Balmy summer evenings in Perth practically beg for their own iteration of aperitivo, and a spate of new openings around the city are delivering. Selections of bitter drinks and salty accompaniments are carefully chosen to stimulate the senses, with aperitivo aiming to whet the appetite ahead of an unhurried dinner.
From cheese-laden grazing boards to refreshing spritzes, these venues are bringing a taste of European summer to Perth.
Describing itself as Mount Lawley’s neighbourhood osteria, Testun offers a playful take on a classic Italian wine bar. Charmingly mismatched retro decor and exposed red brick walls make the space feel homey and inviting, like you’ve just stumbled into the bric-a-brac-filled home of your friend’s nonna.
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As well as the Italian influences, the menu playfully incorporates flavours and techniques from a range of cuisines for an eclectic culinary experience. Small share plates are an ideal choice for aperitivo – focaccia and warm marinated olives; house-made cured meats like capocollo and culatello villani; and a whipped ricotta served with Cantabrian Sea anchovies and a “firecracker” salsa. The drinks list is wine-heavy, a curated list of Australian and Italian drops, but a selection of aperitivo cocktails is also on offer – a prosecco-topped spritz is the way to go, with limoncello, elderflower, grapefruit and cynar variants to choose from.
Powells Fromagerie & Wine Bar
The new year brought the opening of Powells Fromagerie & Wine Bar in Leederville, with the licensed fromagerie a first for Perth. Owners Jasmine and Marisa Powell know good grazing and have built a venue that offers an intimate dining experience and thoughtful cheese and wine pairings.
Their cheesemonger’s choice cheese plate will see you served up a selection of the day’s choice cheeses, alongside select accompaniments. Do yourself a favour and add on a plate of freshly sliced San Daniele prosciutto, salumi or mortadella to round out your platter. The venue intends to offer a short rotating list of wine chosen to complement the food menu.
The Powells team hopes to be a place for diners to connect and engage in meaningful conversation – check out the conversation-starters on the back of their signature coasters.
Maylands’ newest neighbourhood bar, Volare, is a local homage to coastal Europe, where aperitivo hour is a perfect amuse-bouche to a languorous evening of wining and dining. A dedicated two-hour aperitivo period in the early evenings allows the bar to introduce locals to classic wine-based aperitivo and Campari cocktails, including a range of bitter spritzes, Negronis and Biciclettas.
The food offerings during aperitivo hour are limited, but each bite-sized morsel is packed with flavour and likely to convince you to linger over the dinner menu. Here, Volare continues its European theme in dishes like stracciatella with roasted peach or beef carpaccio tonnato.
Tom’s Providore & Wine Bar
A European-inspired licensed dine-in delicatessen, Tom’s Providore & Wine Bar offers a taste of the Mediterranean in central Perth. If the whitewashed building and potted olive trees aren’t enough to transport you to coastal Italy, the food and wine offerings should be, with owners Tom and Lara Lukich serving up a menu that reflects what they love to eat and drink. Featuring French cheeses and Italian prosciutto, the charcuterie boards are hard to pass by, but the full grazing menu offers tempting share plates like double-smoked chorizo or crispy rosemary potatoes.
To accompany, Tom’s offers up a wine list with a strong international lean alongside Campari- and Aperol-based aperitifs. A recently added gin limoncello spritz will transport you straight to sunny Capri, while an Espresso Campari over ice is a perfectly bittersweet end to a meal.
Lums Wine Bar
A heritage-listed two-storey terrace and courtyard has transformed into Subiaco’s newest boutique vino watering hole, Lums Wine Bar. The wine list is Lums’ real drawcard, a well-sourced list of great Australian drops, bold European classics, and carefully procured small batch wines (don’t get attached).
Food-wise, opt for an array of aperitivo-style small plates – think smoked mussel pate on crostini or pork and truffle meatballs. Or for an artfully curated grazing board: single-malt whisky cheddar, triple-cream brie and Staffordshire blue alongside cured meats and dried fruit. The team behind Lums describes the menu as being made to complement a glass of wine, and attention to detail is evident in thoughtful plating and pairings.