Raising the bar

SLÁN leat, Rosie O’Grady’s!

Good riddance, I say.

The dark and dingy interior of that Fremantle pub was transformed into a bright, grand open space by its new owner just over a year ago.

Rebranded the Federal Hotel (its original name), this modern pub is so stunning I reckon the historic building’s designer, George Charles Inskip, would raise his slide rule in approval.

This was our first visit to the Fed since its renovations and we were left truly impressed by the refurbishments and the tucker.

It’s mostly pub grub with an Asian-inspired twist: the spring roles ($12) are stuffed with local snapper, rice noodles, sprouts and chilli lime, and the pork belly ($12) is coated in a seriously sticky five-spice mix and served with an apple salsa.

The menu is simple and very well priced with a stack of permanent $15 lunch specials, which had us ordering way too much for two adults and a three-year-old.

The Fed’s fried gnocchi ($15) is a great example of why more restaurants should include the pan-cooked version on their menu.

The slightly caramelised dumplings were mixed through a rich, smokey ragout with a generous amount of tender, pulled lamb and long, thick slices of fried zucchini. It’s served with a mound of fresh rocket and chunks of creamy feta. A wonderful dish and exceptional value for just 15 clams.

Kylie had been craving a decent slab of meat for days—insert your own Carry On joke here—and she honed in on the steak sandwich ($24).

Ordering one in a pub you’ve never been to before is a gamble, as you don’t know if you’ll get tender slices of meat or something that is tougher than Paul Hogan’s butt cheeks.

This was perfect.

The beautiful pink hue running through the middle of the steak was a welcome sight and there was no trace of chewy gristle.

I loved the inclusion of Swiss cheese and the kasundi, an Indian-style tomato relish, added a subtle, sweet heat.

The massive bowl of lightly-battered, deep-fried squid tentacles was a thing of beauty. It’s the ultimate beer snack and was a terrific accompaniment to my ice-cold pale ale.

The tentacles start off a little chewy and get crunchier the closer you get to the tip. So good.

When the warmer weather finally arrives I can see myself becoming a regular at the Fed.

The quality of service and food has certainly raised the bar for pub dining in Freo.

by MATTHEW EELES

Federal Hotel
23 William Street,
Fremantle
9335 1645
Midday til late
http://www.federalhotelfreo.com.au

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