28th July 2013

Veggie Mama

cnr Beaufort St and Vincent St, Mt Lawley WA 6050

The  youthful and slightly counter-cultural vibe at this vegetarian cafe may raise  doubts as to the quality of the food, but how wrong these would be, for while some of the dishes may seem like vegetarian cliches they are spot on. We enjoyed chick pea patties with sweet potato, lightly curried, and subtly flavoured mushroom patties with walnuts and quinoa.  The salads are least as impressive as the hot dishes. That of red cabbage with apple and sultana has a robust, eastern European feeling; the  broccoli with sprouts and diced red capsicum comes with a dressing that gives it unexpected oomph; a mixed salad of carrot, sprouts, cranberries, walnut and parsley is attractive to the eye and the palate. The overall tone is one of lightness that has been obtained without any sacrifice of flavour. Juices and coffee, needless to say organic, are on hand to wash your meal down. After a very happy lunch there I am looking forward to returning!

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7th July 2013

Nepalese Kitchen

481 Crown St, Surry Hulls, NSW

At what I take to be a pleasing indication of familial harmony, when different generations met at this slightly funky inner-suburban restaurant we found ourselves ordering the same dish, but in different versions. Vegetable Dal Baht Takari consists of rice, dal (of the yellow split pea variety), spinach, a tomato achar relish of roasted tomatoes cooked with herbs and spices that has a real depth of flavour, and one of the curries chosen from the menu. One of our group went for mushroom and potato in tomato sauce, another for green beans, a third for eggplant, potato and tomato, and a fourth for potato with accompaniments; the weighting towards the humble spud seems typical of Nepalese cooking. It’s food of the hearty variety that goes well on a cool evening, and we all found it tasty, satisfying and filling. A serve of papads stood by, and for contrast we enjoyed a Nepalese salad of tomato, cucumber, radish and red onion in a lemon based dressing. Doubtless the excellence of the company was the main reason why this was a happy occasion, but the food is great too!

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