As I was growing up, the Babysitter's Club series gave me unrealistic expectations about life in America. First of all, 13 year olds that have some entrepreneurial flair is great, but the fact that the adults of fictional "Stoneybrook" in Connecticut trust this bunch of 11 and 13 year olds with their 2 to 10 year old kids somehow instilled onto my 12 year old self that America was truly the land of teen freedom. Next thing I knew, I was 13 and getting pulled over by a cop car for innocently walking to Jack in the Box with my cousins for a midnight snack whilst we were holidaying in LA. A traditional late night "Maccas Run" is a common thing in Australia, but this time - we were stopped and intensely eyeballed whilst being asked how old we were and what we were doing out here ("out here" was 200m away from our hotel!) It was a scary experience for my cousins and I, but didn't deter from the fact that we LOVED travelling around America. Particularly, when it came to food - everything was served on a big scale and we happily scarfed down everything from Disneyland churros, to Vegas buffets, to cheeseburgers from just about every menu.
It has been a few years since my last American trip and I've been wondering when a slice of Americana cuisine would crop up in Perth. When Miss Kitty's Saloon started receiving rave reviews, I noted it down on my restaurant wishlist with every intention of reliving my childhood nostalgia and enjoying a smashing Chicken 'n' Waffles!
I have to hand it to Miss Kitty's for their commitment in decking the place out. The American barn-yard bar feel is unmistakable; it's bustling inside and packed with memorabilia, Wild West motifs and faux animal skins. There are even "saloon" style swinging shutter doors that mark the entrance to one of the dining areas. Every table around us was served orange slices at the beginning of the meal which were fished out of a wooden barrel in the centre of the restaurant. This place is definitely something different!
Our objective for this brunch was to order a few dishes and share them around the table; Buffalo Wings, an American staple were of course, on the agenda. As far as deep fried chicken goes - it was very tender, however, the dish was let down by it's utter flavourlessness! Where was the tang or spice from the wings sauce? Or the more appropriate question; where was the salt? Even the blue cheese "sauce" was poorly put together; it was nothing more than a blob of blue cheese on top of some cream.
Another disappointing thing about the Buffalo Wings was how oily the dish was. It seems as though after the wings were cooked, they weren't drained at all. Each bite was a conflict of greasyness and extra heavyness from the overpowering blue cheese.
As far as simplicity goes, the Chorizo and Eggs are probably one of the more straightforward dishes on the menu. I really liked this dish; especially the sweet potato, which was roasted beautifully and seasoned well. It did feel like a bit of a mish-mash with Spanish Chorizo and Mexican Frijoles Refritos but all in all, it was a good take on your classic Big Breakfast, done well.
One of my friends concluded that the reason why this dish stood out, was "how wrong can you go with bacon and eggs?" Well, really - it can go wrong...very wrong! I have to commend them on the crispy chorizo, perfectly cooked eggs and that very memorable sweet potato!
I was extremely excited when my breakfast hit the table - the chicken looked very crispy indeed! There's something extremely comforting about having juicy, crispy chicken over a crunchy, sweet waffle...which is then generously doused in maple syrup. (Bacon is a bonus!) It's one of those sweet and salty combinations that just work so well in food - it's the salted caramel of breakfasts!
Despite the obvious sprinkling of salt over the chicken, the pieces themselves were largely flavourless. It was very unexpected that the crumb coating and the chicken itself carried no flavour whatsoever. The waffle was slightly undercooked in the centre and unpleasantly soaked to the core with salad dressing and syrup. The textures of the dish would have worked out better if the sauces were placed separately, to be added at the table by the customer.
The salad was the true saving grace of this dish; despite it being more sweet than "chilli", it was still fresh and extremely tasty - I really liked the addition of fresh citrus pieces too! It was unfortunate that something so quintessentially delicious and traditionally American didn't quite leave an impression on us.
When it comes to dipping chips, I'll forever be an aioli over tomato anything person. This bowl of golden potato glass wonder has definitely made the list for one the best chips in Perth. I highly suspect some triple cooking action going on here - there was not a soggy fry in sight! And even despite my eternal love for aioli, I couldn't go past a few generous dunks in their accompanying sauce. I was the only one on the table to find that the tomato sauce was an acquired taste, but it definitely grows on you...everybody else loved it from the first bite!
What's an American diner without Root Beer? Your average can of A&W costs around $2-$2.50 in Perth, so the Root Beer at Miss Kitty's was practically daylight robbery. Charge $4.50 at least by all means, if you're going to fashion it into a Root Beer Float! The Bottomless Iced Tea is definitely a more economic option; for one...it's free flow! Very rare to see in Perth unless it's for an event; the tea itself is very earthy and if anything, slightly bitter. We added sugar syrup in ours which you can request the staff for, along with as many refills as you fancy!
I was really hoping that the desserts would help to pull up Miss Kitty's game - aside from the sweet potato and the "golden glass" like chips, there wasn't much that left me blown away.
We were all a little shocked as to why this tiny glass of "banoffee pie" cost more than the huge donut that we also had before us. I was really hoping for a ooey gooey toffee like banana with a crispy crust and sweet cream. Instead, it seemed more like cream, upon cream, upon cream...with even more creaminess from the fresh banana.
The bottom layer formed the "toffee" aspect, whilst the chocolate crackle layer acted as the pie's crust. For me, it's just not a good banoffee anything and in general, not a very good dessert.
Things in jars may be visually appealing, but not everything needs to be "deconstructed" then layered into a jar for customers to try something off a menu. A classic slice of banoffee pie, topped with caramelised bananas and cream would have impressed us a lot more than a fun-sized dessert wanna-be.
It was also a shame to discover that the donut was not served crispy or hot - granted, it's a well made donut but those aspects would have definitely made this a more enjoyable dessert. Much like the fried chicken, despite it being obviously sprinkled in sugar, the donut itself was thick and rather bland. Thankfully, the apple custard gave the donut that hit of sweetness and some much needed sinful creaminess.
The concept is wonderful and the cuisine itself tugs at many of my nostalgic food memory heart strings...but there were just aspects of each dish that needed to be improved. The downside of sitting in the booth area was that for some reason, it was really hard to get any attention from the waitstaff. It was a long wait for drinks and service in general, but when we did receive it - it was spot on friendly and pleasant. After reflecting on all the dishes, I will say that the portions are definitely too small for the prices that they charge - we had to order two bowls of chips to fill ourselves up before dessert came by. It's a very interesting menu and something that would entice a lot of customers, but even the creative restaurant surroundings does not compensate for their halfway effort in capturing well loved flavours and authentic American/Canadian cuisine.