I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published July 3rd 2012
Located in busy William Street in Northbridge, just a stone's throw from the railway station, Kakulas Brothers has been a Perth icon for almost a century.
Established in 1929 by Evangelos Kakulus, who migrated from the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the early twentieth century, the store stocks a wide variety of continental and other groceries, plus many other products sourced from around the globe. However, Kakulas is far from being a typical suburban general store. Its rustic Greek decor, beautiful traditional shop-fittings and old-fashioned service set it distinctly apart from its competition, and contribute to the colourful and eclectic atmosphere which has charmed generations of local customers.
In many ways, a visit to Kakulas is like entering a living, breathing museum. Although general stores are little more than a memory in modern-day Perth, at Kakulas you can still experience good, old-fashioned service in a beautiful traditional shop-front environment. Many of the store's original, polished wooden fittings are still used, and beautiful old artefacts from the proprietors' homeland in Greece (such as rustic baskets and urns) are lovingly displayed throughout the premises.
An impressive selection of olive oils and loose dry goods inside the store
If you're the type of person who revels in the exotic sights, scents and tastes of markets abroad, you'll definitely love the Kakulas experience. The store stocks an immense range of products from every continent, many which are hard to find anywhere else in Perth: a dramatic contrast to most of our local supermarkets, which are dominated by the same old generic brands. For example, a single small shelf may contain a bewildering assortment of Thai sauces, French jams, Polish sweets, Indian spices, African teas and Lebanese snacks.
Some of the well-stocked shelves at Kakulas Brothers.
In addition, Kakulas is a great spot for people watching, and at any one time you'll find a harmonious and diverse variety of individuals, browsing the delightful assortment of goods on its shelves. Locals searching for a special, hard-to-find ingredient rub shoulders with young backpackers, recent migrants in their beautiful, brightly-coloured attire, business people, pensioners and international students.
One thing that I especially love about this place is, like general stores of yore, it is possible to self-serve: to choose your dry grocery items from amongst dozens of tastefully-displayed open bags of flours, whole grains, beans, nuts and spices, deciding on how much exactly you want to purchase. There is also a small section dedicated to organic products, and a delicatessen at the store's rear, where fresh cheeses, olives and other products can be purchased.
The deli and some of the wide selection of loose dry goods at Kakulas Brothers.
A final point which I'd like to make about this special, one-of-a-kind store is about its amazingly affordable prices. Unlike the 'trendy' delis found in most Perth suburbs which charge ridiculous prices for the humblest grocery items, those at Kakulas Brothers are as refreshingly real as the shop itself.
So next time you're in Perth City, do yourself a favour: cross over the railway lines and amble up William Street for a unique cultural experience. Although the atmosphere alone is priceless, you'll undoubtedly find a few exotic goodies to take home with you as well.