Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rosemount Hotel, North Perth

OK, so the Rosemount Hotel is more known for its live bands, themed nights and beer garden as opposed to its food... But pub grub is pretty common and can be great for catching up with mates with a quiet bevvy or two.

A little while back, the Rosemount Hotel underwent some renovations and transformed itself into a pretty cool pub for locals and their mates.  The renovations kept a typical suburban pub feel but with more character and young appeal.  The Rosemount offers (on various nights) live bands and DJs, quiz and bingo nights, a Sunday sesh, and a beer garden.

The Rosemount Hotel offers your usual with beers including beers on tap, wines, and spirits. To go with the drinks, the Rosemount Hotel serves up some pub food from pizzas, to steaks, salads and other pub grub including $12 specials on Sundays to Thursdays.

Chicken pomodoro pasta - $12

This pasta dish was the $12 special for Tuesday night.  It was not on the menu, and you had to request it at the counter.  The pasta came with chicken, a tomato based sauce, bits of diced onion, some parmesan cheese, and a long rectangular piece of what seemed to be a grilled cheese bread.  The serving size was decent for $12.

The pasta itself was cooked pretty well.  The chicken was tasty as it seemed like it had been marinated with a slightly salty flavour (which was moderated when eaten with the overall pasta) and also had a mild pepper taste.  The tomato based sauce wasn't bad - not sour, and not overpowering.  There was also a mild cheese taste running through from the parmesan.

The cheese bread was coated on one side, wasn't overly strong in any flavour whilst eating the pasta, but was still quite tasty.  It looked and tasted like it had been grilled over the top, had a slight crunch to it, and was distinctly different to your standard garlic breads often served at other places.

Rump steak - $12

The Wednesday $12 special is the rump steak.  The steak served was a small/medium size and is served with either a mushroom or pepper sauce, a bit of salad, and a choice of chips or mash.

With the steak, I ordered medium rare but the steak came out a bit on the rarer side which I don't mind (though this is very common in pubs).  Otherwise the steak was ok, but as it was rump it was a bit drier to some other cuts of steak and overall it seemed pretty typical for pub standards.

The mushroom sauce I selected with the steak didn't really have a strong mushroom taste (but had sliced mushrooms in it), had a gravy flavour, but the salt level and overall taste did add to the rump steak in a positive way.

The mashed potato I selected had a black pepper taste, and a faint sour taste to it.  It was otherwise quite tasty, slightly but not richly buttery, but also still had a few small chunks of potato in it but overall was ok for a potato mash.

The salad consisted of gourmet lettuce, rocket and tomato served with a creamy and vinegary sweet sauce.  Though largely a pretty standard garden salad, the salad was good to have on this otherwise steak and potato dish.

Overall, the food at the Rosemount Hotel is pretty normal of a pub that doesn't serve fancy food.  The $12 specials aren't bad value and with the added bonus of being able to have a casual beer or wine with your food in a casual pub atmosphere makes it not a bad place to catch up with friends.

Points to note:  Serves casual pub meals in a pub environment.  A reasonably young and laid back crowd.

Go for: Pub grub, $12 specials, live bands, beer garden and catching up with mates over a beer or two.

Rosemount Hotel
Corner Angove Street and Fitzgerald Streets
North Perth WA 6006
(08) 9328 7062

Trading Hours (for food)
Lunch - Monday to Thursday: 12noon to 3pm, Friday to Sunday: 12noon to 4pm
Dinner - Monday to Thursday: 5pm to 9pm, Friday to Sunday: 5pm to 9:30pm

Rosemount Hotel on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aquarium Chinese Restaurant, Ascot

Chinese food has long been offered according to its various specialties, and of course the common all-rounded Chinese restaurants.  From the simple Chinese takeaway to the local Chinese restaurant, the choice is aplenty.  A growing sector of the Chinese restaurant market seems to be the more upmarket Chinese, offering a more refined setting and service, as well as more carefully made and presented food.  Aquarium in Ascot is one of these restaurants and has earnt a reputation for being one of the better Chinese restaurants around.

Aquarium is a largish restaurant with lots of tables of varied sizes.  The decor and atmosphere is quite upmarket, with a big painting of an aquarium on one wall (no doubt the name of the restaurant had something to do with this), subtle blue dimmed down lighting, a full licensed bar, and relatively comfortable chairs.

