The perfect pitstop: Perth, Australia

Another day, another journey

I couldn’t resist a quick pitstop in Perth before I headed to Melbourne. Ok, it isn’t exactly on the way but when else was my good friend Mel free as a bird with a few days off work? She is the reason why I first wanted to move to Australia all those years ago after she emigrated when we were just 16 and now nearly a decade later (wow has it really taken me that long?!) I’m here.

One of Perth’s many beautiful beaches

I like Perth, the weather’s fantastic, there’s plenty of outdoor space and enough bars and restaurants to keep me happy, but it’s never wowed me enough to want to live there and I can’t help thinking it resembles England a little too much for my liking. We started our girlie few days doing what we do best; eat. We went for brunch at Mary Street Bakery in Mount Lawley after finding Mrs S was closed on a Monday. This was unfortunate as I wanted to try their granola topped with edible flowers, a food trend I am absolutely loving at the moment. Instead I had avo on toast at Mary Street Bakery which is also up there with the best on Urbanspoon. It was nice but I do wish I had ordered something a little more adventurous (although the menu is rather simple for Australia), but I wanted to make room for some cakes which we took away with us.

Checking out the wineries in the Swan Valley

That afternoon was a glorious sunny day so we headed to the Swan Valley to check out the wineries. Surprisingly we didn’t do much in the way of wine tasting, but we did visit a shop where we could taste all sorts of jams and chutneys which was nice.

Coffee tasting at Yahava Koffee Works in the Swan Valley

We then moved on to my favourite part of the day where we sampled an array of smooth tasting coffee from Yahava Koffee Works. By the end of it we were buzzing and didn’t feel like ordering a coffee like we had planned. There’s one thing that compliments coffee perfectly and that’s chocolate so we headed to Margret River Chocolate Factory to sample a few of their chocolates, with the white chocolate buttons being my favourite.

Chocolate sampling at Margaret River Chocolate Factory in the Swan Valley

Even though we felt a little sick from all those samples, we decided to make the most of the weather and return to Yahava Koffee where they have a lovely outside seating area on the lawn. Mel was sensible and ordered some cold fizz whilst I had an iced coffee which I thought would be fairly light. To my astonishment it was made with milk and two scoops of vanilla ice cream which, although nice, did not help my queasiness caused by the tastings. When I ordered an ice coffee in Asia and London if I remember rightly, it usually comes black over ice. I asked if it was normal to put ice cream in a “skinny” iced coffee in Australia and I believe it is. How odd for a nation so into their health and fitness.

Perth CBD at night

That evening I met up with my old university housemate, Sarah for dinner at The Lucky Shag which was mediocre and despite the sunny day, bloody freezing. The beer garden faced away from the sunset, meaning it was in the shade, which I thought was rather odd for a location perfect for sunset and somewhere people flock to come in the evening.

Scarborough Beach

The good weather was meant to continue so the next day Mel and I packed our beach gear and headed to Scarborough Beach. We had planned to meet our friend Kate there that evening, so thought we’d make the day of it. By the time we got there we were hungry and wanted to sunbathe ASAP so we quickly picked up a Subway sandwich, something I haven’t had in months and usually quite like. Unfortunately not only was my bread stale, the weather clouded over and it was absolutely freezing. In the end we had no option but to return home to try and warm up, but not without a quick stop at Mrs S for a deliciously creamy flat white and a huge piece of carrot and coconut cake to take away. Mrs S’s cakes are by far the best I’ve tasted in Perth and I particularly liked Mel’s lemon ricotta cake and my blackberry & ricotta cake, which I had last time I was in Perth. Ricotta cakes are definitely a winner, I just love that they hold the moisture so well.

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight

That evening we went for dinner at Sand Bar along Scarborough Beach. It was a cool little place but I didn’t eat as I had not long demolished by slice of cake which was enough for two. Instead I made my way down to the beach to watch the most beautiful sunset, which I haven’t seen since Mowie’s Bar in Indonesia. Don’t you just love it when the sky turns red?

Beautiful carrot cake from Mrs S

I was so sad I only had one day left with Mel. Three days with her just wasn’t enough, but I wanted to be in Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup and that meant catching the Wednesday night flight, which although one of the cheapest, was still $350. I had read about new place Bib and Tucker that had just opened up on Leighton Beach run by Aussie Olympians Eamon Sullivan and Steve Hooker. Despite a fairly average Urbanspoon score, this place was the talk of the town so we just had to check it out.

Buckwheat, Chia and Oat Porridge with saffron poached pear, natural yogurt and almonds from Bib and Tucker

I enjoyed a tasty Chai Latte and Buckwheat, Chia and Oat Porridge with saffron poached pear, natural yogurt and almonds, which I thought could have been a little sweeter (God, haven’t I become critical!) before Mel pointed out I was drinking a super sweet drink which may have disguised the sweetness of the porridge, like when tea doesn’t taste as sweet after you’ve dunked a couple of biscuits into it. There’s no denying the food and service was of good quality and the location couldn’t have been better despite the smell of lambs on a lorry which Mel pointed out is a regular occurrence in Perth – how odd.

Mel and I in the Perth Hills

Time was getting on and we had to pick Mel’s boyfriend Shaun up from work in the Swan Valley. The temperature was scorching and we needed a pick-me-up, so we tried a $1 frozen coke from Macca’s (McDonald’s to all you non-Australians) which was so nice and refreshing, even though I dread to think how much sugar it contained. As the weather was so clear we drove to John Forrest National Park in the Perth Hills which boasts fantastic views over-looking the city. It ended up being a quick photo stop after a brown snake, one of WA’s most venomous, slithered past our feet!

Late night dessert at Koko Black

My flight wasn’t until midnight so we were able to squeeze in one last meal – yippie! I had booked a table at The Butterworth Bar after it was featured as the weekly deal on Urbanspoon. We couldn’t go wrong with 50% off all food and house drinks and they had scallops on the menu, something I truly adore. When we arrived we were told we didn’t have a table as the deal was only for bar food at the bar and the restaurant was busy. After a big confusion which lasted a while, we ended up sitting on sofas and ordering from the bar menu. The confusion continued when our food order was messed up and after our food had arrived we were told Kate’s sandwich was part of the lunch menu so she would have to order something different. It was such a palaver and a good example of how a special offer should not be run. In the end the manager came round and topped our massive wine glasses up for free which was nice, but I didn’t really want near-half a bottle of wine before my night flight. The food was good anyhow, as was the company making it a lovely evening. That and the fact we stopped off at Koko Black on the way home for a late night dessert!

Miss my friend Mel

I had a fantastic pitstop in Perth visiting friends, even though it was only for a short while. Friends and family mean more than anything so  if you have the chance to spend a couple of days with someone you love you should, no matter what the strain on your wallet or the bags under your eyes. Perth is a great city and I will be back for sure, but the biggest sports event in Victoria, the Melbourne Cup awaited me. It is time to settle…..

Living life, loving travel,

H x

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