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Fine fare

Converted warehouses. Architectural designs. Ocean views. Salty air. Lofty ceilings with natural light streaming in. Menus dedicated to only the freshest produce, hand-crafted in the early hours of the morning. Always served confidently with a smile. Fremantle is bursting with unique food offerings that could rival any dining experience across the state. Our line–up of unique eateries merge striking design, passionate chefs and seasonal driven cooking, to draw diners to our port city again, and again. Our top fine dining venues showcase the best in seasonal produce on their world-class menus, with the quintessential touch of Fremantle soul that our vibrant city is renowned for.

Fremantle institution: Bread in Common

In the early hours of 3 am each morning, award–winning chef Scott Brannigan and his team begin baking their namesake ahead of a bustling day of bringing to life a menu dedicated to showcasing seasonal and locally sourced produce. Every ingredient and process is carefully considered–from the churning of their own butter, using leftover vegetable skins to make vinegar, to utilising the fresh ingredients plucked from their verge garden. This impressive food philosophy saw the venue making the 2017 AFR Top 100 Restaurants list.

Every ingredient and process is carefully considered–from the churning of their own butter, using leftover vegetable skins to make vinegar, to utilising the fresh ingredients plucked from their verge garden. This impressive food philosophy saw the venue making the 2017 AFR Top 100 Restaurants list.

Native take: Stable Hands

Nestled on Bannister Street this hidden gem is a special mix of light and bright Scandinavian styling and confident menu showcasing indigenous produce. Using native ingredients such as karkalla, seablite, quandong and baby pigface (don’t worry, it’s a fleshy edible Australian native plant) you can rest assured the combination of a meal within their glossy magazine worthy interiors will be an unforgettable experience.

High flyers: Propeller

It has been a big year for Propeller, with the addition of their striking new enclosed dining room, and chef Kurt Sampson’s revamp of his unique Middle-Eastern inspired share menu. The hard work has paid off, with the bustling venue becoming recognised as a top contender on the WA culinary scene, praised by likes of The Australian’s widely respected food critic John Lethlean and food bloggers.

Place of pleasure: Habitué

Enter Habitué as a first-time diner and leave feeling like an old friend, as the warm team behind this establishment specialise in making their guests feel at home. Their outdoor areas lush with greenery are just as inviting as the service, providing the perfect spot to spend a lazy evening enjoying a vino and their wholesome Mediterranean inspired offering from the char-grill, with a side of live music.

Seaside sensation: Bib and Tucker

Perched on Leighton Beach, Bib and Tucker is a spectacular spot to sit by the Indian Ocean and catch a glorious spring sunset. Owned by former Olympian Eamon Sullivan, the swimmer has made a splash on the food scene with this beachside beauty. Headed by chef Scott Bridger, the restaurant dishes out an extensive modern Australian menu with a focus on seasonal produce cooked to perfection.

Night owl: Strange Company

Once an old wetsuit factory, this now architectural award-winning hot-spot has people of all ages flocking to the venue for not only a cocktail or fine wine, but a refined meal too. From their kitchen–running from the moment they open until midnight–comes a menu of understated bar food at its finest. Dishes are simple yet full of flavour with a strong Mediterranean influence. Top tip: Jazz on Sunday afternoons are a must.

That's amore: La Sosta

Every city needs an authentic Italian eatery for diners to get their handmade pasta or classic flavours fix and Fremantle has La Sosta. Just off the main coffee strip, and up a flight of stairs, you’ll be met with mouth-watering wafts of Italy served up in generous dishes made to family recipes. Why not enjoy some spring rays and vast menu on their spacious balcony, which pairs perfectly with an extensive wine and cocktail list–bellissimo.

Ed
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14 things you might not know about Freo

There’s always something new to discover about Freo. Are you across it all?

1. At 1 pm daily, a cannon is fired at the Round House. Guides give the lowdown on why you should ‘keep your eye on the ball’. Book in advance if you want to put your hand up to fire the cannon.

2. Fremantle Arts Centre is a cool oasis all week long with its high-ceilinged galleries and garden café. On Sundays, free music happens in the courtyard between 2 and 4pm (Oct-Mar).

3. Far from the Cappuccino Strip, Kazoomies (at the E Shed) has earned its stripes as a Trip Advisor darling with its interesting Moroccan fare. A brekkie favourite.

Little Creatures rear deck has a sand pit with enough toy tip trucks to occupy dozens of kids.

