Shumpty Eats: Cott & Co Fish Bar (Cottesloe Beach)

It has been a long time since I posted a restuarant review on this blog but I just had to write about my experiences at the Cott & Co Fish Bar this week.  Simply: this is one of the best restuarants I have eaten in full stop.  

The Venue: Cott & Co Fish Bar is part of the Cottesloe Beach Hotel on Marine Parade in Cottesloe.  It is an open space with the kitchen area viewable from the seating area.  Tables are set up for group dining as well as for parties of two.  Large windows take advantage of the spectacular view of the Indian Ocean across the road.

The Menu: As the name would suggest this is a seafood restuarant with a focus on tapas type dishes with a mix of mains thrown in for good measure.  As many of you know I do not eat seafood.  Normally this would cruel most seafood restuarant but not Cott & Co.  I have eaten there twice in the last 3 days and had two of best dishes I can remember eating: a pasta dish based around a brisket ragout from the specials board and, from the menu, the ricotta and truffle gnudi.  I am no vegetarian but that second meal is the best vegetarian meal I have ever had. 

The Service: The staff at Cott & Co provided us with wonderful service.  They were knowledgable about the menu, gave great recommendations and were cheerful to a fault.  The meals were served with alacrity. 

The Price: Given the standard of the food and the service, the prices at Cott & Co are quite reasonable.  Our order of a couple of mains, a charcuterie board and a couple of glasses of wine came to about $90 which felt cheap to me. 

The Final Word: This is a seafood restuarant that has wowed a non-seafood eater.  If you are staying in or around Cottesloe this is the first place you should eat.  If you are staying in the Perth area: this restuarant is definitely worth the trip.  I will be back again (maybe even on this trip). 

The Ashes: Where to now for England? My suggest XI for Perth

There is no getting around this fact: England have been out played, out thought and out sledged by the Australians in the first two test of this summer. Don’t get me wrong: I have loved every minute of the pummelling dished out over the last two test matches. That said, there is a part of me that yearns for a competitive test match between these two oldest of cricketing foes. In order to be competitive in Perth it is clear, and Andy Flower (England’s Director of Cricket) agrees, that some changes need to be made.

I mentioned during the series in England over the winter that Jimmy Anderson did not look one tenth of the bowler he did in the first test at Nottingham where his bowling, basically, singlehandedly rested victory for England from the jaws of possible defeat. Since that 10 wicket effort, where he bowled a massive amount of overs, Anderson has taken 17 wickets in 12 innings at an average of 44 all against Australia. He has already been rested from the ODI squad for the games following the test matches and it seems to me that he is not quite right physically. I would suggest he be rested for the Perth test match given the short back up and the fact that he is just not bowling well.

I would bring in Bresnan, now fit, for Anderson. He hits the wicket hard and is one of the toughest players in the English squad. His inclusion would also add some starch to a lower order that has been beaten up by short bowling in the first two tests of the summer.

I am a fan of Michael Carberry but his dismissals in both innings in Adelaide were just bad batting and showed that he may be out of his depth at the top level. Joe Root showed, not for the first time, great application and courage in the face of a barrage from the Australian fast bowlers. He should open in Carberry’s place with England’s best batsman of 2013, Ian Bell, moving up the order to number 3. This “engine room” will give more stability around the captain, Cook, whose efforts so far have been less than stellar and show a muddled mental state.

Replacing Bell at number 5 is a choice between Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow. For mine, statistics don’t lie and Ballance has the first class record advantage over Bairstow. Nearly 5000 runs at over 50 per innings in 67 first class games is a record worthy of a trial in the top team. I know that throwing a debutant in at Perth is akin to throwing him to the wolves but from all I have read about the Zimbabwean import he has the temperament to handle it.

In the bowling line up, the resting of Anderson aside, there is no way England can play two spinners in Perth. It seems like a case of the lesser of two evils when it comes to spinners with Swann in ordinary form and Panesar simply not good enough in the field to set off what he brings to the table with the ball. I would lean to Swann given that he seems to have more steel about him than Panesar. There is a sameness about all of the bowlers in the English squad with the available options all tall right arm fast medium bowlers. Finn and Tremlett are both scarred from having played and failed against Australia of recent times so I would add Irishman Boyd Rankin to the line up for a debut on Australia’s fastest pitch.

So, all of that considered, this the team I reckon the Poms should put on the field come Friday in Perth:

Cook, Root, Bell, Pietersen, Ballance, Stokes, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Rankin

I think this is a team that could make a game of it against Australia and whilst I, again, will say am enjoying Australia destroy England I am also keen to see a contest.

Postscript: I will avoid the obvious quip that this team really ought be renamed the English Dominion XI given that 45% of the line up were not born in England (Ireland, South Africa, Zimbabwe and New Zealand being the places of birth of players selected in addition to England).

You’re in Perth, you have 16 hours before your flight and your original plans are no longer: what you gonna do?

