Want to push the boat out and celebrate? Perth can do that very well. But the city can also sate hunger pangs without breaking the bank. In fact, some of its sub-$20 meals are our favourites. Here are just some of the players that make the west’s dining scene so exciting – and affordable.
Re Store, Northbridge Continental roll: $10
History lessons are seldom as enjoyable as squaring off against one of the city’s famous Italian-Australian rolls. As most West Australians will know, the conti is a $10 hunger-busting sandwich starring cold-cuts, salad and pickled veg crammed into a chewy Italian-style white roll – although many new-school bakeries seem to be making their version with baguettes – that’s synonymous with the Re Store, the Re family’s famous European deli. While the OG Northbridge shop is home to the bigger range of fillings (boiled egg, onion), the West Leederville expansion has the benefit of being attached to one of the city’s finest liquor stores.
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Bad Love Burger Co, Leederville The Okla: $14.50
Yes, you’ll probably have to wait for your (cooked to order) burger at this former bowls club pop-up turned bricks-and-mortar establishment. Yes, you’ll likely struggle to nab a table during peak time, when the West Leederville lunch crowd comes through for the good stuff. And yes, it’s entirely worth it.
While Perth is spoiled for meat and patty options – Short Order, Meet & Bun and Hoodburger are frequently mentioned in local “best burger” discussions – Bad Love seems to be the city’s burger flipper du jour, not least when owner Tristan Chambers is augmenting his legendary smashed burger patties with caramelised onion and cheese in a fine tribute to Oklahoma’s legendary onion burgers.
Authentic Family Recipes, Vic Park Roti: $12
Cravings for roti, Southeast Asia’s flaky, Indian-inspired flatbreads, can strike at a moment’s notice – which makes the presence of this homey diner on Albany Highway in Vic Park all the more welcome, at least to those prone to breakfast cravings. Lightly browned and crunchier than most, the versions at Authentic Family Recipes are glorious – and really come into their own when swiped through the accompanying dal and sambal. Having said that, springing an extra few dollars for a side serve of goat curry is highly recommended.
Punjabi Kitchen, Langford Pani puri: $8
Leach Highway and its surrounds are home to some of the most gratifying tastes of Indian and Indian-Malaysian food west of the Nullarbor. (We pause for a moment to give thanks for the options at Spencer Village Food Court). Of particular note is Punjabi Kitchen, a suburban diner in Langford slinging outstanding Indian sweets and veg cooking. The pani puri – tiny, crisp-fried dough balls filled with potato and a zesty dressing – are an essential order, as are the samosas and other notable examples of chaat, India’s famous street food snacks.
Hong Kong BBQ House, Northbridge Roast pork: $13
While American-style barbeque has dominated the food discussion in recent times, Cantonese-style barbeque remains an integral part of the city’s Asian food scene. Although roast duck is regarded as the epitome of the southern Chinese barbeque game, for my yuan, roast pork is the dish that delivers maximum pleasure per mouthful. The version served at Francis Street institution Hong Kong BBQ House – squishy, fatty and crunchy in all the appropriate places – is the one to beat in Northbridge. Pro tip: get a jar of the addictive chilli oil to take home with you.
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