Category Archives: Reviews

Restaurant reviews, product reviews

Ley St Cafe, Como

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

Despite living in Perth for all of my 27 years, there’s many areas of my fair city which I’ve not explored. Como is one such suburb, even though it was effectively en route to Curtin University, which I attended daily for four years.

So when our good friends Damage Catastropic and The Ministry moved into the neighbourhood – and spoke glowingly of their favourite local breakfast haunt, Ley St Cafe – I dutifully took note.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

Coffee, check. Mug sized option, check. Things were already looking up. Better still, when I took my first sip to find that it was a well made cup. Being lactose challenged, I’ve come to find that soy-based orders really seem to be a challenge for some baristas. This flat white was the perfect temperature, with well textured milk that was satisfyingly creamy.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

Hello, maple glazed bacon. Nice to meet you. 

I’m shocked, and saddened, that we haven’t met sooner. And more often.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

Here at Ley St Cafe, bacon and eggs aren’t just your standard fry up.

The Maple glazed bacon and eggs ($11.00) comes with two thick slices of sourdough toast topped with a sunny side up egg (perfectly runny), and a generous portion of sticky and sweet maple glazed bacon.

Buyer beware – if you’d hoped to snag a piece of this bacon from your generous dining partner, you might be out of luck. This bacon is too good to share.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

The breakfast classic, Eggs Benedict ($6.50 for one egg, $12.00 for two eggs) were J’s choice.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

As a devoted Benedict lover, he was pleased to find the hollandaise at Ley St was homemade, and the poached eggs perfectly oozy. The ham was subtly smoky.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

Ley St Cafe is situated in a cosy converted corner frock shop. The huge windows provide perfect sunny positions to enjoy the weekend papers with your favourite brew.

Breakfast at Ley St Cafe

Ley Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

Namoo Korean Restaurant, Perth

Korean BBQ dinnerThe hungry Friday night crowd at Namoo

Perth’s newest Korean restaurant, Namoo, may only be five days old, but I’m already predicting a long and delicious friendship in our future.

My husband J spotted Namoo this week during his commute home, and suggested we drop in for dinner on Friday night.

We were greeted by the smoky aroma of sizzling meat and the sharp, sinus clearing tang of chili. Forget the typical melamine ware and sticky tables you may have encountered at other Korean barbecue restaurants, as you won’t find them at Namoo.

We’re shown to our table, which is pleasingly wide with a charcoal and butane powered grill. The comfortable stools are ‘industrial chic’, made from re-purposed steel drums. Unglazed black ceramic dishes are a nice touch, particularly for those of us at dinner with a soft spot for flatware.

J grins when I mention that the extra-wide table space is perfect for fitting all the food we plan to order – plus the ubiquitous banchan or side dishes, which come complimentary with most Korean barbecue meals and almost never seem to fit on the table.

Korean BBQ dinner

The banchan at Namoo is among the best I’ve sampled in Perth. Generous dishes of bean sprouts lightly sauteed in sesame oil, lightly pickled daikon and house-made kimchi are placed on the table with our bowls of rice and dipping sauces.

We’re impressed by the sweet and sour daikon, and enjoying the subtle crunch of the sprouts, but it’s the kimchi that wins me over. We’re told it’s made on the premises daily, explaining its fresh almost ‘clean’ flavour.

As it’s not been fermented long, this kimchi is light in texture with a satisfying crunch. Large flecks of bright red chili offer a gentle tingle that keep me coming back for more.

Korean BBQ dinner

Luckily for the kimchi fans, Namoo’s house-made kimchi features prominently across the menu, in a number of dishes including the Kimchi jigae (kimchi soup).

This hearty soup features (you guessed it) kimchi, simmered with chunky pieces of tender pork, soft tofu, onions and spring onions in a fish-based broth. Thickly sliced green and red chilis add colour and more than their share of punch.

Korean BBQ dinnerWe greedily scoop out chunks of pork, tofu and kimchi, enjoying the tongue-numbing qualities of the flavourful broth. Despite the chili burn, I notice the broth is well balanced with the sweet flavour of pork and what I’m quite sure is the traditional anchovy and kombu (seaweed) stock.

The pieces of pork are tender and delicious on their own, or topped off with rice and a generous spoonful of kimchi. Even though I’m not a huge tofu fiend, I’m impressed by the freshness and texture of the tofu used here.

