Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

Want to know more about me? Friend me on facebook, follow me on twitter, or even look up my New Yorker cartoons on instagram! NB; different platforms not all food related)

A big thank you, as always, to my sponsors at Blue Vapours (use them for all your design and advertising needs - we are waiting for your call!).

Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WA Part 3 - Perth and Fremantle, The Big Smokes!

There's so much to enjoy in Western Australia: the Pinnacles (standing stones), wildlife, monks... even Gina Reinhardt's hole (apparently she's got the biggest one in history, and is importing workers from all over the world to come and make it bigger).

There’s even a town called Wanneroo, also known as the town that lost it’s “t”.

But if you want to have a quality nibble, and I'm not talking getting bitten in half by a shark, you'll need to go to the big smoke of Perth and Fremantle (two country towns that have had a growth spurt and become one through the agency of urban sprawl) .

One thing people told me before going to Perth was: “listen, it’s not cultural, but it does have character”.

I don’t know if that’s local cringe factor, but I found it all very easy going and pretty good quality. Here are some top tips.


"Freo! Freo by the seo! Biallistoc and Leo, oh meo mio meo!"

Right Fred?

(...you really should click on the Fred link above- it's hilarious!!)

Breweries, pubs, the America's Cup, tourist town, hobo central in a city that doesnn't know poverty. Is there nothing it can't do?


Here's a few suggestions on what to cram in your cake hole while there.


1-5 South Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160

Explained to me as the “iconic Gino’s”, this place holds many of the charms of Lygon St. You got it; cakes, coffee, pasta and some "legitimate business men" sitting in five hundred kilo huddles over wrought iron tables.

I give it four out of five horse heads.


7 South Terrace. Fremantle WA 6160

Tabella, next door to the “iconic Gino’s”, is pretty good. I can endorse the Linguini Fruti di Mare (the acid test for any Italian restaurant) and their wine list. Our waiter was a Jamie Oliver geez-alike, and returning to my normal ranking system, I give Tabella a strong six out eight tentacles.

Little Creatures

40 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160

Little Creatures™,the famed 'Bright Ale' brewery, was cited as a must visit hot spot.

It’s located down on Freo's marina, with a sand pit for kids to play in outside. Basically, much like it's branch office in Fitzroy, it's a big beer barn with a kitchen. The main difference is the chicken wire views of their brewing tanks to each side, and an inland view – through a giant glass wall – of a ferris wheel in "the Esplanade" (which is a park... I didn't name it).

All the workers were foreign backpackers, so it had an international feel, but generally speaking was a tourist trap (some tourists just never left) and not high food; pizzas, pickled octopus, giant couscous –little dishes for you to have while drinking beer.

Five tentacles.


When asking a Perth-a-narian about where to go to feed and water oneself, you're invariably directed to the seaside suburb of Cottesloe.

Ah Cottesloe, with your rambling timber houses, millionaires and super-drinky-foody scene on the beach, is there nothing you can't do?

Yes. Be Freo.

Cottesloe’s the swimming beach for Perth, has restaurants and bars, and was altogether fantastic.

A swimmer in knee high water was bitten in half to the astonishment of nearby pub patrons many years ago. Enquiring about this of locals, I was faithfully informed: "It hardly ever happens".

I just Googled this supposed urban myth to verify, and I got as far as real life attacks in 2012, 2011 and then stopped looking from shock.

Tourists abound, mostly people from the UK having their first swim in the sea since they were "on the Mediterranean", sunbaking their pasty bodies for hours on white sands while remaining completely oblivious to concepts like holes in the ozone layer, sunburn or humility.

After a coffee and read of the paper, we had a swim in the surf between the flags, the water beautiful, followed by a shower on a pole to the side of the surf club to wash all the sand and salt off so we wouldn’t have to be gritty while eating lunch.

But where to go to graze now we're clean?

Il Lido
88 Marine Parade, Cottesloe WA 6011

The first recommendation I had was to an Italian style café / restaurant on a corner called “il lido”, which one of my friend’s female neighbours has moved to Perth to become the head chef of and is apparently “killing it”. My friend has every meal there while back home in Perth – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Regardless, it’s very popular with locals, and groovy; with wooden benches, good coffee, Serge Gainsbourg playing on the stereo, and sound baffling on the roof.

99 Marine Parade
Cottesloe WA 6011

Directly over the surf club, in a beautiful old wooden building, is ‘Indiana’. It commands sweeping views of the beach and the sea, looking out to Rotnest Island (this article's photo is from the Indiana website).

Featuring wooden floors and ceiling fans, Indiana has a charm that could well be out of an Indiana Jones film - where Belarc comes and commiserates with Indy in Egypt for losing his girlfriend in the truck blow up scene.

They even have a deep brown leather couch ensconced between potted palms to sit in (the couch, not the plants) as you wait for your table.

The menu is modern and seasonal. We had, variously:

* a beer called ‘The Doctor’ – a larger only available there brewed for them by someone from Swan breweries.

* popcorn with pepper and rosemary as an entrée

* seared swordfish on a minty pea purree with smashed potatos

* chicken done in a Middle Eastern modern style with a giant pearl couscous side and a yoghurt scenario with pomegranate seeds

* I had (typically) the seafood platter which came as a double decker dish, with warm things on the top plate, and a bed of ice on the bottom. Ingredients included:

Cold – oysters (SA), fresh seared salmon with a pickled seaweed, smoked salmon, pickled octopus
Warm – mussels in a white wine and chilli sauce, calamari done in a rice flour tempura, and a giant garlic king prawn.

It was more than I could eat. I enjoyed these with Western Australian (Margaret River) wines by the glass; a Swings and Roundabouts Pinot Gris and a Chardonnay (which escapes me for the minute, but was excellent).

I rate Indiana as my top dining experience while in Western Australia (a short time but a good one) and give it seven and a half tentacles out of eight.

The Pub...

Cottesloe Hotel

104 Marine Parade, Cottesloe WA 6011


Ocean Beach Hotel
140 Marine Parade, Cottesloe, WA

I was also told you could go to the Cottesloe Pub as a good kick back venue, but not to expect too much. When I got there I couldn't remember whether it was the Cottesloe Hotel, or the Ocean Beach Hotel (which looks a bit cruisier). Either way, people look across the road to the beach and drink beer, hoping for someone to go swimming, and apparently you can't move there after work at the end of the week. Five sharks out of five.


Who knows?

None of my contacts suggested anything in downtown Perth per se, though I hear the whole place is a burgeoning scene that's blossoming and ripening like a young fruit... much like a young Bernard King.  (I was going to say Kenneth Branagh as a good comedy name, but Googled him and he's too butch).

It was a short trip, but I'd like to thank the Western Australian tourism commission for their support by selecting me to come and cover the full range of offerings in the near future for a paid supplement in all newspapers nation wide (come on ya cheapskates!).

If you're from WA and know some top nosh eateries for our readers, please send me a note here and I will happily include them.


Kit Fennessy said...

If you enjoyed this article, you might benefit from reading these more recent ones:

Freo Like a Local; Carpsy's Tips

or possibly even my Margaret River Wineries video tour:

not to mention the Perth Restaurant Award:

Well, I just thought you'd be interested...


Kit ///