Not the best BBQ Pork in Perth

The Return Of Pork Boy

I am not entirely sure why, but I’ve struggled to find BBQ Pork in Perth. I’ve been to quite a few Asian eateries and have looked through the menu without any sign of BBQ pork. Lots of seafood. But no pork. I have specifically asked at a couple of places, only to be told, “No, we don’t do BBQ Pork”. Maybe it’s a Northern vs Southern China thing?

This is in stark contrast to the year in which I lived in Perth – 2004 – when I enjoyed possibly the world’s best BBQ Pork. Every Sunday night I would go to Han Palace on Bennett Street, just around the corner from where I was living on Wellington Street. Having enjoyed the delights of their BBQ Pork, I used to go there every Sunday night, and purchase some take-away. I didn’t want rice. I didn’t want vegetables. I just wanted the pork. And from there I would head out for a drink or two at The Court (when they still had a lively Sunday night scene) and then often to Connections. It was a great routine.

After a few months, the woman at Han Palace said to me, “How come you only eat pork? You should have rice and vegetables too!”, to which I replied, “Because you have such great pork”. In honesty, she was probably correct, but I figured since I ate a reasonably well balanced diet, it was okay to have a Sunday night “pig out” (pun intended) on BBQ pork, while watching “Big Brother” was a reasonable indulgence.

When I told some people in Perth about this, they joked, “I’ll bet she calls you pork boy”. The name has stuck ever since.

So in heading back to Perth, one of the things I’ve really been anticipating has been to go to Han Palace on a Sunday night for some BBQ Pork. Imagine then, my disappointment to discover last night, it was closed for Christmas. They were planning to re-open in late January in a new venue, according to the sign on the door.

I consoled myself with some pork tonight at Old Shanghai which is nowhere near as good.

Public art, thoughtful words from the Pigram Brothers, and the perfect place to check your hair and make-up before heading to The Court Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.

Three Hours

Public art, thoughtful words from the Pigram Brothers, and the perfect place to check your hair and make-up before heading to The Court Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.

Public art, thoughtful words from the Pigram Brothers, and the perfect place to check your hair and make-up before heading to The Court Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.

I took my first work-related phone call from the Eastern States at about seven o’clock this morning. Even though it was in my diary, and I’d planned for it, I was still fairly bleary eyed. Still, I think I managed to make sense of it all.

I think I also made sense when I took a call the other day from The East where the person on the end of the phone hadn’t quite realised there was a three-hour time-zone difference between Melbourne and Perth. “So it’s 10.30 in the morning?” the person on the other end of the phone said, to which I replied, “No, it’s 4.30 in the morning”.

Three hours time difference between Sydney and Perth shouldn’t make a difference but it does. And I was reminded tonight of why, at the end of 2004, I decided to return to Sydney, instead of staying in Perth: it’s the time-zone difference. On paper, you wouldn’t think two or three hours makes a difference, but it certainly does.

The work stuff you can live with. That’s why you get the big bucks. But a three hour time zone gap makes the biggest difference when it comes to maintaining relationships with family and friends. You arrive home from work, and you think it would be terrific to ring up your family and friends, and then suddenly you realise they’re going to bed. Even though many of my friends back home are night owls, you still don’t want to call too late. And besides, there’s a difference between calling someone at seven and calling someone at ten.

And that’s what happened after work today.

Pop Trivia

Boy and Bear

Although for a while I was thinking “Boy & Bear” would be a good name for our team for the pop trivia night at Yaya’s, in the end it was probably best to go with “Le coqs sportif”. “Boy & Bear”, of course is the name of a highly successful Australian pop group at the moment, and although it would have been highly appropriate musically, I guess it would have kind of muddied the waters if we had gone with that name. After all, I’m a 46 year old, and Mark is a 29 year old, although who was the boy and who was the bear could have been left open to much speculation.

Mark and I first met in Sydney a few years ago in blogging circles. Although he has spent most of his life in Perth, he spent a few years in Sydney studying, and that’s when we became friends. Coming back to Perth for this trip, he was one of the people I really wanted to catch up with.

