What a year. Without doubt, this has been the breakthrough year for Perth dining. An array of big bucks restaurants opened their doors and some of the lesser lights faded away. It’s a bone fide generational shift in WA’s hospitality industry.
But, in some respects, the industry has never had it so tough. Finding and keeping staff remains the single greatest constraining factor on development of the hospitality industry. This is unique to WA, where a booming economy has created virtually full employment, which means WA chefs and waiters are paid the most in the country. And it shows in the prices of our restaurant meals - still the most expensive in Australia. By far.
Which is probably why low price/high quality Mexican and burger restaurants continued to flourish this year.
The biggest trend however – after the hipster Neuvo-Mexicanos doing their cool and groovy thing – is French. But it’s not French as we knew it in the 70s and 80s; it’s French with a bistro accent. Suddenly snails, entrecote and beef bourguignon are appearing everywhere.
And it seems, at last, that Perth’s CBD is getting a dining culture. The massive Brookfield Multiplex/BHP development has brought with it a raft of new, high-end restaurants. The impact has been immediate. Restaurateurs – even those who are not a part of the Brookfield Place development – are reporting increased foot traffic in the city and an increasing buzz. Most cite the new CBD restaurants as the cause.
And despite the systemic workforce issues plaguing the sector, there are plans for even more high quality restaurants for Perth, two of them underwritten by the game changing Crown Perth, which has been driving much of Perth’s newfound restaurant confidence.
These changes all boil down to a better customer experience and greater diversity at both the very top and the inexpensive end of the markets.
We’ve increased our reviewing pool to 21qualified critics for this edition and we’ve upped the ante with our bars and cafes section, giving you 40 of each the best to choose from.