Monday, September 26, 2011

Hippo Creek, Hillarys

I have recently jumped on the coupon (groupon/scoupon/star deals/living social etc etc) bandwagon. I know I'm a little late with this, but it all seemed so hard, 'great' deals for some restaurant you've never heard of, located somewhere in the outer suburbs... and it didn't help that I'm still new to the Perth food scene, so I recognised the name of the restaurants less frequently than most.

Then I stumbled upon a coupon for Hippo Creek Hillarys. Now that was a restaurant I'd heard of. The famed South African steakhouse was somewhere I'd heard about, on more than one occasion, but had never made an effort to get to, partly because it's so darn far away, and partly because the whole concept seemed a bit blah. That said, when I spied the coupon, I jumped on it. You can't really say you're a foodie in Perth if you've never been, and I knew Mr Alphie would love it. And, and $59 for three courses for two (midweek), we couldn't really go wrong.

We booked well in advance, as I'd heard these things can get quite busy, so although I bought the coupon in July, we didn't make it to Hippo Creek until September. Mr Alphie had just come of FIFO (and I mean just, we went straight from the airport..) so was very keen for a good meal!

Not being locals yet, and it being our first trip north of Karrinyup, we arrived at Hillarys Boat Harbour, and wandered around for a good 15 minutes before we actually found Hippo Creek (lucky we had been early!). Once in, we handed over the coupon and booking email, and were shown to our seats. I was a bit nervous as we were seated, as I've heard some horror stories about terrible service to those on coupons, but I had nothing to worry about. The staff at Hippo Creek were fabulous, and explained the coupon to us, and offered to bring out the (set) entrée while we decided on the mains (from a shortened menu), an offer we gratefully accepted, as we were both pretty hungry by that point (one of the conditions of the coupon was a 6pm or 8.30pm seating - due to Mr Alphie's flight, we had chosen 8.30).

The entree included in the coupon was the Mud Huts - Button mushrooms filled with cream cheese, spinach and semi dried tomato, crumbed and fried finished with garlic aioli dipping sauce. We were given one serve each, and while I ate them all, I didn't love these. There just seemed to be something missing.

Mud Huts

Mr Alphie chose the Hunters Assaghai – marinated cubes of rump on a skewer hanging over a bowl of fries with peri peri butter dripping down served with a side salad, as his main. Which he somehow polished off before I had finished my main - I take that as a sign it was delicious!

Hunters Assaghai

While I went with a slightly more reserved option, the Botswana Beef – Beef fillet marinated in beer, soy, chilli, ginger and coriander char grilled to medium served with mash, broccolini and courgettes finished with shiraz butter jus. This was really just a steak, but gosh darn it was a good steak. Meltingly tender, cooked perfectly to medium, with plenty of jus, and a good amount of mash....mmmmm....
Botswana Beef

We finished with a sticky date pudding each, as per the coupon. Sticky date pudding is not one of their standard desert offerings, and I was a bit disappointed we didn't get something from the regular desert menu as some of the offerings look quite interesting. Regardless, the sticky date pudding was good, served with a butterscotch sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Although by this stage Mr Alphie was unable to finish his (I blame the inhalation of the Hunters Assaghai...). I'm not sure I would bother with dessert again, the feature of Hippo Creek being the meat, and they do it so well.

Sticky date pudding

While I enjoyed the meal, and the service was great, I don't think Mr Alphie and I will be going back in a hurry. It's a restaurant better suited to groups than a 'romantic dinner for two', so unless an occasion for a group meal out comes up, I'm not planning to return soon. That said, I would like to try the Subiaco venue - Hippo Creek Meat and Wine Subiaco, as it seems to have a different vibe (and menu) to the Hillarys restaurant.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Jacksons, Highgate

After a number of failed attempts, Mr Alphie and I finally made it to the degustation at Jacksons in Highgate/Mt Lawley. We had had to cancel our first booking as Mr Alphie's roster changed unexpectedly, and I was away on a pre-work-trip jaunt for the rescheduled booking. But, third time lucky! Well, kind of lucky.. I had been struck down by the flu a few days before, so I was a bit groggy, and pumped full of Codral, but there was no way I was missing our third booking!

We opted for the degustation with standard wines ($180pp), with a palate cleanser before the main (+$8pp). As a result of the flu/drugs, I have a hazy (at best) memory of the food, and can't say much about it other than it was all delicious! So this will be a photo-heavy post, but who doesn't love a bit of food porn? (more importantly, why are said people reading a food blog in the first place?)

selection of house made breads

gazpacho something-or-other in a anchovy cone (?)

shark bay crab salad, manjimup truffle dressing, foie gras snow

cambinata yabbies, black pudding, hollandaise & peas

cone bay barramundi, chinese caponata, rhubarb

another amuse bouche/mid-meal tid bit;
beef broth, shitake mushrooms, daikon

parmesan crusted beef short rib, beef tendon, miso

palate cleanser;
lime & lavender sorbet (?)

roast chook, veg, bacon, bread & gravy (Alphie)

sichuan spiced amelia park lamb loin, shoulder & rib (Mr Alphie)

manchego croquetta, onion ice cream

another mid-meal tid-bit;
creme brulee with crushed macarons

date tart, minted orange salad, blood orange & rose water sorbet

coffee and things;
truffles and something else delicious, but I don't remember what...

Thanks to Mr Alphies sisters (and Mr SIL), for the generous gift voucher that made our visit possible!