Grand Bar & Bistro, Perth CBD

20160322_185512This quiet, unpretentious restaurant sits above a busy bar in the heart of Perth’s CBD. When I’d been to the bar previously for post-work drinks, I hadn’t even realised the restaurant upstairs existed. It’s a small, refined space serving good food at reasonable prices, and it’s a bit of a respite from the bustling St Georges Tce.

The menu is contemporary, and despite its brevity there are probably enough options to satisfy most palates.  Our starters of seared scallops with chorizo and pumpkin puree, and bruschetta with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, roasted capsicum, basil and balsamic, were fresh and well presented. The bruschetta in particular, showcased fresh produce served very simply.

My two friends were delighted with their main choice of the vegetarian risotto. This consisted of risotto made with wild forest mushrooms, crispy sage, baby spinach and feta, and was creamy, starchy and full flavoured. Naturally I had to sample it so can concur with their reports. I opted for the swordfish served with warm Mediterranean salad and crispy chickpea chips. I loved the chickpea chips – soft on the inside and deliciously crispy outside; an unusual but welcome offering. The swordfish was slightly overcooked , rendering it a bit chewy. That was disappointing as swordfish is one of my favourite types of fish, and it isn’t seen that often on restaurant menus. It’s a change from the interminable barramundi – what’s up with that?  It’s listed on nearly every menu in town, and for me it’s one of the most pedestrian varieties of fish out there, no matter whether it’s Cone Bay or however you dress it up. Grand Bar has it on their menu too I should add.

The dessert menu has 3 offerings, plus a cheese board. My choice was the chocolate moelleux with sugared berries and vanilla ice-cream. This is the Grand’s name for what is essentially chocolate fondant or lava pudding, but sadly it was cooked perhaps a minute too long and wasn’t as oozy as I like it.  My friends’ selection of the forest fruit cheesecake with lemon sorbet, was given a big thumbs up for its creamy, fruity flavour and texture.

Our experience overall was positive, and despite a few minor quibbles, we were satisfied customers.  The service was uber friendly and efficient, and as you’d expect from a restaurant above a bar, a good selection of wines by the glass. The prices were very reasonable, and there aren’t many eateries these days where you will find risotto for $23 or fish for $25.50.

Grand Bar and Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

High tea at Origins

What gal doesn’t love a high tea complete with tiered trays of delicate little goodies, glasses of bubbly, and fine china cups of scented teas served by wait staff wearing pristine white gloves?  There are so many establishments serving high teas these days that it becomes a bit of a dilemma choosing one that stands out from the pack. Origins in the Pan Pacific has earned a reputation for serving up fine fare with excellent service, so our group of eight booked in with high expectations. We weren’t disappointed.


The neutral decor, incandescent light fittings and expansive windows, combine to create a light, airy feeling, and the tall-backed chairs added to the comfort factor. Our wait-person introduced himself and started pouring bubbly without breaking stride. Gotta love a man who knows a way to a girl’s heart. Our first course was quickly presented: a refreshingly different glass of strawberry and basil gazpacho, a potato and seafood croquette, a tiny seafood tart with lovely buttery pastry, and a slice of something that I’m sure was delicious (everything was) but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.


Tea was poured into our china cups and the bubbly continued to flow freely. Whilst teas were selected according to the food served, you could choose any others from the tea menu. Lychee was the crowd favourite. When our tiered plates arrived the oohs and aahs were audible, and I’m happy to say the goodies tasted as scrumptious as they looked.

The bottom tier held the savoury treats: coronation chicken sandwiches, smoked salmon open sandwiches, cheese and sweet chutney rounds, and mashed egg on brioche.


The second tier of chocolate mud cake with pretty pink icing, chocolate mousse cups and squares of lemon-layered sponge, was equally enticing.


The top tier was reserved for the ubiquitous scones, and these light little creations were the chocolate chip variety, served of course with whipped cream and pots of jam. Another mini chocolate tart kept it company on the top tier.


