La Veen Coffee and Kitchen, Perth CBD
Instagram is my frequent inspiration for up-and-coming places to eat, and a recent flood of delectable dishes from La Veen Coffee and Kitchen had appeared on my newsfeed, leaving me in fits of envy. The bestie and I decided to try the specialty coffee store late on a Friday afternoon, prior to an intense shopping session. Making your way through Perth now is nothing short of a miracle, requiring you to avoid bone crushing construction vehicles, heavy-duty cement blocks and steel pipes, plumes of dust, and bright orange witches cones, which seem to block your entrance to every street in Perth.
Whilst it’s great that our infrastructure is getting a long-overdue makeover, it was a mass inconvenience to the bestie and I that day. We had to avoid construction going over at the Perth train station and up over at Wellington Street, which required us to go back around in a big loop, in order to get onto King Street. We caught a glimpse of the new “Prince Lane” which looked like it could be a promising new foodie strip, along the way of other royalty-related lane ways (hi there, King and Queen Street!). Are we getting more Melbourne or what?
It was pretty late by the time we arrived (close to the 3pm mark), and I was already a little worried by this stage that we had missed the cut off mark for lunch. Lucky we were reassured by the lady at the counter that the kitchen was still open! We happened to be the only people inside when we arrived, but before long we were joined by two other groups of dining patrons.
La Veen looked like it belonged in the city – the whitewashed brick walls, the black tiles, the steel stools and dark timber. It was very “city apartment-eque”, with its minimal furniture, faux grass doormat, flowers by the door and tall windows, which allowed the afternoon glow to flood the space. The low growl of the coffee machine and the heady scent of the freshly ground wake-me-up call added to the illusion. The bestie and I sat down with our clipboard menus, which boasted a moderate number of menu items – on offer there were seasonal dishes, sides, bagel sandwiches and desserts.
I went up to order and coincidentally saw a small white card propped up near the register – a free glass of apple juice for every dine-in customer! I enquired if we could grab two glasses of apple juice, being a lover of all types of fresh juice. The bestie enjoyed her juice immensely, as did I. It was refreshing, deliciously sweet and better yet pulp free! We also got a snapshot of the barista working their magic, pumping green apples into the juicer as the finished product spilt into our cups. How lucky were we?!
As tempting as the bagels were, I went for the La Veen Fried Chicken Poppers ($14) instead, feeling like something a little different for a change. I expected greasy, batter-ridden balls of chicken, the quintessence of American dude food. The La Veen version was much more refined, coated in a golden coat of breadcrumbs and quickly fried off, without any trace of oily residue. The chicken inside was succulent and piping hot. Alongside it were wafer-like crisps, christened “herb potato thins” by the La Veen team.
Also beside the chicken poppers was a bed of pickled vegetables. The pickled carrot and red onion were an interesting concept, and while it was good to clear the palate before embarking on the next bite of chicken, they were extremely vinegary and sharp in taste, almost overwhelming the rest of the dish. I felt like there could have been something else a little bit more substantial on the plate that would have complimented the chicken and chips better, perhaps something more neutral in flavour.
Food envy reached feverish heights when the bestie’s Crispy Pork Belly with Pumpkin Gnocchi ($23) was delivered to the table. It was a huge slab of pork belly, one of the biggest I have ever seen grace a plate. The meat itself was delicious, tender and shredded easily with a fork. The crackling however, was a bit of let down – the defining crunch was missing, as we come down on it with the knife and the fat was rather leathery. This was further confirmed by the thick layer of unrendered fat beneath the golden skin. The pumpkin gnocchi on the other hand, was some beautifully cooked pasta – balls of springy potato pasta, pan seared to crispy perfection, with oregano and red onion strewn across the top. The parsnip puree was also a revelation, a smooth, nutty accompaniment to the roast pork and gnocchi.
Sadly by the time we were finished our the mains, the kitchen was shut for dessert. The waitress who collected our plates was extremely apologetic, but I completely understood – who can hang around the whole day for customers who eat lunch at afternoon tea time? As a whole the service was standard – we did manage to get a smile from one of the lovely girls who served us towards the end of the afternoon. Food came out within a reasonable time frame and the free apple juice was a big bonus for a hot day. I loved the delicate cherry blossom adorned plates, which the food was displayed on – it was lovely that presentation had been taken into great consideration for all the dishes. All in all, it was a good dining experience. I hope La Veen Coffee and Kitchen hangs around for a lot longer, seeing as I am very keen to return for breakfast!
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Address: 90 King Street, Perth CBD 6000
- Open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week (7 am to 4 pm on weekdays, 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 3pm on Sunday).
- Also does take away food (bagels and sides included), coffees and catering.
- Free Wifi available.
- Cold drip coffee on offer for drinks!
- Reservations available via phone (9321 1188) or via email (Coffeelovers@laveencoffee.com.au).