Our Guide to the Best Cafes and Coffee Houses in Perth
In case you haven’t been paying attention, in the past few years Perth has well and truly made a name for itself as one of Australia’s most diverse foodie destinations. The west coast jewel has often been overlooked when it comes to wine and dine lists, but no longer. The sprawling city has taken all the things you love about cities like Melbourne and Sydney – glamourous speakeasies, hidden rooftop bars, chic coffee houses and brunch spots worth lining up for – and seamlessly combined them with the casual, sun-drenched atmosphere that the beachside metropolis is so famous for.
Of course, no stay in Perth could be complete without visiting some of the places that have helped put it on the culinary map and the best place to start is with breakfast. From innovative menus inspired by modern Korean cuisine to indulgent bakeries and high-end coffee houses dedicated to single-origin brews, the cafe scene in Perth takes weeks to properly explore. However, if you’re looking to start with the best or only have a few mornings to spare, some places deserve your immediate attention and we’ve gathered them all together in this handy guide. Bon appétit!
Mary Street Bakery
If we were to start naming influential players in the Perth food scene, Paul Aron and Michael Forde would be at the top of the list. The pair have played a part in so many of the city’s most popular spots, including current local late-night favourites like Tiny’s Bar and El Publico (both are worth a visit or two), but the cornerstone of their partnership is the Mary Street Bakery. And while the name now adorns the entrance of four pastry slinging spots across the city, it’s their original location along Beaufort Street in Highgate that truly shows why Mary’s is a Perth institution. Aside from the obvious draw of freshly baked goods, there’s beautiful decor, fantastic coffee, friendly staff and a constantly innovative menu to love, too. Most will find it hard to go past the fried chicken buttermilk pancakes with chilli maple syrup, however the veggie baked eggs pack a flavourful punch as well.
Architects and Heroes
Design enthusiasts, history buffs and graphic novel fans will all find something to admire on the mural-laden walls of Architects and Heroes. The cafe is adorned with the likeness of esteemed inventors like Galileo, alongside fictional characters from the Spy vs Spy comic strip and plenty more. These figures set an aspirational tone for the trendy coffee spot, which serves up some of the yummiest breakfasts in town. Barista Ron Ngo and his wife Lyly understand that the best menu items are born out of the food you’d want to eat yourself, so that’s exactly what they dish out. For brunch this means decadent red velvet waffles with chocolate honeycomb, or gooey mac and cheese balls dipped in a punchy blue cheese. Coffee aficionados will be glad to know that renowned Melbourne caffeine slingers Code Black provide the beans here – if you have some spare time make sure to try the filter tasting flight, which features three exceptional single origins.
La Veen Coffee
Not every coffee spot needs to be decked out in the latest interior design trends to qualify as a top-notch cafe. La Veen Coffee and Kitchen is the perfect example. Set inside a slightly worn down heritage building on King Street, it’s an easy place to underestimate – but that would be a big mistake. Inside, simple wooden tables are lit up by generous rays of light thanks to large window panels that keep the space feeling airy, while the weathered exposed red-bricks offer a cosy contrast that adds an intimate vibe. Both the food and drinks menus are more refined than you might initially expect, with their hand-rolled plates of pasta proving to be a lunchtime hit. The coffee beans come courtesy of a few local roasters, including Rockingham’s Five Senses.
It’s always hard to get people to agree on which cafe serves up the best brew. There are so many factors to consider – what bean are they using? Which barista is behind the counter? But if there’s one place that does always make the top three, it’s Lowdown. Although that should come as no surprise since the cafe pumps out more than 900 coffees a day. Aside from the beans, which are provided by Melbourne’s Market Lane and Perth roaster Fiori, there is also a great range of toasted sangas to sink your teeth into. Think, shredded chicken, corned beef with pickles and mustard, and a classic BLT number. The cafe itself is an Instagrammers dream, with transparent geometric walls and stark concrete accents completing the already industrial aesthetic of the space.
Gordon Street Garage
As its name suggests, Gordon Street Garage was once a waystation for cars in need of fixing, and before that a Blue Seal chocolate factory, but now it’s one of Perth’s coolest cafes. The design incorporates the long history of both the warehouse and area. The exterior still sports a large Blue Seal logo, while the cavernous interior is decked out in patterned tiles, industrial drop lights, wooden wine racks, and re-upholstered bus seats doubling as booths. Gordon Street’s Mano a Mano coffee is roasted on-site, and the breakfast menu offers up tasty classics with a modern spin like corn fritters with sweet chilli, cucumber and coriander, or a blue crab omelette with pickled daikon and housemade sriracha. If you’re feeling frisky, you can also indulge in one of their four fantastic morning cocktails. A mimosa or a bloody mary is the obvious choice, and for good reason, but the elderflower spritz is a refreshing alternative.
Blacklist Coffee Roasters
Blacklist Coffee Roasters take their beans very seriously. So much so that they’ve created a space – part retail store, part coffee haunt – entirely dedicated to high-end single-origin coffee. Inside, a constantly changing list of rare single-origin brews are served in wine glasses with detailed tasting notes. If you’re feeling game, you can go all in and commit $7 to a specially designed tasting menu, which has been devised to educate punters on different varieties. As you might have guessed, this isn’t the place to go if you’re after a long lunch – although they do have a lovely selection of sweet treats on offer most days. But, if you’re a fan of third-wave coffee culture and love to nerd out about it, there’s no better place in Perth. Trust us, these guys will chat to you for hours if you let them, but that’s the cafe’s charm.
Doric Street Cafe + Kitchen
Scarborough has no shortage of amazing brunch spots but Doris Street Cafe and Kitchen is definitely a neighbourhood favourite. Chef James Park previously spent some time working in a Korean molecular gastronomy lab and that experience shows on the menu. Moreish dishes like spicy beef bibimbap and crispy kimchi burgers with sriracha mayo and beef battered chips are menu standouts. Healthier options also abound, with a housemade granola acai bowl and a mushroom-topped smashed avocado both offering plenty of flavour. There are some single origins on offer, but the coffee of choice their houseblend developed with the help of Northbridge Coffee Roaster. Hot tip: if you’re strapped for time you can put in your order via text message – handy, right?
Small Print is anything but a one-hit-wonder. Acting as Print Hall’s roastery, bakery and cafe all rolled into one glorious venue, it’s the kind of place you can easily wind up spending a few hours in. Whether you love pour-over, espresso, Aeropress, batch brew or cold brew, the coffee here comes in all shapes and sizes but the one thing you can count on is it’s consistently great. The food is another big draw, with the menu featuring goodies like a juicy royale beef burger, an umami-packed miso salmon, and a spiced pumpkin salad with zesty tahini yogurt.
Bread in Common
If you’re a fan of closed-loop cooking and farm-to-table sustainability then you’re going to love Bread in Common. Calling this contemporary eatery a cafe is a bit of a stretch, but considering how they churn their own butter, bake their own bread and dabble in fermentation techniques, we’re willing to push the boat out on this one. As you can probably tell, the best thing on the menu is the freshly made loaves coming out of the oven every day. Pair them with an assortment of cheeses, dips and cured meats and you’ll have a morning to remember. However, if you prefer traditional breakfast, you can also avail yourself of the top-notch breakfast dishes like the poached eggs with smokey bacon and kale, or baked beans with pork and apple sausage.