Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tom Yum Soup

I once tried a Tom Yum Soup in a tin from the shops.

This experience put me off the sweet, sour and spicy Thai soup for ages! Serves me right really, because who eats Thai soup from a tin anyway?! I felt so sick afterwards and the memory haunted me for years later.

Over much reluctance, I’ve been slowly adapting my tastebuds to the soupy sensation that is “Tom Yum”. I’ve even reached the point where I would have a few spoonfuls at a restaurant and actually enjoy the taste. When done well, with the right balance of sweet, spicy and sour flavours, this soup can actually be a winner.

Just recently we made Tom Yum soup for dinner for about 12 people. I followed a recipe that included a few types of Asian mushrooms (as a mushroom lover this was like heaven), lemongrass, shallots, chilli and galangal among other Thai herbs, prawns and vegetables.  

The simplicity of boiling the sweet and spicy stock water with the ingredients in which the Thai flavours infuse throughout the broth is brilliant. You chuck some fresh slices of tomato in at the end and sprinkle with coriander and spring onions.  

Here is a photo of the Tom Yum we made a couple of nights later just for dinner for two. Same recipe though.

I would make this more if I only had ingredients like lemongrass and galangal sitting in my fridge.

Worth a try to impress J

The Wealthy Thai

Surprise! Another Thai post!

This little Thai restaurant was certainly a surprise…for good reasons!
After an impromptu dinner date was announced we were forced to find somewhere for dinner in the Vic Park area. Thai was a favourite by most diners, so after Urbanspoon pointed me to the highly rated Thai restaurant in Vic Park called The Wealthy Thai. We were more than willing to give this restaurant a shot!

I hadn’t actually heard of The Wealthy Thai before. Being the Thai lover I am, I thought I had sussed out every Thai restaurant in WA. Apparently not.
The Wealthy Thai is on Berwick Street and is easy to miss. I think the Google address for this restaurant actually takes you to the wrong address, but after a small mishap, we found it. The Wealthy Thai is suited in a random building off from Berwick Street and isn’t well lit. After a close look, I noticed the sign out the front, but you could easily drive by without ever knowing there was a restaurant here at all.

There was quite ample seating in this place, I noticed a few other tables, but after all, it was a Wednesday!
We were served quite promptly, but due to being so busy catching up with each other, we hadn’t had a proper chance to see the menu.
It seemed the poor only waiter was run off his feet as he rushed around and although took our order with care, you could tell he was very stressed. We had to ask them to give us a few mnore minutes to decide.
All very reasonably priced, we ordered the Tom Yum vegetable soup for entrée. This came out after a little wait, but was well balanced in sweet/sour/spiciness and hit the spot. Nothing too amazing, but certainly above average. 
Tom Yum Soup

For mains we had the Panang Curry with Prawns and vegetables (As far as I can remember, prawns and veggies were not on the menu but when I asked if this was an option, they replied yes without hesitation).
We also ordered the chilli/garlic vegetables and tofu stir-fry and stir-fry vegetables in oyster sauce.
The others on the table ordered Vegetable Spring Rolls, Chicken Thai Green Curry, Chicken Pad Thai and Beef Massuman Curry.
As there is no menu online, I cant remember the prices exactly…but the main dishes were all under $20, The Chicken Pad Thai being about $13 and some seafood dishes in the mid $20’s.

The prawn and vegetable Panang Curry was absolutely delightful! Rich, creamy and peanutty in flavour with a subtle spice kick (not very chilli). The prawns were cooked to perfection. Fresh, large and just popped in your mouth with a fresh crunch! There were about eight prawns which were generous considering we had vegetables and rice as well, plus this was relatively cheap.
To be honest I don’t care whether this Panang Curry was not the most authentic curry I’ve ever tasted since Thailand, but oh my god - it was the tastiest! With those perfectly cooked prawns and veggies – I was in heaven…almost licking the bowl clean with every last drop of creamy curry goodness!

 Prawn & Vegetable Panang Curry
The two stir-fry’s we ordered were very similar in flavour. I preferred the simple oyster sauce with the vegies and prawns, however Jack liked the “chilli” stir-fry which wasn’t really spicy in flavour but had a distinct oyster/chilli sauce flavour.

Chilli vege and Tofu Stirfry

Vegetable Stirfry with oyster sauce
The vegies were fresh and tasty and we cleaned up these dishes regardless.

I tasted the Thai Green Curry sauce and although our friend thought this was “the spiciest/hottest sauce he has tasted” I didn’t taste one bit of chilli. So either I am very immune to chilli or he is very sensitive (or both!). The green curry flavour was lovely though. Also very creamy in texture.

The Massuman Curry was nice, it had a strong beef flavour throughout the curry sauce which I could taste quite prominently. The flavour was rich and tasted just like a Massuman should!

I didn’t get a chance to taste the Pad Thai as this disappeared quickly as a favourite. Nor did I taste the spring rolls, so I cant give an indication on how they were either.
Our meals came out quite stagnated. It was awkward to know if we should start eating or whether we should wait for the rest of the meals to come out. After waiting about 5 minutes or more, we decided to start…eventually, all the meals were brought out, but the timing wasn’t great.

We were so full we couldn’t fit in any desserts. But I do like being offered the option of the dessert menu. There’s nothing more annoying to me when desserts/coffee are never offered and you feel they are just trying to get you out so they can refill the table or close.
This was not the case at The Wealthy Thai.  Such a lovely meal all round.

Highs: Panang Curry heaven
Lows: Service was not consistent.
Overall: Wonderful sized meals, fresh food, tasty and affordable!
Will I return? I’d have to go back for the Panang Curry! But also to try some more dishes.

