Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant, Perth

I had swung by my friends house for a catch-up when his housemates told me they’d booked a table at Brotzeit. I was invited along, but told they weren’t sure if there would be additional space for me due to the restaurant’s popularity. I had already read some local foodie reviews and seen photos of the food, and having been brought up on my Mums Polish home cooking I couldn’t be more excited.

Located in the trendy new 140 William Street Perth, the first thing you notice when you walk towards the restaurant is its striking atmosphere. Brotzeit fits into its surroundings in it’s very own unique way. Striking an interesting balance between modern inner city outdoor dining with its large open dining area and the coloured glass hanging from the 140 ceiling, and traditional rustic German ambience established with the use of wood in the architecture and furniture, along with the gorgeous smell of rich German food wafting past.

Whilst I expected the restaurant to be fully booked on a Saturday night I arrived to find this was not the case. This actually made me quite happy, as I often find service quality and food to be just that little better when staff aren’t completely run off their feet. We were reseated to a larger table to accommodate the addition of guests, but this is where my initial fanaticism made room for an evening of swinging highs and lows.

I’m not sure whether this is due to the restaurant being new, or simply down to the staff, but I personally felt a lack of attentiveness in the customer service. After being seated and struggling to pass around 3 menus -between several guests- until we requested more, we found we had to struggle to flag down a waitress when we wanted to order or ask any questions from then on. It was clear their menu knowledge was lacking when one of the boys at the table ordered the Bier Tasting Paddle. We asked 3 separate waitresses to name and explain the beers, and all scrambled to find their notes and/or struggled to find an answer. There also appeared to be a few struggles behind the scene, as we were made aware half our drink order was not processed. At the end of the evening, I was left confused when after a long time a waitress asked if the table had finished, removed two plates and never came back for the rest. We then had to approach another waitress at the end of the night for the bill.

The food itself was manly man’s dream. Generous portions of hearty food and wafting smells that would make anyone drool. Traditional combinations of meats, carbs and fats held up the menu, which was more than enough to satisfy a majority of the crowd. When the food arrived, the boys eyes lite up, jaws dropped and food started being shovelled in. You just knew the menu had been created by a real German executive chef.

Our table ordered a range of dishes including appetizers, salads, sausages, mains courses, side dishes and desserts.

The Brotzeitplatte mit Ripperl / Brotzeit® Platter with Ribs was a show stopping event as it was placed on the table, and even the look of the Kalbsrahmgulasch / Veal Goulash with Spätzle -which if you’ve cooked before you’ll know is hard to make pretty- made the boys want to dive straight in. In addition to this, some of the other dishes sprawled across the table included a Würstelplatte / Sausage Platter, Gartensalat / Garden Salad, Rotkraut / Orange-Cranberry Red Cabbage, Sauerkraut / Braised white German cabbage, and even an Apfelstrudel / Apple Strudel, just for good measure. The only thing that could have added to this German spectacular was a traditional stein of beer, and it’s a real shame the Executive Chef’s, Eyke Czirr, application to sell the traditional one-litre stein was knocked back.

But for all pleasure at the table, we quickly learnt a few of our guests were about to have quite the opposite experience. With a couple guests having dietary requirements, we were shocked when we were told we would not be able to make any changes to any of the menu items, including not being able to add chicken or meat -which was already on the menu in other items- to any of the salads, or change any of the main sides. I personally find the old saying ‘what you see is what you get’ to be completely unacceptable in most modern dining scenarios – with the exception of set menus and degustation’s. This ridged inflexibility left one of our guests having to settle with an appetizer, the Schupfnudeln / Warm Spinach Salad with Bavarian Potato Dumpling. Upon tucking into his extremely small and dissatisfying meal, whilst watching the rest of the table dive into theirs, this less than appealing situation lead our guest needing to excuse himself so he could leave the restaurant and go on the hunt for something more suitable elsewhere.

