Mushroom Mania 2012: The Secret Garden Cafe, Perth

July is Mushroom Mania month. Chefs in over 2,000 restaurants around Australia are serving up delicious mushroom dishes as part of this month-long celebration of mushrooms. You don’t have to be a blogger to take join in the delicious fun of Mushroom Mania – see the info at the end of this post.

I went to lunch with my friend Prez last Friday with one thing on my mind: The Secret Garden Cafe’s mushroom and haloumi burger.

Mushroom and haloumi burger

Mushroom and haloumi burger.

Just to be confusing, this is not the Secret Garden Cafe on Angelo Street in South Perth. This Secret Garden is in the city, tucked away in Murray Mews, past the higgledy-piggledy mismatched tables and chairs of the super cool Tiger, Tiger Coffee Bar (keep walking!). The Secret Garden Cafe and Tiger, Tiger were established long before laneway bars and cafes became all the rage in Perth.

The Secret Garden Cafe

The Secret Garden Cafe, Perth

Prez ordered the American Cheeseburger (AU$18.50, served with hand-cut chips), a half pound beef pattie with housemade pickles, red onion, tomato, crisp iceberg lettuce, aged cheddar melted nicely on the beef, mustard and mayo. The burger-strength bun was very lightly toasted and dotted with poppy seeds.

American Cheeseburger

American Cheeseburger

We decided to have half and half cheeseburger and mushroom burger, and cut each burger into two – carefully, so as not to destroy them completely. The beef pattie was very juicy, and the mustard and pickle made each mouthful particularly delectable.

American Cheeseburger cross-section

My mushroom and haloumi burger (AU$17.50, served with hand-cut chips) consisted of a garlic roasted field mushroom and grilled haloumi with tomato, mixed salad greens, vividly green pesto and lashings of house-made aioli. The mushroom was wrinkly like a rhino, either through roasting, age or both, but it was flavoursome and surprisingly juicy. The only disappointment was a major one: not enough haloumi. It was a shame, as the burger was well constructed and fantastic in all other aspects.

Not enough haloumi!

“That’s not a mushroom…THAT’S a mushroom.” The haloumi, on the other hand…

The sign out the front of The Secret Garden Cafe boasts “wholesome food”. My burger was bursting with wholesomeness, stuffed full of fresh salad. I felt piously healthy with every bite.

Mushroom and haloumi burger cross-section

Mushroom and haloumi burger cross-section – this is NOT a junk food burger, that’s for sure

The hand cut chips were superb – jackets on, well cooked and seasoned, pointy and rustic, maybe just a tiny bit greasy, plate generously loaded.

Burgers and chips – Cheeseburger and chips (AU$18.50), Mushroom and haloumi burger (AU$17.50)

For drinks, I enjoyed a tangy limeade by The Juice Guys and Prez ordered a long black coffee, which she said was very good. The coffee at The Secret Garden Cafe is made with beans by Rubra, one of my favourite local roasters. One thing I noted and like on the menu is that decaf and soy milk are available at no extra charge – very unusual these days.

The Juice Guys limeade and a long black

The Juice Guys limeade and a long black

When we arrived it was a little after 12 noon and not very busy. By the time we left, two burgers later, Friday lunch was well on its way to bustling.

Busy front counter

Don’t be fooled if it looks busy inside and down the laneway – there’s another ‘secret’ courtyard area out back, so make sure you check there for a free table.

I wouldn’t quite call it cheap and cheerful, but it was a fast, tasty and filling lunch. The service was friendly and our food and drinks arrived quickly. If you lunch on a Tuesday, the American Cheeseburger or Mushroom and Haloumi Burger, each served with hand cut chips are available for a special price of AU$14.

The stingy haloumi portion left me wanting, but my mushroom cravings were well satisfied. Sadly, a burger-fuelled nap was not possible that afternoon.

Secret Garden Cafe

The Secret Garden Cafe

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The Secret Garden Cafe
Shop 7, 329 Murray St
Perth, WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9322 5885
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm
Closed on weekends

Secret Garden on Urbanspoon

I’m looking forward to more mushroom goodness this month.

About Mushroom Mania, July 1-31

Join the Mushroom Mania fun this month!

  • Get the free Mushroom Mania app for your smartphone/iPhone or check out the locality guide online to find your local participating restaurants
  • Order mushroom dishes when you dine out
  • Post a review of a mushroom dish you’ve eaten for your chance to win a $150 Best Restaurants of Australia gift card – there are 6 gift cards to be won every week in July
  • Join the Mushroom Lovers Club for mushroom recipes, cooking tips, news and more
  • Follow Mushroom Mania on Twitter and Facebook

Let me know if you post a Mushroom Mania review or if you eat a particularly awesome mushroom dish this month – I’d love to hear all about it!

TFP dined at The Secret Garden Cafe with compliments of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association as part of Mushroom Mania month. All opinions expressed are my own.

Love mushrooms?
See my post on a visit to a mushroom farm earlier this year.

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