The conundrum in the title of this post is what befell me today: having planned to be in Perth today for the 5th day of the Australia v South Africa cricket test match at the WACA I was left at a loose end given the early end of the test match before I arrived. I did not have a flexible flight so my only option was to come up with a way to entertain myself in a city I had never been to before.

As my brain is still on Brisbane time despite having been in Western Australia since Friday I awoke at 4am feeling more than a bit unwell. All the warning signs of a migraine hit me, most ominously my right eye was blurry, but the combination of drugs and a little more sleep seemed to work and by 7am I was wondering what I was going to do for the day. I basically had 16 hours before my flight and nothing to do.

Going against my usual policy, I first decided to spend as much time as I could in my hotel room before check out. If I had not have had some work to do I would have watched a movie but having work to do meant that it was not until 9:50am that I was ready to leave. I had already chewed up 3 hours of time and despite some serious negativity about the remainder of my day I sent off into a hot Perth day to eek out another 13 hours of fun before heading home.

My first thought was to head to the WACA and check out the very good cricket museum there as well as take the ground tour. Only a 500m walk from my hotel it was an easy stroll down Hay Street to the ground. Unfortunately, the museum was closed today and the tours unavailable seemingly because the WACA authorities decided to have a day off. I was irritated but I will say when I come back to Perth I will definitely do this tour.

Queens Gardens is just next door to the WACA ground and with its green grass luring me having spent four days in the red dirt of Port Hedland, I decided that I would spend my first couple of hours in my quest to fill time just sitting in the park. Basically alone the whole time, and taking the opportunity to call a dear friend I had not spoken to for some time, time flew by and I left the park feeling relaxed and with a plan in the back of my mind for the rest of the day.

What I did not know about Perth before ringing my parents to whinge about my predicament today was the free bus service around the city. The Cat service that encompasses three routes and arrives at the bus stop every 5 minutes during the week is easily the best way to get around town and seems, from my limited knowledge, to cover just about every place one would want to go on a lazy day in Perth.

My plan for the rest of the day was simple: I was going to walk around the shops for a while and then head down to the Barracks St Jetty and get on the ferry to Fremantle (another parental recommendation). My walk around the shops started at the Miller Street Mall and wound its way around St George’s Terrace until I was back at a bus stop and ready for my trip to Fremantle. For those noting the time, it was now 1pm and my time to be filled had dropped to 10 hours.

I had some time to kill before my 2:15pm trip along the Swan River to Fremantle and stopped in a cafe for a drink and got to work on a couple of blogs whilst answering some work emails. The Riverside Cafe was a great spot to stop and relax but I will say a smidgen expensive.

The ferry to Fremantle one way will cost you $25 and if nothing else will chew up 75 minutes on our quest to get to the 16 hour mark. However, to consider it a time filler does it zero justice: the scenery is breathtaking in some places and the guide gives you just enough information to let you know what you are seeing. If I had one criticism it is that they only opened one bar and as it was on a different level of the boat than me I decided to not risk loosing my window seat by leaving it to get a beverage. It frankly would not have taken much to open that bar given that they had a staff member restocking it basically the whole trip.

Fremantle is a very nice harbour town that has as its highlight for nerds like me an excellent Maritime Museum. Now I concede that I love going to museums whenever I travel but again if you are looking at burning up time there are few better ways of doing that than wandering around a museum. You can spend as long you want in the museum until it shuts and the air conditioning gets you out of the intense Perth heat. That said, the Maritime Museum at Fremantle is an absolute ripper: great exhibits, great cafe and a great gift shop. I could have spent hours there by knowing that it shut at 5pm I decided to leave at 4:45pm and head to the train station to travel back to Perth.

I have to say I was very impressed with the train service from Fremantle to Perth. It was cheap ($4) and the carriages were clean and well air conditioned. It being peak hour my carriage did get a little full but it was not long before I was back at Perth Central station.

Another walk around the shops and another bus ride saw me back at my hotel from last night (Comfort Inn on Hay Street) where I had been storing my bags by 7pm. Now I concede as I write this that I have not completely filled the 16 hours I have spare before my flight leaves however there are only 4 hours left to go and as I see it there are only really two ways to spend them. If you are a member of the Qantas Club, one could collect their bags and head to the airport to bunker down and eat the free food and drink the free drink while reading a book. The other alternative is that you can just sit in the hotel lobby, as I am doing right now rest ones weary legs from doing a lot of walking today whilst charging ones phone. This option appealed to me as, having baggage I am going check at the airport I wanted to change clothes and have a quick wash (which I have done) and my phone was completely dead. I will have a meal in the hotel restaurant shortly (it is the least I can do as I have been lazing around the lobby) and I will then head to the airport with an hour or so to go before my plane.

So there you have it: if you are in Perth and you have time to burn before the red eye flight home do not despair because even a novice like me can find enough things to do to keep the mind occupied during a day when plans go awry. You never know, you might like the place so much that you decided you need to come back to properly check out the place like I have.

Travellers on a budget should note that excluding food today cost me a grand total of $39: not bad if funds are tight and you still want to see part of the city of Perth.