For the best part of the last decade, Perth has been all about the latest brand spanking new café, bar or restaurant. While this dining boom has been going on, there has been many venues quietly closing their doors.
With recent high profile closings, I realised that about 10% of the spots I’ve dined at in the last 5 years have closed. There’s lots of places that I never even made it to before they closed their doors, like Greenhouse, Cantina 663, The Terrace Hotel, GoGos, and the iconic Witches Caldron. I was probably the only person in Perth never to enjoy their garlic prawns!
So why are all the restaurants closing?
Restaurants close all the time. It’s the nature of the dining scene. But what we ‘ve been seeing in the last 2 years are a lot more businesses failing than usual and failing fast.
There is a huge oversupply of restaurants in Perth. There is simply too many seats and not enough bums to fill them. When the Trustee, Fuyu and Restaurant Amuse closed their doors in 2017, I thought that there would be a slow-down in new openings, but there’s still a new café, bar or eatery opening every 5 minutes. Hat’s off to these restaurateurs taking a punt – they are very, very brave!
Customers complain about the high price of eating out in Perth. This is a valid reason for people dining at home. If you look carefully there is definitely quality, value for money dining still to be had. Hospitality workers put in the hard yards, particularly the kitchen teams. I’ve seen the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention ridiculous amounts of overtime. They deserve to be paid fairly and well. The margins in any hospitality business are tight. It’s no wonder they have to hike their prices to try to break even, due to sky high rents, wage bills, quality produce and other overheads.
Chefs and other hospitality staff are spread very thin, so staffing issues can easily mess with quality and consistency. Chef often finds it difficult to find good kitchen staff, which is a Perth-wide problem. I know a few restaurant owners that had amazing restaurants, with schmick fit outs, and a really good concept, but just didn’t find enough quality staff to realise their dream.
There’s those restaurants that have renovated or rebranded, those old stalwarts that just didn’t keep up with the times and then the places that were excellent, but couldn’t survive in a climate of fast “Uber Eats” style home dining. The brunch trend is sure to have contributed too, with many people opting to dine and socialise over cheaper, non alcoholic brunches than going out for a more expensive dinner.
Do you dine out often? Have your eating habits changed?
Closed Restaurants in Perth
Here’s a nostalgic list of just some of those Perth restaurants gone, but not forgotten. Where do you miss?
1. FuYu, Nedlands A Mod Asian favourite by chef David Coomer is now Lawleys Bakery.
2. Wok St Chow House, Northbridge When I walked by in 2018, the building’s frontage was being demolished. The restaurant, which was also formally Darlings Suppa Club and Lake 47 before that, was closed.
3. Suburban Table, Mosman Park was a brilliant restaurant run by Chef Josh Prosser. They closed the restaurant to focus on South East Larder, a modern Asian take away, which unfortunately has also closed it’s doors. Josh was vocal about the negative affect Uber had on his small business.
4. Barque, East Fremantle the ex-mod Asian spot on the vibrant George Street is now buzzed about Cook and Mason.
5. Celtic Kitchen, Joondalup this casual café didn’t last very long at all, then it morphed into Lemongrass Thai Kitchen. The building is currently up for lease (July 2018).
6. Stix Bar, Burswood this classy little restaurant was too much of a hidden gem, concealed amongst the apartment blocks between Crown and Optus Stadium. I miss their French Martinis! Now this spot has reopened as the 3 B’s (Burswood Bar and Grill).
7. Pata Negra, Nedlands before FuYu, Chef David Coomer’s Spanish joint was a favourite of ours. Now Lawleys Bakery. David now has his own truffle farm in Manjimup.
8. Chophouse, Perth CBD We loved Chophouse, but it was hit by the mining slump on the terrace. It was briefly reopened as a British gastropub, The Butchers Arms, which also has new shut it’s doors.
9. West at Ku De Ta, East Perth One of the most spectacular implosions in recent times. West and Ku Dining have been closed. The thing that struck me most about the venue, was the lack of floor to ceiling river views. We really loved the food at West. The cost of parking and ticket clock watching, coupled with a remote location didn’t help it’s cause. Embargo, a pop up bar that’s usually found around the city, has set up shop at the former Ku De Ta for the summer of 2018/19.
10. Shiro, Perth CBD This tasty Japanese overlooking leafy Central Park has been closed for some time.
11. Mattisse, Scarborough Every time I went to Mattisse it was empty! It was the biggest victim of the Scarborough Beach redevelopment. I think it opened about 4 years too early. Now it’s gone back to it’s pre-millennium roots as the Lookout bar. Another of the Reid family’s venues, The Breakwater at Hillarys has changed hands and is now focused on a more value for money offering.
12. Wild Duck, Nedlands This delicious fine diner which moved to Perth from Albany quietly closed a couple of years ago and became casual Mexican, Santa Fe for a time. In Feb 2019 it reopened as Asian-fusion spot Mel & Co Garden. (Stay tuned for a review very soon).