I sat on this review for an entire week before publishing it, hoping the time would clarify my opinion of this restaurant and help me decipher between all the highs and lows. In the end the conclusion I’ve come to is that the location and cuisine type means Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant definitely has a place within the Perth market, however their service and inflexible dining leaves a lot to be desired. With more and more Perth diners becoming self-confessed foodies, and more and more restaurants for those foodies to pick from I’ll be interested to see the future of Brotzeit, because as it stands, I can see the novelty and appeal, but I personally don’t see myself going back anytime soon.

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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The Naked Fig, Swanbourne

Every time I talk food with my friends there seems to be this major divide between those with somewhat more alternative diets such as vegetarians, vegans, gluten free fans and paleo lovers versus those with more traditional tastes such as carnivores and meat-carb only devouties. But no matter your eating style the one thing we all share in common is that we all deserve and enjoy being spoiled when we go out. So why can’t we all just get along? And why can’t restaurants appeal to all of us equally? Well I’ve found a place everyone can get equally spoiled no matter what their foodie preference.

This year I’ve been to the Naked Fig on three separate occasions – a degustation, a cooking class and a blogger dinner – and I can honestly say I’ve felt beyond spoiled on every occasion… and so have the people I’ve brought along to these events.

potato gnocchi, roast beets, swiss chard, candied walnuts

potato gnocchi, roast beets, swiss chard, candied walnuts

Located on the stunning Swanbourne beach, The Naked Fig makes the most of it’s surroundings. A large outdoor dining area and open indoor dining area looking out of the wall of glass windows/doors means you are always in for a spectacular view no matter where you choose to sit. Gorgeous sparkling sunlit water and glowing beaches give way to romantic sunsets and a lovely interior design that truly comes alive in the evening. And the staff continue to bring out the best of The Naked Figs wonderful atmosphere with their consistently polite, friendly and attentive service.

baked leek nicoise, black olives, rosemary, poached egg, confit tomatoes

baked leek nicoise, black olives, rosemary, poached egg, confit tomatoes

The Naked Figs menu is seasonal, and provides plenty of vegetarian items and vegan options. You won’t need to beg, plead, miss out or be judged here, because the dishes you’ll be choosing from are guaranteed to make even the most devout carnivore question their meaty loyalty. But don’t worry meat eaters, I guarantee you have not been overlooked. From tender lamb to melt in the mouth beef, pork and juicy poultry and seafood, there is going to be something on the menu that makes your heart skip a beat or two, and makes any of your veggie guests question their moral compass. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or a carnivore, a health freak or the indulgent type, there is going to be something spectacular for you… so much so you’re likely to find yourself wondering whether the dish was somehow created just for you and your taste-buds.

lamb cutlets, cumin pumpkin, roast chickpeas

lamb cutlets, cumin pumpkin, roast chickpeas

And for all those veggie, vegan and gluten free lovers out there surrounded by die-hard steak fans, or all of you carnivores who have found themselves partnered with a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free eater, I’ve found a great way to satisfy and impress both parties. On Tuesdays the Naked Fig does “Vego Tuesday”, where half the menu is devoted to vegetarians, vegans and gluten free-ers, whilst the other half is dedicated to carnivores, so much so it actually says ‘herbivores’ and ‘carnivores’ on the menu.

cheese board

cheese board

The dessert portion of the menu never fails to deliver either with a selection of sweet treats and savoury cheeses to satisfy anyone, and give you the perfect excuse to stay a while longer. And don’t worry beverage buffs, you’re covered too, with the drinks menu offering everything from perfectly matching wines to beers, cocktails and creamy (grass fed) butter coffee which really packs a rich punch. On a side note, after giving the butter coffee a try, I can really see it becoming a bit of a next big thing around town, so keep an eye out for it.

creamy (grass fed) butter coffee

creamy (grass fed) butter coffee

Simply put, as far as restaurants go in Perth the Naked Fig is definitely in my select top handful. Whether you’re trying to treat your partner, spoil your mum, or give your bride a wedding to remember, I recommend giving the Naked Fig a try. Just be aware the chances are you’ll end up being devotedly hooked like me and smiling widely every time the place is mentioned… but there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Naked Fig Cafe on Urbanspoon

