For the first few years as a university student I lived just out of Fremantle and since then it has always felt like the stomping ground of my youth. Back in those days I was a bit quirky and leftfield meaning that I fitted in quite well with the other interesting types you could find walking through Freo’s old streets. Returning there brings back many memories of what was literally a life time ago for me. In those years gone by, the popular Little Creatures Brewery didn’t even exist and its predecessor was a massive crocodile farm of all things! You could pay to go in and have a look and I remember going through there with my Dad and finding the whole thing rather disturbing yet oddly fascinating.
I don’t often manage to encourage the Boy to come with me to Fremantle. It’s a shame because I love so much about it but with the horrendous parking and no similar fond memories of his own I can understand his reluctance. And more to the point, living in the Vic Park area it’s not like we don’t have plenty of our own more local options. It had been a long time since we had visited Little Creatures Brewery and after a three day juice fast I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice going there for my first day of real food.
I asked our waitress what was available to order gluten free and was given their gluten free menu with a variety of red crosses and scribbles added to indicate what I could eat. All pizzas and desserts were crossed out so we picked a couple of nibbles to share. Whilst nothing on the menu really excited me, share plates are a good excuse to be able to order multiple dishes so I was happy with that.
My happiness was short-lived. I never realised just how average the food at Little Creatures had become. Our beetroot salad came out minutes after placing our order. The beetroot was watery and flavourless like it had come out of a can.
Service was impressively quick despite the entire dining hall being packed to the brim and before long more of our plates came out. For the chickpea falafels, I requested for the pita bread to be served on the side to avoid gluten contamination. The side salad still had onion despite my request for its omission as it is high in fructose and I react if I eat it. The falafels were dry and similarly without much taste however once lavishly covered with the minted yoghurt they were edible. It was unfortunate that we only got a teeny bowl of the yoghurt as each falafel really needed to be smothered in the stuff.
The grilled prawn skewers were the absolutely low light of the meal and I left most of them for the Boy to eat. Even he was reluctant to do so and that is unusual as prawns are about the only animal protein he will still eat happily. Hard and chewy with the flavour of dirty dishwater even the romesco sauce did nothing to save these poor critters.
The grilled haloumi was the only dish we enjoyed. It is hard to get this squeaky dish wrong. The cheese was grilled to a lovely caramelised colour and served with fresh parsley and a lemon wedge. I was thankful we saved the best until last.
There were no gluten free desserts on the menu and I was in some ways relieved because I didn’t think I could get through more of their tasteless food. Instead I took us off in the direction of the Fremantle Markets in search of some macarons. We needed an instant injection of deliciousness to make up for all that unpleasant food. Maison Saint-Honoré never fails to disappoint me with a good old mac-attack hit. Their macarons have not only aced all those vital layers of textures but also had the more difficult and intricate complexity of flavours.
Diverging away from my usual choices I picked honeycomb, their flavour of the month and coconut, The Boy chose my old favourite salted caramel and a raspberry. We savoured them slowly as we walked through the bustle of the Fremantle Markets before making our way back to the car. At least our outing ended on a good note.
Upon reflection of my photos of Little Creatures’ gluten free menu on our way home I noticed that to make the prawn skewers gluten free, the romesco sauce was crossed out yet our gluten free version had it included. Had they changed the ingredients to make it gluten free and therefore served it to me or was it an error? Given my reaction that afternoon my guess is the former although I’m certain that the poor standard of food is bound to have caused a reaction in many people without gluten issues.Little Creatures Brewery 40 Mews Road, Fremantle WA 6160 | (08) 9430 5555 | www.littlecreatures.com.au Price: $$ (Small plates $8-12, Big plates $12-29) Food: 2/5 (cheap food for the beer drinking masses) Service: 3.5/5 (no fuss efficiency, attentive and energetic) Ambience: 3.5/5 (perfect for a Sunday sesh, great views with a buzzing Freo vibe ) Drinks: 3/5 (hard to judge unless you drink beer, short wine list has some drinkable options) Total: 12/20 www.maisonsainthonore.com Price: $ (Macarons $1.50 each, other French pastries available) Food: 9/10 (now that is what I’m talking about!) Service: 9/10 (being half French I’m a little biased but who doesn’t love a French accent?) Total: 18/20