Opened in January last year, Perth’s Elizabeth Quay was built around a new inlet at the CBD’s southern edge. Said to reconnect Swan River with the city, the bustling waterfront precinct includes 24 short-stay berths at a public jetty inside the quay and swing moorings for larger craft just outside its entry. From the water’s edge, it’s just a few steps or a stroll into town to some of Perth’s best cafés, restaurants and bars.
If you’re arriving by boat, Elizabeth Quay’s Swan River entry is easy to spot – just look for the magnificent twin arches of the pedestrian/cyclist bridge.
You can also walk/bike there on the trail from Kings Park, or ferry across from South Perth’s foreshore (terminals under the blue Four Winds canopy), while ferries at the adjoining Barrack Street Jetty will take you to Rottnest Island or on an adventure cruise to the Swan Valley wineries.
While two international hotels (Ritz-Carlton and DoubleTree by Hilton) are being built and plans for other tower developments are brewing, the quay’s leisure centre is complete. It’s especially pretty at night, when everything is illuminated with colour-changing lights – the view from the bridge toward the city is spectacular.
We worked up a decent appetite while admiring sculptures and open-air artwork, checking out The Island’s adventure playground and relaxing on the grass with a Gusto Gelato ginger ale and lime gelato. A tour of the Bell Tower completed our morning’s activities … and then it was time for an alfresco lunch at Isle of Voyage, followed by dinner with city views at The Reveley. The trip’s highlight – not just in a culinary sense – was our stay at COMO The Treasury and an elegant three-course lunch at Wildflower restaurant. Turn the page to discover more.
We stayed at …
There’s a simple reason why COMO The Treasury continuously wins world-class awards – it is an exceptional hotel.
Stepping inside at the Cathedral Avenue entrance, you’re whisked into the club lounge-style reception room and invited to get comfortable on a sofa with a glass of champagne while the warm and very efficient team takes care of your check-in and luggage. We could’ve just hung out in this space all day …
However, there’s much to admire in the fastidiously restored State Buildings – Perth’s old land-titles office, treasury and post office, which now house the hotel. The $110m restoration returned the buildings to their colonial-era origins, including the re-installation of many period features, resulting in a sense of grandeur and luxury throughout.
The elegant, refined décor and choice artwork continue in the 48 rooms and suites (rates from $446 a night), which feature complimentary in-room bars (winner Best Mini Bar in Australia, 2017 Gourmet Traveller Hotel Awards), and bathrooms with heated floors, deep bathtubs, huge showers and COMO Shambhala amenities.
Hotel guests enjoy complimentary breakfasts at Post, a contemporary restaurant in the old post office’s franking room. Trust us – you won’t want to skip brekky.
You’ll also want to make time for the facilities, which include a 20m indoor pool, gym, and COMO Shambhala day spa with massage therapy, yoga, and beauty centre.
Our only complaint was that we had to leave.
1 Cathederal Avenue
(08) 6168 7888
We also discovered …
If you like to travel in the air-conditioned comfort of a luxury car, Perth Luxury Tours will take good care of you with its fleet of luxury sedans, SUVs, minibuses and limousines. They’ll also track your flight and meet you inside Perth airport’s terminal to assist with luggage, or simply ensure you get to a meeting or date in the CBD on time. The team also specialises in guided tours of the Swan Valley and Margaret River regions.
Tel: 1300 633 014
Let the sound of bell melodies ringing out guide you to the Bell Tower, where 18 bells (12 are historic bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields church, London) are chimed in hour-long sessions at midday three times a week, and in chiming demonstrations from Monday to Saturday. The tower has viewing galleries to watch the bell ringers at work or, further up, to see the bells in action, while the open-air observation deck offers breathtaking panoramic views.
Corner Riverside Drive and Barrack St
(08) 6210 0444
Where to eat …
While Perth’s food scene continues in its rise and rise, a handful of restaurants stand high above everyone – and Wildflower is among the best of those.
A steel and glass cube perched atop COMO The Treasury encapsulates Wildflower’s sophisticated dining space, which includes a terrace and a bar. Distracting views of Swan River on one side and artwork by Valerie Sparks on the other contend for diner’s attention, but you’ll soon be captivated by the small, exquisite menu.
The wine list is extensive. Thankfully, the sommelier came to our rescue, with her selection of a Brave New Wine ‘Sunshine & Hercules’ Riesling (WA) eminently matching the marron entrée, while a Deep Woods Rose, Margaret River (WA) was magical with the wild fish (P98) and side of super-crispy roast potatoes.
A Lady Olida cocktail (strawberry gum leaf infused vodka, Davidson plum and Albany honey liqueur) was the bar’s suggestion to enjoy with a delicate, fragrant dessert of strawberry gum yoghurt, Davidson plum mousse, crispy sugar, desert lime, and coconut ash.
