Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kiri Japanese Restaurant, Shenton Park

Authentic Japanese food. There's something about Japanese food that makes me come back time and time again. However, that same like for Japanese food makes me quite feel like I'm getting a bit discerning - hopefully in a good way.

Run by hard working Japanese husband and wife team Taka and Noriko Komagata (Taka incidentally has nine years of experience working in traditional authentic Japanese restaurants in Japan), Kiri Japanese Restaurant has built its name as an authentic Japanese restaurant and through word of mouth has created a loyal following for authentic Japanese cuisine. Local residents and others who have heard about it frequent Kiri Japanese Restaurant making it quite busy for a local restaurant.

Located on a small commercial strip in the quiet suburb of Shenton Park, Kiri Japanese is a relatively small restaurant with seating for maybe about 25 people inside as well as a few more al fresco seats out the front. The restaurant is also relatively casual with wooden furniture and limited but pleasant furnishing and decor. The feel is quite pleasantly Japanese even with the casual rather than fine dining feel.

The menu at Kiri Japanese consists of a combination of Japanese dishes. There is one bento box (the Kiri Bento) and the remaining dishes are a la carte entrees and mains and mostly range in price between $16-26 for mains. Each day, they usually have specials which can include an additional selection of fish and meat dishes.

Kiri Bento - $25

The Kiri Bento consisted of sashimi, kara age chicken, potato salad, beef croquette, salad, rice and miso soup served in a typical bento box.

Kara Age Chicken

The kara age chicken was deep fried just right with the meat being tender and slightly moist, and the coating on the kara age being a simple traditional very light golden coating. A small amount of sauce was then placed onto the chicken along with a lemon wedge. The beef croquette was also quite light and contained a fair amount of potato.

Potato salad with lotus root chip

The potato salad felt light, the creamy mayonnaise wasn't too prominent, the potatoes were soft and the whole combination seemed creamy and yet light. A deep fried lotus root chip was placed on top of the potato salad which tastes a bit like a potato crisp - very crunchy and a nice fried flavour without the need for strong flavour additives.


The sashimi consisted of pieces of raw salmon, tuna, snapper, and salmon roe.

The salad included gourmet lettuce, tomato, and a small amount of a sweet and grainy Japanese vinegar salad dressing that was refreshing and light on the salad. Also in the bento box was rice, some preserved ginger and radish.

Miso soup

The miso soup was a light standard miso soup that was nicely mildly flavoured.

Assorted Sashimi - $26

The assorted sashimi included raw salmon, snapper, octopus and salmon roe. It was presented on an attractive curved, long and narrow white plate and served with wasabi and soy.

The fish was fresh and overall presentation was pleasing to the eye, but was not served with anything else (rice was extra) so may not be that filling alone as a main meal.

Wagyu Sirloin Beef Steak with Oroshi Ponzu and Soy Sauce - $39

This dish had three stacked steaks of wagyu beef. Being a marbleised Japanese cut of beef and often (in my opinion) not done justice by many chefs in Perth, Kiri Japanese prepared and cooked the wagyu beef steak quite nicely.

The sauce, being Oroshi Ponzu, was a slightly acidic and sour Japanese sauce. Whilst the sauce helped the dish retain a Japanese feel and is often of a similar type used in beef tataki, the acidity and combination with full thick steaks didn't quite work for me in this form. Maybe if I sliced the pieces thinly instead?

A mashed potato base, asparagus, mizuna leaves, and wasabi finished this dish off.

In summary, Kiri Japanese Restaurant offers some good quality and well made Japanese food. It is a small restaurant and a popular staple for local residents for pretty authentic Japanese food. The Komagatas both work busily in the kitchen to ensure the food quality is consistent.

Points to note: A relatively small and authentic Japanese restaurant for dine in or takeaway. Bookings recommended - note that they try and fit two timed seatings on busy nights.

Go for: Decent and authentic Japanese food in a nice local atmosphere.

Kiri Japanese
142 Onslow Road
Shenton Park WA 6008
(08) 9388 2727

Trading Hours
Monday to Wednesday  - 11:30am to 2pm
Tuesday to Saturday - 6pm to 9pm

Kiri Authentic Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bouchon Bistro, Wembley (June 2010)

There's something about French food that gives it that perception of refinement and classiness.  With a host of delicacies, fine wines and champagnes, and their like of long drawn out meals eating slowly, it's no wonder why their way of eating can be seen as a basis for many fine dining eating establishments.

