Friday, 28 December 2012

Kava Cafe, Bicton

Point Walter to the Bridges -  12km

Same bat time, same bat channel. This time however, having threatened to do so for weeks, Westy's brother Dr Evil sent a shockwave through the collective Grumpy Old Paddlers by actually turning up! This threw us a little - we didn't know whether to start left or right, or whether to just abandon the whole enterprise and go to the pub. At 7.30am. Still, it was only a couple of weeks ago that we were having a beer post-paddle under the Pt Walter pines at 9.21am, so anything was possible.

We decided to head down to the bridges, with a 5-strong group of paddlers including Mean Gene, M4P, Dr Evil, Westy and I. Mean Gene relegated us all into the realms of girly-men by showing up in his sparkling new Triton, and dropping the 'I just bought a ski' bombshell as well. Not to be outdone by Westy and I's stock standard Endorfinns, Mean Gene went for the lightweight version and got it fully optioned with a backrest, paddle, six cup holders and a spoiler. Unfortunately the manufacture of the carbon-fibre/unobtainium spoiler was holding up delivery, so Mean Gene took my poverty-pack Endorfinn GL-model for the paddle. Dr Evil was also bolstering the Finn fan club on his Afinnity, whilst having his first Saturday morning off since the construction of the WoopWoop District Hospital and Abattoir.

I was a bit gun-shy this morning after bending the be-jesus out of my rudder post last weekend on a jumping rock just out from the spit, so pretty much carried my V10 Sport to the Bicton baths before I was brave enough to let the hull hit the water. It was an uneventful paddle to the bridges at Fremantle, but by the time we turned around, the Rottnest parade had begun with bucketloads of boats on the way out. The chop from several caused me to be a little vertically embarrassed and somewhat wet just off East Fremantle yacht club, but unlike my Hawaiian debacle, I was back in and paddling straight away.

Westy and I had put on the pace from the East Fremantle Yacht Club on the outbound leg and had reached the bridges on our own before catching Dr Evil and M4P immediately after my little foray into submarine life. On the way back a more-middle-aged-than-we-are couple had decided to jump off the Bicton cliffs into the water on a beautiful Perth morning. Well, the bloke had. The woman was stuck on the cliff and no amount of sledging...err..encouragement from us would get her to jump.

Mean Gene had been paddling around the Point Walter spit for the morning, and when the remaining four of us arrived back, he was way over the other side which gave us a bit of time to get ourselves sorted before breakfast. The council has 'remodelled' the foreshore at Pt Walter, putting in a few boat-like structures, but alas, nothing actually as useful as a shower on the western side. When Mean Gene got back we were sorted in no time and off to breakfast at a cafe that we'd passed a hundred times before but never stopped at...

Kava Cafe, 39a Bristol Ave, Bicton, WA, 6157, (08) 9319 1669

Kava Cafe, Bicton. Two thumbs up.
OK. I had read some not-very-flattering reviews of the Kava Cafe, and when I posted a photo of the menu on Facebook, one erstwhile punter had commented that with those prices they were on something considerably more hallucinogenic than Kava, and suggested that until they were revised that it be renamed the "Crack Cafe". Running on the 4-1 principle of reviews (i.e. four times as many people will go on line to complain about a bad experience than they will to wax lyrical about a good one), I was more than a little skeptical about the bad write-ups. As we were paddling I had deftly deflected Westy's inquiry  about whether I had read anything about the place online, lest a revolt over the choice of breakfast venue occur at the last minute.

I'm glad I succumbed to my devious side, because what we got was something completely at odds with the bad reviews I had read.

With five ski-laden vehicles, the complete lack of (legal) parking for longer than 10 minutes was an immediate challenge warranting 'innovative' solutions, but it the end it didn't prevent two of the group having to park so far away that they could see the skyline of South Geraldton. At this festive time of year it was asking for trouble to breakfast next door to a bottle shop, but given that we had individually given our home brew a bit of a 'nudge' (obviously not in a Robert Hughes/'Hey Dad!' 'Nudge'-type of manner) a 'long' breakfast was luckily avoided. 

We barely had our bums on the seats outside when a young lass came and got our coffee orders and it was shortly afterwards that the same friendly staffy (as in 'staff-y' - no reference to a Staffordshire bull terrier) came and efficiently took our breakfast orders.

The hash is hiding - or I may have inhaled it before the plate hit the table.
Our coffees arrived in short shrift and breakfast was there very shortly afterwards, which was a big tick-in-the-box after last week's journey through the ages. I had ordered the Spring Onion, Sweet Corn, Potato Hash with Sticky Maple Bacon, Spinach, Roast Tomato and Poached Eggs ($20) having been completely sucked in by the thought of sticky maple bacon. My mug of Flat White had turned up just prior at exactly the right drinking temperature and was just what I needed. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a Wombat's Arse pattern on my coffee like last week, but it went down well never the less. The breakfast was superb - the eggs were poached beautifully, the hash was delicious and the not-quite-crispy maple bacon was so sweetly salty good that I was almost in need of a bucket of cold water. The only thing that this dish needed was a drizzle of Hollandaise and perhaps a nice slice of turkish toast to complete it.

Westy's Omelette
Westy had gone the Three-Egg Omelette with Semi-Dried Tomatoes, Feta Cheese, Spinach and Bacon (Mushrooms available as a bacon substitute - but why would you?) for $17.50. He also had some Ciabatta toast on the side. His omelette looked nicely formed, and Westy's silence seemed to indicate his satisfaction. M4P had the Brekkie Sandwich (Bacon, Fried Egg, Rocket, Tomato and BBQ sauce on Toasted Ciabatta - $14.50) which looked outstanding and seemed to be a very good post-paddle choice. Because it's Christmas, I'm over 40, and have beer-induced memory like a sieve, I have little firm recollection of what Mean Gene and Dr Evil individually had, but I'm pretty sure there was another Three-Egg Omelette and the Kava Breakfast (Two eggs, Bacon, Roast Tomato, Mushrooms and House-made Baked Beans on Toast -$21) involved.

M4P's Brekkie Sandwich
As we contently inhaled our meals over a second brew, it turned out that three of us had recently had to change mobile phones, and it seemed that the common factor of being over 40 had turned three formerly tech-savvy gents into dribbling Mindas unable to do something as simple as answer a bloody call on a Samsung phone. For the record, when the call is inbound, a big green 'button' appears on the screen and no matter how many times you press the bloody thing - where it says 'Answer'! - you won't be connected unless you press and slide the damned thing. Fair dinkum, Samsung. Give us a break. We're blokes. We're genetically unable to read instructions, and generally unwilling to do so anyway. Make it easy on us.

