Local heroes

YEARS ago I was asked to write a Herald home review on a property with about 12 bedrooms, one bathroom and a kitchen.

I couldn’t get my head around the strange configuration until I checked the address and realised that the Ada Rose “gentlemen’s club” on South Terrace was up for sale.

So I had a wry smile as I parked outside The Local Hotel, diagonally opposite the Ada Rose, for lunch on Friday.

I was last in the Hotel on a Herald night out when it was the old Seaview, so my recollections are hazy, but I do remember former journo Brendan Foster doing an Andy Kaufman impression at the bar.

I can report The Local Hotel is an impressive establishment with loads of different areas to cater for different needs: there’s the lovely old bar with period decor, an alfresco on South Terrace, large courtyard at the side and a function room, plus the hotel upstairs if you fancy staying the night.

It’s a delightfully mazy affair and easy to get lost in the old interconnecting rooms and corridors inside.

We chose to sit in the expansive courtyard, which I imagine is a favourite for a Sunday session, and had a nice vibe with its shabby chic mix of old Chesterfield sofas, lush plants and exposed beams.

The menu had lots of hearty but interesting pub/hotel dishes including lamb fettuccine ragu, grilled salmon with cannellini beans and chorizo, chicken cotoletta, tuscan lamb rack and baby back pork ribs.

There could have been a few more vegetarian mains and salads, but that aside, it was an impressive line-up.

I always think a steak is a good test of a hotel kitchen’s mettle, so I went for the 350g rib eye ($38).

It feels gauche to start with the salad on a steak dish, but it was delicious. Often a side salad is a limp afterthought, but this was a vibrant pickled job that got your taste buds zinging and refreshed the palate in-between mouthfuls of rich meat. A zesty delight.

The chips were equally as good; reminiscent of Belgian frites, they were crunchy and perfectly seasoned (some places go overboard with the salt) and extremely moreish.

What about that rib eye? I asked for medium and it was: slightly bloody in the middle and not overdone.

It was a nice slab of meat and went well with the accompanying reka butter, but there was some excess fat in places and maybe it could have been rendered better. A decent steak, if not amazing.

My wife “Special K” was busy peering out the courtyard window.

“Is that it? The building with no windows?”

“Yes, that’s the one,” I replied.

She hastily retreated to her seat as the waitress arrived with her local fish and chips ($24).

“The fillets are nice and tasty with a light, crunchy batter and I have to agree the salad is amazing and goes well with the moreish chips,” she said.

“It’s just a well executed fish and chips and just the right portion size. Very tasty.”

As God’s tummy started to rumble and the dark clouds re-emerged, it was time to go before the next rainy onslaught.

The Local Hotel is a lovely boozer – a nice chilled place to have a pub lunch and watch the world go by in South Freo.

The Local Hotel
282 South Terrace, South Fremantle
thelocalhotel.com.au 

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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