“THEY do the best bagels in Perth,” my friend said.
I thought he was talking about some hipster cafe in Leederville, where bearded men in flatcaps sipped caramel macchiatos and talked about the novel they never wrote, but instead he was banging on about The Kosher Providore in Menora.
I’d heard about the place in passing, but never visited, so I fired up the Voice tour bus and headed up the Kwinana Freeway to investigate.
Tucked away at the back of a car park, off Plantation Street, The Kosher Providore is one of those unassuming places you could easily miss, unless you are Jewish and go to the Perth Hebrew Congregation shul next door (handy customer base).
Providore’s frontage could have doubled as a nondescript house, and inside it was definitely no frills with a kosher butchers, bakery and a few grocery aisles crammed into a small shop.
Operating for more than 20 years, the family-run Providore no doubt relies on word-of-mouth in the Jewish community and has a strong customer base, but a lick of paint and some TLC wouldn’t go a miss to freshen things up.
I got there just before noon on a Tuesday and all the freshly-made bagels were almost gone, so get in there quick if you want to try some.
On their Facebook page the owners like to have a good laugh with funny poses and photos, and they didn’t disappoint when I turned up, goofing around behind the bakery counter.
It made for a fun, personable experience and a lot of the customers were on first name terms with staff.
The display cabinet had a large range of freshly-made boiled bagels including sesame, blueberry, “healthy”, poppy, onion and cinnamon, made by the store’s legendary “Bagel King”.
I got an assortment and then headed over to the butcher counter, where the guy from the bakery followed me over and served me again.
There was a nice range of steak, mince, osso buco and chicken, but I fancied some of the chunky beef spare ribs ($31.16).
The rest of the store had a range of imported ethnic and international goods with everything from kosher Nuttelex to matzo (unleavened flatbread).
On arriving back home, I toasted a sesame seed bagel ($1.50) and went for the classic combo with cream cheese, capers and some smoked salmon bought from the store. It was a lovely fresh bagel with just the right consistency and was really filling.
As I opened the shopping bag, I got a lovely fruity aroma from the blueberry bagel ($1.70) and couldn’t resist having one for afternoon tea.
It was definitely the pick of the bunch and really came to life when toasted with a slather of butter on top. Lots of blueberries in there and plenty of fresh zing.
My wife “Special K” is a bagel nut – she used to make us visit The Grumpy Sailor in Freo all the time to eat them – so she wasted no time ripping open the bag and toasting her cinnamon bagel ($1.50).
“Just the right amount of cinnamon and the perfect texture,” she said.
There was also a good range of goodies in the bakery, so I got a tray of white chocolate-chip cookies ($5.50) which went down a treat with my young kids Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles.
I kept eyeballing those ribs in the fridge, but I had to patiently wait overnight as they marinated in the BBQ-style sauce.
They were thick meaty specimens with plenty of tender fall-of-the-bone beef and no gristle. Good quality ribs.
The bagels are top notch at The Kosher Providore and it’s worth making the trip for them alone, but also to experience a little slice of Jewish life and culture in Perth that may have passed you by.
The Kosher Providore
Plantation Street, Menora
by STEPHEN POLLOCK