The glamorous Crown Casino Perth was expanded in 2016 to the tune of A$650 million (S$605 million). An A$1.6 billion multipurpose stadium has welcomed the likes of U2 and Taylor Swift since its opening in 2018. A spanking new The Ritz-Carlton, Perth – the first in Australia after a two-decade hiatus from the group – offers a sprawling 2,981 sqft top-floor suite with panoramic views of Swan River you can experience for A$8,888 a night.
For a town built on the fast riches of Western Australia’s mining boom – and sucked into a downward spiral when the same industry collapsed in 2015 – Perth has sprung back, with plenty of exciting developments. Underscoring the city’s Herculean effort to rise from ashes is Elizabeth Quay – a scenic mixed- use waterfront development that links the Perth CBD to Swan River, creating a business, leisure and entertainment hub that has attracted over a A$2 billion stake in private investments since its launch in 2016.
Incentives from the government have also seen a phenomenal boom in hotel openings. Just last year, besides The Ritz-Carlton, Park Regis Subiaco, Doubletree by Hilton Perth Northbridge and Art Series – The Adnate, Perth also opened. This means the addition of some 5,000 rooms in the last six years, with another thousand to come by 2022.
Of course, the opening of high-end properties often translates to new destination restaurants. Think Wildflower, a contemporary fine dining venue, and David Thompson’s Long Chim, located within the same heritage complex as luxury hotel Como The Treasury, celebrity chef Guy Grossi’s Garum, The Westin Perth’s signature restaurant, and The Ritz-Carlton, Perth’s Hearth.
What’s more, these swank CBD options are complemented by the organic growth of an exciting mix of mid-tier restaurants – from polished French and Italian stalwarts to a gamut of new places serving world cuisine, spanning Thai to Caribbean.
Head to the posh heritage neighbourhood of Mount Lawley for cool coffee shops and bars nestled alongside unique shops and boutiques, Fremantle for a buzzy cafe scene, Northbridge for edgy ethnic fare… With breadth, depth and vibrancy, Perth is poised to become an interesting proposition for gourmet travellers.
Of course, you might have to dig a little to go beyond the trendy new spots backed by smooth marketing machinery, and the widely publicised old-favourites, but the discoveries are worth it. Here are some of the latest openings to note:
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Two of the hottest tables in Perth right now
The West Australian’s legendary food critic Rob Broadfield called Hearth, The Ritz-Carlton, Perth’s signature restaurant “the biggest culinary gamble Perth has taken”, and it would seem that the gamble is paying off as it looks set to put the city’s fine dining scene in the international limelight.
The hearth is the heart of Hearth and where head chef Jed Gerrard – who previously helmed Wildflower at Como The Treasury and catapulted it to cult status – harnesses the flavours of produce from Western Australia’s Kimberley region to the Great Southern with smoke, flames, ember – and a lot of finesse and ingenuity – for his dishes.
Get ready for an experience that is distinctly local and exceptional. Notable dishes include the beautifully delicate, painstakingly constructed flan of Quandong Point pearl meat, charred Southern Forest avocado, Geraldton Wax flowers, Kununurra boab tuber and mango, and the rustically hearty sharing dish of hearth-roasted Wagin duck, accented by Jarrah honey and spiced quandong.
Double Rainbow Eating House
To Broadfield, this was the only restaurant in 2019 to give him goosebumps just thinking about it. A stellar addition to the eclectic mix of restaurants offering world cuisine in grungy Northbridge, Double Rainbow boasts a stellar cast in the kitchen: chef consultant Jesse Blake of Petition Kitchen fame, head chef Jeremy Bleszynski, who used to be at Potato Head Bali, and sous chef Soon Young Kwon, formerly with Momofuku.
From them, come lively, Asian-inspired treats worth reordering such as shredded banana flower salad with coconut, cucumber and kaffir lime; smoked ox tongue with scallion-ginger sauce; crisp-fried chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and coated with chilli vinegar dressing perfumed with kaffir lime leaf; kangaroo tail red curry; sweet ‘n’ sour tripe; and grilled chicken heart skewers.
The casual dinner venue – housed within entertainment complex The Rechabite – opens until 2am on weekends, making it the perfect spot for quality chow after drinks or a show.
(Related: Where to eat and drink in Perth, according to chef Jesse Blake)