There are heaps of places to eat in the CBD, from basic to high end. These are my favourites, all scoring high marks on my scale of A to D, and a couple to be wary of at the bottom (Cs). There’s a gem for every meal of the day so you could have a toastie for breakfast, ramen for lunch and a top notch Thai or Italian with great Aussie wines for your evening meal, it’s all there.
My map here.
Toastface Grillah (Elementary A), Wellington St & Barrack St, Perth, www.toastfacegrillah.com
I love this little place, for its name, attitude and grungy location down a back alley, and the coffee and toasties are pretty good too (A/B+).
I can recommend the ‘Ol’Faithful’; smoked ham, cheddar, sweet pickle relish on grain.
There are lots of other interesting combos with great names like the ‘Notorius B.A,G’; bacon, apple, gouda!
Nao Ramen (Intermediate A-), 191/580 Hay St, www.naojapaneserestaurant.com.au
I know my ramen, and this was the best ramen-ya of the four that I tried in Perth. The all-important broth is deep and rich (B+) and their cha-siu pork is some of the best I’ve ever tasted (A).
You can choose from four kinds each of flavoured broths and noodles. I had the Miso and I came back a second time and had their Spicy Miso too (both B+). Plain egg noodles every time for me.
Their Pork Gyoza are very dense which might be to some people’s taste but I like them to be just a little more delicate (B).
Hikaru Ramen (Elementary B+), 4b/50 St Georges Terrace, www.hikaru.com.au
Hikaru is another very good ramen place that’s worth trying, but it comes in second to Nao.
The Aviary (Intermediate B), Level 1/140 William St, www.theaviaryperth.com.au
This is a good spot if you’re looking for a beer terrace to escape the afternoon heat or watch the sunset. Slightly more expensive than other pubs I think but a good location.
Lalla Rookh (High Intermediate A), 32/77 St Georges Terrace, www.lallarookh.com.au
This atmospheric basement restaurant off Perth’s main drag was awarded One Hat by the 2018 Good Food Guide, so I felt had to try it and I was very glad I did.
It serves very authentic Italian food at not unreasonable prices and I also learned a lot about local food and wine from the accommodating staff.
I had the tasting menu; ‘Il Capo’ for A$68. With an additional wine matching the total came to a hefty €162. Not cheap, but it was good value for what I got.
The Beef, Stracciatella and Bottarga was a bit salty but still very good (A). The pic was blurred sorry.
I had this with the first of many good local wines; a Lowboi Riesling which was bone dry with very little nose (B+).
The Kingfish Crudo with pink peppercorns, grapefruit and thyme was nice (B).
I really liked the oaky Vasse Felix Chardonnay matched with it (B+).
I forgot to take a pic of the delicious Marinated Ox Tongue Marjoram and Lemon (B+), sorry.
The Blind Corner Field Blend Shiraz wasn’t bad (B).
Best of the food was the Paccheri Pasta with Smoked Pancetta, Ox Tongue and Pine Nuts which was absolutely killer (A+).
The Empirica Syrah with it was just okay (B).
Food-wise I also loved the Quail with Beetroot, Pistachio, Orange and Chevre (A).
Thankfully I had a good red with it, the Hay Shed Cabernet Sauvignon (B+).
For dessert just a canolo…
… and a glass of a local sweet liqueur called Talijancich Verdelho which was fantastic (A).
I liked it so much that I went back to their shop (entrance just around the corner on Sherwood Court) and bought a bottle for $40. Absolute nectar.
I was also treated to a shot of Limburners Honey Liqueur (A).
As a finale the waitress offered up the information that at a recent wine festival in Perth, all the wine spat out by the tasters was distilled and made into a spirit called ‘Kissing A Stranger’. I’m actually quite glad I missed out that one!
Long Chim (High Intermediate A-), corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack, www.longchimperth.com
Long Chim, meaning ‘come try’, sells authentic Thai street cuisine. The food is very good, but it sure ain’t cheap, by UK let alone Bangkok standards. Chef owner David Thompson has managed to garner quite a reputation and it’s another One Hat winner in the 2018 Good Food Guide.
It’s located in the basement of the 19th century Treasury where the government records and archives were once stored.
There’s a nice outdoor area…
… featuring quirky décor and cartoonish street art.
The Mandarin & Lemongrass Negroni was an interesting twist on the classic (B+).
I was by myself and not particularly hungry, so I couldn’t justify splashing out. In the end I made the very unimaginative selection of Pad Thai, which was excellent (A) and made with a good variety of ingredients. I particularly loved the tiny chunks of tofu which I’d not had in Pad Thai before.
The Tirra Lirra white blend was nice (B).
I would go back to Long Chim if I was with a group. It’s very famous and popular so booking in the evenings is definitely recommended.
Wildflower on the roof of the same building is also very well reputed but I saved it for next time.
A couple of places I went to weren’t that great.
This well-known Vietnamese cafe was a let down…
Mama Tran (High Elementary C), 6/36-40 Milligan St, www.mamatran.com.au
Despite having a rep for being the best in town I thought their pre-packaged Banh Mi (pork sandwich) was tasteless. I’m sure their pho is fine. It’s cheap and very busy at lunchtimes, closed in the evening.
Another one to be wary of despite the great location on the waterfront…
Oyster Bar (Intermediate C), Level 1/&2 Geoffrey Bolton Av, Elizabeth Quay, www.oysterbar.com.au
Not particularly keen on this place even though oysters were half price on the night I went. I’ve had better oysters elsewhere (see my Northbridge posts). We sat on the top floor to catch the view but it got a bit windy. Service wasn’t great and the other food was mediocre.
However I would go again just for their Bloody Mary Oyster Shot which is a very fine concept indeed!
More good food in neighbouring Northbridge next!