“WHERE do I put my bike?” yelled Jenny D’Anger as I wound down my car window outside 8 Knots tavern.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I can’t find a parking space either.”
On Thursday lunchtime the Aquarama Marina car park was absolutely packed (it’s shared by boat users, a dry docking service, a boat repair business and tavern patrons) so I ended up parking about 100m away on the grass verge on Riverside Road.
Jenny ended up chaining her bike to a railing at the rear of the tavern (if there is a bike rack she couldn’t find it).
Parking woes aside, we were in and it was worth the effort – situated at the water’s edge, 8 Knots has stunning views of the marina and the Swan River.
It was an interesting vista with boats coming and going and people tinkering with their pride and joy (I’m sure I saw a boat called “The Purple Warrior”. The mind boggles…)
Split over two levels, there was a pub-style area on the top and a slightly more formal dining area at the bottom, but there wasn’t much in it and pretty much every seat had a great view of the river and the same level of comfort.
The tavern is situated in the old Eat Greek, a long-running family-run restaurant which sadly had to call it a day after covid hit.
I had never been there, but I was impressed by 8 Knots’ refurb.
The interior had a breezy casual air and was bathed in natural light, courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The menu was pretty standard for a modern tavern with a range of share plates, pizzas, mains, burgers, salads and a kids menu.
Some of the share plates looked intriguing with dishes like Baja Corn Fish Tacos, Sweet & Sour Cauliflower, and Lime & Coconut Calamari.
But we decided to go for mains and I ordered the crimson snapper ($32) from the specials board.
It was nicely presented in a jet-black ceramic bowl with the snapper perched on a bed of cherry tomatoes, orange capsicum, diced potato and chorizo.
It was a delicious medley with the soft red onions complementing the salty chorizo and juicy tomato.
The crimson snapper had a lovely crispy skin and was topped with a delicious salsa verde, which was zesty and refreshed the palate after the salty cured sausage.
It was a decent-sized fillet of snapper, but if I’m being super critical it was very slightly over. That aside, the dish was delicious.
Across the table, D’Anger Mouse was swooning over her wild mushroom gnocchi ($28).
“The Manjimup truffle cream in the sauce and the grana padano are absolutely divine,” she said.
“Rich and indulgent, it goes perfectly with the smooth and super light gnocchi and the meaty hit of mushroom.
“As an ex-Herald food reviewer, I’ve had a lot of gnocchi in my time, but this is right up there with the one my husband Dave makes. Top notch.”
The tavern was absolutely heaving on a Thursday lunchtime and it was quite noisy near the windows, with the sound bouncing around, so maybe sit on the other level if you want a quieter meal.
The service was polite throughout (you ordered at the bar) and there was a lovely waterside alfresco.
A picturesque addition to the East Freo dining scene.
110 Riverside Road, East Fremantle
by STEPHEN POLLOCK