My new writer Tania headed along to Food Loose Tour’s Freo tour launch the other week and discovered some new gems. Read her debut foodie cravings post with an empty stomach!
As the rain bucketed down during the night, I envisaged my walking tour through Fremantle the following day, to be a soggy, gloomy, puddle-jumping washout. With an aversion to winter weather, I couldn’t have been happier when the harbour town greeted me with powder-blue skies and a gentle breeze which dispatched the last remaining ash-grey clouds.
11 other adventurous souls met in the sunshine opposite the Fremantle Train Station in readiness to discover some culinary delights. Justin, co-owner of ‘Food Loose Tours’ took our names, and after a brief introduction, lead us through an eclectic mix of people enjoying the ambience of the port city. Together we stroll through the 7th best city in the world to visit – according to the Lonely Planet travel guide 2016 – in search of unique places tucked away from the main drag.
Our first stop is Studio 37 Coffee Bar, a café run in conjunction with WA’s biggest independent Art Space – Packenham Street Art Space. This café specialises in jaffles, which have come back into vogue just as everything retro is new again. The tasty toasties don’t disappoint with a variety of generous flavoursome fillings, from basic ham, cheese and tomato for $6.50 to home-made spaghetti bolognaise at $8 and a $9 tandoori chicken. What makes a jaffle stand out from an ordinary toasted sandwich is the generous amount of butter used to enable the bread to crisp up and make that crunch when you bite into it. Wash it down with one of the best coffees you’ll find in Freo. The Bannister Downs milk creates a creamy texture which is hard to resist. Service is quick and friendly.
After about 15 minutes we are on the move and Justin imparts some of his sizeable knowledge about the city’s architecture and history before we wander down High Street towards The Raw Kitchen. Everything The Raw Kitchen create is 100% gluten, refined sugar and dairy free. For half an hour we sit inside the café and sample their $6 ice creams and $9.50 smoothies. I struggle to finish my chocolate ice-cream which I find to be a little bitter. They also offer coconut and kaffir lime, rum and raison and cappuccino flavours. My banana and caramel smoothie with almond milk tasted very refreshing and is only one of a variety of healthy choices. Our photographer Sarah, remarks “I’m getting skinny eating this!” A comment not often heard within close proximity to ice-cream.
Our next destination is only a few minutes down High Road. Japanese is not top of my choices for dining out, but I am suitably impressed with the food, service and attention to detail at The Modern Eatery.
One of the chefs treats us to a display of creating and then torching the top of the Salmon Oshi – pressed salmon with Aburi sauce and sweet soy which sells for $16. They are one of the few restaurants in Perth to do this and they prefer that customers try not to imagine what the food will taste like and instead be pleasantly surprised. I certainly am. The flavours are subtle and the texture is creamy.
Next we sample Fry Me To The Moon – a deep fried roll with cooked salmon and cream cheese with sweet chilli mayo and sweet soy for $15. It wasn’t greasy, had just enough crunch and enough sauce so as not to overpower the salmon.
Finally we tasted a bowl of the $12 Crunchy Salad. I think there could be more salad and less fried sweet potato and for me the sesame dressing was just a little strong and quashed the rest of the flavours.
20 minutes later we walk down the cappuccino strip, past the Fremantle Hospital into a quaint village-like area on Wray Avenue where we are to perform a scavenger hunt for prices of items available in Galati’s fruit and vegetable store. Justin takes us here to show us how the different types of new and old combine in the one area. Although this is a fun exercise I find the area around the hospital unappealing in terms of scenery and it lacks atmosphere. In the heart of the harbour town our senses are assaulted by a constant array of street art, buskers and exotic aromas from myriad eateries dotted along the sidewalk. The fresh produce at Galati’s looks great but once our mission is complete I am glad to continue our journey.
Next stop is the 100% independently owned bottle shop, The Freo Doctor, situated on Arundel Street. They stock an impressive array of wines from all over the world, including organic and preservative free as well as a vast selection of beers.
We descend into the cellar to share a platter of cubed cheese, various cold meats, dips and biscuits while enjoying a cold beverage. The food is plentiful and the intimate room is conducive to loosening lips, enabling the conversation and laughter to flow freely. After walking for three hours I am grateful for the chance to relax and rest my feet.
Not for too long though. Half an hour later, we climb the stairs and wend our way back toward Strange Company, a little bar on Nairn Street, for a glass of bubbles. Their menu lists snacks to accompany your drinks like cured meats for $9, broccoli fritters for $12 and desserts such as brownies and apple cake also for $12. But I am too full to sample anything. A great choice, though, for a chilled out place to finish off the tour.
Food Loose’s Fremantle and Perth walking food tours are an excellent way to mingle with like-minded people, seek out hidden treasures and sample delicious food in an interesting, unique city. Make sure you wear your comfy shoes and be prepared to be educated and satisfied at the same time. Food Loose Tours are $39 per person plus food and drinks which are discounted to a total of about $20 – $25 per person .
My passions are words, WA and tasty food. Combining all three is my ultimate goal and I am never happier than writing about an amazing gourmet experience that involves our unique state. I’m partial to our beaches and would love to see more coastal cafes. I do enjoy cooking but there’s nothing like feeling pampered – no mess, no dishes, no worries.
To find out more about Food Loose Tours, check out my post Perth food blogger The Skinny Perth gets Food Loose which features the story behind what inspired Justin and his aunty to start Food Loose.
Disclaimer: foodie cravings was invited as a guest of Food Loose. See disclosure policy for more details.