I think it’s fair to say that I’m not a fan of late nights and I’m particularly not a fan of late boozy nights. So when my daughter and granddaughter suggested a couple of hours in Perth, an early dinner, a couple of drinks and home in time to watch the Good Karma Hospital on T.V. before bed, it sounded perfect.
And it was a perfect autumn night, we’d had an unbelievable (for late April) thirty degree maximum late in the afternoon so it was a beautiful balmy evening with not a breath of wind.
When I go on these sort of jaunts it reminds me of how little I know of the nightlife in our city, there are so many quirky bars hidden down laneways with no signage so they rely on word of mouth for their custom. In other words they need to be good.
We started off at Helvetica Bar, down an inconspicuous laneway off Howard St. A small bar with a mix of seating downstairs and a function area upstairs, we were greeted with smiling faces and friendly chat from the staff as we went in and ordered.
I’m no connoisseur of drinking establishments but this seemed like an ideal spot for an after work drink or, as we were doing, a good place to start the evening.
After one drink and a chat it was back up the laneway on to St Georges Tce and into what looked like the entrance to offices. Down some nicely carpeted stairs we entered what must be one of Perth’s best kept secrets (or am I just a bit slow on the Perth scene?), Fromage Artisans.
There was a small chalk board at the entrance advertising that the establishment was there, but unless you were looking for it I’m not sure you’d have noticed it.
This place, as its name suggests is a fromagerie – dealing in all things cheese and the drinks to go with it. The menu comprises all cheese dishes, including the desserts, but the novelty of the place is that it is on the site of a previous bank (the R&I bank for those who remember it), and the cheeses are stored in the vault, which is set at a perfect temperature to age them.
At any time during your visit you can be taken down to the vault and the cheeses, 52 different types from 8 countries, where you can taste and buy any that take your fancy.
We ordered the Ten Cheese Toasties and the Baked Camembert with Thyme, Honey and Hazelnuts. All absolutely delicious and totally decadent.
This place has so much more to offer – Fromartisan membership which delivers your choice of cheeses to your door, a dedicated area for small group gatherings, masterclasses and more and is well worth checking out if you’re a cheese lover.
After that we obviously needed dessert (of the non cheese variety) so we wandered down to Elizabeth Quay and stopped off at Gelato Gusto, who make, as The Urbanlist put it ‘oh my god I’ve died and gone to heaven, life changing, exquisite, fresh’ gelato every day. The biggest problem I found was in choosing which flavour to have. You can have a cone or a tub and one, two or three different flavoured scoops. I stuck to one and had the dark chocolate in a cone – again yuuumy!
It was an absolutely beautiful evening down on Elizabeth Quay, it was still only around 7.30pm and families were making the most of the last of the nice weather as the children played and the parents watched and we ate our ice creams and took photos.
Perth is still living up to its name of the City of Lights.
So if you’re not a late night person or a boozy, party person but you’d still like to feel part of the perth night scene do what we did and take the early shift, find a few hidden gems and expand your knowledge (as I did) of what actually goes on down those laneways. The benefit at this time of the year is that you might still catch a nice warm night and it also gets dark earlier, which gives the whole experience that late night feel without the repercussions of tiredness and hangovers the next day.