17 June 2010


Having satisfied their public holiday coffee needs, the Bloggers turned their minds to their stomachs. They needed burgers. Stat.

Helpfully, Grill’d was well and truly open on this public holiday. When we walked past Grill’d on the way to find a coffee, we were particularly charmed by the number of people getting their 11.00am burger fix. They must have had worse nights than we did, as we were able to hold back until 11.45.

By the time we got to the burger joint, we had already closely studied the menu and selected our beasts as follows:

1. Booto went for the chicken and brie burger. Her selection resulted from her last Grill’d experience, which occurred during a visit to Grill’d in Prahran while heavily pregnant and desperate to fill up on contraband soft cheese. Today Booto’s dreams could be realised.

2. The Brains opted for the mustard and pickle number, which, on reflection, sounds like the type of thing a pregnant woman might crave. However, the Brains’ fondness for pickles has been a lifelong trait, which was the only reason for her selection.

3. The Deliberator went with the Cheeseburger. His reasons were obvious. It was a burger. With cheese. You’d be mad not to really.

4. The Sponge mixed it up a little and selected the steak sambo.

To avoid argument, we each ordered our own side of chips and made sure we had a representative of each dipping sauce on the table – herbed mayo, tomato relish and sweet chilli mayo.

The ordering process is simple and efficient, but it still managed to perplex the Deliberator who didn’t realise he had to decide on what type of bun he wanted (Panini or traditional), and then couldn’t land on a drink because Grill’d stocks Pepsi products which are reasonably unfamiliar to him. (For those who are interested, he ended up with Panini and a Pepsi Max). The Pepsi thing must have also struck the Sponge unawares, as he brought a red creaming soda back to the table. Being in a hamburger joint made him sentimental for sugary drinks and spiders.

The burgers arrived quickly, which was a blessing because with no alcohol to sustain our conversation, we had well and truly run out of things to say to each other. The burgers looked fabulous and fresh and we couldn’t wait to get into them, but disaster struck before we had the chance.

You see, Grill’d has a variety of extra sauces for those who feel they need them, and as each of us tends to add tomato sauce to everything we eat, we took advantage of this offer. The tomato sauce comes in these cute, plastic, tomato-shaped dispensers with the sauce itself arriving through the ‘stem’ of the tomato. The leaves of the tomato surrounding the stem act as a lid. The Deliberator, notoriously neat with his food (any sandwich the Deliberator makes only has right angles), carefully held the leaves/lid, opened his burger and neatly covered his pattie with the correct amount of t-sauce. The Brains, oblivious to the Deliberator’s delicate handling of the dispenser, grabbed it off him, opened her burger and managed to dump the lid (ie, the leaves) of the sauce dispenser onto her burger, followed quickly by three quarters of the contents of the dispenser. The Deliberator refused to give up his ration of napkins to help the Brains with this untenable situation (he’s trying to teach the Brains how to use napkins sparingly) and proceeded to mocked her incessantly.

Later, the Sponge, by this time thoroughly involved the steak sambo, went to add some t-sauce to his plate so he could dip his chips into it. Whether he had not seen the Brains’ screw up, or whether he’d seen it and completely forgotten about it, he managed to do exactly the same thing and tip the lid plus contents of the plastic tomato all over his plate. It was tomato sauce mayhem at our table, and Stinky wasn’t even there.

So how were the burgers? Delicious, we really liked them. The bread is fresh, the meat is tender and, in the case of the burgers, surprisingly lean, the other ingredients are clearly good quality and super fresh and the sauces are excellent. The Brains very much liked her mustard (particularly mixed with t-sauce) and the herbed mayo on the other burgers is thick and creamy with plenty of flavour. The chips are also delicious – they are crisp and golden and come in giant serves, absolutely covered in salt and herbs. The herbs on the chips are a bit much with the herb mayo dipping sauce and the herb mayo in the burgers, but if you substitute the dipping sauce with the sweet chilli mayo, the herbiness seems to even itself out.

