Lunch @ Breezes on Como, South Perth

Before I left Perth I went out to lunch with my friend Miss J. Miss J suggested we try out a new restaurant and after a look in her entertainment book she settled on Breezes on the Como. When we arrived we were the first ones in the restaurant and the only ones for most of our meal, which did not bother us as we had plenty of chatting to do before I left.

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Maracuja Pice cocktail ($14.9)

While we looked over the menu and decided what we wanted to have for lunch we ordered a round of cocktails. I selected the Maracuja Pie cocktail, which consisted of ‘vanilla vodka, fresh passionfruit, vanilla Galliano, pineapple juice and a crumble dusting.‘ The cocktail was delicious and one that I will have again for sure!

We ordered some cheesy garlic bread to share as a starter. I ordered the Cordon Bleue for my main, while Miss J ordered the Linguine. I quite enjoyed my dish, it had an interesting array of flavours that to my surprise worked very well together. Miss L also enjoyed her meal, saying it was nice and quite filling.

Overall the restaurant and food was nice. The service was prompt. The atmosphere was lacking, although we did have a mid-week lunch. I will be back for the cocktail when I return to Perth if they still have it on the menu and perhaps I should coincide it with dinner and see how the atmosphere compares to my lunch.
Breezes On Como on Urbanspoon

Farewell Sunset at Cottesloe Beach

Summer Wrap is a series of my highlights and favourites from summer. A collection of eating,drinking and dining that captures the sunny warm weather of a Perth summer to a ‘T’. This two part post was the inspiration for this series as I have recently been looking back over this past summer and all the things I have enjoyed doing in and around Perth to do with drinking and dining.

This is the last post in the series as it was my last summer activity before I left for the UK. For my last day in Perth I chose to spend it with good company celebrating my favourite parts of summer in Australia. The highlight of the day was watching the sunset at the beach.

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My last sunset at Cottesloe Beach

My last day in Perth was spent with good company celebrating at one of my favourite summer spots – the beach! While I was sitting with my friends on the foreshore watching the sun set after having a swim we all found that we were craving hot chips and a milkshake as the perfect snack. We found that Red Spoon did frozen yoghurt milkshakes and with some hot chips and sauce from Amberjack’s Fish and Chips we then settled in to watch my last Australian sunset for a few years.

Hot chips and a milkshake

Hot chips and a milkshake

I thoroughly enjoyed the view, food and company and think that I will have to spend many more evening like this when I return to Perth. I have recently been receiving reports that the weather is beginning to cool down in Perth so before it gets any chillier I would highly recommend this as a fantastic way to spend an evening!
Amberjacks on Urbanspoon
Red Spoon Cottesloe on Urbanspoon

Summer Wrap: Girls Day in the Swan Valley @ The Cheese Barrel, Swan Valley

Summer Wrap is a series of my highlights and favourites from summer. A collection of eating,drinking and dining that captures the sunny warm weather of a Perth summer to a ‘T’. This two part post was the inspiration for this series as I have recently been looking back over this past summer and all the things I have enjoyed doing in and around Perth to do with drinking and dining.

Before I left Perth I made plans with some girlfriends from university to do a day trip out to the Swan Valley so I could visit the Swan Valley one last time before I left. On the day we all piled into a car, cranked up some tunes and headed out for the Swan Valley which was about a 30-40minute drive up Roe Highway from where we all lived.

All packed into the car and ready to drive.

All packed into the car and ready to drive.

When we arrived in the Swan Valley the first port of call was the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s Factory. We walk around the Chocolate Factory checking out the samples of chocolate, picking up a few pieces of chocolate for friends and family before heading over to check out Providore. At Providore we found a range of preserves, chutneys and prepared meal packages. There was lots of sampling of different preserves on offer and most were given a big thumbs up. There was also a quick sampling of the white wines from Coward & Black that Providore had for tasting, with the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc being the favourite.