Wealthy Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Daily Planet Cafe - Mt Lawley

ANZAC day led me to appreaciate having a day off on Wednesdays during the week.

This was an opportunity to catch up with some girlfriends over coffee/brunch, when we would otherwise have to had been at work.

As much as I love the food at The Beaufort Street Merchant, we avoided eating/getting coffee here due to the excessive price increase they slapped on all the meals due to the public holiday.

I appreciate staff need to be paid more, but how much is too much for a coffee in Perth…when do we draw the line and admit that a latte is a latte…and I just felt ripped off paying nearly $5 for a cup of milk that I could just as nice quality with my Nespresso Coffee machine at home… and $6 for a soft drink!? Take away the ice and the size of the glass, this was hardly bearable.

We decided to wander down Beaufort Street and came across Daily Planet café – attached to the Planet bookshop.

This café had a nice rustic feel, with red bricks, tall ceilings and funky wall art to amuse your eyes. Although Planet Café wasn’t entirely full of customers, the first thing I noticed was the staff rushing around hectically as if there was mayhem in the kitchen.

We seated ourselves and brought another chair over from a table and sat here for a good 10 minutes before I managed to catch a waitress running past us, trying ever so hard to avoid any eye contact with us in the small hope we would not want to order anything. I slipped in a “could we please just grab a glass of water” quickly as she looked at me with her hectic eyes, disappointed she had yet another table to attend to…
After another 5-10 minutes we hadn’t received our water and I asked her again before she apologised for forgetting and plonked down some glasses and ran away before we could order any proper drinks or food. The rest of the staff were the same, walking past in a rushed manner never making the mistake of making eye contact with us.

Again I nearly startled a waitress when I interrupted her galloping path to the kitchen to ask if we could order some food. She hesitated before asking us what we would like.
I ordered the mushrooms, ricotta, roasted tomatoes with rocket and pesto on toasted sourdough. $15.50.

After a fair wait, My meal came out. Being the rocket lover that I am, I initially noticed my meal had spinach leaves and not rocket and goats cheese, not ricotta. This didn’t faze me, as the dish still looked nice. I cut off a slice of the toast, realising it was hardly toasted at all…expecting a crunch of toast, I just cut through bread… I then noticed how dry the meal was, the mushrooms, although oily were just sitting on the bread with two slices of tomato. There was no real flavour or dressing to bring the whole meal together. I remembered seeing “pesto” on the menu and asked the waitress if this was supposed to have pesto on it, she admitted this was correct and instead of bringing me out some pesto to drizzle/spread on my dish, she took my whole meal away….but ….but … I was so hungryyyy!!

She brought another dish out not too long after and I noticed this has the correct rocket not spinach leaves and pesto drizzled over the dish. This actually made a huge difference and although the dish was a lot smaller than I hoped, it actually tasted pretty nice.

The goats cheese on the side was enough to feed 8 goat babies and I hardly put a dent in the bowl of goats cheese on my plate.
This was the only remaining ingredient from my meal.
With two small field mushrooms, two slices of roasted tomato, some rocket, goats cheese and a tiny slice of bread…It was a small but satisfactory meal.
I could have done with more, but that's just classic Lisa.

Overall, it’s hard to give an accurate review of Planet café due to the fact it was a public holiday. I don’t know if the staff are as unhelpful during normal days, but I just felt like I was being a nuisance ordering food.

The setting was lovely, the café itself was a cute little haven with the quirky brick walls and cute tables and the menu had a lot of vegetarian/vegan options which I really liked.

Overall, the service was terrible, but I’d be willing to come back and try this café on a non-public holiday to see if there is any difference.

Highs: The vegetarian options
Lows: The terrible service
Overall: 6/10
Would I return? Possibly, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Daily Planet on Urbanspoon

Crust Pizza – Mt Lawley

Crust Pizza has been on my mind a bit lately.
I drove past the one in Mt Lawley after being in the area and I was reminded of my curiosity with the Gourmet Pizza place whose launch party I stumbled upon one evening when Crust recently opened in Vic Park.
I noticed then that Crust offered some delicious sounding vegetarian pizza options and since analysing the menu, this has been on my list of places to try.
I know the Food Pornographer has experienced the Crust goodness at a launch party and managed to taste a fair few varieties of gourmet pizzas on offer. So check this blog out if you’re interested in what the other (meatier) options look like.
The pizza we tried was the Chilli Prawn Pizza. ($18 for a medium).

Now if you know me, you’ll know I take pizzas very seriously. I love a good gourmet pizza but can never seem to try anything that isn’t made at home by myself with love. To say it frankly…I’m a pizza snob.
So to try a BOUGHT pizza, this was a risk!!
The pizza was actually really nice! The crust was thin and crunchy, but thick enough to still taste that bready goodness. The prawns were cooked beautifully, still crunchy and fresh. I specifically noted there was a big prawn on each of the six slices. Great value when you think about some of the pizzas joints which seems to skimp on quality ingredients. I love a west aussie brewery and the beer at Little Creatures brewery, but specifically remember the time when I ordered a prawn pizza which had one and a half prawns total. Half the size of the crust pizza and nearly twice the price!

This Chilli Pizza from Crust had big flakes of basil scattered across the slices, chunks of white fetta sprinkled and gooey cheddar cheese. The tomato sauce on the base wasn’t particularly chilli in spiciness but the pizza itself had a lovely flavour throughout.
Munch munch munch…what pizza?

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar Mount Lawley on Urbanspoon