Alfresco at Alfred's Kitchen

Eat around a blazing fire at
Alfred's Kitchen, Guildford
After a satisfying dinner on a cold wintry night in Perth during our recent holiday, someone jokingly asked about what we were going to have for supper.  It’s not that we have rubber stomachs that could expand with more space for another meal later in the night but we were just lamenting that Australia is unlike Asian countries where we can find some street food at almost all hours of the day.  

In Malaysia for instance, we can pop out to the neighbourhood mamak shop for freshly made roti canai, head to the hawker centre for a stir-fried noodle meal of char kway teow or find a stall that served our famous Burger Ramly! 

At the mention of Ramly burgers, my nephews told us that there is a popular burger place in Perth that opened for late night diners.  As is so typical of guys, my nephews did not describe Alfred’s Kitchen in any detail and I had no inkling of what this place is all about – until one day when my sister and I met up with friends for a day’s outing.

Logo - Alfred's Kitchen since 1946
Sheila and her husband, Mark, showed us some of the attractions in the Swan Valley before we went home to pick their daughter, Sarah, to join us for dinner.  We were in fact quite full from indulging in a delightful tea break at the House of Honey where we thoroughly enjoyed generous slices of sumptuous salted caramel nut tart.  
So when they said that we were going to grab a burger meal at Alfred’s Kitchen, we found the name familiar because my nephews had mentioned this place. 

Customers reading the wall menu to place their orders
at Alfred's Kitchen
Sheila and Mark said it opens from 5pm till late and is a popular hang-out for travelers as well as locals – and if we did not get there early there may be a long queue to wait for our food.  Night falls quickly in winter but there were street lamps that lit our way as we walked across a railway track to James Street in the heart of Guildford. 

I guess Alfred’s Kitchen is probably closest to what we can call a street food restaurant because not only is it situated by a busy road, the meals are served over the counter for takeaways or customers literally just hang around the street to eat it!

Our Hamburger with Cheese orders wrapped
in butcher's paper
My eyes were riveted to an open fire burning in a square with people seated around it on benches, some eating while others waited for their orders.  A small crowd was already in front of the counter and I guessed they were looking at the menu from a chalk board on a wall, trying to decide what to order.  When I saw there were over 40 varieties of burger choices to pick from, it was not surprising that they were taking some time to decide.

I quickly picked a Hamburger with Cheese and while Sarah placed our orders, I wandered around to soak in the atmosphere.  A chilly wind was blowing but the blazing fire place and the group around the flames and those seated on wooden benches along the wall, created warm company on such a cold night.  Among them were families, couples and other groups and those who were already eating around the fire were happily dining alfresco!

Chilling out around the open fire by the road
Opened since 1946, Alfred’s Place is renowned as Perth’s oldest roadside burger kitchen and is literally a hole-in-the-wall where customers received a number after making their orders.  Every now and then, I heard numbers being called out in a lady’s raucous voice, probably because they had been serving such a long queue of customers, non-stop throughout the night!

The few minutes’ wait passed pleasantly as we chatted and people-watched.  Suddenly Sara heard our number being called out so I went along with her to collect our meal that was packed in a brown paper bag.  The burgers were wrapped in butcher’s paper with a few letters written in marker pen to indicate its contents.  Mine had “HC” for Hamburger with Cheese and when I opened the wrapper and saw the size of my burger, I must confess that I seriously doubted if I could finish it.

My BIG burger!
I was glad that we found seats on a bench because it was quite a feat to hold the burger (within its wrapper) with both hands and attempt to take a bite.  The team at Alfred’s had layered the homemade style burger very neatly and I could see the meat patty, cheese and vegetables between the split bun that was liberally sprinkled with sesame seeds.  But the burger was so thick that after a few futile tries, I knew that I should only nibble through it rather than risk getting my jaws locked!

While Sheila had a steaming bowl of pea and ham soup, my burger was a pretty big portion (even by my standards!), tasty but not greasy.  I have however, tasted better burgers but Alfred’s famous burger has its own merits.  Maybe it was our chit-chat, the unique ambience or just chilling out with a casual crowd, but I did not have any difficulty in eating up my entire burger!

Ready to tuck into our burgers at Alfred's Kitchen
“Where did it all go?” I wondered (burp!) as I looked at the empty piece of wrapper left in my hands. While Mark washed his meal down with beer, I had a few refreshing sips of orange juice that perfectly complemented my meal.  Our used napkins and wrappers were put back into the brown paper bag and we dumped it in a nearby bin as we made our way back to the car.

I was amazed that I felt rather comfortable even after putting away such a big burger.  Maybe it was the cool weather and the eventful day that helped to work up such an appetite but it was all good.  Just like our Burger Ramly, it was a hearty meal of a local comfort food and I’m simply pleased that I had the pleasure of such a unique experience at Alfred’s Kitchen.


1 comment:

  1. The hot pea and ham soup was comforting on the cold night around the open fire, situated along Guildford road in beautiful historic old Guildford town, next to the railway lines watching the trains go past, also the planes flying low with the airport not far away, with good friends and family. Thanks Peggy Loh & Ruby!