Getting back into cooking since 2009.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

West End Deli (Cafe - West Perth)

Beautiful West End Deli shot courtesy of Matt from Abstract Gourmet

The small spot on the corner of Carr and Strathcona Streets in West Perth (the Leederville side, not the CBD side) used to be a fairly dull lunch bar, which only opened a few hours a day and specialised in cheap, dreary pies and sandwiches for the office block around the corner. Cafe Saga, as it was known, eventually closed and the spot lay dormant for a few months until a sign proclaiming the arrival of the 'West End Deli' was affixed to the window.

The speculation began to mount: would it truly be a 'deli'? If so, would it be your run-of-the-mill cigarettes and Coffee Chill type establishment? Would it do breakfast? Lunch? Most importantly, would it be any good? This frenzy of speculation was, admittedly, mostly confined to my interior monologue, but it reached fever pitch nevertheless.

Soon, it opened with relatively little fanfare: a promising looking caf
e with a few shelves of nice pantry supplies on sale, a bit of fresh produce and some house-made charcuterie. I was hopeful, but skeptical. Lincolns and Sayers had only recently opened and I thought it would be hoping for too much for another quality food-focused cafe to open within walking distance of home.

The West End Deli turned out to be my favourite cafe of the
m all. It has a small (some say too small) menu that constantly changes to reflect the seasons and, presumably, to keep the chefs and customers interested. The 'deli' aspect of things has been reduced over time, but the cafe just gets better. I love this place.

At the moment the menu is focused on nourishing, wintery dishes like a braised beef cheek with creamy semolina that is beautifully gelatinous and hearty (pictured below thanks to Matt from Abstract Gourmet and his superior photography skills).

Another great photo courtesy of Matt from Abstract Gourmet

The current menu also features a shellfish bisque that is crammed with mussels, creme fraiche, tobbiko (a small, bright orange flying fish roe) and chives, served with a generous portion of house-made bread.

Beautiful photo of West End Deli's shellfish bisque by Matt from Abstract Gourmet

The bisque is incredible: rich, deep, complex flavours with plenty of mussels. The tobbiko pops in your mouth and provides a nice saltiness. I'd been daydreaming about this dish since my first serving a few weeks ago, and tried it again yesterday. It was just as I remembered, and perfect for the rainy weather Perth has been enjoying for the last few weeks. Best of all, it's only $13!

Some other items are not so cheap, and a few friends find the breakfast selection in particular to be a bit thin. I can see their point, the menu could perhaps do with one or two additional breakfast dishes. Still, there's always something on the menu that I want to eat.

West End makes all their own bread, pastries and sausages. Their baguettes ($4.5) are worth going out of your way for, and they supply some other local businesses (like Distracted on Oxford St, and Cantina 663 in Mount Lawley). There are also apparently plans to start opening for dinner in a few months time, which makes me ridiculously excited.

The coffee is very good and, most important of all, it's consistently good. They also make their own citrus-infused chocolate for the hot chocolates.

As you might have gathered, I am a bit of a fan.

(Thanks again to Matt from Abstract Gourmet for the photos. He has more at his flickr. He saw this post with a single crappy iPhone picture I'd taken, and generously offered his West End photos for use here).

West End Deli on Urbanspoon

West End Deli
95 Carr St
West Perth WA 6005
9328 3605


  1. why don't you just MARRY matt from abstract gourmet.

  2. haha aw. His photos are awesome! And he let me use them!

  3. Great review Matt, West End Deli is also one of my favourite spots for food. I love the cheffy feel of the dishes and the focus on doing things from scratch like the bread and a charcuterie. I'm always confident of getting something great here.

    Lucky you for living so close :)

    And he's safe with you S, but thanks for the photo links Matt :)

  4. great review! i have been meaning to go here for a while - i'll really have to make the effort now (especially if they have good baguette).

  5. Ahh, looks awesome. I will definitely have to head over there some time soon... how is it one can live so close to good food but never experience it?

  6. Cheers for the heads-up, I went with a friend last week and had the very tasty zucchini salad while he enjoyed the beef cheek (complete with a generous garnish of bone marrow). They forgot the egg with my salad but I can't complain after receiving an apology in the form of a Portugese tart.

  7. Will have to try this place out...looks so quaint.

  8. Great review, we are very frequent visitors of West End Deli. The food, as you mention, is different, delicious and we think pretty well priced. But, we just find the service to be absolutely 100% shambolic on nearly every visit (which between us, would be well over a dozen times).

    While we'll keep coming back for the laid back atmosphere and great menu, we wish they'd get the service right. The wait staff don't write things down so coffees don't arrive, or one of the sides never turns up, and sometimes entire meals go missing. Ordering takes 10 to 15 minutes, and brekkies take up to 50 minutes. Sure, the staff are lovely and very polite, but they just don't know what they're doing. We've been close to giving upon the West End Deli, but we just love everything else too much to do that.

    The baguettes and freshly baked bread are heaven.

  9. BSBs! I love your blog! Please update it! There is a hole in my Google Reader that only a witty appraisal of a Beaufort St tasting plate can fill.

    Yes, you're right, the service can be spotty. I've never had anything not arrive as ordered, but I have had to wait longer than appropriate either to be served or for my food. It's definitely a weakness, but for me the fantastic food and the staff and owners' general niceness make up for it.

  10. I dont mind the west end deli and used to frequent there daily when i worked around the corner. my only complaint was the wait that occasionally occurred but the food was generally worth it.
    i agree with the post above the food is good because its different but if you are in a rush dont bother, the service is terrible.

    i am however disappointed that instead of just posting a positive review you managed to insult the previous establishment. the boys who owned and ran cafe saga where fantastic, a lot more personable than the owners of west end and the food was fresh and fantastic also. not at all the way you described previously.