4. The WA Maritime Museum has entry by donation on the second Tuesday of the month. The WA Shipwrecks Museum is just a gold coin on any given day – not bad for the foremost museum of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

5. You can paddle around in the submerged passageways underneath the Fremantle Prison. Take the Tunnels Tour!

6. Segway Tours offer a novel mode of transport and a guided tour of Freo’s points of interest, all in one. Tours depart near the WA Shipwrecks Museum.

7. You can often spy a tall ship at the port, in the form of the sail training ship Leeuwin II. Wander along from the B Shed for a gander.

8. The Fremantle Tourist Wheel has 25,000 LEDs, and spins every 8 minutes or so – until 9 pm most nights, 10 pm on Saturdays. Hitch a ride.

9. Little Creatures rear deck has a sand pit with enough toy tip trucks to occupy dozens of kids.

10. At Clancy’s Fish Pub, Farmer Damien’s animal farm is in residence on Fridays from 4 pm and Sundays from 1 pm.

11. The deckchairs on the beach at Bathers Beach House are the only licensed beach chairs in Australia. Take a seat to claim bragging rights.

12. The Esplanade has a pool bar that cranks up in summer. Secreted upstairs in lush surrounds, there’s special access for the public. It’s open Thursday to Sunday, midday to 8 pm.

13. The pretty brick work embedded in the footpaths around town – etched and painted with blue sea ‘fossils’ – isn’t just there for looks. It follows the old shore line that existed long before Esplanade Park and the railway line came into being on reclaimed land. Follow the trail along parts of Marine Terrace, Croke Street and Phillimore Street.

14. The Fremantle story website has a bunch of self-guided walking trails that help give focus to your wandering. Choose from historic, culturally significant or arty offerings.

Ed
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10 ways to do icecream in Fremantle

Going for ice cream isn’t as simple as it used to be. Here’s how you might try it.

As a sandwich

Take a pair of choc chip or Anzac biscuits, wedge a goodly amount of ice cream between them, smooth off the edges. Voila! On-trend dessert. Just don’t try to eat it one-handed. Sample one at Piggy Food Co or Stampede at the Mantle.

Rolled

Inspired by Thai street vendors, the Rolled Ice-cream stand at the Freo Markets delivers ‘curls’ of ice cream made by pouring liquid ice cream onto a frozen surface, then rolling them into nifty tubes.

Fish and chips gelato? Yes, Kailis has it. (Don’t fret; there’s always a berries and cream chaser).

With waffles

A classic combo: you can smell the fresh waffles (and waffle cones) long before you reach Freo Ice Cream and Waffles in the Piazza. But have you seen the muffle at the Fremantle Markets? It’s a mind-bending mix of waffle, spread and filling, crafted into a show-off knobbly cone. Flavours range from Mango Sticky Rice to Banoffee Pie.

With pastry

Cronuts, donuts, churros – who knew these were ice cream’s new best friends? Bits of sugary pastry are optional extras everywhere from Gelatissimo to San Churro to Rolled Ice-cream. Go all out.

Vegan

Bland and tasteless? Nuh-uh. The coconut-based ice cream at Roho Bure is as yummy as the interior. The changing flavour menu (cheesecake, anyone?) is vegan and organic, with deluxe sauces. There’s also Coco Whip at the Fremantle Markets. It’s made from coconut water and free of dairy, lactose, refined sugar and gluten. Or try sorbet and soy-based iced treats at Tutti Frutti.

As a coffee

Espresso or ice cream – why choose? Gabriel’s Chocolate offers a twin hit with their award-winning coffee and cocoa bean ice cream. At Gelatissimo, the Cappuccino Strip flavour unites ice cream and coffee sensibilities, as does the Freo Delight at Dolce Vita. Or you can go an affogato – ice cream doused in espresso – anywhere from Ginos to La Sosta.

As a savoury snack

We’re not just talking salted caramel. We’re talking Vegemite white chocolate truffles. Or maybe fennel, rosemary and olive oil. Or miso cinnamon. These might be on the menu at Stampede at the Mantle, along with innovative sweeter offerings. Fish and chips gelato? Yes, Kailis has it. (Don’t fret; there’s always a berries and cream chaser).

Make like you’re on holiday. Lick the drips off your grin.

On a stick

La Paleta has made the popsicle cool again. This Freo-based outfit serves Mexican-inspired icy poles in interesting flavours – watermelon and rose; strawberry and hibiscus; cucumber and chili – from their mobile stand at markets and events, and a handful of freezers around town, from Kakulas Sister (Little Sister) and Manna Wholefoods.

Smashed

When you like choosing your own confectionery extras, and get some satisfaction from seeing them smashed heartily into ice cream on a frozen surface and handed back for your delectation, then you want Cold Rock.

