I was living in Leederville when Kailis Brothers opened their fish market and restaurant on Oxford St, and at the time it was an exciting addition to the compact Leederville precinct. When visiting Perth recently en route to Albany to attend a wedding, and with the intention of introducing some Perth and Melbourne friends, all of whom love seafood, Kailis seemed the perfect venue for lunch.
Our group of five ordered a series of plates to share. From the top down: taramasalata; whitebait ($15.50); grilled squid; octopus a la Grec; scallops ($42.50 for 8); and wasabi jumbo prawns ($36.50 for 8). Two of our group shared a half dozen oysters ($22.50), and we also shared chips and a green salad.
The general consensus that food in Perth is overpriced and poor value, compared to Melbourne, is confirmed to me on every visit. When you pay $12.50 for a simple ‘leaf salad’ consisting of some lettuce and a few shavings of parmesan cheese, both probably straight from a packet, you feel ashamed for putting up with it without protesting. It would be worth no more than $8 in Melbourne, and it would be better.
Other prices also grate: while an espresso at $3.50 is modest, $5 for a weak, presumably premix-based lemon, lime and bitters is another mockery. In February 2011, another blogger paid $16.90 for six oysters; in May 2012, 15 months later, we paid $22.50. This is an increase of over 25% in just over a year.
We finished our meal with desserts including a fantastic lime and ginger creme brulee.
Kailis has been reviewed several times: The Aussie bite, Juji chews and The food pornographer are all generally positive, and I agree with them that the service at Kailis is good. However, the staff continue to offer freshly ground black pepper with enthusiasm like it’s still the 1990s. Please make it stop.
The food at Kailis is impressive and satisfying, and generally worthy of the prices, though unnecessary menu padding for sides like salads can easily undermine otherwise favourable impressions and reduce the overall positive impact of the experience.
Having grown up in and then having left Perth, I mixed feelings whenever I return. When introducing Melbourne friends to old Perth haunts, I hope to surprise them in a positive way and demonstrate to them that the negative stereotypes about Perth are not true. Kailis mostly satisfies the discerning interstate visitor, and is better than many Perth restaurants, but it could do better in determining the value of everything on the menu.