When I put feelers out just over six months ago looking for food reviewers for brunch, I was overwhelmed with the response. Especially considering that a lot of my blogging friends were keen to jump on board even though there would be no photo sharing, blog posts, special VIP treatment or events. Just a real meal on me with a real review in return.
Well it’s my favourite meal, no matter what day it is. It’s also the easiest time of day for me to catch up with friends. I’ve tackled more than most on my to do list after the girls head to school and I’m usually looking for an excuse to leave the home office and venture out into the real world.
I have more than a few favourite places I like to head for brunch but I’m also recognised now as a blogger (who knew), which can sometimes (not always) mean preferential treatment when venue owners assume you are there ‘casing’ the joint. I also initially had a slight conflict of interest with the mystery shopping side of things where I would be paid to review a venue for a client. Something I’ve been doing for years but have taken a step back from since starting the blog.
Casing the Menu
My Casing the Menu food reviews have been a long time coming. When I first kick started the blog, you may remember the high tea reviews. The ones where I was lucky enough to catch up one-on-one with some of Perth’s talented bloggers to discuss blogging while indulging in high tea. I had initially planned to move on to brunch reviews with a similar agenda but life (mainly health issues) had other ideas and food reviews were temporarily removed from the blogging menu.
With reviews slowly making their way back on the menu here, I’ve wanted to take a different approach this time round. So with a team of five mystery reviewers, we’ve been casing some of my favourite brunch venues in Perth, undercover, so that I can really give my favourite establishments my worth casing seal of approval.
Which reminds me, I need to find an actual Worth Casing seal for this one. I’m also wondering if we should share our scoring system on the actual review post?
How do the reviews work?
Each venue, has been cased on at least three separate occasions before I will even think about bringing the review to the blog. None of the reviews are sponsored. We were not offered special treatment or free meals. There were no blogger invited menu launch nights or VIP events.
This isn’t about how photographic the food is. Far from it. The only photos taken, were after initial reviews were completed and I would return to the venue with a friend or blogger.
Each and every visit the reviewers were asked to be as inconspicuous as possible. If they were asked if they were reviewing or blogging about their experience, which luckily never happened, the review would have been marked void.
My reviewers were real customers, obtaining a real experience. The majority of my reviewers were parents, so while they were there casing the venue for child friendliness, something I think only a parent can really gauge, they were all child free during the review.
The entire review process was systematic and I personally funded the campaign through the mystery shopping side of my VA business.
If a venue received more than one low score, it’s not worth casing and will not be making it on to the blog. The only real flaw in my review plan… the time factor. There just isn’t enough time to review each and every venue in Perth but seriously how cool would that be to pull off.
Location Location Location
As I’m currently North of the River (NOR) and the majority of my reviewers are also NOR, I’ve started here and I’ve kept mainly with my favourites.
I do have a preference for Karvan Coffee and Pure Tea from Leaf Bean Machine, and I’ve joked on far too many occasions that I need to be their official coffee shop reviewer but for the most part I try and leave coffee out of the equation. What an awesome job that would be though?! Reviewing coffee for a living. Right up there with chocolate reviewing according to my chocoholic hubby.
That crazy blogging idea will have to wait though, as I commence my 5 weeks of wellbeing this coming week, starting with a 5 day juice cleanse with Pure Glow Cleanse. This means giving up one of my favourite indulgences, coffee, for the time being.
It also means that we will be heading to the healthy side of town for the remainder of the brunch reviews.
Now that we have the right system in place with a tried and tested food review survey, I’m really looking forward to firstly sharing my favourite places for brunch in Perth both here on the blog with mini reviews and in person, with a series of intimate brunch catch ups throughout the year.
Taking the show on the road
Later in the year, I will also be catching up with a few of my favourite people over lunch. Starting with a blogging trip to Melbourne in May. More details on that coming soon. I honestly can’t wait to get this brunch and lunch is on me blogging gig on the road.
To celebrate the launch of Casing the Menu and food reviews returning to the blog I’m also hosting an Australia wide giveaway.
BRUNCH IS ON ME: If you would like to be treated to brunch, leave a comment below telling me about your favourite venue for brunch or your most unusual brunch food, to be in the running for a mystery brunch for two on me.
One Winner wins a mystery brunch for two on me (up to $50)
Must leave a comment here or on our Facebook page to be in the running
Australian Residents only
Game of skill
Entries close 28/3/15 at 9pm (Perth time)
Let’s talk about brunch baby… let’s talk about you and me…. let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that might be!
Yum! I’m in! I like Kent St Deli in Rockingham. Their menu is full of delicious creative dishes. I love the way they’ve set up the cafe with colourful tables and chairs mixed up to make you feel like you’re totally somewhere else. Not ‘like home’. Great spot if you like getting out of your comfort zone while munching on some of the best treats you’ll ever have from a cafe.
Haven’t really cased Rockingham at all. I think I’ve been there once since we moved to Perth. Will have to add Kent St Deli to the list sounds divine.
