Perth Food & Drink Guide (Part 1)

The food and drink scene in Perth has grown in leaps and bounds since I left in 2009. Although there are certainly areas that could still be improved upon, there’s no doubt that these days things are better than ever for those who enjoy eating and drinking out in Perth.

On my first trip back to Perth after 18 months away, it was possible to see everywhere that was new and worthwhile in the space of a few short days. Today, there is a much wider selection of places at which to eat and drink and whenever I’m back home I only get to try a handful of the new places on offer because I always run out of time.

Gone are the days when restaurateurs and bar owners would open venues that were pale imitations of what was on offer in Melbourne and Sydney. Today, many of the new places that are opening in Perth are just as exciting as those in Melbourne and Sydney and, in some cases, anywhere else in the world. A new-found confidence is evident throughout the city and people are more willing than ever to draw on their inspirations, both internationally and locally, to open some great venues.

The mining boom has resulted in food and drink prices in Perth sky-rocketing, which is unfortunate and there are still roadblocks that stop the eating and drinking scene from reaching its full potential (liquor licencing forcing great small bars to close at midnight, and almost arbitrarily denying patrons the ability to stand outside in enclosed outdoor areas to have a drink and enjoy the great weather for example) however there’s no denying that for locals and visitors alike, there are great meals, great drinks and great times to be had in Perth… and things are only getting better.

Spurred on by the popularity and positive feedback to my “Where I Ate In 2013” Melbourne posts that I wrote up, and by the fact that over the past few months I’ve been asked on several occasions if I could provide Perth food and drink tips to various people, I was inspired to write up something similar for Perth too given that I’ve eaten and drunk quite a lot in Perth over the past year.

I’ve chosen a mixture of places to talk about, ranging from the new and newish, to old favourites that I find myself returning to again and again. As opposed to my usual food focus, I’ll be including a few more bars as a natural consequence of me having had the chance to visit quite a few of them on my trips back. On that note, let’s get down to business with Part 1 of my Perth Food & Drink Guide.

Pleased To Meet You

Clint Nolan’s latest venue, Pleased To Meet You, has opened up on Roe Street, in a part of Northbridge that’s set to explode once the Perth City Link project linking the CBD and Northbridge is completed. The venue is spacious, industrial and minimal and the vibe is very funky and causal – a pig roasting over coals is in clear view when perched at the bar makes a statement about what this place is about.

The food is Asian hawker inspired with a sprinkling of North American influences for good measure. Dishes are served in portions designed to share. A very decent selection of drinks are on offer, including a very decent selection of craft beers from Australia and overseas.

perth food drink guide where to eat pleased to meet you

When I visited the overall verdict was that the food was very good. The pig, which is served in 100 gram portions, was very tender and the crackling was delicious. There were a few things that were saltier than they needed to be and when my friend mentioned this to the attentive barman he was very receptive. It was the week of opening so it was to be expected that a few weeks would be required to get the balance of everything just right. I’ll be interested to go back next time I’m in town now that Pleased to Meet You has had time to find its feet given how promising my first visit was.

Pleased To Meet You

38 Roe Street
Northbridge
Western Australia 6003
Australia

Telephone:   n/a
Email:            info@ptmy.com.au
Website:        Facebook

Open
Mon – Thu:  5:00pm to 12:00am
Fri – Sun:     12:00pm to 12:00am

Pleased To Meet You on Urbanspoon

Sayers Sister

Sayers Sister is, as the name suggests, the sister cafe to Leederville’s Sayers. The thing I really like about Sayers Sister is that it exemplifies for me what a cafe should be about. Slightly hidden in a residential part of town, the lack of pretension is noticeable as soon as you walk in. The inside is not full of exposed brick or trying to be on trend, it’s just slightly eclectic and “nice”.

This attitude flows through to the rest of the experience at Sayers Sister too. Service is friendly (although I have heard that it can get affected during the hectic period at breakfast on weekends), and the food is great. Quality, seasonal ingredients source from local producers and simple dishes done well. Add in some excellent coffee using a Five Sense house blend and you can’t go wrong. One of the best breakfast options in Perth, and a great spot for a coffee and cake later on in the day.

Sayers Sister

236 Lake Street
Northbridge
Western Australia 6003
Australia

Telephone:   (08) 9227 7506
Email:            sayersfood@westnet.com.au
Website:        http://www.sayersfood.com.au/

Open
Mon – Fri:   7:00am to 5:00pm
Sat – Sun:    7:00am to 4:00pm

Sayers Sister on Urbanspoon

The Old Crow

The Old Crow was one of my favourite new Perth openings of 2013. It’s take on Southern Style American food is a refreshing change from the usual “trend of the moment” venues. Yes, American “dude food” has been on trend for the past year, but the food at the Old Crow is more than this. It eschews many of the typical options found on similar menus around the country for food that stands out.