Hylin, West Leederville

For anyone who doesn’t follow my blog, my office moved from Leederville to West Leederville at the beginning of 2014. Since then, two new cafes have opened up within 250m of my office, with yet another due to open in the coming weeks. The most recent addition (to what’s now become consumers choice) Hylin, opened on the 1st October, and very quickly became my cafe of choice.

hylin art

The first thing you notice when you come into the cafe is it’s wonderful atmosphere. A combination of happy customers, lively staff and smart architecture really brings the place alive, and makes it feel like you’ve escaped from the city -if only for a while. With a lot of natural sunlight, and an unpretentious unique twist in it’s design, it’ isn’t a surprise to discover the owner Josh started off as an architect before bringing Hylin to us lucky folk of West Leederville. In my experience, you’ll often find him behind the register, which is a wonderful thing. He takes pride in his cafe, smiling and happily chatting with each customer. The staff reflect this genuinely friendly attitude, high quality customer service.

Hylin Coffee

Being a long black drinker, there’s no where to hide when it comes to my coffee. Hylins coffee beans come from Micrology Coffee Roasters in Fremantle, with 250g bags available for purchase as the counter. The barista’s tailor their bean of choice to your coffee of choice, delivering the perfect flavour profile every time. Best of all, the pricing is very kind too, starting at $3.00 for a single espresso.

Hylin Micrology

The food is currently an assortment of glass box eats, with nutella and banana slice bagels a favourite of mine to see every morning, as well as a couple tasty breakfast options. Some of these tasty treats are supplied by The Holy Bagel Company, whilst the chefs dish out the rest. In addition to this, it’s been said a breakfast menu should be made available shortly.

Hylins Holy Bagel

Hylin is to me exactly what the area needed… an unpretentious, modern cafe, with great coffee at a good price, a nice atmosphere, wonderful hospitality and some enjoyable eats. I think I’m in love.

Hylin Menu 2

Hylin on Urbanspoon

Wagamama, Subiaco

Wagamama, Subiaco opened it’s doors on March 1, 2006. More than 8 years later it’s sad to see the place close down the weekend just gone (mid September 2014). Interning in Subiaco, I was lucky to grab one final meal at Wagamama when I was invited to a casual work lunch on a Friday afternoon.

otsunaaji portobello salad and duck gyozasWagamama - Carrot, Apple and Ginger JuiceIt was just after lunch when we arrived to the quiet restaurant. We were immediately greeted, seated and each given a menu. We were promptly served water, and the polite and friendly waitress and asked if we would like any additional beverages. I grabbed a new, fresh carrot, apple and ginger juice [$4.90/$6.50] whilst my colleagues enjoyed a glass of wine each.

The specials menu was very reasonably prices, offering a lot of bang-for-your-buck for anyone on a budget but still after some quality, filling food. Sticking with the new items on the menu I couldn’t help but order the  [$17.20], which the girls decided to stick to the tried and proven classics like duck gyozas (5) for starters,  [$20.60] and  [$20.40].otsunaaji portobello salad

The drinks came out promptly with the duck gyozas [$9.90]. We chatted away whilst enjoying our beverages and nibbling on the crispy, juicy and tasty gyozas until the food followed soon after. The moment the gorgeous plates were placed in front of us the conversation slowly faded as we tucked into our delicious meals. The flavours of the salad was fresh, lively, and a lot more filling than I expected. My colleagues dishes didn’t disappoint either. Packed full of flavour and leaving everyone in a mini food coma of delight.teriyaki raisu chicken

Wagamama has a large, open atmosphere, with plenty of various tables in different sections of the restaurant to choose from. With it being so quiet, it was interesting to think back to just how big and lively the place was when it first opened, and customers were spilling onto the streets.thai style stir-fried noodles

The closing of Wagamama really makes me feel like it’s the end of an era. Coming in for (what I didn’t realise at the time would be) my final meal here, I didn’t expect to have such a great experience. Looking back now makes me question the reason for this restaurant closing. With it being so quiet it may have simply been that the spark in the relationship between the restaurant and Perth simply faded over time, with the trendy folks of this town constantly chasing the latest, hottest tends. It really is a shame to see this place close, but final great experience of Wagamama will definitely leave me with fond memories.

