I THINK only the Dockers were feeling bluer and looking more shambolic than me a few weekends ago.
We’d just moved house and got a pre-dawn visit from the local robbers while we slept, exhausted.
They may have assumed the house had already been ransacked given its state, but took just my wallet and a skateboard, so it could have been a lot worse.
But trying to work out if anything is missing when you don’t actually know where anything is can be time-consuming, and by the time I’d called the police and cancelled bank cards, any notions of casually preparing for work were out the window.
So now I haven’t shaved and I’m wearing an ill-fitting shirt I don’t like, trousers I can’t iron, and shoes held together with Liquid Nails.
As a final insult, a shoelace breaks as I’m trudging out the door, and I have to pull the remaining piece so tightly into a bow that by lunchtime I’m hobbling.
Luckily the morning’s work is photographing buildings rather than people, but come lunchtime I’m painfully aware that I look like a hobo as I wait to be seated at the up-market Mayfair Lane.
Situated amongst West Perth’s office blocks, Mayfair’s is popular with lawyers, financiers and the detritus of the mining industry, and there’s an embarrassment of suits mingling when I arrive.
But it’s a place with a lot of heart and homeliness, and I was welcomed with a warm smile and commiserations from a very friendly waitress who found me a table overlooking Outram Street.
After the morning I’ve been through, the extensive drinks menu reads like a doctor’s script.
A London Spritz cocktail ($18) with its gin, elderflower liqueur, apple, mint and soda is the painkiller, while a glass of Domaine Richard Rottiers Gamay ($17) delivers a Prozac-like shot of happiness.
But with only a few greenbacks shoved into my wallet-less pockets by my six-year-old son, I hit a dilemma: Mayfair’s meals are on the steepish side and I’m after the comfort of a good steak; I can’t afford both.
Compromise on the steak or give up the booze? Fortunately I chose the latter and enjoyed one of the best scotch fillets I’ve had in ages.
Cooked to perfection, it was juicy and tender and came with a spirited Madeira mushroom ragout in a little bowl.
The red wine jus had a lovely bite, and once you’ve had potatoes roasted in duck fat, you’ll never look at mash the same way.
They were hot and crunchy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside.
I managed to eke out a coffee from my meagre funds and it was beautifully smooth and creamy.
Mayfair Lane is a great place for a meal if you find yourself in West Perth and want something a little bit fancy without the pretension.
by STEVE GRANT
72 Outram Street, West Perth
Mon – Sat 11.30am – late