Origins was a fun experience, made all the better by a few glasses of sparkling and good quality food. All of this loveliness was ours for the reasonable cost of $49 per person. Ours was the first and the cheaper of two Sunday sittings, and it all ran like a well-oiled machine, albeit a very delicious one. We all concurred that this is one of the better quality high tea venues with charming and efficient service, thoughtful and delicious food offerings, and a refined but relaxing atmosphere. I can’t think of a better way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Origins Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Petition Kitchen

2015-11-08 19.45.29

Sexy, sophisticated, Melbourne-ish; all this and much more is the wonderful Petition Kitchen in Perth’s revamped and renovated State Buildings complex, alongside Cathedral Square. The restaurant is but one part of the whole building, and what an amazing building it is. An eight-year-long restoration project has seen this unloved old state govt building, transform into a cosmopolitan centre, housing a six star hotel, a beer and wine bar, several bespoke retail stores, and a handful of stylish restaurants.

Petition Kitchen was the setting for dinner with a few friends, and we were instantly impressed by the generous layout, the rustic floorboards, and the sheer enthusiasm of the wait staff. I was even further impressed when our jugs of chilled sparkling water were topped up during the evening – for free. I don’t of any other place on this planet that serves free sparkling water, but as I am addicted to the stuff, this dinner was on a train ride to the Elysium Fields.

The menu – it’s short but it’s intriguing and interesting and has dishes that just make you want to order them for the sheer hell of it. We opted for several share plates and would have fit in several more if it were possible. For me there were three standout dishes: the raw kingfish with beetroot, the duck liver parfait with grilled bread, and the chopped broccoli with puffed grains, sheep’s feta and walnuts. Oh my. How does a simple broccoli salad become so brilliantly crunchy, salty, creamy and damned delicious?  I eat truckloads of the little green trees and they never taste like this.

The dish of raw kingfish looked mighty purdy, and it tasted mighty good too. The waferish slices of fish were hunkered down amongst purple-red beetroot bites and whispy green beetroot leaves. A hint of horseradish and a zesty ginger vinaigrette added punch to this light and colourful concoction. I did not want to share. I wanted to take that plate and sit in the corner, savouring every forkful and not sharing a smidgeon with anyone. It’s OK to be selfish, right? When something is that good and you just want it for yourself?

The duck liver parfait – another culinary revelation. I’ve long loved the version offered by Cantina 663, but this was another contender for the best duck liver parfait in Perth award. It’s hard to pick a winner out of these two as both are bloody amazing, yet both are different. This one was less dense, creamier, served with thick fingers of grilled bread, and worth fighting over when there was just enough left on the plate for one more bite. OK, I may have been a little selfish again….

Our remaining two dishes were less memorable. Forget the baby qukes and carrot with onion creme – a waste of tummy space in my opinion with far more interesting options up for grabs. Yes they were OK – but they’re plain, unadorned carrots and cucumbers. Ergo, they are bog standard veggies and are not going to win any kitchen awards. Ditch the mundane and go for the innovative.

The roasted mushroom dish looked so beautiful and promising with its trendy warrigal greens, salted ricotta and potato, but it didn’t compare to my fave three dishes. I love mushrooms on any given day, and these mushrooms were absolutely fine; they just didn’t wow me the way the other dishes did.

I loved my experience at Petition Kitchen. It is my new favourite place in Perth. I might well return to get me some broccoli salad and some kingfish, and there is no way I am going to share. And I just might squeeze in a dessert; they looked mighty tempting too, but sometimes one has to just abide by what the gut says. “Nope, can’t fit any more in there”.  Next time…..there’s a burnt meringue with my name on it 🙂


Petition Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Montereys Restaurant

2015-09-06 12.21.06

Up front I want to say for the record that I am not a fan of buffets. I much prefer to sit and choose what I want to eat from a menu, and be served that food by a waiter instead of jostling elbows with others while waiting impatiently in a queue by the salads to get to the good stuff. I have visions of being on a cruise and seeing people piling their plates with an obscene amount of food, hoovering up that food, and going back again and again to repeat. Call it mental scarring, but those visions haunt me whenever someone suggests a buffet. There’s something about an all-you-can-eat scenario that can flip the brain switch from decorous to gluttonous and it ain’t pretty. Fortunately I didn’t see any evidence of uncivilised gorging on the day we went.

