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
by STEPHEN POLLOCK