Brooklyn Lounge

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We came here on a Friday night to take advantage of the brilliant oyster special. Hard not to love fresh oysters at $1 a pop, when they cost anything from $3 to $4.50 each everywhere else. Our group of 6 must have gone through hundreds of the little lovelies, some au natural, and some with lime and tequila dressing. Bottles of Tabasco sauce are provided to sprinkle on your oysters if you need a wow factor. We sat outside on the side street terrace as it was a beautiful evening, and enjoyed our feast, accompanied by cocktails and wine.

We came here a few months ago for the same Friday night special, and our experience was just as good. The wait staff are happy to take individual drink orders at the table, and allowed us to pay for them as we went, so no haggling over the bill at the end of the night. Not always easy in a group when people forget they ordered an extra dozen oysters or that lil ole glass of prosecco.

We’ve had several other menu items here – the bread with maple butter is yummy and goes down a treat with the oysters if you need a carb fix. The salads are gargantuan affairs and therefore great for sharing.

Brooklyns has a cosy corner inside with large chesterfield sofas where we’ve settled in  when we’ve had a bigger group. It’s so much easier to sit around low tables and chat rather than shouting down the long tables outside.

I’ve found the staff to be pleasant and on the ball, and service is always prompt. I’ve only been here on oyster nights, but there are other special nights – featuring sliders and hot dogs – during the week, and it’s a fab spot for a relaxing post-work drink any time.

It’s worth noting that Koko Black is just across the road in the Claremont shopping centre, and perfect for a post-oyster dessert/coffee fix.

http://www.brooklynlounge.com.au

Brooklyn Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wrap N Rice Thai Cafe, North Perth

Scotty and I are always keen to try local venues where we can BYO vino, and as soon as we heard about this new Thai eatery on popular Angove St, we had to check it out. This small, cheerful venue has a steady stream of people coming in to buy takeaway food, along with others settling in on the tables both inside and outside on the pavement. No sooner had we sat, than our wine was opened and placed in an ice bucket, and a bottle of water and glasses placed on the table. We were off to an auspicious start.

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Scotty and I had to try the Thai fish cakes of course. We’ve tried countless versions of these over the years, and these were smooth, tasty discs, served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Happily, they were not rubbery as Thai fish cakes often are.

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Our other entree was rice paper rolls stuffed with grilled salmon and tamarind sauce. Bursting with fresh salad and herbs, these rolls were light and tasty.

Tempted as we were by the perennial Thai dish of Pad Thai, we were not to be swayed on this occasion. We opted for a red chicken curry and a prawn stir fry.

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This wasn’t a traditional Thai red curry, but rather a Westernised version without the chilli heat expected from this dish. The long strips of soft bamboo shoots were an unusual feature of this dish and despite the curry’s mild flavour, it was tasty and flavourful. This curry didn’t have the depth or complexity of flavour usually associated with a red curry, and we figured it had been adapted for Western palates.  However at this cheap and cheerful local spot, our expectations weren’t as high as they would ordinarily be, and for $14 we weren’t complaining.

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Our prawn, cashew and chilli jam stir fry was chock full of vegetables and cashews, and a generous serving of prawns. The flavours and textures were light, crunchy, and pleasing to the palate.

This little cafe turns out food that may not be for the Thai food purists, but the fresh ingredients and reasonable prices will have a faithful band of followers returning again and again. There are daily specials, and on Sundays you can pick up a Pad Thai for $12. Not much to complain about here.

As a bonus, you can pop a few metres down the road to the Old Laundry Bar for a decent coffee after your meal.  Seriously, what’s not to love about Angove St?

http://wrapnrice.com.au

Wrap N Rice Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

George St Bistro

2015-03-23 15.31.26 Meeting my bud Frenchy is always a great excuse to check out what’s happening in Freo. She lives in Coogee so I’m happy to head south and investigate foodie options in her territory. George St in East Freo is so cool with its cafes and wine bars in what is essentially a suburban street, and there’s plenty of parking.  I just love the vibe here.

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Meeting mid-afternoon on a Sunday means we’ve beaten the frantic morning brunch rush and have an excuse to drink a glass of bubbly. We’re not too hungry so choose a few items to share off the menu. We’ve scored a coveted booth seat  so we can get super comfy and  settle in for a few hours.  We need some carbs to soak up our glasses of Prosecco so the two types of bread with extra virgin olive oil is first up.

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You’ve got to love a place where the waiter fills our glasses to the absolute brim. Bless him. My glass minus a swig. No point mucking about is there?

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The tempura prawns with a pot of home-made sauce tartare sound enticing, and with their light batter and large juicy flesh, they hit the spot.

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Finally we decide on a bowl of olives, half stuffed with feta and half with sun-dried tomatoes. The olives are succulent and plump, and it’s a decent sized serve that keeps us nibbling for ages.

