For far too long, the cafe at the Art Gallery of Western Australia was a Caffissimo, unremarkable and never a destination in its own right.
The space has been taken over recently by John Parker, owner of The Standard on Roe Street (one of my favourite places to eat in Northbridge), Halford Bar at the State Buildings and Saint Larry at the swish new City of Perth Library. Re-christened Arthouse Dine, the old art gallery cafe has been transformed into a stylish yet relaxed licensed bistro. Aesthetically it’s like a natural extension of the gallery with striking images hanging on the walls, sculptural light fittings and a large disco ball twinkling from the ceiling.
We (Jac and me, my sister Juji and her hubby) timed our Sunday visit for noon so we could choose from the all-day brunch and lunch menus. Dinner is currently available Friday and Saturday nights only.
The menu is overseen by The Standard’s head chef Chase Weber and his creative touch was evident in our beautifully presented plates.
Chef Weber’s food shines with substance as well as visual appeal, as much Eathouse as it is Arthouse. I especially enjoyed the velvety white pecorino and jersey milk polenta, which surprised us all with a buttery quality like bechamel, its richness balanced by puttanesca sauce; the scotch quail egg with a crunchy dark brown crust and golden gooey core, served with creamy braised peas and chopped lettuce; and the comforting leek and smoked chicken farfalle with aged cheddar. Mop it all up with the house-charred sourdough, the next best thing to licking the plates.
Hearty eaters should note that the servings were on the small side, especially for sharing, but I think they are priced appropriately for their size. Arthouse Dine feels fancier than your average cafe, but importantly, not so posh you’d feel out of place in jeans. It’s early days of course, but it looks like the vibrant combination of JP and chef Weber has brought a forgotten corner of Perth gorgeously back to life.
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Perth Cultural Centre
Monday to Thursday, Sunday 10am to 6pm
Friday and Saturday 10am to 11pm
Singapore, here I come
I’m off to Singapore for a long weekend, flying out Friday (tomorrow) and returning to Perth on Tuesday, thanks to the Singapore Tourism Board, to attend the Singapore Food Festival, which is on this year from 15 to 31 July.
If you’re on social media, feel free to follow along on Instagram and Facebook.