In summary:

Service: Exactly what you would expect from a casual burger joint. The burgers come out in quick time too, which was no doubt a product of the sweat-shop style kitchen which appeared to simultaneously employ every teenager in the area.

Food: Great burgers that don’t make you feel too disgusting. Tasty chips. Good sized serves of everything.

Highlight: The high quality meat.

Lowlight: The crap tomato sauce dispenser. And the fact that they charge 70 cents for chip dipping sauce – surely that can be wrapped up in the price of the chips?

Rating: 4 herbed mayos out of 5

Will we be back: Yep, particularly as it’s the only burger joint on Beaufort.

Details: Grill’d is located next to the Astor Arcade, where Cinos used to be. They have an excellent website - www.grilld.com.au – which includes a copy of the menu. You can BYO booze and they’ll even give you wine glasses for next to nothing. A burger and chips will come in at around $17 per person.

Grill'd on Urbanspoon

09 June 2010

ExoMod Coffee House

It was the morning after the night before. The Bloggers had spent their Sunday night of a public holiday drinking red wine and watching 320 episodes of Family Guy in a row. Other than BOOTO and Stinky, who had the sense to turn in early, we woke up to a Monday feeling groggy, scattered and generally worse than we would have if we actually had to go to work. The only thing that would help our situation was burgers. And coffee.

The coffee proved more difficult than the burgers. Inexplicably, Perth coffee shops tend to shut down on a public holiday, when they are needed the most. The section of Beaufort Street north of Walcott was a ghost town. Even Cantina was closed for renovations. We walked into Globe Coffee House, which was jam packed with people looking bewildered and out of place – wondering why they were being punished for wanting breakfast on a public holiday by being forced to dine in an over-priced and underwhelming old-people’s establishment. We weren’t interested in staying around to queue for average coffee. To our horror, we almost ended up in Dome, but just in time we noticed ExoMod was open. ExoMod is always open. Booto recounted the time she was on Beaufort Street before 6.00am and it was open. The Brains and The Deliberator once needed a Christmas Day coffee and found that it was open. And these are good things.

Ordering is kind of tough work at ExoMod. It’s a busy place, especially on a public holiday when every other café in Perth is closed, and there’s no table service so someone had to line up. So, while the Sponge sat in the line, the rest of the Bloggers spent some time rearranging the furniture to their liking and soaked in the kind of weird florescent lit, bright red and white atmosphere. The lighting combined with the just-a-little-too-loud music didn’t make for the most relaxed coffee experience, but the place is nice and clean, and you do get a good people-watching viewpoint.

Our coffees took a while, but not too long to be a problem. They were fine, good in fact. Absolutely nothing to complain about. So we have to end our review here as there’s nothing left to say.

In summary:

Service: It was fine. Once, on an early morning coffee run with Stinky, a girl behind the counter gushed that Stinky was a "fairy from heaven" while mimicking someone shooting a bow and arrow. This was music to BOOTO’s ears (but which neither Stinky’s father nor the Deliberator were pleased to hear about).

Food: We didn’t have any, but the coffee is decent (not amazing) and nicely presented.

Highlight: Hmmmmm.

Lowlight: Ummmmmm

Rating: 3.5 wireless internet connections out of 5.

Will we be back: Probably – but only before 6.00am or on Christmas Day.

Details: ExoMod seems to be open all the time. Coffees were the usual price for Perth.

ExoMod Coffee House on Urbanspoon

01 June 2010

Must Winebar

It was BOOTO’s 35th birthday and so it was decided that a visit to Must was indeed a must (like you’ve never heard that one before).

After a quick pre dinner drink at the Queens (wherein Stinks’ newest playmate Jimmy T was welcomed to the world of babies in prams in pubs), it was a mere hop, skip and a jump to Must.

