Five Australian cities will be in the grip of Ashes fever this summer. Here’s what to do before, after and between matches in Perth (test matches 14-18 December).
FIRE UP THE SPICE
Home to Australia’s only Como hotel, the State Buildings – a leisurely half-hour stroll from the WACA Ground – is Perth’s hippest address and its basement restaurant, Long Chim, is the precinct’s hottest place to dine. David Thompson’s buzzy ode to Thai street food pulls no punches so the Chiang Mai-style larb booms with pepper and chilli, the curries run the gamut from benchmark-worthy red and green varieties to lesser- seen boiled orange versions and the spicy cocktails fight the kitchen’s frequent bursts of heat.
MEET A PASTA MASTER
Joel Valvasori-Pereza is Perth’s most gifted pasta whisperer. After making his name at Lalla Rookh, he set his sights on the inner-western suburb of Subiaco, where he and his wife, Ivana, opened Lulu La Delizia, a cosy trattoria that focuses on the potential of flour and water. Big-flavour winners such as pork-and-veal ragù tagliatelle and squid-ink bigoli with an onion and anchovy sauce are as much about local produce as Valvasori-Pereza’s Northern Italian roots.
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Located on top of the Print Hall complex, Bob’s Bar combines a dazzling selection of craft beers with commanding vistas of the CBD. (The Bob in question is former prime minister Bob Hawke, who was known to enjoy a beer or two at the cricket.) A tightly clipped menu of American-inspired snacks (burgers, ribs, hot wings) is on hand for when hunger hits, while the wine list has been assembled for maximum refreshment.
Close-up views of the Swan River. An address that’s a short walk from the WACA Ground. Alfresco dining and drinking areas. Ku De Ta ticks plenty of boxes for the ideal pre- or post-Test beverage. While the sprawling riverside complex has several venues, our vote goes to West, Ku De Ta’s seafood and charcuterie bar, which combines Australian produce with snappy beers, wines and cocktails.
JOIN THE CULTURE CLUB
Next to Perth train station, between Northbridge and the CBD, the Perth Cultural Centre is the hotbed of the city’s burgeoning arts scene. At its heart is the Art Gallery of Western Australia, with its broad-reaching program covering everything from Australian landscape retrospectives to sneaker exhibitions. Drop by the Six Seasons section to explore the gallery’s impressive Indigenous art collection.
Kings Park, Perth’s inner-city green lung, is bigger than New York’s Central Park. While many come here to take photos of the city below, the park has plenty of attractions in its own right. The wildflowers and other native plants draw botanists, while the open-air Moonlight Cinema is another good reason to visit over summer.
From classic Australiana (steak sandwiches) and morning pick-me-ups (fried-chicken pancakes, anyone?) to some of the city’s favourite doughnuts, the brunch menu at the original Mary Street Bakery in Highgate is part of the weekend ritual for many people. Need to find good coffee in the city? Hit Telegram Coffee in the State Buildings. Want to maximise your time on the coast? Go to Cottesloe Beach for a morning swim then to beachside canteen Il Lido for an Italian-inspired breakfast. Prosecco optional.
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