THE staff at Old Lane Eats were run off their feet as Fringe Festival punters grabbed a bite to eat, but even though the waiters were sweating, their smiles never slipped.
A mate and I were off to see the cabaret show Club Swizzle, and were looking for somewhere quick and cheap to eat.
Perth’s Chinatown is pretty lame compared to most capital cities, but its eateries were pumping, and the atmosphere was Singapore pre-Lee Kuan Yew, when it was less modern and clean, but far more interesting.
Old Lane’s murals, showing a run down Asian streetscape, added to the ambience.
The outdoor area wasn’t really outdoor, and the couple of fans turning languidly had little effect on the temperature or humidity.
A glass of grandma’s special street brew ($3) cooled my inner core.
The closest I could get to what’s in it was “cane sugar and barley”.
It was a sweet and wheaty-tasting mix that I imagine is an acquired taste, but not bad.
Our food came one dish at a time, kicking off with corn fritters ($6.90).
They were piping hot, crisp on the outside and tasty but lacked oomph.
But the mee goreng ($8.90) was fantastic: oily and spicy with a pleasant flame-grilled flavour and a touch of chilli.
The beef satay ($5.90) was tender and tasty.
“And the peanut sauce is fantastic,” my friend said.
A whole grilled squid, glistening and golden brown, was last to arrive.
I looked around in vain for a knife, but it was so tender I cut it with a spoon, and was soon sinking my teeth into flame-grilled flesh that was sweet and savoury.
For steamed bao fans, there’s a whole section of the menu devoted to them, ($9.90 for two), and corkage is a very modest $3.
This eatery is not fancy, but in terms of value for money and delicious food, it’s hard to beat.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Old Lane Eats
68 Roe Street, Northbridge
open Tues–Sunday 5.30 till late