There’s something about spontaneous trips that I really like. This Perth trip was literally planned and decided within a day. How it started was CT texted Y and other buddy JG on Sunday night the 4th August, when Y and I just touched down from Maldives. Long story short, her other travel companion kinda bailed on her, so she asked us if we wanted to join her in Perth over the National Day weekend. So by the next day, tickets were booked, and Y managed to get really good rates through my ‘grand-papa’, with his contacts at Crown Hotel. All this talk with the 3 gals about planning a trip to Perth since their graduation from Methodist Ladies’ College has finally happened, and the best part it took barely 24 hours to get this thing going.
Lounging around in our bedroom of Crown Hotel.
Perth has somewhat emerged from being a really sleepy city. I think that overall it still has that laidback feel but with a slight cosmopolitan vibe which I think the city is slowly finding on its own and developing, although I still find it’s years away from where Sydney or Melbourne is. Our friend – AW who works and lives there, said that Perth is rather Ex-y (ie. Expensive), no longer can you find houses in prime areas at AUD300,000, or so many affordable cheap hotels in the city, and food is basically not cheap. It doesn’t help that many F&B establishments and even Crown Hotel charges customers a 1.65% charge if one pays by credit card. I really can’t get my furry head around this, just feel it is rather annoying. It’s a big turn off for me.
That said, I still managed to find new haunts that charmed me, as well as revisiting the old places that I love. Am gonna share with you the new places I discovered in Perth that I loved! Here’s my list of what I think is Perth best eats.
Anyone would know that Australians are fantastic at breakfasts, and how not to have a good breakfast in Perth.
1. Sayers Sister
236 Lake Street, Northbridge
Located at the edge of Northbridge, the people behind Sayers has a knack of being able to bring people to really random locations. First was Sayers in Leederville, which AW told us has become somewhat of a rather “happening” suburb, and then Sayers Sister now opened in a rather oddball location near Northbridge. When we arrived here on a Friday morning around 10.30 am, the place was packed with people, thank god, we didn’t have to wait long for a table. We basically ordered enough food to basically not feel hungry till dinner.
The breakfast was hearty and and coffee passed my mark – overall a wholesome meal and just what breakfast should be to me. Yummylicious!
2. Gordon St Garage
16 Gordon St, West Perth
I read about this before going to Perth, and thought the concept was pretty cool, worth a trip to check out on one of the days we had. It took over an old automotives garage, and had a wonderful raw, industrial feel to it. It had a great open space that worked for the concept – of an all day- coffee, bar, beer, food place. This is a great space to meet with friends or even work on my own on my laptop blogging away while sipping a cup of coffee.
Love the toilet. I always like establishments that put some effort into their toilets. It’s about being creative, rather than using expensive materials.
There’s been a sprout of watering holes – cocktail bars, concept dining and drinking establishments in Perth, gone are the days of just typical taverns or footy pubs that dominated the pubbing scene back in the 90s as the girls would remember. So of course we had to check out how cool has Perth pubbing scene gotten.
1. Print Hall
Brookfield Place, 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000
Perth’s first multi level dining and bar concept pays homage to the heritage listed Newspaper House on St Georges Terrace. Once home to the Newspaper House, this building now houses 4 different concepts, one on each level. Owned by the Colonial Group who owns several pubs including Melbourne’s Botanical, one of my other favourite restaurants in Melbourne for breakfast, I had to check out this new concept.
We headed here for pre-dinner drinks on Friday night around 6 pm and it was packed with so many people. Bob’s Bar on the rooftop was unfortunately so full they weren’t letting people in, so we just hung around at the ground floor space and ordered some cocktails.
Of course, I had to check out the basement ATM, which AW said was pretty funny, having a meat locker just next to the ATM machine.
Love the idea of an ATM machine next to the meat locker.
I also loved their newspaper collage with West is Best – and using their local newspapers to form this map of WA, pretty cool mural.
Cool outline of Western Australia map using old print newspapers.
I really loved their menus, with interesting quotes such as the “The Ten Principles of a Good Drink”. Not surprisingly, they also won the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Award 2013.
I liked they used letters instead of the boring number stands to demark where our drink orders should be sent to.
The cocktail unfortunately was bad, I decided to be funky and have a Bloody Mary, and this was not good at all, although it looked pretty “photogenic” in the pictures. Should have stuck to the safe ones.
2. Wolf Lane
Rear 321 Murray Street (Enter via Murray Street or King Street)
This was not an easy place to find, but thanks to Google Maps, we found it pretty fast. It’s actually rather near the city just off Murray Street. A rather hole-in-the wall place, it was very packed when we reached there around 7pm for pre-dinner drinks. Given the name of the lane, it was appropriate they played on it thoroughly with a scary wolf mural on the front of the building, as well as playing out the whole fairy tale of Red Riding Hood – from the waitress dressed like her to the menu modeled slightly like a classic fairy tale book, with the famous “THE END” at the back page. The interiors were dark and looked like someone’s living room, with a live band performing, a great place to go with bunch of girlfriends to just hang out, somehow felt more like a girlie hang out then a bloke’s hang out.
