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.

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globe food | wine | coffee

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. 

Globe Food | Wine | Coffee on Urbanspoon

Soul bistro

Soul Bistro
(07) 3367 8188
5/16 Baroona Road (Cnr Milton Road), Milton, 4064

An early dinner for three tired Red Crossers led us to Soul Bistro, up at the IGA supermarket near the Brisbane Red Cross offices.

I’d walked past at lunchtime and the place was thronged. At seven in the evening it was a lot quieter – and chillier – so we sat inside near the kitchen.

It was probably the best thing that it was BYO only. The previous night had been a long one, and an alcohol-free evening meal was not unwelcome.

My two coeliac friends were delighted to find that almost two-thirds of the menu was designated as gluten-free. The waiter confirmed that they had a separate fryer for gluten-free foods. Suddenly, nothing was suspect and my dining companions were excited.

We chose a single starter of whiting fried in corn and sesame seeds which was just enough, perfectly-cooked and tempura-crunchy.

My pot pie was pork and apple, served with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Perfect for a chilly evening.


Julie’s Szechuan chilli tiger prawns looked and smelled divine.


Vicki was in heaven with perfect coeliac-safe fried chicken and potato wedges.


The homemade lemonades were just lovely: lemon and rosemary, and raspberry, orange and mint.

The young waiter was most attentive and the chef came out to speak to us and make sure everything was ok. For a simple little local place, the decor and ambience are pedestrian but this is more than made up for by the delicious food. Added to which, it’s a perfect safe dining experience for the gluten-intolerant amongst us. We will be back.

Soul Bistro on Urbanspoon

>Station Hotel Footscray

>59 Napier Street Footscray

A table at the Station Hotel is a hard thing to come by on a Saturday night. A few years ago Sean Donovan, he of the Botanical and various Michelin-starred establishments in France and London, headed way out west to craft the sort of gastro-pub he always dreamed of. Nobody thought it would fly, but they were wrong.

Located off the beaten track, near the police station and town hall on the outskirts of Footscray, you would drive past it a hundred times without glancing. The bar is still a regular old bar, although a lot more gentrified than the last time I visited over a year ago. The pool table is still there but no longer in pride of place, and the diners have spilled over into the bar on more casually-set tables. The only people sitting at the bar were also eating, and this time I believe Adam would have been quite happy waiting for me on a barstool, cheeky glass of red in hand.

It was a quiet Saturday night, our waiter said. A big bear of a man, he hit a perfect balance between friendly service, formality and knowledge of the menu. This place is famous for its steaks and we both gravitated to the listing. Our waiter patiently explained the difference between wagyu and Angus, grain-fed and grass-fed, Bavette and rostbiff, and the varying degrees of ageing.

The longest-aged steak on offer is a 450-day Sher Wagyu rostbiff, which is what I chose, with a terrine de campagne to start. Nothing like the gourmet equivalent of good 1970s food on a wet autumn night. Orlando chose the provencal fish soup to start, followed by a Gippsland dry-aged grass fed lump of Black Angus rump. I started with a glass of Mitchell’s Peppertree shiraz, which was served to me before I saw the Torbreck’s GSM on the listing. Never mind.

The fish soup was sensational. Dark red and smooth like tomato ketchup, it had the very essence of the sea in there, along with obscene amounts of garlic and good after-kick. I really need that recipe. Mystarter was also divine, but huge: it was a pleasure to wade through this hunk of ham terrine aided by some toasted sourdough, but towards the end I was not sure where I was going to fit my main course. The Peppertree shiraz went down like a dream and before I knew it my glass was empty. On to the Torbreck’s. Marvellous.

Our steaks were served simply with a handful of chunky hand-cut chips and a simple but delicious green salad which I devoured for once in my life. My rostbiff (which is a portion of the rump) was out of this world, like the last time I ate here. A good strong flavour and a texture that cut like butter. It was cooked medium-rare, perfectly seared outside and a deep pink inside. Orlando’s Angus was similarly beautifully-cooked to medium, another lovely steak but with a gentler flavour. We ate slowly.