The conventional way

You know: cone or cup. There are good reasons why this method prevails. Wander about Fishing Boat Harbour with a Baskin Robbins, or down South Terrace with something from Gelatissimo, Ben and Jerry’s or Dolce Vita. Make like you’re on holiday. Lick the drips off your grin.

Ed
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Cycling South Beach to Leighton

We’re going on a bike ride. It’s a non-lycra kind of affair: just seven kilometres each way, a leisurely pace, no hill climbs, plenty of stop-and-ogle moments, and coffee at start and finish. Maybe even beer.

Coming?

First, a short black at The Third Wheel, to get in the zone. Then we’ll nip across Wilson Park to the cycleway, breeze along the green stretches of South Beach, breathe in the maritime flavour along Mews Road, and approach Fishing Boat Harbour with our wits about us.

Let’s hope our bells are working. Lotta foot, bike and pram traffic between Little Creatures and Kidogo Arthouse. Yes, it is too soon to stop for an ale but we might detour down to the Bathers Beach decking for a horizon-scanning how-good-is-this? moment. Once we get past the Round House, we’ll feel more intrepid. Vehicular traffic will fade out as the Rottnest ferry terminal slips by us on our left, until we’re cruising past the Passenger Terminal and the cranes of the working port, taking in vistas we never quite get from the car. On our narrow cycle lane suspended off the side of the old traffic bridge over the Swan River, we’ll feel more evolved and connected than any driver. 

Look right, and there’s a new view of the Containbow. Look left for a mash-up of boats, pontoons and cranes. Look down; very possibly dolphins. Ahead, just shy of the North Fremantle café and bar strip, the bike path corners off to the left, taking us around the back of the Swan Hotel to Tydeman Road for our first big decision: head left towards Coast restaurant and hug the dunes all the way to Leighton, or cross Tydeman for a bit of variety.

We’ll likely do the latter, revelling in the cute residential serenity of Pearse Street and the glimpses into Stirling Highway’s back end, before stopping to admire the epic mural that heralds a stint of quiet railway wilderness. This stretch also affords the chance to test our speed against a passing train as we approach North Fremantle station.

Let’s cross over here and go coastal. The cobbled paving between apartment blocks will usher us into civilisation again, i.e. places we can stop and imbibe.

The Orange Box and Bib & Tucker will vie for our attention. A quick game of Paper Scissors Rock should sort it out. Either way, we’ll definitely stop to drink in the ocean views before pedalling back along the coast, taking the odd smug selfie. Way more fun than driving.

Pedal power - these Freo bike shops handle every cycling whim.

South Beach Cycles: Funky treadly store doing a specialty line in cargo bikes, fitted with classy timber tubs designed to carry what you’d put in a car (kids, dogs, gardening gear.)

Captain Walker: A drool-worthy range of vintage, retro, classic, fat and skinny bikes, plus attentive servicing.

Mercer Cycles: A Freo institution, brimful of a cyclist’s every want, from standard fittings to quirky extras and a can-fix attitude.

Port City Cycles: As well as vast bike, accessory and hire options, rides for serious cyclists are held on Saturday mornings.

Hiring your wheels?

Fremantle Visitor Centre: A few bikes (including kids mountain bikes) are available free on a first-in basis, 9.30 am - 3 pm.

Port City Cycles: Kids, tandems, trailers, road bikes and hybrids from $10.

Little Creatures: Get around for a day on a Creatures-branded bike, no charge.

Spinway: Swipe your credit card at the stand near the Esplanade Hotel or Cicerello’s, where the helmets are kept.

South Beach Cycles: Hybrid bikes for hire year round, and come summer, hire a cargo bike to carry extra loads.

Ed
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Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Festival 2018

Music lovers are in for a veritable feast throughout the ten days of the Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Festival. International acts and local artists will converge on our port city in a program put together by Fremantle’s own music legend, the double Grammy award-winning Lucky Oceans, and fellow musician Donough O’Donovan.

Headliners Martin Hayes and Declan O’Rourke both accepted invitations to perform because of the historical importance of the event - celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the last convict ship to Australia, the Hougoumont, carrying 62 Irish Fenians.

Internationally renowned Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, one of the finest guitarists in traditional Irish music, are considered one of Irish music's most acclaimed duos of all time. Their adventurous, soulful interpretations of traditional tunes fittingly open the Festival at the John Curtin Auditorium on Friday 5 January. It’s a rare opportunity to hear traditional Irish music performed by masters of the genre. Aria award winner, songbird and folkloric explorer Kavisha Mazella returns home to support Hayes and Cahill in concert.

