Definitely not your typical Bali experience, Frankenstein’s Laboratory packs in the revellers. These revellers seemed to be mainly Aussies, with several large families, a hen’s party and groups of female friends in the mix. We were a bit nervous to find that our reserved table was smack bang in front of the stage and were sure we’d be in for a bit of something uncomfortable. As it turns out, when we declined the offer to have our photos taken with the ghouls who do the cabaret act, we were told we had to be judges. Judges of the screams made by the groups who came up for the next hour to have their pics taken with the ghouls. Jason, the host of Frankensteins, did a sterling job in getting the many groups on and off the stage, and encouraging them to scream as if their lives depended on it.


When our two Balinese friends joined us, they were a bit bemused by the whole set up. Being the only non-tourists in the place, I don’t know whether they were taken aback by the whole shebang, or just politely appalled by it. They probably did question why there were no other locals there, but I guess this is the sort of novelty venue that appeals to people on holiday.

After the photo sessions, the first cabaret act ensued, with a tribute to Michael Jackson. Two other cabaret acts follow during the evening – a Beetlejuice and a Rocky Horror tribute. Rocky Horror was our pick for the evening, with the cabaret act getting right into the spirit of things, and the guy dressed as Franknfurter doing a brilliant job in his stilletoes and suspenders.


In between the stage shenanigans, we ordered our meals consisting of burgers, fries and a pizza. The burgers fell apart, and were tasteless and ordinary, and none of us finished them. The fries were limp and the worst I can remember eating for a while. I didn’t try the pizza, but it was large and cheesy and looked ok. It’s not hard to make decent fries, but I think the emphasis at Frankensteins is on getting the food out quickly, and quality doesn’t enter the equation.

Drinks here are served in blood bags and syringes, and they’re very cheap. I stuck with the local wine (not bad actually) at $6.90 a glass. We had to constantly flag down wait staff, who seemed more concerned with chatting to each other at the bar than making sure the patrons were being served.

The Monster Band played a few sets of music in between the cabaret acts. We were pleasantly surprised by just how good the band was, with quality vocals and musicianship. They were far better than the bands we heard playing up on Eat St on Saturday night, and they didn’t have to try too hard to entice folks up on the dance floor.
Despite our initial misgivings, we had a really fun night. I guess this place isn’t for everyone, but it really suits families and big groups. Everyone was there to have fun, and have fun they did. Don’t go to Frankenstein’s for the food, although I’m sure some people would be happy enough with what’s on offer. We’d been to some incredible eateries and this wasn’t one of them. It was however, a rollicking good night with cheap booze, fun entertainment, and a room full of people who wanted nothing except to have a good time. There’s no cover charge and it’s an unusual and fun way to spend an evening in Bali.

So come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab…..

Frankensteins Laboratory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Samson’s Paddock

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Mosman Park is a bit further afield from my usual area, but I’m always interested in discovering new venues and adding to my list of favourites. Samson’s Paddock on Glyde Street is a newish addition to the area and looks chilled and inviting with its red brick and wood interior, and back courtyard complete with an acoustic musical duo playing on the night we visited.

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Our group settled into one of the front rooms and ordered drinks from the wine menu. With only a limited range of wines by the glass, they regrettably ran out of the Adelaide Hills pinot rose within our first hour there. Not great planning for a Saturday night, with the only other rose option being a whopping $14 a glass. I really do think restaurants that also promote themselves as bars should provide more options for reasonably priced wine by the glass.

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We were offered the set menu of two courses for $50 but this provided a limited range of options and didn’t appeal to any of us. I wasn’t enamoured with the main course options so decided to go with two entrees. My first selection was the truffled arancini with feta, spinach and mushrooms and they proved a good choice – crispy, not oily, and with a flavourful punch of truffle and feta.

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The Prof and I swapped one of our entree pieces so I got to sample her coconut-crusted tiger prawns with lime and chilli aoli. This fairly standard offering was perfectly fine, but nothing outside of the box.