Buttermilk, biscuits, a few fried bits and bobs, maple, hot sauce – it’s all there but it’s a bit more sophisticated. Sophisticated food doesn’t mean stuffy though, and the vibe is fun, and the service excellent. A table outside is highly recommended if you can get one.

perth food drink guide where to eat the old crow

The Old Crow

172 Newcastle Street
Perth
Western Australia 6000
Australia

Telephone:   (08) 9227 9995
Email:            info@theoldcrow.com.au
Website:        http://theoldcrow.com.au/

Open
Mon:          8:00am to 10:00pm
Thu:           10:00am to 10:00pm
Fri:             10:00am to 11:00pm
Sat – Sun:   8:00am to 11:00pm

The Old Crow on Urbanspoon

Mary Street Bakery

I’ve been to Mary Street Bakery a few times and while the food is good (I have had breakfast and lunch there), there’s nothing that really stands out as being particularly special. The real highlights in my opinion are the delicious cakes, desserts and coffee. A great venue to catch up with friends during the day.

The staff are friendly, but things can get a bit confused when the place gets busy and you’re waiting for a table.

perth food drink guide where to eat mary street bakery

Mary Street Bakery

507 Beaufort Street
Highgate
Western Australia 6003
Australia

Telephone:   0499 509 300
Email:            n/a
Website:        http://marystreetbakery.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:   7:00am to 4:00pm

Mary Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Ace Pizza

Ace Pizza has become a staple of my family when they are in the mood for some pizza to take home and enjoy. There’s a good reason for this. Proper thin based wood fired Italian pizzas with a handful of toppings that let the quality ingredients shine (the way it’s supposed to be). Are they the best pizzas in Perth? It’s arguable, but regardless they are very decent and well worth your time.

If dining in, the venue is very much on trend. A side street entrance, bearded folk, retro Campari glasses and an assortment of other 2013 appropriate dining hallmarks are all present. There are a range of non pizza options on the menu that I’m yet to try, but it all looked quite decent. Next time I’m in town I’ll be sure to dine in and see if the rest of the food matches the pizzas.

Ace Pizza

448 Beaufort Street
Highgate
Western Australia 6003
Australia

Telephone:   0499 448 000
Email:            speaktous@acepizza.com.au
Website:        http://acepizza.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:   5:30am to 10:00pm

Ace Pizza on Urbanspoon

The Classroom

My wife and I visited The Classroom with a large group of friends and were very impressed with, well everything. There’s not too much in this part of town which makes the Classroom somewhat unique – you can’t just stumble upon it, you have to know it’s where you want to be.

The fit out is influenced by classrooms and what looks like a library. It’s a little bit fun and a little bit sophisticated at the same time.

perth food drink guide where to eat the classroom

The menu is like a grown up version of what would be found in the school canteen of your dreams and the cocktails are creative and brilliant. The staff really know their stuff and there are a lot of top shelf spirits on offer. There’s a nice little selection of craft beer too.

The Classroom

356 Charles Street
North Perth
Western Australia 6006
Australia

Telephone:   (08) 9444 7729
Email:            info@theclassroom.com.au
Website:        http://theclassroom.com.au/

Open
Tue – Fri:   4:00pm to 12:00am
Sat:            12:00pm to 12:00am
Sun:           12:00pm to 10:00pm

The Classroom on Urbanspoon

Varnish On King

Varnish on King is one of those places that makes one think “wow Perth is really changing” (ignoring the 10:30pm lockout which has been enforced upon the venue – baby steps Perth).

Heading down the stairs into the basement, patrons enter into Andrew Freeman’s (of Luxe fame) 1920s speak-easy style den with low lighting, comfy seating and lots of wood. It’s the kind of place that I always wished existed in Perth when I lived there. The staff are friendly and really know their stuff and the vibe is really laid back.

perth food drink guide where to eat varnish on king

As for the drinks. The main focus is on whiskey, with over 100 American variants on offer (as well as a few from north of the border). There’s a very decent selection of international wines too. I haven’t had a chance to eat at Varnish, but the menu is local ingredients with an American twist.

