Food was an important element of our holiday. But they were expensive - easily 3 times the prices in Malaysia. Still we did not stinge. We had our fill of Perth food. A number of times, my wife and I looked at the menus, the prices and then at each other. But what the heck. We were on holidays. We proceeded to order.
On the first evening of our arrival, KG drove us to a popular Vietnamese restaurant in pursuit of the famed beef soup noodles. Australia has a large Vietnamese population and I have found their pho bo (Vietnamese for beef soup noodles) to be very authentic and good. I was hoping to get some noodles that would be just as good as those in Melbourne.
But the pho bo at the Tra Vinh Noodle House on Brisbane Street, Northbridge, did not quite measure up. The noodles were served with generous portions of beef, tripe and ligament. And a plate of raw bean sprouts and mint leaves. The beef was "medium rare" - still somewhat reddish. It was tender and succulent. However the soup was not a wow. I think the shops in St Albans, Melbourne did a better job.
My wife does not like beef. She had chicken instead.
And while we were there, we also had some Vietnamese "popiah" and stuffed chicken wings. Both were nothing to shout about.
On the second evening, we were at the Windsor Hotel on Mill Point Road in South Perth for some Aussie food. The Windsor Hotel is actually more of a drinking place. I don't know if they do have rooms for hire. On that Sunday evening, the place was jollily packed. The bar was doing a roaring business. We found a quiet table. There was no waiters or waitresses. I had to look around for a menu myself. And then ordered our food with the bar tender.
The place is apparently known for its Wagyu beef burger. Wagyu (a.k.a Kobe beef) is the Japanese meat that is famed for its fine quality and high prices. It is relished for its superb marbled texture. So it seemed sacrilege to mince it up and make it into patties. The Wagyu burger at the Windsor did not taste exceptional. The meat was indeed a little finer and tastier, but since it was all minced and meshed up it was not heck of a difference. And surprisingly, it was not that expensive. At about 29 Aussie dollars, it was not more expensive than the other burgers and sandwiches.
I opted for the Angus steak sandwich. The meat was tender and succulent. It was a fine piece of grilled meat. The taste was enhanced by nice pieces of bacon. There was no doubt that this actually tasted better than the Wagyu burger.
My beef-detesting wife had this chicken burger and she enjoyed it thoroughly.
Crystal went out with her friend Kathy on the 3rd day. So my wife and I drove to Fremantle. It is the port city about 30 minutes south of Perth. It is a charming coastal town. We headed to the E-shed Market which was by the harbor. Unfortunately it was closed. It apparently only opens during weekends. We then drove around and ended at the Waterfront for lunch.
We shared a seafood platter. In it were fish, shrimps, squids and a shellfish (not sure what it was) - all battered and deep fried. There was of course, french fries and a small bowl of mussels. It was a huge plate. We even added a tub of coleslaw. Still we managed to clean it up. The mussels were rather small - not much larger than 10 sen coins. The food was so-so. Deep fried battered seafood. How good can it get? But everything was absolutely fresh. It was a most relaxing meal, sitting alfresco at the edge of the water. That was life.
As we finished our meal, my wife saw a guy walking pass carrying a different plate of seafood - with a lobster in it. "How come ours do not have lobster?" she asked. We then realized that the adjacent outlet served a better seafood platter. Too late to regret. But we told ourselves we would be back for the lobster. And we did...
Two days later, we went back to Fremantle - this time with Crystal. It was already late afternoon - about 3 pm - way past lunch time. But we were determined to have the lobster seafood platter. I headed straight to Kailis' Fish Market and ordered it. No regrets coming all the way back. This seafood platter was infinitely better than the last. The only hitch was that we got only half a lobster. Not the whole animal. The seafood in the plate were not deep fried in batter. They were grilled. The lobster was fresh, succulent and marvelous. There were 4 fresh oyster (yummy), grilled fish in skewers, boiled prawns, grilled squids, french fries and a small bowl of salad. The squids were particularly good. They were grilled to a crisp. The whole plate costed us 67 bucks Aussie - i.e. about RM210. Damn bloody expensive. But like I mentioned - what the heck, we were on holidays.
I also ordered a bowl of seafood chowder. Another marvel. The soup was creamy and delicious. There were chunks of fish, shrimps and squids. It had been a long time since I had a nice bowl of chowder like this.
We visited the aquarium at Hillary's Bay Harbour. It is about 30 minutes drive north of Perth. The aquarium is not great. But they do have a long underwater glass tunnel where we enjoyed the sea lives on a moving conveyor.
We had lunch in the aquarium cafeteria. I know it was an odd choice. But it turned out to be pretty good. I have a roast pork roll. It was thick slices of roast pork in a large sesame bread roll. The roast meat was fabulous. It was juicy and tasty. And the bread was vey nice too. I wish I had flipped open the sandwich and taken a picture to show you the meat.
Crystal had this meat pie. It was actually a pastry over a bowl of beef stew. They call it a pie. Anyway, it was delicious. I had a taste of it and I liked it very much. Still I thought my roast pork roll was the better choice. The "pie" was served with some potato salad. It was very good too.
My wife's choice was this chicken croissant. I did not have a taste of it. I think she enjoyed it.
On our last day, we took a day trip to Rottnest Island. It was a 2 hour boat ride from Perth - down the beautiful Swan River to Fremantle and out into the sea. Rottnest is a charming idyllic island where there are no cars and everybody moves around on bicycles. It is so well conserved. We spent the morning in a fast boat sightseeing round the island.
For lunch, we went to the Aristos seafood restaurant. It was a most pleasant dining place. At that time of the day, it was busy with the lunchtime crowd. We picked a table near the waterfront. Very considerately, they installed a netting around the restaurant to keep the seagulls away. But it did nothing to the pesky flies that were so numerous in the summer heat.
Lunch was quite ordinary. We shared a salad with slices of chicken and sprinklings of bacon. The salad was mediocre. I didn't particularly enjoy it. I had a craving for chicken that day and wanted the grilled free-range chicken Greek style. The girl told us that it was a whole chicken and we backed off for fear of too much food. In the end the dishes were not that big and we could had easily handled the Greek chicken. Regrets, regrets.
The shrimp and fish plate was miserable. One piece of deep fried fish, two meagre shrimps and fries. For 20 Aussies, they surely could had done better.
We had a kilo of spicy mussels. Another one of the "what the heck, we are on holiday" indulgences. It was very expensive - about 35 Aussies - over RM110. The mussels were very fresh. They were very well prepared. The sauce was wonderful. However most of our kilogram were shells. Like those we had in Fremantle, the mussels were small. I had had much better mussels than these. I remember Alan bought some real big mussels when we were in Geelong last year. Perhaps this was not mussel season.
The Aussies make some awesome cakes and pastries. I do not have a sweet tooth and generally do not care for sweet things. But I enjoyed some really nice pastries and desserts while I was in Perth. Below are visuals of some cakes we had in a cafe that KG brought us before he drove us to the airport for our flight home.
The food in Perth was generally very good. Besides the above, we also had some dim sum (点心) and Italian food. I will write more about those later.