We decided to break our usual Sunday tradition again and stop in at The Partisan as opposed to our regular favourite pit stop at Toast. We had plans later that afternoon to meet up with the in-laws so we had to trim our standard epic hike down to a more time manageable ten kilometre power walk. In order to burn more calories and save some time I tried to encourage the Boy to run with me. After several failed attempts at this I eventually resorted to jogging alongside him like a crazed loon. How else am I going to get a bride’s body while maintaining fulfilling my constant craving for delicious food?
Despite us seeing that Toast was packed full of customers and yet The Partisan only had a few, we resisted the strong urge to gravitate over to our favourite in order to try somewhere new. We were told by their waitress that the kitchen closes for a short time between breakfast and lunch and that we weren’t allowed to look at the menus while we waited. I asked could we at least order some drinks while we waited to which she agreed. I found this all to be a bit strange given that this place is the perfect venue to eat at this time of day. I ordered my usual short mac (they serve 5 Senses coffee) and the Boy ordered himself a fruit juice.
For those who do not know the Boy; he is a tall, broad-shouldered man and is by no means effeminate. However to fly in the face of this hunky masculinity that is soon to be my husband is his ongoing passion for ordering himself pink coloured drinks. It never fails to amuse me even after all these wonderful years together, and what I love him even more for is that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks!
Eventually we were allowed to order our meals. At this point we had finished our drinks and the Boy was keen to order another pink drink. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix up and they initially brought out the wrong one. After alerting them of this error we were later brought out the correct drink. The service was a little on the slow side considering how quiet the restaurant was and it felt a bit disjointed and disorganised.
During our journey on foot to East Perth, I had prepared myself for missing out on gluten free bread as I couldn’t remember seeing any on the menu when I checked online. As a result I was so happy to hear that they actually have some available. I decided to order something a bit different from my usual brunchy choices and got back to my French roots ordering the Croque Madame. Unfortunately the gluten free bread was way too crumbly and dry. It didn’t hold together very well for such a choice although the contents inside were so yummy that they nearly made up for having such average bread. The Swiss cheese was melted beautifully, the ham was sweet and soft and the egg was still just a little gooey in the centre.
The Boy ordered the roast beef sandwich which he really enjoyed. It contained a generous serve of big juicy chunks of meat, Swiss cheese and greens and was served with cornichons and mustard, chunky chips and some horseradish aioli. The aioli could have had a bit more horseradish added – it didn’t have much kick in it. The chips looked amazing but didn’t follow through with flavour. They tasted a little bland and I ate one that had a slight mouldy aftertaste.
We also ordered a side salad which had so much potential but didn’t quite hit the spot. The candied walnuts were very moreish but the salad itself wasn’t dressed meaning there was a lot of bland lettuce and radish left in the bowl that neither of us could be bothered eating.
Overall I cannot deny that it is unlikely that we will return to The Partisan for brunch when I know I can get quicker, friendlier service next door with fresher, tastier food. Perhaps their dinner service is better? I may considering returning to try this theory.thepartisan.com.au Price: $$ ($11-25 breakfast/lunch meals, $26-39 dinner meals) Food: 2.5/5 (has potential, needs better GF bread) Service: 2/5 (slow, inattentive and makes mistakes Ambience: 3.5/5 (lovely setting along the inlet) Drinks: 2.5/5 (fruit juices & smoothies were flavourless) Total: 10.5/20
Spontaneous and unplanned brunches are often the best as there is no level of expectation or excitement. If the meal successfully hits the spot, the pleasure is such a wonderful surprise that it makes the overall experience even better. Our visit to Little Pantry was one of these wonderful occasions.
That week it had been so wet and wild in our normally sunny city of Perth. The winter weather leaves us all in a state of shock as we are never prepared emotionally or physically for anything that amounts to a real winter. Despite being so unaccustomed and permanently in a state of shiver, my practice manager Liz and I both headed out in the pouring rain on some important business duties. Our trip took us into Subiaco and once our meeting had finished we deemed it essential to stop somewhere for a coffee and a bite to eat to discuss our opinions before presenting it back to our colleagues.
I vaguely recalled seeing a number of cute little cafés along Nicholson Road last time I was in the area and so we headed over there for a gander. The Little Pantry caught my eye as we drove past so after a bit of searching for a park we were fortunate enough for a break in the rain and headed in.
The tiny little café was packed with people, with a big communal table in the centre circled by smaller tables. I understand where the name comes from because it is indeed little. The barista was pumping out some scrumptious smelling coffee and there were a small but mouth-watering selection of lunch options in their cabinet. After some initial concerns that there wouldn’t be any gluten free options I was assured by the waiter that the frittata was suitable.
Our coffees came out quickly and my short macchiato was so good I nearly ordered a second when I noticed the time was already heading into the afternoon. If I have coffee too late into the afternoon I have great trouble falling asleep and with a bright and shiny 7am start the next day I was thankful I looked at the clock first. Little Pantry serves Ponchione coffee that they get airfreighted in fresh from Italy.
My frittata was nearly the best frittata I think I have ever had! It was set to a perfect texture without any wateriness and held its ingredients in place without slipping and slopping apart. It contained sweet potato, zucchini and a hard cheese which I think it tasted like Romano. It was served with a crisp fresh salad of greens dressed to perfection with some extra virgin olive oil.
Liz’s quiche was similarly mind-blowing. It’s incredible how if simple food is cooked and prepared properly using ultra fresh ingredients it can potentially be just as amazing as some fine dining, fancy schpanzy dishes. The pastry was buttery soft and flaky but so wonderfully paper-thin as to not overwhelm the spinach, ricotta and prosciutto filling. It was as divine as mine was.
I am so delighted with our little find and highly recommend stopping in at the Little Pantry if you’re in the area for lunch. Make sure you order a coffee.
Like Me on Facebook!Little Pantry 206 Nicholson Road, Subiaco WA 6008 | (08) 9388 8780 Price: $ (under $15 for lunch each) Food: 5/5 (I simply couldn’t find any fault) Service: 4/5 (prompt friendly and knowledgeable about ingredients) Ambience: 4/5 (buzzing, energetic) Drinks: 4.5/5 (great coffee) Total: 17.5/20
After weeks and weeks of the Boy and I talking about increasing the distance of our Sunday walk to 20 kilometres, we were finally faced with a free day with no time restrictions. Better still, my bestie who is normally busy on this day with yoga teacher training had a free day too. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend my day off; strolling in the sunshine with two of my most favourite people.
Our initial leg took us headfirst into a strong Easterly wind which nearly blew our caps off into the Swan River. Not willing to give in to the elements so soon we powered on in silence each quietly trying to will the gusts away. Luckily once we hit the more protected side of the walk path going through to Burswood the wind had started to die down and we could chatter away to each other and actually be heard. Foolishly I had gone to the gym the day before (in fact I ran to the gym) and I had done a full leg muscle workout completely forgetting about our usual routine the following day. We had barely reached the quarter way mark and my legs were already starting to feel wobbly and tired. Oh dear, I did it once again….the all or nothing part of my personality really does need to be contained sometimes!
As we passed through East Perth, the Boy also started to feel a little weary as he too had done a workout the day prior. In contrast to me, his forethought meant he only trained his upper body knowing full well that his legs would need all their strength for our epic walk. We stopped in at the Kinky Lizard for some “sugaries”; the Boy got an Anzac cookie, Kate and I shared a couple of macarons. I lost a little confidence from the outset as I overheard the waiter call them macaroons. Macarons and macaroons are not the same thing! Our macarons were extremely disappointing and had the texture of a chocolate brownie with the taste of mud cake. No crisp shell, no chewy centre and definitely no layering of flavours.
Energised by the sugar hit we marched on crossing over the Causeway to the South Perth foreshore and then back over the Narrows to the Barrack Jetty area. By this point we had walked a total of 16 kilometres and we were all in desperate need of something more substantial than a snack. We hadn’t visited Sassy’s on Swan for some years and figured it was time for a return visit.
I ordered my usual short mac which I was pleased to see wasn’t topped up with milk – I like mine served traditional. It was very good coffee; not too bitter and a little creamy in its aftertaste. Kate wasn’t as impressed with her latte, it was made too strong for her liking and she felt that the froth was too thick to drink through needing to be scooped off the top first and eaten separately. I actually quite liked the description of her coffee’s thick nearly hardened foam but then to each to their own.
The Boy went all out trying not one but two of Sassy’s fresh fruit smoothies. His first and favourite smoothie was the Berry magic with ice cream. It was thick and tangy with lots of berries and the serving was huge. I’m surprised he had room for another with his breakfast but I guess we had just walked a fair distance. His second smoothie was the mango and banana which tasted less fruity and needed more mangos in it.
I was having a fair bit of indecision with my selection but finally managed to choose the parmesan polenta pizzetta. I love polenta’s versatility, ranging from creamy purée through to being able to have enough substance and form to be used as a baked quiche base. I imagined this pizzette to have a lovely crisp firm base and was disappointed to be served a thick crumbly cakey door stop of polenta with all the toppings piled on top. My serve was huge, they are very generous on their serving sizes; you will not walk away hungry from this place. I couldn’t taste or see any brie cheese as per the menu’s description. Also I felt that the olives should be pitted if served on a pizza and I nearly cracked my tooth on the first one before I realised that they weren’t.
From about the half way mark on our walk, a large component of our conversation was centred about food. Kate had talked at great length about her craving for pancakes and having already read the menu to us earlier on our walk, she thought she could recall reading that there were some served with mascarpone cheese and fruit. By the time we stopped for breakfast her heart was so set on the mascarpone cheese that it nearly skipped a beat when she read the menu properly and realised she was mistaken. She still ordered the pancakes without said mascarpone but should have followed her better judgement and given them a miss.
Like my dish, hers was super-sized consisting of two enormous thick fluffy looking pancakes topped with unfortunately scant pieces of fruit and dried coconut. There was a drizzle of maple syrup over the top but due to the sheer thickness of the pancakes she had to ask for more as she started to feel like she was eating dough. Ideally this dish should have been piled high with some fresh fruit but ended up being too stodgy and overwhelmingly chewy to enjoy. She described them as a poor copy of MacDonald’s hotcakes and regretted her choice for the remainder of our walk home. Poor lass!
As it was nearly lunchtime the Boy decided to forego his usual choice of eggs and ordered a tortilla instead. He initially wanted the lamb however they had run out so he chose the Cajun spiced chicken instead. This ended up being the best meal on our table. The tortilla didn’t fall apart and remained resilient despite lots of juicy sauce flavouring the meat. The chicken wasn’t dry and there was a generous serving of other fillings meaning it received definite thumbs up from the Boy.
We felt the service could have been a lot friendlier and were astonished to see the manager correct one of her employees in front of us customers, something I feel is embarrassing to us and demoralising to the staff member. She did this while failing to even acknowledge us standing in front of the counter. Perhaps she was having a bad day as during my many previous visits I had never seen this attitude before.
Sassy’s used to be a favourite of ours and we returned this time round after a long hiatus of more than twelve months. It would have been nice to see a new menu or maybe even just some fresh seasonal specials but unfortunately things haven’t’ changed since our visits some years ago. Although it was good to return, I was left wishing we had stopped in at Toast instead.Like Me on Facebook! Sassy’s on the Swan 171 Riverside Drive, Perth 6000 | (08) 9325 4191 | http://www.sassysontheswan.com.au/ Price: $$$ (All Day Breakfast $12-28) Food: 2.5/5 (GF options, huge serves but needs revamp of menu – hasn’t changed in years) Service: 2.5/5 (owner/manager needs to smile and not discipline staff in front of customers) Ambience: 3/5 (lovely location, could make more use of the view) Drinks: 4/5 (smoothies and coffees excellent) Total: 12/20
I am not originally from Perth having moved here nearly twenty years ago to commence my university degree. During my time at Uni I always imagined I would move back to the East coast. After completing my degree and obtaining a year’s experience in the work force, the Boy and I moved to London for a few years where we played it hard and fast in the big smoke. Returning to Perth a few years later, I found myself really appreciating this beautiful city for what it is and realised that in fact she had become my home. It was at this point my loyalties turned and I became a faithful lover of this sunny city.
