I’ll whinge about being married to a chef sometimes. I’ll have my own little pity party about never getting to see him, as he works such awful, unsociable hours. A silver lining to this is that Chef and I do have a weekday off together. We go out for a coffee and lunch, just the two of us, whilst Little Chef is at school. Just for a few hours we can forget the worries of the world and whether our son is eating his vegetables and sitting nicely.
I’d love to say that Chef and I have frequented West End Deli for years. It’s the kind of place that makes me wish we lived in Perth’s inner suburbs. However, this is our very first visit to the popular dining spot.
West End Deli, on the corner of a quiet suburban Leederville street, has a rich food history. It has been home to a butchers, general store, café and Greek deli in the last 80 years. Chef-Owner Justin Peters, formerly Head Chef at Duende and Il lido, opened West End Deli in 2008 with his wife Christine.
We’re greeted with a smile and seated at a table by the window. Luckily for us, a few tables are saved for walk-ins. Today we are feeling spontaneous (or really rather unorganised) and hadn’t booked. I would definitely recommended booking, it’s a busy place. The surroundings are eclectic, with a rustic vibe. A light fitting made of chairs looks cool, as does a very distressed looking feature wall, with the paint almost peeling off.
The service is friendly and knowledgeable. I take the waitresses’ recommendation and order the ribs. I have the strawberry and watermelon “juice of the day” which is sweet and refreshing. It’s a bustling place and we nibble on some olives and a freshly baked baguette whilst waiting for our mains to arrive.
I rate the scrumptious spiced lamb ribs ($24) amongst the best I’ve ever had. Though there is something so very satisfying about diving into a plate of ribs with your bare hands and getting covered in sticky sauce – this rib meat is so tender, it falls off the bone with barely a touch of my fork. That’s a much more ladylike way to eat anyway! The lamb is positively mouth-watering. The meat is so full of flavour. Each and every mouthful a fragrant hit of cumin and star anise. I enjoy the paper thin zucchini, radish and mint salad, which is a medley of sweet and peppery flavours. A chimchurri sauce is on the side.
I overhear the man on the next table having some food envy and eyeing off my delish dish – he orders the ribs too.
As Chef eats his pork sandwich, he is quiet. Almost unnaturally so. I start to worry. Does he like his lunch? It takes until almost the last morsel of his open sandwich has been consumed for him to say “that was the absolute best pork sandwich I’ve ever had!” I’ve been holding my breath in anticipation. I exhale a big sigh of relief. I’ve enjoyed my lunch so much, I’d want it to be a unanimous decision that West End Deli gets the big thumbs up.
I gingerly ask for a bite. He doesn’t want to part with a single crumb. For “tasting purposes” Chef begrudgingly lets me share in the pork-fest. I have to agree with him, it is a superb sarnie. The pork is cured in sugar, then cooked sous vide for 14 hours, resulting in a moist and tender piece of meat. It is topped with a sweet pear, caraway and fennel relish which has a kick of ginger. That all sits upon a bed of greens, atop a toasted baguette ($23).
Bearing in mind that Chef is a little old school, not really a hipster type, West End Deli really resonates with him. He can see the excellent technique in the cooking of the dishes. It’s not your typical suburban café by any means, more of a neighbourhood bistro, but yet it is still well priced and relaxed. Chef thinks the coffee is top notch too and grabs another “for the road”.
West End Deli is open breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef and I are both very keen to try their offerings for the other meals of the day, seeing that we relished their lunch menu so much. This was certainly the first visit of many.
At a glance
■ West End Deli
95 Carr Street
Phone 9328 3605
■ Opening times
Breakfast & Lunch
Tues to Sun, 7am to 3pm
Dinner Wed to Sat from 6pm
■ Rating out of 10
value for money 8
■ style – Bistro
■ wine – BYO
■ Chef – Justin Peters
■ Owners – Christine and Justin Peters
■ feel – cool café by day,
sophisticated bistro by night
■ wheelchair access – yes
■ cost – brunch $7 – $28
Dinner – $23 entrée
$33 main / $18 dessert
■ all in all – delishious
food – cooked well with
great technique and seasonal
produce. Fab coffee too.