Post image for Everyone needs a friend called Clarence

Everyone needs a friend called Clarence

November 5, 2010 · 84 comments

He sat there on the rickety wooden chair for the longest time, dance card clutched in his hand, sweaty with nerves. Every time I wandered past he would look up expectantly, the same hopeful expression on his face that would fade to sad disappointment as I kept walking and chose another.

Clarence saw so many other posts come and go, whisked off to the blog with a smile on their face, excited at the prospect of being read and determined to get more comments than those who went before them. He really didn’t deserve to be so continually passed over, and I’m ashamed of my behaviour. You see, he sat there languishing on the uncomfortable chair for three whole months, his face developing creases to match those on his once freshly ironed shirt.

And now, the joke is on me, who left him there. What was once such a promising young post has been superseded by the passing of time. The season has changed, and with it so has Clarence’s menu. All the delectable dishes he so badly wanted me to show you are no longer available, having been replaced by younger ones, much like poor Clarence himself. Although these dishes are now just fleeting memories in the minds of Perth diners, I owe it to Clarence to share them with you.

Clarence, this one’s for you. And also S, whose birthday it was three months ago when we actually ate all this food.

Duck liver parfait, onion jam $15.00

Clarences Bar & Restaurant in Mount Lawley just feels cool when you enter. That perfect dimly lit atmosphere that has food bloggers groaning in frustration and people having a bad skin day smiling in delight. The four of us were tucked into a little cosy booth and enjoying a variety of drinks that entirely slip my memory, struggling to peruse the menu whilst listening to F regale us with tales of the madness of the soccer World Cup he had enjoyed/survived in South Africa not long previous.

As it turns out, we didn’t need very long to reach our food decisions anyway, as a few things jumped out at us. F chose to start with the “Duck liver parfait, onion jam” ($15) and continue on with the “Crispy pork belly, red cabbage, cauliflower” ($19) which D also settled on quite easily. Birthday girl S chose the “Seared scallop, arroz, chorizo” ($19) and a side of the “Sautéed silverbeet, lemon, fennel” ($8). Although sorely tempted by the pork belly I couldn’t go past the “Spiced lamb tagine, couscous, almonds” ($25).

It was not long before the duck liver parfait came out, which F kindly shared with the rest of us. I was a little apprehensive as I don’t often enjoy liver dishes, finding the taste of iron overpowering, but this was well and truly an exception. The parfait was smooth and creamy, not overbearing in its richness, and with a totally manageable taste of iron. The onion jam was a perfect accompaniment providing the touch of sweetness required, and the bread was lovely and fresh. We were soon asking for more bread to finish off the rest of the parfait and jam, and poor F was probably left regretting his generous offer to share.

Crispy pork belly, red cabbage, cauliflower $19.00

Both boys agreed that the pork belly was a winner, tasting as good as it looked. Definitely one for the pork lovers, whom I know aren’t exactly thin on the ground. Or thin anywhere, ha! (I can say such things because I happen to be a pork lover too. It’s like how you can call your family awful names and it’s totally fine, but it’s absolutely unacceptable for anyone else to do the same. Agreed? Good.)

Seared scallop, arroz, chorizo $19.00

Sauteed silverbeet, lemon, fennel $8.00

The birthday girl on the other hand is not at all a lover of pork, having sworn off eating it on moral grounds some time ago. She was therefore quite unimpressed at being tricked into eating chorizo in this dish, until we pointed out that the chorizo is actually clearly stated on the menu. She managed to enjoy her meal despite the side serving of guilt to accompany the side serving of somewhat unattractive yet fresh and tasty silverbeet.

Spiced lamb tagine, couscous, almonds $25.00

It may not look it in this photo but my lamb dish was very generously portioned, and it was a little struggle but I polished off every last morsel down to the very last moghrabieh grain. The lamb was perfectly tender, only ever so slightly fatty, and the lemons provided a perfect little kick of tartness to round off the spice of the sauce and the slight sweetness of the meat. I’m really very sad that this is not on the menu any more.

My sadness at the loss of the lamb is however tempered by the addition of a dish described as “coconut poached chicken, tamarind, chilli, ginger salad”. Oh yes, I must try this.