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Sadly my choice of the Vegetarian Moussaka for the main course was a major disappointment. I was expecting bubbling, cheesy layers of vegetables, but the offering of layered zucchini, eggplant and peppers topped with a slice of haloumi was far from that. The vegetables had stewed in their own liquid, and minus any cheesy tomato sauce, this dish languished in mediocrity. The slice of haloumi only hinted at the flavours that could have been. Undoubtably the blandest moussaka I have ever eaten.

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The Prof didn’t fare much better with her meal of Copocabana Quesadillas with chilli con carne. Overcooked was how she described it, and this is obvious from the pic below.

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Two others in our group ordered the fish-of-the-day special of pan fried salmon with mash and broccolini. The verdict on the salmon was that it was passable, but “nothing to write home about”.

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The last of our group chose a daily special of risotto with peas and camembert. She enjoyed this dish, pronouncing it creamy and flavourful. Finally; someone satisfied with their main course!

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It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a wonderful food experience here, but that doesn’t detract from the other delightful elements of this restaurant and bar. Samson’s Paddock has several positive things going for it; wonderful ambience and settings, attentive and pleasant service, and the fact that it’s open every day. I can see myself sitting in the courtyard with a few friends on a balmy Perth afternoon, sipping drinks and nibbling on some shared plates of food. It’s the perfect venue really; if only they could fine-tune the food situation and lower the drink prices, Saturday night would likely be a full-house.

Samsons Paddock on Urbanspoon

The Ellington Jazz Club

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When I imagine atmospheric jazz band places, I think New York. Not that I’ve been, but that’s how I imagine them anyway. Ellington’s makes me feel that way. It’s a jazz joint packed to the rafters with music lovers seated around small tables facing the stage, it’s dim lighting with small candles on the tables, and it’s damned amazing music. This place pulses with music that gets the crowd tapping their toes and singing along at times. It’s uber cool and it’s definitely hip to be over 40 here. Heck, it’s hip to be any age here.

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Last night The Prof and I were lucky to have tickets for a Burt Bacharach tribute that had everyone singing along and re-living hits of the 60s and 70s. It was the proverbial walk down nostalgia lane. Ellington regulars Ali Bodycoat and Libby Hammer entertained the crowd in their usual grand style, and the crowd lapped it up.

The Prof and I ordered a bottle of the sparkling shiraz for $44, and a $29 three cheese platter to share. The food options are limited, but as this is a venue focusing on music and drinks and not on food, this isn’t surprising. I think some of the negative reviews on Urbanspoon about The Ellington may be from people who expected a night out with fine dining. That’s not what this place is about. Expect to be entertained, but don’t expect gourmet cuisine.

I’ve had the cheese platters here many times, and they’re perfect for nibbling on while sipping wine and watching the bands perform. There are also pizzas, an antipasto plate and various tapas dishes.
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The platters are generous and more than enough for two people. We couldn’t finish ours. There was a third cheese buried under the breadsticks somewhere. We had brie, what we think was gouda with cumin seeds, and a firm goats cheese. All were good. The dried apricots and apple cut through the fatty cheeses a bit, but a bit more of the quince paste would have been better.

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I love that this place welcomes music lovers and provides a wonderful venue for local and visiting musicians. Although the dominant music is jazz, there are many different performers here playing soul, swing, blues, groove, classics, and various tributes to ground-breaking artists. It’s a fabulous, fun night out and it’s right here in Perth, six nights a week.
Over 40s, come on in and make yourselves at home 🙂

The Ellington Jazz Club on Urbanspoon

Malt Supper Club

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Situated on the uber trendy Beaufort St, Malt Supper Club was an unexpected delight. I say unexpected as I’d read only negative reviews about it, so wasn’t prepared for much. As the host venue for a Fringe event, it was up to the task.

It was a mature crowd on a Thursday night with Malt’s friendly PR lady Angela, greeting people as they entered and happy to have a chat about the club and its raison d’être. Malt welcomes a mature crowd; in fact its market is the over 25s. What about the over 40s Angela? Hell yeah!

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There are various rooms in the club where you can have your own private party, and an upstairs section that wasn’t open the night we went. The back (main) room where the band performs was set up with comfy stools around candle-lit small tables, with larger groups in the booths. The room was jam packed as the crowd eagerly awaited for the arrival of the five piece band fronted by the vivacious Cathrine Summers.

