The RitzCarlton at Elizabeth Quay opened to much fanfare.
The glamorous Crown Casino perth was expanded in 2016 to the tune of a$650 million (S$605 million).
An a$1.6 billion multipurpose stadium has welcomed the likes of U2 and taylor Swift since its opening in 2018. a spanking new the Ritz-Carlton, perth – the first in australia after a two-decade hiatus from the group – offers a sprawling 2,981 sqft top-floor suite with panoramic views of Swan River you can experience for a$8,888 a night.
For a town built on the fast riches of Western australia’s mining boom – and sucked into a downward spiral when the same industry collapsed in 2015 – perth has sprung back, with plenty of exciting developments.
Underscoring the city’s herculean effort to rise from ashes is elizabeth Quay – a scenic mixeduse waterfront development that links the perth CBD to Swan River, creating a business, leisure and entertainment hub that has attracted over a a$2 billion stake in private investments since its launch in 2016.
Incentives from the government have also seen a phenomenal boom in hotel openings. Just last year, besides the Ritz-Carlton, park Regis Subiaco, Doubletree by hilton perth Northbridge and art Series – the adnate, perth also opened. This means the addition of some 5,000 rooms in the last six years, with another thousand to come by 2022.
Of course, the opening of high-end properties often translates to new destination restaurants. think Wildflower, a contemporary fine dining venue, and David thompson’s Long Chim, located within the same heritage complex as luxury hotel Como the treasury, celebrity chef Guy Grossi’s Garum, the Westin perth’s signature restaurant, and the Ritz-Carlton, perth’s hearth.
What’s more, these swank CBD options are complemented by the organic growth of an exciting mix of mid-tier restaurants – from polished French and Italian stalwarts to a gamut of new places serving world cuisine, spanning thai to Caribbean.
Head to the posh heritage neighbourhood of Mount Lawley for cool coffee shops and bars nestled alongside unique shops and boutiques, Fremantle for a buzzy cafe scene, Northbridge for edgy ethnic fare… With breadth, depth and vibrancy, perth is poised to become an interesting proposition for gourmet travellers.
Of course, you might have to dig a little to go beyond the trendy new spots backed by smooth marketing machinery, and the widely publicised old-favourites, but the discoveries are worth it. here are some of the latest openings to note:
The West Australian’s legendary food critic Rob Broadfield called hearth, the Ritz-Carlton, perth’s signature restaurant “the biggest culinary gamble perth has taken”, and it would seem that the gamble is paying off as it looks set to put the city’s fine dining scene in the international limelight.
The hearth is the heart of hearth and where head chef Jed Gerrard – who previously helmed Wildflower at Como the treasury and catapulted it to cult status – harnesses the flavours of produce from Western australia’s kimberley region to the Great Southern with smoke, flames, ember – and a lot of finesse and ingenuity – for his dishes.
Get ready for an experience that is distinctly local and exceptional. Notable dishes include the beautifully delicate, painstakingly constructed flan of Quandong point pearl meat, charred Southern Forest avocado, Geraldton Wax flowers, kununurra boab tuber and mango, and the rustically hearty sharing dish of hearth-roasted Wagin duck, accented by Jarrah honey and spiced quandong. www.hearthrestaurant.com.au
DOUBLE RAINBOW EATING HOUSE
To Broadfield , this was the only restaurant in 2019 to give him goosebumps just thinking about it. A stellar addition to the eclectic mix of restaurants offering world cuisine in grungy Northbridge, Double Rainbow boasts a stellar cast in the kitchen: chef consultant Jesse Blake of petition kitchen fame, head chef Jeremy Bleszynski, who used to be at potato head Bali, and sous chef Soon Young kwon, formerly with Momofuku.
From them, come lively, asianinspired treats worth reordering such as shredded banana flower salad with coconut, cucumber and kaffir lime; smoked ox tongue with scallion-ginger sauce; crispfried chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and coated with chilli vinegar dressing perfumed with kaffir lime leaf; kangaroo tail red curry; sweet ‘n’ sour tripe; and grilled chicken heart skewers.
The casual dinner venue – housed within entertainment complex the Rechabite – opens until 2am on weekends, making it the perfect spot for quality chow after drinks or a show. www.therechabite.com.au
In 2014, Wanwipar thanasothorn (Dao) and five of her university buddies started gourmet thai street food catering company Bangkok Jump Street in perth. Its resounding success led to Dao opening Baan Baan with a warm, vibrant energy laced with cascading pot plants and local street artist @ emblem_ink’s works on the walls last year.
