The weekend of the Massive Attack concert, Jac and I stayed at a hotel right next to the concert venue Kings Park – we walked to Kings Park carrying our picnic stuff on the Friday night, and then after the concert, simply walked back to the hotel.
I’d booked us in for a couple of nights at The Outram, a small boutique hotel at 32 Outram Street in West Perth, so we could enjoy a mini break together. We’ve both been so busy with work and life in general, we thought it would be nice to take some time away from it all. I’d been feeling a little down and just plain exhausted. We really enjoyed our short time away together, shopping, going for walks and relaxing in bed watching DVDs (The Devil Wears Prada movie, which I was surprised I really enjoyed, given that I’m totally unfashionable and non-girly :), and The Catherine Tate Show, which always makes me laugh – if you’re familiar with the show, foul-mouthed Nan Taylor is my favourite). Jac’s mum checked on the cats and fed them while we were gone.
The package I booked us included breakfast on both mornings as well as pre-dinner drinks and canapes at the Hotel’s Club Room. Prices are included below, but we didn’t actually have to pay for any of the food and drink. My comments (and Jac’s too) about the hotel are at the end of the post.
We each ordered a fruit juice (AU$3.50 each) – tomato for Jac, orange for me – and drank them as we waited eagerly for our food to arrive. Our breakfast included a fruit juice and a hot beverage per person, so we also had coffee and tea after the juice.
Jac ordered the poached egg chouka chouka pot (AU$18), which is served with grilled bread and (the menu says) American style bacon.
The egg was very nice – it was soft and gooey, and in the pot with the egg was a tomato and chilli mixture, which gave the dish a nice spicy flavour. We’ve eaten eggs in a pot before, usually a dish at breakfast buffets, and it’s always been a dried up disaster, presumably because the eggs have been cooked in advance and have sat there drying up waiting for someone to choose them from the buffet. The Outram’s poached egg chouka chouka pot, on the other hand, tasted like it had been freshly prepared – it was sheer pleasure to eat.
Jac enjoyed the bacon, which had a good ratio of lean bacon to fat, cooked till quite caramelised and crisp, but not to super-crispy shattering point. This is why I suspect most of my American readers will say it wasn’t American bacon! :P
I ordered The Outram, which is The Outram Hotel’s version of a full breakfast fry-up, with scrambled eggs served on chunky sour dough toast, bacon, mushrooms and slow-cooked tomatoes (AU$18). We both received white and brown bread for our toast, which was nice – both were toasted to chewy with crisp-edges.
The scrambled eggs were creamy and delicious! They were sprinkled with finely chopped fresh chives and so beautifully seasoned I didn’t need to add add any salt or pepper. Jac tried my eggs and fell in love with them – so much so she kept asking if she could have a little more. But then, I kept digging into her chouka chouka pot, so we were even!
As we ate, the chef came out and had a chat. Now, I like meeting chefs and talking with them about their food, but I don’t think it’s such a great idea to come and talk to customers just as their food has arrived – and then stand there talking at them, which is what this chap did. He was clearly well-intentioned, very passionate about his food and anxious to make sure we were happy – but I’d have been happier if he’d left us to eat more of our meals before coming to talk to us.
When the food arrives, the conversation at a table often stops temporarily as everyone starts to eat their meals – and the last thing they want is for someone else – a waiter, a chef, whoever, to hover, asking questions and chattering! And it’s really annoying when you’re asked by am overly keen waiter or a chef “How are you enjoying your meal?” before you’ve even had a chance to taste it properly!
I do want to emphasise the chef was very pleasant and seemed like a really nice fellow – but I just wanted him to stop talking about the food, stop asking us if we liked the food – and just leave us alone to eat the food! Also, I don’t find it particularly easy to eat when a cook/chef is hovering over me, anxiously watching to see if I’m enjoying it.
Well, we did enjoy the food. We waddled out of the hotel a little while later with full bellies and walked into the city. We went shopping, then came back to the hotel to watch a movie and take a quick nap before the next round of eating. :)
We wandered downstairs to the Club at around 6:00pm that same day for drinks and canapes. Complimentary canapes and pre-dinner drinks are available for guests each evening, though the Club does not serve dinner. There are plenty of places to eat nearby – there are restaurants on Outram and the surrounding streets, in Perth city, and not far away in Subiaco.
The canapes included: shaved prosciutto, bread sticks, crackers, marinated olives, semi-dried tomatoes, feta in oil and Pringles-style potato crisps. It was very pleasant to sit with our drinks, munching and talking about what we wanted to have for dinner.
We decided once we were done we’d drive in to Subiaco to have dinner at Toraya Sushi (that post is coming up soon). There were half a dozen tables of guests all happily sipping on drinks and eating canapes identical to ours. I wondered what they’d all get up to for dinner that night. :)
We were really looking forward to our second complimentary breakfast the next morning, now that we knew how good it would be!
Jac usually loves eggs Benedict, which was on the menu – but having tasted my scrambled eggs the day before, she was eager to order her own Outram fry-up and enjoy a full serve of those delicious scrambled eggs all to herself. She enjoyed every bite of scrambled egg on toast, bacon, mushroom and tomato.
I was tempted to get my own poached egg chouka chouka pot, but I really wanted to try something different – I ordered the ham, mushroom and gruyere crepe (AU$18). The chef took our order himself and told us the crepes are prepared fresh to order and would take around 20 minutes. We were in no hurry and were quite happy to wait – and it really was well worth the wait! The menu calls it “crepes”, but I received one big crepe, folded over. This didn’t bother me in the least, as it looked nice and plump, which suggested a reasonable if not generous amount of filling inside. Garnishing the crepe were two blobs of tomato chutney.