As previously noted, none of the Bloggers are strangers to Must, (although it must be said BOOTO had never actually made it past the cocktail bar) however on this particular night, a quorum was finally established.

The night commenced with the Deliberator informing the group that two things were non negotiable:

(1) the charcuterie platter was to be ordered; and

(2) he, and he alone, would order the wine and he may or may not consult the price before placing any of the said orders.

The Sponge’s credit card quivered. The Brains and BOOTO giggled like schoolgirls.

As the Sommelier approached, the Deliberator suggested both he and the Sponge partake of a cocktail to calm those wallet nerves whilst the Brains and BOOTO confirmed a chardy was definitely on the cards and left the ordering in the very capable hands of the Deliberator assisted of course by the sommelier (unless you’re a wine buff, you’ll need assistance in navigating the extensive range on offer at Must).

It was at this point that the Sponge wondered out loud what grape was used in Chablis, only to be answered in a rather dignified, posh, unDeliberator style voice that the Chablis was an appellation famous for its chardonnay, so the Chablis would be made from chardonnay grapes. Scoffs all round before the Deliberator called on the sommelier to back up his claim. And before we could stop him, the sommelier did indeed confirm that for the second time in 7 years, the Deliberator had got one over the rest of us. To say he handled the moment with grace and humility would be just plain lies. He managed to drop 'appellation' into the conversation a further 21 times during the course of the night.

But back to the food.

Underneath a dimly lit interior (suitably so for a certain birthday girl struggling with the idea of going up a survey group), the following entrees were ordered:

(1) A dozen freshly shucked natural oysters – you can never go wrong with these.

(2) Must Charcuterie plate – the Deliberator was correct – this is a non negotiable for all you carnivores out there.

(3) Chicken Liver Parfait, Grenache Jelly, Melba Toast – unbelievable – a definite stand out.


(1) Brains: chicken and prawn ravioli with a creamy sauce - a super-fabulous serving of perfect pasta chock full of fresh ingredients and a heart-stopping sauce.

(2) Deliberator: Mt Barker chicken and prawn sausage - the chicken and prawn combination again - while not all that common, this version of surf and turf is a new favourite.

(3) Sponge: rump steak – a little overcooked (for a rare steak), however the potato pie that accompanied it was awesome.

(4) BOOTO: pan fried gnocchi with lamb, caramelised onion, Sicilian green olive and shaved parmesan – so good it made you want to lick the plate.

(5) Chips for the table.


(1) BOOTO: apple tart – not bad, but any negative aspects could be down to the fact that she had eaten so much that by this stage of the night all she really wanted to do was roll over and die.

(2) Brains: saffron and vanilla crème brulee, orange and tequila sorbet and citrus tuile – certainly one of the best brulees she’s ever eaten, more brulees should contain saffron. More of every food should cotain saffron.

(3) Sponge: ice cream sundae thingy, nothing earth shattering here.

And so it was that after WAY too much meat and perhaps just a little over indulgence on the wine side of things (because in our opinion, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to wine), the Bloggers waddled through the dim interior of Must onto the bright lights of our beloved Beaufort Street. A little older yes (in Booto’s case) and all the more satisfied to know that Must is indeed a must dine venue in Perth.

In summary:

Service: Great sommelier, even if he did back up the Deliberator – the mileage on this one if going to last. And last. And last. Query the bling on one of the waitresses though – was there some sort of ho-down we didn’t know of that demanded sequined appliqué?

Food: Tick. Tick. Tick.

Highlight: Hard to cut one from the herd, but the charcuterie plate is non negotiable

Lowlight: The Deliberator being correct on the appellation point, and the weird dreams experienced from all that meat.

Rating: 4.5 appellations out of 5.

Will we be back: Some of us already have.

Details: You can find Must Winebar at 519 Beaufort Street, Highgate. It’s open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, however one would recommend booking for dinner. You can call them on 9328 8255. We had a real slap up meal and the Deliberator kept to his promise to not consult the price before ordering the wine, so it did come to princely sum of $150.00 per head, but hey it’s not every day you jump up a survey group huh?

