Perth gets a boost with a bumper Har­vest of small bars

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - MICHELLE ROWE

SYD­NEY has seen a wave of new bars since its an­ti­quated liquor li­cens­ing laws were changed a cou­ple of years ago, and Perth is catch­ing up for lost time, too.

Clint Nolan, from North Fre­man­tle’s ac­claimed Har­vest restau­rant, was putting the fin­ish­ing touches to his new bar, Who’s Your Mumma, on Fre­man­tle’s South Ter­race, when he spoke to Food De­tec­tive last week.

‘‘Af­ter the change in li­cens­ing laws here, new bars have been pop­ping up in most Perth sub­urbs,’’ says Nolan. ‘‘It’s re­ally boost­ing Perth’s vi­brancy. In the city there are four or five new ones; Mount Law­ley is boom­ing, as is North­bridge. It’s gone nuts in the past year as far as the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is con­cerned.’’

Nolan’s ‘‘mod­ern-in­dus­trial’’style venue will be a cafe by day, with beers on tap, an ex­ten­sive wine list, cock­tails and small plates at night.

‘‘The food will be things peo­ple can share, such as oys­ters, cheese, olives and one sub­stan­tial dish — we’re work­ing on a duck leg con­fit at the mo­ment,’’ he says. ‘‘I’ve been hop­ing to do some­thing like this for a long time. There is fi­nally the op­por­tu­nity to of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent here and it’s great.’’

And Who’s Your Mumma is not the only thing on Nolan’s plate. ‘‘I’m look­ing at do­ing an­other restau­rant in the north of the city very soon af­ter this,’’ he says. ‘‘It’ll be some­thing very dif­fer­ent again.’’ More: har­vestrestau­rant.net.au.

IN Mel­bourne, you can’t move for eclec­tic wa­ter­ing spots hid­den down al­ley­ways, on rooftops or in old ship­ping con­tain­ers. The city has been do­ing great things on the bar front for eons, so much so that De­tec­tive breaks out in a cold sweat try­ing to work out where to go first when­ever she vis­its. So she wel­comes Mel­bourne’s Bars and Pubs, a com­pact guide to some of the best in­ner-city drink­ing spots, list­ing handy info such as at­mos­phere lev­els, drinks avail­able, prices and op­er­at­ing hours. It’s also avail­able as an iPhone app for those prone to leav­ing books, jack­ets, um­brel­las and the like be­hind af­ter a big night out. More: mel­bour­nes­barsand­pubs.com.au.

THE world is awash with chocolate fes­ti­vals, so it’s re­fresh­ing to see the hum­ble vanilla bean get­ting a piece of the ac­tion. Tonga’s Vava’u is­land group has be­come some­thing of a vanilla pro­duc­tion hub in re­cent years, af­ter an aid pro­ject was started in the re­gion by re­tired New Zealand farmer John Ross in 2002 to help the Vava’u com­mu­nity. To­day, Heilala Vanilla sup­plies in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and its prod­ucts are used by Aus­tralia’s top chefs, in­clud­ing Damien Styles of Mel­bourne’s Pope Joan, who will lead a seven-day trip to the Vava’u Is­lands to in­tro­duce food-lovers to the com­plex­i­ties of grow­ing and har­vest­ing vanilla; there will be cook­ing demos, mar­ket trips and tast­ings.

The seven-day tour, from Oc­to­ber 24, costs $4150 twin­share and in­cludes a cata­ma­ran trip around the Vava’u Is­lands. De­tec­tive reck­ons there are far worse things to do with one’s time than eat­ing vanilla-flavoured

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