Executive Chef Jed Gerrard grew up in WA and honed his craft at Michelin-starred restaurants in Switzerland and France, and at Sydney’s Tetsuya’s and Black by Ezard restaurants. His exciting, inventive and superbly crafted dishes embrace West Australian produce and native ingredients, with a menu that follows the indigenous ethos of six seasons, using foraged ingredients and small-batch native produce from local farmers. Sustainable and organic produce is implicit.
Take, for example, the marron entrée – beautiful pieces of poached marron tail are presented around a little pool of avocado puree that’s covered by a delicate katsuobushi film and a slice of pickled cucumber which, at the table, is gently flooded with a combination of sea parsley oil and smoked marron-head cream. Little pieces of fresh river greens (samphire, saltbush and barilla) and crisps of puffed seaweed add surprising, delightful flavours and textures.
While Wildflower was pleased to pass on the recipe for us to publish, it’s a little beyond what most readers would prepare at home. Drop us a line (email@example.com) if you’d like to know more.
1 Cathedral Avenue
(08) 6168 7855
Follow the path around Elizabeth Quay to the Island and you’ll bump into Isle of Voyage, a friendly café/bistro with lofty ceilings and bay windows, an alfresco bar and dining area, and a general store offering all sorts of goodies.
The building will look familiar to locals – it’s the heritage-listed Florence Hummerston Kiosk, originally built in 1928 on The Esplanade. Painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt on the Island, the kiosk was given an extension and restored.
Isle of Voyage benefits from the experience and kitchen of its sister venue, the popular Voyage Sorrento Beach. The menu is pretty extensive, catering for brekky till dinner on weekends, and lunch to dinner on weekdays. There’s a buffet-style spread of vibrant salads in huge bowls, opposite a display with tray upon tray of cakes and desserts … which we barely managed to pull ourselves away from.
You’ll also find share dishes, pizza from the outdoor oven, and restaurant-quality mains that come in generous serves. For lunch, we chose Lamb cutlets with dukkah and crispy roast spuds, followed by the prettiest lemon yoghurt cakes.
‘The Island’ Elizabeth Quay
(08) 9243 2711
Lamb cutlets with dukkah
Crispy potatoes with herb emulsion
4 lamb cutlets per serve
Potatoes, roasted until crisp
½ cup yoghurt (natural or Greek) combined with a few finely chopped mint leaves
Rocket leaves, dressed to your liking
½ bunch basil
½ bunch parsley
½ bunch tarragon
50g goat’s curd
150g chardonnay vinegar
15g Dijon mustard
200g extra virgin olive oil
100ml lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Briefly blitz ingredients in a food processor until just emulsified with the oil.
700g hazelnuts, with skins
5 tblsps sunflower seeds
2.5 tblsps fennel seeds
2.5 tblsps cumin seeds
2.5 tblsps dried green peppercorns
15 tsps nigella seeds
15 tsps sesame seeds
5 tsps sea salt
2.5 tblsps sweet paprika
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Spread the hazelnuts on an oven tray lined with baking paper, bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the sunflower seeds, keeping apart from the hazelnuts. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while toasting the seeds.
Put a heavy frypan over medium heat and heat up for five minutes. Spread the fennel seeds in the pan and dry toast them for 30 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and toast for another 30 seconds until they start to pop. Transfer both to a little bowl.
Keeping the pan over the heat, add the peppercorns and toast for 30 seconds. Transfer to a separate bowl.
Decrease the heat to low. Toast the nigella seeds and sesame seeds together, stirring occasionally until the sesame seeds turn light brown.
Chop the hazelnuts and the sunflower seeds coarsely. Lightly crush the cumin seeds and peppercorns. Add all ingredients to the hazelnuts and mix well.
Fry or grill the lamb cutlets to your liking, seasoning well. Stack on a plate, top with a little dukkah and a scoop of minted yoghurt. Serve with dressed rocket and roast potatoes topped with some herb emulsion.
Lemon yoghurt cakes
Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes
450g plain flour
12g (1 slightly rounded tblsp) baking powder
420g caster sugar
180g grapeseed oil
2 lemons, zest only (save juice for syrup and icing)
Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan-forced).
Grease two 12-hole cupcake pans, or line with patty cases.
Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt, stir with a whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, lightly mix the eggs with a fork until just combined.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add eggs, yoghurt, oil and lemon zest. Stir with a whisk until just combined.
Scoop batter into the prepared cupcake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean. If the trays are on different racks in the oven, swap them around halfway.
Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack as soon as they’re done. Place an oven tray underneath and immediately drizzle the hot cakes with lemon syrup (recipe follows).
When the cakes are cool, make the pink icing (recipe follows).
Decorate the cakes with icing and top as you wish – Isle of Voyage uses dried organic rose petals, candied orange peel and silver cachous (sugar pearls).