I must also get there to try the Monday Night Special – chicken parma for $15 with $5 pints of James Boags. Although  unlike our eastern states compadres we don’t have a ubiquitous chicken parma special every two steps down the street in Perth, it’s still somewhat of a pub classic that I’m sure we’ve all had mediocre versions of. I’m pretty keen to see what type of spin the team at Clarences will put on it. Will it be served with soggy chips and covered in enough goopy melted cheese to stretch out into a jacket if you get chilly?

See you soon, Clarence. I hope you can forgive me.

Clarences Bar & Restaurant

Address:                  566 Beaufort Street MOUNT LAWLEY 6050
Phone:                      08 9228 9474
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 4pm-midnight; Fri-Sat: noon-midnight; Sun: noon-10pm
Website:                   Clarences Bar & Restaurant
We paid:                   ~$40/head for shared entrée (starter), mains and drinks

Clarences Bar on Urbanspoon

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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

OohLookBel November 5, 2010 at 8:32 am

Poor Clarence! I have one called Apple Crumble with the same fate (will probably never see the light of blog day). At least you now have a record of your friend’s birthday meal :)
OohLookBel´s last blog post ..Pohs Kitchen Steamed egg custard

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Conor November 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

There is probably an online community where all these forgotten posts get together and console each other, saying nasty things about us and maybe finishing off with a few shared scones and cups of tea (though perhaps the scones part seems a little cannibalistic). Good point! Thanks Bel :)

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Rebecca November 5, 2010 at 9:23 am

I love the Clarence and glad to see someone making sure they get their due. I was surprised at no reference to their fantastic cocktails which I have particularly enjoyed in the past, and can’t wait to try again when I get home!

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Conor November 6, 2010 at 10:10 am

Ah yes good call Rebecca, I am yet to try these fantastic cocktails but… I think they have a cocktail night on Wednesdays when they are all $11 so I will have to get down there soon!

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Cakelaw November 5, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I heart pork belly, and this one looks magnificent!
Cakelaw´s last blog post ..FFwD – Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake

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Conor November 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

Fabulous big chunks of it hey Cakelaw! Was quite impressive when it was brought out to the table, wobbling slightly :)

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Hannah November 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Ah, I think we all have a few of these posts languishing… the ones detailing something that we enjoyed, and yet the more time that passes since we enjoyed them, the less we feel like blogging them. I know I have a bundle of chocolate tasting notes for reviews that I keep avoiding in favour of talking about chocolate I’ve had more recently!

Also, I think we all know that you don’t fall into that generalisation about pork lovers, so I’m not entirely convinced by your casting-a-stone-if-you-are-a-stone logic! Mrs “I like to run multiple kilometres while my friend Hannah sits on the couch not wanting to get up even to change the tv channel”.
Hannah´s last blog post ..Glimpses of Canberra- Spring Edition

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Conor November 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

We need a little cemetery for these posts where we may lay them peacefully to rest, then head off down to the pub to have a wake. Or maybe a little retirement home for them so they can hang out together and play canasta and drink shandies.

Hmmm, I’m not so sure, you haven’t seen me trying to fit into my summer shorts lately. I am sitting here typing this as I recover from my 10km morning run though, so you might be onto something. Just a little. Smidge.

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Katerina November 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm

All the dishes look fabulous but the scallops are perfect.
Katerina´s last blog post ..Quick Meals Part 1- Mushroom Soup

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Conor November 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

They look so big and juicy don’t they Katerina! Very nicely seared too. S is lucky she was paying close attention to them the whole time so tragedy may have struck :D

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msihua November 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

That pork belly looks superb! So amazingly sinful!
msihua´s last blog post ..Milkwood – Brunswick East – Breakfast Review @ 120 Nicholson Street

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Amazingly sinful is the perfect way to describe it :)

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Gourmetgetaways November 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm

So funny :) poor Clarence having to wait three months to get his day in the spotlight. I have stories like that too… The scallops look so nice! Yum.

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Sadly, three months is nothing compared to some of them! I fear we all have many who will never get their time to shine. Oh well, at least we have scallops to distract us from the guilt ;)

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penny aka jeroxie November 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

PORK BELLY.. hallo! That has my name on it

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm

You know Penny, it did! We thought of sending it back to the kitchen but then I realised what it said ;)

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mademoiselle délicieuse November 5, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I’ve never thought of the rich taste of liver being iron-y, but it makes absolute sense now that you’ve mentioned it!
mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog post ..Sugar Hit- Guylian Café- 22 Oct &amp Number One Wine Bar- 23 Oct 2010

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I’ll be curious to see if this changes your appreciation for liver next time you try some!