The menu offers a large variety of dishes to choose from.  The cuisine consists of mainly Cantonese dishes, with a 'normal' menu and a menu behind the normal menu that is written in both English and Chinese.  These seem to be the more "Chinese" offerings as opposed to the mainstream local Chinese offerings.  In the menu, there is also a selection of banquets available for those who find it too hard to choose, or want their choices made easy based on the amount of people dining.

In line with the more upmarket feel of the restaurant, the service is attentive and well presented.

Duck with chestnut clay pot - $30.30

The dish consisted of (previously) roasted duck stewed in a clay pot with chestnut and garlic.  The roast duck was similar to the roast duck you get at Chinese roast duck eateries, but was then covered in sauce and the other ingredients and further cooked in a clay pot adding taste to the duck.  Similar in some ways to the casserole, the use of the clay pot seems to bring out and enhance the flavour of the dish that is done via the cooking technique and the use of the clay pot (rather than say stainless steel or aluminium).

Given the flavours and the cooking method, the dish was very tasty with a moderately thick coating of sauce which seemed to include something like oyster sauce, and the duck was also not dry at all with the sauce mixed through.  The sauce in particular was very tasty, though had a fair amount of salt.  However, the duck seemed to not have as fresh a taste as that you otherwise get from freshly prepared roast duck - perhaps due to the cooking method which when combined with the sauce made this a tasty dish overall. 

King prawn in shell with salted egg yolk - $35.20

This dish consisted of reasonable sized king prawns still in their shell but trimmed of parts like legs eyes and tentacles, and then coated in salted egg yolk and fried.  Despite the shells not being removed from the prawns, you could eat the whole prawns shell and all and even the head and tail if you wanted.   The dish is also garnished with a fair amount of parsley and decoratively cut carrot.

The king prawns were cooked about right with a slight crunchiness in the prawn meat.  The salted egg yolk, though having the powdery cooked egg yolk taste and texture added a flavour that was not too strong so didn't totally cover up the taste of the prawns.  Though not overly oily, the deep fried nature along with the egg yolk did make the dish a little heavy for me though quite a nice dish that was different to your norm.

Stir fried fillet steak with wasabi - $28.60

This dish consisted of pieces of fillet steak that were stir fried with vegetables including wasabi flavoured peas, baby corn, cut pieces of snow peas, mushrooms, carrots and water chestnuts.  The sauce was a slightly creamy sauce that had an Asian style savoury flavour as well as a very mild wasabi taste.

The steak was very tender like many Chinese restaurants that the flavour of the steak somewhat seems different to normal tender steaks.  Adding to the tenderness, each piece was slightly varied in how much each piece was cooked but many pieces were cooked at around medium or medium rare from the look of the redness inside.  The dish was also tasty and the wasabi added a nice mild flavour to the dish that made it more exciting.

The dish was also garnished with a fair portion of parsley and decoratively cut carrot.

Fo shan chicken (whole) - $36.90

The dish was a whole deep fried chicken accompanied with a vinegary dipping sauce and garnished with parsley and decoratively cut carrot (yes, again).

The chicken was not dry, with the breast pieces also being not as dry as many other fried chicken dishes.  However, a few pieces had a bit of red on the bones.  The skin was slightly crispy, and the sauce provided seemed to be a mixture of Chinese vinegar with soy sauce, and cut spring onions, garlic and chilli.  The sauce was provided in a separate bowl with a small spoon that was generous and had a strong vinegar and garlic taste, and the chilli was relatively mild so you could still taste the flavours of the other ingredients well.

English spinach with chicken stock and double egg - $23.70

This was a vegetable dish where you get to choose from a variety of vegetables and match it up with a sauce.  There are quite a few vegetables on offer from broccoli to gai lan, whilst the sauces vary from simple Asian condiments to XO and other more fancier sauces.

The English spinach in this dish was cooked through making it soft.  The chicken stock was a very tasty chicken broth that had a strong colour.  There was a fair amount of egg that seems to have been added to the to the soup and was cooked through.  The dish also had century egg and reasonably large chunks of chopped garlic.

