Bathers Beach House - Discover Perth
This year, I'm kicking off another new segment on my blog! Once a month, I will be writing about some of favourite places to visit and things to do in the cities in which I spend the most time. While I live in Canberra now, I spent my younger years in Perth, the city where my family still resides.
I love returning to Perth for my family, friends, clients and the amazing beaches. And every now and then, I find a gem of a restaurant.
I stumbled across Bathers Beach House by pure accident in February 2016 during the weekend of the Fremantle Seafood Festival. My parents and I had decided to visit Freo for the festival on the Saturday. After bumping into many of our old friends and colleagues (old as in how long we've been friends... not their actual age... before I get into any kind of trouble), we decided it was time to eat. The standard fish and chip places in the Fishing Boat Harbour (Cicerello's, Joe's Fish Shack, Kailis, Little Creatures) were absolutely packed. Across the carpark, Dad noticed Bathers Beach House.
We wandered over and looked at the menu. The menu was simple with a few twists on some of the standard dishes, which sold Dad. The cocktail list looked incredible, which sold me. So we were decidedly having lunch there.
Since that first lunch, I've been back to Bathers Beach House a number of times, including a lunch where my parents and I took my great-uncle and great-aunt on a family day out (and we only take my Zio and Zia to the best places).
So what should you order?
And more cocktails.
Bathers Beach House has possibly one of the best cocktail menus I've seen in Perth at a casual restaurant. When I first started frequenting BBH, the cocktails were some of the cheapest in Perth. Now, they are priced on par with other similar establishments.
There is a wide selection of ingredients, flavours and styles of cocktails. Each of the cocktails provide such intense flavours - obviously the result of hours of crafting and perfecting an incredible recipe.
Once you've struggled to choose just one cocktail (at least to start), it's time to turn your eyes to the food menu. I highly recommend not going to Bathers Beach House alone... or even on a romantic date because you will want to have a number of people with you, so you can order food to share and try a little bit of everything.
Today, four of us ordered literally all bar one of the entrées to share (and a side of fries... because why not). This included a serve of char-grilled organic sourdough bread, za'atar spiced haloumi chips, goats' cheese panna cotta, sea salt and pepper squid, shredded beef, leek and cheese croquettes, scented belly of pork, hot wings and sashimi tuna.
Not one of these dishes failed to impress me. The bread was a great accompaniment for the panna cotta, which was smooth and well-seasoned. The spiced haloumi chips were not rubbery (as haloumi can often be served) but were served with harissa yoghurt and chermoula dip to add a little extra flavour. The sea salt and pepper squid was well-seasoned and fresh. The croquettes went almost immediately but the potato filling was also well-seasoned and so smooth. The belly of pork had multiple layers of amazing textures with such wonderfully balanced flavours. The hot wings were sticky and scrumptious but made such a mess. However, we were well looked after with two finger bowls as an alternative to slightly tacky and un-environmentally friendly packaged hand wipes that are so often provided with hot wings. The sashimi was served with pineapple, sesame seeds, wakame and a sweet teriyaki sauce over a bed of rice, like a naked sushi. The flavours were incredible.
We were so full that we didn't even get around to dessert, which broke my heart (I'm still recovering from the emotional trauma).
In the past, I have also enjoyed the seafood board with my fellow diners, an overwhelming amount of fresh seafood, presented beautifully and prepared purely to excite your tastebuds.
The outside seating area steps onto Bathers Beach, so on a hot day, you can dip your feet in the water to stay cool between entrée and main. The whole vibe of Bathers Beach House is totally relaxed, perfect for a long lunch. Just beware of the Fremantle Roundhouse cannon up the road, which fires a blank daily at 1pm. I have noticed a couple of panicked tourists in the vicinity of the Roundhouse, including Bathers Beach House, at the firing of the cannon. Nothing to be alarmed about.
For some reason, Bathers Beach House doesn't seem to attract as many kids as some of the restaurants along the Fishing Boat Harbour. As someone who hasn't got kids just yet, this places BBH high on my list of venues at which I enjoy eating as it is a little quieter... and you don't have to watch the waiters and waitresses with an impending sense of doom as a young child mindlessly runs into someone with your plates of food in their hands.
In my experience, the service as been nothing but extraordinary - friendly and efficient - a rare thing to find in Perth nowadays. The staff are knowledgeable and confident, and I have always been greeted with a smile.
I can't wait to return to Bathers Beach House next time I am in Perth for another couple of cocktails and to make-up for the fact I missed out on dessert today!
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a food critic. The opinions in my article only reflect positive experiences I've had with cafés and restaurants I have visited.