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denise @ quickies on the dinner table November 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm

OMG!! That pork belly looks better than my own rendition *gasp* Did I actually say that?!?! ;)

Everything looks scrumptious and you gotta love those prices!! I’d have gone for that porky treat and the scallops, um, maybe the liver parfait too. But wait, where’s dessert?!?!

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Nooooo Denise surely not!! I think we need………….. a BELLY OFF!!! I’ll kindly volunteer as judge.

I know, I’m terrible, we didn’t have any dessert. Next time, Gadget, next time!

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Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz November 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Oh I think we all have a Clarence in our draft files. His pork belly looks superb though! yumm
Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz´s last blog post ..Rice Flour Cake

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm

The self help group for unpublished posts would have a large membership I think!

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 6, 2010 at 1:24 am

Poor old Clarence. You more than made up for leaving him languishing with this great post though. I so enjoy your writing!
Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog post ..French Fridays with Dorie- Pumpkin gorgonzola flans

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Thank you my dear! I hope I did him justice :)

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Jane November 6, 2010 at 3:55 am

The seared scallops look amazing! And so does the spiced lamb, brilliant pictures!

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Thank you Jane! I’m beginning to wish I’d tried those scallops too.

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Maria @ Scandifoodie November 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Great looking dishes, love the scallops!
Maria @ Scandifoodie´s last blog post ..Tea Poached Salmon with Fragrant Brown Rice

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Sadly no scallops on the updated menu Maria, but at least I have this photo to pine over I guess.

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pierre November 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm

why do you have such a nice pork belly ? i ma jealous !!Pierre

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Because I’ve been rolling around in the mud and sniffing lots of truffles?

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Karen Harris November 7, 2010 at 4:00 am

I hope Clarence takes comfort in the fact that he has many American cousins waiting for their own big moment in the sun in the dark recesses of my computer’s memory. I figure that some day, long after I die, they will be discovered and make me famous posthumously.

I hope you don’t mind but I used your Kale Chips recipe on my blog and referenced you as well. Seeing that I don’t do too much healthy cooking. when I need a lighter recipe I have to resort to stealing them from my friends!
Karen Harris´s last blog post ..Whats Eating You

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Conor November 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Yes Karen, it will be just like Stieg Larsson! But without the untimely demise and the family feuding.

You’re very welcome to ‘steal’ from me, glad they were a hit for you too. I still have to try a version with cheesy goodness involved.

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Trix November 7, 2010 at 8:22 am

Well, you’ve written the perfect homage to all the un-posted posts I know we ALL have. Too funny! As someone who didn’t eat meat for over 10 years and only recent;y started again for work and in school, I am ashamed to admit how good that damn pork belly looks. Poor piggy. Poor, yummy, delicious piggy.

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Conor November 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

Thanks Trix! Oh yes, that poor delicious tasty crunchy unctuous yummy piggy :D

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5 Star Foodie November 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

Those are some scrumptious dishes in this place! That pork belly sure looks perfect and sounds like it was fantastic! Too bad the lamb is no longer on their menu, it sounded excellent too!

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Conor November 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

Agreed! Still, it bodes well for the new menu which can only be a good thing. Plus, the new menu still has a form of pork belly in it so not all is lost!

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Adrian November 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Go the pork belly! I love pork crackling and have been trying to gather some support for a spit. Though with all that fat it looks like a serving size you’ll pay for afterwards.
Adrian´s last blog post ..Red Cabbage- South Perth

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Conor November 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

What… you have been having difficulty gathering support for a spit??? Gah!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

But Conor! I must protest, you don’t LOOK like a pork belly lover! :P

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Conor November 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

Lorraine, you really know how to make a girl feel good about herself ;)

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I merely speak the truth! :)

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 8:13 am

It’s all clever photoshopping ;)

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Juliana November 9, 2010 at 5:33 am

Yummie, everything looks fabulous, specially the pork belly…

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Conor November 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Looking forward to getting back there Juliana :)

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Patty Price November 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

Hi Conor, Ah the missing two and a half hours??? I want a spiced lamb tagine, I have the preserved lemons just crying out to go with this lovely dish! I am working on my visa to visit Australia in December, I’m getting excited, will I find wonderful cuisine and friendly people such as Clarence?? in Sydney??or Melbourne??