Must Winebar on Urbanspoon

22 March 2010

The Beaufort Street Steakhouse

It's exciting times on the Beaufort Street Strip, with 2 new meat-based establishments having opened in the last couple of weeks - Grill'd and the Beaufort Street Steakhouse. It was a tough call deciding which one to patronise first, but the Beaufort Street Steakhouse won on the basis that there was no unnecessary apostrophe in its name.

With Stinky being happily minded by Mother of Booto (father of Booto was around, but was busy reliving his incredible conversation with a Sikh chef down at the North Perth Bowling Club) the bloggers put on their glad rags, polished their thongs and headed off to the Beaufort Street Steakhouse. The BSS occupies the space which Alt Heidelberg left vacant some years back - some you may recall the taunting sign on the door about Alt Heidelberg closing for renovations and checking the local rag for announcements on the reopening date. The Brains read each local paper (all 3 of them) every week for 3 years in anticipation of that announcement, which sadly never came.

But that's by the by.

Parking at BSS proved to be an issue. Not because it was difficult, but because The Deliberator insisted on directing us down tiny Northbridge streets so that we ended up parking in a dark alley facing the wrong way, then yelling at Booto for driving down tiny Northbridge streets so and parking in a dark alley facing the wrong way. The dressing down continued until we walked in the door, but calm was restored as we entered our cozy and quite fabulous surroundings. The BSS has the most sensational wallpaper (stylised white bull heads on a red background, tessellated to make flower-like shapes), beautiful booths (upholstered in red velvet) and the best steak knives we had ever clapped eyes on. A discussion about how easy it might be to kill someone with those steak knives quickly erupted.

We bagsed a booth and were soon presented with an amuse bouche, which to everyone's delight was an incredible dollop of steak tartare, delicately decorated with wafer thin slices of cornichons, mini-capers and tiny pieces of red onion. It was fabulous - had it been on the menu we all would have ordered it again as an entrée. It wasn't, so we ordered:

1. charcuterie plate, made up of house made duck liver parfait, terrine, chorizo, mustard and thin strips of prosciutto;

2. natural oysters

3. garlic chilli prawns

4. garlic bread

We were covering all bases. Every item was great, from the delicious oily chilli sauce that the prawns were swimming in, to the generous amount of garlic on the garlic bread to the smooth and creamy parfait. We enjoyed our entrée with 2 bottles of Tim Adams Riesling and a conversation about lung oysters.

We were keen to move onto red wine before our steaks arrived and went with the owner's suggestion of a Bellarmine Shiraz, at a very reasonable $35 (or thereabouts). It turned out to be a great suggestion, and Bellarmine Shiraz is now a firm group favourite.

With the red wine poured, we had to make a decision about the steaks, which was a nightmare - The Deliberator wanted to have the 750g rib-eye which was designed for 2 people for himself, plus he wanted to add 2 sauces, 3 mustards and an additional serve of chips. We managed to talk him out of the 750 gram big boy into a 600 gram rump, but he still ordered that to come with chips, as well as an additional serve of chips for the table. The Sponge ordered the same, Booto had the ladylike 220 gram eye fillet and the Brains chose the 300 gram sirloin. Despite having a choice of garlic mash, hand cut chips or jacket potato with crème freche and chives, we all opted for chips, and between us, we were able to get every type of sauce and mustard available on our table.

When the Deliberator and the Sponge's enormous meals arrived, the waitress (whose poor little wrists were bending at an unnatural angle due to the weight of those bastard steaks) accidentally dropped a couple of the monstrous the hand cut chips on the floor. While she rushed back to the kitchen to replace them, the Sponge's survival instincts kicked in as he bent over, picked up the chips from the floor and went to eat them. Thankfully, Booto was in mothering mode and managed to wack them out of his hand before they went into his mouth.

