FIFTEEN years ago Thanh Du delved into her family’s recipe book, rattled the pots and pans, and created Cafe 55 in Fremantle.
Her sister Le Du took over the High Street eatery seven years later, but thankfully she still uses the family cookbook.
And in a neat twist, Thanh bought the Cafe back last year when her sister decided it was time for a rest.
With new/old owners there’s a new name—High on 55.
Under Le’s reign the D’Angers were 55 junkies and became totally addicted to their laksa ($13), which is the best we’ve ever tasted.
So when we tentatively dipped our spoons into Thanh’s laksa, we weren’t sure what to expect.
There was a subtle difference, “maybe a bit sweeter”, but the layers of flavours began to come through—sharp lemony teasers, followed by a coconut creaminess and a wallop of chilli to really clean the sinuses.
We always go for the vegetarian version with egg noodles rather than the thinner rice ones.
Swimming in a rich soup it’s packed with your recommended daily dose of veg, including crunchy broccoli, and tofu.
The serving is so large it’s a struggle to finish; but we always do.
When D’Angerous Dave isn’t with me I like to get rice paper wraps ($7.50) to take back to the office.
The delicate, glutenous skins hold a mix of dainty noodles, vegetables and mint, but there’s also chicken and prawn versions.
In the interests of variety the D’Angers tried the sour soup recently ($13).
The flavours of the clear broth were clean and fresh, with a pleasant sharpness, and a kick of chilli made the soup a close second to its distant cousin, the laksa.
It’s not only the food that’s a bit different: the cafe has had a refit including a fantastic mural of Buddha floating above High Street.
The mural was created by long-time staffer Nadia Bradshaw, who is obviously a bit of a dark horse when it comes to art.
Thanh Du is busy getting back into the groove of running 55, but she says they’re plans to introduce a selection of daily fresh salads.
She’s also considering opening during the weekend and evenings, offering local families an affordable and healthy casual option for food.
by JENNY D’ANGER
High on 55
55 High Street, Fremantle
open Mon–Fri 7.30am–2.30pm