I love adventure in life. It’s not something that comes naturally to me I’ll admit but the older I get, the less structure I require and the more I want to break away from conventional norms. But it can often be a hard act to balance my desire to travel, to explore and to be creative with the more stable goals of owning a home, succeeding in my career etc. I sometimes feel like they are two very distinct sides to the same coin – it’s a juggling act for sure.
Travelling is definitely something I need to do more of. As a child/teenager I was really fortunate to visit places like the US, New Zealand, Japan and more, but as an adult my overseas adventures have been solely in Asia. Places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau have been ticked off my adult bucket list – but there are just so many places to go still! I’m hoping next year finds my boy and I over in America now that we’ve just purchased a new house which has taken all our savings from the last couple of years. It’s been a hard slog, but I am counting down the days until we move in!!
But until more travel opportunities come our way for now, I’ll have to settle for my own adventures here in Perth. And thanks to Meg at Coffee and Tea, I was given such an opportunity when I was invited to attend a Leederville Food Safari night. Three venues for food, transport via rickshaw down the streets of Leederville – it all sounded like great fun!
At $95 per person (not inclusive of drinks), this progressive dinner runs from Tuesdays to Saturdays each week – and I can imagine on a balmy summer’s night it would be a wonderful way to explore Leederville. On our evening we had some drizzle from the skies, but nothing we couldn’t handle (we hid under the rickshaw roofs and were covered by warm, thick blankets).
Our night, like all on Leederville Food Safari started off at Ria, where I found myself quite taken by the gorgeous mural by local artist Sarsar on the adjacent wall. With the weather barely holding it together, it was nice to tuck into the corner of the restaurant (which is huge now that they’ve taken over the former Mongolian restaurant next door) and start the night off with a cocktail while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive.
I teamed up with Carly from Perth Munchkin for the evening and we happily shared our choices – after all variety is the spice of life. Her drink was the ever popular Malay mule ($15.00), which is made of lemongrass infused vodka, fresh lime and homemade ginger beer.
I chose the mandarin sour ($15.00) which was lemongrass vodka, lemon bitters, cucumber water and mandarin. Mine was a nice balance between sour and sweet, and was playful in its approach of using ‘asian-esque’ flavours.
Our entree portion of the night was here at Ria, and we were seated for long before plates of piping hot food were laid out in front of us. Basically it was like a sampler of their standard menu, with crispy Shark Bay prawns, grilled chicken breast, spring rolls and smoked salmon on watermelon. My favourite was definitely the prawn which was cooked perfectly, and had a satisfying crunch when you bit down.
I also loved the complimentary spicy peanuts that are provided to all tables on arrival. They’re so addictive! While normally after eating all of this, you’re then whisked away to Kitsch – however due to the rain about half of us took a bit of a weather break… not such a bad thing when you’re given free lotus chips to make up for it!! Ohhh how I love fried lotus root (normally $8.00), especially with that chilli mayonnaise. I could have happily eaten the whole plate (maybe I did in reality).
Once we arrived at Kitsch Bar for our mains (you have the option at Ria to pre-order from the menu, or to have the chef choose for you – we opted for the latter), it was definitely time for another cocktail. Carly immediately chose their signature ginger beer mojito with a spicy kick, and I went for the red rickshaw… mainly because I knew it came with a sour strap to munch on. I do love candy after all!
Both went down a treat, and were perfect with the food that pumped out non-stop until we were surrounded by an incredible banquet. Seeing as I’d already been at Kitsch twice in the week before, I knew I was in for a delicious dinner.
The tamarind salted chicken skins are gluten free bites of decadent heaven. So crisp and tangy, you can’t help but munch away on these… I can only imagine in summer with a beer – they’d go down a little too easily.
The barbecue szechuan chicken with corn salsa & coriander was my favourite dish I tried on an earlier visit, and I was pleased to note it was still as impressive. The chicken was tender and flavoursome, the punchy salad on top laden with crispy onions to bring extra crunch and sweetness. I love the little addition of chilli which brings life into each bite.
Next up we had the lamb neck with beans and edamame. It seems simple, but there was so much to love about this. The unctuous, melt in your mouth meat was just plain delicious and a nice variation on your standard cuts you tend to find.
It worked quite well with the cauliflower and paneer dish that followed quickly – a vegetarian offering that still packed a punch in the flavour department. I love a great vego dish, especially one that has cheese in the mix.
Of course no great meal at Kitsch is complete without serves of steaming coconut rice, green papaya salad, green beans & kai lan and the thai street noodles. While the lighting might not be great for a blogger to snap away, the food all tastes delicious and that’s what really counts. I really like that every dish is jam packed with veggies, and they consider not just the flavours but the textures and overall dining experience too.
As if all of the above wasn’t enough food, we had one last dish to go… the crispy skin pork belly with chilli caramel and apple salad. I only managed to eat half a slice but it definitely met the brief – a oh so yummy dish that I can imagine would be a crowd pleaser time and time again.
Once we’d digested enough, or at least rested for a few minutes, we were happy to settle back into our rickshaw and be transported to our final destination for the evening – Foam Coffee Bar. I loved that along the journey our driver (who was working hard to keep us moving!) gave us interesting facts and tidbits about Leederville and the venues we passed by. It just adds that little bit extra for the entire experience.
After all that eating (and we’ve been told that the serving sizes were not increased because we were covering the evening – they’re just that generous normally!), I could barely make a dent in my dessert of red velvet cake. Though I was happy to try a couple of the other options around me including the pretty gluten free pistachio and almond cake ordered by Martine from Chomp Chomp and Laura from Yelp Perth.
So I guess it turns out that while I’m craving an overseas adventure, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a local one in the meantime with delicious food, a fun experience and great company. I was thoroughly full when I made my way home that night, so that is another big tick in my eyes.