Perth: Grand Lane Fish House, Ciao Italia, Hakata Gensuke, Tiisch, RoyAl`s Chicken & Burgers

The last time I was in Perth in 2012, most of these didn`t exist yet. This trip, I have noticed that apart from more and more food places opening up in town, they are also opened later and later into the evening.

For a university student who was once used to almost everything being closed by 8PM, with the only option being Macca`s, this is A Big Deal.

I had fun researching, reading reviews, and ordering requesting my friends to drive me to these places to eat. Here are my top 5 favourite food experiences from my Perth trip in April 2018:

1) Grand Lane Fish House

When I touched down in Perth, the first I wanted to eat, desperately, was GOOD FISH & CHIPS, something I find hard to find in Kuala Lumpur at a decent price.

I researched many places in Perth, and even thought of going to Fremantle (Freo) to eat at Cicerello`s, just like I used to.

Due to time constraints, however, I continued researching for fish & chips places in the city, and found Grand Lane Fish House.

I kept asking K, who picked me up, why Perth smelled like piss, from the car park to the alleyways that we went through.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I suppose many people had fun...

Luckily, the smell dissipated when we were in the vicinity of Grand Lane Fish House. I highly doubt anyone wants to eat fish & chips with the smell of piss lingering by.

To try a little bit of everything, we got the Fisherman`s Box:

A side of fish fillet, 3 crumbed calamari, 3 crumbed prawns, hand-cut chips, and tartare sauce.

Maybe I was just hungry or really happy to be away from real life for a bit, but it was all delicious. The people on the premises were friendly and knowledgeable about seafood, the al fresco dining area was colourful, and my long-awaited fish & chips was fresh - crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside. It really was just a great place to hang and catch up with a friend I had not seen in a year plus.

Will I come here again when I'm back in Perth?


2) Ciao Italia 

Ciao Italia has always been a place to which I MUST return to.

I celebrated my 21st birthday here, and this year... I spent my birthday dining here again.

I adore Ciao Italia - the Italian restaurant that Asians love.

There's a running joke in my circles that only Asians will come to Ciao Italia to queue for up to 2 hours.

They are correct. I HAVE queued for Ciao Italia for 2 hours before.

This time the wait was about 20 minutes, much less than before. A small group and arriving at 8:30PM helps.

Between three people, we ordered:

a) garlic bread,

b) lasagna,

c) spaghetti carbonara,

d) chilli prawn pizza, AND

e) tiramisu.

I really, REALLY, wasn't planing on telling the Ciao Italia staff that it was my birthday. I wasn't in the mood to mark my birthday loudly - just a special meal, one that I've longed for on and off for 5 years, was enough.

K and B were way ahead of me, though, and the staff sang me the birthday song anyway.

It was sweet and bittersweet at the same time, but it was certainly a memory to cherish.

A year older. Sadder, more cynical, but always thankful to the people who keep me afloat without drowning in the miseries of life.

3) Hakata Gensuke 

Perth has quite the amount of Japanese people, and therefore quite the amount of Japanese food.

I read about this way before I even thought of going to Perth, and really wanted to try this place out.

My favourite ramen place in Perth 'Back In the Day' was Dosukoi Ramen in Fremantle Markets, but I did not have a chance to go back to Freo this time.

Hakata Gensuke, though, became a close favourite of mine.

It's hard to compete with Dosukoi when that is tied so neatly with my memories of university, which contains some of the happiest days of my life, anyway.

When I went to Hakata Gensuke, I was lucky enough to get a seat immediately. Apparently queues of up to two hours are also regular for this ramen place, especially when it first opened.

I wonder how many hours humans have collectively waited for food.

But I digress.

I immediately ordered the God Fire tonkotsu ramen, at a spice level of 4, the maximum written.

The waitress was pretty concerned once she saw this: "Have you tried this before?"

Me: "I like spicy food. I can handle it."

She dubiously nodded and went away, before coming back later with this.

Eh. In terms of spiciness, it had a good kick. I liked it, but I've DEFINITELY had spicier food. This didn't make me break a sweat at all (the spiciest I ever had made me sweat and tear up...).

From the springy noodles to the egg, it was good ramen that I finished every drop of. I could see myself craving this on cold winter nights.

I still prefer Dosukoi when it comes to ramen in Perth, but I'm also pretty sure that's the memory speaking.

4) Tiisch

I wanted avocado toast in Perth, just to make the joke that this was why I could not afford to buy a house.

So I went to Tiisch in the city.

After seeing the price for avocado toast in Tiisch, I am suddenly aware of why people cannot afford houses (even more) if they consume avocado toast on a regular basis.

This yumminess costs AUD19.

To put things in perspective, my God Fire ramen was AUD15.

The avocado toast DOES photograph nicely in Tiisch, though. It was also delicious, with loads of avocado on top, and a great runny egg. Tiisch was a pretty cafe to watch people go by, with ample lighting in the day time to take the perfect Instagram shot.

Would I come back to pay AUD19 for this again, though?


Maybe if I already bought a house, and paid off the mortgage.

5) RoyAl`s Chicken & Burgers

I did a lot of research into Perth's food scene. There were a LOT I didn't get to go to (as usual), but I did get to go to RoyAl's Chicken & Burgers in East Victoria Park (it's located near Hakata Gensuke).

This place was pretty packed on a weekday night. It was EVEN more packed on Anzac Day, the very next day.

How do I know this?

Because I went there twice in a row.

The first night, we could actually get a table.

Behold, my RoyAl with Cheese, Vanilla Milkshake, and Onion Rings with Jalapeno Cheese sauce (do not recommend the sauce at all).

My diet went out the window on this trip, clearly.

K and B both had The Stanley, a souped-up version of the RoyAl with Cheese.

These people, who live near East Victoria Park, have never been to Hakata Gensuke or RoyAl's Chicken & Burgers until I dragged them there.

Clearly we know who the foodie is in all my friendship groups.

The onion rings were perfectly thin and crispy, the jalapeno cheese sauce was a bad choice on my part. The Fancy Sauce was so much less... sour.

The flavours of my plain old RoyAl with Cheese burger, with cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickle, and onion in it, melded perfectly in each bite. It also washed down wonderfully with my vanilla milkshake... and this one burger made me want to try the other burger choices in the joint as well.

I wasn't alone in this opinion - K and B both wanted to eat it again, too, so we went back there the very next day.

This is high praise for burgers in Perth. It's like my friends and Ichiran in Tokyo (😂) - sometimes a meal is so comfortingly the epitome of what you imagine it to be, that you want to eat it again and again despite having limited time.

Honestly, I would have preferred to go back to Grand Lane Fish House more, though - I HAD TOO LITTLE FISH & CHIPS ON THIS TRIP - but no objections in general to RoyAl's.

This time, the place was so packed we could only do takeaways, and I decided to try the Bernie Mac - DOUBLE cheese, creole remoulade, lettuce, pickle, and onion.

Tadah! My messy burger. My messy AND delicious burger. That Angus beef is the bomb.

It was also super fulfilling. I also got a coleslaw to go (in an attempt to feel healthy) but was too full to have any by the time I was done with Bernie Mac.

So much for feeling healthy. My healthiest meal this trip was... the avocado toast.

I'm still missing that fish & chips at this time of writing... as well as everything I had in Ciao Italia.

I guess the healthy life continues to elude me.

Oh well. Worth it.