Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Top Eats

2012 has been the year that led me to my love for Japanese cuisine and my exploration through the country of Vietnam, giving me the opportunity to taste the Vietnamese flavours you just can’t experience here in Perth!
There have been many ‘firsts’ in 2012, but my biggest was the first time I started to eat meat other than seafood!
Chicken started the craze and soon to follow was duck, pork, pate, turkey, beef (including raw beef), crocodile and even FROG! (but that’s another story)
This is not to say I eat red meat regularly, but chicken is on the menu at least 6 days a week and I’m open to trying new meats when I can!
Lettuce Muncher has evolved into a Chicken Chomper!

I have listed my ‘Top Eats for 2012’ as the places in Perth I have had great food experiences at and generally can rely on for a great feed!
At number five is Chapels on Whatley in Maylands.
I can always rely on Chapels for great bottom-less tea and my usual big breakfast with poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms! This was the place that got me hooked on New Norcia Bakery’s Fig and Fennel sourdough! You can’t deny the restaurant has a great atmosphere where you can sit inside and surround yourself in Japanese tea ornaments and china tea sets, or outside in the courtyard under big red umbrella’s.

Number four is Mr Munchies Sushi
An ‘Our Deal’ online voucher we purchased gave us the opportunity to try the newest member to the Mt Lawley restaurant strip on Beaufort Street!
Mr Munchies is the first Sushi establishment in Australia to offer customers a chance to customise their sushi – build your own from scratch!
As appealing as this process was, we were too tempted to try the already made combinations on offer!
A great little sushi joint for fresh sushi, made exactly how you like it - right in front of your eyes!
Mango Chicken sushi

Number three is Is Donburi in Northbridge.
I can always rely on fresh seafood, meat cooked to perfection where the chicken falls from your fork and value for money at Is Donburi.
I absolutely love their Seafood Salad where I can guarantee a generous amount of fresh seafood including salmon, kingfish, tuna, prawn, squid and seaweed with a sweet punch of chilli-apple dressing for only $11.50!

I have been here numerous times and tried nearly every item on their menu! The only hesitation I have is with their sushi – nothing too special or exciting, and in my opinion lacks general flavour or spark. However, their Bento Box meal deals are unbelievably good value!  

3. Is Donburi - Northbridge

Fish Katsu Curry Business Bento Box with the Sashimi Salad

Number two is S&T Thai in Northbridge.
The little gem that when you discover you either:
a)    Tell everyone you know as you are amazed at it’s deliciousness, or
b)    Tell no one, so that you can keep the Thai secret all to yourself!
Authentic Thai food at such a great price tag! Guaranteed spicy and creamy curries and some of the best Pad Thai I’ve had in Australia!
If you want to dive head first into the coconut sensations of simple, authentic and unpretentious Thai cuisine, S&T Thai have you covered!

Prawn Pad Thai

Number one has to go to a Japanese restaurant where the flavour combinations of typical Japanese food is transforms where each dish is given a unique modern twist!  
Bonsai Japanese Restaurant in Northbridge is one of those places I wish I had discovered earlier!
Prompt and attentive service, gorgeous romantic atmosphere with dim lighting and food to bring your taste-buds alive!
Terms such as “caramel soy,” “cajun,” “miso broth” and “butter soy” made me so excited to order I couldn’t simply decide!
Sashimi so fresh you could feel the kick of the fish tail as it was plucked from the ocean, teriyaki chicken meat so tender it fell apart at the touch of your fork and intoxicating sophisticated Japanese flavours that opens your mind on Japanese cuisine.
Although Bonsai has a nice little “Perth” price tag attached, I constantly battle the craving of the “caramel soy” dishes!

