There’s going out for dinner and then there’s going out for a 3 course dinner over 3 venues with a rickshaw as your mode of transport. The Leederville Food Safari takes in Kitsch Bar Asia, Ria Malay Kitchen and Foam coffee bar over 3 hours with entree, main and dessert. The order of venues and start times vary slightly to fit in more bookings (the first time we tried to book they were booked out!). Definitely book early to avoid disappointment.
Our food safari kicked off at Kitsch, down the far end of the Oxford St Leederville strip. I love this place and hadn’t been for quite some time so was excited to get back here and eat some yummy Asian tapas. The front of the restaurant feels alfresco, with clear plastic covering so you can still watch the world go by, but with the heaters on this is also a super cosy place to be when the nights get cooler. With the food safari explained, wine ordered and entree’s on the way we were also given the Ria menus to choose our mains, with help at hand from a waiter who also used to work at Ria. Handy indeed!
Out came our entree which was a selection of their hawker bites, spiced corn fritters with green chilli jam and coriander syrup, Korean fried sweet and salty chicken wings, crispy salt and pepper tofu with sambal kecap and fried mushroom dumplings with dipping sauce.
I loved the corn fritters, crispy on the outside with juicy, sweet, corn on the inside. I avoided the chilli jam as I’m told this was pretty darn spicy. The tofu was simple and tasty with a light drizzle of sauce, nice little bite sized pieces that were pleasant to eat. The dumplings weren’t bad and the dipping sauce was great but I just wanted a bit more from the filling as they were a little dry. The chicken wings were great too, a little spicy for me but I didn’t mind because they were so flavoursome with a bit of sticky sweetness to balance out the chilli.
Entree’s were great, perfect way to start the night, all with bags of flavour. Certainly made me want to come back to Kitsch to enjoy a night here and try some of their larger street plates.
I was a little worried that we might feel rushed during the evening to get from place to place but it all just seemed to flow seamlessly. Food and wine finished we were told we would get the next rickshaw and no sooner was that explained, there they were. It certainly was a novelty to be driven down Oxford St in a bright green rickshaw with our talented driver dodging the traffic as we went and getting a few stares along the way.
We arrived safely at Ria and we were ushered to our table. With mains already ordered all we had to do was order drinks and relax. The restaurant was packed, this was my first time visiting Ria and I wasn’t expecting such a buzz on a Wednesday night but once the food arrived I knew why.
I can’t say I’ve eaten much Malaysian food so I don’t have much to compare it to but boy was it yummy. We chose the Malaccan Lamb Semur which we were told was a very traditional Malaysian dish, with Portuguese, Chinese influence and spiced with star anise and cinnamon. The lamb was tender and the flavours were well balanced, lots of complexity from the spices but nothing too pungent, this was a delight to eat.
Our other dish was Mum’s Loh Ak, braised caramelised duck. YUM! This was my favourite, soft pieces of braised duck, with a slight caramelisation, nothing too sticky or too sweet, just flavoursome and delicious.
Our mains came with rice (we could have chosen a flavoured rice but just went with plain) and a side. Couldn’t go past the roti which was the perfect accompaniment. Flaky, buttery, melt in your mouth bread, grilled to perfection. I kind of wish one of our dishes was a bit saucier, nothing better than mopping up the sauce with a great bit of roti.
Mains finished (well mostly) and we were full. I really didn’t know how I was going to fit in dessert. We weren’t rushed at this point either which I really appreciated (so did my full belly), there was a rickshaw driver out the front but we were told to take our time.
Once we were ready we got into our rickshaw for one last little joyride. This trip was short as Foam is really only a few steps away but we took the long way of course. Arriving at Foam we got to order a drink and choose a cake from the display cabinet. I’m not a night time coffee drinker so decided on a chai, it was a little sweet for me but I still enjoyed the milky, cinnamon goodness.
Cake wise we went with the carrot cake and the blueberry cheesecake and when they hit the table with cream and ice-cream I felt even more full just looking at them. We didn’t manage to get through much of dessert but the cheesecake was the best of the two. I’m pretty hard to please with cakes and these were nothing to write home about, just your standard cakes really, but not bad none the less. It’s a great little coffee bar, I can definitely see how you could park yourself there with a coffee for an hour or two and people watch. And how can you resist a coffee that comes with a tiny teddy!
The Leederville Food Safari is such a great idea and I wish they had this going in other restaurant dense suburbs, as not only do you get to try 3 places in one night but you get a great experience as well. Everyone that we dealt with over the evening was incredibly friendly and helpful and the amazing service certainly added to what was a great night.
This experience should be on any date night list, step out of your normal date night dinner venues and get yourself on a rickshaw. Delicious food, fabulous service and a super fun evening.