Korean BBQ dinner

Marinated flank steak on the grill

We found it hard to resist the ‘Beef combo A’, which is sized to serve two. At $43, it’s great value, featuring a selection of three beef variations for barbecuing at your table, fresh vegetables (some for grilling, and some for enjoying with a light garlicky salad dressing), rice, banchan and your choice of jigae – doenjang jigae (soybean paste soup, with pork and tofu) or kimchi jigae (kimchi soup, with pork and tofu).

The cuts of beef include marinated flank steak, marinated beef tenderloin and boneless beef rib.

Korean BBQ dinner

J grilling the flank steak

The flank steak is extremely flavoursome, and surprisingly tender even after rapid-fire cooking on the searingly hot table top grill. It’s sliced across the grain, making it easy to eat, and only barely chewy.

Korean BBQ dinner

The beef tenderloin is sprinkled with finely sliced onion, sesame seeds and marinated in a slightly sweet, salty marinade. It’s lightly swirled with fat, making each mouthful a tender bite.

We pause for a few moments to enjoy our side salad with tender smoky rings of onion, which are soft and sweet, along with grilled sweet potato and a lone button mushroom.

Korean BBQ dinner

We’re advised by our helpful waitress that she needs to switch our grill plate before we enjoy our final beef offering for the evening – the ribbon-cut beef ribs.

Korean BBQ dinner

These boneless strips of beef rib are generously rippled with fat, which worries me at first, until I watch, mesmerised, as the fat renders away on the searing hot solid grill plate.

Korean BBQ dinner

Shaped like an upturned shallow bowl, the recessed rim of the grill plate helpfully catches all the grease, leaving only well rendered, slightly charred tender ribbons of beef.

Korean BBQ dinner

I’m well and truly salivating as I watch J turn each piece. They’re deliciously tender with a deep golden crust, thanks to the Bulgogi-style marinade that’s been caramelising over the hot grill.

By the end of our meal at Namoo, we’re both well and truly stuffed – but not so full that we’re not already contemplating our next visit.

Namoo Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Equus arcade, Shop 1, 580 Hay Street (enter off Barrack Street)
Open for lunch and dinner daily, until late.

Ace Pizza, Highgate

Dinner at Ace Pizza

Confession time: when Sunday night rolls around, 99.95% of the time, I turn into a ‘cooking dinner in my pajamas’ kinda gal.

Forget the reservations. Ignore the pesky food photography. The perfect Sunday night for me involves spending time with a new recipe, preferably something labelled ‘slow cook’, taking my time and enjoying a glass of wine (or two). Husband and dog definitely not optional.

But all that being said, I can certainly be convinced to dispense with the homebody routine. And convinced I was, when my best girl L suggested we head on over to Ace Pizza in Highgate for dinner on Sunday.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

The Godfather ($22.00) is topped with thinly shaved San Daniele proscuitto, draped casually over a tomato and mozzarella base.

We’re impressed with the thin yet substantial crust, that’s perfectly chewy with a hint of crispy char.

It’s light yet filling, and the salty tang of prosciutto has me going back for seconds.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

I don’t think a single one of us missed a beat when the meatballs n pepperoni sauce ($11.00) was suggested.

The meatballs are a hearty mix of beef and (I’m guessing) veal and/or pork. The pepperoni sauce is a definite star – and not a single drop was wasted as we discovered how great an accompaniment it was for leftover pizza crusts :P

Dinner at Ace Pizza

I’m ordering with my stomach when I spot The Farmboy ($18.00). It’s served bianco, and topped with thin slivers of potato, garlic, rosemary and, my favourite – guanciale – the delectable and artery clogging Italian cured pig jowl (cheek).

Though I’d have loved a little more guanciale on my pizza, I was pretty content to enjoy what was there. But when you’re averaging a skimpy sliver per slice, you can’t help but wish for just a little bit more.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

With a die-hard mac and cheese fan (or two) on the table, it was only natural that we’d pick the fried mac and cheese ($7.00 for two pieces).

Dinner at Ace Pizza

It turned out to be quite the star, with a deep golden crust that had just the right amount of crunch and a creamy cheesy middle.