150g white sugar
2 lemons, juice only
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer, and then remove from the heat.
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 lemon, juice only
Pink food colouring
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in enough lemon juice to make a smooth paste. Add a few drops of pink food colouring, stir until evenly coloured. The icing should have a thick pouring consistency – if it’s too thick, stir in more lemon juice a few drops at a time. If it’s too thin, add sifted icing sugar a teaspoon at a time.
While dining at The Reveley, do your best to tear your gaze away from the spectacular views and focus on the food, because it’s really good and deserves your full attention.
The Reveley is located on Elizabeth Quay’s eastern promenade at the public jetty, making it very popular among locals arriving by boat. It boasts three levels – a bistro with outdoor areas on the ground floor, the dining room on the first floor, and Henry’s rooftop bar (go there for cool cocktail vibes and sunset drinks).
The dining room’s service is cheery and welcoming, and the menu is small but very good, with unpretentious dishes that exemplify local ingredients – it’s seasonal, and while we were there braised black angus ox cheek sat alongside Amelia Park lamb rump, Linley Valley pork belly and Shark Bay scallops, while select West Australian cheeses rounded off the selection.
We feasted on melt-in-your-mouth vodka-cured salmon gravlax, followed by crispy-skin Cone Bay barramundi and a fig and coconut yoghurt semifreddo with honeycomb and macadamia brittle.
(08) 6314 1350
Vodka-cured salmon gravlax
Heirloom beetroot, horseradish crème fraîche, Davidson plum
Curing the salmon
1 side salmon, cleaned, skin on
450g demerara sugar
450g salt flakes
25g dill, chopped
25g chervil, chopped
2 pink grapefruit, zest only
2 shots of vodka (The Reveley uses Belvedere)
Mix all ingredients and pour over the salmon. Wrap up tightly with plastic wrap, place in the fridge. Turn the salmon over after 6 hours. After a further 6 hours, wash off the salmon and dry well.
With a long, sharp knife, cut the salmon into thin slices, starting from the tail and working your way up to the head end.
The cured salmon will refrigerate for a week.
500g heirloom beetroots (red and gold). Use small beets that are the same size.
250ml crème fraîche
1 stick fresh horseradish
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1 eschalot, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Freeze-dried Davidson plum powder
In two separate saucepans (one for each colour beetroot) with cold, salted water, add the beetroots and bring to a boil. Cook for about 25 minutes. Use the tip of a knife to test if they’re done – there should be no resistance. Drain and cool. When chilled, dice or portion the beetroots, keeping the colours separate.
Whisk the crème fraîche till soft peaks form. To serve, place the salmon on a cold plate. Scatter with beetroot, chives and eschallot and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil. With a hot dessert spoon, scoop out a dollop of crème fraîche and place in the centre. Finish with a little shaved horseradish, Davidson plum powder and micro herbs.
Roasted Cone Bay barramundi
Saffron rouille, capsicum piperade, black olive tapenade
1kg cleaned barramundi fillet, portioned into 170g steaks (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
In a hot, non-stick frypan, add a little olive oil and place the seasoned fish skin-side down. Push the centre of the fillet down as it will curl slightly in the heat. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the fish until the skin is crispy, then turn over and finish cooking. The whole cooking time should take 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
1kg yellow capsicum, roasted and peeled
1kg red capsicum, roasted and peeled
1 red onion, sliced
1 tblsp thyme, chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
100ml sherry vinegar or balsamic
Slice the capsicums into thin strips. In a heavy frypan, sweat the garlic, thyme and onion until soft. Add the sherry vinegar (or balsamic) and reduce until sticky. Add the capsicums. Cook on low heat with a lid on for 1 hour, until dark and rich in colour. Remove the lid for the last 10 to 15 minutes.
200g Kalamata olives, pitted
100ml extra virgin olive oil
In a heavy-based saucepan, add olives and olive oil and cook under a paper cartouche for 1 hour, until the olives are soft. Strain the olives, retaining the oil. Blend olives until smooth – add a little of the retained oil if not smooth enough.
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tiny pinch saffron
4 egg yolks
50ml sherry vinegar
50g Dijon mustard
500ml olive oil
50g dill, chopped
In a saucepan of water (enough to cover the potato), add the potato and saffron. Bring to a boil and cook until done. Drain, and when nearly cool blend in a food processor with the egg yolks, vinegar and mustard. Then slowly add olive oil until the rouille is thick. Season to taste and add the dill.
2 medium fennel bulbs
400ml olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic
Trim the top of the fennel and then cut the fennel in quarters from top to bottom.
Place the fennel in a heavy-based saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Cover with a paper cartouche and cook very slowly until slightly soft – use the tip of a knife to press into the core, there should be no resistance. Drain and cool.
Serve a little of each component with the barramundi and finish with some micro herbs and a shaving of bottarga.