Back to Kava, though. I'm really glad that I ignored some of the bad reviews, because I quite liked the whole breakfast experience there. The service was very friendly and efficient but unobtrusive, the menu was good, and so was the coffee. I didn't think the prices out of kilter with the area in any way, and probably if anything the menu was slightly cheaper than their competitors. Extra marks for being next to a bottle shop. I would definitely recommend Kava Cafe - we'll certainly be back!

Kava Cafe - 7.5/10.

Kava Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Left Bank, Fremantle

Point Walter to Mosman Bay and Applecross - 12.4km, 1hr 30 min

Westy, Bad James and I rendezvoused at Point Walter on a deadset cracker of a morning for what looked to be our standard Bridges run. As we put in we couldn't help but notice that there was a photo shoot of a skimpy bikini-clad lovely going on just on the other side of the spit from us. It was quite apparent that said bikini wench wasn't exactly Linda Evangelista, but in a comment sure to shock my loyal readership, none of us are Brad Pitt-like specimens either, so we called it even. Helpfully, a few comments were offered regarding brisk, early morning temperatures, puppy-dog noses and the pitfalls of bikinis at that time of day and amongst awkward faux-laughter from both sides we slid the steeds of Neptune into the pancake-flat waters of the Swan, just as Good James sidled up to the bank.

Given that Good James was only allowed to play for twenty nine minutes this morning we paddled with him back towards Mosman Bay where his ski-trolley was parked. Just as I was getting into the paddling groove a formerly-stationary rock came leaping up from the depths to hit my rudder. A quick check told me that it was still operating, so off we continued. Later investigation back at Chez Miles showed the rudder shaft bent 15 degrees to port, and in dire need of a bench vice which my neighbour was kind enough to provide. Luckily, we got Good James back in time before his ski-trolley turned back into a pumpkin and he was able to get home before the explosive collar device that had been affixed to his neck to ensure timing compliance detonated. We think.

The lap of Mosman Bay was serene. Barely a breathe of wind, and by the time we got to the red buoy opposite Pt Walter we had decided to go over to Applecross for a look. There appeared to be a few yachts on the water and by the way they were weaving all over the place it was likely that the yacht club had had it's Christmas Party the night before. Although tempted to play Rule Of the Road Chicken discretion formed the better part of valour, and we gave them a wide berth.

It's been a big week for me at Gorilla Biscuit Pty Ltd. After many head injuries and facial deformities I've finished my time in the face-smashing department, and have moved off the line and into the company headquarters, where I get to smash my face not into dough, but into the formica of a desk. Luckily I'm on leave until March and only have a few months after that until I relocate to one of the firm's international outposts in Rhode Island, USA for a 3 year tenure to teach the North American team how to firmly faceplant on a regular schedule. You beauty!

Anyway, I digress. We pushed on, through the 3cm waves, and reached a special marker buoy just of the Applecross waterfront. It was here that Bad James came up with the idea of The Left Bank for breakfast. In the past I haven't been very impressed by TLB breakfasts, but we thought we'd give it a go so around the buoy we went and thanks to the wake of a massive gin palace going by at a great rate of knots, managed to surf most of the way back to Point Walter.

The Left Bank, 15 Riverside Road,  East Fremantle, WA 6158, (08)93191315,

The view from our table - the best in the beer garden.

 If you haven't been to The Left Bank, chances are you are either 90 years old or have never been to Perth. It's a deadset cracker of a pub famous for it's Sunday sessions. Recently, and long-overdue they've put tap-beer in and despite distinctly un-1973-like prices (or as we said on Saturday, they've gone from over-priced bottled beer to over-priced tap beer) it is still a great place to sit and spend an afternoon. Although if, like me, you are blessed with a blood nut and skin that is the natural enemy of 60W lightbulbs, you'd best sit inside.

Or you could spend the morning here, like the group of Pretty Young Things on the tables next to us who were headed off on 3 boats to sit off Carnac Island for the day. If their condition at 0930 was anything to go by, the fish wouldn't have to wait long for a free feed that day. The champers and beer were flowing and all were in great spirits as they wobbled off down to the jetty, several of the ladies with waists akin to our wrists, and pretty much all tattooed hip-cool-fab-groovily.

Definitely a Wombat's arse.
At TLB you order at the counter, grab a number and breakfast arrives at your table after a seriously long wait. The coffee was luke warm and pretty weak when it arrived after 20 minutes and 20 minutes before the first vestiges of food appeared, and seemed to have an odd Wombat's Arse-like shape poured into the top...

Westy and I had ordered the Left Bank Breakfast  (bacon and poached eggs on Italian loaf with Roma tomatoes, field mushrooms and Hollandaise sauce - $22), whilst Bad James had opted for the Mushroom Bruschetta (sauteed button mushrooms on Italian loaf with a poached egg and rocket - $17) with a side of baked beans that would provide much entertainment for his tin lids later on.

Bad James' breakfast arrived just as he began to gnaw on the limestone blocks. Unfortunately all our coffees were long-gone by then and faced with another interminable wait, we had all blown off the idea of getting another one here lest we be still sitting there at Easter. His breakfast looked pretty good though, and there were several satisfied-like grunts emanating from his direction. The rocket was definitely fresh and the egg looked nicely cooked under a drizzle of Hollandaise. 

Bad James' Mushroom Bruschetta

As Bad James was wiping the last masses of yolk off his forehead, Westy and my Left Bank Breakfasts turned up. Far be it from me to be fussy, but I really like my breakfast to appear whilst it is still hot. Especially when I could have built the Great Pyramid of Giza in the time it took between ordering and receiving the meal. So it was with disappointment that I noticed that the tepid coffee was designed to complement the stone-cold eggs. 

The Left Bank Breakfast - Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The second pang of culinary disappointment came with the Hollandaise which was initially very runny and vinegary, but at least it was freshly made, and I have to admit that later on it firmed a little of became better tasting. The egg was nicely cooked and the bacon was in the sweet spot just before getting crunchy. The Roma tomato and mushrooms were spot on. This was a breakfast which held much promise, but by having weak coffee with weird patterns, letting the food get cold and taking so bloody long to get meals to the customers, The Left Bank snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I'll still go to this iconic pub to have a beer - but I won't be going back for breakfast any time soon.

