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Sunday, 18 March 2012

This ain't a garden of roses...

Actually, I don't think there was a garden to be exact. We sat inside anyway.

Girlfriends and I always end up craving Indian food at some point. We usually head to Mela (when we all lived "north").

I'm always on the hunt for a bargain and when I saw an offer on one of those online deal websites it was a perfect for our "catch up over curry" sessions. Bargain deal voucher ($30ish per voucher) was an all-you-can-eat buffet meal for two with drinks *(beer or lassi).

We were quite early for dinner. The buffet sit down in split into two sessions per night. Don't worry it's not like they kick you out really - it's just after an 1.5 hr session of all-you-can-eat Indian, really depend on how much you can eat. Sad to say I think for an Asian group, we did mediocre. That's not to say the meal was mediocre.

The buffet stuff gets set up around 6ish, but when booking they said to come by at 5:30pm. The dishes weren't ready (in bain-maries) until really 6pm. We had starters = papadums and they gave us plenty of time to ponder over drinks. We chose mango lassi.
Of course we had tried of EVERYTHING. Ok, not everything, we passed on the vegetable salad. Dishes included, the usual:
  • Tandoori Chicken Pieces
  • Samosa
  • Shish kebab
  • Vegetable / Onion Bhaji
  • Beef Vindaloo
  • Lamb Rogan Josh
  • Butter Chicken
  • Chicken Tikka Masala? I wasn't sure
  • Dahl
  • Aloo Gobi (Potatoes & cauliflower, love it)
  • Palak Paneer (spinach & cheese, for those who haven't tried Indian or doesn't know what this is... it's devine. Don't think of it as Popeye-spinach, it's completely different.)
  • Rices/Naans etc.
There were sides and desserts too. So it was quite a meal.

Ambience: 3.5 Stars
Reason: Great for a small group, it's more of a family restaurant. Saw a few families show up a bit later. It's not extremely romantic, slightly sparse but they've tried to deck the place a bit to be more than casual dining but it doesn't have Mela's feel of Indian diner. I've been to some small restaurants in Mumbai where they actually have the same sort of Bollywood decor but tiles and casual tables, so I guess to me it feels slightly more "authentic" and I prefer the casual feel.

Food: 4 Stars
Reason: I would've rated higher, but I spent the rest of the day drinking water non-stop. Might have been my over-confidence with the vindaloo or ... the negative side might be because there's some sort of MSG in the food. I will have to retry this place and let you know.

Additional info: Website & menu. You can order a la carte and take away. I ate there on the 17th of March. I've back dated this blog post.

Indian Garden Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, 12 March 2012

Duck Duck Goose? or Roast Pork? - Good Fortune be with you!

This use to be my favourite boneless duck place - yes they de-bone the duck for you so you don't have to worry about it. Kind of disappointing if you like duck bone soup when using left over bones you've de-boned yourself.

However, I found it delicious for duck rice! Don't have to do the messy hands with picking out a bone from your duck meat / rice. Fast services, only once you get a table. The lunch time wait for a table could be 15 mins or more (sometimes a lot more). You get your usual side of blanched vegetables, a little bit of pickled vegetables (carrots, cabbage) and the important thing: DUC K! Juicy succulent roast duck.

Ok the roast pork here is good too. But the day was about DUCK. All about duck.

Food: 5 stars
Ambience: busy small Asian restaurant, noisy and filled with bustle and chatter. 4 out of 5 stars, because this (all the peopel) means the food is good!
Price: little higher than normal duck, since "boneless-ness" doesn't come naturally to our flying friends. But well worth it, if you have been coddled into being unable to pick out your own bones (in fish or fowls). $10-$30 (if you do proper Chinese restaurant dishes). 4 out of 5 stars.

Here's the website and you can check out the menu.
Good Fortune Roast Duck House on Urbanspoon

Promise I'll add pictures later. I have photos, my food photo addiction is renowned. Yes, that just means I'm Asian.

Working lunches or Non-working lunches: The Tuck Shop

A couple of colleagues and I came here for lunch after hearing all about how delicious the gourmet pies were in the lunch room one day.

Ok we came on a Monday and it was closed, but then went to Good Fortune Roast Duck House instead (see previous review post).

Working past our disappointment we came along again the day after and definitely checked out the pies. (ok, since that day we have been several times). Gourmet pies are just the in-thing!

So far we've tried:
- lamb & rosemary
- bacon & cheese
- stilton & beef
- kidney

Other than pies, the Dubrovnik Cheese kranski features here as a "banger & mash" dish. Which for the price, please if you actually visited Dubronik's and you'll see why I cried at the price. If you haven't I suggest you make that one of your stops on the next weekend. They're open early in the morning on Saturday and I honestly believe they're worth the early wake-up call.

Ok back to the Tuck Shop...

The pies are large, so bring your appetite. I always forget and then add mushy peas. I haven't has MPs for ages, used to work in a Fish & Chips shop and had the pleasure of being in a pretty pommie neighbourhood. Brewing/stewing mushy peas used to be one of my favourite tasks, other than eating it that is! Especially when it's just off the stove & piping hot.

The pastry is crispy and flakes really well, crunchy on top and not too stodgy when you get to teh bottom. Chunky pieces of beef or lamb if you ordered it. I found the kidney pie a little too strong in offal flavour, but that depends on what you're used to I guess. The rosemary flavour was very subtle. I've been told the Stilton is the best. Blue cheese in a pie, why not!? Yes it's delicious, sadly since I didn't order it I only got 1 small bite.

I can't go past a good bacon and cheese. This is going to sound a bit sad but it really reminds me of my school days. You know, how you go to the canteen and buy a Mrs Mac's? The sliced cheese / goo & bacon specks one? Oh yeah! You know what I mean. If you grew up in Australia, and I hate stereotypes, I'm sure you would've at one stage tried a Mrs Mac's Bacon & Cheese Pie.

Ok, if you like pies - try this place at least once. The cost is $12.50 a pie, yup pretty steep. Mushy Peas, mash, fries or other sides = $2.50 to $4.00. Drinks are your normal cafe prices. Sweets sizes are petite and cost is quite boutique. Overall your meal can come up to $20 easy!
Atmosphere/Ambience: nice little touches with the canvas sack pillows and black board walls. Especially nifty is the Loyalty program for your coffees. Don't you hate it when you hit your cafe of choice up for a shot of expresso or a long macc & realise you've forgotten your loyalty card. Your usual barista tells you next time s/he'll double stamp ya, but that doesn't always happen? If you're sort of kiasu like me, you'd get a new card and then "add them up" later. Here? You get to keep your card on the blackboard with blue tack! Add your name and leave it up there. Sure, it depends on the good will of fellow citizens not to steel your filled card, but hey I'm sure there are honest Aussies out there - just look at the nice bank advertising about how honest people are with handing back over paid change! LOL

Food: 4 out of 5 stars
Ambience: 4 out of 5 stars
Cost: 3 out of 5 stars
The Tuck Shop Cafe on Urbanspoon

Why haven't I updated?

Not that many out there care. I do have drafted posts and reviews for restaurants etc. But I've recently got myself mixed up in a new adventure which you can read about here.

That doesn't mean I won't eat out. I just won't at out as often as before - hopefully my poor little budget (imaging a flying pig) will be able to survive this whole new world!

In other news, to the joys, trials and tribulations (to my flying pig) - thank you Spreets / Cudos and Groupon etc. I shall be trying out the Indian Gardent Restaurant in North Perth shortly with friends. I have also committed to re-trying Lava Stonegrill in Mount Lawley, I haven't been back there for at least 4 years?

So watch this space for the reviews on those two venues.