LUNCHING alone at the West End Deli was so relaxing I felt right at home reading the paper while waiting for my meal.
But the first mouthful of the Sri Lankan-inspired pumpkin curry and local prawns ($27) sent all thoughts of world and home news from my head, my eyes glazing over in rapture at the magnificent blend of spices.
All too soon I was mopping up the last smear with a particularly good paratha.
In the interests of balance I checked with a couple of nearby patrons to see what they were eating.
The glazed beef short rib, with kim chi (a spicy Korean version of sauerkraut), broccoli and roasted cucumber, ($29) and the crab baguette ($18) both received the thumbs up.
There’s corned ox tongue with mushroom terrine and poached eggs ($24), for the more adventurous.
The corner eatery started out as the Melrose Cash and Carry in the 1930s.
Over the years it’s been many things, including a Greek deli and a take-away, before chef and owner Justin Peters and wife Christine took it on in 2008.
The decor has a charm all its own: industrial chic meets post-war Paris, with the walls still waiting for wallpaper.
Justin’s passion for cooking started as a youngster in South Africa.
Moving to Australia he turned that into a career, going on to become head chef at some of Perth’s trendiest eateries, including Duende, Il Lido and Verve.
Almost everything is made in-house and staff in the open kitchen are encouraged to talk to customers.
Perusing the cakes I chat to recently-arrived chef Charlotte Chaudet about the food, and the bistro.
“It’s really interesting, very similar to a Melbourne cafe,” she says.
I’d planned on taking home a couple of cakes to share with my beloved but, sipping a really good black coffee, the gluten-free fig and butterscotch cake ($7.50) rustled enticingly in its paper bag and before I knew it the moist morsel was looking sadly depleted, so I put it out of its misery.
The brownie ($5.50) did make it home and D’Angerous Dave reckoned it was one of the best he’d eaten.
by JENNY D’ANGER
West End Deli
95 Carr Street, West Perth
open 7 days breakfast & lunch, Thurs–Sat dinner