DESPITE covid, there’s been a wave of multi-million dollar pub/food venues opening in Fremantle – The Old Courthouse, FOMO, 8 Knots Tavern, Jetty Bar Eats – and it looks like Dingo Brewery is planning a venue in Pakenham Street.
Perhaps the most high-profile has been Gage Roads Freo Brewery, a $10 million redevelopment of the A-Shed on Victoria Quay, just down from the Maritime Museum.
On a balmy Wednesday evening, Gage Roads was heaving with everyone from tradies to sun-kissed tourists returning from Rotto, but the long 100m venue didn’t feel cramped with plenty of tables available.
Huge open warehouse doors created a pleasant breeze and vistas of the port, and there was an alfresco on the dock, where you could enjoy glorious uninterrupted views.
Large potted plants softened the interior and there were loads of windows, ensuring natural light, while the high ceiling kept things nice and cool.
There were nods here and there to the cargo shed’s past – it was built in 1926 – with dangling lights above the bar strung up like buoys, but the owners hadn’t gone overboard, letting the rustic venue speak for itself.
The menu was a small affair, but it had a nice mix of dishes with starters, tacos, pizza, mains, salads and desserts.
Given the port location, I like how the menu leaned towards seafood with dishes like lobster rolls, oysters, snapper ceviche and grilled kingfish tacos.
In keeping with the ocean theme, I couldn’t resist the Abrolhos octopus ($34) and my wife went for the single fin battered local fish ($26).
You ordered at the bar, which was stylish and super long, and the staff served me promptly with a smile.
A cute touch was a large TV on the wall playing the classic surf/heist movie Point Break (my young son was confused – “Dad, why is a man beating up people with a surfboard?”).
It wasn’t long before a young Let’s get the presentation out the way first: cucumbers cut into Os covered the entire dish.
I’m not sure if they were meant to resemble the suckers on an octopus’s tentacles, portholes, lifebelts or sex toys for the Incredible Hulk, but it was a bit naff.
Thankfully once you removed the enigmatic Os, there was a mound of beautiful Abrolhos octopus.
The thick fleshy chunks were super tender and had been beautifully chargrilled, bringing out the sweet flavour of the octopus, with harissa butter adding an exotic twist.
It was all resting on a bed of pickled green chilli salsa, which had the right amount of latent heat to keep your tastebuds humming.
It was a huge portion and high quality (I struggled to finish it) so it was worth the money and a fantastic dish.
Across the table my wife was getting stuck into her fish and chips.
“The seasoning is spot on and the fillet is lovely and soft with a crisp, golden batter,” she said.
“I like the inclusion of the dill pickles – you don’t get that everywhere – and the tartare is nice and fresh and not overly rich.
“A very nice serve of fish and chips.”
My kids were juggling their cheese and bacon pizzas ($14 each from the kids menu) and Point Break, with the slices even cheesier than the plot.
The pizzas looked the part, were a nice size, and the kids wolfed down everything. Mission accomplished, Bodhi.
The presentation of the food at Gage Roads could have been better (why hide that glorious octopus) but I thoroughly enjoyed my first outing and will be back to try the snapper ceviche and kingfish tacos.
“Vaya con Dios, A-Shed…”
Gage Roads Freo Brewery
Peter Hughes Drive, Fremantle
by STEPHEN POLLOCK