Slow Food and Outdoors Guide to Perth and Fremantle

Posted on July 29th, 2014

I’ve just come back from a jaunt over West. It was a quick one, but I got a very good feel for the scene there in just a few days. My bro’ Ben and I scouted the joint together.

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Riding the Kalamunda Circuit – possibly the best mountain bike trail I’ve done.

Perth and environs has some incredible produce and wine that fits to the “whole food”, locavore etc vibe. Interestingly, I’d say the city doesn’t really promote its paddock-to-plate wares as much as it could. Which, to be honest, is quite refreshing. The whole “local, hand-foraged basil leaf” palaver can wear a little thin after a while (isn’t a basil leaf just “picked”?).

As I say, I was there briefly, so my recommendations are limited. Thusly, I called on a few local hand-foraged “friends” to share their favourite spots, too.

Fremantle

* Bread In Common.  Even if you don’t eat bread, this place offers so, so much: slow-cooked options, locally sourced and house-made; communal tables; and a lovely heat coming off the big bread ovens where they make their very authentic sourdough (based on a mother culture that’s 25 years old). Check out the Bread In Common site. PS. Every full moon they have a long table communal dinner.

In Fremantle with brother Ben ...Westwinds gin martini and REAL fermented sourdough at Bread In Common

Westwinds gin martini and REAL fermented sourdough at Bread In Common

* The Raw Kitchen. I’m not a raw fan. But thankfully this place doesn’t just do raw. Although they do only do vegan. But in a mindful way. The food is truly creative and nourishing.

Oh fermented Fremantle heaven: gluten-free pizza with apple sauerkraut , kimchi, kombucha and zucchini pesto pasta

Oh fermented Fremantle heaven!

We had the zucchini pesto pasta and the gluten-free pizza with sweet potato, fermented onion with cinnamon oil. They make their own fermented kimchi (presumably from a salt brine, not whey) and kombucha. Check out the Raw Kitchen.

* The South Fremantle Markets. Off the beaten track in a lovely bit of suburbia…but worth travelling to. There’s the usual suspects – coffee vans, chia tents, local labna producers  and John Butler-esque buskers – but also a really friendly vibe. Go for brunch to hang in the sun with the locals. They – thoughtfully – supply old crockery mugs you can use at the various coffee stands (along with a bucket of water and detergent for washing up afterwards). Check out the South Fremantle Markets.

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Pensive hipsterness at Ootong and Lincoln

* Ootong and Lincoln. A fun place to grab a coffee and innovative burger. Check out Ootong and Lincoln.

* Manna Wholefoods. About 50m from Ootong and a great place to stock up on supplies. They also have a café there that ticks all the vegan, flaxseed, chai etc boxes of a health food shop café. Check out Manna Wholefoods.

* Fremantle Markets. Carla from Live Clean Juice Plus says: “On a weekend this is a must for me. I’ve been going to Clara’s Wholefoods for years to stock up on my tidbits and essentials for the week.” Check out Fremantle Markets.

 * Bib & Tucker. Carla: “I love this place. It’s in Leighton (next to Fremantle) run by Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan. Awesome location on the beach and good quality food that’s healthy but whole food and hearty.” Check out Bib and Tucker.

On the outdoors front…

Getting my BMX skills back on! BEST technical downhill fun in soooo long

Getting my BMX skills back on! BEST technical downhill fun in soooo long

I also went mountain bike riding on the Kalamunda Bike Circuit. Seriously, the best technical fun park I’ve done. Beautiful Jarrah and Marri forest…if there was hiking in the area (I’m pretty sure there would be), I’d soooo recommend getting up there It’s only 40 minutes from Fremantle. Drop in at the pub afterwards for a pint in the sun.

Oh, and if you’re in the area, you really should give kayaking a go. There are a stack of operators running tours up rivers (to wineries) and out in the ocean to seal colonies. We went for a jaunt up the Canning River and checked out incredible birdlife. Magical stuff.

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Calm on the Canning

A gentle ride (or walk) through the dunes near Coogee Beach at sunset is also magical.

Watching the sunset at Coogee beach

Watching the sunset at Coogee beach

Carla from Live Clean Juice Plus adds: “Riding my bike around the Swan River near Point Walter and heading to Port Beach for some sun and a swim are my favourite things to do.”

Perth

* The Green House.  I totally dig this place. Mostly because, while located right in the CBD, it provides a free compost service. They’re totally on the waste-free bandwagon, serve kombucha, churn their own butter and grow fresh ingredients on their rooftop. Check out the Green House.

