THE “tea cosy cafe” is what mum used to call La Tropicana when it first opened some years ago in what was then the “daggy” east end of Freo.
It was one of her favourites — in many ways because it was frequented mostly by Freo locals, avoiding the touristy cappuccino strip — who often wore beanies and other hippy headwear.
The Trop, as it’s known locally, has stood the test of time and while more upmarket cafes nearby have come and gone and come and gone, it’s still pulling in hungry punters and pumping out beetroot juice.
Dropping in for lunch with a work colleague I wasn’t surprised to see nothing much had changed vis a vis the decor, which is early warehouse grunge, with a lime-green wall, bright red chandelier, corrugated tin counter and local art on the walls.
A break in the weather had my work mate and I sitting outside, which is always a joy, in this case even more so as we sipped a couple of very good beetroot, carrot, apple and celery juices ($7).
Selecting from the cabinet I went for the pumpkin frittata, really good value at $9, with a side salad.
The massive slab of pumpkin, carrot, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and onion was magnificent, full on in the flavour stakes, with the sweetness of the pumpkin shining through.
My mate went all healthy with a chicken salad ($17.50).
When she asked for no aioli the helpful staffer immediately offered to replace it with a balsamic reduction, which was great with the mix of salad, mango, avocado and apple, but my mate thought there was too much of the green stuff, which overshadowed the tender chicken slices.
“[But] it was very nice, and the mango really did justice to the food,” she opined.
With a busy afternoon in front of us coffee and a sugar hit seemed a great idea.
I was pretty happy with the tartness of my lemon slice ($5), but the gluten-free orange and almond cake ($6.50) was the real winner.
“Absolutely fabulous,” my mate cried. And the coffees were pretty good too.
by JENNY D’ANGER
La Tropicana Cafe
177 High Street, Fremantle
open breakfast and lunch Mon–Sat