Freo is a lovely part of the world, but given where I live it often feels terribly far away, so I don’t get there too often. Recently though my sister and I were planning a catch up with Miss G, who worked out that way, so since we also both worked south of the river a place sprung to mind in East Freo that I had long wanted to visit. It was called Barque. Someone I work with had sung it’s praises and it had always been in the back of my mind as I place I had to get to at some stage. This was the perfect opportunity so a booking was made and off we set.
As googling taught me, “A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts”. They had a lovely description of their restaurant on their webpage:
let us take you on an aromatic ocean trail from the lands of spice and cinnamon, schezuan, clove and cassia along the trade winds to the port city of Fremantle.
Set on George Street in East Fremantle, it has quite an unassuming exterior. On the particularly chilly winter’s evening I couldn’t wait to get inside. I was greeted by a friendly staff member and shown to our table.
I was really taken with the warm and decorative interior. There was a lovely quaint collection of pictures along the walls, along with brightly coloured fabrics on the chairs. It all worked together and felt really welcoming.
So as I sat and took in the prettiness of the place I decided to order a glass of wine, given I had arrived a good 15 minutes or so ahead of my dining companions.
But soon enough the two girls arrived, ordered beverages and then we set about the difficult task of deciding what to order from a menu where I could have happily ordered one of each of what they had on offer. We decided to share dishes. The first to arrive were the duck & shiitake spring rolls 18
They presented well and they tasted even more delicious than they looked. They were jam packed with duck and just so full of flavour! I don’t think anyone would have minded ordering a second serve given we were all so taken with them, but we were conscious that there were other dishes to arrive.
Second was the soft shell crab, kimchi, iceberg 19. With this dish it was a chance to make a very opulent san choy bow style experience, where the seasoned soft shell crab was the star feature.
So we each took a lettuce leaf and set about filling it with some of the crab, a few of the fresh herbs and then a little of the zesty kimchi and creamy aioli kind of sauce. Eating with my hands can not be considered one of my strengths, as I often end up wearing it, but I carefully look a bite and managed to keep the lettuce leaf in tact. The flavours together were beautiful and such a wonderful contrast with the crab and the refreshing crunchy lettuce and the vinegary kick from the kimchi. It all worked and two dishes in I was wondering what had taken me so long to get here!
Next to appear was the shan pork ribs, tomato, tumeric 29. Another great dish! Bursting with flavour and just the right amount of heat to keep things interesting :) Loved them! The meat just fell off the bones. These ribs had been lovingly prepared and the combination of herbs and spices was perfect! I also quite liked the cherry tomatoes in this dish. Added a really nice sweetness.
Finally was the stir fry mushroom, green onion, sesame 19. Of the four dishes that we chose I would probably say this was my least favourite. Don’t get me wrong there was nothing wrong with it and they did have an interesting mix of mushrooms included, but it just wasn’t quite as wow to me as the others.
Now we had opted some lovely steamed jasmine rice with our dishes but thankfully there was still room for dessert! My lovely sister said she would help me with mine so we ordered the chocolate mousse, chilli choc caramel, salted peanut brittle 14. I’ll admit that it presented differently to how I imagined it would, but it was divine. The decadent richness of the mousse was well matched with the general blob of cream on top. It seemed to cut through some of that richness. Just magic. The chilli choc caramel sauce had an interesting tang to it, but again it worked well with the other components. I was glad I was sharing it. A pleasing dish for two :)
So my first visit to Barque was done and dusted. I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. Delightful company. The service was friendly and helpful. The food had been amazing and there are still so many items on the menu that I want to try! And it is just such a pretty spot.
I only wish Freo was closer to home and I know I would be a regular here. Don’t think I could ever get enough of those duck spring rolls! :)