The Left Bank - 6/10 (another point when the food comes out inside 30 minutes and WITH the coffee, and another when it comes out hot, inside 30 minutes and with better, hot coffee)

The Left Bank Cafe Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ootong & Lincoln, South Fremantle

Deepwater Point to the Riverton Bridges and back, 14km. 1hr 40min

After a few efforts from Point Walter it was time for a change. Mean Gene and M4P were elsewhere, so Bad James, Westy and I thought we'd give the Canning a bash. We met just north of the dreaded Deepwater Point Cafe (dreaded because of the ordinary food/service at ridiculous prices) at Applecross and set off into a 15kt Sou'easter. Our launch point is a pearler because firstly it's in a well-to-do suburb, and secondly because a riverside walking path in a well-to-do suburb means that there is a bevvy of top sorts pounding the pavement. Apart from us, of course. 

Last night I had been fishing until stupid-o'clock with Boy Wonder - we would have come home earlier but I had caught a couple of tailor and a few stingrays and he was yet to bust the cherry of his new rod (fnarr) so we had to stay until we had used up all the bait or he caught one. He finally did catch a nice tailor which I obviously declared to be the biggest by a country mile, so sated, we went home and hit the hay at 11pm. What the meant to the paddle was that when I rose at 6am after Mrs Blue had been on her morning walk to the Promised Land, I was dead-set rooted. It also meant that my lack of prior preparation saw me reading the owners manual of my Garmin watch at 0610 to avoid a repeat of last weeks debacle where I had no idea how to start the bloody thing. Perhaps, in hindsight I should have read the manual for the Go Pro as well...
I'm not sure if you can see, but somewhere in this photo is a dickhead who can't use his VIDEO camera.
Anyway, we set off, threading our way through the rather large rowing boats of the Hale School. It was a bit different where I went to school in Sydney - the school boat was whatever one somebody stole on the weekend. At least ours (usually) came with a motor - unlike the poor rich kids at Hale, who had to 'man' an oar each whilst being accosted by a screaming Harpy. Then again, the Harpy was the only one facing the right way...

"Skyfall" was an early topic of conversation. Despite Mrs Bad James being as keen as mustard to see it, Bad James kindly gave her more quality time with two very young children and selflessly went to see it on his Pat Malone. The verdict - "Not as good as Quantum of Solace".

The Mirage sea kayak (the Purple Junket Pumper), Westy's Green Hornet Endorfinn and the World's Slowest Epic (something to do with it's powertrain I believe) pushed through the wind fairly well, having narrowly avoided being Hale sea?kill and thundered through the lee of Bull Creek. I'm glad I'm on the Epic, because if I were still on my Endorfinn, Westy and James would be leaving me for dead - I seriously need some paddlefitness. Or even just run of the mill fitness. Before we knew it, we were under the Riverton bridge, watching a chap on a mountain bike towing a home-made trailer with a white Endorfinn on it down to the river bank. What a great rig! It was good to turn around and get the wind behind us, and the splits on the way back proved it. Before we knew it we were back off the Deepwater Point Jetty, festooned in all its glory with signs that said "Dangerous - do not use" - signs that someone obviously walked along the jetty to nail in. As we rested off the shore before coming in, a vision of loveliness (that each of us obviously mistook for our respective wives if they are reading) appeared on the path and someone may possibly have muttered 'Yes (insert wife's name here), of course I love you, but I covet her...' but if they did, the identity of such a person is in 'the vault' and none of us will give up their identity. Staunch as a...err...staunchion.

Mental note to self and punters - when paddling the Canning, pay attention to the  red and green markers and know what they mean. Especially with a surf rudder.

It was absolutely time for fried porcine product. I had been researching this whilst watching the young Bonobos at work at Gorilla Biscuit. Today we were breakfasting (if that is, in fact, a verb) at the oddly named Ootong & Lincoln, South Fremantle.

Ootong & Lincoln, 258 South Terrace, South Fremantle, WA 6162, 08 9335 6109

Tried to get a better picture, but some bloke parked his car in front of the place...

If you were to put every one of your preconceptions of South Freo into one place, this would be it. But it would only be telling half the story. This place is seriously good. It's not just the formica tables that everyone over 35 grew up with, or the chairs last seen at Nanna's place. It's the crowd, the pooches tied up outside, the waitresses, and, above everything else, it's the raw atmosphere in the place. As soon as I sat down I felt a strange sensation that I'd never experienced, and no, it wasn't puberty. I

Let me start with the first experience as I entered. There is a takeaway coffee counter. Takeaway coffees for $3. Drink 'em inside in the takeaway cup - $4. That was enough for me to like the place immediately. From that counter you can also buy muffins and Mexican softdrinks - don't scoff if you haven't had one, because they have a supercharged taste that you won't have had from any other softy. Like our parkwarb effort a few weeks ago, the Mexican Cola did the rounds of our group for a tasting, ensuring that the coldsore did as well...just kidding fellas. Really. But where else in Australia's most expensive city will you find a decent-sized coffee at this price without seeing a cat squat over the cup? Amazing. And I have to say, I enjoyed the double-shot MichelleBridgesSkinnyMilk Flat White more than I have enjoyed any coffee that I have had with any other reviewed brekky. Yes, it's really that good. And it came out quicker than Peter Slipper.

I had checked out Ootong and Lincoln online. Maybe I'm an internet spasmo, but I couldn't find a menu on their website, so I went to the tried and trusted Urbanspoon in a non-cross-promotional sort of way. I knew that I wanted the Smoked Salmon, Avocado, Sweet Potato Rosti, Poached Egg and Creme Fraiche before I even go there. At $19.50, it sounded great, and when it arrived, it was much better than that. It was the breakfast-version of being the only bloke served free beer by a nude Jennifer Hawkins in front of all your mates whilst watching the Beatles at half time during the Grand Final that your team won. In Bergen, Norway. And like that, after I licked my plate clean, I wanted more. The creme fraiche complemented the salmon and sweet potato like they were all products of the same ecosystem. In South Freo-speak. The egg (singular) was a bit lonesome, and could have done with a mate, but bloody hell, it was perfectly cooked so no points lost.The avocado was just a the right stage of ripeness and the sweet potato was unsurprisingly err...sweet, yet deliciously savoury at the same time. Worlds were colliding in my mouth but fair dinkum it was good. In fact, strangely, as I cleaned up every morsel, for about five minutes I was still hungry. And then I wasn't, but I had another coffee anyway, because I could and because the first one I had whilst I waited with James for Westy to get there was as good as I've ever had.
I have nothing to say.
Westy's Breakfast. Tops.

 Westy had the Bacon, Potato Cake, Spinach, Hollandaise, Poached Egg and Mushrooms ($19.50) which also looked sensational, and from Westy's rolling eyes, involuntary spasms and frequent drooling, probably was. Bad James was also pretty happy with his breakfast with the exception that there wasn't much of it, and I was so absorbed that not only did I not ask him what it was, but I didn't take a photo.