In summary, Aquarium offers some pretty tasty Chinese food in a refined atmosphere.  The service is also polite and well presented.

Points to note: Chinese food that's set well above your local Chinese takeaway.  Good reputation for a good overall Chinese restaurant.  Fully licensed.
Go for:  More upmarket and tasty Chinese food in a modern, relatively refined atmosphere.

Aquarium Chinese Restaurant
202 Great Eastern Highway
Ascot WA 6104
(08) 9478 1868

Trading Hours
Lunch - Tuesday to Saturday: 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner - Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday: 4:30pm to 9:30pm, Thursday to Saturday: 4:30pm to 10:30pm

Aquarium Seafood Chinese Resturaunt on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bibik Chan's Satay Garden, Nedlands

Down Stirling Highway in Nedlands, Bibik Chan's has long been serving the locals some relatively cheap Asian cuisine. Bibik Chan's makes a claim that they serve some pretty good satay sticks. Given the use of words such as 'succulent' and 'tender', that's a tall claim. Given the lure of good satay sticks, I thought it might be good to give it a try.

Bibik Chan's isn't a very large restaurant but it has a reasonable amount of seating when you combine the inside restaurant with the outside garden area. The garden area is out the back of the restaurant, decorated with plants and filled with plastic outdoor furniture for a garden experience should you choose to eat outside. The seating and interior inside is also quite simple and resembles a cheap Asian eatery.

Bibik Chan's serves various Asian dishes, but after looking at the menu seems to specialise in Malaysian food. Their offerings start with various appetisers and satay sticks, to Malaysian curry dishes, Malaysian rice dishes, noodles, and a range of vegetarian and other meat dishes. Prices for mains average about $8-12. Bibik Chan's also offers a few desserts such as a black sesame dessert and a sago pudding dessert.

Satay sticks - $8

The satay sticks consist of meat threaded onto skewer sticks and grilled. It is served with some pieces of cucumber, pineapple, and onion, as well as a small bowl of satay dipping sauce.

One serving of satay sticks gives you 6 sticks of either beef, lamb, chicken, or prawns. As the price for each type is the same, you can also choose any combination of the above to make up your dish. We opted for a couple of each of the beef, chicken, and prawn satay sticks as a combination.

In the combination of satay sticks, the chicken was tender and succulent, the beef was tender, and the prawns were crunchy. Not bad. The sauce was slightly sweet (to a good level and wasn't too sweet), had that peanut taste, and overall had a mild satay flavour but was not spicy (I would have preferred at least a bit more spice). Generously coating the sticks with the satay sauce, I could have done with a bit more satay sauce before having to ration the remaining amount.

Rendang lembu - $9
On ordering it, I wasn't exactly sure what rendang lembu meant but with the description I assumed it meant beef rendang and the dish indeed came out with large chunks of beef coated with rendang sauce. The sauce was reasonably hot and perhaps as a result (and for my tastebuds) I couldn't taste any other strong flavours of the garlic/lemongrass or other flavours often found in a rendang. The amount of sauce provided was also not a lot for what I am used to (though it may have been reduced in the simmering process), but was thick and could be spooned onto the beef. The spooning process was necessary as many of the beef chunks were quite large and as a result seemed to me to be a bit dry and had absorbed less flavour on the inside, which is normal for any meat dish with large chunks.

The amount of beef that came out for the price wasn't too bad, but for my taste this dish could have had more emphasis on being flavoursome as much as it is chilli hot.

Nasi padang - $10
This dish consisted of a few components intended to serve one person: rice, curry chicken slices, curry vegetables, and beef rendang.

Compared to other curries I have tried, the curry used for the chicken and the vegetables had only a slight amount of coconut milk, was very mild as far as spiciness is concerned, and had a very runny consistency for a curry. However, it was tasty. Probably being chicken breast, the chicken was on the drier side so for me the sauce made it nicer to eat, whilst the vegetables were drenched in curry sauce making it very tasty. The vegetables used included carrot and cabbage.

The beef rendang was similar to the rendang lembu described above.

Rojak - $7.50
I am told rojak is often either a mixture of vegetables in rojak sauce or the rojak sauce is used as a dipping sauce for vegetables and fruit.