Fenians

Irish folk sensation Declan O’Rourke, will play songs from across his career in his two concert performances, including a selection from his latest album, ‘Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine’. He will pen a song in commemoration of the of the arrival of the military Fenians in 1868.

There are plenty of quotes about Martin and Dennis for example:  "Martin Hayes is one of the best fiddlers on the planet. Dennis Cahill is a subtle guitar master. Put aside your notion of Irish music...and just listen." NPR.

Declan is supported in his concert at the WA maritime Museum on 11 January by Fiona Rea whose songs are influenced by her Irish heritage and a lifelong love of music and its power to reach people. Rob Zielinski, supports Declan on 13 January at the John Curtin College of the Arts Theatre. Rob is a Perth based traditional Irish musician who will feature some lively jigs, reels, hornpipes, strathspeys and haunting slow airs.

Singer Aminah Hughes returns home from Ireland to share with us a collection of enchanting songs, both new and old, written during her time there along with some of her favourite songs from the Emerald Isle.  Award winning poet and storyteller Jaya Penelope- a descendant of Fenian, James Kearney, transported to Fremantle in 1867 on board the Hougoumont joins Aminah in performance on 7 January at Kidogo Arthouse.

The next day ‘The Last Convict Ship’, a selection of stories and songs by one of Perth’s leading experts on Australian Fenian history, renowned Irish musician Brendan Woods will be performed at the Hougoumont Hotel in Bannister Street.

Fenians

The Lucky Oceans and his Gaelic Gumbo Band will explore new creations mixing Irish and Louisiana sounds. Be the first to hear the world premiere of a band and repertoire made exclusively for the festival at Kidogo Arthouse on 12 January. Kidogo’s Kelp Bar will be running throughout the festival and will be home to spontaneous musical performances featuring Festival acts and local musicians.

The closing event and street party ‘The Feast of The Wild Goose’ features entertainment by the Freo’s own Rogues, playing their very own brand of Pogues magic to celebrate the end of an incredible ten days of Irish music.

Festival Program www.feniansfestival.com.au  

Ed
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Shopping, snapping and winning in Fremantle

Someone said to me last week that if Fremantle were a tree, the Cappuccino Strip would be its main trunk, but the beauty lies in its branches because that is where the flowers grow.

How cool is that sentiment?  It was said to me by Michael who runs Fremantle Tours as he took me on a personal adventure in search of the cool, the quirk and the colourful shopping haunts in the city. 

Freo is a total hidden gem when it comes to a little bit of retail therapy and, particularly at this time of year, is the place to be. So, strap yourselves in, and let’s go shopping! This is going to be a colourful and fun ride!

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Many 2.0

Oh, this place just gets it.   There is so much to love, or is that many?  It is eclectic brilliance at its best and home to so much awesomeness.  Think art, sculpture, jewelry, homewares, clothes and even a hairdresser!  The space is relaxed and friendly, leaving you to meander at your leisure and just be inspired by what’s on display.   When I was there I got chatting to Kate who is one of the brains behind Many 2.0 (and the Kate of www.kateandabel.com) and she was casually sewing a fantastic hat as we spoke.  Yes, it’s that kind of vibe: creative but chilled all at once. 

Say hello at:  Adelaide Street, Fremantle (the old Spotlight building) or find them on Instagram at @many_projects

Freo is a total hidden gem when it comes to a little bit of retail therapy and, particularly at this time of year, is the place to be. So, strap yourselves in, and let’s go shopping! This is going to be a colourful and fun ride!

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Fremantle Artisan Store

Just like the name says, this is literally a collection of artists, in fact no less than 150 of them!  You are guaranteed to find a unique purchase here as there is so much choice!  All of the artists are local to Freo so it really is redefining the benefits of shopping local.  If you’re an artist you can display your stuff here for as little as $15 a week.  And it’s not just art in the form of paintings; there’s felt, clothing, jewelry, pottery, handmade cards, homewares, shadow boxes, terrariums, crochet, mosaic and woodwork. 

Say hello at 81a High Street, Fremantle or find them on Instagram at @theartisanstore

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The Archive

This place is literally split with two distinct themes: fashion and homewares, so you can choose what you want (or both!).  It’s home to some of the coolest art and cards I have seen, and has a dedicated kids gift section.  Plus, there’s a secret café at the back (Leake Street Cafeteria) for that much needed caffeine hit because this shopping business is thirsty work!

