My lack of cafe reviews is purely down to being short of time and nothing to do with being short on visits. Here’s a quick round up of a bunch of places I’ve been to recently.
Taste and Graze
I met Terri here for a TPP publicity meeting – she’d told me they boast having “Melbourne coffee” and I was keen to check the claim. The coffee is indeed very good, possibly the best in a 20 minute drive radius from my house and I admit having considered several times heading out there for another cup. The food is excellent – I had eggs on toast. The service became counter service for some reason (wasn’t clear if it was the time of day or a new thing – I’d been there a week or two before that and it was table service). Located on the Mandurah foreshore, the view is lovely (though broken by the main road). However, both times I’ve been there now have been hot days and there is no aircon. My poor baby slowly wilted.
The Merchant on Beaufort
Met my sister for lunch here – I don’t feel it’s the type of place I would feel comfortable sitting and working for hours. That said, it’s got great pram access and I was able to keep the pram next to the table without it feeling in the way. The table service was excellent, very helpful and our waitperson knew exactly what was in every dish (she was quizzed). The coffee was good. And I had the pan fried gnocchi (above). This is where we begin to notice that at the moment, Perth vegetarian option on the menu is most likely to be gnocchi.
The Daily Planet
OK so, I’m completely torn about the Daily Planet – next to Planet Books on Beaufort St. It’s not a very warm place in that the first of the two visits reviewed here, I thought there was no table service at all because all the staff were hipsters and dressed no differently in any way to the customers. And then the second time I visited, not a week later, table service had gone completely and you had to order at the counter. I don’t *necessarily* mind ordering at the counter *except* when you have to wait for the really cool people to stop their inane conversation to pay you attention. And this of course meant that both times, when I’d gone there to work, it was hard work to get a follow up coffee. Or a glass of water. Or a new menu.
But! The Daily Planet has free wifi, nice spaces to sit and spread out and work. AND a really great baby changing facility in the disabled toilet. It’s not even one of those gross fold out from the wall tables but a proper table with lots of space to put your bag down and change a baby in peace. This leads to happy baby and mummy staying for many more hours than she has done elsewhere. Also cool mural on the back wall.
The food is fine. In fact, the breakfast I had the second time and the lunch panini (above) the first time were really delicious. And the coffee is ok to good. I had a piece of cake the first visit which was stale – that was my bad because I should have known and not ordered it. Very rarely do you get not stale cake at cafes. (Sigh – anyone else remember the outstanding cake that Blakes had? When it was the very original Blake’s Blakes?) But there is also no aircon and lots of windows and doors open which makes for a hot cafe on hot days.
Standing Room Only
It’s only fair that I declare that coffee by which I compare everything else. To me, Standing Room Only serve the best coffee in Perth. It’s clearly not everybody’s cup of … coffee … as I could never get anyone else I worked with on board (they tried once or twice). Located in Piccadilly Arcade (which is all pink marble and art deco ness) makes it fun to visit and they’ve now done some changes to the place. I don’t really like them but I think knocking out the storefront window probably eases some of the congestion at peak times. I miss the wood floors that have been replaced with black and white tiles. Standing Room Only is as advertised and is just a takeaway place. They offer three beans each day – their house blend, a single origin and another blend. The latter two get changed daily. When I used to work in the city I didn’t really like the house blend and I’d try one of the other two every day. I guess though if I didn’t like one of the daily specials, I could come back and try something else. The last couple of times I’ve been in the city, I tried first the house blend and then a recommended blend the next time. Whilst the blend was lovely, it wasn’t *as nice* as the house blend and since it’s so rare now for me to get into the city, I’m just having the house blend and being assured of a really good cup of coffee. It’s a deep, rich, intense blend with several layers of flavour. Everything else, to me, tastes hollow. My work mates think that it was too strong. It probably is. Note: a large cup is three shots of coffee.
The Peasant’s Table
My sister and mum took me for breakfast to The Peasant’s Table at The Mezz in Mt Hawthorn for my birthday. The Mezz has been renovated and given a facelift and has a very nice outdoor seating area complete with a kids’ playground that’s easily visible from coffee tables. Unfortunately for us, they don’t do breakfast on Thursdays which is when we went. I had a muffin with coffee, which were both fine, and probably all I wanted anyway. I took this photo of my mum’s cup of tea cause I thought the little bottles of milk were gorgeous. Again, no table service – is this now a thing in Perth? And no cooked breakfasts. But very accessible for the pram and they had a high chair for my niece. I’ve been there before for lunch with my sister (whilst pregnant and they had good vegetarian, pregnant friendly dips and things for a ploughman sort of lunch). I have a feeling this would be a really nice place to hang out in wintery rainy months (here’s hoping we get some of those in Perth again). The bonus here is the parking is good (park on the roof and take the lift down to the ground floor) and you can do a nice food shop with a few specialty stores too.
I met Kathryn at Wild Poppy in Fremantle on a Thursday afternoon for a work session. There are lots of little nooks to sit and be in a quiet space as well as comfy couches and places to park a pram and spread a baby out. The coffee was good. And I had a very nice toasted vegetarian mountain bread roll as well as a delicious caramel slice. Bummer was that they closed at 4pm which was just about when we were settling in to work. There were other people in the cafe who had clearly been there settled in for work sessions so it’s worth another look, I guess. Though for the drive, I think probably for me, somewhere north of the river is more feasible (or closer to K’s place) where I can run a few errands or drop into see people.
Circa deserves a relook even though it didn’t really get a bad review here. We were back here this week and whilst access into it is really bad – I need a friend to help me lift the pram up the three steps and into the restaurant, especially since I watched a table of men sit there and watch me struggle without offering to help – there is space inside for the pram. The staff are very helpful and pleasant – they rearranged the tables so the pram could slot in next to me out of the way and they didn’t mind bringing several pots of hot water to sterilise certain people’s dummies that kept getting spat on the floor. I had the beetroot ravioli this time which was delicious. And the coffee is good. It’s a very lovely space though the issue with the lack of changing facilities for the baby means I probably wouldn’t bring her with me to work there again.
I met up with Naomi in the Perth CBD for lunch at Cucina yesterday. She knew to enter the side entrance which has easy access. I came in the front (from Hay St) and struggled up the two steps – again, people watched but didn’t help. The service was by and large very attentive, helpful and pleasant, except for the drink server who slammed down my lemon, lime and bitters before sauntering off. Not sure what I did to offend. Both vegetarians, we ordered the gnocchi – goat curd, chilli and lemon butter I think. It was very nice. The space was good for leaving two prams next to our table and they offered us two highchairs which was very nice too. And they coped well with a bub dropping toys and rusks from his chair. Naomi discovered there was no real space in the toilets for a nappy change and I’m still trying to figure out how she did it with her bub standing up. She was raving about the souffle which is no longer on the menu though we heard it might be coming back so we might have to go back and try it.
This one was totally me taking one for the team. I popped past on the way back to my car to grab a cup to test it out entirely for my blog. Cafe Vinyl is down the West End of Hay St (it’s actually very close to where I park my car) and my brother in law used to tell me it’s the best coffee in the city. It is very very good.