Padbury’s, colonial charm in Guildford
How do we spend a Saturday at home? Last weekend it was spent soaking up some history combined with mouth watering food, 13km northeast of Perth, Western Australia.
So join us as we put on our walking shoes and step back in time. Enticed to soak up the atmosphere, we visit one of the quaint restaurants in a place where history lives on in the restored buildings and colonial charm of Guildford.
History of Guildford
First sighted by Captain James Stirling in 1827, Guildford in the Swan Valley became an official settlement in 1829. One of three towns established during the founding of the Swan River colony, Guildford is rich in history. Perth was established as the administration, Fremantle as the port and Guildford as the market. The rich soils sustained the settlement with agricultural and livestock farming.
Today, strolling through the streets of Guildford you get a feeling you’re in a tiny village that time forgot. Guildford is a place where history lives on, where quaint colonial buildings from the township’s earliest days continue to grace the streets. It is only one of two towns in Perth on the National Trust register. We stepped back in time and soaked up the village atmosphere when we visited one of the fine colonial buildings, Padbury’s, Guildford.
After previously enjoying a mouth watering dinner fit for a gastronomic connoisseur and finishing with a gourmand delights’ dessert, we decided for our second visit to Padbury’s Café Restaurant we would shamelessly indulge in the very English High Tea.
History of Padbury’s
Padbury’s, is one of the oldest surviving commercial and residential buildings in Guildford. Built in 1869, it changed appearance in 1900 with the addition of the current façade. At the time it was built it was one of the most imposing buildings in the colony.
The original owner, Walter Padbury, arrived in the Swan River Colony with his father in 1830 at the age of nine. Sadly his father passed away the following year, making him an orphan living in a new, struggling colony. This challenge developed strong survival instincts and exposed his astute mind, as he began work as a shepherd. Slowly he rose from his humble beginnings and saved enough for a farm of his own. In 1844 he opened a butcher shop and later, in 1865, the first store in Guildford. Walter Padbury soon after became the first Mayor of Guildford and in 1872 was elected to State Parliament. Remarkably, along with the magnificent Padbury’s Stores and Residence building, he owned several other stores, considerable rural and pastoral land and a small fleet of sailing ships. What an extraordinary triumph and turnaround for a 10 year old orphan.
Also having a strong farming background are today’s owners, Michael and Helena Tran. They recognize the value of using highest quality, fresh, seasonal ingredients and make their focal point serving superior food.
Padbury’s building has been lovingly restored retaining its historic character and heritage atmosphere, creating the relaxing warmth of a country cottage styled restaurant.
High tea at Padbury’s
We were warmly greeted as we entered and promptly shown to our table. The tables were beautifully set with cloth napkins tied with pretty ribbons, vases of Peonies, floral mix and match of Royal Albert fine bone china, Waterford glassware and 24 carat gold plated cutlery.
To start off our adventure our tea order was taken. The selection here goes well beyond the standard Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea. The selections for our table was Punjabi tea– a selection of Assam tea, with citrus peel, cloves, rose petals, almonds, vanilla bean and cardamom, Mumbai tea – a selection of orange peel, fennel, cinnamon, liquorice, juniper berries, cloves, cardamom, vanilla and ginger and Japanese Garden tea – a selection of green tea, white tea, pineapple, strawberry, mallow leaves, papaya and rose flowers. The tea was served in a beautiful Royal Albert fine bone china combination teapot and cup and had matching tea strainers on the table. Being a non tea drinker I chose to have a coffee, which was presented in keeping with the theme, in an elegant floral Royal Albert mug, bringing a luxurious, vintage feel. We also had the choice of Pink Moscato, sparkling wine and champagne, real champagne.
The epicurean enchantment begins with a delicious selection of handmade savoury treats. Today we have Tiger prawn on avocado salsa, mini quiche with crispy sweet potato and three different gourmet finger sandwiches. This is followed by some divinely decadent sweets made by the in-house patisserie. The presentation of the many options would satisfy gastronomic foodies. The pretty three tier stands includes scones with little pots of home made strawberry jam and larger pots of cream displaying shameless disregard for our cholesterol levels. Yum. We have a tray with perfectly presented white chocolate mouse cheesecake and another with cute vanilla cupcakes. To round off the journey there was also delicate little macarons, éclairs and strawberries.
Padbury’s Café Restaurant, again you failed to disappoint. We can thoroughly recommend if you are a cuisine worshipper you step back in time, where every visit and the options presented is a gourmet delight.
*All opinions are our own and we were not financially compensated for this post.
* Some photos used with permission of Michael & Helena Tran, Padbury’s Café Restaurant.