It’s a great time to be living in the Inner West, with new cafes and restaurants opening up everywhere. Most recently, our favourites have been West 48 just around the corner, and of course the wonderful Besito. Now, a new taqueria (albeit a chain) has opened in Knifepoint promising authentic, healthy Mexican tacos and other delights.
Last night in Perth, and colleagues take me out of town (a little) to Mount Lawley. Three or so kilometres north-west of the CBD, it’s a little too far to walk but definitely worth exploring given the lack of decent food in town.
Actually, when I think on it, this is about as far out of town as the Brunswick Street haunts are in Melbourne, so maybe I have to be a little more charitable towards poor Perth.
14 Mill St, Perth
I had a hankering for Thai food but here in Perth the better Thai places are a long walk or a taxi ride away. And so I found myself in Globe with an interesting menu in front of me: part modern Australian, part Asian fusion, part Italian.
Many of the dishes had an Asian element to them: coriander in what would otherwise be known as gazpacho; prawns encrusted with a coconut crumble. Others were more straightforward like an Angus sirloin or Wagyu beefburger, pan-fried gnocchi, lamb cutlets.
I chose the seared scallops to start, four of them served with a single buttered baby scampi, stringy cucumber salad, crispy shallots, salmon roe and a Thai dressing with a decent kick. My main was one of those Asia-infused dishes: prawn and scallop risotto served with leek oil, a side of Asian greens and some crispy fried curry leaves on top. The curry leaves really gave it a unique flavour. My dish came out piping hot, just the way I like it.
Service was understated, efficient and friendly, and my request for a quiet cosy table was not too much trouble.
Total for the evening, including a couple of glasses of a beautiful McLaren Vale/Clare Valley shiraz, was a hair under $90. Not cheap by any means, but that’s what you get dining in a mining town.
Definitely worth a repeat visit.
Besito Bar & Cafe
590A Barkly Street, West Footscray
Footscray will always be… well… Footscray. But West Footscray (or WeFo as we insiders call it) is up-and-coming. On-the-edge. An Emerging Destination. Oh yes, West Footscray is the new Yarraville, people.
When we moved here six years ago, West Footscray was still pretty basic. The high street had an average local independent supermarket, an old Croatian/Italian/Whatever social club, a local library and a dwindling number of shops: pharmacy, greengrocer’s, school uniform shop, charity store. Soon after, it started turning into Little India and a fair number of Indian grocery and clothing stores sprung up. Then the Indian restaurants started multiplying. Now we have a decent little shopping street with really good Indian groceries, a couple of good greengrocers, and one or two really good restaurants with a good following.
The only thing we were really missing was somewhere to go for breakfast.
Then Gusto at Barkly opened, with decent pizza in the evenings and a pretty good breakfast menu (just too many pushchairs for my comfort levels). Jellybread bought the shop next door and expanded but their menu remained limited. And then a few weeks ago, Besito opened.
Owned by a young Colombian couple, Shan and Andres, it is a small, colourful cafe serving the best Colombian flavours and pretty decent coffee. They are not open in the evenings (yet) but they do a pretty good breakfast/all day menu which nicely covers breakfast, lunch and sweet things to go with coffee.
Side orders can be ordered together to augment a simple dish of eggs or arepa, a white corn bread visually reminiscent of rice cakes. The side orders are generous portions: chorizo is a full sausage, scored to help with even cooking, and well-seared on a hot plate or barbeque. The in-house hangover cure is changua – eggs poached in coriander-infused milk. Mild and seriously hot chilli sauces are within reach for another blast of South American flavour.
Most things are made from scratch in-house including the pastries and desserts: the lady of the couple who own this place is a pastry chef and it shows. Orlando showed an interest in some shot glasses in the chill cabinet one morning: we were immediately given one on the house with two spoons. A creamy, not-too-sweet caramel base was covered in the best chocolate ganache, giving just the perfect blast of sweetness without being overpowering.
A question from me about gluten-free options on the menu resulted in a clear and concise overview of what was gluten-free and what was not, reassuring me quickly that they knew the provenance of all their food and made sure all their staff did. Most menu items, for the record, were either gluten-free or could be served as such if requested.
They tell us they will be open soon in the evening, serving South American street food which goes down perfectly with a beer or a glass of wine. I can tell you now this place will become a regular haunt. The owners and their staff are friendly and knowledgeable, it’s a lovely relaxing place to eat, the menu is a knock-out and it can only get better as word spreads.
No free wi-fi yet, but we will keep working on them…..
Another one of Vicki’s wonderful gluten-free creations.
3 cups gluten free plain flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tsp white sugar
1 cup hot water
1½ cups milk
14g yeast (often 2 sachets dried yeast required)
Glaze – spray oil
1. Heat oven to 180 celsius.
2. Grease a large loaf pan and line with baking paper (6cm deep, 13x23cm).
3. Sift flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix well together. Make a well in the centre.
4. Mix the hot water and milk together and test with a finger to ensure lukewarm. If not, set aside until lukewarm.
5. When lukewarm, sprinkle over the yeast and mix.
6. Pour into the well in the flour and mix well.
7. Spread the batter in the loaf pan and smooth the top.
8. Cover with a tea towel and sit somewhere warm to rise for 30 to 35 minutes.
9. Glaze and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack.
- This can also make bread rolls. Spread batter in a muffin tin or muffin patty cases, rise for 20 minutes and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Can be flavoured – Cheese and Herb for example – ½ cup finely grated tasty cheese and 1 heaped tblsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and chives.
- As it has no preservatives, the bread is best refrigerated or frozen. Recommend slicing first before freezing and warm by toasting or heating in the oven.
Vicki is a gluten-free baking guru, and this loaf tastes as good with or without wheat flour. Actually I might even say it’s better gluten-free!
325g (about 3 cups) plain flour
– to make gluten free, substitute gluten free flour (such as Orgran) and baking powder (such as Wards)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp of mustard powder
Salt and pepper
70g freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ cup grated good quality tasty cheese
120g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
80g pitted black olives, slivered
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus extra for topping
2 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs beaten
1¼ cups (310ml) buttermilk
Glaze – 1 egg beaten, egg yolk and a little water beaten, butter or normal milk
1. Pre heat oven to 180 celsius.
2. Grease a large loaf pan and line with baking paper (6cm deep, 13x23cm).
3. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, mustard and 1tsp each of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
4. Add cheeses, nuts, olives and rosemary and mix well with a wooden spoon.
5. In a separate bowl/jug, whisk together the oil, eggs and buttermilk.
6. Make a well in the flour mixture, add oil mixture and stir to form a thickish batter.
7. Scrape into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
8. Brush with glaze and scatter with rosemary and sea salt.
9. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If the loaf is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil, dull side up.
10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack. The loaf tastes better cooled rather than hot out of the oven.
Note: As it has no preservatives, the bread is best refrigerated or frozen. Recommend slicing first before freezing and warm by toasting or heating in the oven.