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Monday, September 21, 2009

West End Girl

After first reading about West End Deli on Palace Foods a while back, I decided it sounded like my kind of place and within a couple of weeks I'd made it down there to try out their lunch menu with a friend. Somehow I seem to have forgotten to write about it since then, so hopefully this month+ old review is still current. Well, we're pretty much still enjoying(?) the same weather we were hiding from a month ago, so I suspect their menu will still be similarly wintery and hearty.

The decor is charmingly mismatched, feeling both unfinished and welcoming, and giving you something other than the painfully cool fellow patrons to check out if you're alone or whilst your dining partner powders their nose. It has a distinctly cafe feel to it. but the menu reads more like a bistro. I guess the best comparison I can make is to the Beaufort Street Merchant, although I've heard that they've recently significantly changed their menu and jacked up the prices. Sigh.

After sitting ourselves down at one of the inside tables we got to investigating the menu. The breakfast menu appears to be available all day, and whilst it seems quite limited there were a couple of dishes that caught my eye - "porridge with banana mousse and chocolate chips $11", and "eggs on toast $11 with marinated tomato, olives & goat's curd $8". I think a breakfast return visit is on the cards.

I found it quite difficult to settle on my lunch dish on this particular day. The pork and rabbit terrine piqued my interested, and pork hock is always tempting. Having read rave reviews about the shellfish bisque (with mussels, creme fraiche and tobikko $13) and their housebaked breads I was tossing up between the bisque and a mushroom foccacia, but eventually chose the "marinated zucchini, kipfler potato, olive and mint salad $16" whilst my friend chose the "beef cheek, soft semolina, roasted shallots and bordelaise sauce $24".

Our waiter was friendly and attractive, which is always a bonus, and helped make my decision after assuring me that the salad would be a filling meal, given the potatoes and egg in it (the egg is not included in the menu description) and the bread it is served with.

We didn't have to wait long for our meals, helped I'm sure by the fact we were only one of two or three occupied tables during this late lunch. During our leisurely stay however, it soon filled up with even later lunchers and people enjoying afternoon tea.

Side serving of bread (complimentary)

The bread was obviously baked that day, being so beautifully soft, and we soon found ourselves finishing the entire plate with our meals even though neither of us are big bread eaters these days. Hey, most of it was air, anyway, right?

Beef cheek, soft semolina, roasted shallots and bordelaise sauce ($24) with the added bonus of some marrow perched on top

We couldn't help but "ooh" when the beef cheek came out, and our waiter informed us the chef had added some lovely wobbley (my words, not his) bone marrow on top. This really is the perfect winter dish - hearty, rich and filling. I was watching "Bizarre Foods" last night and Andrew Zimmern was getting stuck into a similar looking dish of beef cheek and waxing lyrical about the wonderfully gelatinous connective tissue. That may well be the case, but I will refrain from using the words "connective tissue" when discussing food, if you don't mind Andrew.

Marinated zucchini, kipfler potato, olive and mint salad ($16)

Such a refreshing, interesting and filling salad. I'm not a huge fan of mint in large quantities, and was a little concerned when I saw the large leaves littered through the salad, but the flavours worked together so beautifully I need not have worried. The dressing was light and zesty and I'm glad I trusted the chef enough not to ask for the dressing on the side. The salad however did not seem to have any egg, despite what the waiter had said previously, and I assumed I had misheard him given that egg is not listed on the menu. When one of these salads was later served to the table next to us, and it did indeed have egg quarters throughout it, I mentioned the lack of egg to another waiter who cleared our plates and he was incredibly apologetic. I really enjoyed it sans-egg so I wasn't too concerned.

Chocolate brownie

We decided to try their coffees and desserts, and my friend went to choose a tasty morsel from the selection of baked goods while I took in my surroundings a little more. He soon returned with a chocolate brownie and the promise of two long blacks to come. I must admit I can't really remember how good the coffees were, but I'm sure I'd remember if they were bad! The brownie was deliciously rich, and I ended up taking half of it home with me to finish off for afternoon tea later that day. While we were enjoying the coffees and brownie, the apologetic waiter returned with a Portugese tart for me, making up for the missing egg with some baked egg! I took the tart home and really had a good afternoon tea, though I would have called the tart more of a lemon tart than a Portugese one. Lemon or Portugese, it was good.

West End Deli is definitely on my list of return-visit cafes, and I look forward to seeing how their menu changes to match the seasons.

West End Deli
95 Carr Street (corner Strathcona), West Perth (the north of the Freeway part of West Perth)
Phone: 08 9328 3605
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm
West End Deli on Urbanspoon


Matt C September 21, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

glad you enjoyed it! I love this place so much.

I buy a baguette from there every weekend, as it's only a hundred metres from my house.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 21, 2009 at 4:03 PM  

Hi Matt, and thanks again for the heads up! It's actually pretty close to my place too, which gives it a few bonus points, although Tarts still wins out for being within bleary-eyed morning staggering distance.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 22, 2009 at 6:11 PM  

Although I love an all day breakfast, it does make the decision all the harder, especially when they feature things like banana mousse! :o

eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2009 at 1:21 AM  

Mmmm - this looks delicious! I am compiling a list of places to go when I eventually get to Perth...

Belle@OohLook September 23, 2009 at 10:47 AM  

What a fabulous cafe; that salad looks gorgeous. It's always good to have lots of choices on the menu, too, but I find that I can never decide what to have :)

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge September 23, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

The beef cheek looks good, anything with bone marrow ontop is fantastic. But I would need a nice dry piece of toast to eat it with....hmmm delish. I have a confession too, I have the exact same plate that the zucchini and potato salad is served on. lol

Pam September 23, 2009 at 11:20 PM  

The whole meal looks FANTASTIC.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 24, 2009 at 10:06 AM  

Lorraine - I know! Don't they realise it's hard enough already?!

eatlivetravelwrite - I hope you bring an empty belly with you.

Belle - The story of my life :)

Maria - I'm sure they could accommodate your dry toast requirements :) How funny about the plate!

Pam - yep :D I think a return visit will be sooner rather than later.

S.T (a.k.a Miss Egg) September 29, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

WOW! :) I would definitely want to visit this place!

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My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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