I DON’T get down to Hammond Park much – I’ve heard tales of Sasquatch men, webbed feet and United Australia Party voters living in mud huts.
Jokes aside, I’ve neglected this Cockburn enclave, especially with all the new flagship eateries opening in Fremantle, so it was time to pop down for a visit.
When I say “pop down”, I mean a 25-minute slog through semi-industrial wasteland on Stock Road, which could easily double as a set in Mad Max 5: The fluffy dice wars.
My chums, who live in the local area, suggested we meet at The Quarie on MacQuarie Boulevard.
Open since 2011, the large bar is a stylish affair with an expansive outdoor area dappled in shade from mature leafy trees.
Inside is just as nice with sleek finishes and a classy bar with a wide range of beer, wine and cocktails.
The menu had a range of share plates, salads, pizza, pub classics and mains, as well as a grill section with steaks.
Nothing too earth shattering or adventurous, but all the pub mainstays were covered.
There was also daily specials including $8 ribs on Tuesday and $10 burger and chips on Monday.
My chums and I decided to share the Quarie tasting plate ($32), bao buns ($20) and chicken quesadilla ($16).
At first it was a bit of a novelty when smoke started to drift across our table, then it quickly became annoying.
So few people smoke these days it was almost a surprise it was still allowed in some outdoor areas.
Thankfully the wind changed direction and it was all good.
The waiter was soon back with our pub food blow-out.
The highlight were the bao buns – super soft and stuffed with tender pork belly, coleslaw and a slightly spicy asian slaw.
Very moreish and light. Coming in second were the quesadilla, a gloriously gooey mix of chicken, onion, capsicum, cheese, spinach and an exotic aji verde (Peruvian green hot sauce) with a nice kick.
Across the table was a lone wolf who shirked the share plates and went for a Cesar Salad ($18), kidding himself on it was healthy.
“Nothing elevates a Cesar salad more than anchovies, and this one was chock full of the salty swimmers,” he said. “The salad was so packed with perfectly cooked chicken, fried croutons, crispy lettuce, anchovies and bacon that every bite was a delight.
“I have to admit, I have a slight Cesar salad addiction.”
My other dining chums were tearing apart the tasting plate, which was piled high with crispy wings, szechuan squid, arancini, chorizo, garlic bread and spiced cauliflower.
The squid was a bit of let down: slightly rubbery with a batter that wasn’t crispy enough.
Thankfully the arancini were a stodgy delight and the chorizo and crispy wings were packed with flavour and nicely cooked.
I liked the slightly left-field spiced cauliflower, which helped refresh your palate and create the illusion that you were being slightly healthy.
It was an okay share plate, nothing amazing, and probably the weakest of all the dishes.
The Quarie is a lovely venue with loads of parking in a central, easily accessible spot.
Ideal for a casual pub meal or drinks, especially if there’s a group of you.
With time marching on, it was time to fire up my armour-plated jalopy and head back up “Fury Road” to Fremantle – the land of compost-powered cars, state-of-the-art film studios [sic] and fanciful hippie dreams…
2 MacQuarie Boulevard, Hammond Park
by STEPHEN POLLOCK