I can't finish this review without adding some comment about both the waitresses and the punters. Firstly, the service was top-notch. About a thousand people went to the counter at once, and they were eased through efficiently and happily. There is a wheelchair ramp to the counter with walking lanes (up and down) marked on it - and people used them! The waitresses were friendly, chatty-in-a-good-way, and fast. Having observed one in a short skirt and Blundstones, I was about as impressed as I've ever been until another good sort came over in a "Stop Budgie Smuggling" T-shirt. MD - that applies to you - take the freakin' hint.

"He's right. We're good looking."
 And one last thing. The punters - besides our party of three of course - were generally a breed apart. It's almost like a Boys From Brazil-type scenario where there is some South Freo Eclectically Dressed Beautiful People  Cloning Centre set up off Hampton Road. One after the other trundled in as if on some conveyor belt. Even the dogs tied up out the from were good looking (and well-behaved - good effort pooches and owners!).

I thought about Ootong & Lincoln lots on the drive back to Chez Blue. There wasn't anything that I didn't like. The coffee was the best and most reasonably priced that I've had in Perth and oddly for South Freo did not have to pass through some exotic animal before it made its way to my cup. The portion, which at one stage I thought under-sized by 30%, was in hindsight almost-perfect. Go on, Ootong. Or Lincoln. Or Whoever - put just one more egg in there!
The waitresses (didn't see any waiters) were spot-on. The crowd was beautiful and numerous. And they let dogs sit out the front, which is a personal favorite of mine. It's settled. I'm coming back. Lots.

Ootong and Lincoln - you're my new favorite. 9.5/10. One more egg for a 10...

Ootong & Lincoln on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Billabong Brewing, Myaree

72A Mc Coy St, Myaree WA 6154, (08) 9317 2940
A bunch of scruffy-looking homeless chaps at Pt Walter.
Two weeks ago, post paddle, Bad James lived up to his name and at 9.20 am pulled an Esky out of his car, and five of us sat at Pt Walter, under the shade of a pine tree, drinking beer for breakfast.To be honest, there wasn't any sort of quantity involved, merely a six pack of different beers that we attacked like Oprah does a chocolate cake.
The signs behind do not relate to Bad James.
Last summer we had had the idea of brewing our own beer, and Billabong Brewing in Myaree had been mentioned, but like many of our CORGIs (Chimpanzee/Orangutan Really Good Ideas), quick as a flash, nothing had happened. This summer, it's different. So after a filling breakfast at Cafe 58, Mean Gene, Bad James, Westy and I met Travis the Beetle at Billabong Brewing in Myaree to lay down two brews - a Wheat beer and Nelson Sauvin Ale (N.S.A. - not to be confused with N.S.U.). M4P is also in on this gig but at the last minute he had to return to Adelaide to do some serious smashing of faces into the dough, working himself into a Bad Boy Bubby clingwrap-frenzy in the streets of Port Adelaide ("That be cat! Be still!").

The team at Billabong were very helpful. We knew what we wanted so they pointed us in the right direction and a knowledgeable bloke called Andrew pretty much held our hands (in a manly way of course!) through the process. We separated into two teams, one on each brew and set off on our work. Luckily brewing beer involves a lot of waiting, and what better place to wait than in a brewery. At each interval, we grabbed a six-pack and headed up to the mezzanine level where like lords of the manor we were able to survey our creations brewing.
The thing that immediately struck us was that of all the blokes in the place every single one of us was sporting a big cheesy grin. What wasn't there to be happy about?

Mean Gene can't stop paddling.
It only took about ninety minutes to make about 12 cartons worth of beer, and the total cost was $360. Where can you buy beer for $30 a case these days? Sure we still have to bottle it soon (BYO bottles or buy them for $75 per batch), but we'll be bottling it IN A BREWERY. One for the case, one for me, one for the case, one for me...

Billabong have a shedload of different recipes you can brew. Check out the web site. They also have a 'beer bank' where you can deposit one of your sixpacks and swap it for a different kind. Ingenious!

If they did hot food and had big-screen TVs with sports on, I'd never leave the place. Now all I need are midgets and Shetland ponies.

I'll do an update on this post once we bottle it. Cheers!

Australian Safety Boots.

Cafe 58, Palmyra

Meandering in East Freo - 11km

Another cracker of a morning - winds gusting from the west to 15kts, but in the lee of the Bicton cliffs it was serene. I had mounted my new toy - a GoPro camera - on the front of the boat and was taking it for its maiden voyage. Until I get myself sorted to create and edit the video I'll spare you all the entire paddle on video.  My geriatric brain is obviously showing signs of Alzheimers because I had a complete mental blank on how to start my Garmin GPS watch and like a good Gorilla Biscuit employee pretty much just screached whilst randomly smacking the screen and pushing buttons until it appeared to work. God knows how I'll get it to stop, because I think it tracked my paddle all the way back down Stock Road as well.

I was offloading the boat when I saw an old duck from England who had been driven down to Pt Walter by her mate and was intently making her way to the jetty armed with a fishing rod. Oblivious to the wind, she was as keen as mustard to hook in to a massive WA fish, but was destined for the angler's disappointment present in the large Blowie population that lives around the wharf. Feeling sorry for her that she had flown 17000 miles to catch sweet FA, I directed her into the lee of Bicton, and gave her directions to a small, quiet suburban jetty.

We were only a trio this morning, with M4P flying back to Adelaide after receiving the astonishing news that there were still some uneaten chicken schnitzels at the Coopers Ale House and Bad James spending some quality time at home with his Mum. Westy, Mean Gene and I hit the water at 7.30 and leisurely made our way down river. Mean Gene was a little bit uprightly-challenged from the outset on only his third paddle but sporting a massive set of tackle-busting shoulders, when he gets the hang of things he's going to leave us all for dead. In the meantime however, his frustration was providing much comic relief.

As we cleared the Bicton cliffs, we went past the Anglo Anglette fishing off the small wharf just as she hauled in a decent-sized flathead. As it landed on the wharf it looked like she was flapping around more than the 'lizard' was as she squealed in some cockney dialect that might have approached joy.

I'm not sure what happened this morning - perhaps there was a sudden influx of trackie-wearing, VB-drinking, Commodore-driving people into Peppermint Grove requiring the complete evacuation of the wealthy lest their eyes combust at the sight of so many pairs of double-pluggers - but there was an inordinate number of luxurious Gin Palaces cruising down the Swan River. Multiple "Bastards" comments were required, but the wakes of these floating cities offered a golden opportunity to do a bit of surfing in the river.