The rojak sauce itself is hard to describe but had a sweet, nutty taste (being mixed with lots of crushed nuts). The sauce is mixed into a variety of fruit and vegetables such as apple, pineapple, bean sprouts, and cucumber. Being my first time ever eating this, this was quite a tasty dish offering various tastes from the vegetable tastes of the bean sprouts and cucumber covered in the thick, sweet and nutty sauce, to the sweet and refreshing apple and pineapple also coated in the same sauce.

In summary, Bibik Chan's is pretty reasonable for the prices charged. There is a decent variety of dishes available that, whilst are a variety of Asian dishes, are mostly Malaysian. The satay sticks were good, and some of the other dishes are worth a try as there are some good dishes served here.

Points to note: Some good dishes on offer, but may take a bit of trying to see what dishes you like. The place is BYO.

Go for: Asian (more so Malaysian) food at relatively cheap prices.

Bibik Chan's Satay Garden
134-B Stirling Highway
Nedlands WA 6009
(08) 9386 8492

Trading Hours
7 days - 5:30pm till late.

Bibik Chan's Satay Garden on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Catalano's cafe, Victoria Park

For years, Catalano's cafe has been a popular Italian cafe and is busy enough that you generally have to book ahead to get a seat unless you come really early or late.  One possible reason for this is the large servings of food Catalano's is known for, as well as its reasonably large menu of Italian cafe style food.  One thing for sure is every time I have eaten at Catalano's, I haven't left not full.

Situated on the Albany Highway cafe strip, Catalano's has a typical medium sized Italian cafe set up - clean and casual, a choice of indoor or al fresco dining, and lots of cafe style Italian dishes on offer (and large Italian sized portions).  The size of the restaurant provides for a fair amount of tables (that seem to be packed quite tightly) but it is usually bustling with lots of staff attentively taking orders and serving food as well as a lot of groups and couples engaged in conversation.

Catalano's menu is quite extensive for an Italian cafe.  It contains a selection of entrees, pastas, meat dishes, seafood dishes, salads, a few vegetarian dishes (or you can ask them to change dishes to make them vegetarian) and a selection of wines and beers.  Also on offer are a selection of cakes in the cake display fridge as well as scoops of gelato.

Garlic bread - $5

The garlic bread consisted of four slices of bread (due to it seemingly coming from an oval shaped loaf, the slices were of varying sizes) and was reasonably tasty with the one sided spreading of garlic herb butter.  However, for my taste, it was a bit dry and the layer of butter wasn't that thick so it would have been nicer to have more garlic butter.

Veal Parmigiana with side salad - $25.50

The veal was thin, crumbed, fried and then topped with a tomato based sauce and large amounts of melted cheese.  The veal was not tough or overcooked.  The combination of the sauce and cheese on the thin but large parmigiana was tasty as you would expect.

The chips were quite thick rectangular shaped chips.  They were good, slightly crunchy, and coated with seasoning making it very tasty for chips. A plus for me.  However, my only concern is that the way the dish is plated, the chips got a bit soggy as a majority of it was placed underneath the veal.  The chips were still tasty but I would have preferred them all to retain that nice crunch.

With these main course dishes, you get a choice of the salad or vegetables.  This dish had the salad.  The salad was a variety of salad vegetables including gourmet lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, capsicum, and drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing.  It rounded off the otherwise heavy going dish.

Overall, this was a good, tasty, and large Parmigiana dish.

Chicken Parmigiana with side vegetables- $25.50

This dish was served and made very similar to the veal parmigiana above.  The obvious difference is the use of chicken rather than veal.  The chicken had also been pressed to a thin layer before coating with the breadcrumbs, and was tender and moist.

The vegetables were steamed and consisted of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and string beans.

Veal scallopine with pizzaiola sauce and side salad $26.50

The veal was thinly sliced and cut into smallish pieces and cooked with the pizzaoila sauce.  The veal was tender and not dry.

The pizzaiola sauce was a tomato based sauce (similar to a pasta sauce) with olives, mushrooms, capsicum, and garlic.  Overall, this dish was not bad, though having a simple pasta like sauce the taste was pretty standard for a cafe.  Perhaps a different sauce would have changed the dish quite a lot.

