I've been wanting to make a list of things to do in Perth for a while. I'm not talking about a list of places that will rock your socks off - I'm simply talking about a list of things/places that please me.
Those of us that life in Perth know that we don't have a high concentration of quality things here. That not to say that cool things do not exist, of course. But things are scattered all over the metro area here, and you generally have to decide on a specific place, rather than an area if you are looking for something to do.
Perth is a patchwork of great places, which are generally not within walking distance of each other. Its a place of many small sporadic details, rather than momentous and memorable sights. It's that characteristic that gives Perth it's unique atmosphere. And it's also that characteristic that makes Perth so very boring to the uninitiated.
Its a shame that people make that judgement, but its largely justified. How can anyone really understand how this city functions within a short 5 day visit? They really can't. And for that reason I will stick to my view that Perth is a fantastic city to live in, but a bad city to visit.
To get back to the point - the following list is not meant to be a guide to the city of Perth. It's function is to remind me of places I may forget about in the future.
Please send your suggestion/additions, if you have any. I will continually update this list. Note: This is a work in progress.Cafés
- Exomod Coffees, 615 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley 6050 - It's open 24-hours on Friday and Saturday nights, which is the main reason Blake and I started going there a couple of years back. It also serves the most consistently decent coffee out of any café I'm aware of. I'm not a big fan of the bright/modern interior, but I do like the art. I also like the passage to the toilet out the back... do not judge me!
- Leaf Tea Merchants, 60 Walcott Street, Mt Lawley WA 6050 - They actually don't serve coffee there, but I'll list it in this category anyway. The tea is fantastic, and served with love. I heard its owned by one of the owners of the Dome. The tea menu is extensive, and its a joy to browse and try something new. I love the Chai-Laté.
- Rosso Espresso, 89 St Georges Tce,Perth WA 6000 - This place really knows how to make a great coffee. I actually cant remember ever having being served a bad one. Decor is a bit like Exomod, but the location lets it down. Its geared towards to local take-away office crowd. Rosso... the colour of the ripe coffee cherry. The colour of love... the colour of passion...
- Luna Cinemas Café, 155 Oxford St, Leederville WA 6007 - Good Coffee? Good lord no! I don't think I've ever had a decent up there.... but I do like the atmosphere there. I like Luna in general, so I guess that bleeds into my liking of the café, and my tolerance of the crap coffee :-)
- Bochelli's Espresso, Forrest Pl Perth WA 6000 - I once considered this place to have the best coffee in Perth. There was a ginger-haired man working there who was just fantastic. Then, one day, the ginger barista was gone, and so was the quality. Where is he now, I wonder. So why am I listing this place now? For the Cakes!!! Plus, it's a nice place to sit and watch the crowds.
- Infusion Coffees, Plaza Arcade, Perth WA 6000 - I used to avoid the place because I thought the place was too trendy for me. That's not really the case, I've found. The staff are great, and they make a great coffee. The only problem is that when they get busy, the quality drops like crazy. If you walk past, and its quiet in the shop, I recommend you buy a cup. If they are busy, just keep walking.
- The Moon, 2/ 323 William St Northbridge WA 6003 - A lot of people would probably put this place in the Restaurant or Bar section, but for me its always served its purpose as a café rather than anything else. The place is hit and miss in terms of service, and coffee. But what it lacks in those things, it makes up with atmosphere and opening hours. Its a great place to hang out and chat over a bottle of free water. Its a shame that they tend to play (in my view) crap music, a little bit too loud, most of the time.
Restaurants | Eateries
- Whale and Ale, Cnr Ocean Keys Boulevard and Key Largo Drive, Clarkson WA 6030 - I'm really glad I've got this place as a neighbourhood pub/restaurant. The food is fantastic 95% of the time. The Chicken Mignon with Macadamia Nuts on Mash is one of my personal favourites... and the Guinness Chocolate Mud Cake is awesome. My only real issue is that you cant order drinks and food at the same time. Its bloody annoying having to line up at the counter for food, and then at the bar for drinks. This thought of it usually makes me decide not to have a drink with my meal, which I'm sure cant be good for business.
- Chatters, 1 Progress St, Morley WA 6062 - A great (mostly) Thai/Chinese restaurant, with great service and great food. Can I use the word great again? No. Since moving up to Clarkson, I have not been frequenting this place as much. But when I do make the trek, it's certainly worth while. That being said, when they changed owners about three years ago, the portions shrank considerably. Still a great place though. The Chicken with Cashew-nut is my personal favourite, though the Thai Green Curry ranks right up there as well.
