A gourmet tour of Perth, Australia’s sunniest city

Rich Keam was one of thousands of entrants to Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World campaign. He arrived in Perth in August 2013 to take up his prize job as Taste Master of Western Australia.

Perth is Australia’s sunniest city and home to over 19 cities beaches

Perth is Australia’s sunniest city and home to over 19 cities beaches

Perth's famed seafood at Matilda Bay

Perth's famed seafood at Matilda Bay

Kings Park – the perfect place for a meal with a view

Kings Park – the perfect place for a meal with a view

Greenhouse – just one of Perth’s creative new restaurants in the city centre

Greenhouse – just one of Perth’s creative new restaurants in the city centre

Enjoy fresh seafood and craft beer at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour

Enjoy fresh seafood and craft beer at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour

The Swan Valley is home to 200 producers, from wineries to cheese and chocolate producers

The Swan Valley is home to 200 producers, from wineries to cheese and chocolate

With 19 beaches, vineyards 30 minutes from the centre and year-round sunshine, it’s not surprising Perth in Western Australia is regularly voted one of the world’s most liveable cities. Now there is a real buzz around the food scene, with new restaurants and bars changing the face of the city. Historic buildings, hidden corners and laneways are being reactivated by passionate and creative entrepreneurs. Small bars, cosy restaurants and farmers markets are at the very heart of this change. Better still, many of these new haunts are showcasing Western Australia’s fresh, local and seasonal produce. There has never been a better time to taste what the city has on offer.

After five months living in Perth, here are his recommendations on where to go and what to eat.

The coffee obsession

Australia’s obsession with coffee is well documented. In Perth, the latest trend is cold drip coffee, delivering a smooth hit of caffeine over ice; perfect on one of the city’s regularly blue sky days. Head to Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall on Kings Street in the city centre to try it. This repurposed space is fitted out with reused and recycled materials. Dan Ash of Micrology Coffee Roasters, one of the city’s many micro roastaries, provides all of Uncle Joe’s coffee and is behind their cold drip coffee. Be warned, it is addictive.

Delish Ice

Katie Earl is the owner of Delish Ice. She’s progressed from selling homemade ice lollies sold from a vintage caravan to a Pop-Up shop on William Street. She also has two vintage vans, carts and a growing range of artisan ‘ice pops.’ Flavours include Salted Malted Caramel using brewing wort (the sweet mixture that goes into creating beer) as well as Basil and Elderflower (in which she uses botanicals found in Gin). This summer she’s had everyone, from the young to the young at heart, lining up to get a taste of her ice pops.

Northbridge’s revival

In setting up Bivouac with his wife, Anthony Princi was at the start of a new movement of small, indie restaurants which have transformed William Street in Northbridge. A short walk from the city centre, they are open for brunch, lunch and dinner and much of the produce on the menu comes from their family farm. Make sure you try the gnocchi and the Gingin goat chops.

Close by is the Urban Orchard set on top of a car park right in the middle of the city. Locals and visitors are encouraged to pick the herbs, fruit and vegetables as well as enjoying a drink at the bar and watching the sun go down. As its right in front of the Cultural Centre, it’s the perfect place to go before catching a show in the new State Theatre or relax after seeing an exhibition in the Art Gallery of Western Australia. If you like the sound of this, also try eco-restaurant, the Greenhouse, where 4,000 plant pots create walls of vertical gardens.

Meet the people behind these delicious spots and more in my video guide to Perth’s vibrant food scene.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=107OgodUvlA&list=UUgXRPzx3VwGdXuimRtmBHag&feature=c4-overview

Cruise to Fremantle

Take a cruise down the Swan River to the port city of Fremantle. ‘Freo’, as the locals call it, has a real alternative feel, with its heritage architecture, art, festivals and cafes. Make sure to visit the Fremantle Markets, one of the best markets in Western Australia. Home to 150 stalls, from bio-dynamic fruit and vegetable growers and bakeries to aboriginal art and opal jewellery sellers.

Walk over to the Little Creatures Brewery afterwards, an award winning brewery housed in a converted boatshed. Enjoy craft beers, prosciutto-wrapped prawns and kangaroo tapas overlooking the fishing boat harbour. Keep your eyes peeled on the cruise back to Perth, wild dolphins are often spotted in the river.

Meal with a view

Kings Park is one of the largest inner city parks in the world, encompassing 400 hectares of magnificent park and bushland within the Perth CBD. The manicured lawns are a popular spot for picnickers, families flock to use the free gas BBQs around the park, while those looking for fine dining visit Fraser’s Restaurant. The panoramic restaurant gives diners a sweeping view of the city skyline and Swan River.  Make sure you leave time for a free guided tour through the Botanic Gardens, home to over 3,000 species of the State’s unique flora or a walk amongst the tree-tops on the Lotterywest Federation Walkway.

Perth’s valley of taste

The Swan Valley is just a 30 minute drive from the heart of Perth and has a nationally awarded food and wine trail. For those short on time, Taste Bud Tours offer an excellent day trip to introduce visitors to the passionate and progressive people behind the wineries, craft breweries, restaurants, distilleries, and food producers. Taste lavender scones and tea at Cape Lavender, try bush tucker at the Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery and sip wines and port at the Windy Creek and Houghton wineries.

When to go

Perth enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate. Sunny year-round, December to March are the warmest months with an average maximum temperature of 30-31 degrees centigrade. If you’re considering visiting at this time of year, plan your trip to catch the electric Perth International Arts Festival, held every February.

Getting there

Perth is around 18 hours flying time from the UK (four hours closer than Sydney). A range of airlines service the city, including Qantas, Emirates and Qatar Airways. Twenty minutes from the airport you can be in the heart of Perth or dipping a toe in the Indian Ocean at one of the city’s 19 beaches.

Summary

To sum up, Perth offers the sophisticated traveller a whole range of experiences, from wine regions to wildlife, pristine parkland to perfect produce.

Useful links

Rich Keam is originally from Portsmouth, UK. Since August 2013 he has been eating and drinking his way around Western Australia… You can follow Rich’s adventures on www.tastewesternaustralia.com

Share