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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Aisuru Sushi - Beautifully danty and leaves you wanting more

To quote Oliver Stone and draw an 'metaphor':
"A woman can be very beautiful and an ideal model and she will photograph incredibly well, but she'll appear in film and it won't work. What works is some fusion of physical beauty with some mental field or whatever you call it. I don't know."
That's how I feel about Aisuru.

I don't like fusion food in general. That's a stereotype which I don't subscribe to. I understand the need for chefs to find a blend or try out new combinations of flavourings and techniques which are used in various cuisines with the expectation of "OMG this works a treat and I have now re-invented the wheel".

The two of us had a bill that was nearly $90 for lunch, we ordered:
Gyu tataki
Dragon roll
Spider roll
Unagi roll
Agedashi Tofu
Wagyu beef rool
Green Tea

Previously I've tried the tempura corn kernels and sakura / summer roll as well.

The sushi is delicious enough, use of sauces (fusion or the slathering of sweet teriyaki flavours, mayo etc) is sumptious. The seared scallop sushi roll is quite decadent.

Prices for a large plate (8 pcs) averages around $17-$25
We ordered smalls (4 pcs) average is $8-14.

As you may see it's not really that affordable for a general work lunch. Especailly considering this neko is a gutton and have to have at least 8 pcs.

It's not overall an affordable experience of customary Japanese food. But if you haven't tried this place and is of the inclination to test out fusion sushi - I recommend it! It is a noch above Poppo's fusion sushi rolls in terms of presentation and the use of specific ingredients like soft shell crab and fresh Japanese scallops (they're more buttery than the Freo local ones).

Rating: 3 out of 5
Wait time for lunch was ok, dinner wait times are a bit longer.
The feel of the overall restaurant is clean and very modern Japanese, owner is and chefs are not Japanese.

Neko paws: 3 out of 5, my yuppy-ness will bring me back here when I have money to burn for prettiness and the fun of having iPad carrying waitresses place my order & show me the pretty pictures on said iPads.

<a href=""><img alt="Aisuru Sushi on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px" /></a>

Is Donburi - to be or not to be?

I'm beginning to love starting every entry with some sort of literary reference that either ties in to the name or the feel I get of a place. I'm also playing catch up with my food reviews / blogging.

Is Donburi is getting a lot of great reviews from the local food blogging community. Urbanspoon rating is almost perfect! Considering the location is so close to Aisuru, which I've tried twice before casting a final review. I thought I had to try it for lunch and see for myself what the fuss is about.

I had to post the food photos first but the full review will be coming shortly!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 it's small (which is great for ambience and at the same time means you can't really have big groups)
the corridor seating is not ideal during dinner but lunch time rush is fine!

Neko paws: considering I've been here twice in one day it's 5 paws!!! Out of 4 that I have.

Rating: Ambience

Neko Paws: 4 out of 5, definitely worth a return trip

<a href=""><img alt="Is Donburi William Street on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px" /></a>

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Brook - worth your baubles?

"The pebble in the brook secretly thinks itself a precious stone." ~ Japanese Proverb.

We randomly walked in without a booking on a Friday night. Surprisingly (to me) who doesn't ever travel so north that in the middle of what I perceived to be a land far far away... The restaurant was 1/2 empty at 6:45pm. We were asked to wait for the maitre d' or rather floor manager (lovely lady) who apparently is the only one who can sort out non-booked tables while all of the other staff are nice but clueless as to how the floor was planned that evening and what tables would be free. We were offered a table but only til 8pm. Note my previous comments relating to the 'full status'. Alright we can eat as fast as you can serve.

Another 15 mins later she has readied a table, for 2 instead of the 3 I requested (to two separate people, twice each). She was accommodating enough to pull another chair along and we could squish. Luckily our 3rd turned up and declined to dine, else there'd be no where to fit his plate.

By this point all the staff seems to be running off their feet! And one girl pops by and immediately asks if we're ready to order. Ok we just sat down, no water - we had ordered drinks at the bar while we waited but ... Water?!

Oh and when we were finally ready to order, it was a pain to get hold of someone.

I ordered a lamb with parsnip, sweet potato mash & maple syrup. My firmed had the parmigiana. I wish I ordered the parmigiana. Presentation was ok, pleasant. (Upon reviewing the photo, it does look a lot rarer than I remember). Parsnip was slightly under roasted. The lamb cutlets were cooked well but the original pieces of meat were too gristley. My friend did offer to share a bite of his lovely parmigiana, which looked crispy and the sauce looked well textured. I declined, keeping to the principle that if my dining partner declines to share mine... I really shouldn't pinch his. In reality, I am always afraid that the parmigiana I try will not meet my expectations. I don't ever recall a specific one I've loved, but I tend to search for elusive perfection none the less.

The atmosphere was quite - boisterous. The crowd is what would be norm up around far north. Lovely hearty people - a few young families as well. Lot of Christmas celebrating parties (work?/family).

Outdoor area allowed dining too, which explained why some of the staff tend to disappear without a trace for ages. Ordering a second drink and extra water took over 15 mins, but the bar staff that delivered was quite apologetic about the wait.

Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5, passable food, alcohol prices & general pub ambience - very clean new looking place.

Neko paws: 1.5 out of 5, sorry this is below par on my food scale and far to far out for a second try at food. But for a local pub and people who live around the area it is pretty decent & presentable bar/restaurant for an evening out & not driving too far.

ok I've started the neko paws thing now I've got to remember to continue with this rating scale. It's basically if I'd go back... 3-4 is a chance I will go back. 5 is a definite return neko customer!

 <a href=""><img alt="The Brook Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px" /></a>

The Red Fez - don't go taking your hat off yet...

A group of us tested this place in Mt Lawley for brunch.

Atmosphere was a little cramped, it's a tight fit. The service was enthusiastic and the wait staff were nice but a few of them are quite inexperienced.

Food style is meant to be mediterranean with Spanish/Moroccan influences?

The spiced feta/mushroom dish was not as spicy as anticipated but was very tomatoey. Same can be said about the solid meat balls. The Spanish omelette with chorizo - I was expecting ... More peppers? Thinner chorizo?

Serving sizes were quite good.

Coffee was average for Mt Lawley. Neither here nor there, but we didn't try the single blend. Juice offering was Charlie's which I love.

Overall presentation was lovely. The scrambled egg was great. The pancakes were sufficiently fluffy and smooth with marscapone & berry coulis/jam.

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Neko paw rating: 2 out of 5 - would not return for a meal.
<a href=""><img alt="Fez on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px" /></a>