WE had the good sense to phone ahead for a table as we drove to the Beaufort Street Merchant in Highgate.
Wafted to a corner nook at the back of the huge industrial-grunge theme eatery we felt quite smug as lesser mortals queued.
The oft-heard lament around Perth is of poor service, but the folks at this cafe have it nailed.
While my mate and I checked out shelves of comestibles to purchase and take home, the waiter sought us out to say our food had arrived. A second waiter stopped us en-route with the same message.
Friendly and very, very efficient the staff made an enjoyable meal even more so: worth every cent of their well-earned penalty rates.
The truffle-oil mushrooms and spicy potatoes were a match made in heaven
The Merchant started life as a gourmet goods retailer with a small cafe, but as word spread the shelves shrank to fit in more diners and it’s the other way around now.
There’s still plenty of delicious things to take away, funky coffee makers and a fantastic range of wines, but food is where it’s at judging by the many happy customers.
Brother and sister Scott and Angie Taylor are behind this popular eatery and are also responsible for the trendy and upmarket Trustee Bar and Bistro on St Georges Terrace.
Suffering from an overindulgence the night before I kicked off my Merchant breakfast with a beetroot, wheatgrass, carrot and spirulina juice ($7.50). It actually was quite remarkable in its effect.
But possibly not so much as my mate’s watermelon, apple, mint and rose water.
She waxed lyrical about Middle Eastern bazaars, soft breezes, colour and movement as the rose water lingered on her tongue, clearly affecting her brain.
Food was needed for her and me.
In my case it was truffled mushrooms ($20). The kitchen was happy to swap the customary poached eggs for Spanish potatoes and I reckon I’m on to something: they should keep it on the menu.
The truffle-oil mushrooms and spicy potatoes were a match made in heaven in my humble opinion, aided beautifully with the bed of polenta, rocket and shaved parmesan.
My mate enjoyed her caramelised leek croquette, with poached eggs, bacon and lemon-scented rocket ($21): crunchy on the outside with a creamy, leek-filled centre, which she enthused went perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon.
We lingered long and the cakes we’d passed at the front sent their siren song, so we ordered more coffees to go, along with a fig and ricotta tart and a pear tart ($7). Both were worth the extra millimetres on the waistline, while the coffees were smooth and delicious.
by JENNY D’ANGER
The Beaufort Street Merchant
488 Beaufort Street, Highgate
open 7 days 7am–10pm