OEC addiction

BEFORE writing Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov read about an ape raised in captivity and given a set of crayons and paper.  The first thing it drew were the bars on its own cage.

For a long time, Perth’s dining scene felt like a flatulent ape, trapped inside a cage of high prices and self-congratulation.

Thankfully the re-birth of Northbridge has been the catalyst for a number of vibrant cafes with lower prices.

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The latest addition is OEC Bob, a small Japanese number on Newcastle Street.

On a bright winter’s day we sat in the small stone courtyard, ignoring the smattering of tables inside.

Most of the menu was Japanese- or Korean-based, including sushi, mains (soft-shell crab, donburi, pork belly) and “sizzlers” (yakiniku beef, piggy platter, unagi).

There was also a small western breakfast section, including the compulsory eggs benedict and “big breakfast”.

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We opted for the vegetarian gyoza ($7), beef bulgolgi ($12.50) and bibimbob ($13.50).

Glancing around, the clientele was pretty random: two businessmen were trying to impress each other, a table of students was staring at phones and a bloated man, wearing a pince-nez and plum blazer, was reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Thankfully the entrees arrived and I was transported from the land of trouser dumplings to fried ones. The gyoza had a nice crispy carapace and were crammed with fresh vegetables.

I prefer my gyoza steamed, but these were tasty and a pleasant overture to the meal.

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As the poor demented soul reading Fifty Shades harrumphed, a smiley waitress slid two huge bowls onto our table. The bibimbob—a signature Korean dish—featured a mountain of rice topped with sauteed vegetables and spicy pork.

It was a beautifully presented dish and all the ingredients were separated into bright piles of colour.

Complementing the meal was a small pot of chilli paste, which added a fiery kick to the unsuspecting carrots and spring onions.

The bibimbob was an interesting dish which I had never tried before, and although hard to pronounce—I challenge you to do so without conjuring a mental image of Billy Bob Thornton — was a new favourite, combining soft vegetables with slivers of rich pork.

Across the table my friend was devouring his bulgogi, a delicious medley of marinated beef, lettuce, chives and honey soy sauce.

“It’s very addictive,” he mumbled, before spearing another mound of juicy beef.

We finished off the meal with a large cappuccino ($4.50) and a short macchiato ($3.70)

I liked OEC Bob: the service was friendly and the food tasty, with a hint of sophistication.

I also liked the informal cafe vibe and the quirky menu.

These two apes, unlike Mr Nabokov’s, left the restaurant happy.

O-ec-bob: light of my life, fire of my loins…


Cafe OEC Bob
145 Newcastle Street
9227 1584

897 A Fish Called Inglewood 9x2.3 897 Terrace Hotel 9x2.3897 Okay Restaurant 10x3

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