Saturday started off well, with a well deserved sleep in after a 45 hour work week. It got even better in the afternoon, with Fremantle dominating Port Adelaide and making into the top 4 and paving the way for some fantastic finals footy. It ended fantastically, with a celebration dinner at Apple Daily Bar and Eating House. On the third floor of the powerhouse that is Small Print, Print Hall, Apple Daily and Bob’s Bar, Apple Daily is an Asian street food styled restaurant with some delightful dishes and a choice cocktail list to match.
I have been to Small Print and Bob’s Bar before, but never into to Apple Daily or Print Hall. On this maiden visit I was amazed at how beautiful the space was. Housed inside what used to be the West Australian printing press, an island bar at the Print Hall level is towered over by shelves housing foliage of all varieties. Upstairs at Apple Daily, the dining area wraps around the bar, providing you with a view of all the movers and shakers of Perth doing their thing downstairs. Tying in with the printing press heritage, the walls in the dining area on one side are lined with newspaper, and the whole space has a very lush, old world feeling about it. We sat in a big booth on the other side that just fit the 10 of us in, that was partitioned off from the other booths with a pull down blind. Keeping in theme the booths also had some old newspapers stacked up above our heads.
The menu is designed for sharing, but as we were in a group of about 10 we broke off into smaller groups of 2-3 for the purposes of ordering. This suited me because I immediately spotted a couple of things I wanted to try, which may have gotten trickier with 10 people.
The only disappointing thing about the night was that I was preparing for the City to Surf race that was being held the next morning, which meant I couldn’t partake in tasting the absolutely gorgeous cocktail list. Oh, the tragedies of life! So I ordered an apple mocktail to make myself feel a little better, whilst Ollie ordered an itchy eyed dragon. Other cocktails included a schezwan pussycat, spank the white tiger and the white lady boy. Interesting.
The itchy eyed dragon was sweet apparently, and the balls of watermelon on top were juicy and complemented the drink well. Apologies for the lack of detail, but as mentioned I had committed to complete abstinence from alcohol for the night and steadfastly stuck to it. My mocktail was crisp and fresh and but probably a bit too apple-y for my taste.
Off the street food snacks part of the menu, we ordered 1 of Jerry’s oysters with lime and nuoc cham ($4), dr moores spicy wings with nam phrik pao caramel and puffed rice ($21) and the saltwater duck with spring onion, flower buns and hoisin ($24). From the bigger sharings section, the 10 hour braised beef short rib with kim chi and ssamjang ($36) along with the pad thai, prawns, sweet pork, chilli jam ($26). The waiter gave our table some tips on what was popular and tasty before we all ordered, which I thought was really lovely.
The food came out in dribs and drabs, which is understandable given that the menu is designed for sharing. Also probably a good thing, as it was pretty tight for table space with all those cocktails as well. For us, Ollie’s oyster came out first, on a bed of ice with the nuoc cham, which turns out to be a sort of chilli sauce with a bit of sweetness to it. He thought the oyster was one of the nicest he had had in a long time, very fresh and the sauce was a tasty, simple accompaniment.
First up to share was the pad thai, which was a reasonable size for sharing between two, and came topped with fresh, crunchy bean shoots and coriander (my favourite herb!). I didn’t eat any of the prawns, so I can’t comment on them but Ollie enjoyed them. The pork lived up to its name, sweet and almost caramelised on the outside, really yummy and I wished there had been more of it in the dish. There was also one lone piece of tofu, not sure if it made its way on to the plate by accident or not but I enjoyed it! The chilli jam wasn’t as sweet as I thought it might be, but complemented the dish well, particularly the pork.
Next up was the spicy chicken wings, and they certainly had not held back on the chilli – WOW. I like to think I have a reasonably high tolerance to hot food, but these tested me. Besides that, they were delicious – crispy, crackling skin with succulent chicken falling off the bone. I did find them a bit hard to enjoy towards the end however, and Ollie agreed. I am not sure where the puffed rice (as listed on the menu) fit into this dish, maybe it was in the batter but I couldn’t tell.
So after recovering from these, the saltwater duck with flower buns came out. This was the standout dish of the night for me – the duck was tender with a good amount of fat, and those flower buns! Deliciously light, fluffy, sticky pillows of goodness, they were a generous size and just looked so inviting. Combine these two with the thick, salty hoisin and you have a dish to remember. We didn’t seem to get any spring onions with this dish as listed on the menu, but I didn’t actually notice until the end of the meal so they weren’t missed. Warning though, a very filling dish!
With our tummies almost full, the last dish for the night was also the most anticipated – the braised beef ribs. These came out with the bone on the plate, but with the meat already removed from it. The meat was incredibly tender, and the ssamjang turned out to be a spicy sort of paste with a lot of punch to it that was spread across the meat and also between layers of the kim chi. I wasn’t sure about the kim chi, I found it a little bit sour but I think I can just put that one down to personal taste. There was more than enough beef to go around, so it wasn’t a problem.
After all this food, our tummies were well and truly stuffed – I could not have fit another thing in. Dining at Apple Daily was a treat from the senses, from the stylish decor to the delectable dishes and the relaxed tunes. The service was friendly and although they weren’t at the table every 5 minutes, I found it attentive enough. I would thoroughly recommend a visit – just be ready for the bill at the end! Also of note is that you can’t book, and tables fill up pretty quickly on a weekend night.