The menu zeros in on Bangkok as well as regional thai dishes. Must-orders include the grilled fish in red curry custard presented in a banana leaf parcel looking like a mini loaf , the unctuous beef ribs slow-cooked in a northern-style curry, and the steamed dumplings stuffed with prawn, radish and peanuts. All the flavours are fresh, bright and addictive, and you would do well to come with a larger group to sample more of the deliciousness offered. baanbaanperth.com.au
In a city populated with sleek watering holes and edgy speakeasies, cafe-cum-bar Jungle Bird in Fremantle– with its real emu ambassador that hangs out with the patrons and Carribean menu – stands out with its intensely bright colours and devil-may-care tiki theme.
For all its laid-back attitude, it has a serious stash of rum – some 70 boutique labels, from papua New Guinea to Nicaragua and even a couple of gems distilled in australia such as Cocos Nucifera from Rum Diary Spiced experimental kitchen in Melbourne – and an interesting list of craft beers and cocktails with whisky and and dark spirits.
Opened last June, Jungle Bird snagged the 2019 Best New Small Bar award presented by the Western australia Small Bar association, beating hot nominees Mummucc’ in Wembley and its neighbouring Madelena’s. www.junglebirdfreo.com.
In recent times, the food and cafe scene in Freo, as its residents call it, has been booming.
02 DOUBLE RAINBOW EATING HOUSE
Here, the chefs push out dishes with Chinese, Indonesian and Thai leanings, all quickly devoured by a steady crowd.
Renowned for his local food philosophy, chef Jed Gerrard helms The Ritz-Carlton, Perth’s signature restaurant.
New Zealander Jesse Blake – the chef consultant behind perth’s hot new restaurant Double Rainbow eating house – is the name to look out for in the F&B scene.
Jesse Blake first made waves in 2016 when he left Melbourne’s celebrated restaurant Cumulus Inc to head Petition Kitchen – a casual-chic bistro serving up a spread spotlighting local produce. last November, he joined the edgy new Double˛Rainbow, dishing out tongue-tingling Asian-inspired flavours. Think a traditional som tum (Thai green papaya salad) given a textural edge with the addition of crisp-fried shredded papaya and tender raw local yellowtail kingfish – a dish Blake feels best represents his current culinary style. He shares his culinary journey, inspirations and insights with us.
WHAT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR GROWTH AS A CHEF?
Getting out of my comfort zone. For a long time, I was openly cooking what’s been deemed European food, following on from Cumulus Inc. The many opportunities I have been given have enabled me to express my thoughts and ideas freely with minimal constraints. This has allowed me to learn and grow through trial (and error) and learn, through my own experiences. (Now, at Double Rainbow) I am able to explore a style of cooking I’ve always wanted to touch on – having visited a number of Asian countries and having quite a large appetite for Asian food. I am able to reinterpret many of the food moments I have experienced throughout my time as a chef abroad.
YOU ARRIVED IN AUSTRALIA IN 2010. WHAT HAS LEFT THE DEEPEST IMPRESSION ON YOU?
The quality of produce here is unreal and the people who want it bad enough make time to go out and find (the best). They also put a huge emphasis on making a connection with those who grow it and where it comes from.
WHAT APPEAL DOES PERTH HOLD FOR THE TRAVELLING GOURMET?
With much of the limelight still focused on Sydney and Melbourne, it has a little way to go. But Western Australia (WA) has… strength in numbers. There are great places here which don’t get the public attention they deserve. In Perth, there has been a positive shift in the number of great restaurants and bars that have opened in my time here. The amount of local talent coming through is also a good step in the right direction. There seems to be an influx of very creative individuals, who strive to add something new to the F&B and tourism industries, be it through new openings and micro festivals or major food festivals and site activations.
YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT/DRINK AT IN PERTH?
Sumiya Gin (sumiya-gin.com.au) in Northbridge. Great little BYO place for Japanesestyle barbecue.
Mummucc’ (mummucc.com.au) in Wembley. Good food and natural wines at this Italian bar.
Lulu la Delizia (lululadelizia.com.au) in Subiaco. A mustgo dinner spot: good small plates, great pasta.
03 JUNGLE BIRD
The 2019 Best New Small Bar Award winner has a serious stash of rum with some 70 boutique labels.
04 & 05 BAAN BAAN
Local street artist @emblem_ink’s Siamese fighting fish honours Dao’s dad, who loved walking her through his fighting fish farm.
JUNGLE BIRD EVEN HAS A LIVING, BREATHING BABY EMU AS AN AMBASSADOR WHO HANGS OUT WITH THE PATRONS.