Varsity Bar is quite the popular burger joint. The American themed bar, with huge mural of the “stars and stripes”, was heaving on a Sunday lunchtime. Tables full of punters devouring burgers, $5 pint cans of PBR American beer and Pyrex jugs filled to the brim with creamy milkshakes.
The bar is found on the ground level of Broadway Shopping Centre, a hop skip and jump from UWA, giving Varsity a student bar feel, though there were plenty of “cough” older people chowing down on their burgers there too.
The crowd at Varsity is pretty lively. It’s not a quiet bar. There’s sports on big screens, pool tables, ping pong and more.
With Little Chef being an only child, we tend to think of where we’d like to go to eat and hope that there’s a kids menu, rather than take him somewhere geared at kids with an indoor playground and average food. Varsity isn’t a bar you’d immediately think of taking kids to, though there were quite a few families when we visited. I think its fine for older kids, like 8 year old Little Chef. There’s a kids menu so it ticked that box for us.
Little Chef picked the cheeseburger and fries ($10), which he devoured in next to no time.
Public transport can be a real novelty for kids, who spend much of their time travelling in Mum or Dad’s car. Young children will delight in a train ride or trip on a bus. The Perth CAT busses are a quick and easy way of getting around the city, when little legs get weary or just to see a bit more of what the CBD and Northbridge have to offer.
Jump on and off the free CAT (Central Area Transit) busses at their dedicated stops all around Perth. Kids can answer their own “When will the bus be here?” question by pressing the big button and having the voice tell them how many minutes away the next CAT is. The busses are also pram friendly and have priority seating.
There are four coloured CAT BUS routes, zig zagging around the city from West Perth to East Perth and Northbridge. Grab a map from the bus ports, train stations or tourism information stand in Forrest Place and get exploring the attractions, parks and eateries of the city of Perth!
Here’s my guide to the best bus stops to hop on and off with your family in Perth.
BLUE CAT ROUTE
STOP 1 – Elizabeth Quay Bus Station
If you’re planning a day exploring the city by CAT bus, you may even arrive here by bus or train. The Elizabeth Quay Bus Station is just over the road from the Quay itself. The brilliant Elizabeth Quay is a great place for a ride on the Venetian Carousel, game of mini golf, a scoop of delish Gusto Gelato or casual bite to eat at V Burger.
STOP 2 – Barrack Square
There’s loads to do at Barrack Square! This stop is also the best for the south side of Elizabeth Quay. Opposite the CAT Stop is the famous Perth Bell Tower, cafes and ferry stops for exploring the Swan River. Stroll over the Elizabeth Quay bridge and check out the excellent playground! Continue reading
I think the Holiday Inn has to be one of the best Perth hotels for a family stay in the city. Not only was the four and a half star hotel recently refurbished and is incredibly modern, it is also slap bang in the heart of the CBD, opposite the Central Park building on Hay Street, close to the pedestrian shopping malls, cafes and attractions.
Chef, Little Chef and I were excited about our Holiday Inn staycation. I was there on assignment for Buggybuddys, Perth’s top kids website, who I also write for. We didn’t have time to travel anywhere for a break, so discovering our own city was a great alternative and we jumped at the opportunity to check out the Holiday Inn.
We pulled our car up in the driveway at the side of the hotel, which is really convenient if you want to take advantage of their valet parking. We entered the lobby and were promptly checked in by the welcoming ladies at the front desk. Particular attention was paid to Little Chef, who was given an activity pack and told that there would be a special surprise if he completed the book, so he was totally on a mission to finish it!
Pic Credit: Holiday Inn Perth
We grabbed our overnight bags and electronic key and excitedly headed to our Family Room on the seventh floor. The Family Room features a massive king sized bed in the main area, which faces a large 48” flat-screen TV, perfect for lying in bed and watching a movie!
