The Partisan, East Perth
I’ve been to Toast and The Royal numerous times in the past and have always passed by The Partisan. I have always been amorous of Claisebrook Cove – it’s a gorgeous gem, hidden just behind Royal Street, and perfect for a morning stroll, waterfront dining or a BBQ in the adjacent park. It’s my ultimate place to live one day – in an apartment or townhouse, overlooking the river, close to the city but minus the noise pollution. For this particular Sunday morning, my sister, her boyfriend and I were looking for a nice quiet morning filled with good views and food.
It soon became apparent after we arrived, that “quiet” was not going to be a particularly accurate adjective to describe this particular breakfast session. The whole area was packed, people spilling from The Royal all the way to The Partisan. We hopped across several different tables, trying to find enough space for the three of us, until we finally reached a high table right in the centre of the shade. It was still heavily cluttered with plates, cutlery and cups, so we moved them quickly onto another table. I grabbed a menu and some water from the front, before we sat down to make our choices.
We had to go up to order, waiting in a queue in the sunshine, before I finally reached the front. My sister really wanted to try the sautéed wild mushrooms with the toasted brioche, but by 11 am that day, they had sold out. She was a tad disappointed, but whipped out her back up dish. The man at the counter was friendly, approachable and happily took our order. I took out my Gold Card for a trusty discount, which turned out not be so trusty. The number had unfortunately been scratched out, though I had no recollection whatsoever of having been to The Partisan in the past year. Saddened, I took it back.
By this point, dishes had piled up in all corners of the outdoor tables and being an obsessive compulsive clean freak, the lack of general cleanliness had really started to irk me. There was no doubt about it, the place was busy, but by this point, the morning rush was starting to die down. The waitresses who delivered our food to the table looked harried and plonked down the dishes, without so much a word. I was a tad affronted by the service at this stage.
My sister ordered an iced long black ($4) which was ridiculously watered down. Usually when my sister requests an iced long black, establishments will serve it in a smaller glass so that you really get the rich taste of the espresso shot, or they would have left the espresso off to the side for the customer’s own personal use. The shot itself, despite being watered down, was evidently an undershot, as it was sour and insipid. My sister had a few sips and left it untouched on the table for the rest of the meal.
Things didn’t really fare much better with my sister’s dish, which were the Eggs on toast ($14). My sister had her eggs scrambled with a side of avocado ($4). My sister is a pretty easy person to please, but she was not impressed at all with the eggs themselves. While the consistency was good, the scrambled eggs were severely under seasoned and they had buttered the toast (which is a pet hate in my family). The tipping point was the avocado. How it had left the kitchen in the first place was astronomical – it was a half portion of the smallest avocado I had ever seen, sprinkled with a bit of salt. It also happened to be the most under ripe avocado we had ever been served. It was so hard that my sister struggled to cut it with a knife, and it lacked the beautiful creamy consistency that constitutes a typically ripe avocado. For the quality and quantity of the side serving, it was most certainly overpriced.
A slight improvement came with my Portugese sardines ($14). A single piece of grilled sourdough held three slender sardines. The toast was again, quite small and thin and I was quite hungry by this stage. As a result, I wasn’t particularly over the moon about the overall size of the dish. The sardines did have a lovely texture, falling off the bone. I always enjoy the slippery, oily flesh of sardines with its glistening silver skin and I thought it worked well with the punchy flavours of the tomato and sherry sauce. The sauce had strips of sautéed tomato and white onion and it was interspersed with currants. One thing the dish did lack however were aromatics – while I thought the fried basil on top was quite clever for presentation and texture, it didn’t add a lot of flavour to the dish. I was expecting this dish to be more substantial, warm and exotic, but unfortunately it didn’t hit any of those expected marks.
The food fared a little better with my sister’s boyfriend’s Jerez Eggs ($19). It came in an iron pan, filled with eggs fried in chorizo, tomato and cumin sauce, chilli jam and house made flat bread. The chorizo and cumin provided some spice in the dish, the eggs sporting a great runny yolk. The chilli jam and tomatoes balanced out the salty savouriness with a bit of sweetness and the housemade flatbread looked just crisp. My sister’s boyfriend was quite content with it.
It was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular, but unfortunately, there is more to breakfast dining than the ambience. The few encounters we had with service was a mixed bag, with the general attitude of the waitresses not really up to par with the friendly, efficient service I’ve had in the past. The wait for the food also was a good 30 minutes, which was puzzling considering we appeared to have slotted into the end of breakfast service, and should have been competing with fewer customers at that stage.
In addition there was the general “overpriced debacle.” Having lived here in Perth my whole life and watching the prices inflate around me regarding grocery shopping and dining out, I am use to forking out a bit for good quality produce and food. $4 for a small, under ripe avocado was a serious misstep. I didn’t order any drinks but having looked at the menu, I was glad I gave it a miss – the $8 iced chocolate was one of the most expensive drinks I’ve seen so far, anywhere. For it to have that particular price tag, I was expecting it to be bucket sized with chocolate fireworks exploding from it.
It’s hard not to make comparisons between The Partisan and other cafes and restaurants in Perth, as brunch dishes are all priced around the $15 to $20 price range. Compared to other places in Perth, you can get hearty, considerate food for about the same price (see Typika Artisan Roasters, Harvest Espresso and Mary Street Bakery to name a few). I don’t know if I would come back to The Partisan again – sadly it didn’t really satisfy me and I didn’t really feel the love through their food or service. Sad to say, we weren’t fans of The Partisan after our dining experience. If you do end up going there, make sure you invest in the Jerez Eggs. It was one of the few highlights of the morning.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
Address: 60 Royal St Shop 22, East Perth, 6004
- Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday to Sunday (7 am to late most days, on Sundays till 4pm). Open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday.
- Entertainment Gold Card discount (25% off the total bill up to the value of $40).
- Bookings available through website or via phone (contact: 6500 0165) except for breakfast on Sunday, Saturdays or public holidays.