I ALWAYS spare a thought for the patients of Fremantle’s old lunatic asylum when ever I visit there.
Thankfully over the years the asylum’s grisly past has been softened by the Fremantle Arts Centre, which has occupied the heritage-listed building since 1972.
On this particular autumn day the ghosts were quiet, and as we sat in the gardens amid the greenery, cloistered by high walls, all seemed well with the world.
I can’t recall a meal at Canvas that was anything but terrific and on this occasion it delivered again.
My companion and I started with a green smoothie ($7.50).
“I was expecting the bitter, chunky texture of kale which I would forcefully pour down my throat,” the young intern said.
“However I was pleasantly surprised with the smooth texture and fresh, tangy citrus flavour.
“The perfect balance of sweet fruit and kale made it very appetising,” she added, diving into her fledgling role as a food reviewer.
I liked the sound of the red shakshuka ($18), and the kitchen was happy to substitute the eggs cooked in it for mushrooms.
I was more than happy with the result; a full-bodied sauce that was epic in its richness and had a pleasant chilli zing.
A couple of slices of really good bread, and a house-made pat of garlic herb butter on the side, and I was in heaven.
A couple at the next table had the meat version of the shakshuka.
“The lamb is really tender and it’s really beautiful with the fetta,” they said.
My new friend ordered the roast field mushrooms ($20), served on a lightly toasted muffin, with leeks, spinach, eggs and hollandaise sauce.
“The eggs were cooked perfectly, soft but not too runny,” she opined.
Thick and creamy
“The spinach was well cooked, neither soggy nor chewy and the hollandaise sauce was so thick and creamy that is was hands-down the best I’ve had in a long time.”
By now we were rather full, but the cakes we’d spotted on the way in were too good to miss, so we ordered an almond tart ($6) and a chocolate brownie ($3.50).
The tart was delicious, with a pleasant citrus flavour lingering on the palate, and the thick clotted cream a decadence too good to pass up.
“The brownie displayed a perfect balance between the richness and sweetness. The texture was smooth and dense, with a crispy outer layer,” Olivia said, very happy with her first day as a journalist.
by JENNY D’ANGER and OLIVIA MITCHELL
Fremantle Arts Centre
1 Finnerty Street, Fremantle
Open 7 days breakfast and lunch