Tag Archives: Modern Australian

Greenhouse – Perth, WA

After the awesome dinner I had at Greenhouse, and due to a lack of other breakfast options, I ended eating breakfast at Greenhouse every day while I was in Perth. Given my love of oats, I had consistently had “honey roasted oats, yoghurt, rhubarb, seeds” plus some fresh orange juice and some toast. The oats were like a simple, deconstructed muesli – I obviously liked them enough to eat them 4 mornings in a row! They weren’t quite enough for me but a full serve of the toast was too much extra, so when others joined me I tried to share a serve of the toast. On at least one morning Anton and Mikey had the “crepes, blood orange, mascarpone, raw sugar”. Apparently the coffee is excellent too.

Yum…

Greenhouse – Perth, WA

Dinner by myself in Perth. I asked the hotel receptionist if there were any decent veggie places nearby. She commented that most places should be able accommodate me. When I said that I might as well try a local veggie place, or something interesting, she recommended Greenhouse. I must thank her…

Some of the items on the menu were just lists of ingredients, so I asked the waitress about a couple of options and wondered how they were served. She suggested “wood roasted carrots, turnips, wheat, yoghurt”. It is what is says it is: nicely cooked, loosely combined in a bowl, but still well presented. It sounded good and it certainly was excellent. I had a glass of the red wine (Twin Cellars Malbec, I think) that was recommended too – not my usual choice but very nice. I decided that I also had some room left for dessert and couldn’t pass up “orange, wattle seed, cashew, rosewater”. This was delicious. I think the cashew and wattle seed were combined in a biscuit and the rosewater was in tiny meringues, although I’m not sure… I just ate and enjoyed it. 😉

This rocked. Highly recommended…

The Hermitage

I have often wondered about this place as it is very close to the Canberra Theatre and The Playhouse, so we decided to try it with some friends before going to see Broad. The website claimed that there were vegetarian dishes available, which actually meant one entree and one main – and nothing that could easily be adapted! We shared some bread and decided against entrees – saving room for dessert instead! I was in a bit of a quandary, as the main didn’t really appeal – risotto with snow peas and mushrooms (not a fan of peas or freaky mushrooms!!) and the entree contained goats cheese and beetroot – something I am still acquiring the taste for (but only the fresh stuff!). I had decided on having the entree and a salad or a bowl of veggies for my main, but I changed my mind at the last minute and went with the risotto. Not surprisingly, Martin ordered the same thing! It was an unfortunate decision – the risotto was nice, but by the time I picked out all the bits that I don’t like, there wasn’t much left! I think I would have been happier with my initial decision. For dessert I had a chocolate mousse, which was delicious. Now, I know that restaurants can’t cater to my (sometimes odd) tastes! However, it would be nice if there was more than one veggie entree and one veggie main on the menu, so that a vegetarian couple can have an interesting and varied dining experience! Or so that a single vegetarian diner can have a choice! The whole experience here had some little quirks. One of which was that it took a while to get our wine opened and once it was, our glasses were continuously topped up for us before they were empty – this is one of my pet peeves, as it means you can not monitor how much you are actually drinking. I am glad we tried it, from a veggie perspective, I wouldn’t bother going back.

The Green Herring

This was my birthday dinner, and I thought it would be nice to go here as they have delicious food and it is usually nice and quiet. This night, however there was a big group celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary, so it took a bit of an effort to get in the door, but they didn’t really disturb us much once we were seated. Luckily the restaurant is separated into a couple of ‘rooms’ so the noise is minimal. We started with the sweet potato and pumpkin soup and the pear and asparagus salad with lime and balsamic dressing. We were both sitting there, trying to decide between these two entrees so we decided to order both and share them. They were delicious! For mains, I ordered the potato bake that came served with salad and steamed green beans and Martin had the grilled eggplant with hokkien noodles. Again, both were amazing! (Of course, my descriptions of the meals are not exactly as they are written on the menu!!) For dessert I was always going to have the profiteroles (I simply can’t go past them), Martin on the other hand couldn’t decide, so opted for the Taste of Herring, which had a sample of all five (yes five!!) desserts on the menu. The food here is amazing (I think I have said this before), but it isn’t cheap – but it is definitely worth it!! Yummo!

Pulp Kitchen

We have tried to eat here a couple of times, but they have slightly weird opening hours, so we have missed out. But we finally made it. I was trying really hard to judge this place neutrally as it is in the same spot that Bernadette’s (my favourite veggie restaurant) used to occupy. They have a number of veggie options on the menu, but a few of them were really classified as ‘sides’ rather than meals, so that was a little disappointing. I ended up having the baby roast potatoes (a side) and a cherry tomato salad. Martin had a main sized mushrooms with soft semolina and crispy bruscetta. The food was delicious, the potatoes were divine, but I was glad of the salad to make them a little more interesting. The salad was also great, with lots of cherry tomatoes in it! Martin’s food was also really nice, but disappointingly small considering he ordered a main size. We will definitely go back, hopefully they will have a little more (veggie wise) on the menu.

Mulberry – Christchurch, New Zealand

This was our first morning in New Zealand and we were looking for a place that the Lonely Planet Guide recommended that did a good veggie breakfast. When we found it, it was still closed, so we retraced our steps back to this place – and I am glad we did – it was awesome… I had the fried eggs, wholegrain toast, basil and tomato compote with side hash browns and Martin had scrambled eggs with toast and a side of tomatoes and mushrooms. The hash browns were fantastic – not your usual run of the mill, deep fried, out of the freezer type hash brown – but real little potato cakes with onion and herbs in them – yum! Martin commented that everything on his place was hot – you know how sometimes when you have sides that they are not as hot as everything else because they have been cooked at different times – well not this time – everything was piping hot! We both had an orange juice and then Martin decided he wanted a berry smoothie, so I had a hot chocolate. The breakfast here was not the cheapest thing in the world, but it was delicious! We did have a quick look at their dinner menu on the way out and there was very little in the way of veggie options, so my recommendation for vegetarians would be to stick to breakfast!

Note: This has been categorised as “Modern Australian” but clearly isn’t since it is in New Zealand! I use “Modern Australian” to categorise “fancy cafés”. That is, places that offer a variety of different foods in a more formal setting than a café. Although Mulberry’s breakfast is a café experience, their dinner appears to be a little more upmarket.

Sage

This was a birthday lunch for a friend, and I really like this place – however, they are a little short on vegetarian options, with only one item on the menu. The option this time was gnocchi with mushrooms, gorgonzola and rosemary oil. Not being a fan of gorgonzola, I asked them to substitute it with something else and was offered parmesan – which sounded good to me. A short time later I was told that they didn’t have any parmesan and asked what else would I prefer. I told them that the chef could decide what would go best as long as it wasn’t gorgonzola. When it finally arrived it had small pieces of brie in it which actually went really nicely. I am often concerned when I first see a plate of gnocchi as I always think it is small, but then I remember how filling it is and my concerns disappear! This gnocchi was delicious. It was cooked to perfection and the mushrooms and brie complimented each other perfectly, and the rosemary oil was a fabulous touch. Most of my companions seemed happy with their choices, with only one person being disappointed with what they were eating. After our mains, there were coffees all around, except for me who had hot chocolate. Again, it was on the expensive side, and it wouldn’t be somewhere to go if you are on a bit of a budget, but the food is definitely nice, I just wish there was more than one vegetarian option on the menu!

Aubergine

After lunch at Sage, a few of us decided that we should work our way through the gold section of the Entertainment book. Well, it is a good excuse to go somewhere different (and expensive!) for lunch every few weeks! This time we decided on Aubergine – I have heard and read quite a few good things about it, but it was a little unclear on how good they are with the veggie choices. When booking the table, they were asked if they had vegetarian food and the answer was “of course!” When we arrived and looked at the menu, there was one entree and one main that were vegetarian. Everything else was very meat-centric and wasn’t even able to be adapted. I asked the waiter if they had a separate vegetarian menu or if it was only what was listed and he said only what was listed – which was a little disappointing. He also commented that the kitchen could make up something else if I told them what I wanted, but I hate doing that – I would rather that the chefs put some thought into it and put creative vegetarian meals on the menu!

