2020 – what a stinker. It hasn’t been all bad, though – in spite of all of its challenges, the year has seen some of Perth’s most promising venues open in what can only be described as a baptism of fire. Here are just a few that have excited us… we can’t wait to see what 2021 holds.
We can’t think of a better balm to the year that was 2020 than soaking up the sunshine and good vibes in La Cabaña’s courtyard. Taco in one hand, cocktail in the other, pooch by our side… bliss. From refreshing ceviche tostadas and charred Shark Bay tiger prawns, to corn “tentacles”, the roasted veggies or those hand crushed potatoes… and we haven’t even got to the star of the show, the tacos. We’re suckers anytime we see tacos al pastor on a menu, but then again, that barbacoa-style lamb or coconut-battered fish are both strong contenders. With most of the menu dairy, gluten and nut-free, plus with heaps of vegan options as well, it’s the perfect spot for a big group of mates.
400 South Terrace, South Fremantle
m.coffee / Deli’s Continental
It might have snuck in at the tail end of 2020, but the combined impact of m.coffee and its resident conti roll pop-up Deli’s Continental is just impossible to ignore. Adjoining one of our favourite pizza spots Rossonero, no less – m.coffee is a welcome addition to their offerings. The espresso bar is serving up Blacklist coffee, with treats from Big Loaf and Tom the Greek – plus, of course, Deli’s Continental rolls. This certainly is the city of conti rolls, but we’ve taken things to the next level with the fervour of our response to Deli’s. Within a day the word had got out, and these bad boys were selling out within half an hour. Get there nice and early and try it for yourself, we might have a new institution on (and in?) our hands.
18 Lyric Lane, Maylands
How can a space be both bright and airy, while being sultry and moody? Somehow, Howard’s Groove manages this seemingly impossible feat. A partnership between CBD coffee fave Smooth Operator and local cult coffee roasters Twin Peaks, you can rest assured the cafe has pretty top-notch coffee credentials. While Smooth Operator is pocket sized and best suited for takeaway, Howard’s Groove has more seating available for when you need to hit pause for a moment.
22 Howard Street, Perth
All of the expertise, experience, and passion for coffee-making accrued through years of running six other cafe ventures is distilled into Hemingway. A love letter to coffee, from the father and son duo behind Mo Espresso Group, the cafe is defined both by its excess, and its refinement. Extravagantly whizz-bang gear – like the hypnotic Poursteady, swirling and darting between pourovers, or the super-sleek Modbar espresso machine, keep the coffee centre-stage, while both the menu and fit-out are pared-back perfection.
Central Park, 2/152-158 St Georges Terrace, Perth
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. Enter, their Vic Park outpost. All the things you love about Modus, in a bigger space, with even more delicious stuff on offer. What’s not to love?
660 Albany Highway, Victoria Park
Pep’s Wine Bar
We’re not that great at hidden gems, here in Perth. It’s not that we reject them – in fact, the opposite: they only stay hidden for a day or so, before they’re practically heaving with punters (see also: Deli’s Continental). Pep’s is no exception, acquiring a devoted clientele within its first week of opening. Warm and welcoming, unpretentious in spite of its luxe surrounds, yet with a wine list no snob could turn their nose up at. Sounds like a winning combo to us.
494 Stirling Highway, Peppermint Grove
Acqua e Sale
Acqua e Sale is the neighbourhood Italian spot you wished you had on your street. This North Perth gem has made a big impression since opening in August, and for good reason. With a distinctly Sardinian influence, the menu is both exciting and comforting: the familiar sight of salt and pepper calamari, paired with spicy squid ink aioli. House-made gnocchetti with saffron, sausage, and D.O.P pecorino, or culurgiones stuffed with potato, pecorino and mint… we haven’t even got started with the pizzas, or the desserts, with include traditional seadas – house made Sardinian fried pastry, topped with sheep’s ricotta, orange zest, honey and walnuts. Who needs a trip to Italy when you’ve got Acqua e Sale?
391 Fitzgerald Street, North Perth
Ethos Deli + Dining Room
The team from Young George has ventured down the road to open up Ethos – a zero-waste, Eastern European-leaning neighbourhood deli and dining room. House made charcuterie and small goods, plus killer sarnies are just the tip of the iceberg, with the bar’s offerings just as exciting a prospect if you’re there later in the day (or earlier, who are we to judge?).
88 George Street, East Fremantle
Bad Love Burger Co.
It’s always encouraging when a pop-up can parlay its success into a brick-and-mortar location – and Bad Love Burger Co. is a shining example. Their towering, glistening burgers have been winning hearts since their time as Smashburger BBQ at the Bayswater Bowls Club, and they’ve taken the leap into a new space and new name – but don’t worry, the Smashburger DNA remains. Come for the lacy-edged smashed patty, stay for the equally- amazing fried chicken.
4/39 Harrogate Street, West Leederville
Cover photo of Ethos Deli + Dining Room