The restaurant was still quite loud like last time, and could do with a few more wall hangings or other upholstery to soak up some of the noise. The clientele was a mixed bunch: a Vietnamese family at the next table with a single white man amongst them (probably the daughter’s boyfriend), two large tables of young people celebrating birthdays or some such, a couple of well-heeled foursomes of a certain age with Melbourne intelligentsia haircuts and avantgarde outfits, and a few local couples like ourselves out for a quiet dinner.

Overall a great evening’s food, and the change of vibe in the bar would certainly entice me down for a counter meal or two mid-week now I know you can eat at the bar in reasonably pleasant surroundings.


>St. Kilda Beach

Dinner with workmates from across the country after a two-day planning session led us to St. Kilda beach on a beautiful late summer evening. We’d spent the previous couple of days staring out to sea ourselves from the local surf lifesaving club, and as the sun started dipping in the sky we found our way back to St. Kilda beach. The place was still buzzing, with every restaurant busy and the beach volleyball in full swing. The sailing boats flew by and a few brave ones went for their evening swim. A live DJ added to the buzz.

We had one coeliac with us but it wasn’t a problem. There was a little “g” against almost half the items on the menu meaning those dishes were gluten-free. We shared a really good charcuterie board and some dips as a starter. Even in a pretty casual place like Republica it was good to hear they made everything including the bread and dips themselves from fresh ingredients. Even the prosciutto and thinly-sliced beef were aged and cured in-house. Impressive. The board was completed by an excellent ham-hock terrine, a handful of white anchovies, some good chorizo, a beautiful washed-rind soft cheese, the tiniest, sweetest Ligurian olives and a pig’s ear salad.

Gluten-free Sally had butterflied whole king prawns, chargrilled with smoked pimiento butter, and shared a summer salad of tomatoes, shallots and Thai basil with Catherine, who opted for a baby arrowhead squid stuffed with mussels, spinach and piperade on squid-ink risotto. Both seafood options looked and tasted divine, although the risotto was incredibly rich and beat us all in the end.

Pieter and I both went for the 300g sirloin with confit kipfler potatoes and lardons. One was served rare and one medium-rare. Both were sensational: one of the best steaks I have had in a long time and I’ve been craving one for a few days now. They were perfectly cooked inside and chargrilled to perfection on the outside. I ate slowly and savoured every mouthful. Our lardons were stolen with impunity by our dining companions – who can resist deep-fried pork belly?

The seafood was all washed down with a lovely young chilled Marlborough sauvignon blanc from Angel Cove, whilst Pieter and I (partners in red wine as always) went local and enjoyed a Heathcote shiraz malbec from Wild Duck Creek Estate: a little older and just perfect with the steak.

Overall a grand total of $275, so $70 a head. With the quality of food we enjoyed and the spectacular sunset, well worth it.

st. jude’s cellars

>389-391 Brusnwick Street Fitzroy

A frantic dash across the Tasman Sea from Hobart saw me arriving late on Brunswick Street for a major catch-up and gossip session with my best friend Eileen.

St. Jude’s Cellars is a canteen-like funky space with a cage full of wine that you can choose from and drink at your table or take away. We sat at a cosy table for two and the maitre d’ hid my luggage away in the manager’s office out of the way.

A glass of The Story shiraz soothed my frequent flyer worries away. After an epic month of flying to every corner of Australia, this had been the final trip and I could feel myself winding down as I sipped at my generous glassful.

The ham hock terrine we both ordered to start was lovely – it almost tasted like “proper” Irish ham (which is cured in brine rather than smoked as is the Aussie way), although there was a little too much aspic for my liking.

My rabbit pie was perfect for a late summer evening – full of flavour and goodness. Eileen’s lamb special was three different cuts of lamb on the one plate – a huge serving and all delicious.

Service was attentive and friendly, the food obviously well-chosen from the best ingredients. The menu advised that the jams and chutneys were sourced from the local primary school – now that’s fresh and local taken to the extreme!

I sense this place will become a well-worn favourite especially over the winter months with such hearty food and such a warm welcome.