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Toms Cafe, Leederville

For healthy yet tasty lunches on the go.
Cuisine: Salads, Sandwhich, Coffee.

Located in Tip Top Arcade on Oxford Street in Leederville, Toms café is a little casual gem for local workers seeking out a quick and healthy lunch. It’s not the type of place you sit around, as seating is very casual and limited. Having previously worked in Leederville I reviewed Toms Cafe in 2013. Click here to read my previous review. Now working over the bridge in West Leederville, I recently visited Leederville for lunch and decided to try Tom’s again.

Service: The service is just as pleasant and quick as it has always been. As I was browsing the fridges one of the serves quickly came over to ask if she could help before Tom recognised me and asked whether I had left my job or what had happened to my office as he’d noticed we weren’t around as much these days. It was lovely to see he’d remembered and noticed. It’s worth remembering Toms does not offer Eftpos, though a selection of ATMs are available on the street.

Food: Rather than opting for a mix of salads I decided to purchase one of the pre-packed ½ price large containers of salad for $6. The salad was a combination of the edamame with corn and   Israeli couscous salads, and it was still extremely fresh and delicious! So much so it may have become my new personal favourite. These ½ price large containers of prepacked salads can be found on the left side of the first fridge.

Toms café still offers a wide variety of fresh salads, soups (in winter) and a variety of traditional hot and cold deli foods such as sausage rolls, subs and soups etc. Once the only local offering healthy fresh salads, wraps etc a new competitor offering a selection of salads, wraps, bagels along with their main offering of fresh juices and smoothies has now opened opposite to Toms. It will be interesting to see how -if at all- this affects this local gem.
Half Price Container Tom's Cafe

Price: A variety of takeaway container sizes are available starting at $6 for a small container which you can fill with 1 or 2 different salads. Though the smaller containers seem small they are always packed to the brim and surprisingly filling so you definitely get your moneys worth of fresh, healthy, delicious food. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, there is always the ½ price selection which is worth having a look through.

Summary: As I said before, I’ll say again, Toms Café is a great hidden gem for lunch on the run. The food is fresh and the variety exceptional, so much so that even salad avoiders are guaranteed to find something worth trying. It’s definitely worth giving it a go.

Tom's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Nutritional Notes:
Tom’s cafe makes it really easy to eat healthy on the go, with a variety of fresh soups, salads, wraps and other foods. As long as you ignore the small hot counter offering sausage rolls and chips (which is easy to walk past) it’s pretty hard to go wrong. The choices of salads are vast, so remember to choose a mix of wholesome, wholegrain and vegetable packed salads, and opting for those with little to no dressing or refined carbohydrates. That way your body as well as your taste buds will thank you.

-The Grizzly Bear

The Office On Harrogate, West Leederville

Hipster paradise by day, trendy bar by night (Wed-Sun), when my office moved to West Leederville at the beginning of the year, my offices café was yet to be built and good coffee in the immediate area was limited to a few key cafes… one of those being The Office on Harrogate. Having now frequented The Office for meetings, coffee with my boss and dine-in lunches with colleagues over the past several months I feel as though I’m now truly able to gauge The Office.

