Old friend Blend

THE menu at Melville’s Blend cafe comes with a warning: the squid includes tentacles. As far as I’m concerned the crunchiness is a plus.

This long-established, still funky and very popular eatery has the mix just right, both with its atmospherics and its menu.

For example, the salt and pepper calamari ($23) is perfect cafe fare: squid pieces are melt-in-the-mouth while the tentacles provide a slight crispiness that amps up the salty flavours. It’s not fussy, it’s fun.

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When my folks lived nearby, Blend, with its “found” object decor, was a regular haunt, but it’s been a couple of years between visits and while some things are the same there have been changes. (Were those KISS dolls there before, and what about the old tandem?).

A new menu coincided with the eatery scoring a liquor licence, and they were serving pizza at lunchtime, which I don’t recall from before.

Owners Almin Fulurija and Talwyn Widger opened Blend in 2008 and it didn’t take long to take root as the place to head to (even Freo folk are known to make the trek). It doubled in size in 2010 when the premises next door became available and they opened complementary small bar The Midnight Fox next door in 2012.

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I’ve had many an enjoyable meal over the years, and this occasion was no different, and if possible the service was even friendlier.

We kicked off with the pizza bianca ($13) a wheel-hub sized serve of woodfired pizza with Himalayan salt and rosemary, drizzled with olive oil.

Crisp on the edges and soft and oily everywhere, we managed to polish off the entree serve before the mains arrived.

D’Angerous Dave’s barramundi ($30) wasn’t quite what he was expecting but it was a delicious surprise; a sort of barraschetta, the slab of juicy, crispy-skin fish sitting atop a bed of tomato, onion and basil salsa.

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A prawn allergy means he had to forgo the battered prawns the dish comes with, but he compensated with a big bowl of beer-battered chips.

Feeling rather full we shared a slice of rhubarb and custard tart, the sharp fruit a great contrast to the creamy, sweet custard, and the oatmeal topping was perfect, especially when washed down with a good coffee for me, and tea for the other ‘alf.

Anyone who remembers Old Papa’s or Gino’s from the old days would appreciate the seemingly effortless way this place works. It just does.

by JENNY D’ANGER

Blend Cafe
356 Marmion Street, Melville
open 7 days breakfast
through to dinner

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