Where friends and great food meet
In June, Perth’s beautiful heritage downtown welcomed an exciting new food neighbour, Gather, located at 40 Gore Street East. Owned and operated by the team of Kerri Smith and James Gallant, it has quickly developed a strong following among local residents and visitors alike. Of all the restaurants and diners I’ve visited over the years, this one has hit the target best in terms of delivering not just great food, but a great experience as well.
To start with, just about everything on their diverse menu is made in-house, from breads to soups to handhelds to desserts. They’ve already developed good relationships with local farms and source as much from them as possible. As they’re currently only open for daytime repasts (with plans to expand into evening offerings) their menu is sandwich, soup, and salad focused. But what James can do with a sandwich would drive many master chefs to hang up their aprons. I tried the curried chicken salad served on lightly toasted whole wheat cardamom. The slight heat of the yellow curry and arugula was nicely paired with the sweetness of the coconut and cranberries James adds to the mix. I took Kerri’s suggestion and had one of James’ no-recipe soups he crafts fresh every day; a smooth flavourful puree of squash and apple. These concoctions are too good to save for a crisp fall day but should rather be enjoyed all year long. Their other lunch options range from pastrami spiced cured salmon to Asian steak.
They are licensed for alcohol and offer a great selection of local craft beers and ales along with a growing wine list (Kerri and James have extensive sommelier backgrounds). One of my surprises came when I was offered an iced tea and had to initially turn it down for sugar content; but Gather has several versions of this refreshment, all sugar-free and made from unique blends. They even freeze cubes of each tea to keep them from watering down the flavor. Even lowly table butter servings get some special treatment: they come whipped with just a hint of garlic and maple syrup.
As much as Kerri and James have mastered the art of the cuisine over their careers in the business, they have also learned how to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. As they put it, “we share our hospitality through food and wine. Gather seeks to fulfill the desire within us all to connect; to spend meaningful time with each other alongside the simple pleasures of modern, wholesome, comfort food.” Prices are reasonable; my lunch came to $20 before tip.Gather is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm and has a wheelchair accessible entrance with plenty of on-street parking nearby. You can reach them at 613-264-8282 or can check out their changing menu online at gatherinperth.com. I’m looking forward to another visit.