3. Little Creatures
40 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160
Anyone that’s been or stayed in Perth, or just a beer drinker would know Little Creatures. Their beers are retailed in many places including Singapore, it’s become a Fremantle icon since it was established in 2000. It opened probably after Y just graduated from university so she never got to check it out. We came here after having fish & chips nearby on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It was swarmed with people, couples, singles, families were all congregating here.
We plonked ourselves “illegally” on a table when we saw someone left, but the staff was pretty nice and let us sit there, while we ordered our beers and some finger bites. Great atmosphere, friendly staff, and reasonable prices makes this a place to come back to!
Well, with the dinners in Perth, somehow I wasn’t very wowed, didn’t understand how some of the dinner places were so buzzy and the quality of food was rather disappointing or overrated. I had to order room service one night after dinner at Must Wine Bar – great place for drinks, but definitely not for dinner.
The only one that I really enjoyed and was satisfied with was Rockpool, which opened in Crown Hotel in Perth. Have always enjoyed my dining experience in Rockpool Melbourne and was excited that it was now in Perth.
Everyone was pretty knackered, as we came here for dinner after our really long day trip to the Wine and Truffle Farm in Manjimup. But, we still managed to somehow enjoy the meal despite being rather exhausted, especially for poor AW and CT who did the driving.
Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood WA 6100
I had to take a picture of this, as I had said earlier, I am extremely annoyed with this 1.65% service charge on using credit cards.
A must order drink is their gin and tonic next time you are here. They make their own flavoured tonic water, was so good we wanted to take home some, but they didn’t sell for takeaway unfortunately.
I ordered some grilled prawns to start with and shared with Y and CT some good steak after and yummy sides like mac and cheese, and brussel sprouts.
Shared their trifle, so sinful but good… a classic Australian dessert.
LOVEY’S GOURMET SHOPS
I discovered these wonderful gourmet shops, and really have to share it with you all. I would so totally be shopping at these places if I stayed in Perth.
1. Boatshed Market
40 Jarrad St, Cottesloe
Boatshed Market – located not far from my favourite cafes like Blue Duck Cafe and Indiana Tea House in Cottlesloe, is a gourmet retailer that stocks really great selection of meats, including Beef Biltong, a kind of cured meat, that is more chewy than Beef Jerky, plus lots of other produce. I guess it would be like the Jason’s equivalent in Perth but with more interesting selections. The prices here aren’t cheap though compared to other supermarkets, so this place is more for buying things that may not be easily available in other stores such as black truffles, exotic fruits.
I like how they displayed dips that we can try with their corn chips. Makes the whole supermarket shopping experience even better.
They also had an in house bakery and patisserie selling fresh breads and cakes. yummy!
2. Kakulas Brothers
183 William St, Northbridge
Located in Northbridge amidst the other Chinese grocers is this gourmet grocer which stocks everything from dried fruits and nuts, to flours, grains, coffee beans, nuts all purchased by the weight, plus other daily essentials such as bottled oils, sauces that one might need. This is my gourmet haven to come to if I lived in Perth, and I would so come here to buy my daily essentials such as nuts, spices and flours.
I especially love how everything is displayed in sacks and one can just buy what they need by weight. I think it’s convenient as more often than not, sometimes I end up buying certain spices that I only need for a particular dish and don’t use very often. Being able to just buy what I need is so fantastic. If only they had such a concept back here in Singapore.
I can buy all sorts of flours by the weight including gluten free flours! Amazing!
3. Koko Black
Claremont Quarter, 23 St Quentin Ave, Claremont WA 6010
If you are craving for anything chocolate, Koko Black is the place to go to. We revisited the girlies’ favourite shopping haunt from their 90s flashback – Claremont, which had rows of little quaint shops then, and now has become an amalgamation of one big giant shopping mall called Claremont Quarter. Now Koko Black, pretty famous since I used to hang out in Melbourne has opened a dine in cafe cum takeaway store in Claremont Quarter. We just wanted to get some truffles and other chocs so came here to see what goodies we could get.
I have to say that the dark cashew brittle and honeycomb brittle is to DIE FOR. You must try these if you ever go to Koko Black. Personally I felt the truffles weren’t so great compared to those I have eaten by Pierre Herme, Jean Paul Hevin or La Maison du Chocolat, but the brittles are pretty happening!
And that’s me savouring my Dark Chocolate Teddy Bear Pop.
To be honest, I am not sure if I would return to Perth so soon, but Y was really happy that she got to do this “reunion trip” with CT and JG, getting to try out new places and revisit some of the old. We still prefer the gourmet food scene and city life of Melbourne or Sydney compared to Perth City, but on a larger scale – Western Australia has its own charm in areas like Margaret River, which we so wanted to go and visit but just didn’t have enough time. On our hit list is to visit the annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape that takes place in November every year, and an amazing line up of guest chefs, degustation dinners taking place at key locations around Margaret River. Hope Y and I can find time to go there soon.
Best memories of the ‘OLD’ REVISITED
Breathtaking scenery at Cottesloe Beach – one of my favourite spots in Perth.
The girl’s old school – Methodist Ladies’ College, located within 15 mins walk from Claremont Quarter.
Fremantle Market – pic taken in B&W, taken on a slightly rain day on Saturday.
Fish and Chips at Cicerello’s, another Perth icon. Was the girl’s hangout place every weekend, but gotta say the quality has dropped now, given in to commercialism and tourists.