After our time at the Chocolate Factory we made a quick stop at Yahava Koffee which had a lovely patio to sit under and enjoy a drink as you looked out over the vineyards and countryside. Some of the girls check out their coffee samples. I passed on on the coffee sampling and instead chose to marvel at the tranquil view from the shade of the patio. The reports back were that they took their coffee very seriously and if you want to visit to invest a portion of time to truly give this place the chance to impress you with their knowledge of and range of coffees.

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Quick photo op in the vines at Olive Farm Wines.

By now it was lunch time and we were in need of a feed after our busy morning of driving and tasting. I had requested that lunch involve cheese and so we headed over to The Cheese Barrel for lunch. When we arrived we chose to sit at a table inside as it was a very hot day and the air conditioning inside the Cheese Barrel was lovely. A quick look at the menu made us realise we had no clue where we wanted to start so we opted to pick one of their platters. We ended up settling on the ‘Gather and Share’ Platter ($57.50) to share between the 5 of us. To go with the platter I selected a Phoenix Organic Ginger Beer ($4) as I was on driving duty that day. Others chose between a glass of Olive Farm Sparkling Brut ($9.50), a ginger beer or lemon lime bitters from Phoenix Organic.

The ‘Gather and Share’ Cheese Platter consisted of  ‘6 premium cheeses (3 soft and 3 hard) elegantly printed with Parisian baguette slices, lavish bites, premium leg ham, quiche paste, marinated olives, pan de high and seasonal fruit slices’. One of the soft cheeses was meant to be a blue cheese, however as I was the only one in the group who ate blue cheese and not a great deal of it the lady at the counter was more than happy to substitute a different soft cheese for us which was greatly appreciated.

The cheeses in clockwise order from the top were:

1. Labuche d’Affinois
2. Rouzaire Camembert
3. Mountain Man
4. Queso de Murcia Al Vino
5. Quickes Cheddar
6. Queso San Simon

Cheeses 3 (Mountain Man) and 4 (Queso de Murcia Al Vino) were the overall favourites however all the cheeses were enjoyed and finished off along with all the other delicious toppings that the platter came with! I have enjoyed a few platters from the Cheese Barrel and this one again did not dissapoint!

We ended our time in the Swan Valley with a stop at Mondo Nougat for some ice-cream as we drove home. The strawberry ice-cream they had turned out to be very sugary and not to anyones liking so we passed on the ice-cream and had a look around the shop before hopping back in the car and heading home.

A few more hours would have been lovely but many of us had afternoon plans to get back to. To make a full day in the Swan Valley I would suggest checking out some of the wineries in the region such as Sittella and Olive Farm Wines.

The Cheese Barrel on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: Break (Albany)

Hi everyone,

This past week I spent most of the week in Albany. Albany is a town located about a 4 and a half hour drive south of Perth, along the southern coast of Western Australia. Albany is located in a wine region called the Great Southern and is one with the best climate for producing good Pinot Noir’s and Rieslings in Western Australia. I did manage to make it to two wineries to sample their wines, however I fell sick towards the end of the trip and had to miss out on visiting the wineries surrounding nearby Mount Barker. I had been looking forward to visiting Plantagenet and Galafrey’s in particular near Mount Barker, I guess I will need to head back to the region again soon when I am rested and have another break from university!

BF and I drove around the city centre of Albany and I was quick to spot the Dan Murphey’s and was curious to see what they stocked, being the competition for my workplace. I quickly discovered their international section and ended up finding a Greek wine that caught my eye, seeing my heritage is Greek I felt a little compelled to give this wine a try. I was a little unsure of the Greek wine (as it was only $10) so I purchased a back-up Riesling to get myself in the mood for the wines of the region we were staying in.

