I HEARD on the grapevine that Fremantle Sailing Club had recently appointed a new chef, so I donned my sou’wester and headed there for lunch.
There was actually no need for waterproofs as it was a glorious winter’s day and even the wind was mild with temperatures nudging a clement 23 celsius.
So I opted for a pair of Myer pale-blue Harbour Master slacks, white plimsoles and a bright red jumper tied around my neck, like an extra from The Love Boat (only joking).
We were dining with friends in the Galley Bar & Bistro, open Wednesday to Sunday, which had floor-to-ceiling windows and glorious vistas of the boats moored at the club.
The menu was small with a range of entree-style dishes like soup of the day, oysters and Exmouth prawns, and mains including beer battered barramundi, filet mignon, chicken parmi and wagyu beef burger.
To be honest it was pretty conservative and uninspiring with only the Moroccan lentil and date tagine and the baked fish piquing my interest and doing something outside of the box.
There was also a kids menu, sides dishes and desserts, including the yummy-sounding warm chocolate mud cake with vanilla ice cream and maraschino cherries.
Our dining partners, Big John and Helen, had come up trumps with their decision to get the lemon and thyme baked barramundi ($28).
Plumes of steam rose off the thick Barra fillet, which had a lovely hue and glistening texture.
Hats off to the chef for doing baked fish as it’s not something you see that often on bar-style menus.
“The fish is cooked to perfection and is nice and moist with plenty of flavour,” Helen said.
“The accompanying crispy chips and seasonal salad are tasty, and it’s a good portion size for lunch.
“My only criticism was the small amount of dressing for the salad.”
Big John concurred and said it was nice to have a semi-healthy option on the menu that was tasty and well-cooked.
My wife continued the ocean theme with her “small beer battered wild caught local barramundi” ($19).
She said it was a superior, non-greasy fish-and-chips and enjoyed the light batter and accompanying salad, tartare sauce and lemon.
My scotch steak sandwich ($26) didn’t hit the same heights – the Turkish-style bread was limp and the thinly-cut steak was lost amongst the deluge of cheese, onion jam, truffle aioli and Roma tomatoes. The saving grace was the chips: which looked hand-cut and reminded me of the moreish frites you get in Belgium.
Part of the attraction of eating at a sailing club are the views and decor.
Fremantle didn’t disappoint with a classy bar and a large sheltered outdoor area with a kids playground – a relaxing area where we enjoyed coffees after our meal.
Everything was gleaming and polished brass in the bar and I liked the giant wall-mounted “3D map” of the club by Sara Drake, a local artist who specialises in bespoke maps using sculpting, painting, cartography and model making. The service was great and the Galley Bistro have specials on weeknights and host live music.
The food at Fremantle Sailing Club was a bit of a mixed bag, but you can’t beat the setting and service, and I’m sure the chef will put his stamp on things in good time.
Fremantle Sailing Club
151 Marine Terrace, Fremantle
by STEPHEN POLLOCK