This is the stuff mac and cheese dreams are made of. Well, my dreams, anyway.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

If greens are your thing, let me tell you about Ace’s take on the classic Caesar – at $17.00, this substantial salad would be just the thing for a solo meal. If you could stand to turn down the pizza, the meatballs and the mac and cheese, that is.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

Fresh cos lettuce is topped with crispy shards of pancetta, boiled eggs, anchovies and a snowstorm of parmesan cheese – along with the crispest chicken skin I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating that didn’t come in a red and white box labelled KFC.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

Feeling crazily invincible after our meal, we moved on to the sweet end of the evening.

You’ll find the River Cafe classicchocolate nemesis ($11.00) – on the menu, and it’s a decadent option for the chocolate lovers out there.

Chocolatey, moussey and with a thin meringue-like crust, this is one hell of a chocolate cake. Much cheaper than a return trip to London, too.

Dinner at Ace Pizza

The four of us also split two tiramisu donuts ($5.00 each) …

Pillowy and yeasty, these fresh donuts are filled with a rich coffee cream. Next time, I may find the suggestion of sharing more difficult to manage ;)

My favourite dessert out of all their options?

Definitely the Ace soft serve ($7.00) which comes with ‘build it yourself’ toppings of crushed biscotti, honeycomb and two self-serve squeeze bottles filled with salted caramel and Ace’s own version of the much-loved Cottee’s classic, Ice Magic!

When L wasn’t being my topping model, and when I wasn’t taking photos, we may have been enjoying sneaky dessertspoonfuls of salted caramel. Maybe.

Open daily, 5.30pm until late. 

Ace Pizza on Urbanspoon

Mary Street Bakery, Highgate

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

I know a few people who were shocked, and frankly, gutted, when Soto Espresso closed its doors late last year. But I think they’ll be more than pleased to find that the coffee and breakfast gods have smiled, replacing it with bakery/cafe du jour, Mary Street Bakery.

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

J and I dropped in on Saturday for a fleeting visit between home and a date with a motion analysis lab. Really. Long story. But if you’re interested, you can ask him.

The boiled eggs with toast soldiers and tomato chutney had my name all over them. They come with a sweet and sour tomato chutney that’s delicately spiced and slightly chunky. Truth be told, though I enjoyed it when I tried it, the eggs on their own (cooked perfectly, I’ll add) with a sprinkle of sea salt and toast to dunk with was just perfect. Except for the fact that the soldiers were served sans butter. Toast without butter just ain’t right.

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

The coffee served here is locally roasted in O’Connor, by Pound Coffee Roastery. It was a decent cup, which kept my coffee snob – I mean, husband – satisfied to the last drop.

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

The star of our breakfast visit was definitely this pretty dish – homestyle baked beans with an apple slaw and a thick slice of crusty golden pork belly.

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

It was beautifully fresh, with the crisp slivers of apple contrasting well with the richness of the fatty pork belly and the hearty beans.

I was surprised by the Asian flavour profile used here – the mound of fresh coriander was a big hint, along with the hints of chili and sweet soy (kecap manis) I think I detected.

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery

At 9.00am, things were busy, with just the tables on the street left by the time we sat down. It’s worth checking out, but if you’re after a warm table inside, I’d definitely recommend stopping in early.

Open Monday to Sunday
7.00am to 4.00pm

Mary Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Miss Kitty’s Saloon, Inglewood

How many visits does it take you to decide that you really like a restaurant? Once? Twice? Maybe more? I’m on the fence about this magic number, but sometimes, I think once is all it takes.

Miss Kitty's Saloon

J and I have visited Inglewood’s newest location du jour, Miss Kitty’s Saloon several times now, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised on each and every visit.

Miss Kitty's Saloon

Chorizo and slow cooked eggs ($16.00) are served here with a green sauce and sweet potato hash. The slow cooked eggs were a source of much excitement for my dear husband, who has been dreaming of this style of eggs for over seven years – since he first tried them cooked in this way at Cumulus Inc.

Miss Kitty's Saloon

J and I debated for some time about the ‘hash’ label on the menu, and decided the misnomer might be to divert expectant customers from the vision of a McD’s style potato hash brown. It’s definitely not the sort of hash I had in mind. Not that it matters, because it was delicious! Imagine a sweet potato scallop (yes, like the kind from your local fish and chippy) covered in super crispy panko crumbs.