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This Greek wine introduced me to two new grape varietals, Roditis and Savatiano. This is a traditional greek wine made by Tsantali using pine resin to the fermenting must to achieve a wine similar to that of old fermentation methods. The wine had an aroma which drew me in and interested me but the palate of the wine was one which I was not overly keen about. I think this wine needed to be paired with seafood or perhaps some greek inspired dishes for the palate of the wine to have something to compliment and pair with. For the price of this wine I cannot complain however I do not think I would repurchase it again, rather I would prefer to try something new.

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I adore Rieslings, I think they were the first white wine that I ever fell in love with. Being in the Great Southern wine region I was excited to be in a region which had the best climate in Western Australia for Rieslings and thought it would be fun to have a 2011 Austrian Riesling form Domäne Wachau to compare with. I opened this wine towards the end of the trip as I was beginning to get sick and I feel that this wine suffered due to that. I quite enjoyed the luscious fleshy fruit on the palate and the acidic finish of the wine. This Riesling did not let me down even when I could not fully appreciate the wine and I would happily repurchase this wine again!

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I will post up the wines that I tasted at these wineries in a separate blog. I did however walk away with a few bottles of wines for gifts and for myself to enjoy.

Until next time!

Wine Education Centre Up-Coming Courses

Hi everyone,

Since I’ve begun to settle into my new routine with my graduate studies, I’ve been back on the Wines of Western Australia’s website looking at their classes and courses for this year.

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Wine Basics

($90 for a 3 hour class 10am-1pm)

This class offers a basic introduction to wine tasting and appreciation. These classes can make for a fun weekend event with friends.

Upcoming Dates: 16 March 2013, 4 May 2013, 25 May 2013

Wine Essential Course

($295 for 4 weeks 6-8pm: includes 6 different wine tastings per week, three course meal in the final week and a private group tour of a winery)

This course is the one which I completed last year and my reviews of the wines I sampled in the course can be found in the links below. This course is good for people ranging from beginners to those like me who knew something about wine but wanted to refine and add to their wine knowledge repertoire. Overall I was impressed with the course and it’s value for money as well as the chance to meet with other wine enthusiasts in Perth. My final thoughts can be found in this blog post.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Winery Tour

Upcoming Starting Dates: 6 March 2013, 3 April 2013, 8 May 2013

Wine Essentials Plus Course

($395 for the course, includes the textbook, A Taste of the World of Wine and the option of completing an industry certified, theoretical and sensory examination.)

This course is for those who want to learn about wine regions and the finer points of wine such as cellaring and faults. This course is aimed at people in the wine and hospitality industries, along with people who have acquired some wine knowledge already.

Upcoming Starting Dates: 7 May 2013

Wine Varietals Course – Combined or Individual Red and White Wine Courses

($265.00 each for the individual 4 week courses 6-8pm, or
$425.00 for the courses combined into an 8 week course 6-8pm)

This course focuses on using blind tastings to develop your wine palate and knowledge. Three of the four weeks in each of the courses is structured for a comparison and contrast between two different varietals, with the final class being a review of what has been learnt. This is the course I have been eyeing off since finishing the Wine Essential course last year, as did many of the people who were on the course with me.

Upcoming Starting Dates: 21 February 2013 (Wine Varietals White), 9 May 2013 (Wine Varietals White), 28 March 2013 (Wine Varietals Red)

If you have anymore questions or wish to book in to one of these courses you can contact the Wine Education Centre on (08) 9284 3355 or via email: WEC@winewa.asn.au

Until next time!

The Quarter on Hay, Perth

Hi everyone,

When I went to Unwined WA earlier this year I won a meal voucher and some wines for purchasing my tickets before the day. The meal voucher was for The Quarter on Hay in the city. With the end of the year approaching BF and I decided we really should use it and celebrate the end of the year before the Christmas and New Years period completely began. We decided to be extravagant and go all out in the meal resulting in us leaving very satisfied after three courses, a bottle of wine and a French desert wine each.

