I always thought Mondays were hands down the worst day of the week. The work day drags, the weekend is a distant blip on the horizon, but the weekend you just had feels like a lifetime ago. This was especially the case when I was heavily pregnant, hanging out to finish work so I could wear what resembled a muumuu all day and reorganise my pantry. I was in full nesting mode and work was really cramping my style. Each Monday afternoon on the drive home I would see the Inglewood Night Markets setting up in Beaufort Street, so one evening last year my husband and I decided to walk (well he walked, I waddled) down after dinner to see what we might be able to score for dessert.
The Inglewood Night Markets are foodie heaven. There is literally something for everyone, with every nationality of cuisine represented, plus options for vegetarians, vegans, hardcore carnivores, the sweet tooth and just about everything in between. Needless to say, Monday night at the markets very quickly became a tradition. And if you walk there and walk home, you can order the biggest dessert you can find, guilt free (am I right?!)
When I saw the community organisation Inglewood on Beaufort advertising that the Inglewood Night Markets were starting up again for the 2017/18 season, I made sure Monday, 25 September was in the diary. No longer waddling, but now with pram and dog in tow, we walked down to Beaufort Street to see what was on offer this year.
To those who haven't been to the Inglewood Night Markets before, the markets line both sides of Beaufort Street in Inglewood between Sixth Avenue and Tenth Avenue. The vendors (of which there are expected to be at least 70 this season) start setting up late afternoon, and the crowds start milling around from about 5:30pm, even though the start time isn't technically until 6pm. The markets are made up of predominantly food trucks, with the food truck culture in Perth really skyrocketing over the past few years. These arenít your old fashioned Mr Whippy style trucks - these are fully decked out, shiny, totally profesh restaurants on wheels.
Suss out all the options before you make your decision!
The etiquette is as follows - you walk the length of either side of Beaufort Street, checking out every food truck before making a decision. Only then can you be sure you wonít get major food envy when your friend comes back with the paper boat of greek donuts from Mr Meli Donuts. This actually happened to me, and I was devastated that I hadnít spotted them before I ordered my food. Lesson learnt - do your research before you order.
The Greek donuts I dream about all week until Monday night
It will take many more Mondays before I can claim that Iíve tried everything, but some highlights for me so far have been:
The fish tacos from The Fish Boss. Insanely tasty and fresh.
An S-cone from Scone Crazy. Cone shaped scones with all different fillings. I stuck with traditional jam and cream and it was amazing. Actually quite practical for eating and walking too!
The Italian Donut Company by Lena Lu - think donut, and think the size of your face. These donuts were absolutely delicious - I got the Italian Custard, the other half got the Nutella, and neither of us wanted to give the other a bite of ours.
There are so many food trucks offering such a variety of things - trucks dedicated to creme brŻlťe, paella, gyoza, ribs, bao, felafel, bahn mi, pizza - the list goes on.
The Italian Donut Company and their amazing, massive donuts
But itís not all food trucks - other stalls include fresh produce, honey, handmade soy candles, locally made woodwork, gifts, chutneys, jams and other treats to take home if you have already gorged yourself. A highlight for me was The Treat Truck, a food truck dedicated to treats for your dog. My dog was scored a sweet potato and sardine cookie (only $1!) See if you can catch a glimpse of the gorgeous huge dog named Roman who is often sitting in the truck keeping an eye on the treats.
The Treat Truck, complete with host Roman the dog
What is brilliant about the markets is that the organisers have done a fabulous job of reactivating this particular area of Inglewood, creating a real community buzz. Families, young couples, seniors, dog lovers and foodies all come together to build a hub of activity. Word of mouth keeps the crowds coming back, and in turn ensures that the vendors are all high quality.
So while Iím sure Iíve won you over with tales of all the delicious food options at the Inglewood Night Markets, I know you're all wondering Ďbut is it suitable for kids?í.
Families with kids seem to gravitate towards the Inglewood Civic Centre site, which is right in the centre of the action. Itís a great spot to bring a blanket and sit down with your food, and there is a drink fountain as well. Behind the Civic Centre is a row of port-a-loos brought in for the event, and I was surprised at how well they were maintained during the night.
Inglewood Civic Centre grassed area
Each week there is live entertainment in the grassed area infront of the Inglewood Library, and this is great for getting kids up and dancing along to the songs. For a few dollars, the kids can race dad on the big slot car racing track run by Ultimate Slotracer. If you base yourselves at this part of the event, Mum and Dad can take it in turns ducking off to grab food for everyone, while the kids wear themselves out dancing and playing on the grassed area. The organisers have told me that this season there will be even more entertainment at the Civic Centre site targeted at kids - like a dog show, and three childrenís authors doing story time in January.
Ultimate Slotracer is set up in the Civic Centre area
Food-wise, there is so much variety that even the fussiest of eaters are catered for. Itís almost a crime to order a bucket of chips when there are so many excellent options, but itís always there as a backup if your little one decides thatís all they want!
Logistically, the only thing to be wary of is that while the markets run down both sides of Beaufort Street, the street is still open. So while there is professional traffic management in place to keep market goers as safe as possible, traffic does still move through the area so kids need to be watched at all times. The footpath can get pretty crammed with people, prams and dogs, so just be mindful of that and maybe head down earlier in the evening to scope out your food options rather than the 7pm to 7:30pm peak.
As a mum, the thought of not cooking on a Monday night is heaven (and all I do is feed a five month old pureed sweet potato, so I don't know how all you mums cooking actual food do it!) The organisers of the Inglewood Night Markets have crowned it #nocookmondays which is a concept I can fully get on board with.
This is an awesome family night out. Involve the kids by letting them scope out the food choices and maybe encouraging them to try something a bit different or out there (like Jamaican jerk chicken, and if they like it you can buy the spice mix and make it at home!) One food truck that Iím sure will be a hit with the kids is new addition Fire Truck Italian, whose food truck is actually a decked out fire engine.
Kids can bust out the moves to the live entertainment. Credit: Facebook - Inglewood on Beaufort
Let the kids dance their feet off to the live music before they crash into bed. For those of us lucky enough to live locally, youíll want to return every Monday. And for those travelling to Inglewood, I am sure youíll be glad you did! And to be honest, itís probably for the best that you donít live within walking distance of those donutsÖ
Essential Information Inglewood Night Markets
When: Monday nights from Spring to Autumn, commencing 25 September 2017.
Location: Beaufort Street between Sixth and Tenth Avenues, Inglewood
Toilet facilities: Civic Centre port-a-loos
First Aid: St Johns Ambulance Inglewood Library
ATM: Westpac cnr Beaufort and Ninth Avenue
Keep an eye on the Inglewood on Beaufort Facebook page for updates on vendors and entertainment.