Eating with your fingers is a must

Sri Devi Curry House, Northbridge

When J’s parents mentioned a new Indian Malaysian restaurant, Sri Devi Curry House, had popped up where Mak’s Place and later, Ipoh’s Corner, used to be, and that it was far superior to its predecessors, we were only too happy to join them for lunch to find out for ourselves.

In the interests of science and blog research, of course.

Upon arrival, we bumped into two of J’s parents’ oldest friends, who had decided to drop into Sri Devi last minute. With our group boosted to six, it meant more hands (and bellies) on deck to try out the food on offer.

Lunch at Sri Devi

One of the biggest draws of Sri Devi, for J’s dad, was the Saturday special, fish head curry. As we waited for ours to arrive, we spotted an older Chinese gentleman eating an entire bowl solo, with Just a small bowl of plain rice and a glass of water. A good sign.

Fresh pink snapper heads were used in this curry, swimming in a light curry sauce that packed reasonable heat and a great tang from the added tomatoes, lemongrass and turmeric.

Enjoying fish head curry is a relatively new thing for me – it always used to be “mum and dad food” at home – not a kid favourite, and therefore, cooked with extra chili.

Lunch at Sri Devi

We also shared two serves of vegetarian biryani ($7.00), which came laden with whole spices (cumin, cardamom), with lots of curry leaves and coriander mixed through. I found the biryani a surprise stand out. It was fragrant with just a touch of heat, and would have satisfied my appetite on its own, without the addition of meat or chicken.

Lunch at Sri Devi

J’s mum was more keen on murtabak ($12.00), and now I can totally understand why, after trying this one from Sri Devi.

Lunch at Sri Devi

Minced chicken, onion and egg are wrapped here in a thin roti canai (paratha) dough before being fried on the flat top grill. J’s mum and I got to chatting about the relative merits of murtabak, both agreeing that most places add way too much onion, leaving you with an unbalanced mix of flavours and textures. The onion to chicken ratio here was spot on.

The choice of chicken (instead of the usual mutton) was great too, as I’m not the biggest fan of mutton, generally. And if you’re feeling fishy – there’s even a sardine option too. (I assume ayam brand in tomato sauce? :))

Lunch at Sri Devi

Neither J or I could go past the roti canai, $6.00 for one, served with a meat curry sauce and dhal.

Lunch at Sri Devi

The roti canai here is *almost* as good as my mum’s. Or maybe my aunty’s. It’s smooth and silky on the inside, without a hint of toughness (a sure sign of over worked dough or too little ghee) and fried to flaky, golden perfection.

Frankly, I could eat these unadorned, every day, Monday through Friday – if overconsumption of ghee wasn’t at all a concern.

Lunch at Sri Devi

Teh tarik (“pulled” tea, $3.50) is on the drinks menu, and is the perfect thing to take the edge off the chili heat of your meal.

Alternatively, you might find other Malaysian favourites like Teh ice, Milo tarik or Nescafe (hot or cold), more your thing?

Sri Devi

The food was so good that J and I still weren’t satisfied, a full week after this meal. We found ourselves unmistakably craving roti canai ….

This time, we also sampled the Idli and sambal (a serve of 2 idli, $5.00) a South Indian specialty usually served at breakfast time.

Idli, if you haven’t tried them, are steamed savoury cakes. They’re made from a sourdough-like fermented batter, that contains finely ground rice and lentils. Once they’re steamed, they become light and fluffy, and they’re served hot – usually with two kinds of chutney (one chili-based, and one coconut-based).

Thosai are also offered on the menu – we shared one with J’s parents on our first visit (no picture, because we were too busy eating, sorry). Plain, egg, onion, cheese and masala options are all available, starting at $7.50 each.

Sri Devi

Sri Devi Curry House on Urbanspoon

B.Box wood fired Korean BBQ, Mount Lawley

B.Box

For a while now, people have been saying that Korean food is set to become the next big thingMove over, macarons. Buh-bye, bacon-laced everything. Sayonara, izakaya-style Japanese. Whether or not that’s true, in my mind, Korean food has always been a thing.

B.Box

I’ve been converted, since my first nibble on a piece of kimchi, and so I find myself naturally drawn to anything even remotely Korean, like a moth to a butane-fuelled table top flame.

So when I passed a new Korean restaurant, B.Box in Mount Lawley – you can be sure I made a mental note.

J and I visited on a rainy Friday night. It was getting busy, but we were seated quickly. We waited a little longer than I’d expect for an average dinner service – blips like not being given two menus, and not being shown a drinks menu drew out the process longer than I’d anticipated. The no-nonsense efficiency of other Korean restaurants which can be intimidating to some was noticeably absent here.