Miss Kitty's Saloon

Buttermilk flapjacks with sticky banana ($11.80) remind me very much of Bill Granger’s ricotta pancakes, due to the addition of salty and sweet honeycomb butter. They’re light and fluffy, yet pleasingly dense – in the way that all north American pancakes are compared to their lighter crepe cousins.

Miss Kitty's Saloon

The bananas are an excellent accompaniment, but I highly recommend upping the ante with the optional add on of bacon ($4.00)!

Miss Kitty's Saloon

The steak ‘n’ eggs ($19.00) come with peas and fries, taking this already hearty combo to the next level. It’s down home American meets old blighty (or Radelaide) here, as the peas come mushy! I can’t stop pinching the fries, which are crispy, salty and perfect for mopping up peas.

Miss Kitty's Saloon

The Chicken and waffles ($16.00) were different to what I had in mind, far removed from the sweet and salty homestyle dish I’d sampled on my visit to the States last year.

At Miss Kitty’s, the chicken and waffles are a much more delicate dish – both in terms of presentation and taste. It features three crispy chicken strips over a single fluffy waffle, a tumble of fresh greens, juicy tomatoes and finely sliced red onion. A sweet and sticky red chili sauce and a generous splodge of creme fraiche are there to add a little moisture.

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting this at all. Instead I had visions of the American classic –  bone-in chicken over a plate sized waffle generously drizzled with cream sauce or maple syrup, But despite my initial surprise, I still find myself going back for more.

These unexpected takes on north American diner classics are all part of the charm of Miss Kitty’s Saloon. We’re sure glad to welcome Miss Kitty to the neighbourhood.

Miss Kitty's Saloon on Urbanspoon

Like Miss Kitty’s Saloon on Facebook.

Pimlott and Strand, North Perth

Pimlott and Strand, North Perth

When you’re out for a meal with your spouse, partner-in-crime or friends, do you ever have that dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) table argument about who is ordering what?

In the house of Jujay, the conversation usually goes like this:

Juji: “Are you having the eggs? I’ll get the pancakes. And then we can share.”

J: “But I wanted the pancakes!’

Juji: “Fine, you get the pancakes, but can I share my dish with you? I want to be able to blog about them both.”

J: Sigh. “Okay.”

Luckily for me, J is a good sport, and has always been happy to share his dishes with me for the purposes of research.

But naturally, he’s pretty pleased when the planets align and we both have our hearts set on the same dish.

Pimlott and Strand, North Perth

 

Photo opportunities are a distant memory when we both get a glance of our Eggs Hamburg ($15.50) – a variation on the classic Eggs Benedict.

Pimlott and Strand, North Perth

A rich and slightly dense herb and parmesan beef patty sits atop a toasted pretzel roll. It’s topped with generous slices of bacon, poached eggs and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce.

I’m tucking in with gusto, quietly cheering for the appearance of the pretzel roll. After my first bite I found myself plotting to figure out who their supplier was so that I could make them my own (Little Home Bakery, I’m looking at you!)

The flavoursome beef patty and salty bacon work just beautifully with the oozing egg yolk and hollandaise combo. If I could find a way to magic away the cholesterol and fat, I’d make this dish part of my ‘all hearty, all the time’ repertoire.

Pimlott and Strand, North Perth

Don’t forget the coffee when you visit – it’s a great brew. Perfect with cake. Or eggs. Or solo. Or with a side of gourmet groceries. Who am I to dictate the terms? Coffee for all, I say!

Pimlott and Strand, North PerthPimlott and Strand, North Perth

Pimlott and Strand, North Perth

You’ll find Pimlott and Strand on the Fitzgerald Street side of North Perth Plaza. Definitely worth a look!

Pimlott & Strand on Urbanspoon

Bagels I met and loved

Breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel

Many New Yorkers take them for granted. Everyone else around the world tries to emulate them. I spend my breakfast hour dreaming of them. Say hello to the humble bagel.

Murray’s Bagels

After chatting with our lovely host, and grilling him for bagel recommendations, he suggested we check out Murray’s. He assured me it would definitely be worth the trip, as he watched me poring over our subway map.

I’m so glad we listened to this advice, because enjoying this fluffy on the inside, crisp-yet-chewy on the outside bacon and egg bagel is one of the most enduring New York memories I have.

