Aptly named PICA Bar, this café-by-day/bar-by-night institution is housed in the corner of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts building, found right in the middle of the Perth Cultural Centre. A favourite of my sister’s, she has coined it one of the most “hip-hop-happenin’” places in Perth (how she comes up with these phrases, I have no clue) and she has a point. If art was seen as relatable and not pretentious (not my opinion, but one of many a friend of mine), if it was seen as comforting and not alienating, if it could be embodied in a small bar, it would be PICA Bar. Art is a projection of the artist’s soul, his/her opinions and dreams, and if our fair city of Perth were the artist, this little eatery would be a projection of the laid-back Perth lifestyle that we all know, love and live.
With both indoor and outdoor seating, you can take your pick as to how you’d like to spend your lazy morning or afternoon, or whole day if you were keen for it. On this side of the city, there is less rushing and more strolling, possibly more kooky characters as well, and with the brilliant technicolour autumn leaves drifting to the ground, PICA Bar offers a great venue to do a bit of people-watching or to watch independent short films that are often displayed on the Big Screen. But that blustery morning, my sister and I ducked indoors in an attempt to escape the horrid weather. I am a sucker for wooden interiors and PICA Bar’s clean dark-wood floor and tables pretty much won me over from the get-go. The simple comfortable furniture, especially with its large leather couches, merge perfectly with the space. There were no harsh overhanging lights, just ambient natural light that placed me in a dreamy state of being. It really was perfection to be honest.
After we grabbed menus from the front counter, my sister and I sat down at the counter and our handsome waiter soon came over and poured us each a glass of water. We both ordered a cappuccino, my sister ordered their own big breakfast and I ordered my usual poached eggs and salmon; our waiter noted this down with a smile and soon returned with our breakfast.
Not being much of a coffee expert, you must excuse my almost-amateurish review of my cappuccino. I would describe the coffee as good. But hold on as I explain myself, up until recently, how often I drank coffee could be likened to how often I drank seawater. I have slowly but surely acquired a like for coffee and my previous distate for it has left me with a very low tolerance for a bad cup, without really knowing any of the mechanics of it all. To get to the point, my drink was warm, not too hot, with a bold but not too overpowering flavour that resulted in a smooth enjoyable ingestion experience.
Our eggs and more came out soon after and I was very pleased with the presentation of it all. Mine was your usual poached eggs and salmon fare but with lemon butter sauce (that you pour over it) instead of your regular hollandaise, which I kind of preferred, the tangy lemon taste was a wonderful complement to the salmon. The grilled sourdough was amazing, notable because I have recently developed an obsessive love for sourdough bread. What I liked most about my dish, which I’m not sure was intended but, the salmon sitting on my toast, although it is usually served smoked and almost raw, was cooked. It wasn’t cooked in the normal sense that they popped it in an oven or slapped it on a lightly greased pan but it was cooked from having sat on my hot toast and under my hot eggs for a period of time. This reminded me of when I was little and my mum would place raw beef in my noodle soup and I watched it slowly cook in the hot broth. Good times. My only complaint was that my eggs were slightly overcooked but everything else was excellent.
My sister’s big breakfast was big indeed, the plate was piled high with eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, spinach and mushroom. I was atad jealous. It took her ages to finish her meal and I had to watch as she slowly ate her greasy goodness. Her eggs were perfectly poached and she looked like she was thoroughly enjoying her meal.
En conclusion, it was a thoroughly enjoyable morning spent in the city’s art hub with my arts student sister. PICA Bar is perfect for whatever you’re feeling and with a good cup of coffee and a delicious hearty breakfast, how could you go wrong?