Catalano's cafe is a busy place that offers some pretty decent sized meal portions.  Whilst the food is pretty good for a cafe, it does offer an extensive range of standard dishes that does make for a simple and filling meal out.

Points to note:  Whilst the food is pretty typical of an Italian style cafe, the meals are quite good as far as many cafes in this part of the market are concerned and portion sizes are pretty large. Be sure to book ahead as Catalano's cafe gets pretty busy and books out quickly.

Go for: Pretty big servings of Italian cafe style food making it good value, but also not the cheapest as far as Italian cafes (with smaller portions) go.

Catalano's Cafe
266 Albany Highway
Victoria Park WA 6100
(08) 9362 1121

Trading Hours
Open 7 days of the week: 7am to 11pm

Catalano's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 8, 2010

Makan 2 cafe, Victoria Park

On the Northern end of the busy Albany Highway cafe strip is a Malaysian cafe that is open till late hours.  A popular place amongst many university students, Makan 2 has a casual atmosphere for catching up with friends for a chat, or going for a quick cheap meal.  Given the Malaysian cuisine, a large amount of the customers appear to be Malaysian.

Makan 2 has a decent amount of seating for a Malaysian cafe but is packed quite tightly.  It has an al fresco area too, as well as some couches inside.   The rest of the tables are a light brown wood, which along with the incandescent lighting gives a warm feel.

The Makan 2 menu offers a variety of Malaysian meals starting with rice dishes served with 1, 2, or 3 sides.  From the sides, you have a few choices depending on the type of meat (or vegetarian) you want, along with the method it is cooked or the sauce it comes with.  Such choices include rendang and curries.  Alternatively, you choose from other made to order dishes such as prepared to order rice or noodle dishes, or roti (a type of flat bread - see below).  The prices are on average between $8-10.

In addition to the food, there are a range of beverages available including Malaysian drinks such as the Teh Tarik (see below) and other tea drinks.  The food and drink give the place a distinct Malaysian flavour catering for the Malaysians who are used to the cuisine, or others who have acquired a taste for or are willing to try it.

Roti Rendang $8.90

The Roti rendang consisted of a piece of freshly made roti (a flat flour bread that is cooked with a bit of oil) filled with some beef rendang.  Even though the roti was a decent size, the overall size of the dish, given it consisted of one beef rendang filled roti with sauce, was not that large.

The roti bread itself was soft, sweet, tasty and slightly fluffy.  The beef rendang had a good rendang taste (i.e. beef cooked with various spices such as chilli, lemongrass and ginger, and reduced with coconut milk).  The lemongrass itself was strongly present in this dish.  Even though there wasn't a large amount of beef rendang in the roti (I could have done with more), its flavour was definitely present, making the roti even more tasty though not chilli hot at all.

The curry sauce provided to dip the roti in was a slight bit oily (as they usually tend to be), but tasty.  It definitely had a strong tasty curry flavour that made this a very tasty dish.

Beef Tom Yum - $8.90

Tom yum is a soup based noodle dish that is hot and slightly sour in flavour.  It is usually cooked with various ingredients to give it lots of additional flavours, whilst remaining a thin water based stock/soup.

Makan 2's tom yum consisted of egg noodles with beef, cabbage, carrot, celery, capsicum, curry leaves.  The serving was not large, and the amount of each ingredient wasn't huge (e.g. there were only a few pieces of beef in the bowl).

The taste of the tom yum was largely as it should be - hot and slightly sour, though with a strong noticeable lemongrass flavour which helps to characterise the tom yum flavour.  As I ordered the tom yum with a "normal" level of spiciness (as opposed to extra hot if you request it) the tom yum was reasonably spicy similar to many other places that cater for a wide audience of various tolerances to chilli, but otherwise could be more spicy for a tom yum soup.

Teh Tarik $3.30

Teh tarik is a Malaysian milk tea that is brewed and sugar is added.  Makan 2's teh tarik comes out reasonably quick from the kitchen, served hot or cold, and was quite sweet but not too sweet to be sickly.  It had a strong tea flavour, and a tea consistency with a bit of milk.

Makan 2 seems to be a hang-out for many groups of people wanting to come for a quick meal, and/or a Malaysian style beverage followed by lots of conversation.  The prices are pretty cheap for the food but the servings aren't that big either.

Points to note: A good variety of basic and traditional Malaysian food plus various teas in a casual environment conducive to casual conversation.  Reasonably cheap, but the serving sizes don't seem to be very big either.

Go for: Some tasty Malaysian food in a casual, social and young-ish environment.

Makan 2 cafe
357 Albany Highway
Victoria Park WA 6100
(08) 9470 2333

Trading Hours
Monday to Friday: 11:30am to 12:30am
Saturday and Sunday: 12noon to 12:30am

Makan 2 Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Atrium Restaurant, Burswood

There's something comforting, but also potentially so wrong about buffets.  You get  lots of food and plenty of choice - and generally that means you eat way too much.  So if you're going to pig out, why not have a bit of variety?  Atrium Restaurant at Burswood Entertainment Complex is a buffet restaurant catering for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner of the week.

Buffets are a common institution around the world.  Compared to the award winning and varied buffets of Las Vegas (and in particular the one at the Aladdin), to the massive and cheap buffets of Orlando and wider North America (such as the extremely busy and very satisfying Golden Corral), to the (very) freshly made and heavily meat and seafood based buffets of Rio de Janeiro, to the sometimes bland (for my taste) buffets of Eastern Europe, to the more varied and interesting (and sometimes "differently" made foods that are otherwise well-known to Western culture) buffets of Asia, the hotel buffets of Perth offer quite standard international food.

The Atrium is a reasonably large sized buffet restaurant with seating covering a decent amount of ground floor area of Burswood's hotel complex.  The restaurant is clean, bright and conducive to a family buffet environment.  Being based at Burswood's hotel complex, it caters for hotel guests as well as the general public.

Given the amount of tables, the usually large amount of bookings, and the variety of food on order, there are times you will have to wait in line for food but this generally isn't so bad.  The wait staff are also constantly topping up food which means they usually don't run out of a dish or, if they do, more of the same food will probably be brought out shortly.  The wait staff are also constantly collecting your finished plates and cutlery so each time you go up for more food you can get a fresh plate and cutlery.

View of the cold meats and salads section - opposite side is the seafood section

View of the selection of desserts

Pricing is between approximately $32 to $52 per person depending on the meal and the day of the week.  The food on offer includes:
  • Seafood section including oysters (on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday lunch), prawns, crabs, green lip mussels, smoked salmon, seafood extender salad, sushi, pickled ginger;
  • Cold meats and salads section containing various garden, cold meat and seafood, and pasta salads;
  • Bread with butter, a selection of cheeses, a couple of soups (seafood chowder and pumpkin during my visit);
  • Hot food section including (on my visit) various meats - roast beef, stir fried chicken with cashew nuts, barbecued pork chops, a white fish dish, spaghetti with bolognese and a cream based sauce, siu mai (a small dim sim), mixed vegetables, roast pumpkin, along with a large selection of condiments;
  • Dessert section including petit French (mainly) chocolate pastries, a selection of cakes, mousses, fruit crumble, marshmallows with chocolate fondue, fresh fruit, a selection of flavoured ice creams, and jelly; and
  • Standard tea, coffee, and chilled tap water (other drinks including machined coffee are extra).
Selection of items from the seafood section

Selection of items from the cold meats/salads section

Selection of items from the hot food section

Granted that Atrium restaurant is a buffet restaurant and thus attempting to provide quantity and not necessarily quality of food, my experiences of the food included:
  • The oysters weren't the freshest, having that taste that oysters get when they are starting to get a bit old (but not uncommon for a buffet);
  • The prawns are smaller than your normal king prawns, and aren't deveined (but what buffet does that for you?), and also were quite plain and weren't the freshest (also typical of a common buffet);
  • The chicken dish was tasty and very tender though the texture, taste and colour was quite soft and a pinkish colour that is a bit different to chicken that I normally eat;
  • The sushi looked nicely made but the rice was getting a little dry and hard in this batch at least - perhaps indicating it had been prepared some time earlier and left out;
  • The roast beef was a little tough and dry for my liking - perhaps it had been overcooked or cooked twice;
  • There was a good selection of salads and vegetables so if you wanted to ensure you had your healthy vitamins and minerals you had quite a few tasty choices; and
  • There was a large selection of desserts, some of which were quite nice.
Whilst overall the food quality at Atrium restaurant was just ok for my taste, for Perth hotel buffet standards it's pretty normal.  There is a decent selection of food on offer and if you try a little bit of most dishes you will be able to find the ones you want to go back for.