I wish I could put my hand up to be your Southern correspondent, casing Sydney brunches for all, but alas, I’m strictly limited to child-friendly zones and brunch should not be child friendly. Brunch is for grown ups. These days we are heavily into ‘linner’. x
I’m coming to Sydney later in the year and would dearly love to catch up with you. I have to agree with the child free zone for brunch. It’s my escape time. Although, I do case the venues for their child friendliness when I’m there because a lot of my friends have small kids and still want to do brunch occasionally with the children.
Brunch is so underated!!
Amber at The Beautiful Lens. x
I know. Do you have a favourite place you like to brunch?
Arghhh! It’s so hard to choose 1 place. But, I’m going to say The Roadhouse in Byron Bay <3
Hey Amber I agree The Roadhouse is amazing isn’t it . Especially when Chelsea serves you your morning coffee ! (my niece so I am biased!) Cheers Vicki (N)
Oh really? I’ll have to look out for her then Vicki! XO
we do home style brunch goodies on our deck, if the weather is good! … it’s been boiling or freezing, or blowing a gale lately! oh well! … we often do linner too! we seem to take ages getting out of the house these days, hence a long walk, then linner! that’s ok! it’s not sitting on the stomach when trying to fall asleep at 9pm! moi!
hope you are feeling ok! love m:)X
All this talk of linner, I might need to give it a try. Starting my 5 day juice cleanse tomorrow and wondering if I should come with a warning for the rest of the week. lol
Somrtimes this is the only meal I can have with girlfriends so I love it… and it is a good excuse to eat when your not meant to be (makes me feel very grown up).
Do you have a favourite place you like to brunch or a favourite brunch food?
Brunch is THE best meal of the day, usually because I only get it when I’m away from home. You always come up with such great ideas! x
Why thanks Emily. Do you have a favourite place you like to head for brunch or a favourite brunch food?
Lovely casing! I am loving going out for lunch/dinners at the moment so this meal is speaking to me!
Do you have a favourite place you like to head to for brunch Bec?
How exciting – I love the idea of casing places for brunch. Now I have an excuse to go out and try some local places for review as we have a food category on Smarter Happier too. Happy days!
I’m hoping when I finally make it to Sydney to have brunch with you Kirsty. I didn’t know you had a food category on Smater Happier. Will have to head over and case that one soon.
The Angove Street Collective in Perth. It’s very Bohemian, with a wonderfully ‘Saturday’ atmosphere.
Hi Benjamin, nice to see a new face around here. ASC is one of the few places in that part of town, that we haven’t cased. I’m always concerned I will end up spending big in the homewares department.
My favourite place for brunch would have to be Breaks in Freo. Great atmosphere, table service, caters for an energetic toddler and most of all has amazing food plus all day breakfast! Must try is the brioche French toast.
Hi Sarah, I’m looking forward to casing a few Freo places later in the year. I will definitely add that one to the list. Not in Freo but down that way, I’m also keen to try the new Pucks Espresso that features Littlesweet Baking treats. Have you been there. I think they only opened this week?
No not yet, but I have heard of the opening and am a fan of little sweet baking will definitely have to give it a try
Pop back and let me know how you found it when you do.
I love brunch…. my most favourite me to eat out and I can never make brunch menu items at home that are as good! My favourite brunch menu item is probably eggs benedict!
My hubby is a fan of eggs Benedict. I’ve just found a place that does pancakes Benedict and I’m planning on taking him there for his birthday this year.
On the top of my list to make any bruch worth getting out of bed for is I house roasted coffee beans and fresh local produce like they have at Di Bellas in Freo. But for us NOR brunch lovers it would have to be Voyager Kitchen in Sorrento.
Huge fan of Voyager Kitchen in Sorrento. It’s always so busy though.
I hardly ever have brunch. Everything looks delicious!
I know. I’m just about to start my 5 day juice cleanse, I might need to put the food blinkers on in the meantime.
My favourite place for brunch is a local place called Giddy Goat. Their food is delicious and the chocolate frappes are so thick you have to eat it with a spoon.
What a cool name. I’ve never had a chocolate frappe, I might need to put it on my must try list as soon as my juice cleanse is over.
MMM My favourite place for brunch. I am with you brunch is a great time as anything goes, a cocktail, bubbles in my glass. I am struggling to think of anywhere. We would mostly be at the freo food markets for crepes or smoothies or spinach and cheese gozleme’s Happy Casing ! Great idea x
Thanks Druime, I really need to spend more time casing in Freo. When we first moved to Perth we were at Mosman Park, so Freo wasn’t too far away.
Mmmm I love brunch. I usually go for eggs benedict but I went to an amazing little place called Hello Sunday in Christchurch for my Dad’s birthday and had smoked mushrooms, beetroot, goat’s cheese and poached eggs. It was seriously amazing and relatively inexpensive, so I would like to take my husband there.
I love anything with goat’s cheese. Day 4 of my juice cleanse and I’m trying not to think too much about my favourite foods.