- Fast Eddies. 454 Murray Street, Perth WA 6000 - One of the original 24-hour places in Perth (there are not many). My vote only goes to the Perth location. The other ones (i.e. Morley, Midland and Carousel) are completely incompetent most of the time. The Perth store appears to have its act together and actually delivers on its promise of 'fast' food. The service isn't bad either. I've spent hours in this place, chatting about nonsense at all hours of the night. The Apple Pie and Chicken & Avocado sandwich are standout menu items.
- Alfred's Kitchen, Cnr Meadow & James St, Guildford WA 6055 - Another late-nigh fast-food option. I am listing it mostly due to historical reasons. I've got great memories of sitting in front of the pit-fire, chatting to bums, bikers, truckers, lawyers, brides, doctors, jokers and assholes. Since the renovations a few years ago, the place does not feel as friendly as it used to. And I find myself taking-away, rather than sitting there to eat. The soup is always a treat, and the Cram-Burger is fantastic.
- Siena's Mt Lawley, 500 Beaufort St, Highgate WA 6003 - I'm not sure if the Mt Lawley and the Leedervile restaurant are actually connected these days. The Mt Lawley store has been re-branded, so perhaps they are separated now. I dislike the arrogant matradee in Leedervile, so I'd go to Mt Lawley if I had a choice. Siena's is a pretty good, great value Italian restaurant, with great pizza and pasta. Monday to Wednesday are pizza/pasta special days, and are great value.
- Levant Cuisine Restaurant, 139 Barrack St, Perth WA 6000 - My god. I was pretty much addicted to one menu item from this place. So much so that I was convinced that they actually put something into it to make you crave it... constantly. That item is the Chicken and Rice dish. At the height of my dependance on the stuff, I was going there four days a week. Only financial pressures made me see sense, and I eventually got it down to one or twice a week. There have been days (when doing overtime for work) where I would eat it for lunch and dinner. Its that good :-)
- The Witch's Cauldron, 89 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco WA 6008 - When Trace and I feel like a treat, we go to see the Witch. It's a little pricey, but its worth it from time to time. Service and atmosphere is great, as is the wine selection. The place is famous for its garlic prawns, and you'd be foolish to leave without trying them. Even if its just the entree.
- Sassellas Bar and Bistro, Upper Hay Street Level, City Carillon Arcade, Murray Street Mall, Perth WA 6000 - My god. This place really needs to update its website :-) Sassellas was one of my favourite 'special lunch' options when the immigration department was still located in the CBD. The food is very nice and comes out quick, and they've got a great selection of beers. If the weather is nice, I recommend sitting outside on the balcony, overlooking the mall/forest chase. I don't mention it a lot, but its one of my favourite places to have lunch/dinner at. Especially when its warm.
- Poppo, 137 Barrack St. Perth WA 6000 - It's located right next to the before-mentioned Levant. I used to feel guilty about walking past Levant to go to this place. Especially if I made eye-contact with the owner :-) I do love Poppo, though I only ever seem to order one thing - Dolsot Bibimbap. The decor is a bit plain, but all the food (that I've tried) is great. Prices are good too.
- Flipside Burger Bar, 239 Queen Victoria St, North Fremantle WA 6159 - I am struggling to justify to myself why I'm sitting here writing about this place.... when I could be in the car, on the way there, right now! I have not gone there in a few months - it is a bit out of the way after all. I tend to go there after visits to Freo.. and I tend to go to Freo during the warmer months. The burger are fantastic... the best in Perth. Yes. I liken it to Fergburger in Queenstown, NZ, but a fair bit healthier. I highly recommend this place, and always try to pop in when I'm in the area. It's all good. Even the vegi burgers (like the Kenny Burger) are fantastic.
Pubs | Bars | Breweries
- Masala Indian Restaurant, 2/ 70 Pensacola Terrace, Clarkson WA 6030 - Another local place. As far as Indian food goes, this place comes second only to Tracy's parents' cooking. Seriously. It's got a large, and very very clean buffet, with most kinds of curries. And they are all delicious. Its pretty decent value for money too, considering how good it is.
- Indian Ocean Bewhaus, Ocean Falls Boulevard, Mindarie WA 6030 - My favourite local bar. It's proximity certainly gives it extra points, but it does not need them to get onto my list. The counter meals are great. Some people disagree, but I think the pizzas are great. The Indi Burger is delicious, and I'm drooling just thinking about it. They brew their own beer there. I recommend the Pale Ale and the Pilsner, while the seasonal Indi Vanilla Milk Stout and Calypso Hibiscus Wheat Beer are .... interesting. I don't think much of their White Beer, but white beer has never been a favourite anyway. Its a pleasure to eat/drink there anytime of year.In summer, the marina provides a great sunny atmosphere outside, while in winter the couches in front of the fireplaces are very cosy and comfortable indeed. Also, playing Giant Jenga is a real treat, and never fails to draw a crowd of spectators. i do have a couple of issues though - Firstly, just like at the Whale and Ale, they make it hard to buy drinks and food in one transaction. Secondly, the kitchen closes at 21:00, even on weekends. Its just way too early. They should at least keep the pizza oven going until 22:00.
