Hotel Review: Novotel Perth Murray Street and the launch of Miss Mi Restaurant

After a four hour drive from Margaret River, Mr G & I wheel our cases into reception for an overnight stay at the Novotel ahead of an early morning flight back to Sydney. Tonight is our swan songto Western Australia and we have heard great things about Melbourne’s Miss Mi which launches this week! So let’s crack on…

The reception: As the glass doors open it feels more like a modern place of worship, than a hotel, as the ceiling soars upwards and a light installation of concentric circles catches our eyes. This isn’t your ordinary Novotel.
Loaded with bags (many of them wine) the concierge swoops in like Mary Poppins. With a gesture of the hand he guides me over to some chairs… “Please sit, are you checking in?” Oh how lovely, I don’t mind if I do!

The reception is buzzing thanks to the hotel bar being situated in the lobby. Remember the old days of a reception being a rather icy start to your stay? This puts us in a great mood, there is chatter and laughter as people are drinking and having fun, it’s a vibe. Our car is parked for us by the concierge, wow this is service.

The Room – Executive Suite 2409

One bedroom Executive Suite

Zooming up to the 24th floor, we open the door and light fills the room. The sun is setting and the floor to ceiling windows show off the city beautifully. To our right is a kitchenette with the basics of a fridge and microwave. This is a relief given how many bottles of wine and copious cheeses we have still neither eaten or drunk!

A circular dining table is ample if we wanted to order up an Uber feast but we have a date with Miss Mi tonight. Instead we tuck into our complimentary fruit bowl with gusto. A two seater sofa in the lounge is joined by a designer chair, which looks awesome but requires yogi style strength to sit on it comfortably with it’s very low slung back – an excellent way to encourage better deportment and core strength.

The door through to the bedroom reveals a kings size bed set off by a beautiful seascape mural. The ensuite bathroom is really generous with a large rain shower and Deep Nature full size toiletries. It’s a brand not often found in hotels, and you even have to search to find them in spa’s so it’s a real treat to try something new!

Out and About
Murray Street is a great location for the city. After driving for hours we feel like stretching our legs before dinner. It’s Friday night and the street is alive with diners headed to restaurants, people drinking in bars and shoppers using the final hours to get their retail fix in. Just a few minutes walk and we are in the retail district. Buskers are filling the night air with soulful tunes and we unexpectedly come across a food truck festival which has everything from Argentinian Asado to Thai curry. It takes all our willpower not to join the queue.

Novotel Restaurant – Miss Mi (Oh Mi! so so good!)

Our trip could not have been better timed as Miss Mi has only been open a few days and is only open to hotel guests, opening to the general public in February. We do a catwalk strut past a beautiful mural at the entrance, then onwards towards a large pond with fountains and folliage before stepping into Miss Mi.

Main restaurant area

Oooohh she is big, beautiful and understated with dark wooden tables and stylish low slung padded grey fabric chairs. The menu has us enthralled, for the most part it spans Asia but most excitingly plays homage to Filipino born chef Alex De Leon’s homeland. As we weave through the menu of street snacks, smalls and large shares and sides it’s clear – this restaurant which stands out for its creativity in bringing the best of the Philippines to Australia. Think everything char, smoked, grilled, fermented and spiced. It’s not a cuisine widely understood but Chef Leon creates stories with every dish.

Speaking of stories, if food could talk, this street food could be an award winning podcast, it has so much to say! Confession – I am going through a prawn toast obsessive phase, this 100yr old classic from Guangdong, China is pressing all my taste bud buttons. Three golden crispy soldiers topped with sesame seeds are so sensational that they don’t need any accompaniments. I trade the final one with Mr G who gains all the Szechuan glaze lamb skewers which arrive on paperbark and stops all conversation for a minute (so I presume they are very good). Pandesal is the staple bread of the Philippines its normally a little sweet and soft, here it acts as a crispy chariot of flavour containing crayfish, ikura (salmon roe) onion and chives. Pick up a ball, pop in the mouth and your eyes roll backwards. It’s like being five years old again. Meanwhile, the chilli crab & prawn dumplings is a sophisticated dish dotted with roe, microherbs in a curry sauce which requires more adult like restraint!

Kinilaw Filipino Raw Fish Salad is reminiscent of a Peruvian ceviche, though this version uses vinegar rather than citrus fruits to cure. Slices of radish, herb oil and tomato create a coconut infused dish that you could eat endlessly for breakfast.

We head into mains after a mini bottle of Louis Roederer champagne is carefully opened and poured at the table, followed by Wasabi Mi cocktail – a refreshing blend of gin, cucumber, lemon and you guessed it, wasabi! The dish I can’t stop thinking about is four juicy WA grilled prawns lounging in a tamarind curry sauce which is delicately balanced, rich and flavourful. Chicken inasal, marinated with native lemongrass and annatto oil (from the seeds of achiote trees) is served on a banana leaf. It’s a dish which could be eaten with a knife and fork, but it is more fun with your hands, especially with the confetti-like scattering of fried garlic bulbs. Don’t miss the fried rice. It’s weaponised with roast garlic and crunchy beef fat crumbs topped with a sous vide egg. Oh Mi! This is unlike any fried rice I have had before, please sir can we have some more?

Miss Mi first delighted Melbourne diners, and now Perth gets to chow down on some of the most exciting Asian food to hit Australia. It’s perhaps rather fitting that there is no way to say ‘hello’ in Filipino language, instead they ask ‘how are you?’, “Kumusta!”. After dining here we are so happy and grateful to have experienced the skills of this amazing chef who honours his heritage and country. Our parting words to WA are “Paalam na po”, not goodbye, but see you later…

swimming pool

What we are addicted to: Great location, nice sized apartment, well sound proofed and the cool toiletries. OH and EVERYTHING about Miss Mi!

What would we need to be more addicted?: The outdoor pool looked tempting, but was in need of a clean and very cold (brrrr) so we gave it a miss. The air conditioning was noisy in the bedroom at night, this could have been  fixed but we left the next day.

Novotel Perth Murray Street, 388 Murray Street, Perth 6000
Miss Mi , ground floor, 388 Murray Street Perth.

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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