Eat & Drink

Eat & Drink

Last Updated: 30 Sep 2015
Renee Bergere

Perth’s bar and restaurant scene is going global. Vic Park has its own Dutch small bar serving gouda and jenever; Northbridge scored itself a honky tonk bar dripping in American kitsch; Hermosa Cantina in Wembley has become the go-to eatery for lovers of Spanish jamón, queso and booze; and – believe it or not – Mullaloo Beach is the place for Chilean street food. Who knew?


"A uni pub without the uni [that] taps unashamedly into Victoria Park's burgeoning younger demographic with a rough-and-ready jam-room vibe." That's how bar reviewer Andrew Bennett described The Causeway in Victoria Park in The Sunday Times in 2011. Little did he know that a mere four years later he'd co-own the bar that replaced it. "We always knew we wanted to open a venue in Vic Park," says Andrew of the new Dutch Trading Co. "The old Causeway site was perfect, but it was in such a state that we decided to open the bar as a temporary pop-up – a sneak peek, really – and then do a complete overhaul around the end of the year." He and business partners Daniel Sterpini, Sasha Verheggen and Adam Keane, who together own The Classroom and Lucky Chan's Laundry + Noodlebar, spent months stripping back the old band posters, filling holes and whitewashing the walls. They even laid a bottle-cap mosaic floor. True to the team's signature style, the bar has a theme. You guessed it: Dutch. "My wife Sasha's family is from Holland, and we've always been fascinated with the Dutch East India Company," says Andrew. "First, because they put Australia on the map, and second because we love the idea of them sailing around the world and collecting the best of what they find." It's the same approach they're taking to the food-and-booze program. Think traditional Dutch cuisine meets modern Aussie cheffing, playing on classics like stroopwafel, frikandel and gouda. The drinks menu has a strong beer selection, but Andrew has plans to develop it into much more – specifically, Australia's premier destination for jenever, the juniper-based precursor to gin, and Holland's (unofficial) national drink. "Jenever doesn't get the recognition it deserves," says Andrew. "It's like the love child between whisky and gin, and there's only one type that's imported to Australia at the moment. We think the Australian palate will really enjoy it, so we're going to try to import as much as we can." 243 Albany Highway, Victoria Park.


Raise your glass: Limeburners Single Malt Whisky from Albany's Great Southern Distilling Company won gold and silver medals at the 2015 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London in July. It was the only Aussie spirit to win gold in any category at this year's awards. Not too shabby!


Instagram might get the credit for putting this teeny tiny – and highly photogenic – new bakery on the map, but its stellar pastries, bread and coffee are to thank for the daily queues. Owners Seren and Ryan Chu can't make the matcha choux puffs, Boston cream doughnuts, kaya croissants and sourdough loaves fast enough. With standing room only, most customers take away their coffee and pastries – but few make it farther than the first bench in Hyde Park, just opposite. 498 William Street, Highgate.


Love going to a show at Crown, but hate how hard it is to get a booking at any of the busy casino restaurants? The new STIX Bar is the answer to your prayers. The French-infused restaurant, which opened in Burswood over the winter, is located 500m from the casino. Not only is it well out of earshot of the slot machines, it's one of the best places for a quiet meal while watching the sunset. "Modern cuisine with a French accent" is how owners (and husband-and-wife team) Kate and Mike Ayris describe the dishes created by head chef Francois Morabito, who previously rattled the pans at Alain Fabregues' Bistro des Artistes in Subiaco. His menu features standout mains like the aged beef tenderloin, which comes with mashed potatoes and slathered with a homemade béarnaise sauce, or the pea soup with foie gras. The wine list is just as French, with its champagne, Sancerre and Grenache. Not in the mood for vin? Order the French Martini – it's one of the bar's best-selling cocktails and tres tasty. 30 The Circus, Burswood.


The venue once home to dego restaurant Three Five Three has been reborn as Hermosa – Cantina on Cambridge, a stylish Wembley eatery serving Spanish-inspired fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Head chef George Fowler, who's cheffed at the likes of Grossi Florentino in Melbourne and London Michelin-starred restaurant Pollen Street Social, runs the joint with business partner Garry Kemp, of Tropico fame. Similarities with the North Beach cafe abound – same Will & Co coffee, wall art from Perth-based artist Chris Nixon, and breezy, upmarket vibe. George says that people can't get enough of the Spanish tapas-style share plates. "The great thing about Spanish cuisine is that you can put almost anything on a plate, so long as the ingredients are really top notch," says George. "We import everything from Spain that we can't get here in WA – Iberico and Serrano jamon, hazelnuts (which are seriously the best in the world), pimento powder, vinegar and heaps of Spanish booze." Standouts on the menu include a compressed watermelon salad with almonds and miso-infused butterscotch, the crispy smoked hock and morcilla sausage croquette, or anything that comes from the Josper – a handmade Spanish coal-driven oven that George swears by for its ability to trap heat and smoke. 353 Cambridge Street, Wembley.


