilli jam perched gently on top pickled cucumber in its shell. The zingy vinegar in the cucumber cut nicely through creamy and crispy oysters... balance of flavours and texture - me like.

We also had the chickpea battered prawns, served with rocket and a harissa mayonnaise. Nothing fancy, not particularly photogenic (hence its absence from the pictures), but very tasty.

For mains we opted for the specials for the night. The fish of the day was super crispy skinned barramundi fillets on a bed of chickpea and spinach.

We also had the roasted pork striploin marinated in fennel seeds, served with roasted beetroot jam with a side quenelle of parsnip and wholeseed mustard mash. This was probably the only disappointing dish of the night. Whilst the combination of flavours was spot on, the thick cut of lean pork was quite dry and let down an otherwise impressive looking dish.

The standout for the night however was definitely the braised wagyu beefcheeks served with roasted baby carrots and leeks on top of the ultimate potato puree (so creamy it hurts). This was perfectly executed and the gelatinous cheeks a true joy to eat.

Table 78 has an equally simple but delicious dessert menu. The hazlenut creme brulee with short bread was delightful, as was the chocolate marquise sandwiched in a pistachio biscuit.

The menu at Table 78 won't surprise - what you see is what you get. Its the execution of the dishes and the clever balance of textures, flavours and ingredients that will surprise and delight. Coupled with attentive service and an unpretentious setting, this is one restaurant that I'll definitely be returning to.

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