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It’s happy hour all night on Thursdays with $10 classic cocktails, so we gladly indulged in mojitos, kir royals and margaritas. The menu is tapas and pizza, with plates of sliders and arancini being the popular choice of the night. These plates just kept on coming out all night long. The Prof and I went for the $25 tasting plate with arancini, green olives, chorizo, haloumi spring rolls, southern fried chicken wings, calamari and crostini. The arancini, chorizo and chicken wings were tasty, but the 2 meagre calamari pieces were rubbery and the crostini – toast drizzled with balsamic – well, it was just a plate filler. Overall, the plate wasn’t bad. Not haute cuisine but we weren’t there for the food. I don’t have a photo of the food – we were seated up front near the band and I didn’t want to be snapping food pics with a flash while the band was performing.

The wait staff were friendly and efficient, from the affable Frenchman Julian on the main bar, to the guys and gals waiting on the tables in the main room.

The band with their jazzy and bluesy numbers, was simply brilliant. Cathrine Summers, a vivacious, funny, talented chanteuse, was the darling of the evening though. A regular performer at Malt with her (other) soul band, she had the crowd singing along and cheering for more.

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Malt Supper Club has live music on Fridays and Saturdays for lovers of soul and R and B, and judging by the queues outside I’ve seen on the weekends, it’s a happening place. The Prof and I had an amazing evening in a great setting. I don’t know how Malt would stack up for the over 40s on a weekend when it’s packed to the gills, but I think Thursdays are looking good for a few happy hour drinks and $7 tapas plates. If Malt holds other special live music events, then I’m eager to try them. Malt has the perfect jazz setting, and considering the Ellington Jazz Club dominates the jazz scene, I’d love to see Perth nurture a few other venues of this ilk.

If whisky makes you happy Malt will impress with its wide range, and I guess that explains the name of the club. You can buy wine by the glass and there’s a good range of other spirits available too.

Malt Supper Club on Urbanspoon

Chapels on Whatley

PhotoGrid_1420898980379I can’t think of many better places to spend a balmy summer Friday evening in Perth, than in the courtyard of Chapels on Whatley. Not only is this earthy red brick building a restaurant, it is also a stylish tea emporium and a homewares store. Add a funky cocktail menu and chanteuse Masina Miller to the mix with her smooth jazz repertoire, and you have an evening ahead guaranteed to please. 2015-01-07 16.29.54 With fairy lights, red lanterns, and tree fronds gently fluttering in the breeze, you feel as though you’re miles away from the busy little strip opposite the Maylands train station.

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Our group of 10 nestled into the courtyard and made a start on the Happy Hour cocktails; an absolute bargain at $9.95 each. Between us we managed to work our way through a cocktail menu of Angry Pandas, Melaka Margaritas, Chapel’s Emperors, Red & White Sangrias, Bangkok Bangers and Espresso Martinis.


Chapels serves Eurasian food ranging from Singaporean chicken curry, dhal and parathas, chicken satay and beef noodles, to boards of food with a selection of tasty morsels. The food reflects the melange of cuisines in South-East Asia, and even includes homage to the French influence by way of a French charcuterie board of duck and plum rillettes, chicken terrine with Cumberland sauce, and chicken marsala pate.

A friend and I shared the charcuterie board and the Singaporean chicken curry; a deliciously mild and smooth curry and quite different to the spicy Indian curries I normally eat.2015-01-11 16.37.37We devoured everything on our charcuterie board – the pate, terrine and rillettes were simply delicious. I don’t eat pork, so the Lupchong sausages were left to my friend. We both agreed the board could have done without the sausage; it’s not identifiable as French unlike the other offerings, and didn’t add any wow factor.  Some other veggie or pickle could easily be substituted without any loss to the integrity of the dish. 2015-01-11 16.27.11Served with chargrilled olive bread, pickles, and drizzled with balsamic, everything else on the board was a taste sensation. Our eyes were definitely too big for our fat bellies as half of our chicken curry dish went begging, and no-one else was able to oblige us by finishing it. Room had to be made for dessert after all.

