I HESITATED accepting a lunch invite to Kailis’ Fish Market Cafe, because a meal there some years ago was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
But there’s only so long you can hold a grudge and a return visit has restored my faith in the Fishing Boat Harbour stalwart.
Kailis’ had a major overhaul recently and the result is a light and bright, modern, semi-industrial interior with stainless steel counters.
There’s a lovely alfresco at the water’s edge, and the eatery has a fresh fish counter where you can buy all manner of seafood goodies to cook at home.
“Think 80s fish and chip shop meets New York City Jewish deli,” is how owner George Kailis described it.
Everything is made in-house including the salads and tartare and chilli sauces.
It was cold and wet when we arrived, so I ordered the seafood chowder ($17).
It’s served in a bread cob, and the “lid” was slathered in garlic butter at the side of the plate.
The huge serve almost defeated me, but it was so deliciously thick and rich I couldn’t put my spoon down.
The four of us shared a serve of white bait.
“Super salty and super crunchy,” said Matt, before tucking into a fish burger packed with fresh lettuce and tomato ($12.50).
“The thick fillet of crumbed fish was crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. I appreciated the toasted bun which added a smoky dimension to the burger.”
A seafood delight ($21.50) was large enough for Nibha and Helena to share and still feel full. It came with fish, squid rings, prawns and scallop fritters, and some crisp, golden chips.
The eatery has a selection of salt to choose from, and Helena was very impressed with the chilli version.
Nibha reckoned the tiny tub of house-made tartare sauce ($2.30) was really tasty, but overpriced.
Overall our lunch was well priced, coming in at a nudge over $60 for four.
And if a busy afternoon at the office hadn’t been staring us in the face, the wine list has some very acceptable vino from $6 a glass.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Kailis Fish Market Cafe
Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle