Lazy weekend in Perth

Whilst traveling to Perth is by airplane, and therefore does not add to my quest for more kilometers, I thought I’d do a quick blog about this as we had such a delightful time there.

We stayed at the Sheraton, which lived up to the normal Starwood standards.  The room was spacious and well furnished, with the highlight of the room being the bed!  Those heavenly beds rock my world!  Pillowy softness made for a fantastic nights sleep.  The other highlight of the hotel was the hash browns that were served for breakfast.  We stayed for 3 nights and every morning, there they were.  Golden crispy outside,  soft potato goodness on the inside.  Delicious!

Our dining experience in Perth is well worth mentioning.   The 7 course degustation at Star Anise with matching wine was delicious and was a good “progression”.   The winning dish for me was the “marron, hiramasa kingfish, ‘tom yum’” – delicate seafood sitting with a tom yum reduced jelly.   Winning dish for my partner was the “lightly smoked ocean trout, crackling, seaweed, enoki, edamame, winter melon, brown rice tea broth” – good tasty broth again with delicate seafood.  Well worth the trip out the Shenton Park (which is about 10 mins out of the city by cab).

Whilst roaming around Perth city, starved for a good coffee, we stumbled upon a strange looking extension to an office building in the heart of the city.  The extension had walls made of potted plants, with doors that had handles of spades and tables and chairs made from what looks like recycled crates.  Lo and behold, it was Greenhouse.   This was around the time that Matt Stone was awarded the Gourmet Traveller best new chef award so it was totally hyped up for me.  And it lived up to it!   I enjoyed a delicious blade steak with caramelized brussel sprouts and a cauliflower tartin.  It  was spectacular.

Had a fantastic weekend away, can’t wait to return to try more restaurants and return to Greenhouse!

(10th – 13th September 2010)

For more info on Greenhouse:

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon

For more info on Star Anise:
Star Anise on Urbanspoon

Short weekend in Castlemaine

The star of this trip was the little restaurant Star Anise, which we stopped by in Kyneton on the way to Castlemaine.   We decided to stop for lunch and armed with my trusty Good Food Guide 2010 made the decision to go to Star Anise.  The other options available were Annie Smithers’ Bistrot and Royal George Hotel.  Annie Smither’s was not open and the Royal George Hotel was too unreasonable for a simple Saturday lunch.  Note about Kyneton, there are two main streets – one for the locals, and one for the tourists.   Head to the tourist street – antique shops, second hand shops, cute boutiques, organic food shops and cafes/restaurants.

Star Anise delighted me – charming, with a husband and wife team who was front of house and chef respectively.  We started with a delicious crab “money bag”, followed by scallops in burnt butter and main was a roast duck (with star anise of course!) served with beetroot.  The chocolate dessert was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had – it consisted of warm chocolate pudding, creme brulee, caramel ice cream and chocolate truffle.

We got into Castlemaine late afternoon and most of the shops were closed.   We decided to head to the pub for a drink!  Found a great place called Public Inn right on the main street and stayed for dinner!   Nice atmosphere and good food.

Now, the main reason for heading to Castlemaine – the Empyre Hotel.  We had the Maquire Suite.  It was a beautiful room, however, there was nothing else that was exceptional.   Perhaps if we stayed for dinner…

Again, we stopped at Trentham on the way home.   Lunched the Cosmopolitan Hotel again.   Word of advice, do not dine outdoors in winter!  It’s cold!  Brr!

Also stopped at Dalesford and Hepburn Springs…  Lovely, however, we did not stop for long.

Doubt I’ll be heading back to Castlemaine but I’ll definitely be back to Kyneton for Star Anise!

Total kms:  270

 (7th – 8th August 2010)

For more information on Star Anise:

Star Anise Bistro on Urbanspoon
For more information on the Cosmopolitan Hotel:

Cosmopolitan Hotel on Urbanspoon