A bit of impromptu sprint/interval training occurred up and down Blackwell Reach as I (somewhat unsuccessfully) tried to get into "the zone" right behind several iterations of the Titanic. The V10 Sport was far quicker in a sprint than my Endorfinn, but still being a little unstable on the boat I spent quite a bit of time trying to remain upright. Westy obviously bought a much faster Endorfinn that my old one, because he was powering onto the wakes without too much trouble at all. 

By the time we hauled the boats out, I was feeling it after the sprints and bugger-all paddling in the last few months. What passes for a torso is now bracketed with nothing more than joke-shoulders and my "guns" wouldn't have won a gunfight at the Nerf corral. I was very mindful of this being my last weekend before I was involuntarily enslaved by the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation diet, so by God I was going to enjoy this breakfast and the Blokefest immediately afterwards...

Cafe 58 Espresso Bar, 58 Carrington St, Palmyra, 6157, (08) 9339 7155

I like this place. I like the tables out on the corner. I like the tables inside, the ones on the verandah, and I like the courtyard. I like that there is a stack of convenient parking. Every time I've eaten here the staff have been very friendly without hanging around like Herpes and fishing for compliments every 5 minutes (read Bernard Salt's piece in the Weekend Australian 10 Nov 12 that describes this phenomena very well). The breakfast menu is bloody good and very reasonably priced, with only the Cafe 58 Big Breakfast over $20 ($23). Sweets and savouries appear in equal portions.

This (half-eaten) muffin is clearly bigger than Bad James' head.
Bad James, fresh from jostling with his Mum for freshly-cooked biscuits, was waiting for us for we had a task at hand soon after. As we walked in to the courtyard at 9.45am, the last of the early breakfast crowd was departing, so we had the run of the place. A chap snappily took our coffee orders whilst we perused the menu. The sun was shining as a friendly lass delivered our brews (hold on to that word for the next post) in near-record time. 

Bad James had already had breakfast and settled for a blueberry muffin, which when it emerged from the kitchen with a forklift and handling team was pretty much bigger than his head. The photo  doesn't do it justice - he'd eaten a large chunk of it before I could say "James can you wait for a..." so I asked him to put the top back on (Bad James frequently knocks the top off) for a shot.

Turkish D'Lite
Westy went for the Turkish D'Lite (Turkish bread spread with avocado, rocket, grilled tomato and poached eggs - $17) with a side of bacon ($4) which looked pretty good. Mean Gene was into the Bacon and Eggs on Toast (self-descriptive - $15) which also looked delicious. Both these hungry paddlers looked happy with their choices and the empty plates at the end of the meal and almost complete silence from us all in the interval spoke volumes about Cafe 58's meals.


Obviously keen to transform my body (probably into something resembling Bad James' XXXXXL muffin) in less than 12 weeks, I had Eggs Tuscany (poached eggs and smoked salmon on toast with Hollandaise sauce) ($19) with a unMichelle-sized side of bacon ($4). The eggs looked a bit lonely on the large slices of salmon-covered thickly-sliced toast, and the dish could have done with a little more Hollandaise, but it was certainly tasty, and my just-the-right-strength coffee washed it down well. And the bacon...nice and thick, beautifully cooked, and a pile of it Emma George couldn't pole-vault over. Whilst I'm on the subject of bacon, I had a pint of bacon-brewed beer whilst at the Quarrie Bar at Hammond Park the other day. Couldn't quite taste bacon, but it was a nice brown ale, proving that there is nothing that can't be made better with fried pig. But I digress. I have to say, the breakfast was ample, tasty and outstanding value. The service was attentive without being painful and the staff were all very pleasant, smiley and a credit to the place - the owner should be very happy with them! (Disclaimer - I don't know any staff at Cafe 58!).

We all enjoyed our meal at Cafe 58, but we were on a tight schedule. In an uncharacteristic fit of planning ahead, we were heading to the Billabong Brewery at Myaree to meet Travis the Beetle to lay down the equivalent of 12 cartons of beer for Christmas - a very blokey way to finish the morning.

Cafe 58 - I'll definitely go back, like I've been doing for years. You should too. 7/10

Cafe 58 Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 10 November 2012

I Am Bloke. Hear Me Roar.

There is only one word to describe my first Saturday paddle after 6 months - awesome. The weather was perfect - a crisp Perth Spring day, not a breath of wind and not a ripple on the Swan River. It doesn't get any better than this and I felt so lucky to be on the water that I wouldn't have had a bigger grin if my old fella weighed the proverbial metric tonne. Or even an imperial ton. 

 A (relatively) big turnout was expected at Point Walter this morning - M4P had flown back from Adelaide just to paddle, Mean Gene was joining the crew, Bad James was in town, Westy was on his first Saturday paddle in a million years (there may be an exaggeration factor applied there) and I had returned from swanning around on the company dollar. At one stage we thought Travis the Beetle was coming as well, until he developed Manflu. The World Health Organisation had quarantined five blocks around his Fremantle residence on hearing of an outbreak of Manflu, so there was no chance of him breaking the containment lines. Good James had also been invited but since he left Gorilla Biscuit Pty Ltd to rape the world's fossil fuels, he had developed a rash from wiping his bum with hundred-dollar bills. Lucky bugger. 

Due to a communications issue I hadn't brought my Endorfinn for Mean Gene, thinking he wasn't coming. When I arrived 20 minutes early and saw Mean Gene keen as a teen queen (yes, I know I'm reaching with that rhyme) I snappily took the F1-like diesel Captiva back home to grab it. In the 45 minutes it took me to return, everyone except Westy had rightly hit the water. Westy has been paddling twice a week for the six months since I left and is bloody quick as I found out last Tuesday, so I was very glad this was a social paddle, even if we were playing catch up. Past the Bicton baths we found our elusive quarries and after mucking around in the wash of some passing speed boats headed up to Mosman Bay. 

 Mean Gene was much more stable in Westy's Endorfinn than he was last summer and even on the rare occasion that he fell out, the water was beautiful so it wasn't exactly a tragic event. 

By 0920 the boats were back on the cars, and my waterproof Fuji camera had performed a credible impersonation of a fishtank. The 3-inch screen resembled a porthole on the Titanic. Luckily, as we sat down under a shady tree to sample the Billabong Brewery sixpack that Bad James had brought, he had also brought a camera-phone to prove that we weren't the homeless warbs that we appeared to be should we be (probably deservedly) arrested. 

Next weekend we collectively commence brewing two varieties of beer and a ginger beer (for the lovely ladies that put up with us) in preparation for the festive season. Stand by for a grammatically-poor, tonally-slurring blog. More importantly, the beer-for-breakfast bar has been set, and we were all very happy to pre-sage the fried pig with some very tasty brews. As 40-somethings (the new 30-somethings by the way) all this is definitely socially acceptable. Just ask us. 

