THE last time I was at the Tradewinds Hotel for a Christmas party someone tried to kick down the cubicle door while I was inside.
Thankfully that was many moons ago and you can’t cater for the odd bad apple, but I was still a bit apprehensive returning there for lunch on Friday, so I packed a roll of toilet paper just in case.
Situated above the banks of the Swan River, just along from the rainbow sculpture at the entrance to Fremantle, the hotel has fantastic views of the river, port and Stirling Bridge, making it a favourite with locals at sundown and for lunch on sunny days.
Being on the outskirts of town, it never gets uber busy, so it still feels like an undiscovered gem, even if it isn’t.
I would classify the menu as interesting pub grub with all the classics covered and a few twists and turns including share platters (middle eastern, ocean and meat), smalls (beef carpaccio, grilled broccolini, oysters) and mains (ricotta gnocchi, crispy skin barrimundi, free range chicken burger).
The whole place had a refurb a few years back and it’s still in glorious condition with a lovely leafy courtyard with decking, undercover alfresco, functions room and a gorgeous bar incorporating heritage features.
They’ve also moved with the times and each table has a QR code to order food and drink, so you don’t have to queue at the bar.
On a glorious sunny afternoon, it was super relaxing watching the boats ply the coruscating river and the odd jet plane leaving a chemtrail [sic] in the never-ending blue sky.
It wasn’t long before the waiter was back with the most expensive item on the menu (300g chargrilled Scotch fillet $42).
It was a beautiful slab of meat with those mouth-watering seared marks conjuring up visions of John Wayne throwing a dead cow onto a grill in a prairie in the Mid-West, or Tash Peterson running naked around a butcher’s shop.
The 100-day grass fed scotch fillet had a lovely intense flavour with crispy, rendered fat and was a joy to eat.
If I’m being ultra critical it was very slightly over “medium” as I ordered, and I would have liked it a bit more bloody in the middle.
The beef jus was delicious and the accompany grana padano dip a creamy indulgence, although I don’t tend to like dips with my steak.
The baby gem heart lettuce had a lovely chargrilled tang and the chips were crispy and delicious when dipped in the beef jus.
A top notch steak which could have probably done with a bit more chips and greens on the plate.
Across the table, my wife had gone traditional with the beer battered snapper and chips ($27).
“The fish is beautifully cooked and not greasy with a light batter,” she said.
“I like the pickled cabbage in the salad, which adds a nice zing to the meal.
“The portion could have been a bit bigger though, especially the serve of chips.”
On a crisp sunny winter’s day you can’t beat lunch at the Tradewinds Hotel and the meal, barring a few quibbles, lived up to the view. The hotel also does breakfast.
And yes, I did go to toilet, and nothing exciting happened.
1 Sewell Street, East Fremantle
by STEPHEN POLLOCK