There is a lot to love about Little Way. It's accessible and funky, the menu is unusual, the servings generous and the prices seem like someone put the decimal point in the wrong place.
Located at the quiet end of Broadway in Nedlands, away from the university, Little Way is actually two shops and an al fresco area located near the river. It consists of multiple spaces – and two front doors – giving you an option of different dining 'feels' including streetside tables out the front, bar stools and high benches to enjoy a drink without a meal, romantic tables in dark corners or al fresco dining in the garden. There is even a private dining room.
Part of the al fresco area looking out toward the street
The garden is close to perfect at the right time of year, strung with lights and overhanging plants. There are large umbrellas which would give some protection from direct sun or rain, and baskets of umbrellas and blankets are available for when the weather is a bit chilly. The whole place feels eclectic but not pretentious.
Little Way is open daily (except Monday) for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. With its small bar licence, you can visit for a beer or cocktail (or wine) without needing to order food.
The dinner menu is available from the refreshingly early time of 4.30pm, making it incredibly family-friendly (although there is no specific kids menu, but they'd probably enjoy the Margherita pizza for $16 or the beef or chicken burgers $23/$22.) Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 11.30 and lunch and brunch from 11.30am to 4pm (most of the dinner menu is available at lunchtime).
The menu was exciting to read and many of us had difficulty choosing a meal. The menu isn't huge, but it reads as incredibly fresh, and vegetarians and gluten intolerants are taken care of.
Options include roast beetroot, pumpkin and faro salad with walnuts, feta and rocket ($17) to which you can add halloumi ($4) or chicken ($5.50); beef cheek with mushroom ragout and pappardelle ($25) sounds perfect for the cold winter months while orange poached chicken salad with sticky mandarin, labna, pawpaw red cabbage and toasted coconut ($22) could be a perfect lunch or light dinner.
Our table ordered the crispy skin salmon with chorizo, corn and asparagus salsa, capsicum, lemon ricotta puree and crispy fried eggplant ($32); the pork fillet with toasted polenta cake, parsnip puree, Serrano ham and oven dried tomatoes ($26) and the slow cooked lamb shoulder with green olive tabbouleh, Israeli cous cous, mint, pistachio and preserved lemon and yoghurt ($28). We also ordered the mint and rocket salad with charred zucchini and feta ($10).
I am getting hungry just re-reading that and did you notice the prices? They are even more amazing when you see the serving sizes, with plenty of meat in each dish and no scrimping.
Unfortunately, while the food was good, it wasn't mind-blowing. Each of us felt that our dishes could have been lifted with something simple. The pork needed more sauce. The salmon needed more salsa and the asparagus was practically non-existent. My lamb needed a squeeze of fresh lemon and fresh mint, and the mint and rocket salad needed much more mint (and feta).
The deserts on the other hand were perfect – with a choice of two (plus cheese platter or sorbet) we decided to order one of each and share. Priced at $12 they were delectable and the winners of the nights.
The rhubarb crumble cake with salted caramel sauce, strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream was just the right combination of sweet and moist and tart (although the salted caramel sauce was light on, probably not a bad thing).
The chocolate brownie was warm and gooey, with big fat cherries (apparently cooked in chai spices) and a Pedro Ximinez dark chocolate sauce, also with vanilla bean ice cream.
The prices are amazing considering the sizes of the servings. The most expensive main is $32, and that is the salmon which comes with a huge slab of Tasmania's best. Everything else is under $30, almost unheard of in Perth. Four of us each had mains, a glass of wine, shared bread and salad, and half a dessert each for only $50. I can't recall ever having a dinner for that price.
Service is friendly but slow, and while it is nice when staff give you space and time to chat, we sometimes had trouble attracting attention when we wanted to order. Perhaps it just adds to the overall relaxed feel at Little Way and I will definitely return again for dinner and to try their breakfast or perhaps just for a coffee and something from their cake cabinet.