Mayfair Lane – West Perth

IMG_2160Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Mayfair Lane is a British pub, but not as we know it. The West Perth venue is not similar to other theme bars, with their faux Tudor façades and twee interiors. Mayfair Lane oozes cool Britannia.

We reviewed this venue, then known as The Brown Fox, a few years ago. It was adequate and did everything it said on the box. With the addition of new owners Chris and Foni Pollitt, and a new Head Chef, everything has been stepped up a few notches.

Gone is the dingy interior, now there’s welcoming subtle blue/grey hues and chandeliers to lighten up the bar. The dining room is elegant. If you’re after something more casual, sit on a high table near the bar or outside on the veranda along with the West Perth office workers.IMG_4815

Foni, along with her husband Chris, have spent many years in hospitality all around the world. Their very different experiences bring a lot to this gastro pub. Foni has had a polished, silver service career in high end restaurants as a Maître’D, as well as opening many gastropubs in the UK and Canada. Chris ran some of the hippest bars in East London. Head Chef, Shannon Wilson has rattled his pans all around the world, including at Necker Island for Sir Richard Branson, no less.

As we arrive for lunch, there doesn’t seem to be any wait staff on the floor. We seat ourselves on the veranda and find menus, unsure if table service is on offer. It is and after our wait person arrives, the service is on the ball. At Mayfair Lane you can dine on traditional pub fayre, like bangers and mash or choose something a little fancy, like their lamb assiette. I’m here for one of their signature dishes, the steak tartare, which some have said is the best in Perth.IMG_2178

The extensive wine list is a little bit special. Foni, is somewhat of a Sommelier extraordinaire. The certified wine educator has created what is arguably the best wine list of any pub in Perth. There’s a large choice of by the glass wines and I pick a French rose, feeling confident that it will be a cracker. The pale rose Château Les Crostes Cinsault Grenache is indeed a tasty drop.IMG_4746

I start with the famed steak tartare, $22, which is always a good measure of a kitchen. Ultra-fresh raw steak is bound together with herbs, shallots and a spiced mayo then topped with a gooey, soft-boiled quail’s egg.  I scoop at the delicious tartare with the house made game crisps. It’s spot on.IMG_4771

At $21, the three pan-fried scallops are a touch on the pricey side. Served with a creamy pommes purée, vanilla tomato compote and a verjuice jus, this light dish has well balanced, punchy flavours.IMG_4763 Continue reading

Gordon St Garage – West Perth

img_1307

Gordon St Garage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tucked down a West Perth side street is an old auto garage, repurposed as a bustling “breakfast till late” canteen. I met Nays at Gordon St Garage for some drinks and nibbles after work, before a spot of shopping at Harbour Town… sorry – Water Town. I’ll never get used to that!img_1275

We were greeted and taken to our seats, which remind me of old bus seats. The décor is up-cycled and funky. The huge vaulted ceilings give the eatery a grand warehouse feel and it has much the same vibe as another favourite of mine, Freo’s Bread in Common.img_1284

It’s been too long in-between drinks for Gordon St Garage and I. I last visited over two years ago and didn’t intend on leaving it so long. It’s a reflection on Perth’s ever expending hospitality scene. Too many places – not enough meals in the day! Nays and I had a few cheeky Friday afternoon drinks at GSG. I love their Mojitos.img_0228

The menu lends easily to share and share we did. First up, we ordered the Bread in Common bread. The fresh bread is perfect for spreading lashings of the scrumptious eggplant and golden beet dips on. We even ordered extra bread – we couldn’t possibly leave any of the tasty dips.img_0227

The gnocchi dish with tomato, capsicum, basil and pecorino was so simple and pretty darn good too! img_0229

Like my first trip to GSG, we really enjoyed the food and laid back atmosphere. I’d still love to return for something a little more brunch-y and to try out their raved about coffee. Hopefully I won’t leave it so long next time.img_1287

Julio’s – West Perth

IMG_3856

Julio's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Julio’s, a favourite haunt for West Perth workers for over thirty years, has been transformed into a swanky but approachable Italian diner. The iconic residence of Perth menswear moguls, the Walsh family, has been retained as part of a multi-million dollar hotel development. The rear of the historical house has been knocked through and now blends with the modern foyer of the Sage Hotel.IMG_3852