And what better way to catch-up than to have a meal, and then later go to a pop trivia night run by a friend of his. We both have a strong interest in music, and we have complimentary skills. I was pretty useful on the rounds of questions on Classical Music, Eurovision and The Life and Time’s of Molly Meldrum. Yes seriously. Mark answered everything else, particularly all of those tricky 1990s music questions about bands like Ween, Nirvana and so on. Mark also secured red wine in the heads/tails round.

Pop quiz, pop quiz, pop quiz...

Pop quiz, pop quiz, pop quiz...

Although we finished in fourth place, we were tonight’s per capita winners. As Le Coqs Sportif, the two of us against much larger teams did well. While some teams struggled on the classical music round, we scored ten out of ten. We also got nine for the Eurovision round (thought actually we think we got 10 and were mis-marked) and nine for the Molly Meldrum round (missing out on the name of John Lennon’s first solo album). At one stage we were on 69 points. It was about then that I realised being “Boy and Bear on 69″ was proof that we had gone with the right team name.

A good night was had by all…

Il Lido at Cottesloe

All is quiet on New Year’s Day

Cottesloe Beach - NYE

Cottesloe Beach - NYE

As I caught the train to Il Lido, I couldn’t help but notice the number of men wearing ties and women wearing fascinators. “Is this Melbourne Cup Day?”, I thought to myself, wondering if, wearing a nice new shirt and a reasonably expensive pair of jeans was somewhat under-dressed for New Year’s Eve in Perth. The answer became evident as I made my way back on the train later in the night.

@Cellobella invited me to join her and a group of friends for NYE at a terrific Italian restaurant. The original plan was to start the night off drinking mojitos on the beach, until we discovered it was a) pretty windy and b) an alcohol free zone which threatened a $500 fine. So, we moved to a friend’s nearby apartment, drank our mojitos and then made our way to Il Lido.

“It’s had a number of incarnations in this spot, but this one seems to have lasted”, I was told by a bloke over dinner. “You can come here first thing in the morning for breakfast, or for dinner at night”, he went on to say.

Il Lido at Cottesloe

Il Lido at Cottesloe

The company was great, the food was good, the wine was good, and the service was attentive without being over-the-top. And thankfully, no one was trying to rush us out for a second pre-midnight seating that you sometimes encounter in Sydney.

Although there were some drunkish people on the way home on the train, it wasn’t too bad, especially since it was still only close to one-o’clock in the morning, and especially since I chose to sit with “the old people” in the carriage (safety in numbers, I figured).

By the time I’d arrived back in the centre of Perth, I noticed most of the guys had ditched their ties (or they were now losely tied), and the fascinators had found their rightful place in the bins (I hate fascinators). Which brings me to my biggest bug-bear of NYE – women who wear impossibly high heels. My plea to the women of Perth: “stop buying your shoes from drag queens”. At 1.30 on the morning on NYD, of course your shoes are going to hurt, and of course you’re going to find it difficult to walk. I know I sound like an old man, but sensible shoes please from now on. Oh and please stop using your mobile phone. If you are in a group please talk to each other. A bunch of people using phones in a group suggests you are bored with your friends. Maybe you are?

The other thing I noticed, as with anywhere else on NYE was the huge amount of drunkeness. Normally, I’d include myself in this category of people (though not for the last couple of years as I’ve tended to keep myself nice). My favourite manifestation of this was when I overheard a bloke head down a lane-way for a wee and yell out to his girlfriend, “Gah-piss” which is the shortened version of the well-known phrase “I’m gonna have a piss”.

Back in Sydney, I’m sure the NYE celebrations continued well into NYD. I’m sure there were some tragic sights to be seen around Oxford Street well into last night.

In contrast, people in Perth went home and obviously spent NYD either resting up or in house parties. Last night it was tumble-weed territory on James Street in Northbridge. After having a bite to eat at the James Street Kitchen (quite good Chinese), I went for a beer at The Court. The night before, I’m sure sounds from The Court would have boomed throughout the city. Last night, there were more staff than customers. The place closed at 9.15pm.