As I watched the wait staff moving around, avoiding our hunger-induced stares, I found myself wishing for the no frills alternatives that usually involve table top buzzers and numbered utilitarian menu descriptions (e.g. ‘beef intercostals’).

B.BoxOur banchan (side dishes) arrived quickly, which was a relief. The kimchi was a lightly fermented style, and didn’t pack much heat. We both chuckled when we saw the tiny serve, which the staff were only too happy to top up mid-meal. The pink-tinged pickles were a surprising standout, in a sweet-sour pickling liquid and a crisp texture.

B.Box

The deep fried chili chicken, $11.00, was my pick. I confess I may have just read ‘deep fried’ and zoned out. Maybe it was chicken and chili. It was cold and I wanted something spicy. It was cooked well, but we found the chill sauce just too sweet and sticky. It lacked any real zing from the chili, which I found disappointing.

B.BoxWe were sure the B.Box pork belly, $18.80, which is cooked over a wood fire – the restaurant’s signature style – would be a better choice.

It was better in that it was a more generous portion, for two people, but we found the meat surprisingly tough and quite bland. The wood-fired cooking didn’t really add anything special to the flavour or texture of the pork, as far as I could taste.

Pork belly cuts are favoured in Korean barbecue restaurants, but they’re often sliced much thinner (between 8mm – 1cm) which allows the meat to be cooked quicker to help it stay juicy and more tender.

Even if the meat is served without being seasoned, it’s common to be offered sesame oil, salt and gochujang (chili bean paste) so that you can season your own meal.

The grilled vegetables were a nice add-on, but not very exciting. I don’t think they added much value, overall, though they did bulk things out.

B.Box

The stand out of this meal, was by far the tofu stew (Kimchi jjigae), $15.00, which included a mix of seafood (large prawns, squid rings, mussels and clams), as well as soft tofu and vegetables.

It was a well reduced seafood soup, with a decent kick from added kimchi. Great spooned over rice, and even better if you’re suffering a cold. I swear this stuff will help you sweat it out. In a good way.

B.BoxWe were feeling a little deflated after this meal – as we’d hoped some good Korean had found its way even closer to our neighbourhood.

Though the food at B.Box wasn’t terrible – in terms of quality and value for money – it wasn’t the most authentic, and wasn’t a good representation of all the things I think make Korean food great.

There’s certainly been a lot of thought and effort put into this place – from the industrial chic decor, to the snazzy point of sale screens – not to mention the completely translated English menu.

I think I get what they were trying to achieve, but for me, B.Box just missed the mark. In making Korean food seem more ‘accessible’, I fear they’ve just watered down the flavours that make Korean food worth eating.

Sidenote: The all-English menu completely messed me up. I don’t know how to order ‘tofu stew’ … is it Soondubu or Kimchi Jjigae? They both have tofu. But they’re not quite the same.

B.Box

B.Box Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Eatnow.com.au

Disclosure: Juji Chews was invited to try using Eat Now. I was reimbursed for the cost of my meal, which came to $37.00, in case you’re wondering. Here’s how I found it. 

For a while it seemed like I had got my blogging mojo back. I was on a roll.

Four, no, five posts in my ‘to publish’ folder, photos done, words sorted. I was convinced I was back.

But then life happened.

With a side of a full time job (that isn’t this blog), a dash of a social life and a rather unwelcome trip to the emergency department for J. Which was followed up by four days in hospital with a mystery ailment, a bump on the head and a doctor’s order to avoid strenuous physical activity.

All’s now well in the House of Jujay, but I haven’t felt much like blogging, or cooking, really, if I’m being honest.

But a girl’s gotta eat, and an email inviting me to try this home delivery website was more than welcome.

eatnow-website

Home delivery, even easier.

Eat Now brings together all the take away and home delivery options available to your suburb. It’s similar to Seamless – which I first tried (and immediately fell in love with) in New York in 2012.

Think of it as… all the crappy magnet-menus from your local Chinese, Indian and pizza joints – combined in one easy to use site, taking the hassle out of the equation.

By ordering online, I didn’t have to stress out about:

  • Knowing the delivery radius of a particular place
  • Wanting to order food from the one place that was closed on a Tuesday
  • Not having an up-to-date menu
  • Knowing which places in our neighbourhood even delivered at all (because they all mysteriously missed us in their letterbox menu-drop)
  • How to pronounce a name of a dish on the menu, and how I’d explain it to the person taking my order on the phone, if they didn’t understand me
  • Not having correct change, or any money at all, in my wallet at the time.

