Last Updated: January 1, 2020
Perth, capital of Western Australia, is the very place my friends often give a miss when visiting Australia, favouring more ‘exciting’ destinations like Gold Coast and Sydney. Sure, Perth may not be the most thrilling location in terms of nightlife (most shops close after 6:00pm), but it’s precisely Perth’s laid-back, chill atmosphere that I find attractive and refreshing.
Cafe culture is quite a big thing in Australia, so I was hardly surprised (very delighted, in fact) to chance upon some great ones while I was there. I don’t usually sing praises about cafe fare because in Singapore the menus tend to get quite repetitive and monotonous (salted egg yolk, salted egg yolk, salted egg yolk).
So you know, the cafes in Perth are worth visiting when I say they serve up brunch in a class of their own. If you’re travelling to Perth, make sure you give these 13 places a try.
I spent a day traipsing through Fremantle, where I stumbled upon a spiffy boutique, Common Ground Collective, that featured local Australian labels. After I’d done my shopping, I wandered into The Banker Cafe right next door and sat myself down for some tea.
The Banker Cafe is best known for its sensational donuts, which are freshly baked then dipped in all sorts of glazes to give them unique flavours. Sadly, these sweet dough babies weren’t being produced at the time I was there. I hope you have better luck than I do.
So instead, I ordered two slices of Fruit Toast ($3.50) and a very fragrant Long Macchiato ($4.50), fell into the soft sofas in the cafe and wiled away some of the afternoon. The Fruit Toast is quite bread-y, as “toast” implies, and they sure don’t skimp on the ingredients — every bit of bread was stuffed with sweet apricot, sultanas and walnuts. I wish I could’ve brought back a whole loaf of this.
The Banker Cafe:82 Little High St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia | Mondays to Fridays, 0700-1700 | Saturdays, 0900-1700 | Sundays, 1000-1600
I chanced upon Bowl’n while trawling 140 Perth, a hip little spot in Perth’s CBD. It was tucked away in a corner, shrouded by bigger establishments the likes of Jamie’s Italian and Nando’s, but it caught my eye with its bright neon sign.
The cafe is a rather small space decorated in lovely pastel colours. Being more of a take-away spot than a dine-in cafe, it only has a three-seater table available, so I choose to get my food to go.
I had the Baby G Acai Bowl ($13), a gigantic portion (the container was the size of a hawker centre ban-mian bowl!?!) of Acai, Blueberry, Banana, Coconut Water, Granola and a host of other health-food components that regretfully, I have forgotten.
It took me a good 25 minutes to finish, throughout which time the Acai base stayed rather firmly frozen and the toppings were plentiful enough to keep me crunching non-stop.
Bowl’n: WG05, 140 William Street, Perth, WA 6000 | Mondays to Fridays, 0730-1600 | Saturdays, Sundays, 1100-1500 | Website
With a street cred-oozing name and a hip laneway location, Toastface Grillah is a must-visit for hungry tourists. The cafe specialises in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches alongside a cuppa, so its the perfect indulgent breakfast spot.
Some of Toastface Grillah’s classic offerings are the 3 Cheese Sandwich ($7), mmhm just look at that baby right there. A gloriously melty mess of Gruyere, Cheddar and Emmental and the timeless Ham & Cheese ($7), but they also have more ingenious combinations like the Pear Grillz ($9), consisting pungent Blue Cheese, sweet Pear and tangy Lime Chutney.
Toastface Grillah: Grand Lane, Corner of Wellington St & Barrack St, Perth, WA 6000 | Mondays to Fridays, 0700-1600 | Saturdays 0900-1600 | Sundays, 1000-1600 | Website
tbsp. Cafe was about a 20 minute drive from where I was staying in Central Perth, but it was so highly recommended by my local friends that I just had to go.
The cafe was quite busy on the Saturday I went, so I had to wait about 15 minutes to get a seat. I didn’t mind the simple, minimalist look of the cafe, though my friend commented that it looked a bit underdressed.
I was most impressed when my order was served. My Brioche French Toast ($16.50) looked and tasted divine, topped with whipped strawberry butter and some sort of crunchy cereal that gave the pleasantly-eggy french toast extra texture and sweetness.
At $16.50, I fancy I could’ve gotten something similar in Singapore, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been half this good. I’ve also heard some praise for their Kimcheeseburger ($22), a unique Kimchi cheeseburger if you couldn’t already tell by the name.
tbsp. Cafe: 10 King William Street, Bayswater, Perth, WA 6053 | Closed Mondays | Tuesdays to Fridays, 0700-1500 | Saturdays and Sundays, 0800-1500
I’m a self-declared carnivore, but even then, vegan cafe Flora and Fauna looked too cute not to try.
The cafe interior is quite small, with only enough space for a kitchen and display containing their handmade cakes, but the outdoor seating area is spacious and well-decorated with bunting. I’d say it makes for a good place to hang out with the pleasant weather Perth has to offer.
I ordered the Smashed Pumpkin with Pine Nut and Avo ($17) and didn’t regret my decision at all. The plate arrived beautifully decorated with vibrantly-coloured flowers and the pumpkin was well-seasoned and simply delicious when had with the thick slices of sourdough. The freshly-squeezed juice, Pear Punch ($8), was highly praised by my dining companion.
Flora and Fauna: 4/70 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge WA 6003, Australia | Closed Mondays | Tuesdays to Fridays, 0730-1430 | Saturdays and Sundays, 0800-1500 | Website
With several branches across Australia, Koko Black admittedly isn’t the most hipster cafe in Perth. Still, I included it because it’s very popular with locals for a good reason — it serves up amazing hot chocolate and desserts. I had all my orders to go, but if you have the luxury of time, sit in their sleek parlour and have some of their rich truffles and cakes to go with your beverage.
I had three servings of their chocolate in the brief time I was there, and would’ve had more if I could stomach it. The simplest of the three I tried was the Iced Belgian Chocolate ($8.50). It was rich and creamy, with chocolate shavings in every mouthful for added bite.
If you’re above having plain old Hot Chocolate, go for their more interesting flavours like the Chilli Hot Chocolate ($6.50). It has an interesting and subtle spicy note when it hits the back of your throat. For me, the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate ($6.50) was most life-changing. If you like Nutella, just imagine a warm, smooth cup of it, albeit less sickly-sweet. Koko Black, take me back.
Koko Black: Claremont Quarter, 23 St Quentin Avenue, Claremont WA 6010 | Mondays to Wednesdays, 0900-1800 | Thursdays to Saturdays, 0900-2200 | Sundays, 1030-1830 | Website
Situated in the famous King’s Park, this easily-spotted cafe is the ideal place to dine if you’re stopping over in the park. With a large seating area and floor-to-ceiling glass panels that let in streams of sunlight, the interior of the cafe feels almost like a greenhouse.
I ordered the Fig, Salted Caramel and Gingerbread Cake ($8) because it sounded quite unique. The dense cake base tasted distinctly like gingerbread, but with a slightly fruitier flavour to it. It was a great complement to my Flat White ($4.50).
The Toasted Salmon Bagel ($12) I particularly enjoyed. Generously slathered with tangy cream cheese and stuffed with salmon and salad with some sort of mustard-y dressing, it was very satisfying and yet not too heavy to stop me from a walk in the lush gardens afterward.
Botanical Cafe: King’s Park, Fraser Ave, West Perth WA 6005 | Mondays to Sundays, 0700-1900 | Website
While in Perth, I spent a few days in an AirBnb along Lake Street, just a short walk from Little Bird Cafe, a trendy spot with its walls decked in blue graffiti. Most cafes close by 4pm in Perth, so I missed Little Bird twice.
On my third visit, I finally managed to get there before it closed and had their Banana and Coconut Buckwheat Pancake ($19.90). Their pancakes were soft and fluffy in the centre, crisp on the edges and came with a generous side of syrup. What I love most about cafe food in Australia is how gorgeously presented it is, decked in locally grown fresh fruit, herbs and such, a luxury we don’t often have in Singapore.
Little Bird Cafe: 100 Lake St, Northbridge WA 6003, Australia | Mondays to Sundays, 0700-1600 | Website
Fremantle has many small lanes to walk along, and I found The Attic on Bannister Street, tucked away in a cozy corner slightly off the main Cappuccino strip. I love how quaint the place is, oozing rustic charm with real red-brick walls and wood furnishing.
The food at The Attic is affordable, with a rather large bowl of Organic Chia & Oat Bircher costing only $14. The bircher muesli, served with spiced plum, pistachio and coconut dust, was the best breakfast I had in Perth. I really liked how that the plums gave a fresh, tangy flavour to the dish. It was filling, yet not too heavy and so, so yummy.
