It was the sad little pot-plant in the window that got me. First, why was it there since this was a behemoth metal shed, a disused mechanics garage now transformed into an über cool West Perth diner. Secondly, if you're going to put random little plants on your window ledge, why let them die?
Perhaps it was because the staff had other more compelling things to do. Like feed the massive crowds of people flocking to the new establishment in town. Or to be more accurate, just out of town. Located on – funnily enough – Gordon Street in West Perth, this unassuming building opens onto a cavernous, utilitarian space – think Little Creatures without the view. But with a seal juggling a tyre on its nose embossed on the front wall.
Upstairs, those in the know sit on couches. A large wooden communal table fills the front space, along with a leaning table, perfect for those waiting for their single origin, hand sourced, cold filtered coffee from Kenya. It's not as pretentious as it sounds.
I really enjoyed my breakfast at the Gordon Street Garage. I wasn't convinced that the single waitress would find us in the substantial crowds of hungry and thirsty customers, but she was totally on her game, friendly and accommodating.
The crowd at the Garage are an eclectic mix of men (and women) in crisp white business shirts and dark pants, trendy young men in berets (yep), singles tapping away on their lap tops at the communal table, the fluoro-vest crowd, families (well, my daughter and I) and coloured-hair arty types.
My daughter wanted to take them home for her dolls
While at times, it felt too cool for school with its chipped enamel water jugs, the vintage crockery, mismatched furniture and doll-sized coffee cups, it still felt… well, cool. The concrete floors still retain the original chipped blue paint. Sunlight streams through the industrial skylights overhead.
And the food… well, that's why we're here.
Run by the team responsible for Duende and Balthazar, the food at Gordon Street Garage is top quality, and while you certainly pay for the privilege, the ingredients are fresh, simple and belong together. Nothing is brought in, the jam is made here, and even the smoked salmon is smoked in-house. Apparently they have a kitchen garden out the back.
Rather than sticking with the traditional breakfast menu, each dish has one or two surprises that make you think 'Yes, I definitely need to try that.'
The house-made bircher muesli ($14) comes with poached pear, pistachio and cranberries. The roasted field mushrooms on toast ($17) come with Tasmanian brie and chive oil. The GSG (aka 'big brekkie') at $24 comes with smoked tomato and pork and fennel sausages as well as all the usual suspects.
My choice was the sweet corn fritters with chunky guacamole and fetta ($17) with a side of house smoked salmon ($5).
This was one of those dishes that you initially look at and think 'Well, that's not going to be enough.' Two modest sweetcorn pancakes, a scoop of guacamole scattered with corn kernels scraped off the cob, fresh diced tomato and a single, cube of fetta.
Halfway through I was already deciding I would need to order another serve, partly because I still thought I would be hungry, but mostly because it was a near-perfect breakfast. The creamy saltiness of the fetta was a natural foil to the super sweet kernels, and the richness of the guacamole.
I gave myself a pat on the back for ordering the house smoked salmon, it fitted the rest of the dish like a body stocking and was probably responsible for filling me up.
Pancakes with bitter chocolate, vanilla cream and hazlenut praline. Yes, it's breakfast
Perhaps that could also have been attributed to my daughter's pancake which I finished on her behalf. Her dish ($16) was more dessert than breakfast: three unusual looking pancakes, a small bowl of rich, bitter chocolate sauce ("more chocolate than chocolate," my daughter declared), a similar dish of crushed hazelnut praline, and a larger flat bowl of vanilla cream, which was like a sweet custard.
It was decadent and delicious and I wasn't at all surprised she couldn't finish it. Since she is a typical six-year old, unpredictable as they are boring, I had asked for all the extras 'on the side', so I'm not sure how the pancakes would normally come.
Gordon Street Garage is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, and is proving enormously popular.
Finding a free car park in West Perth may prove challenging, but if you're prepared to pay for your pleasure, there is street parking ($3.50 an hour) or the Coolgardie Street Carpark immediately behind the building for $2.80 an hour (walk through the lane to get to GS Garage). Perhaps even park at HarbourTown and walk half a block. It is very busy on weekends and they don't take bookings, but it is a large space and worth the wait.