Everyone was extremely happy with their steaks. The Deliberator and The Sponge's steak took up the whole of their plates which pleased them both no end. The sauces were all amazing - a choice of mushroom, Diane, béarnaise, port and thyme and pepper - the chef makes them from scratch on the premises and you can taste the home made goodness. The hand cut chips were enormous slabs of potato, stacked on the plate like a game of jenga. Despite their crispy deliciousness, no one touched the extra chips for the table that The Deliberator insisted we order - they were a complete waste of time as the individual servings were more than generous. We also had a rocket and parmesan salad which did get eaten, but that was probably better left unsaid.

Dessert does not feature in our review.

So, with stomaches filled to the brim with cow and spuds, fuzzy heads from too much booze and a general warm glow from having had such a great experience, we left and spent the rest of the evening prank calling each other in the car (and then later on The Deliberator and The Brains' couch). And we are pleased to report that even in your 30s, the Wing the Wong number joke does not get tired.

In summary:

Service: Very friendly and attentive. There are plenty of wait staff to go around. As the restaurant has only just opened there is a hint of nervousness and a little lack of confidence, but this will surely pass.

Food: Exactly what you want from a steak house - perfectly cooked steak, great selection of sauces and sides, giant serves and even some interesting starters.Ambience: Cosy, groovy with a hint of Spain.

Highlight: The steaks, stupid. Oh, and the steak knives.

Lowlight: We were surprised to see there was no t-bone on the menu, and we were also slightly put-out that the waitress did not stop to explain what exactly was what on our charcuterie board. Pretty minor lowlights though.

Rating: 4.5 bleeding cows out of 5.

Will we be back: Certainly. As far as we can tell, it's the only decent steakhouse in town. It's exactly what the Beaufort Street strip and Perth in general needs.

Details: The Beaufort Street Steakhouse is located at 283 Beaufort Street, Perth, next door to Source. The restaurant is fully licensed and you can call them on 9228 2008. We paid about 85 bucks a head for entrees, a whole beast and most of their wine.

Beaufort Street Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

26 February 2010

Oriental Secrets

Craving some spicy Asian goodness, but lamenting the fact that we seem to have already visited all of Beaufort Street’s scant supply of oriental eateries, the Bloggers were transported with delight to discover that their favourite Asian takeaway on Chelmsford Road actually has a Beaufort Street address. (Well, at least according to one website, but that was good enough for us.)

Oriental Secrets is tucked away up Chelmsford Road behind Caffissimo (home to the once-unbeatable Eggs-On-Fire, but more on that later) and is indeed so secretive and inconspicuous that the Sponge and BOOTO had walked past it every Saturday for almost 2 years without it registering. It is a strange place, more akin to a hairdresser than a high-calibre takeaway operation, with a door (invariably open) behind the counter leading straight into the owners’ house. This gives the fantastic impression that you are ordering food in someone’s lounge room, and allows one to occasionally catch a glimpse of Mr and Mrs Secrets sitting on the couch watching Dancing with the Stars in their jim-jams. This impression spills over into the front-of-shop too: while technically a dine-in restaurant, the tiny 2 or 3 table space out the front will often be strewn with newspapers, toys, laundry and shoes, giving it a distinctly lived-in feel. Suffice it to say, the Bloggers have never seen anyone actually attempting to dine in, and decided to tackle this one as a takeaway option.

But on to the food: At risk of flogging the term to death, Oriental Secrets offers a “pan-Asian” experience, with standard Chinese offerings spiced up (pardon the pun) by some Malaysian, Thai and assorted noodle dishes.

Starters are quite a strange affair at Oriental Secrets: on paper, all the old favourites are there (prawn toast, spring rolls, satay sticks etc) however they come served in a c.1982-style Big Mac box with a squeegee pack of an “appropriate” type of sauce (which in the case of the prawn cutlets, oddly, was tomato sauce). Whether it’s their preparation or the polystyrene coffin they come served in, the starters are often quite soggy and not particularly tasty. The Bloggers have in the past compensated for this by simply foregoing starters and ordering another main or six. Or (as on this occasion) simply ordering a shitload of food and then just leaving the bits you don’t want (well, at least until the compulsory booze-fuelled second-sitting at around 11pm).

The mains are fantastic: pepper beef was a particular stand-out, with so much pepper you could just about carve it. Szechuan chicken was juicy and spicy, and the chilli squid, spare ribs and pork dumplings were bloody magnificent. Not for the faint of heart though – Mr and Mrs Secrets definitely err on the side of spicy. Something (or perhaps everything) in the heaped medley of Oriental loveliness on the Sponge’s plate had enough shtang in it to reduce him to a mewling baby. And necessitate the consumption of 85 lagers.

Deserts were, of course, omitted.

The real kicker about Oriental Secrets though is the price – $95 bought the 4 bloggers about a million main courses with rice and noodles, which necessitated BOOTO and the Brains (being the designated picker-uppers) having to take a backpack. All served with a very nostalgic little plastic bag of rice crackers and 4 fortune cookies to celebrate Chinese New Year.

In summary:

Service: Friendly and top notch. (We should mention that, some months ago, BOOTO and the Sponge ordered some takeaway which they were told would take around 30mins to arrive. Worried that she would not be able to make this deadline, Mrs Secrets ended up bundling her young son up into the car and delivering it herself, then knocking $10 off the price because she was around 2 minutes “late”. Exceptional.)

Food: Other than the limp starters, top quality pan-Asian. (Shit, I said it again.)

Ambience: “Homey”

Highlight: Pepper beef. And the price. And the prawn crackers.

Lowlight: The limp starters. And catching a glimpse of Dancing with the Stars.

Rating: 3.7 secretive orientals out of 5.

Will we be back: Definitely, although not to dine in. Offers a lot of good quality, cheap and varied dishes from many different Asian countries. (That’s better.)

Details: Oriental Secrets is either at 5b Chelmsford Road or Shop 1, 595 Beaufort Street (depending on which website you believe) and can be contacted on 9227 9578. $95 for the amount of food we ordered is pretty incredible. Really.

19 January 2010

The Queens Hotel

In our view, the Queens is somewhere you tend to go when a somebody who is from Perth but living in London or over east is home for Christmas and has organised drinks. It’s big, it’s central, its well-known and out-of-towners generally don’t realise there are several better places to drink in the same area.

These organised drinks are sometimes difficult at the Queens, because on a Friday or Saturday night the place is packed and they have exactly 3 staff manning the bar and 2 of those are trainees. While the beer selection is fantastic, the wine list is pretty average and as far as we are aware, no one has ever had a satisfactory gin and tonic at the Queens (we cannot stand those tiny tiny tumblers the mixed drinks come in). This means it’s kind of difficult to get drunk, which can make for a very frustrating Friday night.

Our views changed somewhat after our meal at the Queens. It was a sweltering evening when we, along with our good friends Double Skulls and F, hit the Queens. We had made a reservation some time before to make sure we had a table on the decking, so we had a great position in which to enjoy the balmy night and Double Skulls’ hilarious conversation.

Our waitress was not exactly friendly and seemed to be constantly frantic - she did everything we needed but not always quickly because she seemed to have about 300 hundred other tables to run. As we have already mentioned, the Queens is consistently under-staffed resulting in pretty average, impersonal service.

We started with beers all round and a bottle of wine, and soon moved onto an entree of spiced Moroccan calamari on cous cous, quesadillas and cacciatore. We do not think we have been to a restaurant yet and not ordered some form of squid (other than Rembrandt, but that’s only because the Poles are generally not well known for their calamari dishes). This squid was pretty good – it was reasonably tender and dusted with a mild Moroccan spice served on a bed of spiced cous cous. The quesadillas weren’t bad, but in comparison to the quesadillas at the Brisbane which are beautiful and thin and crispy and come with shitloads of salsa, guacamole and sour cream, they’re not quite as delicious.