- Little Creatures, 40 Mews Road, Fremantle WA 6160 - For me it's hard to imagine Fremantle without this place. While other independent breweries have opened around Perth in the last 8 years or so, Little Creatures continues to hold it's own and is a great place for a beer and good food. It's always busy, and always has a great atmosphere. The staff are friendly, and service is fast. If you're not in the mood for a large, noisy beer hall, and want something a little more laid back, head up to the Creatures Loft where good beer and sofas await. I've spent many hours up there.
- Feral Brewing Company, 152 Haddrill Road, Baskerville WA 6056 - I rarely get out to this brewery. But when I do, I love it. The pizzas are great, and the beer is bloody good as well. Its also a great excuse to visit the Swan Valley, and perhaps duck into the Chocolate Factory :-)
- 43 Below, 43 Barracks Street, Perth WA 6000 - This place was known as Bar On Barrack for quite a few years, and The Alhambra Bar before that. It opened in the 1920's and stakes the claim of being the first bar in Perth to serve counter meals. I hate the new name, and the new signs at the front of the place. Luckily, the bar itself has been left untouched. I'm hoping that will continue to be the case. London, Antwerpen (Belgium) and Keszthely (Hungary) served to develop my love of underground bars, and that love is well served here. The before-mentioned counter meals are very tasty indeed, and very good value for money. They also have a large selection of beers on tap, also well priced. I've never managed to make it to their famed (and surprising) Super Mario Kart 64 evenings. I must get around to that one day. I think its on Tuesday nights.
- The Brass Monkey / Grapeskin Wine Bar, 209 William Street, Northbridge WA 6003 - I hate both of these places on busy nights. If I cant easily get a seat on a sofa, I just keep walking. When the numbers are right though, this place is a gem. Its a surprisingly big place, with a number of different bars, with different themes and atmospheres. Its not as big as The Deen, but bigger than you'd think. Ok.. maybe that's just my view :-) Either way, whatever section I end up, I always enjoy it. I've never ordered any food from there, but I've been told its decent. The Brass Monkey Stout is a pretty respectable beer brewed on-site.
- Grand Boulevard Tavern, 151 Grand Blvd (cnr Boas Ave), Joondalup WA 6027 - I'm not sure why, but I always get the impression that this is some manner of front for organised crime. I'm not sure why :-) But either way, the restaurant is fantastic, having served memorable and delicious meals to me on every occasion. It's a pretty cool establishment actually. The Beer Garden is comfortable. The sports bar is also likeable, with plenty of big screen TVs and sofas.
Streets and general areas
- The Boat, Mindarie Marina, Ocean Falls Boulevard, Mindarie WA 6030 - This is place is pretty much right next to the Indi (see above), and thus gets overlooked a fair bit (by me, at least). They've got a large selection of beers on tap, and a very good selection of bottled stuff as well. The food is overpriced, and nothing special... especially compared to the indi. It does have a good atmosphere though, and I do enjoy watching sport there from time to time. Sitting out on the deck on a warm summer's night is quite a treat. I have a soft-spot for marinas you see.
- Beaufort St, Mt Lawley/Highgate - I guess this is one of my traditional bits of road. I used to drive up and down it all the time on the way to work and tafe, and eventually started stopping for coffees and such. That eventually lead to beers at the Queens and the Scotsman, which eventually lead back to coffees. I pretty much love the whole street, from the Astor theatre, down to the Brisbane. There are great restaurants and cafés all along it, where one can sit and people watch.
- Fremantle - When I'm walking around Fremantle, I always feel like I'm on a holiday. Virtually every street has its own unique character and charm. I love walking through the slightly quieter areas. Specifically, the area bound by Cliff St, Marine Tce, Collie St and Market St. There are some fantastic quirky stores around there, and a couple of great bookshops. I generally do a loop from little creatures, out to the E-Shed markets, back past the Round House and back. The whole area forms part of the University of Notre Dame, and people tell me that the area is dead compared to what it used to be like. I'm not complaining though. I honestly feel like I'm walking though some Mediteranien seaside city when I walk through these streets during the warmer months.
Outdoors | Around Perth
Hillary's Boat Harbour