So here I am, brought back to one of my favourite French restaurants in Perth - Bouchon Bistro.  Although I have reviewed/blogged this restaurant before (click here for more details about the restaurant and a prior review), I thought that it might be an idea to show off more of chef de cuisine or head chef Gwenaël Lesle’s creations… and hey, I can’t see the harm in revisiting restaurants with a view to disseminating more photos and reviews.

Walking into the French bistro style restaurant very soon after its 6:30pm opening time, I am greeted by a familiar face - restaurant manager Philippe Kordics who upon seeing me smiles and says “no truffle ice cream” referring to my own unfortunate dislike of truffle infused ice cream which was included in a degustation I had there some time ago.

As I said in my earlier review, despite an a la carte and set menu available, I tend to only have the ever evolving degustation meal these days (currently $100 per head) which requires at least one day's advance notice. However, due to this being a weeknight dinner, I opted not to have any alcohol that night (including the 6 matching wines for $50 extra).

That crusty baguette with French butter

Snail Croquette on goats cheese; Anchovy on pea, and apple and sultana; Profiterole of garlic mash and mushroom

The snail croquette had a slice of snail that had quite a strong snail taste to it. The rest of the croquette was filled with matching savoury tasting minced filling, and the croquette was crumbed and fried. The goats cheese base was very light and soft with a mild goats cheese flavour.

The anchovy was deep fried with a light batter, and put on a bed of half an opened baby pea and lightly caramelised apple and sultana. The anchovy was not at all strongly flavoured and didn’t seem salty either. It had been lightly battered similar to a tempura batter and fried. The baby pea was so “baby” it looked quite cute and had a very subtle young taste to it, whilst the apple and sultana gave a sweetness to contrast the otherwise light fishy and fried anchovy taste.

The profiterole was cut in half and filled like a sandwich with a garlic mash and a slice of a mushroom. The profiterole was placed on a thin layer of a sticky, thick and sweet sauce. Eating this profiterole in whole had a good combined flavour with the light garlic mash, and the mushroom’s nearly delicate taste and slight crunch working together for an overall light savoury bite sized piece.

Spatchcock sausage on white bean remoulade; spatchcock liver parfait; fruit and nut bread

The spatchcock sausage, which was a slice of a bigger and thicker sausage and lightly pan-fried, was light yet marinated with flavour and a nice modest amount of saltiness. The sausage meat was soft and meaty, didn’t seem fatty, and then covered with a sausage skin made of spatchcock skin. Not a standard sausage for sure - not even close; but rather a light and meaty way to serve spatchcock that seemed to fall halfway between a sausage and lightly pan-fried spatchcock.

The spatchcock sausage

The spatchcock liver parfait had all the makings of a parfait with a liver taste, a reasonably smooth but still parfait-like texture; and the medium-dark parfait colour and look.

The fruit and nut bread was buttered and toaster pressed such that it was slightly crispy and dense, whilst the fruit gave the moderate sweetness you would expect when added to bread.

Beef cheek croquette; Corn custard with green pea

The beef cheek filling was cooked till it was completely softened and unlike previous times I have had a beef cheek croquette, this one came with a fair amount of carrot and a type of mushroom similar to straw mushroom. The baby carrot was carved into little slices whilst the mushroom added an almost refreshing like texture and subtle taste that was welcome in an otherwise strong and beef cheek heavy serving. The croquette came in an overall cube shape, lightly crumbed and fried golden brown with a lightly crispy exterior.

The corn custard had a prominent corn taste with a nice blend of corn sweetness and lightly added salt that made this very edible (I find that large amounts of corn that is made too sweet or salty can be a bit too much for my palate). The corn custard had a blended pea topping that whilst having a green pea colour was very mild in green pea taste and very light and nearly fluffy in texture that it helped make the corn custard the centre of this part of the dish rather than overpower it.

Pan fried mullet on a bed of shallot and grapefruit and capsicum; Mustard seed cream; Cured duck

The pan fried red mullet had a crispy skin, and was lightly sprinkled with salt and black pepper. The fish was cooked just right, retaining a soft and light texture whilst being cooked through. When added to the mustard cream (which had a savoury and slightly sweet mustard seed and cream taste, but the texture of a paste), this combination was overall light in flavour that enhanced each other. The bed of shallot, grapefruit and capsicum lightened the dish further with a light refreshing feel. Even though for me this was quite a different way of eating fish, I found it rather enjoyable.