2015-09-06 12.20.16

I do concede that buffets have their place, especially when dining out in a large group. It saves issues with billing at the end of the meal, and it means that everyone can eat at the same time. On this occasion it was a friend’s birthday lunch and 16 of us gathered to celebrate. It also happened to be Father’s Day so naturally Montereys became very busy by 12.30. A few of us cajoled our way into the restaurant before the opening time so we could take a few photos before the hordes arrived.

The selection at Montereys inside the Pan Pacific Hotel is relatively small, but most of it is agreeable and fresh fare. There were bowls of fresh tiger prawns, NZ mussels, and crabs. Crabs have to be one of the inappropriate choices for a buffet though – I mean, how do you chow down on these crustaceans with any decorum?  The prawns were fresh and sweet, and there were several sauces to accompany them. Sadly, there were no oysters.

2015-09-06 17.54.23

2015-09-06 17.53.38

The usual potato and noodle salads were present, and an area where you could mix your own choice of  ingredients together.

2015-09-06 17.54.58

The roast meat area was the busiest and I couldn’t manage  a photo of this for ages. Sadly there was no turkey which is one of only a few roast meats I enjoy.

2015-09-06 17.59.53

There was beef curry with rice, and salmon in a creamy sauce, and white fish which I didn’t get a photo of. It was impossible to get photos of many of the main dishes because the throng of people around these never seemed to thin out.

2015-09-06 18.00.40

Roast vegetables – the carrots were super sweet and delicious. I know; carrots sound ordinary but I’m a veggie lover and really enjoyed them. The cauliflower cheese however, was tasteless and not cheesy.

2015-09-06 17.56.18

After the mains, it was a choice between the cheeses and the desserts and the desserts won out because I couldn’t fit both it. The cheeseboard was pedestrian anyway – the desserts looked much more enticing.

2015-09-06 17.56.49

The wide range of desserts came in small portions which meant we could try several without feeling like pigs.

2015-09-06 17.59.02

The dilemma was in deciding on just a few.

2015-09-06 17.57.20

The peanut butter parfait (on the right below) was my favourite , but I should have resisted the red velvet cake at the back. It was dry and nothing special.

2015-09-06 18.01.26

This dining experience was fine for the group, but I wouldn’t hurry back. Whilst all the food was fresh, it was a limited range and there was nothing special or creative, with the desserts being the most interesting. For $45 a head, I think it’s reasonably priced and no-one is under the illusion they are embarking on a five star dining experience.

I’ve found the best buffets to be in various Asian cities, and one of my primo experiences was at Mom Tri’s Boathouse in Phuket. I heartily recommend the insanely good breakfast buffet if you should ever go.  You can check out my old blog for details of Mom Tri’s; a truly wonderful place to stay, far from the gritty streets of Patong.


Montereys Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jamie’s Italian

2015-08-25 21.30.57

I confess that this was my first visit to Jamie’s. After all the hype and the stories of long queues and the inability to make bookings, I finally arranged to meet Scotty there one mid-week evening at 5pm. We knew how wired this place became every evening, so we’d skipped lunch and opted for an early dinner. A good move as it happens, because the place was calm and quiet when we arrived, and we could choose where we wanted to sit. Scotty has eaten there several times and finds it convenient for a quick meal after a hard slog at the office.

We both ordered a glass of Italian Pinot Grigio while we perused the laminated menu.

2015-08-25 21.29.10

There’s an industrial feel to Jamie’s, softened by the red bench seats, the massive crystal chandelier dominating the room, and the deli counter at the back showcasing long bunches of garlic, dried chillies, breads and jars of condiments.

2015-08-25 21.30.19

We didn’t intend ordering dessert so we chose a few entrees to fill our rumbling stomachs. Scotty was keen on the polenta chips with rosemary and parmesan, although having read negative comments about these on Zomato, I wasn’t so sure. Turns out they were the bees knees. Crunchy on the outside, deliciously salty, and better than chips.

