9 of Perth’s best cheap eats
Whether it's late-night suckling pig, a fancy degustation, or seared kangaroo skewers overlooking the harbour, Perth has it all on a platter.
By Fleur Bainger
Perth's eating scene is among the sharpest in Australia, revitalised by small bars and unconventional kitchens pushing the culinary boundaries and focusing on multidimensional, flavour-driven fare. It’s casual but punchy, fun but well executed, and often taps into Asia for inspiration. Expect to encounter a clever blending of traditional cuisines with a contemporary flair in this edit of the city's best-value eateries.
Dainty Dowager, Mount Lawley
Your taste buds will be singing after a visit to this Asian roasting house, with a delectable menu of bite-size and more substantial plates. Highlights include their dumplings which change daily, and handmade 'dragon beard' noodles. It would be rude not to mention the selection of Dainty Dowager in-house roasted meats, with some of the most delicious duck you've ever tasted this side of Asia.
One of the benefits of living in a country as multicultural as Australia is that you can taste some of the best authentic Italian street food in the quiet suburbs of Perth. All the pizza dough at Monsterella is made in-house and left to naturally rise for 48 hours before being baked in their wood fired oven, giving it an incredible texture and flavour. The equally delicious pasta menu is also all made fresh on site, by an Italian nonna no less.
Brika, city centre
Another taste of Europe, this time all the way from Greece to the buzzy Stirling Street in Northbridge. Brika is a local favourite mezze bar that serves up delicious small plates designed for sharing. Some of the highlights include their crispy spanakopita (a spinach and filo pie), and their melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked lamb. A tiny hole in the wall coffee window, Filos and Yiros keeps with the cheap theme, and serves filos (bakes pies) and coffee from 7am, and yiros from 11am.
Ippudo, Kings Square
If you haven't already eaten at the exceptional global franchise that is Ippudo (created by ramen king Shigemi Kawahara back in 1985 in Hakata), now's your chance. Don't let the line of hungry customers put you off, the food is worth the wait. Beyond their famous tonkotsu ramen (pork) broth, there are a number of entrees worth trying. Like their freshly steamed chicken and pork buns, and the yam fries are a must.
Don Tapa, Fremantle
The meeting of Peruvian and Japanese cooking at Fremantle's Don Tapa is foodie fusion at its best, and the ideal way to tour the Nikkei cuisine is by ordering one of everything. Don Tapa began its life as a sea container sitting on Fremantle's port docks, before moving into a warehouse called The Mantle. It shares the floor with a cocktail bar, an Italian pizzeria, a pop-up kitchen space and a ping-pong table. Impressively, its open kitchen is still housed in that same black sea container.
Inspired by the British owner's summer holidays in Spain, this excellent, largely authentic Spanish tapas bar, Pinchos, serves beautiful bites for surprisingly little cash. It inhabits a corner spot in the middle of hip Oxford Street (in the inner city suburb of Leederville), allowing you to enjoy a side of people-watching while you sink your teeth into fried pork belly cubes showered in dukkah, savour the house made churros or sip a sangria. It's open all day, so you might also be tempted to stop in for a brunch bowl of baked beans, black sausage and chorizo.
Good Fortune Duck House, Northbridge
Good Fortune Duck House is the place to hunt down the most succulent, crispy skinned Peking and roast duck in Perth. It may not be the prettiest venue, with the bright, fluorescent lights, white tiles and wraparound wall mirrors typical of restaurants in Perth's Chinatown, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for with staggeringly good flavour and value. As well as duck pancakes, try the pork and beans dish, and the soft shell crab. Positioned half way up Northbridge's cosmopolitan William Street, a strip lined with boutiques, small bars and gift shops, you'll know it by the queue out front.
Little Creatures Brewery, Fremantle
A rite of passage for visitors and locals alike, Little Creatures Brewery started life as a grassroots, homegrown microbrewery developed by a group of mates. While it has grown into an international brand, the original shed-style brewery and its harbourside views remain. Within its towering walls, in sight of stainless steel vats, you can bite into chilli prawn pizza, buckets of white wine mussels and excellent kangaroo skewers. Food is well priced and best downed with a Rogers' amber ale, which is mid-strength beer but full flavoured. Consider including a brewery tour while you're here.
The Beach Club, Cottesloe
The word "cheap", and the upmarket, ocean-facing suburb of Cottesloe, are rarely (if ever) in the same sentence. But this beach chic, open-air section of the popular Cottesloe Beach Hotel, The Beach Club, is very affordable. Expect to see plenty of beautiful people dressed in resort wear, perching on canary yellow stools at black and white-tiled tables, lounging on comfy couches in a sunken lounge, or standing beneath colourful beach umbrellas in the open-air space. It's popular day and night, and a great spot to slurp shucked oysters fresh from the ocean, savour their Harvey Beef carpaccio or share a plate of local peaches with puffed grains, Meredith feta and candied pecans.