I’ve just come back from a jaunt over West. It was a quick one, but I got a very good feel for the scene there in just a few days. My bro’ Ben and I scouted the joint together.
Perth and environs has some incredible produce and wine that fits to the “whole food”, locavore etc vibe. Interestingly, I’d say the city doesn’t really promote its paddock-to-plate wares as much as it could. Which, to be honest, is quite refreshing. The whole “local, hand-foraged basil leaf” palaver can wear a little thin after a while (isn’t a basil leaf just “picked”?).
As I say, I was there briefly, so my recommendations are limited. Thusly, I called on a few local hand-foraged “friends” to share their favourite spots, too.
* Bread In Common. Even if you don’t eat bread, this place offers so, so much: slow-cooked options, locally sourced and house-made; communal tables; and a lovely heat coming off the big bread ovens where they make their very authentic sourdough (based on a mother culture that’s 25 years old). Check out the Bread In Common site. PS. Every full moon they have a long table communal dinner.
* The Raw Kitchen. I’m not a raw fan. But thankfully this place doesn’t just do raw. Although they do only do vegan. But in a mindful way. The food is truly creative and nourishing.
We had the zucchini pesto pasta and the gluten-free pizza with sweet potato, fermented onion with cinnamon oil. They make their own fermented kimchi (presumably from a salt brine, not whey) and kombucha. Check out the Raw Kitchen.
* The South Fremantle Markets. Off the beaten track in a lovely bit of suburbia…but worth travelling to. There’s the usual suspects – coffee vans, chia tents, local labna producers and John Butler-esque buskers – but also a really friendly vibe. Go for brunch to hang in the sun with the locals. They – thoughtfully – supply old crockery mugs you can use at the various coffee stands (along with a bucket of water and detergent for washing up afterwards). Check out the South Fremantle Markets.
* Ootong and Lincoln. A fun place to grab a coffee and innovative burger. Check out Ootong and Lincoln.
* Manna Wholefoods. About 50m from Ootong and a great place to stock up on supplies. They also have a café there that ticks all the vegan, flaxseed, chai etc boxes of a health food shop café. Check out Manna Wholefoods.
* Fremantle Markets. Carla from Live Clean Juice Plus says: “On a weekend this is a must for me. I’ve been going to Clara’s Wholefoods for years to stock up on my tidbits and essentials for the week.” Check out Fremantle Markets.
* Bib & Tucker. Carla: “I love this place. It’s in Leighton (next to Fremantle) run by Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan. Awesome location on the beach and good quality food that’s healthy but whole food and hearty.” Check out Bib and Tucker.
On the outdoors front…
I also went mountain bike riding on the Kalamunda Bike Circuit. Seriously, the best technical fun park I’ve done. Beautiful Jarrah and Marri forest…if there was hiking in the area (I’m pretty sure there would be), I’d soooo recommend getting up there It’s only 40 minutes from Fremantle. Drop in at the pub afterwards for a pint in the sun.
Oh, and if you’re in the area, you really should give kayaking a go. There are a stack of operators running tours up rivers (to wineries) and out in the ocean to seal colonies. We went for a jaunt up the Canning River and checked out incredible birdlife. Magical stuff.
A gentle ride (or walk) through the dunes near Coogee Beach at sunset is also magical.
Carla from Live Clean Juice Plus adds: “Riding my bike around the Swan River near Point Walter and heading to Port Beach for some sun and a swim are my favourite things to do.”
* The Green House. I totally dig this place. Mostly because, while located right in the CBD, it provides a free compost service. They’re totally on the waste-free bandwagon, serve kombucha, churn their own butter and grow fresh ingredients on their rooftop. Check out the Green House.
* Solomon’s Café. I’m yet to find a place quite like this anywhere in the world. They cater squarely for paleo and vegan fans and their menu couldn’t be a better reflection of the kind of eating I promote if I was in the kitchen myself.
Exhibit A: chicken bone broth and sardines.
The rest of the menu features slow cooked meats, sustainable fish…and the most delicious cinnamon and coconut roasted carrots. Check out Solomon’s Cafe.
* Blind Corner Wines. A great WA natural wine company. Ben and Naomi foot-press their biodynamic grapes, and wild ferment the wine in oak barrels. They also make a Two Brothers line, but their Blind Corner range is their kooky natural stuff. We had it at our IQS event in Perth. If you see it on a menu – grab it! Check out Blind Corner.
* CNR Kitchen. I was going to try this place myself but ran out of time. It was recommended by a few people, including Liz who runs Breakfast in Perth. They specialise in paleo, but also serve raw food and vegan dishes. They use fresh, free-range, grass-fed and local produce and have a special Five Senses blend of coffee (their own recipe). Check out CNR Kitchen.
* Yelo Cafe. Carla: “This is a lovely beach shack and funky cafe in the northern beaches area.” Check out Yelo Cafe.
* West End Deli. Sarah “Polly” Polanski from 98five Sonshine FM says: “This one’s just out of the city. Great food, very cosy. The menu always links in with what’s in season. It’s my old local!” Check out West End Deli.
* The Little Bird Cafe (Northbridge). Liz: “They do a really nice muesli.” Check out Little Bird Cafe.
* Panache Cafe. Carla: “This is up and coming, and my boyfriend’s personal favourite as it’s one of the only really healthy and gluten friendly places near his work. They are also a rare breed here doing Match Green Tea Lattes.” Check out Panache Cafe.
* Sayer’s Sister (Northbridge). Liz: “This one’s a relative of Sayer’s Food (Leederville). Both are great and are especially famous for their brekkies.” Check out Sayer’s Sister.
* Veggie Mama. Carla: “Another small hot spot for lunches and healthy take away in particular.” Check out Veggie Mama.
* The 3 Fig cafes: The Wild Fig, The Naked Fig and The Pickled Fig. Carla: “My personal favourite is The Naked Fig for the layout, scenery and decent service.” Check out The Fig Cafes.
* The Tuck Shop (Northbridge). Liz: “It’s always quite busy but the food is delicious! Great for brekkie.” Check out the Tuck Shop.
* Print hall. Polly: “Head here for a drink – it’s such a great building.” Check out Print Hall.
* Apple Daily. Polly: “This one’s upstairs from Print Hall. Great space and good food.” Check out Apple Daily.
* The Swan Valley Cafe. Carla says: “This is a must if you are heading into our wine region (I grew up not far from there). Beautiful cottage-like setting and delicious food. All around are our wineries, cheese places and Yahava Coffee. Picture a wine-tasting layout but it’s coffee tasting. Also tea friendly and has cool bits and bobs you can pick up for around the house.” Check out the Swan Valley Cafe.
Been to Perth? Live in Perth? Do you have more places to add to this (growing) list? Feel free to comment below.