The Office On Harrogate Quiche and Salad

Atmosphere: With somewhat limited competition in the immediate area, The Office on Harrogate seizes the opportunity to monopolise it’s hipster charm. The Office on Harrogate is a modern hipsters paradise with freshly squeezed juices served in mason jars, burgers served on wooden boards and a young energetic workforce behind the counter. It is small and trendy, with a range of indoors and outdoor seating options. In winter, the staff place heaters outside if required, so you can enjoy outdoor seating without getting uncomfortable. Due to it’s capacity The Office is not overly suitable for large groups over 10 or so, however I’m sure the friendly staff there would be more than happy to try any arrange something if asked.Salad Bpwl from The Office On Harrogate

Service: In my experience, the staff are always fresh and lively. They’re polite, charming and are great to have a quick chat with whilst ordering. On the rare occasion that I’ve not been first at the counter (usually due to a busy peak around morning tea/coffee time), the staff have always managed to serve the line of caffeine deprived office workers very efficiently and with a fun smile.The Office On Harrogate Burger

Food/Cost: Much like the staff the food at The Office is always fresh and lively. The specials board is always full with a great variety of lunch options from salads and quiches to wraps and burgers and the counter is always full of little snacks and treats to enjoy alongside a coffee. Whilst I’ve personally enjoyed the salads and quiches myself, whilst my colleagues have enjoyed the burgers, I most recently I jumped onto a $15 chili mussel lunch special and was beyond delighted. The sauce was thick with chili and garlic and the bread was thick, making it perfect was soaking up the last of the sauce. I couldn’t stop smiling (like a kid with a bowl of candy in front of her, according to my colleague) as I enjoyed each mussel, splashing the sauce all over myself, my face and the table. I liked my fingers clean and polished off every drop of scrumptious sauce with the bread. Needless to say I spent the better part of the following hour bragging about how great my lunch was. Whilst I was ravaging my chilli mussels a colleague was tucking into a Chicken Burger from the board with a Redbull for $20. The burger  had lashings of cranberry sauce and was generous on the brie cheese, which was the same burger experience he’d had with a beef burger just a couple weeks earlier. My colleague was smiling at his burger and I could help but feel like I’d won a mini lottery with my Friday afternoon lunch.

As for the coffee, I still continue to walk down to The Office regularly for my usual tasty medium take-away long black ($4.50) and a smile, even though my office has a café located under the building.20140725_133754

Summary: The Office knows it’s surrounds and makes the most of it’s location, selecting it’s food and setting it’s pricing for the office workers of the immediate area. It’s a trendy place that definitely follows the principle of quality first, whilst still being somewhere you can get a great feed at a great price, especially if you play your cards right. If you want to enjoy what The Office has to offer but are a little strapped on cash the best time to visit The Office would be on either a Wednesday night for $10 Lamb Shanks or Thursday night for $10 Chili Mussels. That way you can see what The Office has to offer at only the cost of a lunch wrap.

The Office on Harrogate on Urbanspoon

Nourishing Notes:
The Office On Harrogate makes it simple to satisfy everyone. It has plenty of full-flavour, satisfying, health conscious options (that I simply love) as well as plenty of the usual subjects, but with the Office’s flavoursome gourmet twist (which my carnivorous male colleague always adores).

– The Grizzly Bear

The Naked Fig, Swanbourne – Millbrook Winery Degustation

20140724_185239Being a food blogger you’re always visiting local restaurants, cafes and events. Some are good, some are bad, and sometimes you experience a rare gem that defines and sets a new standard. It was a dining experience of this nature that spawned my very first food review in early 2013, and now more than a year later it’s happened again. Thanks to a 25-words-or-less competition on Great About Perth I won a degustation dinner for two at The Naked Fig on Thursday, 24 July. The degustation was hosted by Millbrook Winery, with tickets selling for $99. The event was sold out and for good reason, so I decided to take Coco along to experience the evening with me.

I wish I could tell you that what you are about to read won’t make me sound pretentious, or like Matt Preston reviewing a MasterChef contestant’s dish in the final week of the show. However, there is just no way I could avoid it in this case. No other words would do this review justice other than those I am about to use.

20140724_190002Upon entering The Naked Fig we were greeted immediately at the door with a warm friendly smile and seating. The atmosphere was amazing with beach views, the warmth of fireplaces and The Naked Fig’s unique interior decorating style. Cold water was immediately served, and the menus were on the table teasing.