How it works

Everything’s neatly spelled out for each listed restaurant, with additional reviews (and star ratings) based on previous orders. Payment options are included for each restaurant listed for your suburb.

Menus within each restaurant listed allow you to select a dish, quantity and customise your order (where that’s an option, like with pizza toppings).

Once you register to place an order, you supply your personal details and mobile number. You’ll get a helpful text message telling you how long your order should take. And, of course, if there’s any issues, the restaurant you’ve ordered from can contact you directly.

You don’t even need to supply your credit card details if that gives you the heebie jeebies – as you can pay with cash or Paypal, or credit card.

eat-now-6Our pick on a rainy Tuesday night? 

We ordered two small pizzas and a pasta from a local favourite of ours, Mario’s Pizza. I have to say, I did really enjoy not having to order over the phone (long day at work), and moreso as I wanted one of my pizzas (the Mario’s Special) without the standard anchovies. It was straightforward to change my order using the form online, rather that explaining it to the person taking my order.

Our order arrived within the 60 minutes that confirmed via text message once my order was received. The pizzas were hot and the pasta was fresh.

I think some Perth users of the site might find their options limited by the lack of local restaurants. I’ve noticed delivery options in some can be a little limited, even in reasonably ‘inner city’ suburbs.

But it’s still a good option, especially if you’ve got a favourite local delivery place that’s signed up.

It’s a no-fuss option that I know I’ll use again, because there’s even places listed for my area that I hadn’t heard of!

Have you tried Eat Now? What did you think?

 

Mary Street Bakery, Highgate

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

Say hello to a recent Sunday breakfast enjoyed by J and I at Mary Street Bakery.

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

My pick? The rather spectacular looking pork scotch eggs, with cress and onion mojo.

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

A fantastic contrasting combination of flavours and textures. Crunchy crumbs and silky egg yolk. Rich pork sausage, sweet onion and peppery cress.

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

Coffee. Of Course.

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

J’s order of fried chicken and pancakes with maple syrup and peanuts was not an exercise in restraint.

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

But really, why would you, when there’s fried chicken on offer?

Mary Street Bakery (re-visit)

The fluffy pancakes, topped with a fried egg and liberally doused in sweet maple syrup, were offset with a crunch from the fried chicken and caramelised peanuts. This is breakfast, done right.

Mary Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Check out my first visit to Mary Street Bakery.

Fook Kee, Spencer Village, Thornlie

Fook Kee

Despite having enjoyed the food at Fook Kee for well over 12 years, I realised I hadn’t ever blogged about it.

I used to visit Fook Kee with my Mum and Dad on weekends in my teens, majorly loving all the food on offer, in spite of myself and my surly-teen attitude.

Fook Kee’s hawker specialties are my favourites in Perth, a rare find that transports me back to the best hawker stalls I’ve visited in Malaysia and Singapore.

I don’t think there’s a single thing on the menu I don’t love. So apologies for overuse of the word ‘favourite’ here!

Chee Cheong Fun are steamed flat rice noodles topped with a sweet soy-based sauce, chill sauce and chopped crispy bean curd skin.

I think this dish is firm favourite for all of the Chews, as it was one our late grandma’s specialties, usually served at breakfast time.

Fook Kee

It’s a simple dish, as far as ingredients go, but takes a certain level of skill to execute, as you’ve got to get your rice noodles right.

They should have a silky, smooth texture, and should be thin. Whole sheets of rice noodle mix are steamed then rolled once cooked. Then they’re sliced, forming wide noodles, as you see here.

Fook Kee

Mama (aka my grandma) was also a dab hand at making Lor Mai Kai, or sticky rice with chicken, which is another Fook Kee fave of mine.

This is as good as the homemade versions I remember, with generous chunks of chicken thigh, sliced lup cheong (dry-cured Chinese sausage) and dried shiitake mushrooms. It’ll never beat Mama’s (nothing will), but it’s pretty damn close.

Fook Kee

When I think about Char Siu Pau, it’s Fook Kee’s that come into my mind. No matter where I’ve enjoyed them, abroad and at home, these are by far my favourites.

The pau are served fresh from the steamers, and always arrive impossibly soft and fluffy. The filling is the perfect balance of sweet and salty, with a satisfying caramelised flavour – thanks to the chopped Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork), which includes a mix of fat and lean pork for that perfect texture and taste.