The Sage Hotel sits in what was essentially the back yard of the Walsh family’s heritage listed home which dates back to 1902. In 1982 the home was sold and become a West Perth favourite, Julio’s Italian restaurant, hosting dinners for mining executives, Lady Gaga, Bono and Beyoncé amongst others. The restaurant was then closed for a number of years. The new owners have kept in mind its beloved history with West Perth locals, by keeping the Italian restaurant, beautifully restoring the building and period features. The dining room has been stripped right back to the original bare brickwork, fireplaces, timber flooring and ceiling beams, whilst still managing to retain its cosy charm.interior

Arriving in the restaurant, via the hotel foyer, we’re greeted by a waitress who takes us to a table by the window. She offers to take my soggy umbrella – it’s a very wet and blustery night outside. I look over the well selected wine menu, the choices are mainly Australian. There’s also a good selection of French sparkling wine and Italian varieties too. A local red from the Swan Valley catches our eye. As the waitress pours the Robert Bowen Shiraz, $82, she tells us that the grapes are from Pemberton and Robert Bowen is in fact a regular at Julio’s. It’s a nice touch to get a little extra info and the wine is a wonderfully smooth Shiraz too.IMG_3831

The menu is made up of cicchetti (savoury snacks), primi (pasta) and secondi (mains). To start we enjoy creamy polenta fritters, $9. The rectangular fritters are golden and crisp on the outside. We dunk them in a calabrian dip – an Italian style aioli.IMG_3837

We also relish the truffle duck terrine, $19. The moist, fudgy meat is served along with chunks of pear, poached in nebbiolo, a red wine from Northern Italy. It’s finished with a hazelnut crumb. The flavours work well together, though I would have liked a little lavosh or crusty bread to spread the terrine onto.IMG_3835

For main I can’t go past the potato gnocchi, $22. The hand rolled gnocchi is tender, but a touch doughy. Topped with tiger prawns, zucchini and a creamy gorgonzola cheese and chili sauce it’s a comforting dish that’s bursting with sweet and garlic flavours.gnocchi

Chef chooses the hearty sounding lamb shoulder dish, $32. The locally raised lamb is very tender, as it’s braised in extra virgin olive oil. The generous portion of meat sits upon artichoke and a chickpea puree. The dish is covered in rocket and finished with pistachios, for an extra crunch.IMG_3839

We toy with the idea of ordering a side dish, though knowing how generous and filling Italian food often is, we decide against the extra food. The Sicilian caponata, with mozzarella, basil pesto and crispy eggplant sounds delicious, but will have to wait for another time.IMG_3858

There are four options plus a cheese plate for dessert. We find it hard to choose, so we order the dessert plate, $35. This selection gives you a taste of three of their desserts. Julio’s open cannolo is delicious. The chocolate cannolo, made to a secret recipe, is filled with a nutty torrone (nougat) ice cream. The silky saffron panna cotta jiggles on the board. On the side is a sweet raspberry jelly and praline. A slice of warm limoncello caprese cake is a little dry, though topped with the creamy citrus limoncello sorbet, which adds much needed moisture.Dessert

The reincarnation of Julio’s is a mainly a hit. The tasty food is mostly on point, just a few technical misses to iron out. The dining room is beautiful and the service is friendly and prompt. Bellissimo!

At a glance

Julio’s

1309 Hay Street

West Perth

Phone 08 6500 9111

Opening times

Open 7 Days

Breakfast  Mon to Fri 6.30am – 10.30am

Sat & Sun 7am – 11am

Lunch 11.30am to 3pm

Dinner Tue to Sat 5pm to 10pm

Sun & Mon 5pm to 9pm

Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

style Modern Italian

wine mostly Australian wines,

with a few NZ and European drops.

Chef Simone Ariano

Owner SilverNeedle Group and ADC

feel Classic, old meets new.

wheelchair access yes

cost

Entree – $8 – $39

Mains – $24 – $34

Dessert – $14 – $35

all in all   a wonderful fusion of

modern and traditional elements in

both the venue and Italian menu.

Service is friendly and efficient.

The Brown Fox – West Perth {CLOSED}

A decade ago this West Perth bar was a haunt of mine, for after-work drinks on a Friday. Back then it was a decadent place, called The Onyx Bar. In fact, before Onyx, it was called CY O’Connors and I remember having a few cheeky long Friday lunches there with my workmates at Gwalia. In 2011 it had a complete re-vamp and became The Brown Fox. It’s not a plush and swanky bar now –though that’s not to say it doesn’t have a luxurious feel to it. Its cosy pub-style charm is mixed with chandeliers and pressed tin ceilings.