In summary, Atrium restaurant offers a large range of hot and cold foods.  The food quality and freshness is quite typical of common Perth hotel buffet food standards.  Given the price and the quantity and variety of food on offer, the Atrium restaurant isn't so bad at all.  For me, the variety of food on offer meant I ended up eating enough food for a whole day and then some.  Being at Burswood Entertainment Complex, you can also gamble at the casino, go to a pub, watch one of the shows (when available), or book a hotel room all in the same complex.

Points to note:  A decent selection of hotel quality buffet foods.  If you like oysters be sure to go on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday lunch.  Also, it is strongly advisable to make a reservation ahead of time.

Go for:  Food, and lots of it - all in the multi-attraction Burswood Entertainment Complex.

Atrium Restaurant
Burswood Entertainment Complex
Great Eastern Highway
Burswood WA
(08) 9362 7551

Trading Hours
Open seven days for breakfast, lunch and dinner (reservations required).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jaws, East Perth

Jaws sushi is often most known for its kaiten (or sushi train) style sushi.  In Japan, kaiten sushi is the more common standard sushi that is marketed below the level of the made fresh to order sushi from the more established or revered sushi chefs.  For a number of years, Jaws East Perth (formerly Jaws Mint) had operated as an a la carte made to order Sushi place under the expertise of the famed sushi chef Kengo Omori.  However, of late, Jaws management has opted to revert Jaws East Perth to kaiten and thus Omori-san's departure.  The question is, what has that meant for Jaws East Perth's food?

Jaws East Perth is a smallish restaurant with seating capacity for maybe 20 or so patrons at the sushi conveyer.  The kaiten sushi style involves a central open sushi making area that is surrounded by a conveyer belt system that is used to display sushi for customers to choose from. Customers sit around the conveyor belt system and select sushi on display or can choose and order additional sushi that is on the menu.  The atmosphere at Jaws East Perth is casual and quite cosy, and all the staff appeared to be all Japanese with Japanese accents.

Jaws East Perth's sushi making area has a Japanese sushi chef preparing sushi, whom you can also make special requests of or ask questions (the Japanese sushi chef we had was very friendly).  Behind the sushi area is a kitchen that helps prepare some of the ingredients for sushi, as well as other meals on the non-sushi menu (see below).

The pricing structure of the sushi is colour coded.  Each plate of sushi comes on a coloured plate that corresponds to a price between $2.90 to $6.40.  After you finish eating, you call the wait person to come and count your plates and they will issue you with a slip summarising the cost of what you ate.

In addition to the sushi, Jaws East Perth has a second menu which contains additional Japanese meals including teriyaki (a soy based pan fried dish), katsu (a crumbed and fried dish) and tempura (a light battered deep fried dish).  At dinner, the set menu (which includes rice, soup, appetiser and salad) ranges between $16.80 to $26.80.  You can order these instead of or in addition to the sushi train sushi.

In general, the quality of sushi relies heavily on how the rice is prepared and seasoned, the freshness and quality of the ingredients, and of course the sushi chef.  Jaws East Perth's sushi is generally a very good sushi for kaiten standards.  The sushi holds together well (from the occasions I have seen, better than the Jaws CBD sushi) but has not been pressed so hard the rice looks heavily squashed or out of shape.  The flavour and texture of the sushi rice base is quite decent too setting itself above the common sushi you get from takeaway places in plastic containers these days.

Miso soup - Large

Miso soup is a soup that is based on a stock (usually dashi but there are other types available).  Dashi is usually a fish based stock with various ingredients used to get the stock to taste the way it does.  It is usually quite a light savoury soup that has a powdery paste running through it.
The miso soup was served with bean curd, seaweed, tofu and spring onion.  The miso soup had a good taste with the right amount of salt, and a good level of miso (even though there are others that will offer a stronger miso taste).

