I promised my beautician that I would blog this week on where to eat out in Perth. This is a small selection of reasonably-priced venues with great food. I hope it’s of use to others too.
Venue: Wagamama – Subiaco Square (cnr Roberts & Rokeby Roads), Subiaco – ph: (08) 9380 9281
Date: 7 March & 4 April 2009
Cost of meal: ~$30 per person (minus dessert, alcoholic beverages)
Wine: Limited selection; good to see sake on the menu
Ambiance: Busy, communal
Service: Very good [it was excellent on one visit; ok the next]
On 7 March, I patroned Wagamama in Subiaco for the first time. I was there with my friend Mel, and we were starving after a morning of yoga and shopping.
The communal seating was easy to get used to, and the service was friendly and timely. We were not disappointed.
We started with the sweet potato kasabi (like thick crisps), which were served still-warm and with a wasabi/basil mayonnaise. Mel ordered an old faithful, teriyaki beef, while I tried something new in the guise of spicy chicken itame. Both meals were hot, perfectly cooked and generously-sized. For less than $30 each, including drinks, we were both satisfied with the quantity and quality of our meals. The food was exceptionally fresh and I would not necessarily have thought of combining some of the flavours that appeared in the dishes.
I revisited Wagamama last Saturday (4 April) with friends Hayley and Alicia. It was a busy night, so we had an initial wait at the bar. There was a delay in our initial service, which was expected, however this was partly our fault: we ordered entrees with our drinks, only to find out that they were actually sides – and these came out after the mains. There was also a long wait between main & dessert, as we tried to attract waitstaff attention.
Our sides, which we shared were: sweet potato kasabi [again, I know!] and duck gyoza (5 pieces of duck and leek dumplings). I have never eaten duck that actually tasted healthy before this.
For main course, Hayley and Alicia ordered the same — suzushii chicken salad [pictured] — and they raved about it. I ordered the chicken kare lomen and I was a little disappointed with the unexpected and laksa-like dish that confronted me. It tasted awfully like curry powder was a major ingredient. I am not keen on curry powder; I suspect it comes back to a negative childhood experience. In that moment, I have to admit to acquiring a little order envy.
For me, the meal redeemed itself with dessert. Alicia’s mudcake with wasabi-laced chocolate sauce was an instant winner; Hayley’s mango with coconut-lime sorbet exploded in the mouth; my green tea icecream surprised and tantalised. All in all, I was happy with my meal. At least I know not to order the chicken noodle soup on my next visit.
Venue: Wild Fig Cafe – 33 West Coast Drive, Waterman Bay – ph: (08) 9246 9222
Food: Modern Australian and themed nights (curry; vegan)
Date: 21 March 2009
Cost of meal: ~$40 per person
Ambiance: Busy, beachfront, original artworks
The Wild Fig doesn’t take bookings for less than 5 people for lunch, as E and I discovered. I was impressed that we managed to get a table straight away, even though the place was buzzing when we arrived.
I started with a freshly squeezed juice and ordered the chicken-avocado filo for main; E had the seared salmon on beetroot risotto (which, incidentally, I have thoroughly enjoyed on a previous visit). Both meals arrived promptly and hit the spot – but we still needed dessert…
Coffee and cake (chocolate mudcake; lemon tart) rounded off our meal beautifully and we almost had to be rolled out of the cafe.
The thing that makes The Wild Fig a standout venue for me is its ethos. It is socially responsible, environmentally friendly and produce-focused. On top of all that, you can hook up to wifi while you coffee/dine, which is a factor that I really like. I will have to return by myself to do that very soon.
I can just see myself typing away on my pink laptop whilst sipping on a fair-trade coffee. And, now that the weather is cooling down, I might just have to dig out my wool beret for the occasion. So chic.
Venue: Cafe de Luca’s – 30 The Crescent, Midland – ph: (08) 9250 8868
Date: 2 April 2009
Cost of meal: less than $30 per person (incl takeaway desserts)
Wine: Limited selection
Ambiance: Modern decor, earthy tones, hanging artworks
Service: Very good
For a standard cafe meal, Cafe de Luca’s withstood the test well. This was a work lunch with Mel and Shaun so we were only ever going to be there for one course:
I ordered the lamb salad; Shaun had the pasta of the day (penne carbonara). Mel ordered the sausage and was impressed with the cacciatore that appeared alongside fetta and olives. Because we took our merry time to eat our meals, we were thankful that the desserts were available to take away. So what did I have? Just a couple of delicious Perugina chocolates — a divine indulgence that saw me through the afternoon.
All of our meals were of a decent size and the flavours were simple and satisfying. Eating here was relaxing and pleasant. It felt like Midland had found itself a little piece of Perth.