We began the night after placing our orders with an Amuse Bouche (Duck Pate, something else with Sweet Capsicum sauce – free). It was slightly hard to hear what the waiter was saying as they were a little softly spoken and the speakers in the restaurant were a little too loud for us to hear them, this meant that I missed what the Amuse Bouche consisted of as well as the three cheeses on our cheese board. The sauce that accompanied the Amuse Bouche was delicious and BF and I were both big fans of it.

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Starter – Shared 3 Cheese Board with spiced apple chutney, and house made five seed bread. ($21)

The cheese board consisted of a hard cheese on the left, a soft cheese with a very sharp rind in the middle (BF said it reminded him of a barnyard smell and he was quite right) and on the right was a soft rind cheese which for me had just the faintest hint of blue cheese in it (BF couldn’t taste the blue cheese and declared the last one his favourite). I quite enjoyed all three cheeses so I polished off what BF left of the other two while he finished off his favourite. The bread that they provided was delightful and I so wish there had of been more of it! The bread was fresh, flavoursome and lightly toasted – I think overall this bread may have been my favourite single element of all the dishes I had on the night. The spiced apple chutney was served in a pastry box and really worked well with the cheeses.

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After the starter BF and I moved onto our mains. I had chosen the Salmon while BF chose the Beef. We had googled the restaurant prior to booking so we had an idea of the menu. BF was slightly horrified at the thought of a snail filled sauce, however when he asked if he pass on the sauce the waiter was quick to assure him that the sauce was parsley only and the snails were placed on top of the meat whole and could be pushed to the side. Obviously this is a common question and one which could be excluded by better wording on the menu?

Pan fried salmon, roast fennel & shallots, potato gallette, pernod & tarragon beurre blanc ($39)

Salmon.

Salmon.

Roast fillet of beef, dauphinoise potato, glazed vegetables, snail & parsley sauce ($44)

Beef.

Beef.

We shared a tiny portion of our meals with each other and declared both to be delicious. However we felt that the potato dishes that we had received worked better with the opposite dish as the potato with the salmon were very crispy while the potato dish with the beef was very creamy.

I did also attempt to try an escargot seeing as I had the opportunity, from the sneaky shot BF took of me as I was eyeing it off it’s clear I was unsure of it. In the end the texture was definitely not what I was expecting and it was quietly returned to the plate.

Escargot.

Escargot.

Deserts:

With our deserts we chose to have a glass of desert wine each and with a selection of an Australian and French wine we both opted to try the French one. With the deserts they all looked  very tantalising so we decided to pick two and switch plates half way through.

Chateau d’Yquem “Les Tertre Du Lys D’or” , Sauternes, France ($14 a glass).

This wine was a slightly impulsive decision and one i did not regret! The wine had oak present on the nose and palate, with the wine being sweet and syrupy on the palate with a refreshing aftertaste that cleansed the palate quite well. A good wine to finish the meal off.

Vanilla and honey crème brulee, confit rhubarb, vanilla shortbread, rhubarb crisp ($16)

Creme Brûlée.

Creme Brûlée.

I selected the Creme Brûlée and on first tasting the individual flavours thought there were quite a few strong flavours and wondered if it would pair together. When I had a little portion of everything at once however the dish was a success and I loved it.

Lemon & mascarpone tart, lime & marscapone sorbet, candied citrus fruits ($16)

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Lemon & mascarpone tart

BF selected the tart as he he seems to love anything with citrus in it. His selection however was such a refreshing dish and quite possibly won me over more than the Creme Brûlée which is a tough call for me to make. The filling of the tart melted off the tip of your tongue literally the moment it entered your mouth and it really helped cleanse my mouth from the creamy and quite sweet Creme Brûlée dish I had ordered.

Overall the meal was delicious and the service that our waiter William provided was fantastic it was professional but still friendly making us feel very welcomed. BF and I were quite keen to head back to try more of their deserts, cheeses and their earlier dinner menu which looked quite tantalising.