Murray's Bagels

Standing in line, I began to ponder the menu. Luckily it was long, as I needed time to grapple with the options. Schmear, or no schmear? Filled? Soy-cheese? White fish or lox? Forget asking for your bagel toasted, as the signs inside remind you ‘we don’t toast‘.

Murray's Bagels

Not that any toasting is necessary here. I think a big part of the joy of these bagels is in the fluffy innards, which are soft yet substantial.

Murray's Bagels

Each mouthful was made just that little bit more special because I chose an onion bagel over plain or salt … because I figured, when in New York…. bad breath be damned.

Murray's Bagels

I pretty much had to pry this away from J’s clutches and gnashing jaws. But it was worth the effort.

J’s choice of bagel (onion) was packed full of smoked lake sturgeon, juicy sliced tomato, cream cheese, red onion and capers.

Murray's Bagels

We washed down our breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice.

Murray's Bagels

Murray's Bagels on Urbanspoon

Brooklyn Bagel and coffee company

Breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel

It was a moment of serious excitement when I realised our arrival in New York coincided with the influx of Halloween and Thanksgiving themed items in stores.

There were goofy masks and wigs in every Ricky’s I visited, people on the street spruiking for costume stores, candy corn (which I love!) and pumpkin-flavoured everything, from chai lattes to cream cheese.

Breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel

For my first ever New York bagel experence, I went for this plain bagel (toasted) with pumpkin cream cheese. I am still deeply wishing I had gone back for more. Pumpkin just isn’t celebrated enough in Australia.

Breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel

J couldn’t go past the Philly cheese steak breakfast burrito. For him, it was a moment to celebrate the existence of a real-deal breakfast burrito, in addition to the fact that it was chock full of tender steak and American cheese! At home, breakfast burritos are an extremely rare occurence, much to our collective sadness.

Breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel

Coffee and Manhattan? Well, let’s just say it’s often not worth paying the extra to have yours barista style. Filtered is generally the easiest option as it’s cheap and accessible.

Even though it’s always lacking in body, it usually doesn’t taste like it’s been burnt within an inch of its life.

We were surprised to find the coffee at Brooklyn Bagel was top notch, after being disappointed by coffee in our neighbourhood day after day.

A cold-brew Americano was my idea of heaven, after too much non-dairy creamer, while J enjoyed his first decent Macchiato.

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company on Urbanspoon

Toastface Grillah, Perth

Toastface Grillah

The humble toasted sandwich holds a pretty special place in my heart.

It all started with the arrival of our family’s first Breville jaffle iron. I think I was about six.  At the time, a toasted sandwich made with two Kraft singles and white sliced bread was my personal idea of perfection. The crispy edges. The oozing middle. The constant fear of burning my tongue on molten processed cheese.

I still go back to this combination regularly – it’s one of my favourite comfort foods.

Toastface Grillah

So naturally, my interest was more than piqued when I was followed by an account named Toastface Grillah on Twitter.

Coffee, grilled cheese and a definite hip hop trivia reference? Yes.

Toastface Grillah

You’ll find Toastface down Grand Lane, between Wellington Street and the Murray Street Mall. Look past the bins and the grubby laneway. Think of the sandwiches.

I’d recommend checking out the map on the Toastface website for directions.

Toastface GrillahToastface Grillah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s eight sandwich options available, ranging from the classics like the Get Yo’ Veg, featuring cheese and Vegemite, to the amusingly named Pear Grillz, featuring blue cheese, pear and lime chutney.

TFP and I were both convinced it’d be an excellent idea to spend the entire day sampling the whole menu – something I still think I would have happily done, if I hadn’t been expected at work that day.

On this visit, thanks to my sandwich loving friends I was still able to get a good look at at least half the menu.

Toastface Grillah

Ham and Cheese ($7.00), with cheddar, ham and mustard pickle

Toastface Grillah

Pear Grillz ($8.00), with blue cheese, pear and lime chutney

Toastface Grillah

Danny Zuccho ($8.00), with brie, prosciutto and zucchini

Toastface Grillah

Brie and jam ($8.00), with brie, mozzarella and jam

I traded half of my brie and jam with TFP, scoring a half of her ham and cheese. Two very diffferent but equally delicious sandwiches!