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Conor November 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

My preserved lemons are just about ready to rock, thanks for reminding me! They’re hidden away under the sink and I fear I will forget them until I move house next. Oooh you should be excited! I haven’t really been to Sydney but Melbourne has a lot to offer. You better pack your stretchy pants!!

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Magic of Spice November 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Well at least Clarence finally had the spotlight…
I know there are many that will never see light :(
This is a fantastic post Conor, and I am particularly drawn to those scallops :)
Magic of Spice´s last blog post ..Whats for Dessert Vanilla Custard with Pomegranate Molasses and Awards

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 8:15 am

Thank you :) those scallops are begging to be drawn towards! I know, all those poor posts yearning for their moment in the sun who will be kept in a dark little room forever. Until they’re put out to happy pasture, that is.

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Pam November 10, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Clarence finally had his day!

Everything looks tasty but the scallops and chorizo arroz is SCREAMING my name.
Pam´s last blog post ..Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

Hip hip hooray for him! :)
Aha, I was wondering what that noise was! Thought it was something in the A/C duct but little did I know it was the little scallop voices.

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jen November 11, 2010 at 5:35 am

Hi Conor! Okay, normally I don’t leave comments on strangers blogs, but yours is just so faabulous I couldn’t leave without saying something! I just so happened to stumble upon your blog through reading Karen Cheng’s post on ‘Crust Pizza’. Anyway, I just wanted to say I LOVE the way that you write – lively, witty, tongue-in-cheek – it makes me laugh out loud! You now have yourself a new regular reader. :)

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 8:20 am

Jen, this was the first thing I read this morning as I sat down at my computer with my bowl of porridge, and I don’t often use the phrase “warm fuzzies” but that is a pretty apt summary of how reading this comment made me feel :) Thank you so much, I am fabulously happy to welcome you into my readership posse :D
Also, just read Karen’s write-up.. despite her claims, her little lumps of dog poo pizza was quite delicious.

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Simply Life November 11, 2010 at 6:58 am

Oh the site of those scallops in making my stomach growl!
Simply Life´s last blog post ..Jira Rice and Chhole!

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 8:21 am

I am now feeling officially stupid for not demanding the birthday girl let me try a scallop.

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Jess November 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

Oh, the posts I have sitting in my drafts, just waiting to actually be finished off and published. Too bad for them – they’re usually a mish-mash of partial ingredients lists and random thoughts, and I have long forgotten the full recipe that I devised (to the extent of thinking “How the feck did I get that one ingredient into the rest of them? How did I combine them all in one recipe? This makes no sense.”)

That pork belly looks particularly amazing. I have a theory that a person cannot eat pork belly two days in a row. The amazing combination of crunchy and liquid fat the first time is amazing, but completely overwhelmingly unbearable if attempted again within 24 hours. I’ve tried multiple times and the second attempt at eating it always makes me feel a bit seedy and ill. But I still manage to finish it somehow, against my better judgement…

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 11:52 am

Oh Jess, the number of times I’ve lamented having trusted my memory with reviews or recipes, only to find weeks later that I have apparently replaced the necessary memories with whatever I’ve just eaten.

I have not attempted to eat pork belly two days in a row but I completely believe that it would only end in tears. Salty porky tears. I suspect that drinking beer at the same time would somehow negate the bad qualities, but I guess this may just lead to prolonged seedy/ill feelings.

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danica November 11, 2010 at 11:44 am

i had a bad experience there (owing to horrendous service), but there is no denying that the food is fantastic. i started to drooling as soon as i saw your photograph of the crispy pork belly. We ordered it when we went, but for some unknown reason it was never brought to our table :(

Delicious photos, Conor!
danica´s last blog post ..pigeonhole vintage

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Conor November 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

Thanks Danica!

Oh dear, sorry to hear about the horrendous service (although you have totally piqued my curiosity.. I love a good tale of horrendous service) and even more sorry you didn’t get any pork belly satisfaction! I can think of nothing sadder than to be expecting crispy pork belly and to end up with a porkless table of despair.

