Just a quick bite.
Last weekend the man decided to consult the i-Ching of restaurant divination; Urban Spoon to select a random spot for lunch and hit the
He selected Barque in East Fremantle which is a little gem off George Street. He booked a table un-aware that Asian fusion would mean he would have to do the unthinkable: share plates of food. For me this is second nature. Be it a plate of nachos, a charcuterie plate, or devilishly caloric dessert split four ways with girlfriends. The more to share, the more to savour, right?
Well, somewhere along the way my Aussie guy was socialized against sharing. He is adamant his plate of food is his own, alone to enjoy. It’s one of our cultural differences as the concept of share plates is a relatively new thing here in Perth. (Again, another anthropological expat discovery.) But I give him a pass much of the time. Because I understand food phobias. I have a few myself.
Potlucks at work, for instance? The horror. Faced with lukewarm Swedish meatballs in a crockpot from 1984, or a wonky, congealing Waldorf salad? I’ll hide in my office all day, sneaking in bites of a sad sandwich at my desk or pick at the chips bowl convincingly. Those frying pan hot plates that replaced the wood-fired BBQ’s in King’s Park? Nope. Not on your life.
I’m squeamish about food-prep standards and presentation. For him it’s about individual consumption of ‘his choice’. He’ll sooner trust a dodgy burger from Hungry Jacks if enjoyed all to himself, whereas I will merrily belly up to a well-prepared meal by an accredited chef and share it with a table of friends. Or even strangers. Like the free samples at The Boatshed in Cottesloe. I can never pass up the salsa and dip! (Such a double standard, I know…)
But I digress.
Our meal at Barque was fabulous. And yes, he survived the sharing.
A cozy little nook towards the end of a residential street, Barque will woo even the most adamant of the curmudgeonly eaters over to the collectivist culinary experience. The service was outstanding – honestly some of the best I’ve enjoyed in Perth. The kitchen is an open-bay window close to where we sat. As the dishes came out our gracious server even obliged identifying some of them to me as she passed, to help us select our mid-afternoon late lunch. Our meal was not at all rushed. Wine and water glasses were refilled, and Barque gives off both an intimate and friendly vibe.
The seating is an option between a sunny patio and a warm, inviting indoors area in a converted federation-era house. The walls are covered in all kinds of art, knick knacks and the details of the room left my eyes wandering from one curiosity to the next.
There was even a fusion band playing lilting, soft jazz along with mandolin accompaniment. At one point I swear I heard classical Chinese? Taiwanese? music with a didgeridoo wafting into the dining room. Too curious, eventually I had to peek around to take a look…
Have a gander at the menu. No pun intended but there is duck several ways:
This is the Crispy Pancake with Prawn and Pumpkin, the (humongous) Whiskey Caramel Mekong Fried Chicken wings, and beneath that, the soft-shell crab with kimchi and iceberg wrap. Totes delish!
We enjoyed the experience so much that we left our server a generous tip.
But if all that good eating, ambience, service and mandolin playing aren’t enough to bring you out Freo way?
There is this.
The Royal George: a frikken haunted hotel with a giant kookaburra, housing a swarm of killer bees across the street. So when you are done your epicurious exploring at Barque; go and marvel at the tragic beauty of this prodigious relic from a time in which (it) probably housed landing seafarers onboard real barques which once docked in this historic section of town.