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Travel & Holiday

Perth for foodies

The Western Australian city’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene has many attractions to wine and dine
The Straits Times - September 20, 2011
By: Tracy Lee-Elrick
| More
Perth for foodies

MUCH has been talked about how there is nothing much to do in Perth after the shops shut at 5.30pm. But of late, the city centre has shaken off its slightly sleepy image, thanks to many hip new bars and restaurants.

Walk and eat

For a tasty Perth experience, we started with a guided walking tour around the city by Two Feet & A Heartbeat (www.twofeet.com.au). The first stop along the threehour tour was Canton Lounge Bar at 532 Hay Street.

The spacious lounge still bearstraces of its past as a Chinese restaurant,
such as embossed dragon motifs on the ceilings. It offers Asian and Western tapas platters, an extensive cocktail list and themed nights such as cigar and rum tastings, or live deejay sessions.

On the 10-minute walk to our next stop, Mr Ryan Zaknich, director of the tour company, pointed out some of the city’s sights — such as the LED-lit Town Council building that changes colours like a magic lantern; street art such as public sculptures; and the old Treasury Building, soon to be reincarnated as an Aman resort. Ducking into a back alley decorated with graffiti-style murals, we entered Helvetica at Rear 101 St Georges  Terrace.

The industrial-chic bar is a former private gentleman’s club. Round the corner in another back alley is Andaluz Bar & Tapas at 21 Howard Street.
It is a cosy Spanish tapas joint designed to look like a turn-of-the-century home, with separate rooms filled with leather armchairs, Persian carpets, chandeliers and floral arrangements.

Our evening ended at the nearby Greenhouse, a super-stylish eatery
with a strong green ethos.

The purpose-built corrugated iron building is covered with a vertical garden of potted strawberry and ivy plants, and the furniture is made
from recycled products such as old wooden pallets and street signs.

Its “honest, tasty” approach to food means everything, where possible,
is sourced locally and made in-house — it even mills its own flour and oats to make bread and pastries.

You can order healthy fare such as grilled haloumi with tomato and sumac, roasted broccoli and quinoa salad, or chorizo with fried bread, piquillo pepper and slow cooked egg.

Don’t forget to save room for dessert — the chocolate, cherry and coconut is a sinful slab of rich chocolate mousse with brandied cherries, served alongside a snowy smear of rich coconut icing.

Seafood in port city

A 25-minute drive from Perth, Fremantle is a charming port city filled with early 19th-century Gold Rush-era buildings, and resembles a Hollywood  set for a Spaghetti Western.

The food stalls at its famous Fremantle Market — which opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9am — offer eclectic breakfast options  ranging from smoothies, kebabs and doughnuts to cupcakes, Japanese noodles and Turkish flatbreads. Thereafter, you can pick up souvenirs from stalls selling art and craft, fashion and homeware.

South Terrace, as known as Cappuccino Strip, is the perfect spot for a coffee break while Market Street offers fashion boutiques galore. Stroll over to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour at Mews Road for a late lunch.
Kailis is said to have to best fish and chips in town, while Little Creatures brewery is a popular spot for modern Australian fare.

Whether it is woodfired pizzas or tapasstyle nibbles such as marinated  octopus, kangaroo kebab with spicy tomato chutney and sweet roasted corn cobs, you will want to wash it all down with the fresh Little Creatures boutique ales brewed onsite. After lunch, visit local attractions such as the Maritime Shipwreck Museum, Western Australia Maritime  Museum and Fremantle Prison.

The prison’s Tunnels Tour offers a chance to work off the calories as you have to climb down ladders to descend 20m underground and row a boat along the waterlogged tunnels.

Feast with surfers

Admire the stunning beachesthat Western Australia is famous for at seaside town Cottlesloe (a 10-minute drive from Fremantle) in the early evening for sundowners followed by dinner.

Edwardian-style Indiana at 99 Marine Parade is easily the best spot, offering excellent beach views and dishes such as Shark Bay Crab with chilli and lime, shaved cucumber, paw paw and watercress salad, chargrilled Scotch fillets and Vanilla bavarois with poached rhubarb. Movie fans take note: Cottlesloe Beach was one of late actor Heath Ledger’s favourite surfing spots.

Picnic in the park

Stop by the nearest Woolworth’s supermarket to stock up on bread, cheese, fruit and wine, and head outdoors for a picnic. Langley Park, located right by Swan River (between Victoria Avenue and Plain Street) is an easy stroll from the Central Business District.

If you are feeling more energetic, walk on to King’s Park on Mounts Bay Road. Larger than New York’s Central Park, it offers stunning views of Swan River and skyscrapers, as well as activities from guided nature walks and wildflower festivals to outdoor concerts and cinema.

Suburban delights
Venture into Perth’s inner city suburbs for a gastronomic treat. Beaufort and Walcott Streets in the upmarket suburb of Mount Lawley are lined  with restaurants and bars.

What’s worth checking out include the award-winning Must Winebar for  contemporary French offerings, and new gastropub Five Bar, at Beaufort Street. Also head to Williams and Roe Streets in Northbridge, where traditional Asian and Italian eateries nestle among hip bars and restaurants such as Bivouac Canteen & Bar, which serves exotic Greater Mediterranean-inspired fare.

Bon appétit!

Traveller's Tips

The best way to get around Perth city is by using the free CAT (Central Area Transit) buses that run along three routes:

- Red CAT travels in an East-West loop from Queens Gardens in East
Perth to Outram St in West Perth;

- Blue CAT travels in a North-South loop from Barrack St Jetty to
Northbridge; and

- Yellow CAT operates in a loop from East Perth to West Perth.

Consider staying at a hotel along the Blue CAT route as its bus service
runs till 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Perth sees more sunny days per year than any other Australian
capital city, so remember to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and take
along your hat and sunglasses.

 

 

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