Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Wine & Truffle Co (Cucina Tartufo) Part II, Manjimup WA

Our GPS still didn't work very well but against all odds we made it to The Wine & Truffle Co in good time and shape enroute from Bunker Bay to Pemberton.

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The Place & View

And what a beautiful day it was! Cooling winds coupled with lots of sunshine and the sight of autumn foliage was pure nourishment for the weary (definitely beats the view in winter). The interior of the cafe hasn't changed a bit and the red cheery walls greet you upon arrival.

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Taste Plate with Truffle Paste Oil & Stuffed Olives with Hazelnut Bread ($20)

We started off with a platter of deliciously toasted hazelnut bread served with a variety of condiments including truffle paste, truffle butter, olives and olive oil. The pièce de résistance was definitely the truffle paste, which, when paired with the olive oil, was utterly sublime. Aromatic truffle coupled with the smoothness of olive oil - pure ecstasy (but I love truffle so I'm definitely biased). The truffle butter was a little bland though so we left most of it untouched. 

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Confit Duck Leg & Puy Lentils Braised in Truffle Jus Served with Truffle Mash ($34)

Decently executed with the skin crisp and the meat spotting a reddish hue without coming across as too dry or salty. I personally liked the truffle mash, which was fragrant with bits of real truffle in it, unlike the usual ones which use truffle oil.

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Gnocchi in a Creamy Porcini & Field Mushroom Sauce Served with Fresh Truffle Shavings ($30)

Although the gnocchi was a tad too big and soft for my liking (a little like chomping down on flour), I loved the excellent creamy mushroom sauce topped with shavings of cheese and fresh truffle. And that alone was enough to eclipse and compensate for the quality of the gnocchi in my humble opinion.

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Truffle Ice Cream ($10)

It's honestly the first time I've tried truffle ice cream or seen truffle ice cream for that matter. And it was interestingly smooth and savoury with a lingering truffle taste. Served with a topping of sweetened raspberry sauce.

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The scenery was great, service was great and the food in general was above average (and it all thanks to the truffles). Considering how pricey truffles are, I would say that the price of AUD 91.50 ( ~ SGD 114 at time of expenditure) is quite reasonable for a filling 2 pax lunch. Definitely a place I would make an effort to drop by again on my next trip to Perth.

See my initial review here.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10 (autumn plays a part!)
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Value for money: 8/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Address: Lot 490 Seven Day Road, Manjimup

Contact: (08) 9777 2474

Opening Hours

Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Open Monday of long weekends (Check website for updated opening hours)


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cutler & Co, Melbourne - A Pictorial

Had dinner at one of Melbourne's highly rated restaurants, Cutler & Co, just a 10 minute walk from our hotel.

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Overall I thought dinner was decent but hardly exciting nor outstanding. Service was decent as well but the place is rather noisy so meaningful conversation can be quite a challenge. Priced at AUD 231 (~ SGD 288 at time of expenditure) for 4 pax, which isn't exactly value for money in my humble opinion. Definitely won't be back.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (modern decor but rather noisy and dim)
Service: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: 5/10

Overall: 6.25/10

Address: 55–57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy 3065

Contact: +61 3 9419 4888

Opening Hours

Dinner - Monday to Sunday from 6pm

Lunch - Friday & Sunday from 12pm


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Pancake Parlour, Melbourne

After our wonderful pancake experience at Pancakes On The Rocks almost a year back, we were keen to experience Melbourne's answer to Sydney's much celebrated pancake store - The Pancake Parlour.

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Interior & Menu

We dropped by the outlet closest to our hotel, at Bourke Street Mall, on a weekday afternoon and it proved a little elusive save for a tiny signboard directing us to the basement of a narrow mall. The eatery itself was quite a size but lacked the crowds that we were anticipating (an ominous sign?).

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Caesar Salad ($22.70)

Generous servings of lightly breaded chicken, bacon bits and shaved Parmesan cheese coupled with fresh greens - decent but nothing too fantastic in my humble opinion.

