For me, one of those very places is Duende. As a Spanish tapas restaurant by night and a brunch joint by day, it offers diners a wide variety of dishes that are ever changing, and always pleasing. Don't get me wrong, like any relationship we've had our ups and downs, but from the first time I ate there until now, I remain loyal and in love.
If you haven't eaten at this corner hotspot in Leederville, I definitely recommend it. The price is a little on the expensive side for tapas, but more often than not you're going to get some truly standout dishes. At night, the place is dimmed and lit mainly by candlelight with guests often see indulging in plate after plate (and wine after wine). By day, it's a completely different story with sunlight streaming in through the many windows and the place becoming a competitor to the ever popular Sayers across the road.
Unlike the waiting line out the front of Sayers, Duende actually had a couple tables available which I actually find surprising because the breakfasts I've had here have been pretty great in the past. We sit down and place our beverage orders - a Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice ($7) for each of us. They come out as cute as buttons in mini milk bottles (seems to be the trend these days) with barbershop pole reminiscent paper straws. I love the look of these, but I do find that they can go soggy with use (in saying that I have some of these at home haha!).
Immediately I spy two dishes that are right up my alley for breakfast. There's Mushrooms with Polenta and Truffle Oil that sounds so deliciously decadent and rich. But then there's also Corn Fritters with Chipotle, Sour Cream and Lime ($18). It's unsurprising that I'm torn since this is generally the case whenever I go out to eat, but eventually I settle on the corn fritters since I've been eating so many mushrooms lately.
Strangely Jeremy's also torn, which is unlike him. Normally he settles on his dishes pretty quickly but on this occasion he's eying up the Beans, Chorizo, Manchego and Eggs, though ends up deciding on the Eggs Benedicto ($17). A spanish twist on a traditional breakfast dish!
The dish is beautiful, the ingredients well seasoned and balanced. I'm pleased to see as Jeremy cuts into the egg, yolk spills out everywhere with aplomb. The jamon serrano (insert drool here) is melt in your mouth and all kinds of phenomenal. It reminded me just how much I love cured meats (and will be buying some this weekend!). The only downfall of this dish is the bread. It's virtually impossible to cut into, leaving Jeremy to tear at it awkwardly. But that said, the overall level of this dish was delicious.
It's such a fresh dish. The corn fritters are actually more corn than anything else; sweet and zingy with a nice edge from the coriander in the batter. I love the addition of the sour cream and salad components which enhance the depth of flavour in the chipotle sauce.
Though it doesn't look it, I actually find myself getting full pretty quickly and abandon the dish for Jeremy to take over (happily).
At $49 for a breakfast, it's definitely on the expensive side but it's pretty much what I expect when we go out these days for the first meal of the day. The food at Duende doesn't disappoint but what I do find slightly irksome is the service.
While all the staff are extremely lovely, there's sometimes a lacking service focus. We placed our drink orders and received them, but waited about 20 minutes before someone came to take our food order. And when we went to pay, we were given the bill at the till, but then our server walked off even though I was holding money in my hand. Small things, but had they not happened, I would have happily said this was a perfect day out.
That said, I will still repeat to anyone that asks, Duende is one of my favourite places in Perth. And while there is a never ending list of places to try, sometimes you just need to go somewhere you know will hit the spot. Which this place does, every time.