2015-08-25 21.34.40

MY choice of the vegetable plank wasn’t so special. Whilst it sounded interesting, it was simply little terracotta dishes of pickled veggies in different forms, accompanied by a snippet of bread with tomatoey relish, and buffalo mozzarella. Ho hum.

2015-08-25 21.33.48

What I liked about the pasta dishes was the choice of ordering entree or main size. We both ordered the smaller size and this was ample (leaving room for our dessert at another location afterwards of course!). Scotty opted for one of the daily blackboard specials of pasta with crumbled salami in a tomato sauce. This ragu-like sauce had been slow cooked and the flavours were intense, with the richness of the salami being a highlight.

2015-08-25 21.32.35

My choice of the prawn linguine was fine. That’s the best way to describe it. With a hint of chilli and what I considered was a generous serve of prawns, this dish wouldn’t win awards but it hit the spot. Although there wasn’t a great depth of flavour in the tomato-based sauce, it was reasonably priced at $16 and satisfying enough on a cold evening.

2015-08-27 09.14.30

Having finally managed a visit to the hallowed halls of this establishment, I’m glad I went. I certainly wouldn’t queue for a table, and really can’t understand why people do when there are so many better quality restaurants around. Jamie’s works on a fairly basic formula, and that formula pulls in the crowds. Well, maybe Jamie’s name does too 🙂
However for a quick meal with friendly service, convenient location and decent wine by the glass, it ticks the boxes. I didn’t go expecting haute cuisine and I wasn’t disappointed.

Click to add a blog post for Jamie's Italian on Zomato

The Painted Bird

2015-05-31 17.59.59

Tucked away in Wesley Arcade in the CBD, the Painted Bird has a modern, relaxed vibe and it was pleasant sitting out in the front courtyard for some pre-dinner drinks under the warmth of a heater.

2015-05-31 18.00.48

Inside the cool vibe continued, and our group of eight gals anticipated an evening of excellent food, wine and conversation.There was a good selection of wine by the glass, but unfortunately one of those glasses of red ended up being poured down the back of one of my friends when the waitress stumbled with her tray of drinks. It had to be red wine didn’t it? Murphy’s Law. The restaurant did agree to pay the dry cleaning bill, so fingers crossed her clothes survive.

The menu at The Painted Bird is modern Australian, and we ordered house baked sourdough with smoked eggplant and tahini dip for the table to share. This  light start to the meal was pleasant, and filled the gap while waiting for the mains to arrive.

2015-05-31 18.02.58

We skipped starters as we wanted to leave room for dessert later. The list of mains covered most bases with chicken, duck, lamb, fish and beef included. The restaurant’s signature dish of The Painted Bird confit duck leg painted with mustard & orange, wrapped in pastry served with potato puree & duck jus at $37 sounded tempting. Mandy enjoyed her choice although the richness of the dish beat her in the end and she couldn’t finish it. The duck leg was moist and encased in a light pastry, nestled on a bed of creamy potato puree. Although the duck itself wasn’t strongly flavoured, the jus was rich and this added to the intensity of the dish. She would have liked a few veggies to offset the richness of the dish.

2015-05-31 18.03.46

I’ll move on to the disappointment of the night: Saffron risotto with asparagus, parmesan & truffle oil. This dish at $33 lacked the starchy creaminess expected of a good risotto, and was bland and insipid. There was no evidence of a punchy stock being used, and it’s basically what you’d expect from a food court. Luckily I didn’t order this dish but my friend urged me to taste it to confirm her opinion. Yup, that was one very ordinary plate of food.

2015-05-31 18.02.11

Two of our girls ordered one of the daily specials; lamb cutlets with gremolata and potato puree, but I forgot to note the price or what the sauce was. I can tell you that they both enjoyed this dish with tender lamb, although due to a muck-up with the orders, JS was initially presented with a plate of something not remotely resembling lamb chops, and had to wait another 20 minutes for hers to arrive. Although the staff did their best to rectify their mistake quickly, it’s no fun when everyone else has their food and one person has to sit and wait while everyone else is chowing down.