Varnish On King

75 King Street
Perth
Western Australia 6000
Australia

Telephone:   (08) 9324 2237
Email:            info@varnishonking.com
Website:        http://varnishonking.com/

Open
Mon – Fri:   11:30pm to 12:00am (10:30pm lockout)
Sat:              4:00pm to 12:00am (10:30pm lockout)

Varnish on King on Urbanspoon

Enriques School For To Bullfighting

Enriques School For To Bullfighting (no that’s not a typo) is tale of two bars. I cannot talk about the venue without talking about the food. It’s a focused menu, with an emphasis on sharing in theory. In theory I say, because the food is, even by Perth standards expensive and serving sizes are small. In addition, the menu is too “creative” for its own good. Chips for example aren’t chips but are actually croquettes and some dishes aren’t at all what one would expect given the description. The food bill comes at the end of the night and it’s a shock given the lack of a full stomach that both my wife (who doesn’t have a big appetite) and I had.

perth food drink guide where to eat enriques school for to bullfighting

Moving onto the drinks however, and it’s a completely different story. An interesting selection of affordable wines is on offer and the cocktails are delicious with a mixture of classics and unique creations – all reasonably priced for the area.

The drink highlight though has to be the gin. The gin menu contains 15 gins, 15 garnishes and 5 tonic waters. Patrons can choose from some preselected combinations or make up their own combos. It’s a great idea and really encourages people to experiment with the different flavour profiles of the gins and to learn about what a difference the garnish and tonic can make.

Service was great and my friends and I all had a brilliant time. I won’t be returning to Enriques for the food at the prices that were being charged, but for drinks, I’ll be back for sure.

perth food drink guide where to eat enriques school for to bullfighting

Enriques School For To Bullfighting

484 Beaufort Street
Highgate
Western Australia 6003
Australia

Telephone:   0438 248 414
Email:            info@enriques.com.au
Website:        http://enriques.com.au/

Open
Wed – Thu:   5:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sun:      3:00pm to 10:00pm

Enrique's School for to Bullfighting on Urbanspoon

Lalla Rookh

Lalla Rookh is the kind of venue that is helping to raise the profile of Italian food beyond that of pizza and pasta. As part of the slow restoration of life outside of 9-5 on St Georges Terrace, head chef Joel Valvasori focuses on local, seasonal produce to produce traditional Italian food that’s designed to share along with an impressive selection of local wines with a few local craft beers too which is always appreciated.

perth food drink guide where to eat lalla rookh

The charcuterie board was great however my wife and I both agreed that the highlight was the bone marrow. There was a lot on the menu that I like the looks of, and the constant emphasis on the producers and source of the ingredients was evident throughout, at a level more impressive than usual – it’s more than tokenism here.

Lalla Rookh

Lower Ground
77 St Georges Terrace
Perth
Western Australia 6000
Australia

Telephone:   (08) 9325 7077
Email:            info@lallarookh.com.au
Website:        http://lallarookh.com.au/

Open
Mon – Fri:   11:30am to 12:00am
Sat:              5:00pm to 12:00am

Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House on Urbanspoon

Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall

In the space formerly occupied by Zekka lies Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall. Zekka used to be one of my favourite coffee spots back in the day and I loved their muffins.  There’s something that’s great about this space going way back to the days when it was Hudsons (damn I’m getting old) and thankfully Uncle Joe’s still has that cool kind of vibe about it.

I haven’t had a chance to eat the food at Uncle Joe’s yet but I can confirm that they do a very decent coffee, including cold drip.

Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall

76 King Street
Perth
Western Australia 6000
Australia

Telephone:   0417 783 222
Email:            n/a
Website:        Facebook

Open
Mon – Sat:   7:00am to 4:00pm

Uncle Joe's on Urbanspoon

Toastface Grillah

Down a laneway, check. Street art, check. Loud music, check. Pop culture hip-hip reference in the name, check. Toastface Grillah certainly has all of the boxes ticked when it comes to the hipster guide to a successful venue but in 2013, that alone won’t sustain you and Toastface has proven that it’s got what it needs to survive after the novelty has worn off. Just at the end of Grand Lane below to the right is where it can be found.

perth food drink guide where to eat toastface grillah

What is that something? A range of toasted sandwiches with a mixture of 8 classic and unique fillings using to quality ingredients and some great coffee and tea. The Apple & Gouda is a highlight for me.  More often than not the simple things done well is all one needs. I know it’s what makes me happy.

Toastface Grillah

Lower Ground
77 St Georges Terrace
Perth
Western Australia 6000
Australia

Telephone:   0409 115 909
Email:            toastfacegrillah@hotmail.com
Website:        http://toastfacegrillah.com/

Open
Mon – Fri:   7:00am to 4:00pm
Sat:              9:00am to 4:00pm

Toastface Grillah on Urbanspoon


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