Hands up if you’ve ever forked out A$50 for fish n’ chips.
That would never be me as I’m more of a casual eats girl and happy to pay corresponding casual eats prices. But people have forked out that shocker price in Perth for what’s traditionally been something that gets fried fresh and thrown into a basket to serve, when on a day out at the beach.
Of course when I heard about it, I had to google to find which restaurant had the audacious gumption to charge what people would normally pay for crustaceans higher up the luxury ladder… like lobster or oysters or crab. Turns out, it’s Aristos Restaurant in Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia near Fremantle, about 40 minutes’ drive from Perth city.
Would you pay $50 for fish & chips?
Photo credit Gabriel Li. Note this is not a pic from the restaurant.
Aaah, tourist trap.
A restaurant with a great ocean view on an island comes with a price. To be fair(er), they bill it as premium fish ($46-$52) compared to more run-of-the-mill fish n’ chips (for which they charge $26). Still, it’s a price you might see at a specialist seafood restaurant with waiters and white tablecloths, not surfer dude style service. Or more like self-service (you order at the counter and get a number).
But it’s not the only place you might feel extorted. People complain about the price of coffee and other foods because Perth has a reputation for having wealthy residents, thanks to its mining community. That’s apparently slowly changing with the mining scene slowing down there so there’s hope for foodies.
A cup of coffee in Perth can cost more than A$7.
Photo credit: Cheryl Foong
One person who’s fully aware of Perth’s food scene issues is Cynthia Chew of Perth’s popular blog The Food Pornographer. She’s also a gold mine (pun intended) for uncovering the city’s hidden food gems. Yes, there are plenty of good spots for food at prices that won’t make you choke. I caught up with her recently on a visit to see my family (they too, wanted to know where to eat!).
This is the first of a 3-part interview with Cynthia…
…who was most generous with her time. It sums up her observations of Perth’s food scene and what makes it tick, including the trends that have come and gone, and endless comparisons to Sydney and Melbourne. You’ll find her passion for yumminess contagious and has a way of making hunger come alive even though you’ve just had lunch!
If you just want to cut straight to her top three picks though, here it is…
- Good One BBQ, Victoria Park for Chinese BBQ and roast duck congee
- Mom Dumpling House, East Victoria Park, for rustic northeastern Chinese food like handmade dumplings, or scrambled eggs with black fungus and carrot stir-fry, or whole cooked fish in brown sauce and black bean
- Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, Fremantle. For wood-roasted chicken served with miso sauce, whole baked sea mullet “in a most delicious sauce”
Stay tuned for more of my chat with Cynthia, where we’ll talk about food blogging and food recommendations for new Asian migrants to Perth.
Till next time (and I promise it will be soon).
p/s Aristos has a branch in Bunbury. A cursory comparison shows the Bunbury branch is $10-40 cheaper for an almost identical menu.