Zephyrs Cafe, East Fremantle

I've already reviewed Zephyr's. It's tops. We arrived there at 10am and sat down at the best table in the house, overlooking the Swan. The food is just as good as it was on the last review, although I don't recall the child-labour last time. The chap delivering our smouldering pig would have struggled to look 12. Even a Hunter Valley Catholic Choirmaster would have thought him too young (too soon?).

The important part of this breakfast was my discovery that there is such an animal as a Mummy Blog. Apparently someone called Mia Freedman coos and bubbles at the the joys of the crying little shite machines that we spawn. Look, let's be serious. When kids get to the point of sensible conversation...err...actually just conversation at all...they're tops. When all you get is double-ended projectile excretions as you sit down for lunch at the pub then it isn't so much fun. Mummy Blogs...WTF? Apparently Mia makes a fortune out of describing little Lateesha-May's last bowel movements - crikey, is anyone really that interested? If they are, I'm more than happy to blog about my own personal modern use of the cubit measurement (the length of a forearm).

Punters - there needs to be a revolt against the rise of Mummy Blogs. A counter-culture needs to emerge. It starts here - PBP is it. Send me stories of all things manly and I'll publish them. Unless of course they are un-Australian or lame, in which case I'll forward them to Mia's Mummy Blog. Make sure you are puffing a stogie and imbibing a single malt whilst watching contact sports when you are doing it.

I am Bloke. Hear me roar. 

Viva Le Coq.

Eggs 'n Things, Waikiki, Oahu

Sorry punters - this review was written months ago and sat as a draft, unpublished. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Diamond Head - from a Waikiki surf paddle.

Biscuits - the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Gorilla Biscuit 'A' Team on their 6 month mission to explore strange new ugly scones, to seek out new exceedingly ugly employees, to boldly go where no biscuit maker has gone before...There is no other job that will send you halfway around the world just to ensure that you can smack your own head onto a table as often and as effectively. Gorilla Biscuits Pty Ltd is that company.

In the quest to be a stronger paddler I took some advice from Molokai Geoff last week and arranged a training session with one of the world's best paddlers on Saturday. Zsolt Szadovszki does one-on-one training classes for the meagre sum of $65 per hour, and I've got to say, I was mighty impressed. For an old bloke with a spare tyre more akin to a Mack truck than a Barina, I thought Zsolt was going to near-on kill me, and I wondered if I was wasting the man's time. Those impressions were knocked on the head as soon as I met the man - he was a deadset top bloke and couldn't have been more helpful.

I met Zsolt at his house in Hawaii Kai, which to the uninitiated is a canal suburb about 20km to the East of Waikiki. It was pretty clear which house was his - 6 Epic skis of varying descriptions were slung under the carport. Since I paddled the V10 Sport the other day, and since Mrs Blue has (kind of) given me the royal seal of approval to get one, I chose one of these for the session. This time, I didn't fall out even once. Zsolt was in a V8, just in case I had issues with stability and felt the need to swap.

Immediately, Zsolt gave me some great tips on my stroke. The info was coming thick and fast, and seeing that I was going to have a problem remembering it all, we focussed on two areas. I was filmed and after the session, the 'before' and 'after' comparisons were made. 'Before', for example, it was clear that I had no idea what I was doing and when I paddled I resembled a podgy 41 year old bloke trying to breakdance. 'After', I knew where some areas of improvement could be made and when I paddled I resembled a podgy 41 year old bloke trying to breakdance.  Clearly, there was a difference.

An hour paddling around Hawaii Kai made the class worth it. Being coached by a paddling legend was icing on the cake. Now to organise the V10 Sport and get it shipped home on the Gorilla Biscuit Express..."Tell 'im he's dreamin..." says Mrs Blue.

Eggs 'n Things - 343 Saratoga Rd, Honolulu, Hawaii, +1 808 923 EGGS,

I walked around to Eggs 'n Things at 0730, having seen massive queues out the front on various days. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know how much I hate queues, and particularly breakfast queues. When I got there, at 0730, there was a queue. Apparently Japanese tourists don't party like rock stars and sleep in  until midday. Not happy, Jan.

The queue on the left, and the stairway to hell, right.
I was, however, there on my Pat Malone, which was my one saving grace and had prepared well for this eventuality by bringing a book. Having been given my buzzer - the place does not taking bookings - I waited for about 20 minutes before I was called forth to ascend the steps of destiny and enter the Holy Breakfast Shrine that was perched above the shop that advertised 'Smoking Implements'. As I climbed towards the light I could almost hear the sound of harps. I was seated at a bench overlooking the US Postal Service truck park, and with that ambience distracting me had not even picked up a menu before the waiter was there to take my drink order. A snappy look over the menu had my eyes rest firmly on Pineapple Tea, and it was there in a flash.

Eggs 'n Things, whilst obviously serving ...err... eggs 'n things seems to cater to the sweeter tooth slightly more than the savoury. There were shedloads of different crepes, pancakes and waffles and the lady next to me had a plate of five pancakes with a few blueberries, some icing sugar and a pile of whipped cream the size of a human head, in stark contrast to her 40kg-wringing-wet frame. There is also quite the selection of Spam-related  breakfast choices. Yes. Spam.

Straight from a can, most likely.
I settled for Crab Cake Benedict, imagining a freshly made crab cake drizzled with Hollandaise over two beautifully poached eggs. Computer says 'No'. What came out was the required English muffins with straight-out-of-the-packet crab cakes, barely cooked eggs (the white was even runny <gags>) and the sweetest Hollandaise I have ever tasted. I couldn't finish one, let alone the other. I paid my bill, leaving a tip "Cook the freakin' eggs!!!" and beat a retreat, running back to the hotel, all the while squealing "Make the bad man stop! Make the bad man stop!"

Never. Again.

Eggs 'n Things. 1/10. It gets a point for the view - if you like postie vans.

Perth Breakfast Paddles Perth restaurants Eggs 'n Things on Urbanspoon

A Long Time Between Drinks (Figuratively, Not Literally - That Would Be Silly...)

I start with the disclaimer that this post is not really about a breakfast paddle. I'm really just writing about some great water-related stuff from my few months in the Pacific. Its been a long time - nearly six months - since I've paddled here in Perth. Having spent several of those months in Hawaii and completely missed the WA winter, I returned last weekend, bring my trusty new steed - an Epic V10 Sport - with me.

Wave-skiing at Waikiki...