The coffee is solid too, and our group’s slightly random (but normal for us)  orders including a traditional long mac, soy flat whites and two long blacks offered a good sample to back up that statement. 

I can’t wait to try the rest of the sandwiches at Toastface. Next time, I may consider allocating more time for my visit. A three cheese for breakfast, followed by the apple and gouda for lunch? With a possible Get Yo’ Veg for an afternoon snack….

Toastface Grillah on Urbanspoon

Open Monday to Friday, from 7.00am to 4.00pm
Visit the Toastface Grillah website for the full menu and map

Shake Shack, Upper West Side, New York

Shake Shack!

One of the New York food destinations I was most excited to drop in on was definitely Shake Shack.

Central Park photo collage

We started our day with a stroll around Central Park, ambled around the Museum of Natural History, and found ourselves on Columbus Avenue, in the leafy surrounds of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Shake Shack

Yay, Shake Shack!

Shake Shack!

My friend L and I both opted for the Classic – the ShackBurger ($4.60 single, $7.20 double) featuring a juicy Angus beef patty, fresh lettuce, tomato, and slice of American cheese topped with ShackSauce.

I tried not to think too hard about the Fake Shack recipe I’d seen at A Hamburger Today, and the slightly terrifying likelihood that there was ninja ketchup hidden in this condiment.

Shake Shack!

The SmokeShack ($6.25 single, $8.80 double) could have well been created with gluttons like J in mind. Here, an Angus beef and American cheese combo are also topped with Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon and cherry peppers – topped with (of course) ShackSauce.

Shake Shack!

No discussion was necessary – these are indeed tasty burgers. Even the probable ketchup didn’t bother me. They were that freaking good. From the juicy beef patty to the perfectly melted cheese.

And the bun.

Oh, the bun.

Why don’t more Aussie burger establishments go with the soft, pillowy burger bun? And I don’t mean the Tip Top sesame seed variety – I’m talking squishy ‘potato rolls’ – with shiny golden tops and fluffy white innards.

Shake Shack!

Even the chips ($2.70) at Shake Shack are better than the average. Here, the order of the day is crinkle cut chips! They make any chip better, in my opinion.

Shake Shack!

We couldn’t stop at just burgers and fries. Not when there’s peanut butter shakes ($5.00), and the special Concrete of the Day is red velvet ($4.25 half, $6.50 regularl)!

Shake Shack!

Smooth, creamy frozen custard blended with fluffy red velvet cake crumbs. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Trust me, it was.

I’m officially obsessed. And on my next trip to New York, you can be sure I’ll be back. But next time we might have to make it a double.

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Open 10.45am – 11.00pm daily

 

U & I Cafe, Northbridge

U & I Cafe

Pho bo vien – sliced raw beef and beef balls

I guess I should start this post by stating: I am by no means a pho connoisseur. But I know what I like, and if the empty bowl on my table at U & I Cafe on Sunday morning is anything to go by, then I guess it was pretty good!

Did I mention we ate this pho at 7.30am on a Sunday? Though this pho neophyte may not be the best judge of authenticity, one thing I will say is, it’s exciting to see a 24-hour restaurant in Perth (that doesn’t have golden arches).

More exciting still, when you can enjoy your morning coffee, Vietnamese style, drip filtered with a generous slug of super-sweet creamy condensed milk. You can have it over ice (which is listed on the menu), or hot – as we attempted to ask for. Luckily our patient waitress was totally on board with my inability to describe what I wanted that early in the morning!

U & I Cafe

Pho tai – with sliced raw beef

My pho tai was fragrant with a light, beefy broth. I would have really loved a stronger spicier kick from the usual suspects – start anise, cinnamon, coriander and fennel seed – though it definitely packed a black pepper punch.

The onions in the soup were just al dente, which was a great textural contrast with the soft slippery rice noodles. The beef was perfectly tender, and cut to a good thickness – with a bit of bite, but not so thick it was hard to chew.

Lashings of Sriracha and oyster sauce with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon were essential here, as the soup didn’t seem to be overly seasoned.

U & I Cafe

I’ve been reliably informed by my friend G that other dishes on the menu here, like the Bo Kho which comes served with a crusty baguette, are worth trying out. I’m keen to see what they’re like, maybe at dinner so I can sample other items not on their “overnight” (10.00pm – 10.00am) menu!

U & I Cafe on Urbanspoon