This cafe is smack bang in the CBD. Of course you'd takeaway some compost with your cappuccino!!

Of course you’d takeaway some compost with your cappuccino!!

* Solomon’s Café. I’m yet to find a place quite like this anywhere in the world. They cater squarely for paleo and vegan fans and their menu couldn’t be a better reflection of the kind of eating I promote if I was in the kitchen myself.

Exhibit A: chicken bone broth and sardines.

My goodness: chicken bone broth and sardines on pumpkin paleo "toast".

The rest of the menu features slow cooked meats, sustainable fish…and the most delicious cinnamon and coconut roasted carrots. Check out Solomon’s Cafe.

Jo and I went back for breakfast a few days later: nitrate-free bacon, pasture-fed sausage, pumpkin paleo bread and GREENS. Oh, and peas.

Jo and I went back for breakfast a few days later: nitrate-free bacon, pasture-fed sausage, pumpkin paleo bread and GREENS. Oh, and peas.

* Blind Corner Wines. A great WA natural wine company. Ben and Naomi foot-press their biodynamic grapes, and wild ferment the wine in oak barrels. They also make a Two Brothers line, but their Blind Corner range is their kooky natural stuff. We had it at our IQS event in Perth. If you see it on a menu – grab it! Check out Blind Corner.

* CNR Kitchen. I was going to try this place myself but ran out of time. It was recommended by a few people, including Liz who runs Breakfast in Perth. They specialise in paleo, but also serve raw food and vegan dishes. They use fresh, free-range, grass-fed and local produce and have a special Five Senses blend of coffee (their own recipe).  Check out CNR Kitchen.

* Sensations en Ardross. Liz at Breakfast in Perth says: “This is a nice little cafe with a strong focus on gluten free/healthier options.” Check out Sensations en Ardross.

* Yelo Cafe. Carla: “This is a lovely beach shack and funky cafe in the northern beaches area.” Check out Yelo Cafe.

* West End Deli. Sarah “Polly” Polanski from 98five Sonshine FM says: “This one’s just out of the city. Great food, very cosy. The menu always links in with what’s in season. It’s my old local!” Check out West End Deli.

* The Little Bird Cafe (Northbridge). Liz: “They do a really nice muesli.” Check out Little Bird Cafe.

* Panache Cafe. Carla: “This is up and coming, and my boyfriend’s personal favourite as it’s one of the only really healthy and gluten friendly places near his work. They are also a rare breed here doing Match Green Tea Lattes.” Check out Panache Cafe.

* Sayer’s Sister (Northbridge). Liz: “This one’s a relative of Sayer’s Food (Leederville). Both are great and are especially famous for their brekkies.” Check out Sayer’s Sister.

* Veggie Mama. Carla: “Another small hot spot for lunches and healthy take away in particular.” Check out Veggie Mama.

* The 3 Fig cafes: The Wild Fig, The Naked Fig and The Pickled Fig. Carla: “My personal favourite is The Naked Fig for the layout, scenery and decent service.” Check out The Fig Cafes.

* The Tuck Shop (Northbridge). Liz: “It’s always quite busy but the food is delicious! Great for brekkie.” Check out the Tuck Shop.

* Print hall. Polly: “Head here for a drink – it’s such a great building.” Check out Print Hall.

* Apple Daily. Polly: “This one’s upstairs from Print Hall. Great space and good food.” Check out Apple Daily.

* The Swan Valley Cafe. Carla says: “This is a must if you are heading into our wine region (I grew up not far from there). Beautiful cottage-like setting and delicious food. All around are our wineries, cheese places and Yahava Coffee. Picture a wine-tasting layout but it’s coffee tasting. Also tea friendly and has cool bits and bobs you can pick up for around the house.” Check out the Swan Valley Cafe.

Been to Perth? Live in Perth? Do you have more places to add to this (growing) list? Feel free to comment below. 

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  • Kate

    This is a great list (I live here and I hadn’t heard of Solomon’s cafe. Definitely a must visit). Moore & Moore in Fremantle is also fantastic. Funky vibe, great food.

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    Jessica Reply:

    Love Moore & Moore!

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  • http://brickroadcreativestudios.wordpress.com/ Kat

    I’ve been planning a trip out west, now I have some more items for my to-do list!