The mustard cream

The cured duck had a saltiness to reflect its curing, was slightly moist and near-rubbery, and was served with thin strands of a sweetened orange skin.

Lime granita with fresh orange

This palate cleanser came in chilled shooter glasses of varying colours that made a colourful break in the décor so far. The lime granita was a subtle blend of lime flavour and sweetness, whilst the granita texture was of a flaky and soft iced granita like texture that made it easy to eat.

Lamb loin wrapped in pancetta; Lamb leg with basil pesto; Grape tomato

This was the main course for the meal (out of a choice of salmon or lamb).

The lamb loin was cooked medium rare, with a pink tinge through most of the centre area of the lamb making it tender. The lamb was lightly marinated and coated with some black pepper before being wrapped by the pancetta. The lamb loin was then served on top of a slightly sweet jus and brussel sprout leaves.

The lamb leg

The lamb leg was cooked through and so soft that it nearly effortlessly broke apart when you cut into it. The lamb leg also seemed like it had been post-cooking pan-fried to give it a light crispness and pan-fried taste. The lamb leg was topped with a portion of basil pesto that was light and complimentary in flavour. Below the lamb leg was some chutney jam and a base that seemed like it was made with parsnip and a light cheese taste.

To finish the dish, a thin layer of cooked zucchini was placed at the top of the dish, topped with two grape tomatoes that were almost pickled in a sweet and sour tasting sauce.

Salad (to accompany the mains)

The salad had gourmet lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, and was dressed with vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper. The tastes throughout this (and in particular the vinegar and salt) were relatively mild such that they all blended in together to make a nice and simple side salad.


The choice of pre-dessert (or cheese) was selected over the cheese course for this degustation.

The pre-dessert was a multi-layered combination of flavours. On the base was a granny smith and rosemary compote, topped with a cinnamon custard, topped with burnt sugar ice cream, topped with celery foam, and finished with coffee crumble. Each layer contributed to the whole to make this an exciting pre-dessert of multiple flavours and textures.

Dessert: Green tea macadamia tart; chocolate ice cream; pina colada foam; strawberries

The green tea and macadamia tart was served warm and had a flaky and buttery shortcrust pastry. The green tea had a more Japanese green tea like taste to it, though saying that the green tea taste was not overpowering at all in the dessert. The macadamia taste brought on by finely ground macadamias was mildly stronger in taste, whilst the whole warmed pastry finished off the tart into a more savoury style dessert.

The chocolate ice cream was chocolate rich, creamy and smooth, and shaped into a quenelle. Alongside the ice cream were the lightly flavoured pina colada foam and a light, thin and crispy buttery cracker.

To finish off the dish, the strawberry was sliced into quarters, softened a bit and soaked in a thick and sweet sauce.

Once again Bouchon Bistro, with its French chef and obvious French flavours, offers some interesting and well made dishes that sit on the French side of cuisine rather than an all out French influenced modern fusion. Though my own personal preference for fine dining is headed more towards modern Australian/International, it’s always good to revisit favourites that have their own personal touch and style.

Points to note: French cuisine with a touch of modern offered as a la carte, set menu, or "surprise" degustation. The restaurant is true to its name a bistro style restaurant, and fully licensed with a range of wines including many French selections, and there is an option to have six (pretty much) full pours of wine to go with the degustation meal.

Go for: Excellent French cuisine, including a 7 course degustation for those who would like to sample head chef Gwenaël Lesle’s latest creations.

Bouchon Bistro
363A Cambridge Street
(08) 9387 3898

Trading Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 6:30 to late

Bouchon Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tra Vinh Vietnamese Chinese Special Noodle House, Northbridge

Affordable and satisfying Asian food is seemingly an increasingly popular institution in Perth. I do like how I can get a non-fast-food meal for about $10 and feel satisfied with something quite tasty. Vietnamese food quite easily fits the bill with a choice of meals which almost surprisingly includes some reasonably healthy meals. However, my trusty Vietnamese friends tell me that good Vietnamese can be a bit of hit and miss if not sometimes hard to find in Perth.

One Vietnamese restaurant that has been around for ages is Tra Vinh Vietnamese Chinese Special Noodle House on Brisbane Street in Northbridge.  Whilst it is situated away from the busy hotspots of Northbridge, it does seem to be a relatively popular venue with the Asian crowd.  The location of Tra Vinh away from the hotspots of Northbridge sometimes helps in finding nearby parking which is a plus.

Upon entering Tra Vinh, the distinct strong smells of soup broth and fish sauce were present in the air. Not uncommon for a Vietnamese restaurant of this type. The tables are simple with cutlery, serviettes, various sauces (including fish sauce), and a thermo flask of free Chinese tea. Again, not uncommon for this type of Vietnamese restaurant.

The menu is a mix of various traditional or modified Vietnamese dishes such as pho (a Vietnamese rice noodle dish), as well as (I have been reliably confirmed by my Vietnamese friends) not so Vietnamese dishes such as the Chinese dishes Tra Vinh Vietnamese Chinese Special Noodle House's name suggests. At the back of the menu is a list of beverages including some otherwise peculiar drinks such as egg soda (which I was told was egg blended into soda water?) and layered drinks such as chendol. Prices for mains were on average $10 and up.

Deep Fried Wontons - $5

This entrée dish consisted of six wontons.

The wontons were deep fried making them crispy, and were filled with a pork based filling. Oddly, the wonton pastry was a bit dark compared to others that I have seen and quite rough looking. Being served with a thick, red, sweet and slightly vinegary sauce these made for a typical deep fried appetiser with a bit of a twist.

Prawn Spring Rolls - $8

This entrée dish consisted of six prawn spring rolls.

The spring rolls were all miniature sized, had a small amount of tightly packed minced prawn meat inside, and the spring roll pastry had been wrapped over a few layers such that it was relatively thick. Given the thickness of the pastry, the outside layer was crispy but the inside layers were a bit doughier.

The spring rolls were served with a Vietnamese fish sauce that was tangy and sweet.

Raw Beef Pho - $10

This dish consisted of a bowl of flat rice noodles in a soup broth, topped with beef, sliced red onion, and spring onion. To accompany the dish raw bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint, lemon quarters and chilli were provided. The idea is to put these accompaniments into the dish to your own liking. Additionally, you could add a hoisin sauce (a thick sauce that tastes lightly sweet and savoury) and/or chilli sauce for extra flavour.

Raw Beef Pho with added accompaniments

The beef was cut relatively thickly compared to other beef pho I have had and was served in a clump placed in the bowl of soup. The clump of beef, being raw, had to be broken up for it to lightly cook in the hot soup (and generally the lighter is was cooked, the more tender it was). The beef was adequate, having a pretty average taste and texture compared to some other beef phos I have had in the past.

The soup base was obviously a house made stock, and as a result quite evenly flavoured. Whilst whether someone likes a particular pho stock is up to personal preference, I thought the soup base was quite reasonable for Perth standards.

Egg Noodle Soup with Braised Duck - $11

This dish consisted of flat egg noodles in a soup broth, topped with a duck leg quarter, Chinese mushrooms, a bit of green leafy vegetables, and shredded spring onion and dried garlic.

The duck appeared to have been cooked in a dark soy based sauce giving it a dark colour and soy based flavour. It was cooked completely through to the extent that the duck meat was soft and peeled from the bone quite easily. The soup base also had a strong dark soy flavour and dark soy colour. The use of the dark soy didn’t make it too strong in sodium/salt, but the presence of dark soy was prominent.

Once again with different stock flavours being a personal preference, I wasn’t too convinced with the soy based flavour of this dish.

Sour sop shake - $5

I quite like the taste of sour sop. It has a sweet and slightly tangy taste that is quite refreshing. This shake was a blended iced shake of sour sop that was nicely refreshing – but would have been better in summer and perhaps not after drinking so much soup broth.

In summary, Tra Vinh is a reasonably popular Vietnamese Chinese restaurant offering Vietnamese Chinese food in a typical way – relatively cheap prices, a basic atmosphere, simple and relatively fast service, and an emphasis on food rather than a dining experience.

Points to note: Tra Vinh is a simple Vietnamese Chinese eatery (meaning they offer Vietnamese dishes and Chinese dishes). You generally don’t book and you expect reasonably fast service and a quick meal. BYO.

Go for: Affordable Vietnamese Chinese food in a typical simple Vietnamese restaurant atmosphere.

Tra Vinh
149 Brisbane Street
(08) 9228 2788

Trading Hours
Daily: 10am to 9pm

Tra Vinh on Urbanspoon