Friday, 6 May 2011


“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” - Charles Horton Cooley

I am in Perth for work and the weather here has been marvellous. Fine, sunny, almost summery temperatures. Certainly a very mild autumn, unlike Melbourne’s gray one. I was here for our graduation ceremony, which was held in Perth Town Hall, a beautiful old building. It was opened in 1870 and is the only convict-built capital city town hall in Australia. The building is a fine example of the Victorian Free Gothic style. It is located at the highest point of the City, at the corner of Hay and Barrack Streets. An award-winning restoration, completed in 2005, made this heritage building a well-equipped venue for performances, banquets, cocktail receptions, forums, weddings and community events and exhibitions.

Our graduation went very well and everyone enjoyed it, most of all of course, the graduates who received their testamurs after a working for so long and so hard for them. There was a cocktail function afterwards and it is always gratifying to talk to the graduates and the families. One hears a host of interesting things about their experiences, the way they sum up their course and also more importantly, what their plans for the future are.

A small group of us then went out to dinner at éCucina, a trendy restaurant and bar in Perth’s CBD. This offers an Italian-inspired menu for breakfast, lunch dinner and there are also snacks and stuzzichini (Italian-style tapas) served with drinks at the bar. The service was very good and our food was very nice. The company surely always determines whether a night out is successful and we had a very good small group of compatible people. The surroundings were quiet and conducive to pleasant conversation, witty repartee and lots of dinnertime discussion.

Some of the interesting dishes at the restaurant:

For Entrée: Tea-smoked duck salad with seared scallops, mint, peanuts, green pawpaw, pale sugar, chilli and lemongrass dressing; or perhaps, Hiramasa Kingfish Ceviche with pink grapefruit, lime, chilli and baby shiso, finished with extra virgin olive oil. One could also have the tasting plate of antipasti or the charcuterie plate with pork terrine, chicken liver parfait, homemade Italian sausage with cornichons, mustard fruits and warm baguette. A variety of pasta and risotto dishes are offered, not surprising in an Italian restaurant. However, there are some other interesting Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Oriental touches, such as the addition of harissa, Persian feta, wagyu, chimichurri or green peppercorns.

Main dishes offer a variety of meats – lamb, beef, pork, poultry, with touches of seafood here and there.  The grilled Tasmanian salmon with orange and miso, saffron linguine, fennel and orange salad sounded interesting. Steaks were excellent and sourced from grain fed cattle in WA’s southwest and aged on the premises. Side dishes completed the menu, but at the end of our meal, consumed with a good McLaren Vale Shiraz, we didn’t have any room for desserts or coffee.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Hula Bula Bar (sic!). The place is so kitch that it’s definitely worth visiting. It styles itself as Australia’s only Tiki bar and is decorated garishly using a Hawaiian/Polynesian theme. It is located at 12 Victoria Avenue in Perth’s CBD. The cocktails served are absolutely lethal! The bar was full and noisy, obviously very popular with the locals. The exorbitant prices of the drinks didn’t seem to deter the many people who were intent on drinking themselves under the tables! We had a single drink and went back to the hotel… Just goes to prove that we were a group of old fuddy-duddies!


  1. Hello Nicholas:
    The graduation ceremony certainly sounds to have been great fun and, as you say, it is always interesting to discover what plans those who have newly graduated have for the future.

    éCucina, from what you write, would be exactly our kind of place - we very much like Italian food and one of the joys of living in Budapest is the overnight train, which we are often on, to Venice.

    Have a really enjoyable weekend.

  2. That sounds like a wonderful day and night, Nicholas. The bar you describe is something so 50s/60s that it would appeal to the younger people.