Top 4 Foodie Discoveries in Perth

The food scenario in Perth has really picked up over the past year and there has been no dearth of new places to explore. Here is my pick of the crop from all the cafes, bars and restaurants I’ve frequented in these last couple of months.

Venn Bar

Address: 16 Queen St, Perth WA 6000

Venn ticks a lot of the right boxes. Photo Credit: We Love Perth

This art gallery, shop, cafe et all has been getting a fair bit of positive attention across the blogosphere and internet in general. Deservedly so. They have a great ambiance that is reminiscent of the alleyway bars of Melbourne. The contemporary artwork on the exposed walls adds to its kitsch and artsy vibe. The menu is extensive and it houses one of the best ciders ever: The Cheeky Rascal. At $11 with 8% Alcohol, this apple and berry Cider is the bomb and is one of the reasons I’ve headed to Venn three times in the past month alone.

There is, however, room for improvement…specifically with the food. We were recommended the Pumpkin, Rosemary and Feta Pizza by one of the staff members and it was a disappointment. The pumpkin was not roasted enough and the caramelized onions failed to add enough flavour. It didn’t taste great and was not warm enough either. Add to that the fact that it is $15 for a pizza the size of a side plate. Like a lot of things in Perth, I felt like we paid too much for not enough quality. It’s more of a shame when a progressive space like Venn -which I believe is changing the space of Perth Nightlife- disappoints with little details like this. Maybe it was a one-off experience. I’ll probably end up there soon enough to ascertain that and to get me some more Cheeky Rascal.

Love Thy Neighbour:
Address: 7/189 William St, Perth, WA 6003

Love thy neighbour and thy coffee. Photo Credit: The City Lane

LTN is a little cafe that you might just walk past because of its nondescript location at the end of a little passage right off of William Street. Perhaps that’s what adds to its charm. You can see those who know about it, love it and clearly make it a point to get their coffees from here. What sets it apart more so is their amazing service: the staff here is fun, friendly and incredibly nice (quite rare for Perth). They’ve all got a smile on their faces, something that’s quite handy when you’re buying early morning coffees from ’em. I head to LTN quite often with my laptop because they also have Free Wi-Fi. Great service, good coffees, and wifi, there is little else I need on most days. This one is definitely my favourite personal discovery of the month.

Tarts Cafe
Address: 212 Lake St, Perth WA 6000

Delicious eggs galore and vintage decor at Tarts Cafe

I was recently invited to Tarts for brunch on the weekend and this place sure is popular. It’s a fairly large space with a lot of sitting room despite that it felt like it was overflowing with people. They do have little cornered off sections and rooms, though… so you can escape the chaos if you’re lucky to be in one of those coveted spots. Tarts have a really extensive, healthy and invigorating menu. I got the Eggs Benedict and they were divine. The Breakfast Bruschetta that my partner got, however, was quite dry and I wouldn’t recommend ordering that.

We were a big group of people and the eggs seemed to be the winners along with the French Toast which was the special of the day. As a fairly Raw- Curious person, I liked Tarts’ selection of juices and raw foods. I got the cranberry, cocoa, and almond brownie and it was perfect: not too sweet, crunchy and just chocolatey enough. Oh and the coffees here are really good too. The staff deserves a special mention because of how efficiently they managed to work despite the crowd and the chaos. If you have the time I’d suggest doing a weekday brunch at Tarts instead of the weekend, when it can feel quite overwhelming. It’s not cheap here by any means but the price (at least for the eggs, coffee, and raw goodies) is well worth it.

Chogajip Korean Restaurant
Address: 19c Essex Street, Fremantle, WA 6160

Finding Korean Foodie Nirvana in Freo. Photo Credit: Love Freo

I don’t know what I loved more here: the Spicy Bulgogi, the kind cashier who can best be described as a Korean Santa or the endearing staff (although it’s hard to catch their attention at the best of times). Chagojip though technically not in Perth, deserves to be on all my “favourite” lists. Since I don’t eat beef we asked them if we could have a Pork Bulgogi. They’d never done a Pork Bulgogi before yet they accommodated us readily if nervously. The chef came out to warn us that it might not be as good and be excessively spicy. I, in turn, assured him of  my Indian heritage and the chili running through my veins.

Once it was brought out to us, they came to our table and asked us how it had turned out and to suggest that maybe next time, chicken might be a better idea. We assured them that the Pork Bulgogi was absolutely delicious and we were enjoying it thoroughly. This must have been proved later by the fact that there was not a drop of food left in the pot or on our plates. From the spicy goodness of the pork, the flavours of the broth, my plum tea and to the prawn crackers at the end, everything was delectable. My partner while he loves Chogajip still prefers another Korean restaurant he frequents in Northbridge. I haven’t been there yet so for now Chogajip is high on my Korean Food in Perth list. More on this once I head to his favourite Korean restaurant in Northbridge. Freo vs Northbridge should be interesting and I am not so secretly hoping Chogajip wins.

Finally, as an extra feature, I’ve also added a “not so great”experience I recently had:

Casa Mexicana- El Compa
Address: 78 Lake St, Perth, WA 6003 

This week for dinner we decided to give our old favourites a miss and try out something new. We came across El Compa on Urban Spoon and chose it mainly because of the positive reviews it had from fellow diners and bloggers. However contrary to popular opinion this is one spot I’m not heading back to anytime soon. All things aside, I did like the authenticity of El Compa: in the use of the clay cookware, the Dia de Muertos imagery and of course in the cuisine itself. Three sauces were brought to us right in the beginning and any place that does that many delicious and spicy sauces is automatically in my good books (not for too long in this case sadly).

While I appreciate the traditional earthenware it doesn’t make up for the tiny expensively priced portions.

I was really excited and between the two of us we ordered a Chicken Quesadilla, a Pork and Cactus Taco each and a Chorizo Sope. We refrained from ordering a starter because we thought we wouldn’t be able to get through it all. Were we wrong or were we wrong?

The food was just “okay” … I understand they might be going for authenticity here but it tasted effortless, to say the least.  The Sope (a thick tortilla with vegetable and meat toppings) had a strange after taste, the Tacos while tasty (especially the orange flavoured pork) were too small to be fulfilling and the Quesadilla didn’t leave any impressions…good or bad.

We paid too much money for not nearly enough satisfaction from our meal. After finishing all our main course dishes it felt like we’d just eaten a few starters. So we took the next logical step and ordered a starter. This was probably the best value for money and taste we got all evening. For $8, the Black Beans and Chorizo came with Corn Tortilla chips and tasted authentic, good and fulfilling (something I was expecting from the rest of the meal). Thank god for that otherwise, we’d have to make a Subway pit stop on our way home. I hope the restaurant will take this as constructive criticism and try to give their customers a more wholesome experience for the money they spend.

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