I had about four paddles in the Sandwich Isles, and even had a paddling class with ocean racing champion Zsolt Szadovzski. Mostly those paddles were more about my swimming technique, but it's the thought that counts. Molokai Geoff took me to the Mokes - near Kailua, Oahu - where I managed to bend my rudder post in a turtle-avoidance manoeuvre in amongst the reefs. In another paddle around Birdshit Rock, I made thirteen attempts to get back on the ski after I fell out just twice, resulting in a purple chest (or that part of my torso that resembles one) the next day and having my left testicle wedged on the outer side of the cockpit (pardon the pun) whilst the meat, other potato and the attached 100+kg of human swung onto the inboard side of the boat resulted in a few choice examples of Australian vernacular such as 'Oh golly gosh my crikey'. Or thereabouts.

Passing Birdshit Rock
Birdshit Rock is about 4km out from the mouth of the Kailua Canal. Oddly, having lived in Kailua for 2 years and surfed there almost every day, I don't recall the chop being so significant, but then again, it probably wasn't. In hindsight, the wobbles I was experiencing were most likely self-induced as I struggled with the stability of the slick, long hull. Molokai Geoff had no such troubles on his V12 and even when he did fall off was back in before my blade hit the water. Bastard.

I was almost run down by a Hobie Cat as I rounded Birdshit, and with constant death-wobbles I couldn't look anywhere but right ahead. Molokai Geoff was yelling, but I wasn't hearing, so it wasn't until the end of the paddle that he was able to describe the vision of loveliness that had nearly run me down with the Hobie Cat. It didn't matter - it could have been crewed by Jen Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and Sophie Vergalas all in the buff - because if I'd looked sideways I would have been out and swept onto Birdshit Rock...

The Kailua Canal leading to MG's house
The Kailua canal, which MG's house backs on to, is choc full of sea turtles and Hammerhead sharks. The sea turtles are huge and more hazardous to the boat than the sharks as they will take out a rudder if you hit one. What is even better is that only 200 yards up the canal is a pub that also backs on to the water. Pinky's Pupu Bar and Grill is a great place to go on a Sunday morning to watch back-to-back NFL games. And it would be criminal to go past it without stopping for one of their famous frosty fishbowls of beer...

For the victor come the spoils.
Unlike Perth where we now have to hand over the deeds to the house just to get a pint, beer in Hawaii is still at decent prices - the fishbowl above? $5. One-litre stein at the Dixie Bar and Grill in Aiea, Oahu - $6.50. And if you think that's tops then it gets better because while I was there the little Aussie dollar was making the greenback look like the Pacific peso. They were almost paying me to drink their beer. Still, I've never been one to shy away from doing a bit of charity work - in this case stimulating the US economy single-handedly.

What follows below are a few pics from our paddle out to the Mokes, just of Lanikai, Oahu. I'd never been out there before and the route was pretty treacherous due to numerous bomboras, reefs and swells coming in from different directions. On a number of occasions I thought my scone was going to be introduced to the coral at a great rate of knots, only to be pissed and amazed to remain upright.

The video above is of Molokai Geoff surfing between the two Mokes. My enthusiasm to have a go was far outweighed by my unco-ness on the V10 so I left it to the expert.

The Mokes were awesome - there is the most serene tidal pool on the seaward side, and I was filthy on myself for not bringing a six pack to drink in the thirty seconds of sunlight my bloodnutted body can tolerate before looking like a deadset lobster. You can see how good it was by the video above.

I enjoyed my time away on a scouting mission for new talent to join Gorilla Biscuit Inc. There are some rather prime examples of Spam-fed monsters over there who would be a great addition to the biscuit line. But after six months away, it is really good to be back home. Thanks for the patience and getting this blog to over 5000 hits.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Magnum 5-0...

Its been a couple of months since I posted on Perth Breakfast Paddles, and this post is a ring in, because I'm not in Kansas anymore Toto. I'm in Hawaii, islands of volcanoes, big surf, Magnum PI, Lost, Hawaii 5-O and the cult of Spam worship (no, I'm not kidding).

It might be mid summer here but my paddling adventures on the Windward side of Oahu have been anything but smooth waters...

It was the morning after the night before. Molokai Geoff and I had been out to a great restaurant in Kailua - Formaggio's - and were feeling somewhat the worse for wear. Particularly Geoff, who on our 1am meandering walk home had run his hand along a fence and fed his index finger to an acrobatic pitbull that just wouldn't take “F$$k off!” for an answer.

After retrieving the car and a spot of breakfast at Whole Foods (a gourmet supermarket – the only place we could get a seat) we went to Twogood Kayaks, owned by local paddling legend Bob Twogood. Bob had kindly agreed to loan me an Epic V10 Sport so I could go for a paddle with the reigning Hawaiian State Surfski Champion, own own Molokai Geoff (his first race ever. Really.) I had never paddled anything but a plastic before so it was with some trepidation that we hit the Kailua canal from the grassy shores of Chez Geoff. MG was on his race-proven Epic V12, and is looking as fit as I have ever seen him. I, on the other hand, was looking like I had been imprisoned in a doughnut factory for the past 8 weeks. My trusty steed back home, the Finn Endorfinn, has a separate footwell for each foot and no footstraps, so the feet-together-and-strapped-in rig of the V10 Ultra was alien. I had anticipated spending quite some time in the drink despite the famed stability of the V10 Sport, as the beam width was significantly less than the Endorfinn.

As I headed of down the canal, I was blown away at how fast and stable the V10 Sport was. The surf rudder gave it a vastly different feel from the trailing rudder on my Endorfinn, and as I pushed my foot down to turn, the whole boat went with the rudder movement. I was instantly able to get a good leg drive going even after so many weeks without paddling and really enjoyed my first non-plastic paddle.

The canal was full of very large sea turtles ('Honu' - in the local lingo) as we went past one of my old haunts – Pinkys Pupu Bar and Grill, which sadly looks like it has seen better days. These Honu are not much fun to hit and will apparently take out a rudder quick smart.

By the time we went past Obama's holiday house (I'm not kidding about that either) the conditions were not favorable for a fat bloke out on his first paddle on a thin bloke's ski. The surf, although not large, was choppy  as we paddled into a stiff 15-20kt breeze. I got a surprising distance out before I fell out for the first and only time. I got back on, but not quite in, quickly, and just as quickly was back in the drink. The leashless paddle floated away before MG brought it back and I could remount successfully.
An uncommon attack of common sense overwhelmed me (where was it the night before when we were in the dodgiest bar in Kailua?) and I told MG that I wasn't particularly happy about heading out further when the next landmass we would get to would be Alaska, so we turned around, and thats when it really became fun.