2015-05-31 18.06.14

Free range chicken & sweet potato tagine with dates, green olives, Israeli couscous, preserved lemon and harissa at $34 was my choice for main. I was so delighted that I continued eating it well past my tummy’s full mark.  The dish had all the right elements: the sweetness of the sweet potato and dates, the sourness and saltiness of the preserved lemon, the heat of the harissa, and the succulence of slow-cooked chicken thighs. Yum.
2015-05-31 18.04.37

The slow cooked skirt steak, Paris butter, potato rosti, and roasted field mushroom at $36 was a modern take on an old stew stalwart. I’ve never associated skirt steak as something you’d actually eat as a steak, but as my pal Lynn put fork and knife to plate, she assured me it was tender and delicious. Slow cooked and then pan-seared on top of the stove.

2015-05-31 18.05.29

I was beaten by my main course, but a few of our table wanted to try desserts, all of which were $15. Two of the girls loved the chocolate and hazelnut pudding with peanut butter ice cream. The pudding had the delightful oozy centre and the ice cream was creamy and delicious.

2015-05-31 18.08.46

At the other end of table, the choice of nougat gelato, rhubarb compote, brioche doughnuts was popular. I love seeing rhubarb feature in desserts; it reminds me of a childhood where rhubarb being picked from our back yard and made into warming crumbles and fruity pies. This version was a modern take, and beautifully presented in a cocktail glass. I did manage to scoff one of the brioche doughnuts; they looked inviting but weren’t as light as I expected.

2015-05-31 18.08.00

The Painted Bird has some good ingredients. The food for the most part was excellent, and the atmosphere and ambience is great. Our experience however was tainted by a few factors. The spilled wine – well, accidents happen and we accept this and move on. One major mix up with a main course. One sub-standard main course. Yes, this happens everywhere, but for $33 for a rice dish, we expect something special. Hit and miss service. After our initial settling in, wait staff seemed to ignore us and for most of the evening we had to get someone’s attention when we needed drinks topped up. You should not have to do this, nor should you have to request the dessert menu or go up to the bar several times because you’ve been ignored for long periods. These issues detract from the overall experience and that becomes an important factor. In Perth we have such a plethora of quality eateries these days, that you simply don’t return to a place where several things are off-key.  In saying that though, I do think it’s the perfect little spot for a few drinks in the evening in the courtyard. Just don’t order red wine.

Click to add a blog post for The Painted Bird Bar & Kitchen on Zomato


2015-04-29 21.13.05

Tucked away in the Fraser Suites at the beginning of Adelaide Tce, it’s a bit tricky locating the Heirloom restaurant. It’s even harder to find a parking spot, and one of my three dining pals overshot the Terrace and ended up on the Causeway. It’s worth persevering though, as our dining experience was well worth the effort.

2015-04-29 21.08.52

Don’t you love Groupons? The Heirloom ones enabled us to enjoy a superb lunch with a glass of bubbly for only $25 each. That will barely get you a toasted focaccia and a coffee  in Perth in 2015, so this was a particularly amazing deal.

Our first course was a generous antipasto plate, comprising fresh figs, pork terrine, mixed meats, olives, grilled eggplant, sundried tomatoes, sauerkraut and crisp pita triangles. There’s your $25 value, on that one plate.

2015-04-29 21.14.17

We didn’t finish our first plate as we sensibly wanted to leave room for the other courses, and we were glad we did. A little palate cleanser was presented next with watermelon, dragon fruit, goats cheese, pine nuts and dried kalamata olives. Sounds like an unusual combo, but it worked well, with beautiful colours and presentation.

2015-04-29 21.11.59

On with the big girls plates, starting with crispy skinned barramundi on a bed of subtly flavoured tahini, slivers of fresh sliced fennel and cubes of roasted beetroot. Barramundi is not my favourite fish, but these were delectable fresh fillets, beautifully cooked and presented.