Salmon Sashimi on Asparagus

I have to make a special mention to Jessie's Curry Kitchen in Inglewood. Discovered upon my recent move to Maylands, Jessie’s has provided us with endless last minute takeaway orders for Indian curries that make your taste buds dance Bollywood style!
Run by a gorgeous couple and their family, Jessie’s will, without-fail, have a spice-intoxicating, creamy butter chicken on request! Hugely generous in servings and meat always cooked to maintain moisture, Jessie’s is a Maylands local secret and undeniably our go-to take-away when we can’t be bothered cooking and need a big hug from India in our bellies!

And that brings 2012 to a delicious close!
May 2013 for Lettuce Muncher bring undiscovered taste sensations, many meat trials and of course, good company to share the wow-moments that food gives!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I have recently acquired a juicer and have become quite the experimenter in the kitchen!
You learn quite quickly (and with a lot of mess) what fruits and veggies are juiced well and what flavor combinations go together.
I have discovered the wonderfully spicy, earthy addition of ginger really gives my metabolism a kick start in the morning and the fresh, sharp punch from fresh mint leaves add liveliness and zing to any juice I am making!

My favourite juice concoction of late is carrot, apple, ginger and orange juice:

I have also experimented with beetroot which has a really earthy, root flavour and unusual texture which reminds me of any root vegetable. Not one for the faint hearted, you must be able to swallow that distinct raw root vegetable taste and handle the ultra deep pink colour your juice will turn!

This juice below is beetroot, orange, apple and ginger:

I love the fact that you can pretty much put anything into that blender (not your finger) and create a fresh and healthy mix of fruits and vegetables.

What’s your favourite juice mix?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is Donburi - Northbridge

You know you’ve been to one place too many times recently when the waitress finishes your sentence in your order. Is Donburi is my love affair at the moment.
This newly established Japanese takeaway on William street first caught my attention when it was recommended to me by a friend. I have since taken my boyfriend and every friend I can convince as I seem to have endless good experiences at this place.

I can always rely on fresh seafood, meat cooked to perfection where the chicken is still tender and moist, and value for money.

Over many visits, I have tried the below items on the menu:
·         Value meals: with rice, miso and salad
·         Teriyaki Chicken ($13.50)

·         Teriyaki salmon ($16.50)

·         Chicken katsu curry ($13.50)

·         Gyoza (Japanese Dumping) w/ mayo and teriyaki reduction ($7.00)

·         Sashimi and seafood salad ($11.50)
Fresh salmon, kingfish, tuna, prawn, squid, seaweed and choice of apple or chilli apple dressing.
Sashimi and seafood salad with dressing on the side

Sushi rolls:
·         Dancing Crab roll ($15.50)
Soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, pineapple, fish roe, crunchy sweet potato with balsamic reduction

·         Rainbow roll ($14.50) – cooked tuna, avocado, cucumber, salmon, tuna and prawn.

·         Seafood Chirasi Don ($15.50)
Fresh salmon, kingfish, tuna, prawn, squid and salad on vinegar rice.

·         Spicy Curry Udon ($11.50)
Prawn, seaweed, fishcake, spring onion, inari and curry udon soup.

·         Business Bento Box:
Fish katsu curry ($17.50)

Prawn parcel
Calamari ring
Choice of one dish from value meal

Fish Katsu Curry Business Bento Box with the Sashimi Salad

Teriyaki Salmon Business Bento Box

·         Miso soup ($1.50)

·         Korean style chawanmushi ($5.00) - Korean style steamed egg custard

And by now, you can understand how I am funding all the waiters university degrees through my obsession  love for this place.

I can absolutely recommend the Sashimi and seafood salad, in which I urge you to order the dressing on the side. I had the chilli apple dressing, and although this very sweet and slightly spicy sauce was generously drizzled over my salad, I found the drizzle to be too generous and I left feeling a little ill with how sweet the whole salad was.

I now promptly order my dressing on the side and add the quantity I feel is appropriate which leaves this menu item as my ultimate favourite. I am always given a very large portion of sashimi, all fresh and presented like a spiral of colourful seafood art in a bowl with an accompaniment of salad.