Prawn and avocado roll with wasabi flying fish roe - $4.90

The wasabi flying fish roe was flying fish roe that had been flavoured with wasabi which is very noticeable through the green colour of the roe.  On a taste level, the wasabi is slightly noticeable creating a light wasabi flavour as well as a slight sourness when compared to the normal unflavoured flying fish roe.

This dish was quite a well flavoured dish that seemed a bit like a variation of the tobiko roll (see below).

Inari - $4.40

Inari is a dish that looks like a bean curd pillow.  The bean curd is soft, slightly sweet to taste, and easy to bite into and is filled with flavoured rice.  The rice in the inari was sweet and had a slight vinegary taste.  Overall, for a largely rice dish, the dish turned out quite tasty compared to many other inari I have tried before.

Tobiko Roll - $2.90

Similar to your tobiko roll elsewhere, this particular tobiko roll held together well and didn't crumble when you pick it up or bite into it.  Tobiko rolls are usually a tasty sushi that is pretty universal and is similar to a california roll but adds a twist (being reversed and coated in tobiko/flying fish roe) that makes it better in my opinion.

Tamago omelette hosomaki roll - $4.40

This sushi contains a bit of a sweet Japanese omelette in the middle of a sushi that has been rolled thinly.  The portion sizes of each individually cut sushi are smaller due to the size of the roll. To me this dish is normally quite plain.  The omelette itself was pretty standard fare, being slightly sweet but not being overly moist.

Eel, tamago omelette and crab stick roll - $5.40

This sushi was quite large in thickness and contained a variety of ingredients.  The taste of the eel was distinct but not dominant, as well as the tamago (egg) and crab stick components.  Overall, this was quite a nicely composed sushi with different ingredients giving off their distinct flavours.

Tempura prawn roll - $4.90

This sushi consists of a prawn that has been fried in tempura batter, rolled into a reverse sushi roll and topped with Japanese mayonnaise.  If you like tempura (or a light battered prawn) this dish offers a subtle taste of tempura in your sushi but otherwise isn't an overly special sushi.

Crab stick nigiri - $5.40

Nigiri sushi is sushi that starts with a rice base, and is topped with topping such as a slice of raw fish or other ingredients.  Sometimes, other ingredients are added such as wasabi as well as a thin piece of sushi wrapped cross sectionally around the sushi.

This nigiri came out with a flat and thick crab based stick topped with Japanese mayonnaise and onion.  The main onion used was a red onion but did not seem to be strong enough to ruin or overpower the taste of the sushi.  In fact, the taste combination worked well and this was quite a tasty sushi.

Chawan mushi - $6.40

This dish has been a specialty of Jaws Mint/East Perth for some time.  It is a heated Japanese egg custard with seafood (such as prawn) and other ingredients (such as shiitake mushroom) in a bowl, and eaten with a spoon.  There is no dairy in the chawan mushi.

Being a hot egg custard, the dish is quite light with distinct egg tastes and a very smooth and soft consistency.  However, this dish was slightly more saltier when compared to the pre-kaiten days, with an additional soy sauce taste but was still nice and tasty to eat.

Tako (octopus) ghunkan - $4.90

Ghunkan is a sushi that starts with a rice base, is wrapped around by a piece of seaweed that is about double the height of the rice, and is then filled with ingredients of your choice.

The octopus in this dish seemed fresh, and was not chewy.  The added japanese mayonnaise was not excessive and in fact only added a subtle creamy taste to the octopus in the sushi.

In summary, Jaws East Perth sushi is good for kaiten standards.  However, it doesn't quite match up to the former Jaws Mint sushi standards pre-kaiten.  This shouldn't come as a surprise though as award winning Omori-san used to hand make all sushi freshly to order.  However, Jaws East Perth does offer a good variety of sushi that is generally better than your sushi packs that are made in the morning at the mass-produced outlets.

Points to note: The sushi seems to be well made, even better than the Jaws in the CBD area and definitely above the cheap sushi commonly available across Perth in plastic packs.  However, expect to pay a premium for this sushi.

Go for:  Really good kaiten (sushi train) sushi.

Jaws East Perth
323 Hay Street
East Perth WA 6004
(08) 9225 4573

Trading Hours
Lunch - Monday to Friday: 11:30am to 3pm
Dinner - Monday to Saturday: 5:30pm to 9pm

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