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Last week, I mentioned my plan to eat at and review as many of the top 100 restaurants in Perth this year. After doing the maths, I realised this was going to be quite the task. With almost 3 weeks of the year gone, a 3 week trip to Brisbane, Melbourne and Japan in the pipeline, Easter weekend in Brisbane again, and 4 weeks in Italy and Dubai, this leaves me with just 42 weeks to cover the remaining 97 on the list. This means I need to be eating at roughly 7 of these places every 3 weeks! Assuming I don’t take any other trips throughout the year.
Realising that it was unlikely I’d get to all 100, I perused the list published by STM (Sunday Times Magazine) last year with great interest. I’ll simply have to be a bit more selective and prioritise the places that catch my eye the most.
Immediately, I was drawn to the first 30. STM’s list is subdivided into 10 categories, with 10 eateries getting a mention per category. The first 3 categories are “brekkie”, “Sunday lunch” and “cafe”.
As I was explaining to my dining buddies today, brunch is without a doubt my favourite meal of the day. For so many reasons. Firstly, the timing. Brunch is eaten later than breakfast, meaning I can fit in a morning workout (or a sleep in, depending on my mood and the weather) before eating my first meal, and I still have the whole day ahead of me to do whatever my little heart desires. Secondly, the food itself. I love virtually all breakfast foods – eggs, sausages, coffee, juice, pancakes, crepes, granola, muesli and fruit – but find that I can’t stomach the heavier options until slightly later in the day. After a workout for example (see point no. 1). Third, the options. Brunch is one of those meals where it doesn’t really matter if you eat a sweet or a savoury. There’s nothing wrong with having waffles for lunch or dinner, for instance, but it does feel slightly odd, don’t you think? I like that I can choose either sweet or savoury for brunch. Can’t decide? Then start your brunch at 11-11.30am with a savoury, then order a sweet and call it dessert! After all, you’re eating one meal instead of two. Surely the calories don’t count in that situation. Right?
Anyway, as I was looking through the brekkie list, there were a few clear standouts. Mrs S was one of them. After checking out the online menu, I decided I wanted to go and try their homemade brioche with caramelised pineapple and whipped ricotta.
Alas, this dish did not seem to be on offer on the current menu! So I ordered the closest thing instead, the Jamaican beef burger ($22.50) served with caramelised pineapple in a brioche bun.
The burger was very satisfying though a little on the oily side. With the butteriness of the brioche, the creaminess of the aioli spread over it and the sticky sweetness of the caramelised pineapple, I did not think the burger needed the Gruyere, which to me just tipped the dish over in terms of oiliness. I also found the sweet potato crisps to be slightly on the soggy side and lacking that satisfying crunch. What I did enjoy, though, were the thick and chunky pattie and the Jamaican jerk sauce which was thoughtfully served on the side so that patrons can regulate the degree of spiciness according to personal taste. If you plan on ordering this dish, avoid coming in your Sunday best. The brioche crumbles pleasantly as you bite into it and can get messy!
The man in our group ordered (what else?) one of their signature dishes, the manwich ($16), a ciabatta roll stuffed chock full of pulled pork, beetroot relish, cucumber and aioli. This dish really gives you bang for your buck. Even this particular friend of mine, known for his bottomless pit of a stomach which earned him the nickname of “the human Dyson”, proclaimed at the end that he was full. If it’s good value you’re after, I recommend ordering the manwich and sharing it with a friend. I’m sure this is why it comes conveniently sliced in half! The pork itself is bags full of flavour, with a hint of nuttiness, and very tender. This is offset with sweet and juicy beetroot, fresh cucumber and creamy aioli, all coming together in a palate pleasing way.
My other friend, O, is on a quest to find the best poached eggs in Perth. Personally, I think the Mrs S version of poached eggs ($13, $14.50 for gluten free bread substitute, as pictured), served with only a small dollop of tomato relish, is rather stingy on the condiments and therefore not entirely appealing visually. O agreed with this assessment, and therefore gave her dish “4 out of 5 eggs”. I gather the eggs themselves were very well done, the whites having a slightly vinegary taste and the yolks that correct amount of runniness. If the plating had been a little more generous, she may well have scored the dish 5/5 for egg-cellence.
I washed down my first course with a glass of homemade Earl Grey citrus tea ($5.50), which was light, refreshing and not overly sweet. The Man had an iced mocha ($6 or $6.50) which, in our opinion, had a perfect balance of coffee vs chocolate. We prefer a stronger coffee flavour and less sweetness, which is exactly what Mrs S delivered. O ordered watermelon juice ($6 or $6.50), which was fresh and came in a mason jar (love!)
I could not resist the allure of the delectable sweet treats on display at the counter, so I bullied my dining buddies into sharing the gluten free lemon, passionfruit and coconut meringue slice ($5) with me. Again, Mrs S got the flavour ratios just right, balancing sweetness and tartness perfectly. However, I personally prefer a smoother finish and was not fond of all that desiccated coconut.
I finished the meal with my standard cappuccino ($3.80). This is my coffee order of choice because I like the froth, the chocolate powder sprinkled on top and the coffee art if the barista is good. I don’t really consider myself a coffee snob in that I’m unable to distinguish the subtle notes of different coffee beans, but I know what I like, and that is a brew that’s mellow, creamy, not overly bitter and lacking that slightly sour taste that some beans can have. I’m pleased to say that this was exactly what I got at Mrs S.
Fantastic! It’s counter service at Mrs S, and we were astounded that in the time it took me to complete my order, pay for it and sit back down at our table, O’s watermelon juice had materialised seemingly out of nowhere, with my iced tea and The Man’s iced mocha following not long after. Efficiency is clearly the order of business here. We were lucky enough to nab the last available table when we arrived at 11.50am, but we noticed that new arrivals thereafter were given menus to peruse and their orders were taken as and when they were ready so that they could be served as quickly as possible once a spare table could be found for them. Despite this, we were never made to feel as though we needed to rush our meal.
I don’t know when it happened, but Mt Lawley seems to have turned into a trendy spot somewhat akin to Leederville. Mrs S stands at a corner of a row of cute little shops and other cafes that I’m dying to browse through and eat at throughout the year. I love the quirky menus at Mrs S, pinned onto old childrens’ storybooks, and the flea market feel of the place, with vintage and shabby chic style items available for purchase and displayed somewhat randomly at strategic locations throughout the store. Together with the bounteous cake selection on display, the overall atmosphere is warm, inviting and homely.
Pretty standard for Perth, really. The drinks were perhaps slightly on the pricy side. Gotta say it again though, that manwich is value for money!
Tuesday to Friday 7am-4pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm
Closed Mondays and public holidays
No bookings taken
178 Whatley Crescent, Maylands
Tel: 9271 6690
Loved the atmosphere and the food. I’ll be back to try the croque madame, panna cotta and/or cornbread!
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