The Ellington

A good start

The Ellington Jazz Club is arguably the best thing to happen to Perth since Daylight Savings reared its delightful head.

Those in the know will tell you that Perth is no slouch when it comes to the jazz scene. Perth has one of the most respected jazz programs in the country at WAAPA, which draws students from across Australia and indeed the world. We also have local artists like Troy Roberts, Jamie Oehlers, Ali Bodycoat, Russell Holmes, Daniel Susnjar, and of course Graham Wood, who rate up there as some of the best in their given fields.

It might then come as bit of a surprise that until recently Perth had not one club dedicated specifically to Jazz. Which is why there’s been such a ground swell of appreciation that Bernard Kong and Graham Wood have finally gotten The Ellington out of their heads and into reality. Not that it was easy mind you. The guys fought long and hard to be able to open the club, obtaining the first new liquor license in Northbridge in 8 years… incidentally which was finalised literally half an hour before the launch night.

Now I am certainly no jazz expert. In fact if it hadn’t been for my good friend Alex Millier inviting me along on a number of occasions I could very well have completely missed the point. Fortunately he persevered though, because it doesn’t take long before the intimate ensembles bring you in. The bass, the piano, the drums, the sax, the trumpet. All melding into pieces both abstract and harmonious. There’s something distant yet inviting about jazz, there’s a certain uniqueness about how each performer approaches a piece, which means there’s always something different to appreciate. And with a line up of fantastic local and international acts performing every night of the week, there’s a real sense of community happening around the club.

It also doesn’t hurt that The Ellington is a beautiful space. Low slung lighting, a big brass polished bar, separate lounge with a live feed from the stage upstairs (for those that like to talk during a performance), a solid wine list and some very generous serves of food. They’ve also created a very savvy website and online identity. Reaching fans and locals through facebook and twitter to great effect. Add that to the fact that it’s walking distance from my house and the door staff are lovely, and you can see why I love it so much :)

Potential for greatnessJamie Oehlers quartetJamie Oehlers : sax masterTiltLoneliness is an empty glassLukeBucket of joyAngelyneA good startLindaJazz WhispersThe ring leaderAlexGeorgiaA whole lotta bassAli Bodybag

If you live in Perth, and you haven’t been in to check it out yet, I’d highly recommend you do.

The Ellington Jazz Club
191 Beaufort St, Perth


Jessie’s Curry Kitchen


Finally back to the business of eating in Perth. I have long been missing the love of a good honest curry. Since the fateful closing of Suraj last year, there’s been a curry shaped void in my life that no amount of franchised Indian restaurants could fill.

Enter the charming Jessie and her curry kitchen.

Situated in a barely recognisable corner of Inglewood on the Beaufort St strip that holds so much potential for both greatness and disaster for potential dinner goers, you probably wouldn’t know it was there. If you did happen to walk past it, you’d more than likely assume it was just a dull little suburban Indian takeaway store and continue on your way to get a dodgy kebab… but then you’d be wrong.

What Jessie’s Curry Kitchen lacks in style, it makes up for abundantly in substance. Jessie works the kitchen, and her husband Jeya works the floor. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen and the curries have a special quality to them that can only be construed as “love”.

The menu is a mixture of Indian and Malaysian dishes. There’s dosai, chapati, roti paratha, and selection of basic curries described succinctly as “chicken butter curry”, “chicken curry”, “fish curry”, “lamb curry”. No need for superfluous explanations or derivations as the flavours stand for themselves. The fish curry we had consisted of mackeral and had a texture so meaty I could have sworn it was chicken if I closed my eyes. I’m not sure if that’s a great compliment but for something so unassuming to completely surprise me is a rare and special thing. The lamb curry brims with clove and star anise, but doesn’t attack the senses. In fact all the dishes are quite reserved in the Johnny Cash (Ring of fire) sense.

Being from Sri Lanka originally before moving to Malaysia, there is also the added bonus of String Hoppers served up on weekends. They’re little bundles of rice noodles woven together into flat circles, and make a fantastic way to mop up dahl and curry.

Jessies Curry Kitchen : MenusCharles Melton : Rose of Virginia2007 Chalk Hill BarberaEye level BarberaJessies Curry Kitchen: Fish CurryJessies Curry Kitchen : Lamb CurryJessies Curry Kitchen : Chicken BiryaniJessies Curry Kitchen : Minimal ChicJessie in her kitchenDahlJessies Curry Kitchen : String HoppersJessies Curry Kitchen : ChapatiSatisfactionJessies Curry Kitchen : DoneJessies Curry KitchenJessies Curry Kitchen

On my most recent visit to Jessies with my dining entourage the meal started off with samosas, then moved on to every different type of curry, dahl, chicken biryani, hoppers, and roti. There was 6 of us, and I think the total bill came to around $114. Which was plainly ridiculous given the amount of gorging we’d all just done. Add to the fact that I don’t think Jeya charges anything for corkage, so the 3 or 4 bottles of wine consumed over the course of an hour or two were well and truly worth it. On a side note, I’m still to find a great wine to pair with curry, although a glass of Charles Melton “Rose of Virginia” donated by Mr Wino-sapien & family was perhaps a better choice than my Chalk Hill Barbera, which on it’s own is quite stunning, but with curry just seems to confuse things.

All romanticism aside, the place is small, pokey, hard to find if you aren’t looking, and has about as much atmosphere as a dentists waiting room, but once the food arrives it all just makes sense. Each time I’ve been there I’ve had strange moments where I catch the eyes of other diners and we share a look that somehow indicates we’re in the know. It’s a nod of the head and a sly smile (which could just indicate I’m about to get lucky) that says somehow we’re onto something here that no one else recognises, somehow we’ve come to find something quite special. And I completely agree.

Jessie’s Curry Kitchen & Cafe
869 Beaufort Street

Opening hours:
Wed to Sun: 11:00am to 2:30pm
5:30pm to 8:30pm
Mon: 11am to 2:30pm
Ph: 9271 8528

Jessie's Curry Kitchen and Cafe on Urbanspoon