I love a new little cafe in Malvern East, Melbourne called Little Oak Eatery, it’s really cute and to answer the second question on unusual brunch foods they do a ‘house made savoury granola served with a fried egg on sourdough. Sunday brunch sorted!”
I’m in Melbourne in May, I will add that to my list. Thanks.
What an absolutely brilliant idea and I love that it is all done anonymously without the venue knowing. thats a TRUE review. Have an awesome weekend hun. Hope all is going OK xx
Thanks Sonia, it’s been a long time coming this little idea. You have an awesome weekend too. We have a long weekend here in Perth. I’m on day 5 of the 5 day juice cleanse and organising my daughter’s 14 birthday party. It’s nice to be busy.
There’s an awesome new cafe in Toowoomba called Primal Pantry that I love checking out at different times as its a paleo cafe and offers lots of unique and clean eating options. I also like to call in there after a run/workout for a smoothie! ‘The Hulk’ smoothie is my fave so far but there are some I still have to try!
I’d love to find a paleo cafe. I found an almost raw cafe that I’m looking forward to casing once I’ve finished with my juice cleanse.
Brunch is definitely my fave meal of the day! We have a great local cafe, Unwritten, that does the most amazing sweet corn fritters and to-die-for smoothies so that’s a fave brunch spot for me.
Love the name of your cafe. I’m dreaming of sweet corn fritters right about now. They sound divine.
Love Sayer’s Sisters and The Old Crow! Love brunch it’s like getting the best of both worlds!
I might need to case The Old Crow. I love brunch too. Thanks for entering.
Love Voyager Kitchen, Cafe Elixir and Moore & Moore for brunch – it’s a great meal time to share with friends! I had a Baguette me Not for brunch at a local Farmers market last Saturday – that was fab too!
I must get back to casing the farmers markets. There seem to be a few new ones popping up. My local is Stirling on a Sunday but I don’t mind Subi on Saturday morning either. Although it has been a little while since I’ve been.
Not unusual to me, but very unusual to friends I brunch with, is smoked eel. Love it 🙂
I use to love smoked eel as a child when staying with my Dutch grandparents. I haven’t had it for years though, and not sure I could stomach the stuff these days.
Best brunch venue on the planet is my sister in laws place. She’s a brilliant, tasty cook, and her serves are decent unlike most eateries of this day.
When she invites to brunch, everyone comes running!
Sounds wonderful. We use to throw some great brunch catch ups. I really must get back to hosting brunch.
I just love love LOVVVVVE going to Bills for Ricotta Hotcakes. No one does them like Bills! They are so light and fluffy, and the bananas on top make it healthy!
Ricotta hotcakes sound divine.
After dropping the kids off, I love popping into The Pottery Green for brunch with my fellow Mummy Friends. Pottery Green is a rustic bakery/cafe with modern Vietnamese and European influences. You can get super fresh baguettes with an array of delicious fillings, baked chilli eggs and chorizo, or a deliciously warming bowl of beef noodle soup. To top it off, their coffee is always superb, never bitter or burnt. The decor is decked out with wooden tables and ferns and copper pans hanging from the walls. A really relaxing place!
I love the sound of this place, starting with the baked chilli eggs and chorizo.
Hmmm… seems I managed to link myself up in the wrong place! Sorry! I don’t actually have a favourite place to brunch, because I almost never go out (awwwwwww…), but I’m excited to look! I love to read your reviews, I feel like I’m right there with you. 🙂
No worries Karen, thanks for linking. I’m looking forward to casing you.
Love your play on words ‘lets talk about brunch baby’, no favourite place to brunch here as we don’t head out to eat often but I do throw a pretty awesome brunch, if I do say so myself. Favourite dish is definitely my truffled scrambled eggs.
OMG must try truffled scrambled eggs.
Wow, love the look of your blog and won’t say no to a brunch giveaway. Pancakes all the way for me but it’s the toppings that take my brunch experience to the next level.
Thanks Emily. Love a good pancake.
Sugar & Nice for me, you’ve probably heard of it already. It’s on Beaufort Street Inglewood. Drool worthy and more sweet than savoury. Just how I love it.
I have heard of these guys but only recently. They were handing out the most divine chocolates at the Dior & I movie preview. I’m going to have to case this place.
Somewhere in Newtown, not sure I could pick a favourite place, with so many great options to choose from. I’m a bit partial to dumplings, would this count for brunch?
Oh how I miss Newtown Jane. Last trip to Sydney we just didn’t have the time.
Seen as how we are new to the Sunshine Coast area,
I haven’t gotten a Favorite Brunch place as yet,
but I did have a favorite place a few years back,
In Moffat Beach. Not for bfeaky mind you,
for their very naughty delicious Pancakes
that you knew you shouldn’t be eating, but
somehow couldn’t stop!
I haven’t had pancakes in such a long time.
Urgh I can’t seem to log in to Disqus. Thought I had it worked out. Right, brunch, its a stay at home affair for me but I love it all the same. Any excuse to have a big cook up and sit down and feast with the family
Not sure what to suggest with Disqus, we really should look at getting rid of it.
I love a stay at home brunch too as long as someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning.