I met my friend Chad for breakfast at Gordon Street Garage this week. As the name suggests, it’s a café set in a transformed auto electrics garage on Gordon Street.
This place is huge. Seriously, I couldn’t stop looking around and imagining what it must be like when it’s busy. It’s got the cavernous, hangar-like feel of Little Creatures, the Great Hall of Hogwarts. All the elements of café cool are here: an industrial feel combining recycled steel and wood; lamps hanging from the ceiling; crates, sacks and more – deliberately placed decorative clutter; a front counter loaded with house-baked treats; vintage crockery. It’s all fast becoming café cliché, but for now, highly desirable essentials for a great atmosphere.
The guys behind Gordon Street Garage know their stuff, and their list of ventures is impressive: Balthazar, Il Lido, Duende. They’d planned to open a boutique restaurant and wine bar in Northbridge called The Latin, but the ambitious plan fell through when their liquor licence application was rejected. Plan B revealed itself in the old Kings Park Auto garage on an almost forgotten street in West Perth. With offices and Perth Arena up the road and the free Yellow Cat bus service passing by, behold – the rebirth of Gordon Street.
When Gordon Street Garage first opened, they served the excellent Five Senses coffee, but with their own coffee roaster on-site, it was only a matter of time before they began roasting their own. They now roast hand-picked single origin beans in small batches to create their own blend of coffee under their in-house label Mano A Mano (“hand to hand” in Italian). The baby blue cups are small – they must be cousins of those frustrating little brown Campos coffee cups – but the coffee was great.
It’s a running joke between Chad and me that whenever we go out for breakfast, her favourite dish to order is testicles on toast. No, I don’t really mean testicles. Chad likes to order her sauce on the side so she can dip as much or as little as she wants, and when poached eggs haven’t been smothered in sauce a la hollandaise in eggs Benedict, they can look rather testicle-like. This time, Chad ordered the house-smoked salmon, spinach, poached eggs, potato and zucchini hash brown (hidden, in the picture) with the bearnaise on the side (AU$21). See what I mean about the eggs? I know, I know: what’s been seen cannot be unseen!
It’s not easy to serve food that showcases seasonal produce in all its glory that punters will think is worth paying for and won’t dismiss as “something I could’ve just cooked for myself at home” (The steaks at Rockpool, sitting proudly yet starkly on their plates with zero embellishments, are the high-end example). My dish was a terrific example of letting ingredients speak for themselves. Simple preparation and presentation, and fresh flavours that work together: bread, cheese, mushrooms, rocket. I demolished everything on my plate, though it felt expensive at $17.
I hear Gordon Street Garage’s become a favourite venue on weekdays for the local office crowd. Bookings aren’t taken, and although there’s plenty of seating, I’ve been told you may have to wait for a table for breakfast on the weekend.
The menu varies depending on the produce that’s available. Service was friendly and we enjoyed the food and coffee, but it’s on the pricey side – our breakfast came to $57. The quality was certainly there, but for the portion size, it felt expensive – if recommending Gordon Street Garage to anyone, I feel compelled to mention the price, especially for people with heartier appetites who’ll want to order from the top end of the menu. The breakfast menu ranged from AU$4.50 for a muffin to $24 for the full fry-up of two eggs, bacon, smoked tomato, pork and fennel sausage, field mushroom and sourdough.
Small cup gripes aside, if I worked in the area, I could see myself becoming a coffee regular here.
Gordon Street Garage
16 Gordon Street
West Perth WA
Telephone: (08) 9322 8050
Open daily 7am till late
No reservations taken