IT was the quintessential Sunday lunch in Fremantle.
Thirty two degrees, sitting in Sandrino’s alfresco on the Cappuccino Strip, while a man with a tiny penis and giant exhaust bog-lapped the city.
It was day two of my Grand Tour of Freo with my Scottish cousin Amy, who had spent day one on South Beach, sunbathing in 34 degrees.
Brave, as most Glaswegians get sunburn from a full moon.
Sandrino was packed, but a sanguine waitress quickly took our drinks order—a Corona ($8.70) and soda water ($3)—and handed over the menus.
There was an extensive range of dishes on offer, including the obligatory woodfired pizzas, salads, pasta, risotto and meat and seafood.
But we decided to go for the fish of the day ($36) and the soft shell sandwich ($20) in the “chef’s special” menu, which had some interesting alternatives (seafood platter, squid ink spaghetti, black angus scotch fillet, avocado linguini)
For an entree we shared a plate of oysters Kilpatrick ($3 each): a delightful melange of salt and spice that jolted our palate into life.
The bacon wasn’t overwhelming, the heat just right, and the oysters had been finished in the wood fired oven—a nice touch.
While waiting for our mains, we enjoyed watching the jumble of raffish characters that make Freo so unique.
There was a lady in an electric-blue kaftan, a bare-chested man clutching a rubber chicken, and hordes of couples in skinny jeans, flocking to the strip like demented flamingos.
It wasn’t long before the waitress was back with my fish of the day: a beautifully presented piece of barramundi, with a row of seared scallops on its precarious summit.
Supporting the fishy sculpture was a hummock of mash potato and basil pesto.
The fish was perfectly cooked with tender flesh and crispy skin that offset the velvety mash, while the scallops were caramelised and had a lovely texture.
I find pesto a bit rich and cloying after a while, but this was amenable, and the accompanying baby carrot and wilted spinach a refreshing foil.
Meanwhile, Amy was attempting to eat her humungous crab sanger, which she described as a “posh sandwich”, and lived up to its menu description of having a “toasted mini bread loaf”.
“I chose to have my sandwich with salad instead of fries which turned out to be the right decisions as I reckon the double dose of carbs would have been too much for even the hungriest customer,” she said.
“The crab was tasty and went well with the rocket, tomato and avocado in the sandwich, while the sweet chilli sauce livened things up, although there was perhaps a little too much for my taste, and it risked overpowering the dish. But all in all, a tasty and hearty lunchtime dish.”
Sandrino is a Freo institution with great service and ambience, and even though its on the strip, there’s plenty of affordable pizza and pasta dishes for lunch.
Just watch out for the Freudian exhaust pipes.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK
16 South Terrace, Fremantle