When deciding what to order, my friend and I always check out the dessert menu to see if we want dessert before deciding on entrees and mains. Amazingly, nothing on the dessert menu appealed to me – there was always at least one ingredient listed that I don’t particularly like. So, I decided on trying the only veggie entree and main while my friend went for entree and dessert! Not really an unusual occurrence for us! Before even getting our entrees we received canapes – salmon and tomato salsa-y thing on a cucumber jelly. The waiter looked a little concerned when he brought them out, and once I found out what it was, I said that I would pass. My friend, however, didn’t want to eat alone, and asked him if they could do a vegetarian version. Which they duly did, by making one without the salmon – on the jelly, which probably contained gelatine. Since they went to the effort, I ate it anyway! My entree was a caramelised tomato tart which came with all sorts of yummy sounding garnishes etc. And it was divine! After our entrees we got a palate cleanser – peach and blood orange sorbet – which was also pretty nice. For my main, I had the green vegetable risotto – when ordering I checked to see whether or not it contained peas – I simply could not face the thought of a (mainly) pea risotto and having that taste all through it – I would have had a dessert instead! The chefs were kind enough to leave out the sugar snap peas on my request. (I know that they are different to normal green peas – but some days it is just anything of that variety!). The risotto was pretty good. It came in a lovely cylinder shape with a parmesan crusty thing on the top and bottom – which was a very nice touch. It was creamy and lovely and the veggies were nice and fresh.

My friend opted for dessert instead of a main, and went with the blood orange and bitter chocolate souffle – which was an amazing thing to behold. It came in a teacup, but it was at least twice the height of the cup, and the chefs recommendation was to cut a hole in the top of the souffle and pour in the chocolate sauce. My friend was in culinary heaven! I am not a huge fan of the canape and palate cleanser idea – the palate cleansers are usually sorbet, but the canapes are more often than not seafood or meat. I was also disappointed that given the answer “of course” when asked if they had vegetarian options when booking, that there was only one entree and one main on the menu and that virtually nothing else was adaptable. I am not sure if that justifies the “of course” answer to the question! Personally, I don’t think I would bother going back – I like a little more choice. My other thought, was that everything was almost over flavoured, over garnished and over defined – and the more things you put into a dish, the more chance there is that someone won’t like something in it, and would therefore find the choice rather limited. But, if you like meat and seafood, and are into the canapes and palate cleansers thing, then you should check it out!

Sage

It has been ages since I have been out with a friend that I regularly have lunch with, and finally we were both free! We decided to try something new and headed down to Gorman House to check out the restaurant there. I have been here a couple of times, but it has changed hands quite a few times, so you never really knew what to expect. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the prices for lunch (more than $20 for a main), but then again, the food was quite divine! I had the only veggie thing on the menu – wild mushroom and potato pavé – which was amazing – chopped up mushrooms and potato layered – kind of like a lasagna – with a tomato-y sauce and some greens on top. It was delicious. My only complaint would be that it was a little small for the price! My friend had the fish and chips, but modified it so that the fish was fried instead of battered and deep fried. It came with chips and salad – the chips that I stole from her plate were great! We both opted for dessert – as we tend to do when we are lunching somewhere nice, and had the dark chocolate creme bruleé – which was kind of like chocolate mousse with the toffee top, and a lime curd and meringue napoleon with mandarin sorbet. I think this dish was the highlight of the meal – it was amazing! We also had a peppermint tea and a hot chocolate. Overall the food was great. We had to wait quite a while for our desserts, and luckily we had an entertainment discount card which basically meant we got dessert for nothing – otherwise it would have been quite expensive. But, if you are looking for somewhere really nice to eat and you feel like splurging – then check it out!

Vivaldi

This was a Christmas lunch, so we ordered from their special Christmas lunch menu – which sounded really good, and was very reasonably priced – $21 for entree and main, with a free drink. Dessert was an extra $8 if you wanted it. While the menu sounded really good, it was a little disappointing that there wasn’t a whole lot of veggie choices, the salads and pasta of the day all contained meat. For my entree I had zucchini dumplings which came with feta and leek wrapped in filo pastry and a roasted tomato mayonnaise. I have to say – this was pretty good. Although, in comparison to the zucchini dumplings you get at Turkish places, these ones were quite small. For my main I ordered the roasted field mushroom, marinated bocconcini and roasted vegetable strudel – which was pretty good too, although I have to admit I am not a fan of veggies stuffed into filo pastry. My main meal was a reasonable size, however, some of the meat ones were quite small, and there was a lot of rocket in all the dishes which I think constituted ‘salad’. I ended up ordering dessert and opted for the liqueur dark chocolate mousse with almond pastry mille feuille. Thank goodness I have been watching some cooking shows recently and knew what a mille feuille was! The dessert was great – the highlight of the meal I think! Although, the point with these Christmas lunches is not really the food – it is the fun and good times that go with it!