2015-04-29 21.16.47

2015-04-29 21.17.53

The remaining dishes were served together, and the Burmese beef cheeks were a bit hit with my gal pals. Now, I’ve read complaints from other diners about the beef cheeks, but as they are cooked Burmese style, the flavouring is deliberately subtle. None of the robust red wine flavours here, but  simple, slow-cooked, delicately spiced cheeks in a thick sauce. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender. You may or may not know that I don’t love red meat but I did manage a tiny taste in the name of reporting, and my friends were not exaggerating. One almost licked her plate clean, but our death stares were a sufficient deterrent. We’re ladies after all.

2015-04-29 21.18.56

For me, mains are only as good as their side dishes – I adore vegetables – and the two presented were Sicilian vegetables with pine nuts, raisins and gremolata, along with cauliflower rice. The Sicilian vegetables was a pleasant, mildly flavoured mix of vegetables including the under-utilised okra. Once again, the presentation of the dish was visually pleasing.

2015-04-29 21.15.42

I’ve wanted to try cauliflower rice for ages. I’ve heard about it from various friends who have eaten it in place of rice when they’ve been dieting, and it’s purportedly tasty, filling and a healthy alternative to heavy starches. The verdict? Cauliflower rice is one of those side-kick dishes that lends itself well to other richer dishes. It’s mild, soaks up other flavours, and is a perfect healthy alternative to rice or pasta, so with our lunch of several dishes, it worked really well. If I was ordering only one side or vegetable dish, I probably wouldn’t order it.

2015-04-29 21.21.19

As if we hadn’t eaten enough, we were presented with a plate of house-made chocolates. Now, dessert or chocolates were not included on our set menu, so this was a pleasant surprise and the perfect finish to our meal. And bless their little cotton socks, the serve was four chocolates of each variety, so that no-one would miss out. Don’t you love that?

2015-05-06 07.14.27

Our experience at Heirloom was positive from start to finish. The service was attentive and friendly, the restaurant blissfully quiet and comfortable, the food delicious, the use of ingredients innovative, and the cost an absolute bargain. Even at the full price of $50 each, we would have been more than happy. Heirloom has received a bit of a drubbing on dining sites, but I can only tell you that our dining experience was wonderful. This restaurant has undergone recent changes and it is trying hard to present good food and provide a high level of service in a competitive environment. It’s a shame if its location at the far end of Adelaide Terrace deters would-be diners, but it’s well worth the effort. Even without a Groupon voucher.

Heirloom on Urbanspoon

Friends Restaurant

2015-04-15 23.04.39

You know it’s truffle season and the cooler weather is looming when Friends restaurant, a familiar and loved face on the Perth dining scene, offers its signature truffle degustation dinner.

2015-04-15 23.06.10

Entering Friends is akin to entering a restaurant of yester year; you feel like you’ve arrived at an establishment in Paris or Prague, complete with carpeted floor and white linen, and a centrepiece piano. There’s nothing contemporary about the atmosphere or decor at Friends, but that’s what makes it special. We sit in the bar area and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before our meal.

2015-04-15 23.07.37

The five course set menu showcases truffles from Italy or Australia, and there are several alternatives on the menu for an additional charge, if you have special dietary requirements. The meal as is without any changes is a very generous $65, courtesy of Groupon vouchers. After my truffle degustation experience here last year, I didn’t hesitate when a friend asked me to join her and two other friends to see what culinary delights French chef Frederic had created this time around. House-baked bread is offered once we have placed our orders.

2015-04-15 23.08.36

First up is the corn, leek and truffle soup with parmesan puff stick, and it is a smooth mild-flavoured starter featuring a mere hint of truffle.

2015-04-15 23.14.51

Three of us elect to have the chicken roulade for our second course, although The Prof is captivated by the sound of the caramelised beetroot and apple tart. Her dark purple tart with goats cheese ice-cream looks wonderful, but our chicken roulade is nothing short of sensational. The chicken is so tender it melts in the mouth. The subtle infused truffle flavour is perfectly partnered with the mushrooms, rocket, roasted walnuts and piquant baby bell peppers. This is my favourite dish of the evening.