Our first delight was a glass of Millbrook sparkling. It was bright, dry, crisp and about the finesse of flavours, rather than the power. The perfect glass to tantalise the tastebuds.

The first course of celeriac soup shooter, wasabi tea flavoured bread. It was not on the menu, but a nice complimentary start to the evening as we waited for all the guests to arrive. The shooter was soothing. The creamy, rich and warming sensation on the tongue complemented the sharp kick of the wasabi and tea flavoured bread. It was the perfect tastebud teaser to start the evening. If I could have a bowl of the celeriac soup for a meal I would order it without batting an eyelid.20140724_191436

We then received an introduction to the gentlemen from Millbrook who would, throughout the evening. be speaking to us about the evening’s matching wines.

20140724_200042The second course was marinated baby octopus, coriander potato, chilli. This complex dish was an unexpected highlight of the evening. The finesse placed into the presentation was worth appreciating as though it were an art piece, and the flavours and textures followed suit. The potatoes were firm, complementing the tender octopus, whilst the coriander added just the right level of sharp freshness to the dish.
20140724_202255
This was accompanied by the clean, dry, zippy sauvignon blanc. Paired with the dish it truly came alive on the palate, complimenting the flavours of the dish.

Third course was a warm apple tart tatin, miso, caramel. A rich, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth sweet treat, somewhat polarising the previous dish. The miso added a umani layer of depth to the strong buttery caramel sauce, which helped balance the otherwise sweet dish. The richness of the dish helps set up the following mussel dish, and the accompanying arneis pleasantly cut through the rich buttery sauce, making the each bit more delectable.

20140724_204728The fourth course was unlike anything I’d ever had the pleasure of tasting before. The mussels, creamed yuzu sauce, petit greens were unexpectedly intense. The dish played an interest game on the tongue, immaculately balancing the luxurious texture with the intense punch of the flavour. The uniquely intense flavour from the creamed yuzu sauce was accompanied by another spectacular and unique in the way of a viognier. The wine was distinct. Full but balanced, intense and dry. It had a distinct combination of complex aromatics that was unforgettable. The distinctive and powerful flavours lingered, suiting well to the rich flavoursome dish. This was the kind of dish and wine pairing that not only would make anyone turn their head, but it would be right there in the person’s face screaming at them to take note.
20140724_212848
The fifth course kindly lowered the intensity with the medium to full bodied pinot noir kindly coupling the rabbit saddle, smoked leg rillette, master stock. The moist rabbit and rich smoked leg rillette was served on the plate before the waiter poured the mouthwatering master stock on the dish at the table, enriching the meats. The first red meat of the evening was hearty, befittingly bridging between the intense flavours of the forth course and those more subtle in the sixth.

20140724_215806Upon tucking into the sixth course of pork belly, apple puree, short rib, spiced bread, ginger salsa micro herbs it quickly became apparent it was about to become the favoured dish of the evening – though it was a tough call. The pork belly was supple and the short rib could only be described as falling apart at the slightest touch. The dish melted in the mouth with the softer, medium tempranillo which lingered with its fruity flavours.

20140724_223431The final seventh course grew on the sweeter notes of the fifth with an intensely sweet Pedro. The dark dessert wine paired well with the slight hints of tartness in the light dish. The fruit spring roll, palm sugar syrup, toasted sesame seeds was a great ending with its crisp pastry, chewy apricots, creamy vanilla ice-cream and nutty sesame seeds.

The evening closed around 11:00pm with a small speech and smiles all around. The wine had continued to graciously flow all evening, the service was immaculate and the atmosphere divine. Each dish was as unique as the wines, yet the balance and flow throughout was faultless and the evening truly memorable. For $99 I would highly recommend any of The Naked Fig degustation dinners to anyone after a luxury evening on a budget (or not), or anyone looking to impress.

Two Naked Fig degustation dinners remain in 2014 – Seppelt on Thursday, 21 August and Howard Park on Thursday, 18 September.

-The Grizzly Bear

The Naked Fig Cafe on Urbanspoon