Maylands healthfood junkies, rejoice! Little Shop of Plenty, which opened over winter in a converted auto electric shop, is cranking out wholesome food made from raw, organic, wholefood ingredients. It may sound horribly virtuous but we promise it tastes divine. The menu ticks all the healthy boxes: cold pressed juices, chia pots, living buckwheat granola, raw pizza, Cocowhip and cocadas (gorgeous little raw macarons in flavours like salted chocolate, purple sweet potato and matcha). Unlike the cramped cafes on Whatley Crescent just opposite, Little Shop of Plenty boasts two spacious, sunshine-drenched dining rooms, a courtyard strewn with picnic tables and herb-filled cement planter boxes, and a retail space spruiking the cafe's own packaged goods alongside jewellery and homewares like hanging kokedamas and cane drinks
carts by Bowerhouse. 217 Railway Parade, Maylands.


When in Leederville, finding a quiet coffee used to be a bit of a mission. Those days are over. The back garden and showroom of popular Leederville furniture shop The Rug Studio has been converted into the suburb's coolest new cafe. Outside, the verdant courtyard is crowded with potted dracaenas and palms, salvaged wood tables and rusted antiques-turned-succulent-holders, while inside are cosy corners perfect for escaping the heat and crowds. Owner Simon Adonis has an extensive background in coffee, having previously run Castro on St Georges Terrace. "That cafe was go, go, go," says Simon. "I was keen to downsize so I could focus on what I love: coffee. Maybe there's less money in it, but there's also a lot less stress." Said coffee is a rich, chocolatey dark roast from Fiori, but plans are underway for cold drip come summer. Foodies haven't been forgotten: the slices and the vegie stack – tortillas layered with egg, cheese and vegies – fly out the door. Rear of 656 Newcastle Street, Leederville.


Because let's face it, seating is over-rated when caffeination is priority numero uno.

Boo Espresso | There's nothing scary about the teeny tiny 2x4m Boo Espresso. It serves its Northbridge Coffee Roasters brew in three types – black, white or filter – using two house blends: AM (for the perfect morning jolt) and PM (lighter and fruitier for an afternoon pick-me-up). 49 Stuart Street, Northbridge.

Cleaver Street Coffee Shop | We love its Fiori coffee, homemade soups, luscious cakes, vertical garden (made from upcycled drawers, no less), friendly baristas, and the fact that it classifies itself as a 'social club' on Facebook. Consider us smitten. 50 Cleaver Street, West Perth.

Myrtle Ivy | Why is this West Leederville takeaway joint so busy? It might be
the brilliant Five Senses coffee, but it's probably the walnut loaf and lemon slice, which owner Chris Green bakes herself. 3 Northwood Street, West Leederville.

Ristretto | This Northbridge 'walkup coffee wall' has a good reason for
not offering indoor seating – inside is where the roasting magic happens. Just be prepared to yell your order over the roar. 53 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge.


Alabama Song | Clint Nolan's done it again. Following the success of Pleased to Meet You, Sneaky Tony's, Joe's Juice Joint and La Cholita comes his latest venue, Alabama Song. The honky tonk bar embraces all things Americana: it stocks 120 US whiskies, bourbons and ryes, taxidermied deer hang from the exposed brick walls, and country music classics give the venue a decidedly southern
charm. Yep, this is definitely a bar worth moseying on into. Better shine up those cowboy boots. 232 William Street, Perth.

Strange Company | Fremantle has its fair share of moody basement bars, grungy pubs and buzzy breweries. Its newest watering hole, Strange Company, is
offering something entirely different: a slick, sexy and contemporary space that's all class. It might look a little familiar, too. The fitout was designed by Freo architect Michael Patroni, who's responsible for the equally gorgeous Bread in Common. Think warm wooden accents, towering bamboo and soft lighting. Nairn Street, Fremantle.