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Arwen from Hoglet K November 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

The scallops certainly look prettier than the spinach. I’m glad poor Clarence’s shirt rumples have been straightened out with this post.

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 7:41 am

Yes, that poor spinach certainly wasn’t going to win any prizes in a beauty contest (or even second prize, collect $10!)

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Agnes November 11, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Poor Clarence. I’m super glad you gave him his time on the blog though! What other little gems have you got hiding back there?

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 7:41 am

Agnes, you just wait and see! Yes, wait and wait and wait…… :|

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tasteofbeirut November 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I can relate!
Love that lamb couscous tagine thing; the inspiration is on now! as for pork belly, hmm, but I like the liver plate.

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 7:43 am

It was an inspirational dish to eat Joumana! Well, it inspired me to finish every last bite, anyway :D

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Natasha November 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Hi Conor!
Your photos turned out so nice :)
Mine turned out really bad as it was so dark in there. Maybe it’s time to invest in a better camera.
Good review! My friend was in love with the duck liver parfait too and we asked for extra bread as you did haha
Natasha´s last blog post ..Secret Garden Cafe- South Perth

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 7:45 am

Hi Natasha, thanks! Yes, definitely had to use the flash in there, which I would rather not do (for possible friend annoyance as well as photo quality reasons!) but sometimes it’s the only choice. I wish I could invest in a better camera! Maybe we’ve been good enough for Santa to grant us this wish? ;)

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Ellie (Almost Bourdain) November 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Poor poor Clarence! Lovely spread of food especially the Pork belly!
Ellie (Almost Bourdain)´s last blog post ..Panda Baby Cupcake Planet Cake Cupcakes Book Review

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 7:46 am

Pork belly lovers unite, Ellie! Woo :)

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pierre November 14, 2010 at 5:15 pm

hi conor No new post? jeez i am disappointed !!Pierre
pierre´s last blog post ..Ma tourtière bien-aimée

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 7:49 am

Oh Pierre you just didn’t look hard enough ;)

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cheffresco November 15, 2010 at 10:55 am

Oh yum! Everything looks soo good!

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm

It was! I have to get back!

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Trissa November 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I’ve got some posts too that have never see the light of the internet! LOL!

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Conor November 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Don’t we all, Trissa! It’s the curse of the blogger, I guess we just need to embrace it :)

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Kimba's Kitchen November 17, 2010 at 8:08 am

That crispy pork belly… I WANT!
Kimba’s Kitchen´s last blog post ..Peanut Butter Waffles with Custard &amp Raspberries

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Conor November 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Me too! Let’s go!

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Forager @ The Gourmet Forager November 17, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Those crispy squares of pork belly look so tempting! And I have heaps of those neglected friends so I know what you mean. But where you find them eventually mine get disowned eventually. Bad friend I know.
Forager @ The Gourmet Forager´s last blog post ..The simple pleasures of artichoke – dips for all seasons

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Conor November 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Oh don’t fear, I’m a bad friend too, you would be horrified to look inside my repository of neglected posts :( I think Clarence’s pork belly is what pulled him through!

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Jamie November 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Ah, me. It is often the opposite chez moi: an empty page awaiting a dish never cooked or a cake never baked, or the same old blog post sitting for all the world to see day after day after day as I struggle to find the energy to create something to post. I think I have one cake I baked months ago for my son’s birthday that never got posted. Poor Clarence, but at least you went, you ate, you enjoyed…

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Conor November 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Jamie, perhaps we need to join forces… I’ll do all the eating and you do all the writing. Deal? ;)

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Maria@TheGourmetChallenge November 18, 2010 at 6:16 am

oh that happens often to me. But you know what, the dish will live on forever in our heart, even if its not offered on any menu any more.
Maria@TheGourmetChallenge´s last blog post ..Results – Fresh tomato Broth with Saffron- Ricotta Fritter

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Conor November 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

And maybe, just maybe, it might be back next season!

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Mark February 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I think pork belly is one of the most evil treats on this planet. That looks fantastic. I cooked up some pork belly recently. Didnt turn out perfect… which is why i havent posted it. Im going to get the butcher to chop me up some more and ill try again.

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