Monday, April 14, 2008

Night and Day in East Perth

I've tried to google the following cafe but to no avail. Situated in the plush suburb of East Perth, Baa Baa Black Cafe is a small corner cafe that dishes up super sandwiches. The day after we arrived, Lems took us out for lunch. The initial place she wanted to take us to was shut so we ended up driving around East Perth and chanced upon Baa Baa Black instead. Hunky zoomed in on eggs benedict immediately while I mulled over the array of delicious-sounding fillings in the sandwich section of the menu. Lems and I decided we would swap half our sandwich so I was glad that she chose one of the two I was thinking about. I ordered chicken with chermoula and avocado while she had the ham, bacon, beetroot, cheese and onion jam sandwich.

It took awhile for our drinks to arrive. Fortunately when it did, it was prettily decorated. Latte art is lovely and all but its not going to matter if the coffee is shite. I was pretty disappointed with the coffees in general this trip but that will be a different blog altogether. The latte at Baa Baa Black was very average for AUD4. The coffee wasn't strong enough but thank goodness the milk is so fresh and lovely. Hunky's eggs benedict with smoked salmon arrived precariously on our wobbly table. The ciabatta bread was overwhelmed with spinach, thick layers of salmon, perfectly poached eggs and a river of thick creamy hollandaise. Pretty darn good as far as eggs benedict goes. Have I mentioned that Hunky put on 2kgs?

I really enjoyed the delicate flavours of the chermoula and avocado in my sandwich. It tasted light despite the generous helpings of mashed avocado. It had a slight tang from a squeeze of lemon and the aromatic flavours of coriander and parsley made me believe I was eating something very good for me. Which was why I was surprised when Lems and I swapped our halves and she said it was a tad on the bland side for her. I was about to defend my sandwich like a socialite defends Tatler when I took a bite of her ham sandwich. Ahhhh. Where mine was subtle, hers was the opposite extreme. The perky unabashed flavours was like a caffeine hit after detox. Wow! It was salty, dense, sweet, rich all at the same time. It was super satisfying and my sandwich did taste like pretty mild after that.

Lems paid for lunch but I remember the bill was over AUD50 for the three items, a latte and juice. I don't think this cafe opens for dinner as most of the cafes in the East Perth cater to the office crowd. Not to worry as there are a couple of fantastic restaurants hidden in this suburb for dinner. One such place was Cream. It was the day before the tea ceremony and the three of us had conspired to avoid the bride-to-be. She had been pretty stressed but being the gracious person she is, she still insisted on meeting us and taking us around despite being absolutely fatigued. Anyway, she refused to take no for an answer and promptly arrived at our hotel to whisk us off to dinner at Cream. I would never have found this place if I was just walking around the neighbourhood. Tucked away in some back street, its easy to miss the dimly lit restaurant with its retro signage.

We had a very early reservation (7pm!) but within half and hour, the restaurant was almost full. We stood out like sore thumbs as almost every other table were occupied by couples. Despite the fine dining menu (and prices to match!) and restaurant location, there is still something casual about the ambience. Maybe its because the wait staff are dressed like fellow diners or how a basket of cutlery and napkins was left on the table for us to help ourselves to. Whatever it is, its obviously popular with the locals. The fur-cladded walls is a nice effect, I felt warm and cocooned. The menu at Cream is Modern Australian and this was definitely in the Top Three meals I had during my trip. Unfortunately, the "romantic" lighting was not conducive to picture-taking so I don't have any pictures of the superb food to share on my blog. I know! One must start to use one's imagination! Heaven forbid!

At that point in time, my jeans was already feeling tighter. I was quite worried that I wasn't going to be able to fit into my jeans. I didn't have much of an appetite which was such a shame because the food was so good! We shared a homemade cognac pate with onion confit to start. Sublime! Pate? All I could taste was sweet, mellow cognac. The onion confit provided a sharp contrast to the mellow pate. I could've sworn I wanted a salad but somehow I ended up ordering the baby beef braised slowly in red wine with horseradish mash. Yes, baby beef not veal. How can I begin to describe this tender, tender morsel? Fanbloodytastic! I barely touched it with my fork and it just fell apart! I didn't care much for the horseradish mash but who cares? The beef was delicious enough on its own.

I thought CW's chilli crab and king prawn risotto was fantastic! The natural sweetness of the crab and fresh springy prawns complimented the spicy and perfectly cooked risotto. Hunky's crispy roasted pork belly with caremelised apple, leek and fetta strudel was very tasty too but all of us felt the apple, leek and fetta strudel, though delicious, was too heavy for the rich pork belly. The whole dish felt extremely rich and fattening. The biggest surprise of the night was Laura's choice which was roasted breast of free range chicken, porcini mushroom jus, truffle potato mash and crispy pancetta. I'm usually weary of chicken dishes especially when it involves dry breast meat. Now, thats an oxymoron! Anyway, not only was this dish moist, it was flavoursome too! After that fantastic meal, I was ready to pass out. The buttons on my jeans groaned in protest when Laura suggested dessert but I was outnumbered. We then headed off to Northbridge for dessert but thats another post. Did I mention that I put on 2kgs too?

Cream Restaurant - Suite 2, 11 Regal Place, East Perth WA 6004. For more details and sample menus, click here. Expect to pay - main course between AUD33-39, starters AUD20 onwards. Expensive but worth a visit!

8 comments:

  1. the smoked salmon sandwich looks pure BLISS.

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  2. did i mention that i also put on 2 kgs when i was in aust?? blame it on the XXL portions!

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  3. This meal seems so much healtier then the one before. But equally good. Miss Aussie food!

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  4. j2kfm -Can't go wrong with eggs, hollandaise and smoked salmon!

    Not sure if its the portions but rather the whole "holiday therefore I can let myself go" and rich food!

    Er... relatively healthier! haha. Stay tuned for more posts. Still have quite a few to post. :-)

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  5. Did I mention it took three months and cramming my mouth eight times daily to gain a measly 2 kgs? Oh I should have just gone for a trip Down Under... ;)

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  6. I.Hate.You.Kenny Mah!

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  7. Wow are you living in Perth? because if you do i will now fllow your blog, saves me from finding places! I live in east perth and saw the sign a few time, Cream looks so warm and cozy!! im gonna try now after reading your blog!

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  8. Hi Millana, unfortunately I don't live in Perth but I do visit quite often. Good food there but oh so bad for the waistline! :-)

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