The Attic Fremantle: 16A Bannister St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia | Closed Mondays | Tuesdays to Saturdays, 0700-1600 | Sundays, 0800-1600 | Website
Gordon St. Garage is in a great spot right next to the Watertown Brand Outlet Centre, so of course I stopped by for a nibble before hitting the shops.
The exterior of the cafe doesn’t tell you much, but it actually opens into a humongous, two-storied area. The place is quite eclectic, decorated with upholstered bus seats, distressed cement floors and wall scribbles.
As for food, the fluffy Pancakes, Salted Caramel, Strawberries, Hazelnuts and Cream ($16.00), drizzled in a generous amount of maple honey really hits the spot for me.
Gordon St. Garage: 16 Gordon St, West Perth WA 6005, Australia | Mondays to Fridays, 0700-2200 | Saturdays, 0800-2200 | Sundays, 0900-1500 | Website
This quaint spot along Rokeby is one of the rare cafes that close slightly later at 5pm, so I had a late tea here one evening. I think Boucla is great to visit if you’re exploring the cool boutiques and markets in the Subiaco area.
Though Boucla may be on the smaller side, but it is cosy and displays a lot of character with its mix of Middle Eastern and vintage furnishing, mosaics and wood.
I’ve heard that Boucla’s cakes and bakes are excellent, but they serve up a decent spread of Mediterranean-influenced savouries for breakfast and lunch.
I didn’t feel like having the Chocolate Ricotta Cake ($7.50) that so many people rave about so instead, I ordered the humble Mixed Berry Cupcake ($5.00) to accompany my Hot Chocolate ($5.00).
I like that Boucla serves their Hot Chocolate in its separate constituents: dark chocolate buttons, marshmallow and hot milk, so you can create your ideal cup. Their cupcake was pretty good — dense and not overly sweet, while the berries on top were jammy and tart in contrast.
Boucla: 349 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco WA 6008, Australia | Closed Sundays | Mondays to Fridays, 0700-1700 | Saturdays, 0700-1530 | Website
Located near the snazzy Clarmont Quarter, TYPIKA artisan roasters is a rather unpretentious cafe serving up really solid dishes.
The industrial-themed cafe is bright and spacious, with room in the back for a coffee bean roasting machine. Their decor isn’t necessarily the prettiest, more functional than anything, but that only adds to its modest charm.
I really liked the Mushroom and Leek Ragu ($23.50), which consisted of a generous portion of mushrooms fried in herb butter and a runny poached egg atop a thick slice of toast. I had a great time trying to film a runny yolk video with this. The egg yolk and meaty mushroom sauce saturates the bread underneath, leaving it soft, savoury and carb-y — all of which I’m a complete sucker for.
My friend had the Huevos Rancheros ($17), a small pot of grilled chorizo and spiced tomato base mix topped with a runny 62-degree egg. When eaten, the egg is stirred through the tomato, thickening the sauce so you can dip your toasted ciabatta in. Ah, this was so hearty and belly-warming in the winter chill.
Typika: 331 Stirling Hwy, Claremont WA 6010, Australia | Mondays to Sundays, 0630-1500 | Website
Along quaint Lake Street also lies this gem of a cafe, Sayer’s Sister, which serves great brunch and coffee. The cafe is a quirky mish-mash of vintage furniture — think plush leather seats, damask prints and black chandeliers.
Sayer’s service was impeccable. I visited Sayer’s twice because it was so close by and both times I was seated very quickly by friendly, attentive staff and my order was delivered promptly. They brew good coffee, and I had more than one cup to start my morning.
Their Bacon and Peperonata Open Omelette & Toasted Ciabatta ($20) might well be the best omelette I’ve had in my life. The bacon infused the omelette with a smoky, meaty aroma, while the egg was done with a crisp exterior and a soft, creamy centre.
The Leek & Parmesan Croquettes ($19) was a more decadent order, and I adored every bit of it — a sublime combination of crisp, cheesy croquettes, runny poached eggs and creamy hollandaise-like sauce.
Sayer’s Sister: 236 Lake Street, Perth WA 6000, Australia | Mondays to Sundays, 0700-1600 | Website
That’s it for my list of best cafes. I wish I could’ve covered all Perth has to offer, but my ever-growing waistline warned me against it. Maybe next time!