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  • Erinna

    The Munda Biddi Trail (bike) and the Bibbulmun Track (hiking) both start in the Perth Hills (Mundaring and Kalamunda respectively) and end at Albany to the south of the state. They are separate tracks, each approx 1000kms in length, but both can be done in stages, or just a few hours at a time, if you don’t want to do the whole thing. :)

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  • Louise

    Great list. I would also add Co-op Dining in East Perth. They serve local seasonal produce.

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  • Carla

    Love the article! So many people read your blog so this was a great opportunity to get some awesome Perth places on the map – and a reminder to me of the ones I must get back to!

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  • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

    Yes there’s great hiking (and trail running. And non-technical MTBing) in Kalamunda via the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun tracks. You can walk/ride the whole way down south if you like! So now you’re going to have to come back to Perth and do that ;)

    Also lovely to see Sayers get a mention. Our office is right by their Leederville cafe and every time I say to someone ‘we’re in Leederville’ they say ‘Oh, are you near Sayers?!’

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Ah thanks for clarifying the bush walking thing!

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  • Jackie

    It was

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  • Vicki

    I love CNR Kitchen. Paul and Martine really care about what they’re doing. Their Bulletproof coffee is awesome too!

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  • Robyn

    Absolutely agree re: Solomon’s and Bread in Common! Two of my favourites, with amazing food and service :) Greenhouse has a great menu but the overall experience often leaves something to be desired (i.e. service).

    I’d also recommend The Wagon food truck for awesome sustainable, healthy, sugar-free food options (their menu is vegan but I’m not and I love the food anyway) – you can follow them on Facebook to find out where they will be each day (usually Freo or the city or farmer’s markets). Just love their green smoothie & chickpea curry!

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  • Michele Caroline Stummer

    Such a good way to start our day today to be told by one of our regulars @PANACHE that we are featured in your blog Sarah. We are very much a work in progress and have been so delighted with the growing positive response to what we are offering in the CBD. Just by the by, my daughter and I have just recently been on the IQS programme and have to say it certainly has been an eye opener and we both feel that we learned such a lot ….. once you start this journey there just seems to be more and more to learn.

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    Carla Reply:

    Keep up the awesome work @panache! My boyfriend and a couple of his colleagues love your place. Thank you for hopping in the Matcha Green Tea bandwagon!

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    Michele Caroline Stummer Reply:

    Thanks Carla! A really great surprise to be included …. so many thanks to your b/f and his colleagues!
    The Matcha Green Tea is going well and we are now really excited about the almond milk and cacao almond milk we have just started making fresh daily. We are using this too for our almond lattes and they are soooo delish. Fresh vs supermarket options = chalk and cheese :-) Hope you can get in to visit us too at some stage. Please say hello when you do.

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    Carla Reply:

    oooh sounds yum! I most certainly will :)

  • Tasha

    Langford park in Jarrahdale can be a nice place for mountain biking too :) little bit quieter and some easier rides for those still learning!

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  • Lana

    I agree with most of the food options, the exception is the Fig Cafes.

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  • Susie

    I hope you can visit us in the South West on your next trip. Margaret River and surrounds have some great local produce. If you have a moment can you please let me know your thoughts on coconut sugar? Many thanks. Susie

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  • http://www.consciouscravings.com.au Karen

    I’m so blessed to live two minutes walk from Solomon’s. I’m thankful every day and visit weekly :)

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  • Guest

    I’m blessed to love two minutes walk from Solomon’s. It’s a gem. I’m thankful every day that my neighbourhood cafe offers food that suits my tastebuds and tummy completely! :)

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  • http://www.consciouscravings.com.au Karen

    I’m blessed to live two minutes walk from Solomon’s. It’s such a rare gem. I thought I was dreaming when it opened up on my doorstep! Long may it thrive!

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  • Jenn

    Great list! As a Perth local it is good to get more ideas for my own backyard!
    One to add to the list – if you head down to Mandurah for the day – Taste and Graze on the foreshore is a great little coffee shop with paleo inspired menu and lots of delicious morsels (the quinoa bread is great).

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  • Kate P

    I’m so glad to see Perth finally on Sarah’s guide! So proud of my hometown, reading about all the places I love made me miss them all, but I’m now discovering my own here in Tassie! A good start to some of Perth’s great places!

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  • mairead

    Just moved to Fremantle from Ireland six weeks ago and excited to see so many of my already favourite places on the list and now a few new ones to try out. This place is amazing and so friendly..was in Manna today and another customer offered to give me some of her keffir grains! Mairead

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