Struggling to keep up with all the changes to Perth you’ve been hearing about? You’re not alone. Even locals are having a hard time keeping track.
In the past five years many ambitious CBD projects have emerged in the Western Australian capital, chief among them the Elizabeth Quay, Perth City Link, Yagan Square and Hibernian Place precincts. Factor in the arrival of major-league hotels such as Westin, Como, QT and the ritzy Crown Towers and you’re looking at a city ready to ditch its backwater tag for good. Although business might have been a little slow in recent times, new figures point to a local economy that’s back in the black with the resources and minerals sectors driving much of this growth. Natural gas and precious metals aren’t WA’s only natural assets of note, of course. Beautiful beaches, rugged scenery and sunshine aplenty ensure the play isn’t forgotten amid the work; Perth’s myriad restaurants and small bars certainly help make business pleasurable, too. In short: don’t be in a rush to head home after your final meeting. This new urban playground is begging to be explored.
Coffee pit stop
La Veen Coffee
A natural fit for Perth’s elegant King Street shopping and fashion area, this sharply styled specialty corner café is a daily highlight for many. However you take your coffee (cold drip, filter, espresso), La Veen’s knowledgeable, fast-moving baristas have you covered.
Eggwhite omelette ramped up with the North African spice mix ras el hanout. Hot cake with smoked peach, elderflower and pepitas. Japanese-inspired steak tartare on toast. Brekky gets a cool makeover at the State Buildings’ all-day dining room. Elsewhere in the grand precinct, Telegram Coffee serves some of the city’s favourite brews while Petition’s enoteca and beer bar warrant exploring.
Wines of While
Although groups sharing bottles and conversation are a frequent sight at this natural-wine bar and bottle shop, Wines of While has much to offer parties of one. Comforting housemade pastas – spaghetti with pork ragu, for instance – are a cornerstone of owner Sam Winfield’s European-inspired menu and make ideal anytime meals for soloists. A matching glass of something delicious and lo-fi is optional but highly recommended.
The highlight of The Westin Perth and the Hibernian Place precinct, this modern Italian restaurant is perpetually ready to entertain. The room’s clean-cut aesthetic is a draw, as is the star power of Garum’s frontman, Melbourne-based chef, cookbook author and TV personality Guy Grossi. Most magnetic is the menu’s edit of Roman flavours. Seal the deal with classic pastas, such as cacio e pepe and cream-free carbonara, plus regional breads, desserts and wines.
Drinks with clients
Bar, restaurant and live music venue: Tiny’s is all these and more. Located close to Perth’s corporate heartland as well as RAC Arena, this tavern carries a great selection of beer, wine and creative cocktails. For something more intimate, set up camp in Tiny’s dedicated bottle shop and bar and explore its treasure trove of rare wines and spirits.
Best co-working space
An easy walk from Northbridge and the CBD, plant-strewn former warehouse Cleaver Street Co-Working Studio in West Perth offers wi-fi, printing facilities, a meeting room and free coffee from its nearby parent café. From $29 a day ($15 on Fridays).If you have a couple of hours…
There’s not a corporate-bland bone in QT Perth’s body. Not in its 184 coolly designed rooms, nor in its soaring lobby with bright statement furniture. Don’t miss live weekend jazz at in-house Santini Bar or woodfired pizzas at Santini Grill.
If you have half a day…
Not only is the Swan Valley WA’s oldest wine region, it’s also less than half an hour from the city centre. The new hop-on, hop-off Swan Valley Explorer bus service makes discovering the area a breeze or you can take a 10-minute taxi ride from Guildford train station to the sprawling, family-run Mandoon Estate, which makes an ideal across-the-board option. Its onsite pub, Homestead Brewery, serves great craft beers and pizza, while families crowd alfresco area The Llawn on weekends. If you’re after a fine-dining option, the upmarket Wild Swan restaurant fits the brief for a special occasion.
If you have a day…
A 90-minute ferry ride from the centre of the city, Rottnest Island is a summery escape beloved by locals and visitors (faster, more frequent ferries operate from the nearby port city of Fremantle). Rottnest’s alluring bays and swimming spots are coloured 50 shades of turquoise, the island is car-free (you can hire bikes to get around) and the resident quokkas – cute rat-like indigenous marsupials – are more than happy to pose for photographs.
If you have a weekend…
Great wine (and surf breaks) might have put Margaret River on the map but the region’s thriving food scene is the latest reason to plot a weekend escape here. While pioneering cellar doors such as Vasse Felix, Cullen and Leeuwin continue to feature in “where to eat” discussions, some of the area’s more recent options include sustainably minded Arimia and breezy modern Chinese restaurant Chow’s Table, alongside House of Cards winery. Places to stay include Smiths Beach Resort, right by the ocean in Yallingup, and Cape Lodge, a study in classic European luxury.