Sometimes you go looking for trouble. . . I had read the reviews, all bad and all mentioning that the owner was pushy, rude and likely to judge and criticise your order. Instead of red lights I wanted to go and visit. Could this be Perth's version of the Soup Nazi?

Perhaps I'm not the only one reading the bad reviews, I received only warm and welcoming service and there seemed to be no pressure when I paused dramatically before choosing my sauce for the pictured lamb kebab ($12), which seemed quite acceptable - a gooey egg, well seasoned meat and a toasted pita. They also offer a chip kebab. . .

What's for dinner? Is always a loaded question in our house. Within those three words a multitude of subplots and queries - Who is cooking? What produce do we have? What ingredient do we need to use most urgently? What's in the garden? What cookbooks have you been reading? What food dreams have you been having? Is it any wonder that my reply is always drawn out and full of pauses and clauses.

1.3 kilograms of deboned lamb shoulder was the starting point.

128 West Coast Drive, though from the two mirrored rooms it's difficult to see the ocean, you certainly won't see the front end loader moving up and down the beach smoothing out the sand. . . This is a place that is beautifully self contained and seemingly complete.

The remains of my homemade bresaola were starting to test my courage, the surface was beginning to feel sticky, though it was still passing the sniff and taste test. I decided to slice away the outer coat and roughly dice what remained to make my versions of a corned beef hash. A diced and microwaved potato splashed in oil and salted and allowed to crisp in a pan.

I like almost everything about the Nine fine food dining room, except of course the back wall (unseen and to the right of this photo) which is part covered by wall paper so it looks superficially like granite blocks. The other portion of the wall features chalk boards mentioning they are available for functions.

We form them with extraordinary speed, and mostly I think they have validity, they certainly linger and colour our subsequent thoughts. . . I drove past this wall recently and had to stop to examine it in more detail, but even before getting out of my car, I had already reached some untested conclusions.

The first time I tried a wine from Domaine Ostertag, I was struck by its perfume. I can still recall the impact and somewhat foolishly I think I can still conjure the scent.

Tiny and charming Le Vietnam can be found at the bottom of the Bon Marche building on Barrack Street. It's a curious thing, but since its arrival, the Perth CBD is now sandwiched by Vietnamese funkiness and energy. Slightly older and larger Mama Tran is the other side of the bun, situated on Milligan street.

The pictured Bahn Mi (original) is a steal at $6, chilli (usually a non negotiable) is optional and there is a token squirt of sriracha (mine was a heart) on the side.

aka mountain pepper. The berries are black, bilobed, fleshy and in texture and sharpness of scent they remind me of juniper. When crushed they release a purple pigment and in taste they are somewhere between juniper and black and szechuan pepper. A notable thing is the hotness and persistence of flavour.

Spotted on a by the side of a road in Fremantle, further back from the road there were  hundreds of wild fennel bushes reaching for the sky.


A month ago the first blossoms on my apple tree opened, I thought then it was overly optimistic to think of fruit, but now I can see a dozen small apples growing and colouring before my eyes. In size they are finger nails and thumb tips.