Satsuki Japanese Yes, the mains are under $25 but you'd need more than one to satisfy. This is shared food at its best with a selection of hot, cold, deep-fried and grilled dishes. Probably not suitable for very large groups, the food here is beautiful.
Zen Japanese This is a real hideyhole, and would be great for smaller groups (up to six). Definitely not for larger groups. There are plenty of dishes under the $25 mark, but some of the seafood, steak and sashimi break our budget. One of my favourites.
Han's is the quintessential cheap'n'cheerful. The food is fresh and generous and you can get plenty of dishes for $30. They offer banquets at very reasonable prices (min 4 people) and there is now an all-you-can-eat buffet every night for less than $25pp. Bargain. Great for groups.
With those large communal tables, surely this place must be perfect for big groups. With a menu that touches on all sorts of Asian cuisines and a kids-eat-free policy, this is one place that will give you change for icecream afterwards. It's not posh, but it meets our cheap'n'cheerful requirements.
Jimmy's Noodles and Rice
A down to earth, Asian restaurant of mixed cuisines. Its décor is pretty basic but if you're looking for a place to get a group together and eat for less than $30, then this meets the criteria.
This is a great option if you're not sure if you want to snack while you drink or actually sit down and have a meal. It also works well for large groups, as the room is spacious with various areas available for 'private' functions. With regular cheap nights (such as $10 curry night), the majority of the mains are under $25 and if you're willing to splurge, they offer a set menu for $35pp (min 5 people).
The majority of the pub-grub mains fit in the $25 budget, and if you keep an eye on their website you will find regular specials such as free soup with every main. Fine for larger groups, there are indoor and al fresco options. Best to avoid on footy days.
It's an Irish Pub but the menu is pure Aussie Bar food. With plenty of booths for groups up to six people, practically everything on the menu is below $25. If you have a large group they offer a number of platters and don't charge a venue fee.
Fire and Ice Bar
This is a bar that serves good food, and it just squeaks in with the 50% rule, but it does have regular 'Tight Ass Tuesday' and cheap members' nights specials. Good for more casual, stand-up drinking type evenings. Great if you love footy.
You can either choose a selection of tapas dishes ($6-$15 each) or from their small (but worldly) mains menu. Salad dishes are all under $20 and there are $15 burger and beer specials on Wednesdays. This is a bar, so traditional sit-down tables are limited, but there are multiple levels that are available for hire for larger groups.
This almost didn't make it because only 2 of its five main courses came in under $25. But then again it has a bunch of cheaper entrée and starter options. This is a bar, so the focus is on drinking and dancing, but there is food, and most importantly cheap steak nights which I think renders it eligible for cheap'n'cheerful.
With almost all of the mains under $25 (and many under $17) you could easily get a group together, order a selection of curries and noodle dishes to share, some rice on the side and walk out with a full stomach and some change in your wallet. Great for larger groups, they even offer banquet meals starting at the very reasonable price of $27.50pp (min 6 people).
With four separate dining rooms and an al fresco area, Sawadee provides private space for small groups. Great for share food, and the majority of the mains come in under $25, Sawadee is at the high end of Rokeby Road.
This Subiaco institution makes it, but only just. There are plenty of delicious mains dishes for under $25 but plenty more for $25 (especially seafood). It caters for larger groups, and is definitely the type of place you order a selection of dishes and share. It would be easy to break the $30pp budget though.
Indian cuisine is all about big groups and sharing food, and Metro fits the bill perfectly. The majority of mains are under $25, but if you are willing to spend a tad more they have $35/$40 banquets (min 4 people) that will fill you up for the next week, and you don't have to think about what to order.
Sure you can get your gang together and order a bunch of curries (most of which fall under $25) but if you have a really big group, why not book the entire place out and choose from the selection of cocktail platters and banquet options. All curries are half price on Mondays and Tuesdays, and on Sundays there is a $29 all you can eat option.
Jus makes some of the best burgers you will ever eat and they certainly fall within our budget. The only issue is that seating large groups would be nigh on impossible and you can't book. Would be a great cheap'n'cheerful for a small group of six.
There's not much on the menu that is over the $25 budget, and the beauty of pizza is that it is perfect for sharing. The round tables make it difficult for larger groups, but this is certainly an option for a small group to have a feed and still not break the bank. Reviews are mixed.
Where: 372 Hay St, Subiaco
Santa Fe Tequila Bar
This very friendly Mexican joint has a number of options well below the $25 cut-off (though you may need to buy a few dishes). It can be a bit squishy, but that's part of the fun. For larger groups you can have a private function out the back in the garden.