2015-04-15 23.13.21

Throughout the evening our host extraordinaire, Clyde Bevan, entertains our table with his banter and his repertoire of card tricks. Clyde knows how to connect with his customers and I recall visiting his Dear Friends restaurant in Caversham many years ago and being similarly captivated by the wonderful food and ambience.

Our main course arrives and three of our four have opted for the 120 day aged Angus beef cheeks in a red wine reduction. This dish has my friends in raptures with its rich flavours and tender slow-cooked beef.

2015-04-15 23.17.52

Preferring fish to red meat, my choice of the Barramundi fillet arrives with truffled polenta and seasoned vegetables. This dish is missing the ‘wow’ factor, but I have to bear in mind that the pairing of fish with truffle is unlikely to match the partnering of beef with truffle. However the flavours and presentation are good, and I love the crunch of both the Barramundi skin and the truffled polenta sticks, and the simple elegance of the vegetables.

2015-04-15 23.16.34

Throughout our meal, the wait staff are attentive and professional. This establishment knows how to pamper its customers and the little touches, like the wait staff wearing white gloves, really adds to the occasion. Orders are taken, chilled water topped up, wine poured, and plates cleared with quiet efficiency and minimum intrusion.

The cheese course consists of Tarago River Brie layered with truffle and mushroom, and accompanied by a pear crisp, a walnut and a pear puree. This small course is a wedding of a few choice ingredients and it works well. What I love about this degustation is we don’t feel cow-heavy or saturated with food. The course sizes are perfect for our group.

2015-04-15 23.21.58 (1)

Our final course is a chocolate and tonka bean mousse infused with truffle, paired with a vanilla and truffle ice-cream. We enjoy the contrasting mousse textures of crunchy and smooth, and the flavour combination of the chocolate and tonka. We find the truffle infused ice-cream a bit overpowering. It’s an interesting idea but I guess I just like my desserts to taste like desserts. I can’t remember specifically what dessert we had last time we dined here for the truffle degustation, but I do remember that it had salted caramel flavours with just a hint of truffle and tasted amazing.

2015-04-15 23.23.22

Friends is a wonderful dining experience, without the pomp and formality that often comes with fine dining. With attention to the minor details, friendly hosts, an excellent wine list, attentive staff and high quality food, it’s easy to see why this restaurant is still thriving 16 years on.

Friends Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Rigby’s Bar & Bistro

2015-02-21 17.08.50

Tucked away behind the Forrest Centre on the upper end of St Georges Tce, Rigby’s has withstood the onslaught of time and change, and is still serving up the same style of basic pub food as it has for decades. I remember many Friday liquid lunches here when I worked at Mt Newman House back in the early 90s. It was very much a blokey establishment back then, and I guess it still has that feel about it now, although there were more women than men there on this Friday night.

I came with a few friends including The Prof, for a meal and a Fringe event. I confess my expectations weren’t high as far as the meal went, but all in all, the experience was positive.

Ours was a three course meal starting with pumpkin soup. It was  flavourful and tasted like it had been made with a hearty chicken stock.
2015-02-21 17.09.47

Our main dish was grilled chicken with green beans and roast potatoes. Basic yes, but the chicken, served with a light sauce, was moist and perfectly cooked.

2015-02-21 17.10.39

Dessert comprised two cream-filled profiteroles that tasted fresh; like they had been made that day. Again basic, but perfectly acceptable for the end to a quick meal.

2015-02-21 17.11.33

With various beers on tap and limited wines by the glass at the usual prices, Rigby’s served its purpose as a place for a quick no-frills meal or drink before or after a show. It specialises in $10 lunches for the city workers, and won’t win any gold plate awards, but I’m guessing it has its loyal clientele. Certainly most of the customers there were in the over 40s group. I imagine the cool people wouldn’t be seen dead in Rigby’s, but it’s still going strong after all these years, amid a slew of new trendy bars in the vicinity.

Rigby's Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon