Like most “foodie” people, I like to go eat at new places. By new I don’t just mean a place that has recently opened but a place that I have never been before. However most of these places I do go to, fall in the “recently opened” category. A lot of people complain about service in Perth and I somewhat agree but I do try to understand all sides of the story. The new popular restaurant or eatery is going to be slammed especially on Fridays and Saturdays (and especially the dinner slots). I’m going to hazard a guess this is the situation where most of the negative reviews arise from. It also doesn’t help if the place is new and the staff have never experienced this situation before. I personally like a good all-round experience so I take in the factors I mentioned above when going out to eat. I even practice my “rules” of dining out of not as popular places too.
So what are these rules?
Nothing mind blowing as you will see. I also have the luxury of time and very little commitments (i.e. family, etc) so consider this when you read what is next. Basically I eat out at popular places when I know it won’t be slammed. A restaurant that is not slammed will allow the wait staff to have more time to provide service and more time for the chefs to prepare your meal. Stressed people don’t work optimally. The other plus is that your meal is not in large queue waiting to be prepared. However, if a place has bad service, it doesn’t matter if it is busy or not.
Eat out on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (maybe Thursday)
The start of the work week is the best time to eat out as these are least popular nights to go out to eat.
Try to reserve or walk-in when lunch/dinner commences. This combined with the above tip will give you the best experience. On the weekend, this tip can be applied for lunches. If you have to eat out on a Friday or Saturday night, eating out early will hopefully give you a better experience too if you beat the rush. Understandably, as the night goes on, staff become more tired and little things will build up.
I have been to many places using the above tips and have never had a bad experience if the place I went to was good (if a place is bad, that can’t be helped).
Recently I have found myself in the Perth CBD. The thing I missed the most about the Perth CBD is the abundance of espresso coffee in a relatively small area. This is heaven for a coffee lover such as myself. So I decided that since I would usually have a coffee at least once during a work day, I would try as many places as I could. If you read on, there are a LOT of places in the CBD.
One thing to note is that for nearly all of these places, I have only tried their coffee once. This is a small sample set of data which may not truly reflect the quality of the coffee. Also not all barristas are created equal and the house coffee blend may change.
At each place I would try a regular size flat white. I like a bit of depth in my coffee, so if the coffee is a bit weak but good, this is what I would put in my Recommended section below. I don’t really like bitterness but if the other coffee traits aren’t too bad these will be put in the Neutral section. Texture of the milk in the coffee may push a coffee to one category or the other. If there is an acidic after taste or something that is just not right, then the coffee will end up in the Not Recommended section. If the coffee ticks all the boxes, then it appears in the Highly Recommended section.
Just want to iterate that with so many places to try, I’ve only had 1 flat white at each of these places so this may not be a true reflection of the overall standard of coffee at these places. However first impressions are important.
Service also has some influence, as bad service can literally leave a bad taste in the mouth in some cases. Bad service doesn’t mean waiting a long time due to being in the midst of a coffee rush, I can accept that. Blatantly ignoring a customer in your face trying to buy a coffee, that is bad service.
Without further waffling, here is my list (updated as I try more from my Pending list).
Updated: 30 Nov 2012
Standing Room Only
Tiger Tiger Coffee Bar
Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall
Venn Bar and Cafe
Over the last year I have slowly forsaken the expensive fine dining restaurants, choosing good casual restaurants when I am given a choice. Being a fan of French food and with the name Guillaume Brahimi behind this restaurant, it was inevitable that I found myself at Bistro Guillaume.
The decor is something to behold as you will not find anything like it in Perth (well I haven’t).
Enough with being distracted and onto the food. As a starter i couldn’t go past something using local produce and chose the marron.
Bistro Guillaume – Marron
The sweet marron tails lie on top of a bed of cos lettuce, mini tomatoes and croutons. An avocado puree underneath it all ties the whole dish together. Like fresh seafood? Can’t go wrong with this one.
From the light to the rich, I chose the quintessential French dish, the duck confit.
Bistro Guillaume – Duck Confit
Two delicious frenched duck legs cooked confit style lie on an even more rich bed of peas in an emulsion of butter and speck. The duck is moist and almost melts to touch. While the peas cooked in the delicious combination of butter, shallots and speck make sure you know the meaning of richness. Have a glass of wine handy to help cut through the richness and cleanse the palette.
Staying with traditional French fare, dessert consisted of chocolate souffle.
Bistro Guillaume – Chocolate Souffle
The souffle comes in a VERY HOT mini copper pot. Don’t get seduced by the beautiful copper glow as I did briefly feel its fire with a careless touch. The chocolate souffle is very light and is served with a delicious quinelle of pistachio ice cream that is recommended to be placed inside the souffle by the chef. I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper souffle before. If this is what a souffle is meant to be, it is a bit too light and lacks the body I like.
Bistro Guillaume is a great place to impress with a date. The combination of decor, service and food is great.
I’ll be back for the roast chicken.