CALL me a cynic, but I often wonder how honest restaurants are being when they claim to forage native ingredients.
When I read the blurb on the Stable Hands’ menu stating they use the land’s native elements and follow the six seasons of the Noongar, I wondered how accurate their claim was.
According to head chef, Maya Hope, it’s no gimmick.
“I’m originally from London, but I’ve worked all over the world and have had the luxury of working in many different countries,” she told the Herald.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working up north in Darwin, as well as the middle of the Australian desert where I was able to enjoy a lot of interaction with the local aboriginal communities. That’s where my love of native cuisine comes from,” Hope continued enthusiastically.
“If you’re going to do food, you need to use what grows on your doorstep. I can’t work any other way.”
I was sold.
Her love of community and bringing people together shines through with her smoked potatoes ($9), one of the restaurant’s more theatrical dishes.
This is a huge offering of boulder sized potatoes nestled on a bed of actual smoking hay, lit by the chef just moments before it landed on our table. The potato’s soft and fluffy insides absorbed just the right amount of smokey flavour.
I was immediately transported back to my childhood, cooking food with my family over an open fire on one of our many camping trips.
Once Kylie spied the Avocado puree with flat bread ($16) she couldn’t look past it. It was the perfect spring dish – light, bright, fresh, bursting with colour and full of flavour. The crunchy and aromatic bush dukkah added extra depth to her flawless poached egg (+$3). I imagine this is going to be a favourite with locals during the warmer, summer months.
The hops smoked pork ($25) sounded delicious but a little too heavy for lunch. I’ll be heading back to try it as soon as I can.
Instead, I decided on the braised lamb ($24). The tender, juicy pulled meat is swimming in spiced, al dente lentils with bush tomatoes and a sweet Davidson plum gel. It also comes with a poached egg which added a glossy, yolky sheen when sliced open. One of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten.
The fitout is simple with a lot of white table tops and beige furniture and is split between two levels. If you’ve ever aspired to become a chef I’d recommend sitting on the second floor where you’ll have a closeup view of Hope and her kitchen staff at work: A-grade professionalism.
How lucky is Fremantle to have two of Perth’s best restaurants so close to each other. With Bread in Common right across the road, locals are spoilt for choice.
by MATTHEW EELES
8 Bannister St, Fremantle
Mon – Wed 7am – 4pm
Thurs – Fri 7am – 10pm
Sat – Sun 8am – 10pm