14. Alphabet Soup, Various This pop up restaurant by one of our favourite Perth Chefs Mellissa Palinkas enjoyed a popular run at cafés all around Perth. Mellissa is now busy co-owner and Head Chef of Young George. Pop up’s come and go, but we particularly loved Alphabet Soup!
16. Cookie Dough Biscuits, East Fremantle This cute as a button café on the George Street strip became Alder & Co. Now known as Ari & Esmay – their High Teas look scrumptious.
17. Yocal, Fremantle was a typical, hippy-chic, eclectic Fro café. Found just off the cappuccino strip, it’s now known as Duck Duck Bruce Café.
18. Hippo Creek, Hillarys Not only did the popular steakhouse close in Hillarys, but also it’s Subiaco and Waterford restaurants. I miss the massive Assagai meat skewers… drool! The spot was home to chain Hurricanes Grill for a time, which has also closed recently.
19. Restaurant Amuse, East Perth Perth’s finest fine diner closed it’s doors in 2017. Chef surprised me with a wedding anniversary dinner at Amuse and it was superb. Owner and Head Chef Hadleigh Troy has now opened a café in Vic Park – Hampton and Maley, which is outstanding. We’ve been for a spur of the moment brunch and I can’t wait to head back and take some good photos next time.
20. Kustom Cupcakes, Lathlain The decadent cupcake bakery is long gone. I miss their chocolate coated Oreo and Reece’s peanut butter cups.
21. Park & Vine, City Beach At Empire Village, wasn’t around for long. When we dined there, we were the only table, which sadly didn’t make for a very enjoyable atmosphere. It’s recently re-opened as another Mary Street Bakery, so it’s sure to serve outstanding coffee, brunch and baked goodies!
22. The Wine Store, East Fremantle We had a good brunch here years ago, but haven’t made the trip back since it became Young George, owned by Chef Mellissa Palinkas (previously Head Chef at The Cabin). Young George looks seriously delicious and has been on our to-try list for far too long. We HAVE to get there in 2019!
23. Gooseberries Café, Kensington Now the cosy cottage is home to The Little Banksia and their epic brunches look as tasty as ever!
26. Ace Pizza, Highgate was a cool lil spot with dark lighting, comfort food and seemed to tick all the boxes. This venue has had a run of bad luck with Ace Pizza becoming the short-lived Rockefeller. Can Italian eatery “No Menu” can turn this around?
27. Plenty Thai, Perth CBD This casual Asian spot hidden down Shafto Lane was my go-to pre concert spot to grab a cheap n cheerful bite to eat before heading to Perth Arena. Now Fifteen Soi Shafto Thai Bistro.
28. Beluga, Claremont Chef and I loved to dine at Beluga (waaay back in 2013). The classy spot was opened by ex West Coast Eagles Dean Cox, Andrew Embley and Rayne Embley. Now Miss Chows.
29. Naked Fig, Swanbourne This eclectic spot overlooking Swanbourne Beach closed long ago. Now it’s much more light and bright as Shorehouse, which is owned by The Kailis Group.
30. Basq, Currambine. I was SO SAD when I heard this northern suburbs eatery had served it’s last meal. We always enjoyed their quality offering and in my opinion it was one of the only great spots to dine north of Hepburn Avenue. The venue is now Chapters Bistro.
31. Guylian Belgium Chocolate Café, Perth CBD. This sweet café was only open for about a year, not even enough time to write up my blog about it!
32. Shipping Lane, North Fremantle. This Leighton Beach eatery had the best of both worlds… top notch sushi coupled with a mouth-watering Mod-Aus menu. It was briefly Freemans Restaurant, now it is known as Pura Vita, an Italian style Trattoria.
33. Urban Bowl, Perth CBD. Urban Bowl, by Chef Che Tam Nguyen, was a great spot to grab a quick lunch in the city before close it closed it’s doors. I loved the fresh bowls and tasty spring rolls.
34. Hermosa Cantina, Wembley. Chef and I were one of the only customers dining in the large venue, which was opened by the people behind the uber-popular Tropico, North Beach. The tapas spot was fine, but nothing out of the ordinary. Keep your eyes peeled for an exciting new spot Cam Street Social is opening here in April 2019.
35. Zephyr Restaurant, North Beach – a popular little restaurant that tried it’s best, but ultimately didn’t keep up with the times.
36. Penny Garden, West Swan Previously found next to Yahava Coffee, it’s now set up shop at Carilley Estate in the Swan Valley.
37. Feast Café, Wembley was a fresh spot was brimming with delicious salads and was a mecca for mummies who coffee, as it had a sound-proff playroom (Yes!!). Now known as The Kitchen on Cambridge.
38. Yabba Dabba, Dalkeith was a tasty little café nestled deep in the leafy suburb of Dalkeith. Now, it’s The Local on Waratah.
