Perk’s Kitchen is one of the eateries in the outside restaurant section of Westfield Garden City, alongside the likes of PappaRich and Devon Cafe. We had walked past a number of times, but somehow hadn’t actually eaten there, although they have been open for a few years now.
We decided to try them out on a day when we wanted to eat out, but had other errands to run, so weren’t able to make it until after 2pm on a weekday, when many eateries start closing their kitchens after the predicted lunch rush. Fortunately for us, and other diners, Perk’s Kitchen is open all the way from 7am to 10pm, so you can still get food at an out-of-usual-mealtime time.
We were greeted soon after we crossed the threshold of the entrance, and shown to an available table. Despite the time of day and it being a weekday, quite a number of other tables were already occupied. We were brought menus, which were also available for would-be patrons to pore through, hanging from a series of hooks just at the entrance. We were also brought a small, nicely chilled bottle of water. Staff promptly changed it when it was empty. This proved sensible, as it reduced wastage of water from diners only drinking a little of a large jug provided, and meant that we always had newly chilled water, rather than water that had been sitting at the table and warmed up. Dark, patterned glasses had already been placed at each table.
The interior was decorated with dark hues rather than the pastel brights that are more commonplace these days. Still, it felt modern rather than gloomy, with elements like the light red brick wall and metal tables with a mosaic of glossy black tiles on them putting it somewhere between industrial and bar. Maroon padded bench seats ran along the long walls on each side of the space, adding more colour. There was no music in the background, but a hum of patron chatter.
The menu contained a list of specials, breakfast items (which are available all day), brunch items (available from 1130am to 4pm), main dishes, and a vegan menu. A few of the items had Indian-influenced flavours, like the Spring Lamb Aloo Keema and the Eggs Kejriwal Bhurji. We were torn between a number of the options, but we managed to narrow it down to just two, the Breakfast Gnocchi from the specials menu, and the Crispy Cauliflower and Corn Fritters from the breakfast menu.
We also ordered caffeine, of course. The soy iced latte had good strength, with distinct roasted notes and fruity flavours.
The flat white was ordered as a large one, in a mug with an extra shot. This too had good strength of flavour, also with fruity notes, but no bitterness.
The Breakfast Gnocchi was listed in the menu as comprising fresh house made gnocchi, with bacon, creamy mushrooms, poached egg, and shaved cheese. When brought out, the gnocchi were smothered with sauce and topped with fresh green leaves. Two poached eggs were placed in the middle of it, and swirls of a dark sauce added interest to the presentation, so that it wasn’t just uniformly beige. The gnocchi were soft and fluffy, and there was plenty of cheesy, garlicky sauce to go with each bite. The dark swirls were a balsamic glaze that added aromatic fruity sweet and sour flavours. Slices of mushroom in the mix were cooked down so they were tender. The bacon pieces had a soft, rather than crunchy texture, but still added a good salty hit. The poached eggs had appropriately runny yolks, but we actually wound up transferring them across to the other dish, as the gnocchi dish didn’t really need them. Together, it was a well-seasoned, flavourful dish that we would definitely call comfort food.
The Crispy Cauliflower and Corn Fritters were listed in the menu as coming with crispy bacon, avocado smash, and tomato salsa. This was served as a little mountain of fritters, with the other components layered on top of them. The fritters were crunchy on the outside, and had a good ingredient to batter ratio. The batter had a curry spice flavour to it as well, and the right amount of seasoning. The avocado smash retained diced avocado pieces, so had more texture than just being a puree. The bacon in this dish was fried, so it was crispy at the edges. As mentioned, we moved the poached eggs over to this dish, and we felt that they added a little more bulk to the dish.
Perk’s Kitchen served up some delicious dishes, in fact, even more so than we had anticipated. Its being located in a shopping centre did make us a little wary that we might only get average cafe fare. We were, however, pleasantly surprised, and would actually recommend and revisit this eatery.
Price point: Breakfast and brunch items $14.90 to $24. Main plates $18 to $25.
Address: Westfield Garden City, 2049 Logan Road, Upper Mount Gravatt
Phone: 07 3420 3875
Website: Perk’s Kitchen