I rode a waveski for years in my late teens/early 20s and loved it. Whilst the ride is a little different, like the ladies at the Coogee Bay Hotel in the mid 90s the V10 Sport only required minor effort before I was picked up. Unlike anything that may or may not have happened back then, this ride was  long, satisfying and most certainly enjoyable and I had no urge to take a Crying Game shower when it all finished. MG kindly filmed a heap of stuff on his Go Pro camera during our brief 5km paddle (including my turtle-on-its-back efforts to get back into the boat!), but the thing I was left with was an overwhelming desire to get a V10 Sport. Now. I don't think Mrs Blue will be very happy about that, but hey, forgiveness is easier to get than permission, and five and a half months of absence is surely going to make her heart grow fonder....
Isn't it?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Aloha Perth...

In the quest for new examples of hideousness at Gorilla Biscuit Inc, I will be taking to the road for the greater part of the year, starting this week. Whilst there won't be any reviews of Perth breakfast haunts, there may be something from the East Coast (if Bucko lends me a ski and we paddle in the middle of winter!) and the mid Pacific (if Wads lends me a ski between Mai Tais!).

Thanks to all who have visited in the last 4 months, topping out at 3000 hits on the site today. There will be more paddling and reviews (and perhaps a new ski) when I return...

Aloha Perth.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Reviewless Few Weeks

Sorry all. There hasn't been a review in a while.
The idea was to review Cafe 58 in Palmyra today but some doofus forgot his camera. Because of this, Lumos in White Gum Valley got a return visit...
Westy and I did manage to smash our Bridges record today, so some good came of things.
Perhaps next week...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Crowded House, South Fremantle

Coogee Beach to Africa (unsuccessfully), 11.8km

The weather started getting rough, the tiny skis were tossed...If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Endorfinns would be lost...

Whilst it wasn't quite a Gilligan's Island scenario, our attempt to reach Carnac Island by paddling into a solid 15kt westerly was quite obviously doomed to fail very shortly after we left the beach. Conjured up over a bottle of red last night, this paddle was always going to be a little ambitious and thankfully we were able to recognise when we had reached the point where to keep paddling (next stop Somalia) may have been, to put it delicately, bloody ridiculous.

If you're wondering why there aren't an pictures of this paddle, it isn't because I didn't bring the camera - I spent much of my time on this paddle trying to stay on the ski. Unsuccessfully, I may add.

The boats went in just north of the Coogee Beach jetty with a light easterly at our backs. There weren't any whitecaps, and whilst Carnac Island looked much further than the 9km that Google Earth had told us, there was no sign of the washing machine that Cockburn Sound would shortly turn into. Seabreeze had picked the 15kt westerly quite well, but the conditions at the start of our trans-Indian odyssey were just the opposite. We were starting out on Lake Placid.

I had barely started the Garmin when things changed. Easterly turned into westerly in the blink of an eye, and we were smashing into it, but still remaining relatively dry. The first kilometre was still fairly quick, but it didn't take long for that to change as well. To be honest, paddling into the wind wasn't that difficult - it was when we turned around that those cursed trailing rudders made life difficult. 

We were about half way to Carnac when our attack of common sense took hold, and by that stage the chop was throwing us everywhere. We were looking forward to going back with the swell and chop but it soon became clear that any idea of long, fast rides on a clean wave were definitely fanciful. Having made clean turns back towards the beach, it wasn't long before both Westy and I were thrown from our faithful steeds on multiple occasions. I have to admit, as I was climbing back onboard after falling off 4km from the nearest beach, thoughts of the poor bloke who was taken by a Great White yesterday motivated me to complete the exercise somewhat quicker than I normally would.

After 7 impromptu swims between us, we took a detour to check out the Port Coogee canals, both convinced that between us we had obviously won the $21 million Lotto draw last night, and wondering how 2 Endorfinns would look perched on an Aston Martin Vanquish. The canals offered a little bit of refuge from the maelstrom that had erupted in the sound, and were nice to paddle through. The little beach and barbecue area looked great for the kids so if you're looking for a good spot, this is it. There were heaps of fish in the canals as well.

By the time we got back to the beach, it had only been just under 12km, but it's safe to say that it felt like 22km. Next time a flare, EPIRB, and large dose of self-preservation will be needed. 

The Coogee festival was in full swing and the car park chockers, so we were glad to be on our way to South Fremantle for a tasty breakfast.

The Crowded House, South Fremantle, 25 Douro Rd, South Fremantle, 6162, (08) 9336 4147,

We were actually on our way to find The Pickled Fig when we saw The Crowded House on Douro Rd, and it looked like just the ticket, so we turned around, got a George Costanza-like parking spot right outside the front door and walked in. I've eaten in another restaurant that used this building many years ago, and it was good to be back - especially when it really looked the goods in its present form. Rustic loaves were for sale behind the counter and looked and smelt delicious.

No evil tables available.
The place was almost full, but we were still able to get a good table - does that mean there is by definition an evil table? - near the windows. A vision of beauty with a West Coast American accent soon had some very welcomed coffees inbound, and one look at the menu was enough to make up both our minds with a single word - 'Benedict'. Poached eggs with a barramundi fishcake, spanish onion, fresh mint and caviar with hollandaise sauce on thickly cut toast ($22) is not quite 'Benedict' in the classical sense, but let me tell you, it sounded like just the ticket. Westy ordered a side of mushrooms, as he normally does, and I fought hard to resist ordering a side of bacon having eaten enough to feed a small African nation yesterday.

As we tucked into another delicious coffee, what came out for breakfast was art on a plate.

Mona Lisa went gooey.
The Benedict was as good to behold as it was to eat.  The hollandaise had a tang that was enhanced by the mint and spanish onion, and there was enough of it to cover the meal well. The toast was so light that it melted in my mouth. The barramundi fishcake tasted like it was made to be eaten with poached eggs and hollandaise, only wanting for a little more seasoning. The eggs were poached like they were supposed to be presented on Masterchef, and whilst I like my eggs a little more well done, if I eat here more often I may be converted.

Westy's side of mushrooms were simply the best I have ever tasted. A semi-sweet sauce coated the perfectly cooked fungi. 

The atmosphere in The Crowded House was very relaxed and this is just the place to read the paper whilst tucking in to a very, very good start to the weekend. There was absolutely nothing I didn't like about this restaurant. The food was exceptional, the service prompt, attentive and definitely easy on the optics, the menu varied and interesting on all counts and the prices reasonable.

The Crowded House gets a resounding 9/10. The Crowded House on Urbanspoon

"Hey! I can see Mogadishu from here!"