The Korean style chawanmushi was a curious exploration of mine in which I discovered was much like a scrambled egg with very little seasoning and/or flavour. It was served warm and sprinkled with spring onion. I added a lot of chilli to this and ate it out of an attempt to fill my growling stomach. As there was nothing wrong with this dish, I would not order it again.

The Business Bento Box would have to be one of the best value-for-money items on the menu.
Not only is the portion size huge, but you are able to sample entrées and eat your main meal over salad, rice and with miso.

Upon first reading this menu item, we had to check that you actually do get all the featured items and it was not a mistake for most under $20! Bargain!

The gyozas were a great start to the meal with six crispy dumplings lined neatly on the plate. These were drizzled with a Japanese mayo and topped with spring onions. The crunch unleashed a delicate filling of cooked vegetables with a subtle spice. These were without doubt, demolished in a matter of seconds.

The Dancing Crab roll took me by surprise.
The description of the soft shell crab gave me textures of a crunchy base and with the smooth avocado and sweet tang by the balsamic reduction, I had high expectations. I was very disappointed by this dish. For one, I could take no pronouncing flavour. There was something missing, and even after adding a splash of soy and some chilli, my friend and I agreed that this sushi was below average and had no real flavour or appeal at all.

The presentation of the roll was delightful with bright orange fried sweet potato topping the roll in a confetti of colour. If only the taste matched the beautiful presentation…

The Rainbow roll was another sushi disappointment, but this one was mainly a fault of my own. I overlooked the “cooked” element of the tuna and realised that this role had tinned tuna instead of the fresh slimy tuna I had hoped for. The salmon and prawn component of the sushi was also a little misleading as there was not a piece of salmon, tuna and prawn in each slice, but this seafood covered the entirety of the roll which meant some slices of sushi you had one seafood ingredient but not all.

Cooked tuna in the Rainbow Roll

The chicken in the Chicken katsu curry was cooked so it still oozed chicken tenderness upon the first bite. Pieces of chicken were delicately laid out and covered in one of the tastiest curry sauces I have had in a long time. The katsu curry sauce was not too sweet or salty and had a nice balance of flavour in which allowed the flavours of the chicken to sing.

Chicken katsu curry with dressed Sashimi salad

The salmon in the Teriyaki Salmon dish was in my opinion on the well-done cooked side. I prefer my salmon medium-rare and even on the rarer side. Nonetheless it was covered in a sweet teriyaki sauce that ticked all the boxes.

The chicken in the Teriyaki Chicken was also cooked to perfection but I did not like the thick deep fried skin on the chicken which to me took away the delicateness of the sweet chicken meat that lay underneath. I would have loved to have only the delicate meat covered in that sweet sticky teriyaki sauce and skipped the deep-fried batter which made me a little disappointed. If you love your chicken with a thick fried skin layer – then mark this as your dish!

To summarise, there is a reason I keep coming back again and again. Value for money which to me is in every dish on the menu except in my opinion - the sushi rolls.

The staff are friendly and accommodating and I swear once or twice I have received a complimentary miso soup with my meal which I love!

This place is tiny inside and seats no more than 20. But every time I have been, there is a consistent flow of customers who all seem very happy with their meals.

Is Donburi William Street on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mr Munchies Sushi - Mt Lawley

Mr Munchies isn’t the first name I think of when I want fresh Sushi…but maybe that’s about to change…
An ‘Our Deal’ online voucher we purchased gave us the opportunity to try the newest member to the Mt Lawley restaurant strip on Beaufort Street – Mr Munchies Sushi.

We paid $25 to have anything on the menu (minus the sashimi) for up to the value of $50.
For me, this meant eating as much as I normally do - a lot -for the cost of a normal person. So I was a happy camper!

Mr Munchies is the first Sushi establishment in Australia to offer customers a chance to customise their sushi – build your own from scratch!
1.    You choose either sushi roll or a salad
2.    Pick your base: Chicken/beef/pork/salmon/tuna/other seafood
3.    Stuffing (up to 3)
4.    Toppings
5.    Sauce
As appealing as this process was, we were too tempted to try the already made combinations on offer (I’ll have to come back another time and make my own!).
A small roll is four pieces of sushi (priced from around $8-$10) and a large roll is eight pieces of sushi ( priced from $13.50-$18.50).

Chatting to the friendly co-owners of Mr Munchies – Ricky and Henry, I was told they want to try offer freshly made sushi for prices more affordable than the popular Aisuru Sushi in Northbridge who they are in direct competition with. They assured me they pride themselves in only using fresh ingredients. I could definitely tell the quality was there when the sushi rice was still warm upon arriving at my table.
Henry and Ricky were so keen to chat and make a good impression which was nice to see as the service throughout our meal was also fantastic.

We ordered the Seafood salad and Squid Salad:

Squid Salad $5.50
This salad I would order again in a heart beat! I loved the fresh squid, spiced and tossed through seaweed and spring onions. For $5.50 this was a lovely side dish to add to our meal.

Seafood Salad $9.50:

To be honest, this wasn’t the best value for money I hoped for. I think it was because I was comparing it to a wonderfully generous seafood salad I had at ‘Is Donburi’ on William Street just a few days earlier which gave me a huge amount of seafood in a wonderfully fresh salad. These small bits of sashimi were sitting on a huge bed of rice and I chose the teriyaki sauce to accompany it. Whilst the salad mentioned “cherry tomatoes” I had one baby cherry tomato sliced in half….I feel this was a little underwhelming and not worth adding “cherry tomatoes” to the menu description… The sashimi on the rice was however very fresh.

Small Chicken Lover roll $9.00:

Grilled Teriyaki chicken, avocado, tamagoyaki, topped with mayo, spring onion, and chopped karaage, served with sliced lemon.

The chicken was cooked so superbly that it still held its moist texture and was wonderfully fresh. The teriyaki flavour was not hugely pronounced, however this did not matter as the roll was a delight to eat.

Large Seafood roll $18.50:
Fresh salmon slices, steamed prawn, cucumber, topped with fresh tuna flakes, and served with double sauce (wasabi aioli and chilli mayo).

Beautifully fresh seafood in a roll that had been made minutes before sitting on my plate! I loved the fact that it had a chilli mayo on top as there is nothing I love more than seafood and chilli!

Small Mr Munchies Roll $9.00:

Tiger prawn fritters with crabsticks, avocado, tamagoyaki, topped with chilli mayo.

Mr Munchies Roll
I also tried a piece of the Mango Chicken sushi which was a special on the night – this was chicken and prawn fritters in a sushi roll with sweet chilli and coriander, topped with mango. So delicious and fresh – they used real mango pieces which I was quite impressed by! I love that Thai-inspired combination of chilli, coriander and mango! The chicken as in the Chicken Lover roll was also wonderfully moist and fresh.

Mango Chicken sushi

My friends had the Philadelphia roll which was smoked salmon, cream cheese, topped with black and white sesame seeds, with mayo and sweet chilli sauce.

If I wasn’t so full from all this wonderfully fresh Japanese I would have tried the Miso soup for only $2.50! I love a good Miso Soup and usually cannot pass it up, so I’m surprised I didn’t try it here. I think I was too busy catching up with good company!

Mr Munchies is located down the corridor from Grill’d Burgers on Beaufort Street – you don’t really know it’s there unless you are looking for it or stumble upon it on your way to the toilets.
The painting on the wall is a funky Astro Boy drawing which adds a youth feel to the sushi café. The décor is simple: wooden chairs and tables with wooden chopsticks on each table and the café is small and would seat around 25 people max.  

Sushi master in action preparing our sushi fresh!
I really hope this place does well! It’s an interesting concept to have a “build-your-own” sushi establishment and I hope Perth embraces this wonderfully fresh and affordable sushi café.

I wish Ricky and Henry all the best and I’ll definitely be back!
Mr. Munchies Sushi on Urbanspoon