Friday night drinks at The Brown Fox are still as popular as ever. There’s a merry atmosphere of workers celebrating the start of the weekend and live music. We enjoy the bluesy tones of a certain singer Eve B – who has backing vocals on Nicki Minaj’s last album to her credit. She’s found at the Brown Fox on Friday nights, accompanied by accomplished musicians (Simon Paparo the night we visited) – at the moment her partner in crime is life-long friend Jeff Mann.

We arrive and as the sign at the door suggests we “wait to be seated”. After a minute or two it soon becomes apparent that no one is going to greet us – Chef and I decide to sit in the floral carpeted dining area, in a booth. We’re a bit confused whether there is table service or not, so we order drinks at the bar and grab some menus. Quick as a flash, a waiter arrives to take our food order, but we need more time.

The menu is typical of a suburban pub – BLT, fish and chips, steak sarnies and the like. Chef and I choose a charcuterie board ($34) to start with. Out comes a wooden board brimming with smoked chicken, chorizo, prosciutto, olives, marinated capsicum, candied nuts, blue cheese, smoked cheddar and toasted ciabatta.

Before the charcuterie board has time to be devoured, the waiter brings us our mains, with apologies for the quick arrival. I ponder that the service is generally very quick – much like the brown fox in the typing exercise back in our school days; “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”.

Though we didn’t get an explanation for the rush, Chef explains that this occasionally happens when part of an order is missed and something gets added on – thus throwing the timings out. In this case, we think perhaps they didn’t treat the charcuterie plate as an entrée – since at The Brown Fox the menu reads “Share Food” and “Mains”. The dining room isn’t full, so it’s safe to say they aren’t purposely hurrying us.

I’m looking for some comfort food on this cool autumn night. The Lamb shanks ($28) are cooked in a deeply rich tomato and red wine sauce – it is the perfect choice. The tender shanks are accompanied by some well-cooked seasonal veg and garlic mash – which is ever so creamy.

Chef choses the rib eye steak ($36) with beef jus, seasonal vegetables and a ginormous potato cake on the side. The equally large rib eye is cooked perfectly medium-rare and is a tasty bit of meat. Chef thinks the thyme-loaded potato cake is delicious.

The wine list is mostly local, with a few SA and NZ wines added for good measure. I choose the Lazy Dog Cider, which is made in the on-site cidery, from Sundowner and Pink Lady apples. Owners, Greg and Ant, are very enthusiastic about their brew. They hold a monthly Cider Club at the Brown Fox.

All in all we enjoy the Brown Fox for what it is – pub food with style.

Gordon St Garage – West Perth

IMG_1287Gordon St Garage on Urbanspoon
Tucked down a West Perth side street is an old auto garage, now repurposed as a bustling breakfast till late canteen. Unsure of where to park, I left the car at Harbour Town, as it was just over the road anyway. Little Chef and I we were being treated to lunch for our birthdays by the Singer.

IMG_1275We were cheerfully greeted and taken to our seats. I’m sure they were old bus seats. The décor, like many places at the moment, is up-cycled, funky and dare I say “hipster”.  We were sat right next to the open kitchen and pass. We could see the chefs plating up the food and that helped us to choose our dishes from the menu! A giant pile of food, the roast beef sandwich, looked mouth-watering.

We had some excellent freshly squeezed juices to start;

IMG_1261Fresh Grapefruit $7 and Carrot, celery, ginger $7

I spied the same water jugs and Italian salt as they have in Il Lido, so it came as no surprise to find out that GSG is owned by the same people that brought us Bread in Common and Il Lido.

Little chef got stuck into his Banana bread ($6), using the chocolate mascarpone as a spread. There wasn’t a children’s menu, but unless your offspring is horrendously fussy, you should be able to find something they will eat.

We shared Moorish lamb, cos & hummus on flatbread $19. This was a tasty dish and the tender lamb was indeed more-ish! Though the Singer had to request a steak knife to cut the bread, I’m surprised my teeth were still intact after!

IMG_1267The Hot roast beef sandwich, with horseradish coleslaw and a red onion jam $17 was as delicious as it looked. The open sandwich was an absolute mountain of food, thinly cut beef and veg – plenty to share.

IMG_1284All in all we really enjoyed the Gordon St Garage. It has a buzzing atmosphere and I’d love to return for something a little more brunch-y and to try out their coffee, as I’ve heard some great things about that.IMG_1307