The only downside to the meal was the fact that I ended up with food poisoning that night and am quite sure it was the Salmon main dish that I had. I do not regret the meal or my experience at The Quarter on Hay and like I said before would love to head back for another meal there. I have notified The Quarter on Hay about the food poisoning however they were closed for the Christmas and New Year Period and yet to reopen and find my email.

Until next time!

The Quarter on Hay on Urbanspoon

Wine Essentials Course: Week 2

This week the Wine Essential Course focused on white wines including their production as well as a tasting of some common varietals along with samples of different white wine varietals which were brought in by members of the class at the request of .

1. Kilikonoon, 2011, Mort’s Block Riesling, Clare Valley ($36): pale lemony clear wine with crisp citrus and green fruit (pear and apple) on the nose, pronounced fruit on the palate balanced well with the acid and a long finish.

2. Redgate, 2011, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Margaret River ($19): bight and clear pale yellow wine with waxy, grassy and tropical fruit (pineapple) on the nose. This wine was quite disappointing when tasted, while the wine was smooth and balanced it was weak on fruit, acidity and overall not an impressive SBS for me personally.

3. Upper Reach, 2010, Verdelho, Swan Valley ($20): this wine surprised many of us in the class. Clear pale yellow in the glass, pronounced stone and melon fruit on the nose and ripe fruit was balanced on the palate well however the wine lacked persistence of the fruit flavour and developed at the back of the mouth into what one lady described on the night as a ‘sherberty’ texture. This wine would do well with a chicken salad this summer and was personally preferred to the SBS.

4. West Cape Howe, 2011, Unwooded Chardonnay, Margaret River ($17, $19 at Liquorland): clear and bring yellow wine in the glass with tropical, melon and cucumber on the nose. The wine was dry and fruity with ‘structural richness’ on the palate. This wine is one of the few Unwooded Chardonnays, which I have enjoyed and is making me rethink this wine style. This wine is great value for money and another excellent wine from West Cape Howe.

5. Rosabrook, 2010, Chardonnay, Margaret River ($22 at Liquorland): Clear and pale golden wine with a vanilla and charred oak notes on the nose combined with zingy tropical fruits (pineapple) making for an interesting bouquet. The wine was well rounded between the fruit, oak, acid and alcohol with fruit such as grapefruit and nectarines coming through on palate. This wine while not being overly complex also endeared me to the more fruiter styled Chardonnays which Australian wine makers and drinkers tend to favour.

6. De Bortoli, 2008, ‘Nobel 1’ Botrytis Semillon, Billal ($60 for a 700mL bottle, $36 at Liquorland for a 375mL bottle): dark orange in colour and smells devine! Think marmalade and honey notes on the nose. Sweet and fruity on the palate with enough acid to allow the palate to not feel gluggy from the sweetness of the wine, this wine would be perfect for Christmas desert or cheese platter!

The favourites of the night, not including De Bortoli’s ‘Nobel 1’ was the Rosabrook Chardonnay and the Kilikonoon Riesling, both of which I highly enjoyed and ended up being the swing vote to make the Riesling the overall favourite wine of the night.

I also had the chance to sample 2 new wine varietals from samples, which people brought into the class. I had the chance to try an Italian Verdecchio and a Spanish Albariño. Both were new varietals for me as part of my Wine Century Challenge and I enjoyed trying both varietals and would happily try them again. The Verdecchio was brought to the class warm and was quite watery on the palate; it would be interesting to try this varietal again but chilled. The Albariño was delightful with white peach coming across on the palate.

Albariño.

Verdecchio.

This weeks course definitely opened my eyes up to the numerous white wine varietals as well as how even a well known wine varietal can still surprise me in how varying the textures, bouquets and tastes different wineries can produce with the same grape varietals.

For those of you who missed my post for the first week’s class you can follow the link here to it.

Currently down in Margaret River for the Gourmet Escape event which is occurring this weekend. Tomorrow’s post will be late as I am driving back that afternoon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And come say hi if you are at the Gourmet Escape today (Saturday) and see me!

Until next time!