Budburst | This buzzy Mt Hawthorn small bar is the latest project by Rachael Niall, a local oenophile and former wine manager at Steve's. You'd hardly recognise it as the former home of Wee Bar – clever changes to the layout
have made the small bar seem much less, well, small. The drinks list, on the other hand, is anything but. The 20 wines by the glass and 60 by the bottle are as affordable as they are eclectic. 406 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn.


Once an army surplus store, Midland's Crooked Spire Coffee House contains comfy leather sofas, long communal
table, a stage for live music, and even a fenced-off play area for kids. But its best feature? The cafe's nine murals, painted by locals including Brenton See, Steve Browne and Ariel Katzir. There's even a council-approved wall in the back laneway for young graffiti artists to tag. "So many cafes, especially the franchises, look the same," says cafe manager Kristyanne Rung. "Mike, the owner, had this vision of a place of creative freedom, of innovation. Having the murals gives people a reason to wander around and stay a while." Students come to cram for exams, police officers for a $1 discount on their takeaway Yahava coffees, and mums and bubs for the ample pram parking. Midland, you lucky thing. 71 Victoria Street, Midland.


Behind the Pavilion Markets car park is the new Grubb Hub, a hard-to-find but easy-to-love Subiaco lunch bar and cafe. Owners and best mates Ashley Pibworth and Carlo Quiligotti call their food "'proper', in the Jamie Oliver sense of the word". Think piri piri chicken wraps, Thai beef salads, curries, pastas and soups. The meals are prepared by ex-Jamie's Italian chef Peter Nunn, and the baked goods are lovingly prepared daily by Carlo's own mum. Just don't expect Subi prices. This place is cheap as: cold pressed juice for $5.50, $9 pasta, and bottled water for an unheard-of $2. The boys even deliver lunch to office workers in Osborne Park. "Now that we know the formula works, we're planning on expanding to other suburbs," says Ashley. 2 Seddon Street, Subiaco.



• The Common in Gnarabup is the latest offering from acclaimed chef Tony Howell and the folks behind The White Elephant and Morries Anytime. The casual bistro boasts ocean views, wine on tap and local craft beer.
• Perth's obsession with BBQ is showing no signs of slowing. The latest out the gates is Porky's BBQ, a Northbridge venue serving the American 'low and slow' style.
• La Fuente, Perth's newest food truck, is serving up some mean Chilean street eats like chorrillanas, churrascos and ases. Find it Saturdays at Mullaloo Beach.
• Move aside, Nolita, Lucioli and Bellissimo – Claremont has a new Italian restaurant, Maestro. It's the latest venue by Perth restauranteur Albasio La Pegna, the former owner of Italian stalwarts Zafferano, Rialto's, Pronto and Funtastico.
• Carramar scored with the arrival of The Duke, a sports bar complete with a fireplace, giant TV screens and typical pub-grub fare.
• With its exclusive King Street address, uber-chic small bar Door 49 has become the favourite watering hole for Perth fashionistas.
• Port Hedland residents are rejoicing at the recent arrival of Pretty Pool Provedore, an Italian restaurant launched by non-for-profit cultural organisation FORM.
• Gumbo shrimp, hotdogs, Reuben sandwiches, buffalo wings and key lime
pie – the menu at 140's new East Village is about as American as you can get. We dig the Katz's Deli-like vibe.


• Tears were shed when Studio Bomba and its resident micro-cafe Dapper Jack closed last autumn. Luckily their replacements –On a Whim and Virgil respectively – are doing a fine job over at 324 Oxford Street.
• Fuku, Mosman Park's upmarket Japanese restaurant, has undergone a rebranding. Now Tsunami Ko, the 14-seat micro restaurant will feature a more affordable teppanyaki menu.
• The new owners of The Office on Harrogate, who took over the reins in winter, have given the West Leederville small bar a spanking new menu of scrumptious bar snacks and reasonably priced cocktails. We love!


• Freo's iconic Sail & Anchor spruced up its upstairs space over winter and added a dedicated dark spirits bar. Something tells us the pub's long-held claim of having the 'best balcony in Fremantle' ain't under threat.
• The Flour Factory has undergone a massive remodel, including a 15m jarrah bar running the entire length of the restaurant, and a mill that the kitchen crew uses to produce its own flour for the bread and pizza bases.


• Very sad news for health food lovers: Dunsborough cafe and eco store Samudra closed over winter. If it's any consolation, the yoga studio is still open, but it's just not the same, is it?
• After eight years, Subiaco's Fire and Ice Bar shut up shop, but promises to re-open in a new location.
• That Little Mexican Place may have closed in Vic Park, but fear not: the North Perth and South Fremantle venues are staying put.


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