Perth, a town to discover / 1

Michela Cimnaghi tells us about the place where she lives and its rich and little-known gourmet scene

23-08-2014
The beautiful night skyline in Perth introduces th

The beautiful night skyline in Perth introduces the report written by Michela Cimnaghi for Guida ai ristoranti di Identità Golose 2014, published by Mondadori, which we republish in two episodes these days. Moving to this town in Australia has allowed her to be surprised by its vitality and by the rich and interesting gastronomic offer

Perth is not a town you go to by chance, it’s almost a choice made by destiny. When I learnt we would move there, three years ago, I had to check where it was. It’s the invisible town that would like to be noticed, abandoned by European geographic knowledge, identifying Australia as Sidney and Melbourne, and by the Australians on the East coast, who consider it a large isolated province, closer to Asia than to themselves.

Perhaps it’s because of this abandonment, perhaps it is because it wants to become a protagonist, or because of the immigrants coming from all over the world: Perth is in fact much livelier than anyone would ever imagine, especially when it comes to good food. Jamie Oliver, Masterchef and young chefs have truly made a revolution here. The quality in a dish, in a cup or in a glass is the most important element, and there are good raw materials too.

Coffee is not just a morning ritual but a sort of national mania at every hour. My favourite is Atomic Espresso in South Perth (21 Mends street, shop 15, South Perth, +61.(0)8.93680990), after a short walk by the river and before taking the ferry to go to the city centre. The decor is simple and the outdoor tables are always crowded: you can only order from the cash register and the staff is smiling and efficient; the homemade cakes are perfect with a cappuccino. Here you can meet lots of city cyclers who take some refreshments after their morning ride, before going to work.

Tapas bar, concept store, art gallery: Venn is an eclectic space in the centre of Perth, which promotes and supports young Australian artists

Tapas bar, concept store, art gallery: Venn is an eclectic space in the centre of Perth, which promotes and supports young Australian artists

If I’m in the centre of town, I choose Venn, a multi-functional space that is part art gallery and part designer shop, with an interior courtyard that is perfect for a break; or Crn in Northbridge (44 Lake street, Northbridge, +61.(0)8.92288861), which offers an excellent vegan menu for lunch.

During the weekend I prefer to go to Yelo’s on Trigg beach, a small point of reference overlooking the ocean where “sustainable” is the keyword, from the cups to the bread and the wood toys for children. The fruit and vegetable juices are not to be missed, same goes for the quiche of the day and the “lay down” atmosphere.

Working from home I rarely allow myself to go out for lunch but when it happens, the choice is simple: Stuzzico or The Apple Daily, two places that could not be more different from each other but which have in common the ability to make me feel at home.

Four floors dedicated to wine and food: this is what The Apple Daily, one of the most interesting new spots in Perth, offers

Four floors dedicated to wine and food: this is what The Apple Daily, one of the most interesting new spots in Perth, offers

Stuzzico is a piece of Italy, or better of Rome, stuck in the centre of Perth; Gerardo, originally from Latium and living here for over 10 years, recreated the atmosphere and the food of a small shop where you can buy an excellent slice of pizza, drink coffee and have a chat with some friends. Every Italian has stopped at least once here, from students looking for a job to bartenders to white collars working in the Cbd offices. Besides, Stuzzico is a chain including other shops in town, because the flavour and simplicity of a good pizza are always a success, even Down Under.

The Apple Daily is one of the newest places in the local gastronomic scene, hidden under the new Bhp skyscraper, on the second floor of the Print Hall, four floors entirely dedicated to restaurants and bars. Here you will find south-east Asian food paired with beers and wines coming from western Australia alone: until a few years ago it would have been defined as a fusion restaurant and it would fit perfectly even in my Milan, with its slightly snob mood.

Chef Sunny De Ocampo offers a menu with street food and dishes to be shared; it’s impossible to order the wrong dish and my preferred option is the Crispy aromatic duck, spring onion, flower bun, hoisin.

1. to be continued


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