How To Eat Your Way Across Perth
Indian Ocean sunsets aside, the things about Perth that call my name are seafood, grilled cheese (I’ll explain later) and a chance to sit out on a terrace and enjoy dessert like no other. Does it mean the wallabies and the kangaroos and the delectable wine tours don’t also sing to me as I munch my way through town? Absolutely not, but to be honest, when I go on holiday, it’s a food holiday. And the way I see it, if it’s good enough for Bourdain, it’s good enough for me.
When it came to Perth, I had long heard my friends talk about the unforgettable beaches (Cottesloe is just the beginning folks), the rough and untamed terrain that sported interesting hobbies like sand-surfing (never tried that one before!) and exciting day trips outside of the city that went from lush vineyards in Swan Valley to the great wide blue ocean with Rottnest Island. Once they threw in all the places where they loved to grab a beer, a quick sandwich, and a long, elegant evening dinner, I knew that Perth was exactly the kind of trip for me.
When I go on holiday, it’s a food holiday. And the way I see it, if it’s good enough for Bourdain, it’s good enough for me.
I began planning my trip around finding a hotel that served up great vittles. I didn’t want to miss a chance to enjoy delectable delights—even if I had missed my first alarm and woken up too late for breakfast. It’s why, when I did a little research, I happened upon COMO The Treasury. This luxury hotel serves up history with a distinctively modern take—it’s housed inside 19th century designed refurbished state buildings—and will make all of your Instagram dreams come true.
But more than their hipster-friendly digs, I fell in love with their dining style, with The Post (located on the first floor, mixing French influence with locally sourced Aussie goodies) and the Wildflower (their skyline answer to dining specialty, with a killer view and a decidedly chic menu). The Post was where I grabbed my daily dose of the Oz favorite—the flat white.
And while it’s my favorite brew type in all the land, their macchiato, espresso and long black smelled equally delicious. On a few days when I had worn myself out with sightseeing, I traipsed back for a wonderful night under the stars with a satiated appetite after dinner and a cocktail at Wildflower. Trust me when I say, the chocolate mousse and Arkady lamb almost had me convinced that booking a room at The COMO for eternity was money well spent.
But when I did make it out of the hotel for some foodventures, the best of the best was at my fingertips and I tasted it all. You like the gentle atmosphere of garden dinner with an excellent pairing of rosé? Head for The Standard and order their chicken grill with rice noodles to take in a great atmosphere as well as good chow.
While I can never know exactly how much it changed my life, I can say this—the roasted eggplant made me feel like I will never look at vegetables the same way ever again.
More a fan of the grab it and go set? Head for Fremantle to taste the best of the Food Truck offerings: for Brazilian try Comida do Sul, for Mexican head for Lil Tortilla Boi or Eat No Evil, and for Vietnamese soul food, go for Saigon Soulfood. And the bonus for taking it to the truckers? You’ll save a pretty penny for extra spending at The Partisan. But I’m getting ahead of myself; shouldn’t we start with breakfast?
When it comes to the first meal of the day, I have very few rules. Be it fresh Australian yogurt covered in fresh fruit from The Post or an excellent breakfast sandwich from the Lowdown coffeehouse, I was a happy camper with anything I dined on early in the day. If you’re in a hurry, grab something quick and hot at The Coffee Club. The raisin toast comes highly recommended and they’ve got a lot of options if you’re lactose intolerant (since they’re an Australian chain). They’ve got multiple locations which make it a convenient and reliable place to stop.
If you’re in the area of the Fremantle Markets, take a detour to Ootong & Lincoln for a little taste of rustic, home grown Aussie delights. Breakfast and lunch are served up daily (my suggestion is to go with the chai pancakes). And if you’re wanting to hit up brunch in one of the hottest (and hippest) spots in Perth, head to Victoria Park for Harvest Espresso. While I can never know exactly how much it changed my life, I can say this—the roasted eggplant made me feel like I will never look at vegetables the same way ever again (also, try the toasted crab melt if you’re hankering for seafood, it’s to die for).
My favorite lunch spot was hands down Toastface Grillah because they took ingenuity to a whole new level when they remade my favorite grilled cheese sandwich with things as fancy as brie and pears, jam and smoked paprika, gouda and zucchini, and more. This place came highly recommended from one of my friends who travels to Perth a lot for business.
Even though it might not be the swankiest hotspot to be seen in wearing a suit, your stomach does not give one flying fig because it’s too busy wondering why you weren’t feeding it these grilled cheeses its whole life. I also am particularly partial to Nobu for it’s tuna tartare tacos—who can resist the call of that delectable dish—and the warm, comfort food taste of the beef and stilton pie at Tuckshop Cafe (even if it is a brunch place, you can go for lunch as well).
For dinner, I really loved the vibes of The Partisan. Not only was it located on the water (how can you beat that?) but the wine, charcuterie boards, tapas dishes and bistro plates made for a dining experience that turned from just one entrée into an experience over conversation, wine and friendship. If I enjoy a place with friends, it’s likely to become a favorite and the low-key style and elegant arrangement made this place a must-see for me.
Great food isn’t just about taste and atmosphere and quieting the grumbling tummy demons, it’s about discovering new places, new people, new ways of life and making a couple of new friends.
Matilda Bay—a multi-course extravaganza—gets an honorable mention for its commitment to excellent service and state of the art dishes. I can’t let a list of good eats go by without mentioning The Raw Kitchen, which serves up farm-to-table favorites in all manners of ingenious ways. You can eat in-house or take it to-go.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t really remember what any of the tour guides were saying (kidding!); all I could remember was the mouthwatering fare that had taken my day from normal to extraordinary. And the best part is? Great food isn’t just about taste and atmosphere and quieting the grumbling tummy demons, it’s about discovering new places, new people, new ways of life and making a couple of new friends (even if these friends are delicacies like blood pudding) along the way.
Bon appetit in Perth, and if you get the chance to go there yourself, don’t forget to stop by and tell me your favorites!