Hawkers Cuisine in Northbridge may just be Perth's most blogged about Chinese restaurant. There's much to like. It's busy, noisy and there's a constant queue waiting to get in. Judging by my post meal fuzziness, they use as much MSG as any other local Chinese restaurant. The pictured marmite chicken is good in small doses and the deep fried soft shelled crab is worthwhile.
Just Bar (Preston St, Como) is one of Perth's innumerable tapas bars. The menu appears to have nothing over $20 per plate and I left pleased and impressed. I suspect the menu changes frequently, but for what it's worth I loved the chorizo with cuttlefish. There's a flair and extravagance - the lamb chop comes with a slice of foie gras and the succulent 2 inch cube of pork belly is surrounded by licorice sand. Quibbles - my panna cotta was far too firm.
Pata Negra (Stirling Hwy, Nedlands) shows flashes of genius. The arroz negra is perhaps the best thing I've eaten all year. A superb crust and wonderfully evocative flavours. I also liked the smoky eggplant pie and the king fish ceviche. The suckling pig is not cheap at $50, but it is well executed and certainly much better than the rather ordinary confit duck, chorizo and white beans. The waiters were all clad in checkered flannel shirts and judging by the serving plates and the unmatched water glasses, I suspect they (and East Perth's - Toast) have cornered the local bric-a-brac market.
Toast (East Perth) could do with some proper water glasses and freshly printed menus. It seems unreasonable to expect paying patrons to drink from children's plastic cups from Ikea. . . Still the food is redeemingly adequate and I'd have no trouble recommending the potato, mint and feta pancakes.