For the mains, the Deliberator ordered a 400g rib eye steak with mushroom sauce and chips. His critical and considered review of the steak was that, and we quote, it was ‘all good’. He also noted that he gnawed the bone till his fingers bleed AND that the BWS next door is open to midnight Mon to Sat. Thanks Deliberator. On a strange and what turned out to be a very ill-considered whim, The Brains ordered the vegetarian option, which was a haloumi and vegetable strudel with a broad bean salad. The strudel was quite a nasty puff pastry affair that contained over half a tin of olive oil in it which made it pretty much inedible. But, it was the broad bean salad that stunned Brains – it was basically a few baby spinach leaves topped with unshelled (yes! unshelled!) broad beans. Who eats the skin of the broad bean? There wasn’t even dressing. The whole thing seemed unfished, but still, the disappointment was entirely her fault for being so stupid as to order a vegetarian dish. She will never do it again.

BOOTO’s kangaroo on a tomato and roasted red onion salad with a beetroot relish and was absolutely fabulous. The kanga could have a been a bit thinner sliced and a bit more rare, but on the whole was delish. It is worth mentioning that when she ordered, the waitress pointed out that the kangaroo was currently not being served in its usual manner (ie crusted), which ended up to be a plus given that kangaroo is a tasty enough meat that crumbs it needed not. The only real negative was The Brains looking longingly at her meal.

Meanwhile the Sponge was consuming his dinner which consisted of 100 pints and some scotch. Oh, and weisswurst sausages and mash. The mushroom jus on the sausage was allegedly ‘simply to die for’. F’s ‘barramundi’ on the other hand was a bit muscular, F thought that it had either been working out or had been using steroids. Therefore, F’s highlight was watching the Deliberator and finish the night by smoking the bone of his giant steak. Double Skulls chose the linguini with prawns which she thought was pretty tasty.

So all up, an enjoyable night with some unexpected food highlights – in summary:

Service: Efficient enough, but impersonal and not overly friendly. A smile or 2 would never go astray.

Food: A slightly mixed bag, but more positives than negatives.

Ambience: The decking area was a lovely place to be on a super hot night.

Highlight: The mushroom jus.

Lowlight: Some long waits for drinks and unshelled broad beans.

Rating: 3.7 fat yaks out of 5.

Will we be back: While we won’t fall over ourselves to get back, there’s no doubt that some function or other will be held there that we will be attending. And that won’t be a bad thing.

Details: The Queens is at 520 Beaufort Street Perth – they have a helpful website at www.thequeens.com.au; and their number is 9328 7267. The bill for 3 shared entrees, 6 main meals, 2 bottles of wine, 100 pints and some scotch came to roughly $70 per head.

Queens Tavern on Urbanspoon

12 January 2010

2 Fat Indians

Having had a pretty average experience at 2 Fat Indians in Cottesloe (which probably had more to do with being in Cottesloe than anything else), and being reasonably sceptical of this strange Indian chain restaurant thing that seems to be taking over Perth, the bloggers were not super fired up about their trip to 2 Fat Indians on Beaufort Street, but, as usual, tried to keep an open mind.

When we arrived we were warmly greeted and promptly shown to our enormous table. The table was huge. At least 30 people could sit around that table, so it would be perfect for the 4 of us and the 5 or 6 wine coolers they would require. We took in the atmosphere and were impressed by the understated but rather beautiful décor, fresh flowers, calming lighting and appropriate yet slightly wanky Indian lounge music.

The wine list was also impressive - an excellent selection of varying prices, regions and varietals - and all the appropriate beers to boot. So, in that stuffwhitepeoplelike kind of way, we felt obliged to order a couple of rounds of Kingfisher beers before we moved onto the first of our 4 bottles of white wine.

