We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Average veggie food, made tastier because of views and concept”

Annalakshmi on the Swan
Ranked #8 of 1,352 Restaurants in Perth
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$0 - US$45
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighbourhood: Perth CBD
London
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Average veggie food, made tastier because of views and concept”
Reviewed 7 December 2013

No need to cover the concept again, I would just add that the building was donated to the mission by a wealthy parishioner. So for anyone wondering how on earth they stay afloat with this concept, it's because they are there free of charge. Absolutely brilliant views, and even some outside tables, mean you can eat posh for little price (example: cafe opposite charges about $5 for standard coffee).

We reserved a table during the day and upon arrival, it became clear that it didn't really matter because the general setup is massive trestle tables where you all sit communally. There are some small tables for 4 etc but they were taken when we got there - I have to say that having made a reservation for three, it would have been a nice touch for one of those tables to be reserved. Having made a reservation, it didn't really matter because they told us to just sit wherever we wanted - on a massive trestle table and one nearby the door. We could have just rocked up.

To the food - it's buffet style so you line up, get a thali-type tray with a piece of bread, and you work through the buffet and fill it up to your heart's content. It's all vegetarian, and when we went there were four choices. Was a bit surprised by this. Also, it's pretty standard veg: curried potato, eggplant, rice etc. For practicing vegetarians, you'd think they might be able to push the boat out a bit more and offer some different vegetarian incarnations. Free tea, coffee (powdered), and cordial-type juice, as well as water. You can go back for as much food as you want. To be honest, with that range, there's only so much you can eat.

When you are finished eating, you front the guy near the door and give him what you want to pay. First up, I'll say that people have mastered the skill of looking like they are handing over pure gold bullion, only for the jangle in the hands of the front-of-house guy to give away that they are all silver coins. Yes, people can give that low an amount. Saw one couple walk out with no payment, just giving the 'namaste'- salutation on the way out. We sat near the door and it was about only the sixth or seventh customer who gave money in the form of a note. Before then, all coins.

So who goes here? Well, the local community of the mission the restauranteurs belong to, in big numbers so many large trestles are reserved for them. Perhaps they give larger amounts so it covers the rest of the customers. Backpackers eat here. As do students. Who must all not eat for the entire day and then stock up large at night for little payment. I cant think of any other reason why you would go up 4 or 5 times, and return with a mountain of (average) food on your tray. It's not my place to agree with them or not. What I will say is that the mission started to feed the poor and destitute, yet this place seemingly has none of those people in there. Because even the backpackers and students, hand over their coinage after putting away their smartphones. I don't actually know why no homeless or impoverished eat here. It may be because the hipsters have scared them away, which would be a shame.

If you are wondering how much we paid, we were a party of three. I asked each of us to identify what we would pay for a dish, if we were eating alone. $7, $8 and $9 were the amounts. We added some money to that because they kindly got us some drinks (I had an elderly person with me) when it is usually all self service, and the guy at the front took the time to explain the concept to us and give a little tour of the great artefacts which adorn the restaurant. $35 in total.

Some people may say that because it's free, you shouldn't complain about things like food range or quality. But I disagree with that. At the end of the day, they are in the service industry and are asking you to contribute an amount you feel is reflective of the experience. Now whilst many many take the rip on that and give tiny amounts, that shouldn't filter through and affect the type of food being offered. This is the type of food they eat, but in catering to a community of others, it wouldn't hurt for them to think about how that might influence what they serve.

I would eat here again, but having now had my expectations managed on how it works, may have a pre-dinner drink and snack somewhere else.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Cheemar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

246 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    126
    90
    23
    5
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Be generous,be fair.”
Reviewed 26 November 2013

I am often shocked and dismayed by the poor offerings this wonderful place gets.I have seen and heard of people boasting of giving $10 for a whole table of diners(with very good appetites)and share their stingy ways with their friends and family,encouraging ,them to do the same.Annalakshmi,is not just a volunteer run restaurant serving fabulous food ,but also,a well respected charity in India which gives milk,spectacles,healthcare etc to the poor and needy and they have been doing it for years.I have no personal connection to this organisation ,but find it paramount to express my displeasure at peoples stingy and unfeeling behaviour towards this lovely place serving quality food,with lovely views and good service.If we don't look out they may have to close down which will be a shame.So be generous ,be fair.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Caroline D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Very happy cultural experiance”
Reviewed 26 September 2013

Great place especially when considering that you pay whatever your heart feels like.
In my case it is almost like blackmailing.;-) Not sure how they doit especially at that location.
It suits me. It is very good cultural experience. Simple style with simple but tasty indian food.
Sometimes I pay $50 other times $10 depends on what we eat and how good was the week at work. It is my regular place of dining... If you do not like it go next door for 5x the price :-)

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Karel K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
108 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Good food, great view, fabulous concept”
Reviewed 18 September 2013

Superb views over the Swan River, extremely relaxed atmosphere and great Tamil-style (south Indian) vegetarian food. Buffet serving well tended and freshened by staff (all volunteers) the food has a very family-cooked feel to it and it is eat all you want and enjoy what you eat. Not a huge selection but the food is always tasty. As others have pointed out this a strictly non-alcoholic venue so don't even think of it! Cultural shows are presented many evenings. You pay as you feel is appropriate, this is a community-supported restaurant and the group is involved in many charity events, well worth supporting and you get a good meal every time. No preaching, no coercion, just relax and eat. The world needs more like Annalakshmi.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank RockDr23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“We'll be back!”
Reviewed 5 September 2013

A unique concept of "pay for what you feel it's worth"! a unique concept of "pay for what you feel it's worth"! To be honest it's worth a lot more than what people pay that's for sure. You can even sit outside in the balcony area overlooking the Swan River. The food is always delicious with lots of flavour, and the service is so friendly! The food is authentic Indian, delicious and plentiful - the idea being you pay what you think the meal is worth (profits go to projects in India). The place is vegetarian and non-alcoholic, so the focus is on the food and the busy atmosphere, which is great. We loved it all and would definitely go back again.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank charlymusic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Annalakshmi on the Swan also viewed

Perth, Greater Perth
Perth, Greater Perth
 
Perth, Greater Perth
 

Been to Annalakshmi on the Swan? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing