Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Perth: Miss Maud, Zensaki, Presotea

Perth time is 2 hours behind Brisbane time, so even though the plane landed in Perth at 3pm Brisbane time, I still had pretty much a full afternoon to meander around the city.

My first food stop was at Miss Maud's bakery, which specialises in Swedish pastries. She also owns a Swedish hotel in Perth city, which is quite highly rated on Trip Advisor. I wanted to stay there after reading the reviews, but all the rooms were booked out already. Her pastry shop also had some good reviews, so I decided to pay it a little visit. 

One of the Miss Maud's pastry shops in the Perth CBD

I bought a mini hazelnut cake and a Bienenstich. I was expecting the cake to be like a mini sponge filled with flavoured cream, but it was nothing like that. It was extremely sweet and was basically a thick layer of buttercream sandwiched between two layers of sweet puff pastry, then topped with icing. I couldn't get further than a few bites. Not a fan of it. 

Miss Maud's Bienenstich is also different from the German Bienenstich, or Bee Sting Cake, that comes to mind. Instead of being a sweet yeast cake with a pastry cream filling, this one has a sweet shortbread-like base with the caramelised flaked almond topping, characteristic of the traditional Bienenstich, and half-dipped in chocolate. It reminds me somewhat of a florentine...but not as good. In fact, I don't think I've tasted any florentine better than the one I bought from a bakery in the Sydney CBD. Makes me feel like having one now actually. I hope I go past it when I'm in Sydney at the end of the week, so that I could buy some *drool*. All in all, I was a bit disappointed with my Miss Maud purchases.

For dinner, we went to a Japanese eatery called Zenzaki on Barrack Street, in the City. Again, I went by the recommendations on Urban Spoon.

This is one of those eateries where you have to order and pay at the counter before making your way to a table with your order number. I'm used to staff at Japanese restaurants being very friendly, but the girl at the register who took my order looked uninterested, was unsmiling, and brusque in speech. I can forgive that, since it's not a proper restaurant with table service, but it's still always nice to receive friendly customer service. I ordered a Combo Set C, which includes original ramen (tender sliced pork, fishcake, seaweed, beansprouts, spring onions) in a miso soup base (other choices included shoyu (soy sauce) and shio (garlic salt) soup), plus a salad and a side dish of takoyaki, for $15. For the price, it's pretty good for the amount of food you get; although tastewise, it could have been better. The soup base was quite salty, and I couldn't really taste any other flavours. It was a good thing that the salad was there, as it served as a reliever from the saltiness. The takoyaki was tasty, but I guess no different from anywhere else I've tried. 

Original Ramen + salad + takoyaki
 (Zensaki: 83 Barrack St, Perth WA 6000; www.zensaki.com)
My dad ordered a rice dish with teriyaki salmon, which is pan-fried salmon with teriyaki sauce, for $10-15. It also came with a little salad side and miso soup. I think this dish was lacking in presentation, and my dad said he didn't enjoy it. He didn't like the way the fish was cooked and he thought both the fish and the soup were way too salty. Overall, for me, the food wasn't totally intolerable, so I would possibly come back again on occasions when I'm not in a gourmet mood and only want something quick and average-priced to fill me up, and it just happens to be close-by. To be fair, they do have some other nice-looking options on their menu, so I can't blacklist them until I've at least sampled some other bits and pieces.  

Teriyaki salmon + rice + salad
Next door to Zensaki is a tea shop called Presotea. I think this is another Taiwanese franchise, but I'd never seen it before anywhere else in Australia. According to their website, they supposedly brew the tea fresh at time of order, which is a big tick for me. Being a pearl milk tea fan, of course I had to make a purchase after dinner. 

It looks pretty clean inside, and the drinks menu has some interesting options. I really like how they offer a variety of different tea leaves, such as my favourite, Darjeeling. 

Presotea81 Barrack St, Perth, 6000http://www.presotea.com.tw/eng/pro.asp
I ordered the Special Pearl Milk Tea for myself and the A-Li-Shan Iced tea for my dad. I really liked how it has a nice, strong tea taste, compared with a lot of other tea shops, which tastes more of milk and sugar. Dad didn't really enjoy his drink, but then again, he doesn't usually like drinking iced teas from Asian tea shops. I didn't appreciate how the guy who served me told me about the Panda Iced Milk tea, which has both black and white tapioca pearls in it (white being quite unusual), and got me all interested in it, before telling me that they had already run out of the white pearls for the day. I really, really want to try it now. If only they would open up a store along the east coast! It's definitely one of the better pearl milk tea shops, so do check it out if you come across it.

(Left) Special Pearl Milk Tea, (Right) A Li Shan Iced Tea
Zensaki on UrbanspoonPresotea on UrbanspoonMiss Maud Pastry House Cafe on Urbanspoon

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