There’s an adjoining separate bedroom (which we were stoked about!) with a further two single beds and a 32” flat-screen TV. There’s also a desk – where Little Chef quickly set to work on his activity book. It kept him entertained for ages!
I hadn’t heard of North Beach restaurant Zephyr, who kindly asked us in for dinner, so I asked my friend Google a little about them. What I found was a Gold Plate winning restaurant that has many positive reviews online and a very loyal local following in the Perth northern beaches.
Zephyr’s website describes it’s self as an Italian restaurant. So when I arrived I was expecting to see pasta and pizza on the menu… you won’t find that at Zephyr. It’s a European restaurant, which has “Mediterranean style” dishes on the menu.
We dined on a rainy Wednesday, the restaurant had a lively atmosphere, with tables of people happily chatting and enjoying tunes played by Pablo the Spanish guitarist in the enclosed alfresco area. I enjoyed a bit of music with my fruity drink!
For main, Chef chose the Harvey beef fillet ($39). Cooked nicely medium rare, it was topped with a plump field mushroom, truffle salt, shaved parmesan and a red wine sauce. He also picked a side of chunky roasted rosemary and garlic potato chips.
I picked the pork belly ($36) as it’s one of my favourite cuts of meat. The pork was served with creamy mash, scallops and a house made spicy kim chi. Julienned snow peas were perfectly cooked. Unfortunately the crackling wasn’t crisp, but the rest of the belly meat was moist and flavoursome.
Perth’s love of ice cream and gelato just keeps on growing! Korean favourite “Honey Creme” is taking over the world and their very first Australian outlet has opened up in Perth’s CBD. Honey Crème, found on Barrack Street between the Hay and Murray Street Malls, is a soft serve lover’s paradise. While having a wander around the shops, Little Chef and I popped in to see what all the fuss is about.
Honey Crème’s signature honeycomb flavour is unmistakably popular, though Little Chef had one of their special flavours in his sights. You’ll also find delicious (and wacky) flavours like bacon and chocolate, organic cotton candy, popcorn, cereal milk(?!), churros, tiramisu and macarons. If you’re feeling fancy, get a milkshake topped with organic cotton candy – the kids will love it.
Little Chef devoured the scrumptious “Milo Reo” ice cream, a milo/oreo combo topped with a sugar cracker. He loved it, saying it was incredibly creamy and sweet. Their soft serve is made with premium fresh local milk and then sweetened with organic local honeycomb.
It certainly beats a 50 cent cone, but priced from $5.50 they’re not as budget friendly! Essentially Honey Crème is a takeaway, but the tiny store does have two or three small tables inside if you prefer to sit and eat your ice cream.
No matter which flavour you decide on, all of Honey Creme’s creations look just as good as they taste.
Hiding amongst the city skyscrapers, you’ll find a modern Vietnamese café. Lunch-y things like rice paper rolls, noodle salads, noodle soup bowls and Vietnamese baguette rolls are on the menu – with a focus on flavour and value.
Owner and Head Chef Che Tam Nguyen is influenced by many trends and cuisines – from the dude food he used to cook in his delicious Butty’s Food Truck, the modern Australian cuisine he used to plate up as part of the Australian Culinary team and now his popular Vietnamese Urban Bowl eatery, just off St Georges Terrace in the CBD.
Tam invited me in for a spot of lunch. The last time that I worked in the city was 2004, so I relished the opportunity to walk down the bustling terrace at noon. I really miss having the city’s takeaway and lunch spots right at my finger tips! Continue reading
Here’s a truth bomb… for years I’ve been guilty of pronouncing the word “macaron” wrong! It’s “mac-a-ron” not “mac-a-roon” (coconut biscuit). Silly me…
I had a #girlboss catch up with a couple of lovely ladies in the Swan Valley, coffee and notepads at the ready. I work from home now, freelancing with writing and social media, and these networking and “pep-talk” meetings are invaluable for sharing ideas and encouraging each other. Working on your own can be incredibly lonely!