South Fremantle is quietly turning right into a hip hood. Its latest culinary arrival, Madalena’s, is including to the slow-burn cool issue of South Freo.
It is one of the crucial authentic, fulfilling new bars we’ve encountered.
You know that feeling whenever you stroll right into a bar or a restaurant and it feels proper? Something clicks. You really feel content material, tensions evaporate, anxieties subside, you’re a little happy with your self. That’s Madalena’s.
Madalena’s payments itself as a seafood bar. It sources its seafood from an organization referred to as Fins, which we price because the best in WA.
They are a small wholesale enterprise however they’re massive on sustainability, and have a program the place they work instantly with fishing boats to make sure that those that catch the seafood share within the rewards.
For a seafood bar, Madalena’s serves a nice duck liver parfait. It was so enriched with clarified butter and entire eggs, it’s a marvel it didn’t cut up when it cooked.
In reality it was so buttery it couldn’t be sliced, so the pate was merely scooped on to the plate in a mound of pink loveliness and then draped with a skinny, wobbly, crystal-clear sheet of vermouth jelly set with agar. Great presentation.
Good cooking and one of many glossiest, butteriest, smoothest liver parfaits in Perth. It was served with toasted baguette and natural prunes which the chef had dehydrated, simply so he might rehydrate them in vermouth and honey. Clever garnish and spot-on. At $16 it’s nice worth.
Herring is the fish everybody in WA catches once they first begin fishing. It’s ample and straightforward to catch. It’s an oily fish with nice flavour and a favorite for generations of newbie fishers.
One by no means sees it in eating places although — it’s thought-about method too down market. Pity. We zeroed in on the herring once we noticed it on the menu. How would they prepare dinner this most prosaic of fish? Very apparently, because it seems.
The fish had been scaled and gutted, then butterflied and the spine taken out. It’s a laborious option to prep a fish, particularly when the top and tail are left on for presentation. It appeared one million bucks.
The coarse crumb on the physique of the fish was crunchy and filled with flavour in its personal proper. A ending sprinkle of sea salt amped up the flavour.
So what, you say. It’s simply crumbed herring. Well, sure. And no. It was merely pleasant — extra profitable than a crumbed, fried herring has a proper to be. The lovely fish performed its half nevertheless it was the chef that elevated it from run-of-the-mill to recherché.
Fresh sardines have been even easier. The fish have been as recent as first snow, merely gutted and grilled entire.
They have been barely charred for a pleasant smoky again beat and, as one expects of sardines, they have been filled with oily, robust, fishy flavours. It was classically teamed with a piquant parsley, caperberry and lemon zest sauce.
How is this meals so assured, so competent, so fairly, so accessible? The chef — all of 24 years previous — is Adam Rees.
Before coming again to WA to work on Madalena’s, with its proprietor, his brother Joel, he had been working for the McConnell Group. That can be Andrew McConnell — one in every of Australia’s best and most progressive cooks and an completed restaurant proprietor.
Think Cumulus Inc, the Builders Arms Hotel, Supernormal and Cutler & Co, all in Melbourne. You couldn’t get higher chef coaching. And it exhibits within the welcoming meals.
There are a number of checks for a chef. One of them is shortcrust pastry. Madalena’s lemon tart is a correct basic.
It’s crammed with a silky, tart lemon custard and — most significantly — it was constructed round a crisp and skinny tart shell which was persistently rolled. (No thick bits the place the pastry turns the nook within the tart mould).
Expert cooking. It was teamed with a clotted cream which had been cultured till soured and complicated. At $12, it’s a discount.
Madalena’s is an ideal bar the place you possibly can prop and have a drink in consolation. It has a brilliant, trendy wine listing. It is additionally an off-the-cuff restaurant the place you sit on backyard furnishings. It serves meals you’ll speak concerning the subsequent day across the water cooler.
You should go.