It is not often that I would risk a visit to Joondalup on a foodie-related adventure. However, Kulcha has been stubbornly sitting on Urbanspoon’s top ‘Cheap eats’ list and I woke up too late for breakfast, so we decided to make the trek to see what all the fuss is about.
The food menu contains hundreds of items that are loosely labelled as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese etc. It’s important to remember the restaurant’s location and the demographic of regular customers. Do not expect authentic dishes, fancy presentation, or award-winning service. This is a place that offers quick and cheap meals which cater for the Western palate.
Lemon Lime Bitters (jug for $7.50)
The first thing that I noticed about the drinks menu is that everything is really cheap. There was writing on a mirror that advertised $4 glasses of house white wine and $3 mid-strength beers. Also, the drinks menu is comprised almost completely of alcoholic beverages, including Jägerbombs and cocktails. We opted to share a jug of lemon lime bitters between us in order to fight off the summer heat.
Prawn and Pork Toast ($6)
The entrées were too cheap to pass up. I ordered prawn and pork toast, which was not what I expected. Rather than toast with prawns and sesame seeds, Kulcha makes deep-fried squares of pork held together with some kind of batter. This was unexpected, but I was happy just to have something to dip in sweet chilli sauce.
Spicy Salted Squid (entrée size for $6)
I enjoyed the light crispy batter of the squid and the crunchy barely-cooked bits of onion. This easily matches the equivalent dishes that are served up in any Chinese restaurant in Northbridge.
Sizzling Egg Tofu ($10)
We ordered this dish with steamed rice (extra $2). I was disappointed by the lack of minced pork which I normally expect to be served with this dish. However, there was an abundance of tofu, egg, and the curious brown sauce. The sauce was very salty and seemed to consist mainly of soy sauce and hoi sin sauce. This is not a dish that I would order again.
Pan Fried Snapper Fillet in Traditional Vietnamese Sauce with Rice ($9)
The snapper is usually $13.70 but the restaurant offers a lunch special where you can order certain mains with a serving of rice for only $9. The generous serving of fish is great value for money, plus I enjoyed munching on the dried chillis because they had proper heat. However, I found this dish was also too salty for my liking and I ended up picking the pieces of fish out of the sauce.
It seems to be accepted practice for the local wildlife to casually stroll around the restaurant floor. This pigeon was quite fearless and harmless, but it looked pretty dirty and I would have preferred if it had stayed outside…
Service is quite inattentive and slow. You might have to wave your arms around to have your order taken, or to check if they have forgotten certain dishes. My attitude is that you pay for what you get, so there’s no point complaining about service when you’re looking for cheap eats!
One thing that did make me *facepalm* was my realisation that Kulcha is some ridiculous ghetto-spelling of “culture”, hahaha.
Likes: low food and drink prices
Dislikes: one or two waitresses who actively avoid your eye contact
Value for money: reasonable
Overall: I’m unlikely to trek to Joondalup again, but it’s a great spot for locals
Unit 2, 49 Boas Ave
(08) 9300 9828