One of our group who adores satay, declared the generous chicken satay sticks on its bed of salad and potatoes, a winner. Different from the usual satay with rice, but Chapels likes to trick things up a bit and make food more interesting. And who doesn’t love potatoes?

2015-01-11 14.46.21The Oriental tasting plate with its fish cakes, steamed pork buns, spring rolls, dumplings and dipping sauces, was declared a success by a duo at the other end of the table.

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Not to be outdone by all the meat dishes, one of our group opted for the dhal with parathas, raita and relish. Judging by her empty plate, this hearty vegetarian meal was a tasty and healthy change from her usual carnivorous diet.2015-01-11 14.44.30Many cocktails, a jug of red Sangria and several glasses of wine later, while chilling out to the sounds of the smooth jazz duo playing inside, we decided it was time to bring on the pudding.  Show me a group of women who don’t secretly want to hoover up oozing plates of chocolatey, caramely, creamy gooey sweetness and I’ll give you a million bucks my friend. We all swoon at the prospect of a delicious dessert.

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Perfectly oozing chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream

A good dessert – no, a great dessert, is worth a week’s worth of main dishes. Seriously.  And I always try and leave room for a sweet treat if I’m out dining some place where love and attention is paid to the grand old pud. Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream is the dish that bowls me over every time, so to avoid being greedy, my friend and I decided to share one…..and then to finish with a salted caramel macaron. Each.2015-01-11 14.54.49Friday nights at Chapels are enhanced with the sound of soft jazzy tunes coming from the main dining area. It’s hard to find fault with this establishment really. You’re surrounded by interesting and beautiful wall art and homewares everywhere you look. The food is delicious and if you weren’t greedy, you could get away with sharing a board between two people.

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Happy Hour cocktails are a big drawcard between 5 and 6pm , so get here early to take advantage of that. And, the big big plus – Chapels gets a major tick for taking separate billing.  For a group of 10 people that is no minor thing. I can think of very few places in Perth or anywhere else, that agree to separate billing but as owner Keith pointed out; it’s not hard to do at all. And that is something that will ensure my group of friends and I will return here time and time again.


Chapels on Whatley on Urbanspoon

The Pirate Bar

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Shiver me timbers, it’s time we visited the Pirate Bar to make use of those Groupon coupons before they expire. The Pirate Bar often has different Groupons on the go, and usually it’s for their sliders and drinks in various incarnations. It’s a great way to try out the place without spending a fortune. This was my second visit and once again I was struck by the relaxed vibe of the place, and the friendliness of the staff.

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Last night I dragged my son AB along for a quick dinner to check out this family friendly spot. The bar is on Green St far from the busy Mt Hawthorn strip, and you know you’ve arrived when you see the portholes on the side of the building and a skull and crossbones sign on the roof. Decked out with various pirate-themed posters and with wait staff wearing red and white striped shirts, it’s a roomy bar with inside and courtyard seating, and low chairs or lounge chairs for your comfort.  There is another bar area around the corner for spill-over on busy nights, along with treasure chests, a crystal ship chandelier, a ship’s wheel and various ship paraphernalia dotted around the place.

For $29 our Groupon entitled us to two sliders each and a glass of the house wine, beer or cider. I chose the mushroom sliders with blue cheese and pesto, while AB went for the meat – one Greek lamb and one pulled pork with wasabi.

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My mushrooms sliders were delicious while AB enjoyed his meaty versions; the Greek lamb being his favourite.

The sliders weren’t quite enough to fill us, so we ordered the Salt and Pepper Sumac Calamari with Aioli. Whilst the aioli was creamy and delicious, the calamari was a bit greasy and chewy, and not something I’d order again.

Judging by the number of sliders coming out to other tables, most of the crowd there were Groupon users. We did spy a few pizzas and plates of churros that looked very inviting.

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Overall, this is a pleasant way to spend an evening in the ‘burbs. With a good selection of wines and beers and without having to spend a fortune, what’s not to love about the Pirate Bar? It’s summed up really in the Bar’s motto: “Work like a captain, play like a pirate!”

Pirate Bar on Urbanspoon