WHEN Gail Williams first started writing restaurant reviews in 1996, Perth’s dining scene was “right smack bang in the middle” of its stale focaccia and wicker furniture period.
“Every time you went out you were served limp tomato on bruschetta or caesar salad with chicken and all that gluggy mayonnaise,” Williams said.
“We seemed to be stuck in those doldrums for quite some time, so it has been wonderful to see that evolve.
“In the last few years it is almost like they have opened the door, and Perth has suddenly realised that food is a thing to be celebrated. It has taken us a while, but I think we’re finally there.”
A year after hanging up her pen at the Sunday Times Magazine, Williams will bring her signature wit and honesty to regular food reviews in the Western Suburbs Weekly.
“When I came back from Europe recently, my family started saying: ‘I cannot believe you gave up that fantastic job of going out to eat and then writing about it’,” she said.
“A few weeks went by and I realised just how much I was missing it. I cannot wait to get started; it will be like putting on an old shoe.”
Williams said taking the first bite of a delicious plate of food was like watching a theatre performance of Hamlet.
“It all comes together and you feel chills down your spine and tears come to your eyes,” she said.
“One of those moments that you drift away and think: ‘Oh my god, how beautiful is that’. It is what makes it all worthwhile… but then of course, so often you can be disappointed.”
After some time away, Williams said she was most looking forward to catching up on the WA food scene.
“There is so much happening at the moment that it’s hard to keep up; it seems there is a new restaurant opening every week,” she said.
“Quite often it feels like we’re always looking up to Melbourne as the big sister, and thankfully I think that is slowly changing.
“To me, the ultimate dining experience does not matter whether it is really expensive or casual; you are just looking for the restaurant to stay true to itself, not to be pretentious and deliver good food and service in a wonderful setting.”
Western Suburbs Weekly
food reviewer Gail Williams.