Say hello at 23 Market Street Fremantle or find them on Instagram at @the_archive_fremantle or the café at @leakestcafeteria 

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Remedy

This is a store that makes you excited to buy for yourself or others.  As the owners said to me when I visited “we sell beautiful things that are designed and made by creative minds”.   Yes, I could have spent longer in here, both in terms of time and money!  Again everything is locally sourced and made so no mass production.  I particularly loved the tea towels that were dotted all over the shop, you can buy them as is or have them stretched and framed on a canvas as a cool piece of wall art.

Say hello at 95 High Street, Fremantle or find them on Instagram at @remedystore

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Common Ground

This store has a little more of a street vibe and the clothes and gifts somehow have a bit more edge.  Again, you can discover a little bit of everything: candles, wallets, cards, hats, wreaths, art, sculpture, jewelry, and – just as I was leaving – a box of plaster skulls (that I think doubled as planter boxes) were delivered! 

What I love about places like this is that you’re not only buying and supporting local but buying gifts with personality and flair.  They are not mass produced so the uniqueness factor is right up there, which is pretty cool in my books.   Go explore the branches, find the flowers and the magic next time you’re in Freo and let me know what you love.

Say hello at 82 High Street, Fremantle or find them on Instagram at @cmmngrnd

Shop, Snap, Tag and Win #FreoWishList

Another cool discovery on the tour was the #FreoWishList which is a fun Instagram competition.  And hello, who doesn’t love a competition?!  All you need to do is find something you want for Christmas at stores in Fremantle, take a pic of it and tag it #FreoWishList plus the shop that you found it in and share it on Instagram.  Easy! You can win up to $500 worth of shopping in the city, perfect for that last minute Christmas haul.  I’ve already shared some of my faves and you totally should too. Get on it quick as it closes on December 22. Happy shopping, happy snapping and good luck!

Find them on Instagram at @fremantlestory

Guest blogger Jo Newman (@sayhellojo

@sayhellojo
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Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom Festival

 As you wander through Fremantle in early January, make sure you listen carefully. You’ll hear the sweet sounds of one of Ireland’s greatest fiddlers, Martin Hayes and the echo back from his musical confidante, American guitarist Dennis Cahill as they capture the essence of traditional Irish music in a contemporary rhythm to uplift your spirits. Focus again and you’ll pick up the enchanting, rich melodious voice of gifted, Irish singer and songwriter Declan O’Rourke. If you know something about the hidden treasure spots of the West End, you might uncover the textured language of one of Ireland’s best loved poets, Tony Curtis. 

There’s clearly something significant happening in Fremantle, to draw such fabulous Irish talent here. Indeed, there is! It’s a ten-day Irish cultural immersion, the first of its kind, called Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival, commemorating a journey made 150 years ago by 62 Irish political prisoners – the Fenians.

The Fenians were young men, between 19 and 30, who grew up in Ireland in a time of starvation, death and forced evictions - the years of the great famine. Having exhausted all attempts to gain self-government through political means, they decided to fight for independence and they staged a rising. Their plot was uncovered, they were arrested, sentenced for treason, exiled from their homeland and transported to Western Australia. 

After spending months in solitary confinement, it was a bitter-sweet relief when they boarded the very last convict ship to Australia, the Hougoumont, where they shared stories, organised concerts, wrote a newspaper called the Wild Goose, and looked out for each other. You might recognise the name Hougoumont, it’s that funky hotel in Bannister Street.

There’s clearly something significant happening in Fremantle, to draw such fabulous Irish talent here. Indeed, there is! It’s a ten-day Irish cultural immersion, the first of its kind, called Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival...

They also dreamed of escape. The most famous of the Fenians, John Boyle O’Reilly did escape a year later, on an American whaler. He became the editor of a Boston newspaper and together with supporters in the US and Ireland, organised a crowd funding venture to purchase a whaler, the Catalpa, and rescue his mates from the bottom of the world, out of Fremantle Prison.

It’s a big story and there’s a big festival to commemorate and celebrate it. As well as the concerts, there’ll be a family day at the Maritime Museum, art exhibitions, Irish film, literature workshops, remarkable stories and of course, the Guinness …plenty of it on tap at the Festival Gardens and Kelp Bar at Kidogo Arthouse.

But you won’t be sitting still, there’s music to get your feet tapping and a traditional Irish ceili dance with an Indian Ocean sunset as the backdrop.

After 10 days of celebration and commemoration, you’ll have to get in quick to book a table at the primal food extravaganza and street party, the Feast of the Wild Goose, sponsored by Fremantle BID and supported by the Hougoumont Hotel and the Bannister St traders.

This 150 year old story of valuing your culture and looking after your friends is the one we still strive for here in Fremantle.

Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom Festival | 5-14 January 2018

Ed
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