There are some things about Perth that never stop giving me the wow factor and one of those is our regular running/walking route around the Swan River. Having the river on our doorstep makes exercising easy and the distractions of the scenery make the actual process much less onerous. To make it even better, dotted along this circuit is a number of excellent breakfast venues serving piping hot coffee and delicious food.
Toast in East Perth is a long-standing favourite of mine – we have been coming here on a regular basis for well over 4-5 years. It is conveniently located on my route around the river at the picturesque Claisebrook Cove. The sheltered location makes the most of the rising sun and protects the outdoor seating area from any wind meaning that nearly year round (excluding rainy days) the weather feels perfect.
The Boy and I had planned to do a big 17 kilometre walk together around both loops of the river but unfortunately the boy woke up feeling unwell and thought it wise to rest. Seeing as I would be making the journey alone, I thought I would embrace this opportunity and race myself from home through South Perth, running around the river to meet him over in East Perth for a late brunch. Thankfully Toast serves an all-day breakfast menu.
Not wanting to leave my fiancé waiting at the café for me feeling poorly, I took off at a steady pace with the aim to pick up speed even more once I hit half way. As I crossed the imaginary half way mark my legs still felt like loaded springs so surging forward I raced my virtual partner to the finish.
As a result of my mock running race, I arrived in East Perth all red-faced and heaving with about fifteen minutes to spare. This gave me time to compose myself before wandering down to Toast to meet the Boy. There are a lot of gluten-free options here; one is really spoilt for choice.
This time round I ordered the roasted tomato, feta and basil on gluten-free toast with added poached eggs and mushrooms. I have eaten this dish many times and am always chuffed with the knowledge my eggs will be cooked perfectly and each meal is consistent in quality with the previous. Their gluten-free bread has a beautiful rich pumpkin colour and is excellent in both texture and taste.
The Boy ordered the avocado and Vegemite on whole grain bread with added poached eggs. The Vegemite was warmed slightly allowing it to be easily spread over the crunchy grainy bread. The avocado was soft and creamy and his eggs were similarly poached to perfection. As we sat in comfortable silence in the sun soaking up its energy we were both so thankful we chose to settle down in Perth. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Two weeks later the Boy was fully recovered so we made plans to do our big double loop walk together. The weather forecast had threatened morning showers yet as we set out the sky was clear blue and a fresh autumn breeze was blowing. We were rewarded once again with another stunning morning.
We both maintained a cracking pace as we had plans to meet with his family in King’s Park for a Mother’s Day picnic later that afternoon. Despite Toast being even busier than usual we were seated fairly quickly and had a short wait for our meals considering they really were flat out.
It is a very rare occasion that I can be convinced to forego Toast’s poached eggs. If they aren’t included with my menu choice, I have a tendency to add it on the side so I don’t miss out. This time round however I was craving something sweet and as I gazed over their menu my eyes kept returning to the French toast. Their gluten-free bread held together fabulously and the delicately creamy ricotta with the tart berries had me in seventh heaven. I would have preferred just a dash more maple syrup to end on a stronger sweet note.
The Boy had one of his favourites, the big breakfast. This is definitely not one for the faint hearted, or those with heart disease more to the point. A massive pile of crispy bacon, three chipolatas, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms and toast made this a very decent sized meal. Once the Boy finished, he patted his stomach in a satisfied manner and groaned at the thought we still had to walk home. Unfortunately we had no time to linger in the morning sun and so we pressed onward with our journey back. Understandably our pace on this second leg was much slowed down due to our overindulgence but I guarantee we will do it again and again!
Like Me on Facebook!Toast Shop 21/60 Royal Street, East Perth 6004 | (08) 9221 0771 | www.toasteastperth.com Price: $$ ($8-20 breakfast/brunch, gluten-free options available) Food: 4.5/5 (seriously good breakfasts) Service: 3.5/5 (relaxed, efficient & casual) Ambience: 4.5/5 (blissful view gazing out onto the water) Drinks: 4.5/5 (serves high quality Rubra coffee, freshly squeezed juices worth a try too) Total: 17/20