When I visit Fook Kee, I usually can’t control my order. I’m entranced by the steam and the smells, and find myself asking for one of everything.

The only thing that ever stops me is ‘Mr Fook Kee’ saying ‘sold out!’, much to my disappointment.

I really recommend bringing a crowd and ordering everything. For other Fook Kee highlights (i.e. stuff I didn’t order this time), I recommend checking out my sister TFP’s post on a recent visit to Fook Kee!

Fook Kee on Urbanspoon

Fortysevenkirwanstreet, Floreat

Forty Seven Kirwan Street

I’ve heard only good things about Fortysevenkirwanstreet. This local favourite in Floreat is well known in this leafy part of Perth’s western suburbs, and is a popular weekend hangout for locals looking for good coffee and great eats.

I finally checked it out with my best friend A, after a particularly hunger-inducing, zen-like Body Balance session on a Saturday.

Forty Seven Kirwan Street

Ravenous, relaxed and ready for lunch, I chose the pulled pork burrito, with black bean, chipotle and corn salsa ($20.90). A pair of flour tortillas were stuffed generously with pulled pork, and topped with a spicy chipotle salsa studded with off-the-cob kernels of corn, hearty black beans and tomato.

It was a great choice, and had me full well until dinner that night.

Forty Seven Kirwan Street

The house made pie of the day (Moroccan lamb and potato) with rocket and herb salad ($18.90) was A’s pick.

The filling of spicy lamb and potato was wonderfully fragrant with cumin and coriander. Both of us marvelled at the flaky pie crust, which was super rich and buttery.

Fortysevenkirwanstreet on Urbanspoon

The Wang’s Treasure House, Morley

The Wang's Treasure House

It wasn’t part of my master plan to make this week’s posts an homage to Morley, though that seems to be how it’s worked out…

The Wang’s Treasure House is a relatively new addition to the Morley Chinese restaurant “strip” on Wellington Road. It’s housed in a former Christian bookshop, and draws the crowds on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The popularity of this place is a blessing and a curse. I felt like we’d picked a winner with so many people in line, saying to J – ‘it must be good… look at the line!’

But waiting for a table with a rumbling belly isn’t so fun. So I recommend planning accordingly – either with a reservation, or by planning your meal at a ‘shoulder’ time, either at opening (10.00am), or after the lunchtime rush (after 1.30pm).

The Wang's Treasure House

After sampling a range of their dim sum offerings earlier this month with J’s family, I can see why the crowds are flocking.

The Char Siu Pau (pictured above) are one of my favourites at any dim sum restaurant – and in my opinion, a good indicator of good vs. average (or bad!) dim sum. These certainly passed the test, with a light, fluffy exterior and generous filling with chunks of tender char siu. The sauce wasn’t overly thick or starchy (i.e. not extended with too much corn flour or other binder), which in my book is a definite win.

The Wang's Treasure House

I was smitten with the Shanghai Dumplings (or Xiao Long Bao) – the pork soup dumplings – made famous by Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung.

These were top notch – hand made, as evidenced by the somewhat imperfect pleats, unlike the machine-made perfect dumplings you’ll find in most other Perth dim sum restaurants.

The Wang's Treasure House

The salt and pepper squid was fresh from the deep fryer – lightly battered and liberally sprinkled with a salty-spicy mix (with more than a hint of MSG).

The Wang's Treasure House

These seafood and mushroom dumplings were good – with a chunky filling atop plump shiitake mushrooms.

The Wang's Treasure House

The steamed black bean pork ribs (pai gwut) surprised us all – they were very flavoursome and tender. So good that they were snaffled up in moments.

The Wang's Treasure House

These baked char siu puffs, wrapped in flaky and light lard-based pastry, were fantastic. It’s impossible not to enjoy sinking your teeth into golden puffs like these.

The Wang's Treasure House

After reading Mei’s post about Wang’s Treasure House, I absolutely had to try the Salted Egg Yolk Buns (Lau Sar Pau ). A firm favourite of mine, these lived up to my expectations, with oozing, molten centres that were the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

The dim sum here is worth checking out – particularly if you’ve never ventured beyond Northbridge.

Be aware of the queues – despite their best efforts, the ‘raffle ticket’ system can be pretty chaotic at lunch hour. Service can be somewhat abrupt – which isn’t unusual at many of Perth’s dim sum restaurants, due to the sheer volume and appetite of patrons.

Don’t let my ‘warnings’ deter you though. I don’t go to dim sum restaurants for the service. I’m there for the food.

Open for dim sum on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00am –  3.30pm

The Wang's Treasure House on Urbanspoon