A talented chef-owner pushes the envelope of daytime dining with an instinctive combination of creativity and technique in a hallowed space of the Perth dining scene.

There’s a circularity to The Humble Onion taking up residence in what was Greenhouse, chef Matt Stone’s launchpad to national and international acclaim. Back in the early days of Greenhouse, Chris Howard, now a chef-owner of The Humble Onion, was an apprentice.

In recent years, Howard has come to the attention of Perth diners and his peers at Panama Social and North Bird Wine Store and Bar. The verdict of those in the industry: Howard is a culinary weapon. So it’s with much interest that he’s opened his new venture with business partner and front-of-house gun Caitlin Johnston. In a very 2020 origin story: the concept for The Humble Onion can be traced back to a tattoo on Howard’s forearm, with a YouTube channel started during lockdown sharing the same name.

Dishes are pared back, often built around three or so ingredients, and the menu has a cohesiveness to it that suggests Howard is a deep thinker about what he can offer that’s a cut above for this timeslot.

A breakfast-through-lunch venue, The Humble Onion puts out dishes that lean on more technique and inventiveness than often seen in the café space. Dishes are pared back, often built around three or so ingredients, and the menu has a cohesiveness to it that suggests Howard is a deep thinker about what he can offer that’s a cut above for this time slot. Manjimup rainbow trout, for example, is garnished with fennel pollen and served with a tangle of lightly pickled fennel, cucumber and a dollop of sour cream. House-made smoked sausage comes with a crescent of pickled peppers and an anchor of sweet, textural polenta that recalls Northern Italy and Southern US-style grits.

A hands-on bacon sandwich with house HP sauce plays to Howard’s British roots, with fluffy ciabatta and a fold of cheesy omelette pushing this dish into the kind of territory that inspires return visits. Food is complemented by a small-but-smart booze list that ups the drinks offer from well-made coffee, again proving that this CBD spot has eyes on all bases.