Being a beautiful summer’s day and John having the day off, we headed to Fremantle for a wander. Gabby had recommended us to check out Crowded House for lunch and so we did. With Steve and Nina as our lunch buddies, we were excited about our dining experience.
Tucked away in South Fremantle, The Crowded House is just metres from the lovely South Beach, in a predominately residential area. It is far removed from the hustle and bustle of Fremantle’s Cappuccino Strip, patrons can enjoy their fine dining experience in a beautiful and relaxed environment.
The building itself is a turn of the century, heritage listed limestone cottage that has been internally renovated to become a fit for purpose restaurant, whilst still referencing and respecting the past. It echoes a classic Fremantle limestone house, pared down to the essentials, with separate rooms for dining or lounging. The back room is more casual with an elevated communal table and stools at centre stage with French doors opening onto the outdoor courtyard. From here you can see the chefs and barista working on orders.
The front room is set with cutlery and glassware for more serious diners, and a leather lounge that will no doubt be hot property in the winter months. The warm minimalist scheme is a classy combo of leather, red and cream, with contemporary light shades, whitewashed sideboards and original artworks and pottery featured is all the work of the owners grandfather Guy Grey-Smith, with sculptural elements provided by the owners father, Mark Grey-Smith.
In a short time, The Crowded House has gathered momentum and a loyal band of customers. Their bread is the stuff of legend, sliced thick like a door stop, toasted to present a crispy exterior and a soft middle.
The menu looked great and so all decided to have a 3 course lunch starting with entrees. Nina and I ordered the sardines with beetroot, saffron aioli, lentils on toast. What an awesome entrée! The sardines were sweet in taste and didn’t have that fishy smell to it at all. Perfect combination with slithers of beetroot topped with lentils sitting on Crowded House’s homemade bread and accompanied with a beautiful silky saffron aioli.
Steve’s entrée was the pork hock with squid, black bean, apple and crackle. The presentation was great and from the empty plate after, I’m sure Steve enjoyed it immensely. Shredded chucks of pork along with thin slices of chargrilled squid and green apple sitting on a bed of black beans and topped with pork crackle.
John’s entrée was the terrine which is a rabbit terrine with foie gras, celery & hazelnut. I couldn’t have a taste of it due to my pregnancy but John said it was yummy. It looked really pretty on the plate, the terrine was a beautiful pink in colour from the rabbit and foie gras and with a side of celery and hazelnut salad.
With entrees completed, we worked on our mains which were equally delicious. Nina and I again had the same mains and we just couldn’t get past this on the menu. It sounded so yummy that we just had to try it. We had the gnocchi with corn, smoked tomatoes, goat’s cheese and popped corn. It was absolutely an awesome dish to have. Homemade gnocchi pan-fried with smoked cherry tomatoes, sweet corn kernels and topped with goats cheese and actual popped corn.
John had the lamb rack with suet pie, spinach and lentils which were 2 massive beautifully cooked lamb racks that were perfectly pink. They were accompanied with a suet pie which is mainly a traditional British steamed or boiled pudding and sautéed spinach and lentils.
Steve had the fish which was snapper with chickpeas, sesame in a tomato broth. It was presented beautifully, crispy skin snapper fillet lying on a bed of chickpeas and a clear tomato broth.
By then end of our entrée and mains, we were so stuffed from lunch we just couldn’t fit another thing in. The service was impeccable and attentive. Crowded House was definitely well worth the trip down to Fremantle and we’ll definitely be back again.
On the whole, 9 ½ for food quality, 9 ½ for atmosphere, 9 for pricing and 9 ½ for service.
The Crowded House
25 Douro Road
Tel: 08 9336 4147