To the food. Instead of the menu, the waitress accidentally gave us each a copy of Britannica's Encyclopaedia of Indian Cuisine. The list of foods was staggering. The Starters menu was divided into 6 separate sections - vegetarian, chicken, lamb, seafood, platters and 'sizzlers' - each section had at least 6 selections and some selections had options. Christ. Asking the Deliberator to choose a starter would be like taking an epileptic to a rave - something terrible would happen so you just wouldn't do it. In fact, choosing a starter was even troubling to the Brains, who loves nothing more than to order for the whole table without paying heed to anyone's suggestions, preferences, food allergies or pregnancy status.

So, there was no way round it, it had to be a platter and, just to see what the hell they were, a sizzler. On the side we ordered Calamari Chilli Mili, which was calamari deep fried and tossed with vegetables and Indian spices. The platter comprised of samosas, paneer bhatti tikka, lamb seekh kebab, macchi amritsari, murgh malai kebab. We're embarrassed to admit that we don't know our macchi from our murgh or our bhatti from our amristari but it was all pretty bloody delicious. The sizzler was a combination of prawn, fish and chicken, cooked with onion, capsicum and kadahi masala gravy (ie, tandoori). The tandoori'd products were succulent, full of heat and piping hot. So far so very good. But it was the calamari that was the stand out – tender pieces of spicy squid quickly fried and served with (not too many) fresh vegetables. Impressive.

Moving to the mains. If we thought ordering starters was a chore, mains were practically impossible. The same 6 headings came up again, each with several selections, but this time with the addition of goat. After much bickering, backstabbing and juvenile squabbling, we landed on baby goat curry, palak paneer, lamb saagwala and murgh peshawari (which was chicken) and at least $350 worth of condiments, breads and rices. The best part about Indian food is the sides.

The goat curry was the standout, the meat was strong and the saffron flavouring was fabulous. The Deliberator loves nothing more than sucking on the bones of a dead baby goat, so he was in heaven. The rest of us had to endure around half and hour listening to him slurp out the marrow and chew off microscopic bits of meat left on the bone, then loudly spit the bones into the little metal serving bowl, ensuing each bone made maximum noise on departure from his mouth. The palak paneer was also a highlight, with the paneer being of the finest home-style quality which most definitely did not taste like the cans of palak paneer The Deliberator and The Brains so love to buy from Prime Products. The other dishes were good, but frankly, it is hard to distinguish them from similar dishes served at every other similarly priced and styled Indian restaurant in Perth, including: Bollywood, Nine Mary's, Chutney Mary's, Little Chutney's, Mela, the Cinnamon Club - the list probably goes on.

Of course, we had over ordered, so dessert was not on the cards. Instead, the Bloggers rounded out the night by lying on Booto's and The Sponge's couches, rubbing our bellies and discussing what form the meal would take in the morning (incidentally, that conversation continued by email for most of the next day).

In summary

Service: The service was really good actually, there was always someone around ready to bring us more wine. At one stage a waiter smashed a beer bottle on our table, but the apology was quick, the clean-up even quicker, and as a result we couldn't have cared less about it.

Food: Fresh ingredients, appropriate heat, tender meats and great condiments. However, not so amazing we couldn't wait to get back.

Ambience: Perfect - a great mix of low lighting, casual seating and spa-like décor made us feel like we could sit there for hours. So we did.

Highlight: The goat curry.

Lowlight: The Deliberator sucking the goats bones dry.

Rating: 3.5 goat femurs out of 5.

Will we be back: Hard to say really. Probably. Maybe. We don't know. Indian's hard, it's not something we eat all that regularly so when we do we tend to try new places. It is 100% better than its Cottesloe sister though.

Details: 2 Fat Indians is next door to the Queens Hotel. Call them on 9228 0720. It is fully licensed and our meal plus drinks came to about $70 per head. But we did over order and drink far too much.

PS: apologies, we could only find a picture of one fat Indian.

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