Busting Brunching across Perth – returning to a fine favourite in Maylands

Eating at Chapels on Whatley is an overwhelming experience, blending textures and tastes with a feel of the exotic and a touch of the erotic.

Conservative, historic Maylands is the ideal setting for the century-old building – with its ornate façade – that is home to this enlightening eatery.

Owners Glenn Bartel and Keith Archer’s love for the building led, after years of renovations, to a new life for the former funeral parlour.

A quick car or train trip from Perth, the eatery is well worth pursuing. Brunch buddy Professor Ken, amazed at decorations adorning the walls, explained that the building was built as a haberdashery but housed many businesses over a century, including second-hand furniture store, grocery and clothing boutique.

A notable tenant was funeral parlour Chapels, among the first to introduce pre-paid funeral services to Perth.

Chapels has been reborn with a theme that is uniquely Eurasian, both in the food and the decorations that feature extensive, hand-chosen collections from China, Tibet, Mongolia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.

After a browse, we take a table in the café’s snug courtyard, shadowed by large red umbrellas amid minimalist greenery.

Bold, red menus offer seven sections including ‘all-day breakfast menu’ and ‘even more all-day breakfast’, as well as ranges of meals and drinks. Seniors will appreciate the menus’ large typefaces.

The signature dish is rice vermicelli noodle omelette ben-hoon ($22.50) which features: Asian stir-fry of vermicelli, shitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage, chilli, onion, garlic and egg, garnished with sweet chilli, java sambal, crispy shallots and coriander.

If that seems like a mouthful, it is. But the result is light and tasty, with a crispy crunch on top without clashing flavours or textures.

Professor Ken ordered a berry detox smoothie ($9.95) which comes with berries, carrot, banana, ginger and cucumber. I join the party with an avocado punch – avocado, ginger, mango, spinach, broccoli, coconut and lime.

Our smoothies come in uniquely shaped glasses, with glass spouts – that could have been lifted from Arabian Nights tales.

From the staggering array of choices, we opt for malan pandan crepes: coconut crepes served with mango and passion fruit coulis, drizzled with palm sugar syrup and coconut cream ($19.95). This is a mixture that works; it yields lovely, light, sweet touches to the tastebuds.

This comes from one innovative, imaginative and energetic kitchen. Service for the day’s strong crowd was exemplary.

Next time, we’ll have to peruse the wide selection of teas from China, Britain and France, served in fine Wedgewood, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert fine bone china. Loose tea is also available in 50–100g tins. For $5.50 you can sample as many tea types as you can, one pot at a time over a two-hour period.

Cakes and sweets abound: macaroon flavours include salted caramel, tahini, lavender and rhubarb and pistachio. Baked in-house are pandan cake, black rice pudding, apple frangipani tart, blueberry and pear delight.

Professor Ken can’t go past their chocolate cake and reckons it’s about the best $7.95 you can spend on a treat. I’d have to agree, keeping half for a carry-out container.

The café is fully-licensed with wines from $8.95 a glass.

5 spoons

Chapels on Whatley, 196 Whatley Crescent, May-lands

Open: Sunday to Thursday 8am-4pm, Friday and Saturday 8am-4pm

Phone 0452 295 196

E: bookings@chapelsonwhatley.com.au