The best things to do in Mount Lawley
Header image: Le Rebelle
Although Mount Lawley had a rough couple of years, the past year has seen the suburb return to fine form as a bustling hub of eating, drinking and shopping. Cool new laneway precincts like the Alexander Buildings have paved the way for more cafes and restaurants, and an area that began to feel like a ghost town only a couple of years ago is now roaring back to life. Here’s why:
EAT & DRINK
We’ll kick off with a stalwart of the area, El Público, a Mexican joint that has stood the test of Beaufort Street’s time for a few key reasons: Its authentic feel is backed up by staff who know and love the food and drinks on offer, and will always help you through their extensive tequila offerings. The food menu hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, but it hasn’t had too; their tacos are perfect, their street corn should be named desire and those beef mogo mogo balls…yum! Just take it easy on that dangerous cocktail list.
511 Beaufort Street, Highgate
We can’t get enough of Testun’s irreverent attitude and big flavours. Combining Italian nostalgia with a new-wave Australasian approach, the neighbourhood osteria is quickly making its (neon green) mark.
12/760 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
The almost-constant line out the door will attest to the fact that Chu has been killing it since opening their William Street bakery in 2015. You need to be an early bird to be sure to get one of their amazing loaves of bread, but luckily, their picture-perfect pastries, loaded toasts and donuts are equally delish – but even without those, Chu would be worth a visit just for their coffee. (Best enjoyed laying on the grass in Hyde Park, soaking up the sunshine.)
498 William Street, Highgate
Mary Street Bakery
Another joint that’s managed to hold firm through darker days, Mary Street Bakery has become so successful it’s spun off into a practically endless number of locations around Perth! Their fried chicken buttermilk pancakes are basically legend at this point, but basically everything on the menu is delicious (and sometimes a little decadent), and they sling a mean coffee.
507 Beaufort Street, Highgate
After a brief 18-month stint in Inglewood, Butter Crumbs has finally moved into a permanent space in Mount Lawley – and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Baking in small batches, there’s a reason they’ve been a cult hit since their early days at the Mount Claremont Farmers’ Market. Comforting pies (both sweet and savoury) are a must, as is the burnt Basque cheesecake – although you’ll also see some pretty tempting seasonal offerings.
1/669 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
This French café is as charming as they come. Alongside a cabinet of baked treats and sandwiches, indulge in a French-style breakfast – croque monsieurs, eggs benedict and pain perdu all make an appearance, and are best enjoyed in the sun-filled dining room or cute blue courtyard. You can now also visit Madeleine after dark, with a brand new bistro-style dinner menu on offer!
487 Beaufort Street, Highgate
In spite of its limited size, Daily Dose has been gaining a fervent following with their friendly service, takeaway coffees and legendary toasties – not to mention their hangover-busting Saturday morning birria tacos. These guys really prove that you don’t have to complicate things, you just have to be good.
1/500 Beaufort Street, Highgate
This behemoth on Beaufort Street has made a huge impact since its opening in March of 2022. Like its sister venue, The Old Synagogue, The Beaufort spans multiple levels – each with something different to offer. Hit up the beer garden for drinks in the sunshine, venture into hidden speakeasy Cypher for late night libations, or dive into Lotus’ flavour-packed pan-Asian menu.
521-525 Beaufort Street, Highgate
We’re not short on authentic Italian dining experiences around Perth, and Ischia would easily be up there with the best of ’em. Their wood-fired pizzas are un-beatable, along with their wonderfully warm service, one trip to Ischia is all you need to see why they’ve remained such a popular restaurant in Mt Lawley for so long. We may not be able to go to Italy any time soon, but Ischia will do a good job of placing you right in the gulf of Naples.
500 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Clarences Company Store
The closure of beloved Beaufort Street drinking hole Clarences in 2019 was a devastating loss to locals – and seemed to be a dire sign for Mount Lawley’s future. Like a phoenix, the 2021 saw the iconic small bar rise from the ashes – bringing the same good vibes with a new, jazzy, New Orleans-inspired flavour.
566 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Serving pasta by the metre, Solo Pasta is one of the busiest joints along the top of the Beaufort Street strip. You can put that down to a simple way of ordering, and letting the flavours do the talking. All you gotta do is order your flavour (classic, beetroot, spinach), pick the length (3m is the standard) and choose a sauce (tomato base, cream base or olive oil). The real secret weapon here is the plethora of gluten free and growing vego options – things we don’t always get to see when it comes to pasta places.
628 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
It’s hard to go past Si’s stunning amphitheatre, which will transport you to the Amalfi coast with not only their décor, but love of fine wine. It can be easy to lose a day here, sipping on wines and dining on delicious breads and pizza in the afternoon, before switching into Italo disco mode when the sun goes down.
1/466 Beaufort Street, Highgate
You have not lived until you’ve had one of Get Chunky’s sweet-as-hell cookies, warmed up and pumped full of ice cream and all the other toppings in the world. They’ve got vegan and gluten free options too, so now everyone can feel guilty after indulging in some of Perth’s sweetest treats.
7/81-83 Walcott Street, Mount Lawley
Mack Daddy’s New York Slice
They say New York is home to the best pizza in the world, and Mack Daddy’s do a pretty terrific job of bringing that vibe to little old Perth. Their pizzas are huge, with a big slice option to go with 16″ and the monster 22″ offering – the same size as four regular pizzas. It makes Mack Daddy’s an awesome spot for group dinners, especially thanks to their well-stocked bar and an awesome cocktail list.
560 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
And speaking of far away places, you’ll feel like you’ve popped into a little Parisian haunt after stepping into the unassuming surrounds of Le Rebelle. A bistro, wine bar and restaurant all wrapped snugly into one (just check out this article’s header image for the vibe), you’ll regularly find Le Rebelle mentioned amongst Perth’s best restaurants. Once again (and an obvious feature of all good restaurants), it’s their warm, friendly, attentive service that really seals the delicious deal. The end of 2021 also saw the addition of Bar Rogue to Beaufort Street: Le Rebelle’s walk-in-only, culinarily adventuring little sister just down the road.
676 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
New kids on the block Soho Lane have already established themselves as the go-to Beaufort Street breakfast joint. It’s the new venture from the loving team behind CBD fave Little Soho, their all-day brunch menu has plenty of surprises in store for the adventurous eater (Ox Tongue Pastrami Bagel anyone?), along with great staples and bread from the legends at Miller+Baker.
Alexander Buildings, 13/649 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
The quirky surrounds of Fez Cafe just behind Fresh Provs have been a popular choice for breakfast and lunch for a couple of years now, with an extensive all-day lunch menu that’s really well priced (only the big brekkie is over $20). The Moroccan Omelette (pictured) is a true delight, and they’re a great choice if you just need a quick coffee too, using local legends Kaltiva for that extra early morning kick.
83 Walcott Street, Mount Lawley
Speaking of coffee (promise these segues aren’t as intentional as they seem), head to the back of the arcade near the Astor for Beaufort Streets secret caffeine killer – Bossman. Their cosy, dimly lit surrounds will make you feel safe after one of those big nights where you’re a bit dusty, and just need a friendly smile to go with that sweet, sweet coffee hit. You can also head across the road to Lady Annie, their sister café with the same great coffee, plus more eats and a cute courtyard.
3/669 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
One of the last remaining taverns around Perth that haven’t gone for the full white wash makeover that so many of this size seem to do, it maintains that ethos throughout with a healthy tap selection, modern pub fare and a rowdy beer garden on the weekends. If you’re looking for a no frills, fun and easy-going afternoon at the pub – bend the knee (and the elbow) at the Queens.
520 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Local & Aesthetic
Local & Aesthetic is a mixed cafe and retail space that puts a big emphasis on local suppliers, local ingredients and basically local legends in general. It’s always a great vibe for coffee and some eats – they’ll make you a polony and sauce sanga that’ll even make ya mum blush along with heaps of other awesome “bush-food” style offerings.
769 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Since opening the doors to their Mount Lawley store at the tail end of 2016, Modus have really set the standard to what exciting things a teeny tiny coffee shop can do. From their steadfast commitment to quality coffee, their ethical roasting operation, their sustainable practices, to their refined food offerings, to their collaborations with other top local producers…it was only a matter of time before they had to take it to another level. If their expansion into two more locations means we can get our mitts on their coffee all the more easily, we’re on board – but the Mount Lawley original will always have our heart.
35/602–610 Beaufort Street
For nourishing, healthy food that’ll make you feel like you actually do treat your body nicely, Veggie Mama can’t be beat. Beautiful vegan, vegetarian and gluten free curries, massive salads, smoothies and all sorts will land on your table at Veggie Mama. The only trick is getting there when they’re open, or still have food left because when they’re out – they’re out!
5/567 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
We were feeling very lucky indeed with the arrival of LeeLee Lucky’s to Mount Lawley. Serving up a fresh and flavourful array of Vietnamese fare, the diner is a loving homage to LeeLee’s family, with recipes passed down over generations. From the always popular bánh mì, filled with your choice of chicken, roast barbecue pork or lemongrass tofu, to crispy spring rolls, nourishing beef phở and summer-ready salads and rice paper rolls, LeeLee’s is always a welcome sight come lunchtime.
5/102 Clifton Crescent, Mount Lawley
If you’re heading to the Beaufort St strip and not entirely sure what you’re feeling, make a bee line for Beaux Lane where the options are plenty. From Asian dining delights like Miss Potz, Chuan Yue Garden and Little B, to Insta-perfect breakfast vibes at Viaje, sweet treats at Ugolicious or big old burgers at Meet & Bun, there’s literally something for everyone. Even live crustaceans at Grab A Yabby!
Beaux Lane, Mount Lawley
Cool as a cucumber, Homme isn’t just a restaurant or bar – one part design store, one part creative hub, Homme is reimagining what Perth’s hospitality spaces can really do. Having said that, the woodfired oven (inherited from Ace Pizzas, RIP) still gets put to good use, with focaccia and pizzas to accompany share plates, and an impressive by-the-glass wine list of, to paraphrase, “heavily rotating cool shit”.
448 Beaufort Street, Highgate
The Modern Eatery
Perhaps we’re rubes, but for us at least, aburi sushi was a real revelation. While sushi is generally pretty exciting to start with, the addition of a delicate flame searing to these melt- in-your-mouth bites brings a new dimension of flavour. Paired with that homemade aburi sauce? Hot damn, we’re in business. Service-wise, we can’t help but mention that arriving on only our second visit to their Mount Lawley restaurant, we were greeted with a hearty “welcome back!”. It’s moments like these that keep you coming back for more.
620 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
This low-key Mount Lawley lunch bar has been a pho and banh mi favourite of locals for years. Tucked away on Beaufort Street in between Walcott Street and Queens Crescent, and with no online presence to speak of, Sunshine is about as unassuming as it comes – but their flavourful menu has meant a loyal following of devotees. Generous sizes at reasonable prices make it an all round hit.
683A Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Cafe Guilty Pleasure
Those with a sweet tooth are well represented in Northbridge – especially at the aptly named Café Guilty Pleasure. This charming Korean café only opens in the afternoon, but you can stay into the evening and spend some quality time with plenty of adorable desserts, from cakes that go perfectly with a cosy cup of tea or some refreshing bingsu. It’s been earning a legion of fans for good reason, and at the end of 2021, expanded into a second Mount Lawley location that’s just as cute as the Northbridge OG.
634 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
SEE & DO
Budget-conscious flower lovers will need no introduction to Chatsworth. Perched on the corner of Beaufort Street and open since 1995, you can’t miss the huge collection of fresh flowers that wind around the storefront – nor the competitive pricing!
475 Beaufort Street, Highgate
While the loss of Planet Video years ago still hurts, Planet Books has remained an incredible Mt Lawley mainstay. Bursting at the bookends with collectables, giftware and literature that spans all genres, it’s the book store for book nerds. They’ve got you covered for quirky, left-of-centre and last minute gifts, and will be able to find you anything you need. It’s done so well they’ve got a second store down on William St in Northbridge.
638 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Cool Cats Vintage
Perth’s got a healthy little vintage store community that continues to grow, and Cool Cats Vintage is absolutely worth a visit if you like your clothing to come with a bit of pop culture history. From old school wrestling and Rodman shirts to other weird and hard-to-find items, there’s plenty to love in Cool Cats.
557 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Beaufort Street Books
While Planet may be a powerhouse in Mount Lawley, a little trip down the road to Beaufort Street Books will net equally awesome results. Not only do they have an extensive selection in store, they’ve also got a huge online selection to look through, and anything they don’t have they’ll find for you quick smart. Plus they’ll deliver books anywhere in WA – $7.70 for the first one, $1 for every one after that.
One of the coolest little shops in Perth and a gamer’s paradise, Retro Collect stocks a heap of old consoles and games. N64s, Playstations, Xboxes… They’ve got ’em all. They’ve also got a bunch of cool collectible figurines, and plenty of other fun and games to geek out on, and a handy online store if you can’t make it IRL.
5/665 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Mount Lawley Art Framers
As far as great art framing places around Perth go, Mount Lawley Art Framers is right up there with the best – super friendly and helpful whatever it is you’re looking for, and won’t financially cripple you for the trouble. They’ve also got a fantastic selection of art pieces to buy in store, some larger feature pieces along with plenty of smaller options that make great gifts.
477 Beaufort Street, Highgate
The Astor Theatre has been occupying centre stage of this busy locale since 1919. This multi-purpose facility hosts live music, comedy shows and community events all throughout the year.
659 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Tucked away down that Astor-neighbouring arcade, Ware is, pardon us, where you ought to go. With goodies for every age and interest, from homewares to gardening to fashion and kids, they’ll have you sorted for all your gift-giving needs… plus a few bits and pieces for yourself, of course. (Make sure to grab one of those Bossman coffees on the way out, too.)
Shop 2, 665 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Catch A WAAPA show
The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts is nestled right in Mount Lawley. This means there is a plethora of highly skilled creatives putting on shows all the time. Enjoy anything from live music to theatre and dance. Head on over to their website and pick up a ticket.
Building 1/2 Bradford Street, Mount Lawley
Located just off Second Avenue, the Normcore’s store puts fragrance firmly at the forefront, with a refined, minimalistic design.
Showcasing niche fragrance for you and your home, their range includes a range of perfumes, candles, diffusers, room sprays, incense and more. The range is predominantly Japanese, with brands such as Sholayered, Kitowa and Riraku well represented – although you’ll also see Melbourne-based Mihan Aromatics, northern Italian historic perfumer Acca Kappa, and Parisian Essential Parfums.
Shop 2, 63A Second Avenue, Mount Lawley
This article was written in collaboration with Michelle Thomas – Michelle is a Perth based freelance writer who loves to write about all things travel and lifestyle. When she’s not running her freelance business, she spends her time patting dogs, eating burritos and planning the next travel destination. Get to know her more at https://moshthefreelancer.com/.