This won’t come as earth shattering news to many but in case you didn’t know, I’m quite the fan of eating out in Perth. I know, I know, not exactly a shocking revelation. And whilst it’s a lovely experience to pick a place and head out for a delicious meal with your special someone, your loving family or an extended group of fabulous friends, imagine if you could up the excitement factor by three? Picture it now……three stellar venues, one night out and a rickshaw thrown into the mix for good measure. Ladies and gentleman this dream can become a reality with thanks to the team from Leederville Food Safari!
So how does it all work? Well you kick off your evening at Ria.
Ria is a brilliant Malaysian restaurant and has been one of those places I’ve been meaning to go to. But as the wish list of said places never seems to get any shorter, I’d just never gotten around to it. But here I finally was! So while sipping on a chilled Kirin and nibbling on peanuts, our eager crew awaited the first course.
We were presented with some very enticing looking share plates which included chicken skewers, with an accompanying bowl of satay sauce, Ria’s pork rib nibbles and mushroom balls. There were also some slices of cucumber and rice included on the plate. I started with the chicken skewers and I carefully forked my chicken off it’s wooden skewer onto my plate and spooned on a ladylike dollop of satay sauce. Wowser! The spoon was soon back in that bowl of satay sauce for a much less ladylike serving. It would be fair to say that I may have drowned my chook in the satay because it was just that good! I also found myself taking a few of the artistic semi circles of rice just so I could enjoy more of that sauce. I would head back to Ria for that sauce alone. So it was a very solid intro to Ria’s offerings. I also thoroughly enjoyed the mushroom ball, which had a fairly light battered outer coating and plenty of mushroomy flavour. Similarly I enjoyed the little pork nibbles, but the chicken satay was the real stand out for me.
While you are at Ria you are shown the mains menu for Kitsch. Four dishes are on offer and everyone chooses one of those, along with a side and steamed rice is also included.
Our group fortunately didn’t have to make the tough decisions that night and it was decided that we would look to share all the mains on offer between us. Sounded perfect to me! You get to try more that way, which is always a big win. So with your orders placed it’s time to wander out the front of Ria because your chariot awaits! These very glam rickshaws have been in operation since October 2013 and let me tell you that the novelty of being rugged up (because oh yes snug blankets are provided!) and riding down Oxford Street to the next stop on your progressive dinner is just as entertaining as it sounds. Was I waving at random folks and cars at the lights like some sort of hero as we swanned past in our rickshaw? You bet I was J It was half the fun! It’s only a short ride up to Kitsch but everyone had big smiles after their first Perth rickshaw experience.
Similarly to Ria, I was glad to be making my Kitsch debut with the Leederville Food Safari. Despite the colder evenings the abundance of heaters meant that it’s actually nice and warm inside. We were seated overlooking the window into the kitchen to see all the action happen.
Now I’d been told that there was a particular cocktail on the menu that I just had to try. Who was I to argue? So soon to arrive in front of me was a Spicy Ginger Beer Cocktail. It did look good in its elegant stemless glass with plenty of mint and actual slices of red chilli. Hmm… I was slightly nervous about my decision to opt for spicy as I took my first sip. Hot damn! There was the spice from the ample fresh ginger, heat from the chilli vodka then the cooling chill and refreshing fizz from the ginger beer. It was a hell of a drink and I could appreciate its popularity. Definitely memorable.
As mentioned our group, and there were 8 of us, had said we were happy for Kitsch to choose what dishes we received. This essentially meant we got to try the majority of options from the Leederville Food Safari mains menu, along with a signature dish that those making their first foray into Kitsch’s kitchen were fortunate enough to be offered. The signature dish being the corn fritters. These have been on the menu since they opened and despite some menu revisions throughout the years these crunchy wonders won’t be going anywhere. And I can see why. The fritters are a golden brown and while they might not be the prettiest, the test is in the tasting and when you wrap the deep fried morsel in the lettuce leaf that it comes served in, it’s apparent why these are a big crowd pleaser. The crispy sweet corn fritter was well paired with the crunchy lettuce cup and if not for the fact that I had been forewarned that other dishes that were equally as tasty would soon be arriving, I would have probably polished off a whole plate of those fritters.