39. Bibs Tuck Shop, Yanchep was a fab little spot in the outer north, and has been taken over by the people behind brilliant Burns Beach Café. Now Lil Sista’s the teeny tiny café is well worth a visit if you live out that way.
40. Xarcuteria, Claremont technically wasn’t a café, but celebrated Chef David Coomer’s Claremont Deli served the most delicious take away pork belly rolls! And other quality smallgoods. I hear its still owned by the Coomer family, and now called Walt’s Cnr Deli. Will be worth checking out!
41. Tubs Gelato, Guildford was found on the James Street strip. Though it’s now shut, I hear it has made way for another ice cream parlour.
42. Maddison Cottage, Guildford was a gorgeous little cottage on the James Street strip that made the prettiest high teas. Run by a mother and daughter team, their home-made food and pretty tea-services were a treat.
43. Hurricanes, Hillarys. Previously Hippo Creek, this spot closed it’s doors recently, making that area of Hillarys Boat Harbour look rather deserted. I had dined there, but never blogged about it as I felt it was WAY too expensive for what it was…. a chain steakhouse with fairly average food.
44. Robs Pit Stop BBQ, Kalamunda closed after being open less than a year. It was a great concept, with lip smacking meats and huuuuge US style cups of mac n cheese, but well off the beaten track.
45. Miss Kitty’s Saloon, Inglewood was THE place to be when I started my blog in 2013. Miss Kittys was a little bit quirky and had delicious food, like the gravy smothered poutine. Now home to Ninth and Merchant by the people behind Blake Street Merchant. I haven’t tried yet, but hear great things about both.
46. Moana Coffee, Perth CBD, a hidden coffee spot in the Hay Street Mall was perhaps a little too hidden. I loved the heritage spot for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city with a coffee on their balcony.
47. Missy Moos, Mount Hawthorn was a popular nursery rhymed burger joint at the Mezz Shopping Centre. Though we did like it, honestly it had some very stiff burger competition around Perth.
48. Hainault Café, Bickley is still home to Hainult Winery, the owners have handed the reigns of their café to husband and wife team Chef Benoit Lasplace (formally from the Print Hall and Rockpool kitchens) and his wife Chantelle. Now Mistelle, a French bistro inspired spot, the balcony overlooking the vines is a brilliant spot for a lazy lunch.
49. Café Avellino, Wanneroo was a suburban pizza joint that was a great spot for families, as it has a casual vibe and indoor playground for toddlers. Good news for pizza lovers, it’s still serving pizza as Eight Slices.
50. Max Brenner Chocolate Bar, Joondalup (& Whitfords) is an international chain that didn’t catch on in WA. While Little Chef would have happily re-visited many times, I’m a bit wary of sugar-loaded treats.
51. Chatford and Co, Kalamunda served up very tatsy food, but in café-loaded Kalamunda, it was off the main street where not many people could find it. A shame.
52. JJ Kings, Floreat was an under the radar spot, where I had a delicious Mothers Day brunch a few years ago. The café is now Floreat Local.
53. Ibiza N2 Gelato, Mount Lawley has closed it’s doors on the Beaufort Street strip, but you can still get your sweet fix of nitrogen made gelato from their new spot in Morley.
54. Bistro de Artistes, Subiaco owned by iconic Perth Chef, Alain Fabregues (previously of the Loose Box), closed the doors of his Hay Street eatery, blaming high rents and no doubt the cost of parking in Subiaco. We loved his French cuisine.
55. The Resident, Nedlands is a recent closure. I spotted it while we were checking out another Hampton Street spot (newbie Mel & Co Garden) and noticed that The Resident had shut up shop and had “For Lease” signs plastered all over the windows.
56. Baby Mammoth, Northbridge – The William Street small bar served it’s final Poutine on April 13th 2019. Specialising in bottled boutique beers and great food, with a South African twist, it will be very missed. Hopefully Chef Ryan Lambson pops up somewhere else.
57. New Normal Bar + Kitchen, Subiaco – We enjoyed pulling up a stool at the bar and enjoying delicious share food at this Subiaco gem with rooftop bar.
What can we do to stop this madness?!
We all have our favourite little independent restaurant or café in Perth. Support them. Sure there’s lots of large chain steakhouses and cafes, but I’m all about interesting food that will add to our food scene. Don’t dine at the “It’s OK” place or “the foods average, but you get heaps for your money” eatery. Book a table at the little guy’s place, the person who is passionate about their offering and serves amazing food! We need these restauranteurs and Chef-Owners to stay in business for the future of Perth’s dining scene.
Something that can be said for the hospitality industry is that it never stands still. It’s a constantly evolving thing, that is changeable to the economy and consumer trends. With so many venues competing for your dining dollar, one thing is for sure, it’s survival of the fittest in Perth right now!
This will be an ever growing list, which I’ll be sure to update.
Last updated March 2019.