I eagerly cut into my crepe to take an innards shot and even before I had tasted it, I knew I would love it. It was filled with layers of ham, fresh mushrooms and stringy melted gruyere cheese. The crepe itself was just perfect – buttery and savoury, not too thin, not too thick. This was one of the tastiest breakfasts I’ve had in a while. Jac tried some and loved it too – I think if we’d stayed a third night, she would’ve ordered the crepe for her breakfast the next morning!
The tomato chutney was very nice too – lightly spicy, it went surprisingly well with the crepe. I devoured every morsel of crepe and chutney.
Once again the chef came over to talk to us and we assured him we were enjoying our food. Thankfully he didn’t stick around as long he did as the first time (perhaps he was more relaxed because we were return-customers). Despite my annoyance, I have nothing against the chef personally – he really serves up excellent food. The food was the most memorable and best part of our stay at The Outram.
Unfortunately I didn’t feel so well when we got home on Sunday – I think I was just very run-down and it all caught up with me – I spent most of the rest of that day in bed. We did have a very nice weekend together.
TFP’s comments: The good
- Free broadband Internet access is available in all rooms – a plus for bloggers (a definite plus for me)! It’s an ethernet connection, not wireless – simply plug the provided cable into your laptop and you’re all set.
- All the rooms include a Juliette balcony, which is a tiny balcony a la Romeo and Juliet (“Romeo, where for art thou, Romeo?”).
- We had a gargantuan spa in the room, one of the biggest I’ve ever seen in a hotel room (which is funny, as this was one of the smallest hotel rooms I’ve stayed in). Unfortunately didn’t get to use it (just ran out of time!) – but it looked great.
- The canapes were very simple but lovely – it was nice sitting with drinks and nibblies before venturing out to dinner.
- The breakfast was delicious! I’d be happy to pay for breakfast if it hadn’t been included in our package.
- You get a complimentary copy of The Australian newspaper Monday to Saturday, and the Sunday Times on Sunday morning. Personally I find The Australian too large to handle comfortably, but I like having a free newspaper to read. We brought our newspaper down to the Club each morning to read as we sipped on our fruit juice/tea/coffee. There’s something really nice about sharing the newspaper with your loved one, swapping sections when you’re done, passing the magazine and junk mail across as you sip on your drinks – of course, once the food is served, the newspaper is set aside!
- The free Red Cat bus stops right outside the Hotel. We didn’t use it though, as we were happy to walk into town.
- Bathrobes are provided – I love lounging around my room wearing a hotel bathrobe! :D
TFP’s comments: The “not so good”
- The water in the shower didn’t drain very well at all.
- The room is on the small side (we stayed in a deluxe spa room); it was one of the smaller hotel rooms I’ve stayed in – though you do get a king-sized bed. We didn’t mind the small room, but if we were planning to stay longer than a couple of nights, I’d definitely book into a hotel with bigger rooms. If I had been staying there on my own, the small room would’ve been just fine.
- There’s a DVD player included in the room – take some DVDs with you if you can. The only TV channels available are the free-to-air ones and Fox Sports 1, 2 and 3, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery.
- The Club chef is very pleasant but will come and talk to you about your food while you’re trying to eat. This may not bother everyone, but I personally found it annoying. But as I’ve said above, he seems to be a nice chap who is just ultra-keen to make sure the customers are happy – and his food was fantastic.
- When I made the booking, there was no option to reserve a parking space in the basement car park nor any mention that a reservation was required, and as a result I didn’t actually think about it. When we arrived, we almost missed out on a parking spot because I hadn’t reserved one; luckily they told us we could park in the boss’ parking spot (he had gone home for the weekend).
When we got back from the concert on Friday night they asked us to move the car to a different spot in the car park because they hadn’t counted on our car being as large as it is (it’s a ute) – parked in that particular spot it was making access to/from the back entrance difficult for staff.
On Saturday afternoon, they told us we’d need to move the car out to the street because scheduled council roadworks early the next morning would block the car park exit and our car would be trapped in the basement. This wasn’t a problem for us – not the hotel’s fault the council was doing roadworks, and it wasn’t hard to find a free parking spot across the street from the hotel at that time of day. But when we checked out on the Sunday, they tried to charge us for two nights’ parking instead of just one (AU$15 per night). To their credit, when we said we thought we should only be charged for one night’s parking, they did not argue, and only charged us for the single night. I’m mentioning the parking issue because although it worked out all right, it was a bit of a hassle – and really shouldn’t have been.
- Staying at The Outram was not that cheap – I still think for value for money my favourite hotel in Perth is the Parmelia Hilton
- The breakfast was lovely, but I think the chef was just a little too keen to talk to the diners.
- The parking issue was annoying (as per TFP’s description above).
- I didn’t mind the small room, but I didn’t like the design of it – the shower drainage wasn’t very effective, so there were big puddles and a bit of a damp smell for a while after you took a shower. I really didn’t like the mirrored cabinet that was in front of the bed, with the TV, DVD player, mini bar in it. I didn’t like always seeing myself reflected in the mirror when I was sitting in the bed or watching TV! And because it was in that central position in the room it was impossible to avoid seeing my reflection the whole time I was in the room. I really don’t want to look at my reflection that much!
- Overall was it was fine, but I’d probably only recommend staying there if you specifically needed to be in West Perth.
The Outram Hotel
32 Outram St, West Perth
They don’t have a website – I booked via wotif.com