Gordon Street Garage, West Perth
Back in the day when I used to slave away as a Barista at Harbour Town, my daily conundrum was “where to eat lunch?” This was a common problematic issue for a long-term-food-addict. Harbour Town was a slew of chain store eateries of the Coffee Club variety and you were always stuck in a seemingly never-ending queue, waiting 15 minutes (half of my lunch break) for a focaccia or kebab. About three months after I left my job in West Perth, Gordon Street Garage opened up its doors leaving me to sob in despair – why did you not open earlier, when I could have taken full advantage of all your delectable takeaway treats?
I had high expectations for Gordon Street Garage, having been there once before when it first opened. I was impressed by the quick service, the energetic ambiance, the great drinks and fabulous food which well respected the integrity of its fresh produce. One of my best friends joined me on our pre-New Year Eve’s brunch trip, who had similar anticipations from her own dinner experiences the night before.
We emerged from the back entrance, a brightly lit garden straight out of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit tales. We strolled all the way to the front, only to be told we would be able take a table of our own free will. We walked all the way back down and parked ourselves in a cushy blue booth. Menus and water were given to us and we sat down to ponder over the listed items. During that time we also admired the décor – Gordon Street Garage is a huge warehouse, spacious and flooded with light, chrome and colour. I particularly love the floral motif – the little flowers decking the cupcakes on the glass stands, the waitresses that whizz around in floral shirts and of course the beautiful pastel plates. Sad to say, the elegant vintage cutlery wasn’t on show this time around, which I thought really contributed to Gordon Street Garage’s original flair.
The waitress sailed up to take our drink orders, so I ordered my iced tea ($6) and my friend’s chai latte ($4). My house made iced tea wasn’t as good as I had recalled from my last outing at Gordon Street Garage. I remembered distinct notes of earl grey, citrus, grapefruit and mint in my iced tea, which was significantly absent this time around. Several wedges of lime had been crammed at the bottom, adding a surge of sourness at the end of the glass. It lacked the fruity sweetness of well-brewed iced teas and was rather bland and diluted. A little disappointing that something as simple as an iced tea couldn’t be executed to precision.
My friend’s Chai Latte ($4) wasn’t really up to scratch either. The milk was velvety and smooth, however was steamed to lukewarm, leaving my friend and I flummoxed. The aromatic herbal spices of a decent Chai were lacking, even after a few swirls with the spoon, just in case the Chai spices had compiled at the bottom. Gordon Street Garage wasn’t particularly packed that day, so I doubted it was an issue with an overload in coffee orders that had resulted in a reduced quality of beverage standards that morning.
We consulted the menu for food midway through out drinks and I was devastated that there was no big breakfast in sight and was temporarily floored. I had thoroughly enjoyed the crispy potatoes from my previous brunch there, as well as a famed stack of pancakes also missing in action. The dishes had been hearty and visually impressive and faithful to old favorites (caramalised bananas and butterscotch anyone?). The pancakes had been the size of my face, crispy on the very edges and submerged in a pool of butterscotch. I was scouting for them! Nevertheless there appeared to be some intriguing items on the menu.
Sporting a bit of a sweet tooth, the baked ricotta jumped out at me, which I ordered within a heartbeat. The honey mango, baked ricotta ($14) came out in a creamy dome, soft, crumbly and saturated with in a pool of syrup. I wished it had come with a baked, charred crust as seen on many other baked ricottas but I quite like the smoothiness of the cheese which complimented the array of fresh fruits smacked on the plate. The strawberries, bananas and mango were all firm and ripe, drizzled lightly in honey. It was a very simplistic dish that didn’t particularly fill me up, as I felt they could have been a bit more generous with the provision of the ricotta and mango. Nothing about the dish impressed me in terms of flavour nor presentation, which was a bit of a let down.
I rather enjoyed my friend’s smashed avocado ($15) which dazzled with zingy hits of lemon and salt. Bites of fetta cheese was interspersed within the creamy avocado, along with several ruby red chunks of tomato. Everything was impeccably fresh. The mound of avocado sat atop a slab of lightly toasted wholemeal bread. A smattering of sprouts was shewn across the top to add a decorative element to the dish. Whilst I did enjoy the flavours, I couldn’t help but think that it was a bit on the non-substantial side and could have been jazzed up with a side of eggs.
My friend and I consulted the glass cabinet at the front of the cafe for an additional serving of food, as we weren’t particularly content with the serving sizes of our previous dishes. The mango pannacotta sat regally inside, calling out my name as I approached. After seeing the mango pannacotta on one of my fellow food blogger’s instagram feeds, I was super keen to sample it. The waitress had one sent to our table with two silver spoons for sharing purposes. I prefer my panncottas with minimal gelatin, which thankfully was the case for Gordon Street’s rendition. It was silky smooth with hints of fruity mellowness from the mango, a throwback to the amazing mango puddings that I have ingested during my Dim Sum days. The caramelized peanuts were frozen in a crystalised coat of sugar, well balanced with a hint of salt. I loved the contrast of the peanut’s nutty crunch, along with the sweet sticky rice. The rice was entrapped in an aromatic coconut milk, suitably glutinous with a waxing sheen, which also acted as a perfect foil to the peanuts. Altogether, I thought it was an elegant Asian-inspired dessert that utilised a good set of flavour combinations.
Whilst I really enjoyed the mango panncotta, there was still the debacle that we still weren’t particularly full after consuming our mains, even after paying the standard ~ $15 price tag for each dish. Whilst I think Gordon Street Garage showcases an inventive menu, the execution of the dishes were lacking in terms of generosity and content. Gordon Street Garage’s food was rather simple, especially when compared to other brunch places in the Perth metropolitan area like Typika or Tuck Shop. I also believe the difficulty with revisiting old favourites is that your expectations are set quite high, your long term memory withholding a picture- perfect snap shot of previous dining experience. Unfortunately (much like the food scene itself) the quality of food and service in Perth are dynamic, constantly changing and evolving. Despite this, the food tasted nice and I did enjoy the buzzing and busting ambiance of Gordon Street Garage, especially its vast openness. Till next time Gordon Street Garage!
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Address: 16 Gordon Street, West Perth 6005
- Open every day of the week for breakfast, lunch and dinner (Sunday and Mondays from 7am to 3 pm; Tuesdays to Sundays 7 am till late).
- Take away coffee also available for those caffine addicts in the area!
- No reservations available.