And those in the know were correct! An array of delicious dishes arrived, filling the air with the a heady aroma of Asian spices. I’m glad I still had room to try them all.
Mum’s Thai Green Chicken Curry was full of chunky chicken pieces with a few veg and a particularly tasty green curry sauce, with a lovely balance of coconut cream and just the right amount of heat.
Crispy Fried Fish Fillets in a yellow curry sauce was a very pretty dish. I mean just look at the vibrant yellow in the curry sauce! It just popped! The fish had been lightly battered and as the name suggested was lovely and crispy. I am still wary of fish dishes tasting too fishy fish but I need not have worried about this dish as the fish was clearly very fresh and I enjoyed it with the yellow curry sauce.
Crispy Pork Belly with Apple Salad and Chilli Caramel was probably my favourite of the mains. The pork belly pieces were generous and had been well rendered and were lovely and salty on top. I really enjoyed the accompanying apple salad too. Perfect julienned little ribbons, which countered well against the spicy chilli caramel sauce. Another well balanced dish, which reflected on the skills of the kitchen team in perfecting these recipes.
On the sides side I only sampled a small amount of the Wok Fried Greens with Tofu and Oyster Sauce, not because they weren’t great, but more so because a substantial dent had been put in my appetite after sampling a little of this and a little of that.
Always seems to be the way. Getting full can kind of creep up on you. I had thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Kitsch though and am keen to head back soon with GG in tow. He was sure that he’d love that ginger beer cocktail too! So with mains sorted it was time for our final course which meant…. back in the rickshaw! Woohoo! I was excited about the return journey back down Oxford Street to Foam Coffee Bar.
I hadn’t been too sure where Foam was but when we pulled up after our fearless rickshaw riders steered us safely down the road, I realized that I had been there before. Well in Foam’s previous life as Café 130 I had been there, but I have to say I totally love what they have done with the space. It’s very open, with some funky lighting and wall features and some cutesy table decorations.
The big decision at Foam was which of the very alluring selection of cakes in the cabinet did I fancy with my flat white. It was a very tough call and there was a piece of cheesecake that I literally think was calling my name! I didn’t think I could do it justice though after the first two courses so I opted for a piece of Rawkus Slice from the talented team at Rawsome. It was a wonderfully indulgent square of quasi chocolate, though I did have some slight dessert envy as other’s pieces of carrot cake with cream and warmed apricot crumble with ice cream arrived. In fairness though, both the lovely ladies who ordered these items did ask if I’d like to try them…. which I did and they were delicious. It was a nice coffee too, made with Five Sense Coffee.
And with my sweet treat devoured it was time to put a fork in me because I was done! And what a night it had been. I think what I liked most about the evening, other than the stellar food, funky drinks and fantastic company, was that it was something a little different. Sure you can always go out to dinner, but a progressive dinner is great fun and all the more lovely when someone does the heavy lifting and has planned out where you’ll go and gets you from a to b (and then onto c). I can imagine it would be perfect for a fun date night outing. Would give you plenty to chat about as you were whisked along on a romantic rickshaw ride.
The price per person for a seat on a rickshaw with Leederville Food Safari is $75 per person and is paid on the night at the first venue. The price includes the starter plate at Ria, a choice of mains, sides and rice at Kitsch and coffee and cake at Foam, plus transport via the very flashy rickshaws throughout the evening. Other beverages are extra and are charged separately at each venue. Leederville Food Safari is held on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5.30pm. Best suited for pairs or a group of 4, they are able to accommodate groups of up to 16, though obviously with only two rickshaws there’ll be a staggered arrival of your group between venues. The tours are available throughout Winter, so if you book and it turns out to be a particularly rainy evening then the tour will be cancelled but they’ll be able to get you a booking at either Ria or Kitsch if you wish.
It’s a fun night out and is a unique offering around town. So if you are looking to mix things up one weekend and get a little progressive on the dining side then say hello to Leederville Food Safari!
My thanks to Coffey & Tea and to Leederville Food Safari for the invitation.