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George St Bistro is an airy, expansive cafe with a providore store adjoining it. There are cakes, slices, tarts and quiches available from the counter if you don’t want to order from the lunch menu.  The dinner menu choices sound interesting and varied. From Wednesday to Saturday dinner is an absolute  bargain at $55 for three courses, and on Wednesday nights the Bistro also offers three curries for $25 a head.  Our service was friendly and our food was simple but satisfying.  On a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon, this quiet suburban gem certainly beats the mayhem of bustling South Tce just a few kilometres away.

http://www.georgestbistro.com.au

George Street Bistro on Urbanspoon

Brunetti’s in Lygon St

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An Italian cafe reminiscent of the self-serve cafeteria at Roma’s Termini station. That’s what Brunetti’s said to me. In only six days in the artsy city, I graced this landmark cafe three times. To be fair, on the last occasion I was meeting a Melbourne friend for coffee and it was an easy place to find. Familiarity and all that.

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On the first occasion Prince and I were doing the Lygon St limbo in search of a lunch spot, when we spied this massive emporium with a bewitching cake counter. We can’t eat cake before lunch, can we? Can we? No, we should eat lunch first. Besides, how good do these pizzas look?

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Porcini pizza. Now that was irresistible. Porcinis have been one of my favourite foods since a trip to Italy in 2006 when I ate my way through plates and plates of fresh porcinis. No other mushroom comes close to these tasty heights. I bring back giant bags of the dried variety home when I go to Europe, so seeing the fresh version on a pizza made this ole heart soar. Oh my. Just look at those mushrooms with fresh rosemary and a generous melty mozzarella and pecorino topping. It was porcini heaven. I do not lie.

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HRH went for the salami and pesto pizza and scoffed a piece of mine to boot. Now Prince is a tiny fellow but he can put away some hefty plates of food. I look at a plate and gain a kilo. Where’s the justice in that?

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You order your food and drinks at the counters, and collect your drinks at the circle station in the middle of the cafe. This station just keeps churning out coffees and drinks all day long.

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Prince and I were too stuffed to appreciate dessert after that carb overload, so we returned to Brunetti’s the next day for afternoon tea.

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Fortunately this cafe offers small cakes for $2.50 so this means you get to try more. In my case this was two, but of course my royal friend managed to scoff down three cakes.

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And a pannacotta.

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The New York cheesecake and lemon tart were hits with Prince but he wasn’t thrilled with the chocolate cannoli.  His pannacotta was pedestrian.  My NY cheesecake was delicious and the perfect size for such a rich dessert. My second choice, a salted caramel mini eclair, had not a whiff of salted caramel flavour, and I was disappointed at having wasted a dessert opportunity on something mediocre.

This place is open from breakfast right through to late dinner. It’s a massive industrial-type space, with tables inside and spilling out into the arcade next door and onto the front pavement. There’s a constant bustle of activity, and although it all seems quite formulaic, it’s worth a visit for a cake and coffee, if nothing else. But I really do recommend the porcini pizza. Buonissimo.

http://brunetti.com.au

Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Naked for Satan

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How can you not be intrigued by a name like that? Our Melbourne experience wouldn’t be complete without getting Naked for Satan.

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Spread over several floors, this funky bar in the heart of Brunswick St is an experience not to be missed. The wall on the floor near the toilets has a montage of hundreds of people. Naked. For Satan obviously.

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With all sorts of dark corners and dim lighting on the lower floors, there’s plenty of opportunity to get cosy and loved up. If that isn’t your thing, there’s the rooftop bar with expansive views over Melbourne.

You can choose cold pintxos (tapas on toothpicks) from platters on the ground floor counter.  Just help yourself to these or hail the wait staff who wander about with platters of hot pintxos.

Leave your toothpicks on your plate and your pintxos at $1 a pop will be tallied up when it’s bill paying time.

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The pintxos looked mighty yummy, but as we had a dinner date elsewhere we wouldn’t be tempted.

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After our first round of drinks on the ground floor we moseyed up to the rooftop which was in full swing by 7pm.

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NFS specialises in vodka from around the world and has created some potent vodka cocktails.  We downed a few of their version of a Bloody Mary. Oh yeah! Strong, smoking hot and  pretty damn fancy with a sprig of 3 fat olives dusted with pepper. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

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There’s a full on restaurant on the roof, or again, you can order pintxos from the bar if you just want to nibble on something.

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There’s a good wine and beer selection, and of course the ubiquitous Sangria.

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No bookings taken if you’re just coming in for pintxos and drinks, but I daresay essential for the restaurant on the busy nights. We went on a Thursday and the place was packed. Go. Do it. It’s so brilliantly Melbourne.

http://www.nakedforsatan.com.au

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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

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