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Chicken Sliders with Potato Pancakes ($14.90)

This was a lunch special so it was quite a bargain compared to the other items on the ala carte menu. Mildy charred and savoury potato pancakes topped with lightly breaded chicken sliders that didn't come across as too nauseating - pretty nice save for the less than fluffy pancake texture (a little on the soft side), which wasn't that much of a deal breaker in my humble opinion.

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Jamaican Banana ($19.30)

And finally, the long awaited signature fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Drizzled with maple syrup, flanked by copious amounts of fried banana (lightly crisp along the edges with a mildly charred taste) and topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream - definitely a delicious way to end off the meal! However I did find the taste a little inferior to that of Pancakes On The Rocks but I would still gladly order this again.

Our lunch came up to about AUD 57 (~70 SGD at time of consumption) for 2 pax. Overall the meal was very decent and the credit definitely goes to the pancakes. However, pricing can be an issue as a similar pancake dish at Pancakes On The Rocks is priced about 40% cheaper! No prizes for guessing which one offers better bang for the buck!

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (cafeish but quite with a rustic element)
Service: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10 (8/10 for the pancakes)
Value for money: 6.5/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: Centrepoint Arcade, Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne (various other outlets around Melbourne)

Contact: 9654 1893

Opening Hours

Sun to Thurs: 7am - 10pm

Fri & Sat: 7am - midnight


Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Hardware Societe, Melbourne

We had just stepped off a red eyed flight, which promised minimal rest even in R ( I blame it on all that gluttony and channel surfing on board). And it was in a rather disheveled and dreamy state that we dropped by The Hardware Societe, a popular brunch spot just 20 minutes on foot from our hotel.

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The Place & Menu

And boy was it crowded. A queue had formed at about 1030am on a mildly chilly Friday morning and it was a good 30 minute wait before we found ourselves perched on bar stools at the counter table. The place is honestly quite cramp but exudes a youthful vibrancy that is miles away from the leisurely brunch atmospheres I'm more accustomed to (maybe I'm just old). If you are one for conversations, hit the al fresco sitting area, where the noise level is lower and the crisp winter air, simply invigorating.

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House Smoked Sardines On Toast ($15)

Presentation was simple, with sardines lying atop a slice of toast and topped with lots of greens served up with gremolata and tomatoes. Very back to basics kinda feel. Unfortunately, the sardines had bits of hard matter in them which I presume to be bones and that honestly made eating them tedious. That aside, taste was pretty average and definitely not worth a reorder.

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Fried Brioche ($18)

The fried brioche fared a lot better. A mildly charred surface coupled with a soft, cushy texture and an eggy aftertaste, the brioche was an instant hit. I appreciated the palm sugar roasted pineapple which provided the necessary sweetness as well as the panna cotta like coconut bavarois which was fleetingly sweet with a sourish undertone.

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Drinks aside, our mains cost us AUD 33 (~ SGD 40 at time of expenditure) which was pretty reasonable by Melbourne standards. Granted, I didn't get the chance to try out many dishes but based on what we ate, food quality was a case of hits and misses. Therefore, it befuddles me how this place can be ranked as one of the best brunch places in Melbourne. Did we order the wrong dishes?

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10 ( I like the vibe!)
Service: 7/10
Food: 6/10 (7/10 for the brioche)
Value for money: 6/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: 120 Hardware St Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Contact: +61 3 9078 5992

Opening Hours

Mon to Fri 7:30 am - 3:00 pm

Sat 8:30 am - 2:00 pm

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Tung Lok Heen - A Pictorial

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Tung Lok Heen was formerly known as Chinois, where I had a couple of decent meals before. However, food quality this time round was rather average and total bill for 6 pax came up to $369.35 after a 20% discount. Definitely not worth the money and I won't be back.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 6/10
Value for money: 5/10 (without discount)

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: #02-142/143 Hotel Michael, Resorts World Sentosa

Contact: 6884 7888

Opening Hours

Lunch: 12.00pm - 3.00pm (Last order 2.30pm)

Dinner: 6.30pm -10.30pm (Last order 10.00pm)